Enabler provide best practice advice for customer acquisition within email marketing, from a multi award-winning email agency offering top tip advice.

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If you’ve read our previous blogs or visited our site before, you’ll probably have gathered that Enabler is a piece of email software. However, what you might have missed is that Enabler is more than just your bog-standard piece of email software, sporting sophisticated features which go beyond bulk sending emails. *Cue gasps and other associated shocked noises*

One of these features is Enabler’s Form Builder – you can use this clever piece of kit as a standalone form, embed it into a landing page or website, or use the form as a back-end tool for data capture. To demonstrate how effective these sophisticated Enabler Forms can be, I’m going to showcase a recent example from one of our clients, Real Estate Management UK Limited (REM) – asset manager for The Shard – where we utilised Enabler Forms in their Shard Lights 2017 marketing competition.

The Brief

Driving Engagement for an Iconic London Brand

Since 2014, The Shard has hosted a light show from it’s spire every December, aptly named #ShardLights, to celebrate the festive season. In 2017, Shard Lights introduced five colours into its show, rotating one per day with an array of visual effects including gradients, patterns and sparkles. These visual light effects occurred every 15 minutes, with an extended display on the hour which transformed The Shard into a spectacular visual timepiece for London.

Now, Enabler’s offices are based literally around the corner from this stunning London landmark, but not everyone is lucky enough to have such natural daily exposure to this amazing light show.

So, to ensure maximum engagement with The Shard during this time, the REM marketing team wanted to run a photography competition to encourage the public to take pictures of The Shard’s light show and share online using the hashtag #ShardLights.

As an existing Enabler client, the marketing team at REM gave our campaign management team the task of creating an engaging campaign with the following key requirements:

  • Hosting the photography competition
  • A way of collecting entries and associated entrants information
  • A trigger email going out post competition submission to recipients

 

 

Our Solution

We decided that the best way to achieve the goals laid out in the brief, would be to build a standalone landing page within Enabler which hosted the photography competition. We would then create a built-in Enabler form within this landing page, which would trigger an email to the recipient when completed to confirm that their entry had been received.

The Design and Build

For such an iconic London landmark, the design for the landing page was incredibly important. Our team of designers had to ensure stunning imagery of The Shard, provided by the REM team, was being used whilst also making sure all the relevant information was clearly visible on the page for entrants.

Here is the template webpage design before our specialists started the more sophisticated build:

When translating this design into the build, our developers took the simple static images within the email and transformed them into parallax scrolling images – this allowed us to display the full images without taking up too much real estate on the webpage.

The most important factor our development team focused on was ensuring the form on the frontend of the webpage was linked properly to the form on the backend of Enabler.  The REM marketing team were utilising Enabler’s database to house and access the data from submitted entries – so making sure the forms were linked was vital.

 

Using Enabler Forms for Data Capture

Enabler forms are extremely effective for data capture, allowing you to embed forms onto your website that connect directly into your marketing database. There are two main ways you can embed Enabler forms within an external system.

The first and simplest way is iframing, which involves taking a snippet of code that looks like this:

<iframe src="https://ue.enablermail.com/realestatemanagement/frm/index.cfm?id=A480A319-7983-4C4B-993D-E97064B7C7A5" width="750" height="500"></iframe>

You then embed this code within your desired webpages, which then displays your form exactly as it appears within Enabler – including Enabler’s styling and layout. This, however, wasn’t an option for the Shard Lights web build, due to the beautifully bespoke styling that was required from the form’s design.

Instead of iframing, we used the alternative method of embedding and Enabler form, which is the ‘Form post’ option.  Now, this is a much more technical way of approaching form submissions, but it does mean you can style your Enabler form exactly as you want on the frontend of your website.

 

Now For The Technical Bit…

To make ‘Form posts’ work, you have to tell your form to post submissions to Enabler’s servers. Each individual form field will have an ID associated with it, but all these fields will be stored in the same place in Enabler ensuring you can review and pull all the required data out at once. I’m not going to go into the super technical stuff because a) I leave that to my developers and b) you don’t want to hear it!

Once someone submits a form post, the message (seen below) displays on the website.

However, we also wanted to ensure that each entrant would receive an email confirming their submission as well (for added peace of mind that we had received their entry). To this end, we also triggered an email to go out each time a form submission was received, (as shown below), letting entrants know when the competition closed, and by what date they would be notified if they had won the competition. It also encouraged a social push for the competition for maximum social media traction, using the hashtag #ShardLights.

