Building Your Company’s House E-mail List – the How To’s

Within any type of online business creating and building an effective e-mail list is a necessary business practice in order for a company to retain information surrounding consumers in specific markets.

With an effective e-mail list, it is possible to properly implement an e-mail marketing campaign which is both measurable and successful. But how do you create a good list? Well list building, a lot like other forms of information capture, carry their own little tricks of the trade and here today in this article we are going to look at some excellent tips which will help you on your way to creating fantastic e-mail marketing lists.

Decide on your software

For any e-mail list which is being planned a popular product of choice has always been Microsoft Excel which will allow you to create spreadsheets of e-mail addresses and create new fields with notes next to each address. Excel is highly recommended because it is cross compatible with multiple operating systems, too, allowing you to forward your list for review (if applicable) by management.

Autoresponders

Whilst building your list you need to have regular contact with your subscribers. This can be done by using an autoresponder service like Aweber or Getresponse. You can capture email addresses and send emails out automatically. You only need to write the email once then once set-up, it can be sent to thousands of recipients who have opted on to your email list.

Create your list internally

Keeping all information in house when building an e-mail list is an excellent way of being able to manage the quality of your list and assess first hand how effective it may be.

Internal list building could take more time than it would outsourcing or getting an experienced list builder to help, but overall the extra time compared to the extra costs of outsourcing even themselves out.

Manage your e-mail list

This goes without saying however it is no good having an e-mail address within the list you are building when that person specifically requested never to be contacted surrounding marketing information, special offers etc.

It pays off in the long run to build a list of targeted subscribers who are interested in the information that you are going to send them. Be certain that when e-mail addresses are obtained they are from people who are open to marketing offers and receiving e-mail from businesses like yours. Overall, keeping tabs on your e-mail list will ensure you do not waste any unnecessary time or have angry consumers e-mailing you back surrounding their privacy. Make sure they can unsubscribe at any time.

Don’t cave in to e-mail list brokers

Disreputable e-mail list brokers are the burden of e-mail marketing campaigns. Quite often, companies will sell you e-mail lists which go in to the thousands featuring e-mail addresses which are fake or have not been active for years.

If you are list building, do your best to not cave in to cheap offers from shady e-mail list brokers because it could do more harm to your list than good.

Be clear in your message

This applies more to when you decide upon engaging your e-mail list, however it is the most important part of any e-mail marketing campaign.

You need to be clear in your marketing message for your list to be effective. Imagine creating a fantastic e-mail list only to ruin your chance with a shoddy e-mail with too many offers and a bad subject line.

 

R. Larcombe

How Often Should You Monitor Your Pay-Per-Click Services?

Every business owner knows the importance of a (pay per click) PPC campaign as part of a comprehensive website plan. But the exact analytics of the same may not be known to everyone. The written description is critical in a pay per click campaign. The purpose of the written description is to attract targeted visitors, who are likely to be your buyers and not just any or every visitor.

What to Look for When Monitoring Pay-Per-Click Data?

Pay per click is one of the methods to optimize your website, so it is critical to monitor your PPC data at frequent intervals. When monitoring PPC data, you may want to know where most of your customers are coming from. E-commerce tracking will enable you to know this. Pay per click will also reveal other critical data pertaining to your business. You will learn the much needed critical information on how exactly you are making money.

While monitoring your PPC campaign, it will help you to learn how much each visitor is worth for your site. You may need to do some computing here. Divide the number of visitors to your site for a certain period by the earning you make over the same period. For instance, if your site made a profit of $50,000 with 250,000 hits, each visitor is worth 50 cents. So, you may have to figure out how to pay under 50 cents per click. You may have to bid less for certain phrases.

Benefits of Frequent Monitoring

You can continue to be profitable only as long as you can continue monitoring your PPC campaign frequently. So, if you do not want to lose on the bid war, you need monitor PPC advertising constantly. PPC campaign involves risks and efforts so it must be planned. That’s how risks can be managed. You will need to monitor the campaign frequently. Since the competition for top ranking is intense, the bidding war can take the price high up. You will need to ask, whether it’s worth taking the risk.