 

So, it’s all very well collecting this data and all these (hopefully) stunning images, but where would they all be stored? Now, usually with form submissions you go into the form, run a report and it shows you a list of text entries and what those entries said – however for a photography competition, we had to develop something a little different to display images…

If you’re sitting there thinking…”hang on that looks just like Enabler?”, then you’d be absolutely right. Our development team have created a bespoke image gallery where the REM marketing team were able to view all the images submitted at once (making it easier to select a winner), while also allowing them to click into each individual picture to see all of the details of the person who submitted the photograph.

Outcome

The competition ran from Monday 4th December 2017 until Sunday 7th January 2018, and received a total number of 871 entries. Some of the photos were absolutely stunning, and to be completely honest, some of the entries were basically close up selfies of peoples faces, but all in all we have some fantastic photographers out there parading the streets of London, and I don’t envy the REM Marketing Team having to pick a winner!

We had a fantastic time doing this project, it’s always great for our email team when we can really push Enabler’s functionality in ways that people wouldn’t expect from email software, helping our clients deliver beautiful emails alongside websites that really help them achieve their marketing goals.

Engagement levels like this also go to show the impact well thought out, well designed data capture forms can have on your marketing campaigns, and goes to show the importance of combining your data capture with your email marketing campaigns.

 

If you like what you’ve seen here or want to learn more about form functionality, please drop our Enabler team an email and we can talk about your next exciting project.

So, you’ve got your awesome email and you know what you want people to do when they receive it, but you could do with something to give them a final push to take action – that’s where landing pages come in!

What is a Landing Page?

In a nutshell, it’s a purpose-built page on your website with dedicated content which can be accessed directly via a link. Because the content for your landing page is usually unique to your marketing campaign, whether it’s a point of entry for a competition, a data capture form or a link to a unique discount code, your landing will normally sit separate from your main website. One big advantage of having a separate landing page for your marketing campaign is this ability to hide it from your main navigation, as it gives you full control over who has access to this exclusive content.

Now, because your landing page is hidden from public view, you need to being actively driving traffic directly to the page to encourage engagement. Whether it’s a link within an email campaign, PPC campaign or social media campaign, you want to ensure whatever channel(s) you choose to drive traffic will maximise exposure and engagement for your well-designed landing page.  The more relevant the landing page content is to your audience, the more likely they are to follow your call-to-actions, thus increasing your conversions. Having a specially-designed page is more likely to be effective than sending them to your main website, where they may struggle to find the promised content.

Additionally, many of our Enabler clients find that having a bespoke landing page is the most efficient way of getting a marketing campaign launched quickly.  It can often take months for changes to be made in-house to company websites due to IT backlogs, so having the ability to create dedicated landing pages yourself within Enabler is far more efficient.

 

So, what does a “well-designed landing page” look like? Let’s talk guidelines for setup and creation:

 

What is the Aim of Your Landing Page?

You’ve designed your bespoke landing page, so now the first thing you need to decide is – What is its purpose?

Generally speaking, this falls into one of two categories:

  • Generating leads for future marketing
  • or to encourage click throughs

Data Capture and Lead Generation

This type of landing page is designed with the intention of capturing your audiences’ data.  You could use this type of page to gather new consumer data or to build more detailed profiles of your existing audience base.  Alternatively you can use data capture forms to help you personalise your future marketing campaigns based on the consumer feedback.

A typical data capture landing page includes a form to complete (obviously), and more often than not include an incentive which will encourage people to complete the form and give you their information. This incentive could include exclusive content or offer, such as white papers or discount codes.

“Why would you want to capture more detail about your existing customers”, we hear you ask – well, the more you know about your customers, the better your campaigns can be, and the better your conversions.  So something as simple as “Let us know your birthday so we can spoil you on the day!” is a great way to offer an incentive while gathering valuable data.

Data Capture Landing Page Example:

This is a great example from our friends over at Salesforce – (as we’re a Salesforce partner this might be a little biased, but this really is a great example of an effective, well-designed landing page).

Why do we like this landing page?:

  • Minimal copy, well styled and bullet-pointed list ensures the overall page isn’t cluttered and is easy to skim read.
  • Check out those security badges below the form. It’s never a bad idea to assure potential customers that the data they are about to share with you is safe.  This can often be a massive issue with some standalone landing pages, as it’s very difficult to prove the landing page belongs to the company it’s advertising.
  • Eye catching content. Having that blue background on the data-capture form really makes it stand out, which will help drive engagement.
  • Catchy headline. Having a buzzword like ‘lightening’ makes it sound like it won’t take very long, which again helps to drive engagement.

Landing Pages to Drive Click-Throughs

This sort of landing page designed to encourage clicks often forms part of the e-commerce sales funnel. The page content is likely to be product information to warm the visitor up to the idea of buying the item(s), with a call-to-action click-through that takes the visitor to the purchase point.

Click-Through Landing Page Example:

Now as a general rule I’d always have the models looking at the copy they’re promoting, but this little guys face really sells the whole thing either way. ‘What else is good?’ I hear you ask:

  • Another cracker of a headline here. “Most Trusted” – having a snappy statement like this gives kudos to your brand and builds trust with the consumer.
  • The tick bullet-points makes the benefits clear and easier to understand than having them in a block paragraph.
  • The call-to-action button is clear and stands out (bright yellow will always do that!)
  • Mobile-friendly – The phone number in the top right is a click-to-call, making it super easy for viewers to contact Nationwide.

All in all, great job!

Designing Your Landing Page

Although we’ve mentioned that a landing page usually sits separately from your main site, you ideally want to ensure that it still reflects your branding and styling of your main website/ This way your online presence is consistent, offering visitors a seamless journey that doesn’t feel separate or disjointed from your brand.

It’s also important that visitors experience “message match” – meaning that the content on your landing page should reflect the message content they clicked.

Here’s a great email example that our Enabler designers created for our client Ralph Lauren recently:

Ralph Lauren’s Email:

As you can see, there’s a nice clear call-to-action for recipients ‘explore their gifting lookbook’, and the email content portrays the stylised content of the Ralph Lauren brand. So, what did this email link take you to…?

The Landing Page We Designed:

Anyone clicking the email link is taken to a dedicated landing page, hosted separate from the Ralph Lauren website, where you are greeted with a brief explanation of how the landing page’s ‘lookbook’ works.  The ‘message-match’ of the landing page mirrors the styling of the email perfectly, matching fonts and colours.

After closing the greeting box, visitors get to explore the promised lookbook – an interactive landing page experience:

Fully Interactive Landing Page:

The Ralph Lauren website wasn’t available for this campaign, so our designers had to fashion (see what we did there?) a bespoke landing page hosted separately on our Enabler servers.  This interactive landing page had lots of fun animated elements to make it appealing and engaging, and was a fantastic way to help showcase Ralph Lauren’s products separate from the Ralph Lauren website. This interactive element makes it a really great example of making the most out of your landing page.

Don’t Forget To Track Your Landing Pages

It’s all very well getting people clicking through to your landing page, but all that work is for nothing if they drop off without actually engaging with the landing page content. How will you know if people clicked through but then dropped off? How I hear you ask? Tracking! You can optimise your page using the same tracking you would use on your website (e.g. Google Analytics) to get all of this information.

What Next?

If I’m being completely honest, the best thing for you to do before putting a landing page together is come and speak to our team. We build landing page campaigns for global brands every day, it’s our bread and butter.

If you would prefer to build your own landing page, here’s a quick checklist of things to remember:

  • Keep your messaging consistent
  • Bright, clear CTA’s
  • Don’t overcrowd the messaging
  • Prove it’s a safe and secure site for gathering data
  • Make the benefits of signing up clear
  • Tracking, tracking, tracking

Happy landing paging!

Almost everywhere we look these days, we are exposed to all kinds of marketing campaigns. As we have moved into the digital age, brands have discovered more innovative technological methods to promote their message. Now, these tools can give businesses really effective insights into the analytics of their campaigns – insights they might not have been able to collate 10 or so years ago.  However, although tools such as paid search and analytical campaigns are beneficial, organisations should not ignore the fact that straightforward ‘word of mouth’ recommendations are one of the most important and reliable tools email marketers have in their weaponry.

Let’s delve a little further…

How many times have you searched online for a hotel getaway or searched for a restaurant for that cheeky midweek night out? Quite a few times we would assume! With these searches, would you say that your decisions to make a purchase was based around other customer reviews? If you answered ‘Yes’, you would not be alone – according to a recent study by Podium, 93% of consumers said online reviews impacted their purchasing decisions.

So how does this relate to my email campaigns, we hear you ask!

Well, as we can see from Podium’s study, testimonials are a powerful motivator of consumer action.  This can also be linked to a term called ‘Social Proof’, which refers to people conforming to the actions of other users with the assumption that those actions reflect their own desired behaviour. Combine this ‘social proof’ recommendation with email – one of the most vital tools in building and maintaining customer relationships and generating revenue – and you can discover how a positive testimonial can reinforce the value of your product. This could make the difference between a customer just browsing with an element of uncertainty, to grabbing their attention and converting them to purchase.