It is for this reason that you need to constantly monitor the campaign. If you notice the bidding sum going north, it is best to drop the keyword and close your bid. You may then go on to try another keyword. The idea is not to pay too much on a particular keyword unless you want to lose.

Consequences of Improper Monitoring

In case you can’t monitor your PPC campaign properly, you may end up as a loser without having met your goals. Your goals are to attract targeted visitors and convert them. In order to achieve this goal you will need to continue monitoring to determine if the chosen keyword is profitable for you. If not, you should immediately change the keyword.

If you do not monitor, the adverse business impact will be that you will continue to pay for the keyword that is not yielding results. You will also have no knowledge of the keywords that are performing well for your business. In other words, if a keyword is giving you profit even after costing more, it should be retained, but if you drop the keyword because of improper monitoring, you may lose the campaign as well as the business.

Contact Miller Creative Strategies, LLC, to learn more.

3 Reasons Why Your Business Should Integrate Its Social Media & E-mail Marketing

It is important for businesses to understand that both social media and email are excellent marketing tools. So, it is not the question of choosing one as the debate has been framed over the last few years. But the question to ask is how the two can be utilized together for optimum efficiency and to achieve business goals.

Social Media Complements Email Marketing

The inclusion of social media tools in the email campaign extends the reach of the email campaign. Links to tweets, likes, or shares on Facebook and other social media sites in email strengthens your reach. You may use social media to maximize your ROI for email campaign if your subscribers are ready to share an offer you mailed them. This might possibly drive new subscribers enticed by your offer.

You may possibly improve your brand’s reputation and awareness with the help of social media tools. Your customers speak their minds through social media. But the open discussion there makes you more popular if you are ready to communicate with honesty and sincerity. Constant communication will more likely endear them to you. Social media tools can be effectively utilized to grow your email list and similarly your email list can leverages social networking. One way to incorporate this is by integrating your newsletter to the Facebook landing page.

Social Media to Boost ROI of Email Marketing

While email marketing campaigns can be costly, using social media for marketing costs nothing. So, one can possibly think of using social media to increase the ROI of email campaigns. This can be done using several strategies. If your offer interests your customers they may likely share the offer with their friends. Sometimes, you may have to motivate them to share by offering incentives.

You may indicate the same offer in your email campaign. Additionally, when you discuss the same offer on social media pages, such as Facebook or Twitter, you will likely drive fresh subscribers enticed by the offer you made.

So what you are basically doing is using email campaign to bring new subscribers to your Facebook or other social media page where you already have a large membership. Some of these new subscribers as well as the old subscribers can be active influencers who will already have a large set of friends and associates. So, your campaign has the potential to go viral.

Social Media can Improve Brand Awareness When Used with Email

Social media has a huge potential. It makes your product more visible than ever before. The notion of brand image was, until recent times, limited only to companies who could afford to invest huge amounts into campaigns. But social media has opened this opportunity for small businesses as well, without having to invest. While email marketing can enhance your reach, it is only through a social media campaign that you can hope to enhance your brand image. You can interact with a large number of friends or fans—whom a significant percentage are your customers or likely customers. They are people with good or bad comments.

How you respond to these customers determines in a significant way the direction your business can take. Many times people on social media sites are tolerant of follies and mistakes. So, when you explain them through direct interface, the chances are your reputation will soar and you may successfully create the brand image you wanted to.

10 Principles for Blog Design

10 Principles for Blog Design

Here are the principles we’ve incorporated into the new design.

  1. Highly visual content design
  2. Clear conversion goals that don’t get in the way of reader experience
  3. Multiple paths to social
  4. Give them Tweetables
  5. Social validation
  6. Fast page load
  7. Great mobile experience
  8. Merchandise our best content
  9. Connect content to authors
  10. Cherish guest posts

Contact Miller Creative Strategies to learn more about blogs, content, logistics and how they can positively affect your business.