Don’t just take our word for it, Founder and CEO of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, had this to say on the importance of testimonials:

“People influence people. A trusted referral influences people more than the best broadcast message. A trusted referral is the holy grail of advertising”.

 

Benefits of Using Testimonials

One of the stand out factors of incorporating testimonials into your email correspondence is that it allows you to identify your market, giving your business the ability to show potential consumers that people just like them are finding solutions to problems or questions that they share. Testimonials tell the brand’s story, which offers businesses the opportunity to up their credibility by publishing success stories that others will aspire to, which in turn should increase reliability from the customer.

As briefly mentioned earlier, many organisations use a number of different marketing techniques to get their message out there and into the customer’s mind, however none of these have what a testimonial has; a human voice from a customer with first-hand experience of your brand. Adding a real life element to the frame gives the prospective customer something to resonate with, and by including photos and stories from satisfied customers helps to add that emotional, real life appeal and value to your recommendations.

 

Things to Consider When Gathering Testimonials

The main objective of a testimonial is for it to gather a compelling response from the customer – testimonials with more detail and emotion tend to stand out more and provide more credibility. The other aspect to take note of when contacting your customers for quotes is to ask the right questions.  These questions should be worded so that it actively encourages a positive and honest responses from your customers, highlighting how good the product is and that the customer’s problem or query was resolved as a result.

Focus on honesty when gathering and implementing your testimonials. It would be all too easy to just create a few fake comments singing your products praises, but in the grand scheme of things you are aiming to build relationships with your customers, and the best way to build these relationships is on trust.

While we are on the topic of trust, if a customer has been kind enough to leave you a glowing review it can be even more beneficial to include an image of that person alongside their comment. Depending on your product, including a positive, friendly photo shows you are approachable and come across as a trustworthy business – this is where linking to social profiles can be useful.

Some Facts and Figures

  • According to a study by Nielsen, “92% of the study trusted recommendations from their peers and 70% would trust a recommendation from a stranger”.

  • “91% of B2B buyers are influenced by word of mouth when making their decision” – USM

  • “74% of consumers identify word of mouth as a key influencer in their purchasing decision” – USM 

What makes a good testimonial?


BorrowMyDoggy

This comment from Lyndsey instantly engages with the reader.  Due to the concept of BorrowMyDoggy some potential customers may have doubts about allowing a stranger to walk their dog without really knowing them, or alternatively the potential dog walkers may have some doubts about the dog owners. By using Lyndsey’s positive experience as an example, the company is not only emphasising how enjoyable the experience was but are also including an element of reassurance for any unconvinced consumers.


Tanners Wines

Tanners Wines are a family owned wine merchant based in the North of England. Gaining a detailed quote helps to not only increase awareness of their own branded Champagne but the nature of the comment itself gives the sense that Matthew Jukes is well travelled when it comes to testing and reviewing Champagne, emphasising the source as reputable and helps to place the Tanners brand above its competitors.

Seeing as we want to engage with our customer, your testimonial should be fairly prominent and not tucked away in a corner of an email or in the middle of a sentence. It should stand out, mainly as it shows that your product is being used and consumers are reacting positively to it. Embedding the quote into an image can also be a useful way to grab your audiences’ attention.

If you are concerned testimonials are not really going to add anything extra to your emails, the best advice would be to test, test and test again! Splitting your email sends into A/B testing – one with a testimonial and one without – will give you a good indication into how well your emails are performing and which ones have the highest click through rate.

So, returning to the original question… Are testimonials important? – Yes they are!

Overall, a good testimonial is specific to the customer and highlights what is good about the brand and the benefits it will give the customer once purchased. The ultimate objective for any operating business is to make a sale, including engaging testimonials in your email correspondence go a long way to help achieve this.

Sources:

Podium http://learn.podium.com/rs/841-BRM-380/images/2017-SOOR-Infographic.jpg 
Nielsen http://www.nielsen.com/us/en/insights/news/2012/trust-in-advertising–paid-owned-and-earned.html 
USM https://www.getambassador.com/blog/word-of-mouth-marketing-statistics 

Email marketing has undergone some fairly dramatic changes in the past 10 years, both from a strategic and technical standpoint.  Gone are the days of sending mass emails to your entire database which include generic product pushes, which are about as inspirational as the ‘one size fits all’ label on a piece of clothing.  One of the driving forces behind this change is that it  is now commonly accepted by marketeers that segmentation and personalisation of email campaigns are the ways to drive higher ROI, brand awareness and loyalty.

So how do we make sure every email we send is tailored to the personal needs of our customers?  We believe there are three things that have to be in place for this to be achieved:

  • Knowledge about your customers – Without understanding your customers, how do you expect to give them relevant content?  How do you determine what is relevant to them?

  • Data – How do you implement the right email strategy without the correct data in place?

  • A fantastic ESP (Email Service Provider) – that enables you to implement and successfully deliver a decent targeting strategy. (See Enabler’s functionality to see how it could do for you)

 

 

Knowledge About Your Customers

Your customer knowledge can come from your existing databases looking at the data that’s been gathered from previous customer activity (i.e. through forms, surveys or events), or it could be gathered from the customer’s email behaviour (opens, clicks, unsubscribes). However, even if you are starting from scratch, there are ways that you can build up a picture of your customers.

When it comes to using your customer knowledge to create effective email campaigns, we would highly recommend a personas led approach,  where you create profiles describing a particular group of your target audience based on their shared interests.  Grouping together these valuable pieces of customer information, such as challenges, goals, needs, pains and responsibilities, will help you create a ‘character profile’ which you can use to tailor your marketing so that you offer a personalised, valuable service. This information goes beyond normal demographic data and provides real insight into the customer’s life. If you want to enhance your understanding of your customers, check out one of Pancentric Digital’s Design Thinking workshops.

 

Data

Having the data that enables you to achieve your customer personalisation goals is imperative. For tips on how to acquire data click here. If you want more information on how best to retain your current customers try this one. However you decide to get your data in place, we’re going to assume you have done a great job of it, and skip ahead to the part everyone is waiting for….’How do I turn my data into relevant, personalised emails for my customers?’.

 

 

Dynamic Content

Dynamic or ‘Conditional’ Content allows you to use your customer data to create one email that displays different, unique content to each individual email recipient depending on their customer data. As the marketeer, you set pre-defined rules based on your customer data, so the customer only sees the email content that matches their data. Without this in place, you would have to create multiple emails with every possible content variation of based on your customer profile data (which is messy and time consuming) or just bulk email everyone with one message (which isn’t personalised and far less effective).

Sounds a bit abstract, right? So let’s look at a live example coming to us from the insurance industry. Full transparency here, the example we’re going to show you is an Enabler client, but they are using dynamic content in exactly the right way, so are the perfect example of how you should use dynamic content.  The company in question are Petplan, and we will take you through some examples of how they have used conditional dynamic  content successfully in their automated quote and buy email campaigns.

Below you will see an example of one of PetPlan’s emails with elements of the conditional code sitting within the template. From first glance, it looks like a fairly messy, basic template, however I’m going to show you just how clever this template really is.

– Email Template with Dynamic Conditional Content in Place –

Everywhere you see the phrase {conditional:xxx}, is a section of the email that will change based on the customer it is being sent to. This means, as soon as this email gets uploaded into Enabler, all those sections will look completely different and, most importantly, 100% personalised for each individual customer. Conditional elements can comprise of text copy, images, or a combination of the two.

Secondly, wherever you see {recipient_x_number}, that part of the email will also change to include a personal detail about the customer. This could be anything from their policy ID number to their name (or in PetPlan’s case, the pet’s name. )

Now let’s take a look at what that email would look like for a customer. (For the purposes of this, we have set created a fake customer within the Petplan system).

– Email Template with Customer Data Controlling the Dynamic Content –

As you can see, this looks like a totally different email. You will notice that images and copy have sprouted in all areas of the email, causing the look and feel of the email to change.

Let’s walk through the different elements which change based on the dynamic conditional content set up within the backend system of Enabler:

  • Images – the co-branding logo, pet image, roundel, and plan details all change based on customer information.

  • Alt text – the copy sitting behind each of those images will change based on the image itself, providing a fallback option if the customer has their images set to not display.

  • Lists – the ticks and bullet points in the two lower sections all change based on customer information.

  • Copy – there are too many instances of these to point each one out, but everything from the pets name, down to whether a sentence says ‘need’ or ‘needs’ changes based on customer information.

  • Terms and conditions – depending on the co-branding on the email, an extra paragraph will feature in the terms and conditions of the email. This will not be visible if co-branding is not in place.

  • Cover section – this whole section changes depending on which plan the customer has chosen. For this example, I have not chosen a plan, so I’m seeing all the options. However, let’s assume I had chosen the Covered For Life® 12k option, it would look more like this:

The best part about conditional content within Enabler is that you have a fallback option. This means if for some reason not all the data is held about the customer, (for example they are not sure which plan the customer has selected as in the example above) they will see a default view. This can be carefully chosen depending on what next step we want customer to take.