How to Target Effectively to the Growing Hispanic Market

America is fast embracing multiculturalism, and the changing dynamics have produced new dilemmas for the various marketers who are required to reach the people whose language, customs, and tastes aren’t the same as the “general market”. It will become more critical to have marketing plans that are culturally relevant as the diversity in the population increases and ethnic minorities such as the U.S. Hispanics gain more prominence. The present-day market trend makes it imperative for the marketers to analyze and adopt novel strategies in the same manner that they’ve allocated the corporate marketing resources through time, in order to use marketing to Hispanics to their advantage.

Be Culturally Relevant

Hispanic advertising is most successful when it’s based on the careful insights which not only present precise glimpses of the Hispanic life and uses the Spanish language correctly, but also have some resonance with the audience and makes them realize that the advertiser has put in enough effort to understand their interests and values. You can use stuff like family, music, and humor as powerful triggers for the audience in this segment.

Speak the Language

Even though the Hispanic population in the United States may be from different countries, the underlying Spanish language is pretty much consistent. As some corporations have learnt the hard way, simply translating an advertisement or a sentence from English to Spanish can result in huge gaffes. Speaking the language fluently can be a huge advantage when marketing to Hispanic consumers.

Also, a sizable number of bicultural/bilingual Hispanics living in the United States prefer to speak both English and Spanish as the situation demands. By studying the audience’s psychographic and demographic data, you can pinpoint on the language that is best suited for your efforts.

Mobile and Online

There may have been a “digital divide” among the general population and the Hispanic population, but it is fast shrinking in today’s world. Also, the “mobile divide” isn’t going to last for long as the 3G connectivity and web-enabled phones are fast penetrating this lucrative market. As such, the Hispanic community can be a fetching segment for various SMS programs. They’re highly responsive and virtually untapped targets, especially the bilingual and English-preferring crowd, who are heavy mobile users.

There are various communication channels for effectively marketing to the Hispanic community with your messages. While they may use all types of media, studies have indicated a special inclination towards television and radio. The effective air-time of your ads or marketing techniques will generally be very small to make any real impact. However, having a comprehensive collection of print, broadcast, and direct mail can help in providing additional information to the Hispanic consumer so as to close the deal.

The Latinos in the U.S. generally follow the principle of adopt and adapt to the habits and customs of the country without losing their traditional systems. As such, marketers cannot simply use the strategies and conceptualizations that work for the general market for marketing to the Hispanic segment. This community follows acculturation, where the traditional and native values are integrated with the dominant cultural values of the U.S.

Test for the Best for your Email Marketing Campaigns

According to recent data from Marketing Sherpa, email is the top channel that marketers track. A full 63% of the marketers surveyed indicated they are currently tracking email marketing data.

What about the other 37% and what they are doing?… exactly what email metrics do business owners value and track?  The sense is many are tracking open rates, click rates, and that some are also looking at relevant segments (geographies, personas, buying behavior, etc.).

How many businesses continually examine the data and re-examine their assumptions. It can be too easy to hold on to a fact or number, and then never go back to it for re-examination.  For example, in PR it is often said Tuesday is the best day for a press release.  This could be totally true for some businesses, but maybe not for yours. It is valuable to have a good process in place so that you feel comfortable with benchmarks and your organization’s progress.

In that vein, here are four considerations to get better results from your email programs.

1. Use a technology that makes it easy to measure and visualize data

It is important to make sure you have a system that enables you to accurately track and measure data. Having tangible metrics vs. guesses really enables you to optimize your
efforts for every email marketing campaign
. The heat map below is used to help users identify the best time of day for an email send.

2. Make sure testing is part of your DNA

Make sure testing is part of your day to day processes – like brushing your teeth; you just need to do it.  Testing does not have to be daunting in nature.  It can simply
be A/B subject line tests, including graphics or not, testing times or days of the week, offer, etc.  If you are running paid emails, some vendors will work with you on A/B tests as well.  As a reminder, not all tests will be mind-blowing, but overtime you will learn the variables that are most critical for your team to test.