 

Benefits of Using Dynamic Content

Aside from the massive time saving benefits from an email deploying perspective, this style of email set-up will also save time in the future. Imagine having set up one template per customer variation. Not only would you be wasting time creating and testing all those emails, but when it came to updating them, you would also waste a lot of time. Even if you had one line of copy to change in each email, you may have to do it upwards of thirty times. In these conditional templates, you make the change once, and can then generate mass tests from the one template. Similarly, if you need to add something new to the emails, you are doing it once, rather than across a large number of templates.

Petplan are really at the forefront of creating dynamic templates, both from a strategic and build standpoint that put their customers first. From an agency standpoint, this is something we love to see, and the templates are also great fun (for an email nerd anyway) to put together.

However you choose to do your conditional content, make sure your data is in place, you have a great ESP solution in place, and you fully understand your customers before starting to build.

If you are interested in following in Petplan’s footsteps and bringing your email campaigns into the future but your current ESP doesn’t provide the necessary functionality, why not switch to Enabler.

As a marketer, one of your top priorities is likely to be drumming up leads to pass on to the sales team, and you may feel under a lot of pressure to bring do this in large quantities. So we completely understand that buying an email data list might seem like a quick win – access to thousands of new contacts at the click of a “pay now” button sounds like a no-brainer, especially when the lists are advertised as targeted, verified, accurate, and opted-in.

Unfortunately though, the reality is less assured. A purchased data list is very unlikely to provide you with high quality data that enables you to promote your business effectively, and can cause you a whole host of problems which will impact your ability to email legitimate leads in the future.

Here’s Six Reasons to Remember Why Buying Data Is Bad:

1. Quality Is Not Guaranteed

First and foremost, it’s pretty likely that a list you buy will be littered with old or incorrect email addresses, incomplete names, and other problems affecting the deliverability of your email.

2. Bad Delivery Rates = Bounces

The deliverability issues caused by these incorrect / old email addresses could cause your emails to have a very high bounce rate, which will in turn damage your sender reputation by potentially marking your IP address as that of a spammer, further impacting the deliverability of your emails. Read our blog post on spam filters to help avoid getting caught in this vicious circle.

3. Nobody Knows You

It’s likely that the contacts on your list have never heard of your company before, which immediately lowers the chances of them opening your email. You should be sending to people who are already interested in what you’re sending them, such as existing customers who have engaged with your brand and those who have specifically opted in to receive messages from you.

4. Less Engaged Recipients

recent analysis of a company’s email marketing activity found that business areas emailing to opt-in lists achieved open rates 82% higher than the areas emailing to purchased lists. That’s a significant difference! It’s basically not worth your time emailing people who are unlikely to engage; channel your energy into people who want to hear from you.

5. Shared List = Fed-Up Contacts

It may well be the case that other companies have bought the same list as you, meaning that the recipients are already annoyed by all the emails they’re receiving before yours has hit their inbox. You don’t want to join a crowd of ignored competitors.

6. You May Fall Foul Of The Law

Your communications need to be in line with the Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) Regulations 2003 (UK) or CAN-SPAM Act (USA), or you could face hefty fines. Unfortunately your email itself may follow the legislation to the letter, but if the email addresses were harvested illegally in the first place, you’ll still be breaking the law. Additionally, from 25th May 2018, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will come into force, meaning that the way companies are allowed to store and process personal data will change. Here’s our GDPR guide to help you get to grips with the new regulations.

 

Okay, – so what should you do?

Now we’ve talked you out of buying a list, let’s discuss the six best ways to source your data instead…

1. Attract An Audience With Engaging Content

Produce content that you know people are going to want to read, and make sure that when it goes live it’s been optimised for SEO so that your audience can easily find it (get in touch if you’d like help with this) . The content itself may be blog articles, white papers, a series of top tips, opinion/advice pieces, reviews, templates, or anything else you think would be engaging.

2. Include a Gated Asset

If it’s not enough for people to be reading your content and hopefully contacting you as a result, you can set up a data capture / sign up form that people have to complete before they can view your content. This gives your content a feeling of exclusivity, and also allows you to grow your leads

3. Create a Lead Magnet

Following on from the above, you could also create a lead magnet – this means an irresistible incentive for the customer to give you their contact information, and often comes in the form of a discount code.

4. Use a Reputable Email Service Provider

Doing so will help to protect your sender reputation, and ensure that you’re adhering to spam legislation by providing the tools needed to offer an unsubscribe and process it within 10 days. An email service provider like Enabler is also able to offer comprehensive reporting and testing facilities, allowing you to optimise your emails, and keeps your database up-to-date by logging unsubscribes and bounces and removing them automatically from your mailing lists.

5. Encourage Sign-Ups

Include a sign-up box on every page of your website to offer people maximum opportunity to subscribe to your emails. Keep it simple and quick to complete – all you really need is an email address, but if you must you can also include fields for first and last name.

6. Cross-Channel Promotion

Make the most of your other marketing channels, such as social media and your website, to promote the content of your emails and why people should sign up for them. For example, if you were soon to send an email featuring “Five top tips for x!” you could tweet something along the lines of “Sign up to our emails to discover five top tips for x!” ahead of time.

 

Most of these techniques are targeted towards acquiring new leads, but remember that it’s also super important to retain your existing customers. Firstly (and obviously) your existing customers are likely to repurchase if you look after them, and may also create new customers for you through word-of-mouth and recommendation. You could tap into this by rolling out a refer-a-friend campaign, with a form to capture friends’ details and offer incentives to both your customer and their buddies. There are loads of other ways to build your email lists explored in our Email List Building blog post.

Hopefully you can see that it simply isn’t a worthwhile investment to buy a data list for your emails. There are too many pitfalls and too few chances of success. Instead you should focus on growing your database organically, and maintaining a positive sender reputation. If you’d like help in your email endeavours, give our Enabler team a call on 0207 099 6370, or drop an email to enablermail@pancentric.com.

One of the things we really strive to do in the Enabler team is keep our clients up to date with the latest goings on in the world of email. Sometimes this is a really fun job, and we get to send around well designed emails or provide updates on the latest coding techniques. Sometimes however, we need to make sure everything we and our clients are doing is in line with the current laws and regulations
– *cue sirens*.

In March 2018, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will come into effect, and I’m here to tell you what it is, why it affects you, and if there’s anything you need to be doing before GDPR comes into effect.

What is GDPR?

GDPR is a regulation intended to strengthen and unify data protection for all individuals within the European Union (EU). It also addresses the export of personal data outside the EU. The GDPR aims primarily to give control back to citizens and residents over their personal data, and to simplify the regulatory environment for international business by unifying the regulations within the EU.

When the GDPR takes effect, it will replace the data protection directive (officially Directive 95/46/EC) of 1995, and, unlike a directive, it does not require national governments to pass any enabling legislation, and is thus directly binding and applicable.

When is it happening?

The regulation was adopted on 27 April 2016 and becomes enforceable from 25 May 2018 after a two-year transition period.

Who decided it should be a thing?

The European Parliament, the Council of the European Union and the European Commission.

Why does it affect you?

GDPR will affect every company that uses personal data from any citizen within the EU. If you are collecting email addresses and sending emails to subscribers in the EU, you’ll have to comply with GDPR—no matter where you’re based.

The UK, Germany, France, and other European countries represent valuable markets for many brands. But it’s not just the strategic importance of the market that makes GDPR important for all marketers, it’s also the large number of citizens that the new privacy law will protect.

Information on the specifics of GDPR

I’m going to be upfront with you here, a lot of what the GDPR states is pretty much identical to the current Data Protection Act (DPA).  Just like the DPA, GDPR refers to two types of data: ‘Personal Data’ and ‘Sensitive Personal Data’.  The main difference being that the GDPR’s definition is more detailed and makes it clear that information such as an online identifier, for example an IP address, can be personal data.  By expanding on this definition, it means that GDPR can identify a much wider range of personal identifiers that constitute as personal data.

The main reasoning for this change was that it reflects changes in technology and the way organisations collect information about people.
For most organisations who keep HR records, customer lists or contact details etc, the change to the definition should make little practical difference. You can assume that if you hold information that falls within the scope of the DPA, it will also fall within the scope of the GDPR.

Unlike the DPA’s definition, the GDPR applies to both automated personal data and to manual filing systems where personal data is accessible according to specific criteria.  This could include chronologically ordered sets of manual records containing personal data.

Personal data that has been pseudonymised, for example coded, can fall within the scope of the GDPR depending on how difficult it is to attribute the pseudonym to a particular individual.