3. Make decisions and modifications based on the data

The worst and saddest thing ever is when a marketing team collects data and it just sits somewhere in an Excel file collecting dust.  Do something with your data! Implementing
your changes can make a significant difference in results.   For example, with events do a test with your pre-event  email campaign – see what messaging most effectively.  You then can use these results to inform your post-event email follow-up.

4. Re-examine urban myth data – know what works for your industry and business

You may have some report from 2011 that cites that a good email open rate for B2B businesses is 30%.  It is critical to make sure you reference current data, and more importantly know what a good benchmark is for your company.  It is important to start collecting and analyzing your marketing metrics and see how large industry events, seasonality, or other factors influence your results.

 

H. Bullock

5 Social Media Practices to Avoid

Online media rooms are the most important part of business promotion, and any online marketing strategy should involve social media marketing. This strategy is one of the most cost-effective ways to promote products, services, ideas, information, or the business itself.

Regardless of its inexpensive nature, any mistake committed during social media marketing can cause businesses to lose more than they can afford. There are a few common social media mistakes that can be avoided to have a better chance of growth in the industry.

When Advertising Turns into Spam

Social media marketing is definitely important but it does not mean that companies should be obsessed about their own ideas. When businesses promote their content too often, viewers would begin to treat it like spam even if the content is innovative. Thought leadership is the most important part of online marketing, and people are more interested in companies that are concerned about customer welfare. Instead of posting content pertaining to customers, if companies engage in non-specific and constant marketing, the advertisement becomes redundant and turns into spam.

Once in a Blue Moon

On the other extreme of social media mistakes, there are companies that are irregular in posting content. Sporadic posts on blogs, Twitter, Facebook, or any other platforms will result in loss of clientele. It is necessary to keep the online audience engaged in business content as you chaperone them into the sales process. Typically, the results of social media marketing are seen over a long period of time. When businesses themselves do not stay focused on connecting with their customers regularly, they become unsuccessful in achieving the aim of their strategies.

Always Run by a Schedule

When it comes to business, nothing should be extempore, especially social media marketing. All content that is up on the Internet is available for public interpretation. When business content for social media is unplanned, there is an avenue for misinterpretation of information that can even cause downfall of large industries. It is true that social media is an informal platform. However, marketing professionals need to be aware that their social media content should to be well-planned with clear information, good language, and well targeted towards niche audience.

Generic will be Lost in the Crowd

Social media is a platform that accommodates people from every industry and all walks of life. Marketing in this platform succeeds when companies target niche buyers with their content and chaperone them towards the sales process. However, if social media marketing is adopted just for the sake of it and marketers post generic content on blogs or social networking sites, they would not be able to connect to their target audience, and their content will be lost in an ocean of audience with varied interests.

The Term is ‘Social’ Media

The whole objective of social media marketing is to build relationships with customers and audience. One of the biggest social media mistakes take place when businesses fail to interact on social media platforms by following other companies, professionals, experts, bloggers, etc. When they do not interact with interested parties by responding to posts, tweets, or comments their marketing efforts become futile. Social media works in both ways; it is a platform for interaction and it requires businesses to actively participate in media activities with their customers, partners, competitors, and other public audience.

How to Measure Success and Return on Investment from Your Marketing

It’s easy to ask the question,“What kind of results domy programs deliver?”  However, determining the answer can be very difficult.  Some of the key challenges to marketing program measurement are:

Knowing when to measure.  The money you invest today will have an uncertain impact at an uncertain point in the future.  Last month’s tradeshow may deliver results next month or perhaps not for two years, but marketers need to decide where to invest their budget today.

Multiple touches.  Proverbial marketing wisdom says at least seven touches are needed in order to convert a cold lead into a sale.  Whether or not this is the correct number, the principle conveys an element of truth: every marketer knows it takes multiple touches to create a customer.  This fact makes it difficult to allocate revenue to any specific touch.

Multiple influencers.  The average buying committee at a mid-sized company comprises six people.  In the case of larger companies or more complex purchases, such a committee can involve 21 or more influencers.  Different marketing programs affect each individual differently, so it is a challenge to know which programs have the most impact.

Extraneous variables.  In many cases, factors outside Marketing’s control can significantly impact program results – from macro-economic trends, to the weather, to the quality of the sales reps.  If revenues increased because the economy improved, can marketers claim their programs delivered better ROI?

 

Contact Miller Creative Strategies for an in-depth analysis of your company and its marketing needs.

Is Your Company Facebook Profile “Dog Ugly”? You May Be to Blame!

uglydog

Can you believe that Facebook’s Timeline feature is nearly a year old? 12 months later, small businesses are still trying to figure out how to use the visually-driven and slightly complex design to its full advantage. One thing that’s clear is that if your brand page
is ugly, it’s time for an overhaul. While content may be king, an image is still worth a thousand words, and potentially even more. According to a recent study by Fast Company, 44% of social media users are most-likely to engage with companies if you post visual content.

Here is a list of things your company might not be doing on Facebook and some ways to ensure that your visual imaging is up to par, so you can build relationships with Facebook’s billion-strong user base:

1. You’re Not Taking Advantage of the Cover Photo

First impressions matter on social media, and your cover photo is the first chance your company has to impress a prospect. When the feature first launched, a Facebook rep stated that it was prime real estate to “capture the culture and essence of a brand [so
they] can showcase their products.” Eye-tracking research on social media users indicates the average viewer spends the most time on a brand page examining the cover photo. There’s a myriad of brands using cover photos the right way, and clothing retailer the Gap is a prime example.

gap facebook

Given the fact that 100% of page viewers will pay close attention to your cover photo, you’re probably flubbing your strategy if it isn’t the star attraction.

2. You’re Not Using Visual Content

If you’re relying exclusively on text and links for Facebook posts, your page likely isn’t as appealing as it could be. Images are twice as effective at driving engagement as plain text updates, so it stands to reason that a text-only timeline isn’t catching your
prospects’ eyes.

3. You’re Not Pinning or Highlighting Posts

Facebook brand pages have the option to pin their best posts at the top of their news feed, or alternatively highlight content. By selecting the star-shaped highlight icon, you can change the update’s display to the entire width of your brand page. “Pin to top” is
limited to one post a week, but it holds the post at the very top of the timeline. Your social media fans are hit with a great deal of noise, and sending your prettiest content straight to the top can direct their eyes to your most-attractive content.

4. You’re Not Organizing Your Apps

Directly below your cover photo lie your apps, and the same eye-tracking research indicates they get the second-most attention of any content on your Facebook page. There are currently more than 3,000 options available to companies, which include the
near-ubiquitous photos, video and events. Custom-built apps are also available.  Ensure your options are listed in order of importance to your brand through careful organization. Red Bull does an excellent job of organizing their apps for first-time Facebook page visitors:

Due to the inherently customizable nature of apps, figure out what works best for your brand. The worst thing you can do is not take advantage of this opportunity to stand out.

5. You’re Using Stock Photography

Swapping out photos of your actual staff members for stock photography isn’t doing you any favors. In fact, purchased images of models have been shown to be 95% less effective at generating leads than their authentic counterparts. The company behind the research, Marketing Experiments, speculates that consumers are pretty good at identifying irrelevant images.

stock-photo

 

While the example above is clearly fictitious, it’s a pretty good illustration of how to not approach social media marketing.  Don’t be boring, don’t be posed, and don’t try to showcase your brand identity by using images you bought online.

6. You’re Not Using Fan-Generated Content

If there’s anything your future social media cheerleaders are bound to adore, it’s seeing that your company actively engages their customers on social media. Mashable Contributor Lauren Drell recommends starting to “embrace and show off your fans – post their pictures and Instagrams.” Is there a better way to spotlight the people who
make your small business possible than spotlighting user-generated content about your product or services? Salad chain SweetGreen does this well on a regular basis:

In an era where visual content is king, taking every opportunity to boost the eye-candy on your small business Facebook page is your best bet for out-marketing your competitors. Through a combination of keeping your content and brand messaging authentic, and knowing basic best practices, your engagement rates will surely soar.

 

 

Rothman