The main overall difference is that the GDPR requires that personal data should be:

“(a) processed lawfully, fairly and in a transparent manner in relation to individuals;

(b) collected for specified, explicit and legitimate purposes and not further processed in a manner that is incompatible with those purposes; further processing for archiving purposes in the public interest, scientific or historical research purposes or statistical purposes shall not be considered to be incompatible with the initial purposes;

(c) adequate, relevant and limited to what is necessary in relation to the purposes for which they are processed;

(d) accurate and, where necessary, kept up to date; every reasonable step must be taken to ensure that personal data that are inaccurate, having regard to the purposes for which they are processed, are erased or rectified without delay;

(e) kept in a form which permits identification of data subjects for no longer than is necessary for the purposes for which the personal data are processed; personal data may be stored for longer periods insofar as the personal data will be processed solely for archiving purposes in the public interest, scientific or historical research purposes or statistical purposes subject to implementation of the appropriate technical and organisational measures required by the GDPR in order to safeguard the rights and freedoms of individuals;

(f) processed in a manner that ensures appropriate security of the personal data, including protection against unauthorised or unlawful processing and against accidental loss, destruction or damage, using appropriate technical or organisational measures.”

It also requires that:

“the controller shall be responsible for, and be able to demonstrate, compliance with the principles.”

What do I actually need to do from an Email Marketing perspective?

GDPR touches on several crucial aspects of email marketing, especially regarding how marketers seek, collect and record consent. So without further ado, here’s what you need to know:

Collecting consent will work differently

  • You will only be allowed to send emails to people who’ve opted-in to receive messages. While this has already been the case in most European countries under the EU Privacy Directive, GDPR takes this one step further and specifies the nature of consent that’s required for commercial communication. Starting in May 2018, brands have to collect affirmative consent that is “freely given, specific, informed and unambiguous” to be compliant with GDPR.

  • The signup process must inform subscribers about the brand that’s collecting the consent and provide information about the purposes of collecting personal data.

  • Some of the processes previously used to collect data will not be compliant anymore, for example if someone entered their email address to download a whitepaper or provided their contact information to enter a contest? If you didn’t tell them you’d use their personal data to send marketing messages, and if they didn’t actively agree that it is okay to use their data for that very reason, it won’t be legal to add those email addresses to your mailing list.

Recording consent will work differently

  • Under GDPR, you will need to prove and show reasonable evidence that you have complied with the GDPR if challenged. This means GDPR places the burden of proof around consent being given with the company itself.

  • This means you will need to be storing consent forms.

Existing Data

  • If your database includes subscribers whose permissions haven’t been collected according to the GDPR’s standards, or even if they have but you can’t provide sufficient proof of consent for any contacts, you might not be allowed to send email to those subscribers anymore.

  • If you can’t provide this, I would highly recommend running re-permissioning campaigns before March 2018.

Changing existing email programs

Sadly, unless you want to stop engaging with the European market (which we in no way recommend) then you will need to review some of your current email programs. Here are a few ways you can tackle the issue:

  • Set up separate signup processes for subscribers coming from different parts of the world. Customers coming from the EU would have to go through a GDPR-compliant sign-up process, while for United States citizens, everything could remain the same. This is a highly complex and costly solution but would definitely do the trick.

  • Bring your entire database up to GDPR standards and adapt all of your opt-in processes to match the EU requirements. (This is in bold because it’s what we recommend.)

Whether we like it or not, changes to opt-in processes and re-permission campaigns will likely slow down list growth in the short term, however they will help you to make sure that you are only sending emails to subscribers who really want to hear from them, which really will improve your overall list quality.

Umm…what about Brexit?

Yeah I thought you might want to know about that. Just incase you’ve been living under a rock recently, on 23 June 2016 the UK held a referendum to decide whether or not to remain in the EU and the majority voted to leave it.

After the negotiations around how exactly the UK will leave the EU have finished, we will (hopefully) be left with a clearer idea about the extent to which the UK continues to comply with and/or keep up with EU laws and requirements and remains within or outside the European Economic Area.

Either way, it’s most likely that the UK will still be in the EU by March 2018, however, there are some ways you can prepare from a Brexit standpoint:

  • Start to consider which parts of your business operations are established in the UK and may be affected by GDPR.

  • Identify any of the personal data flows from the European Economic Area to the UK. (If the UK also leaves the European Economic Area at the time of leaving the EU, the flow of personal data from the European Economic Area countries to the UK will become prohibited without new adequate safeguard measures being adopted).

  • Monitor the UK data protection authority’s statements on Brexit, GDPR and how to remain compliant – current ICO guidance is to continue to prepare for GDPR.

What if I just do…nothing?

In short, don’t do nothing… which I know is a double negative, but hopefully you get the idea. With the introduction of GDPR, also comes some hefty fines for not being compliant. Fines come in the form of up to €20 Million or 4% of a brand’s total global annual turnover (whichever is higher).

I mean sure, the authorities probably have more on their hands than going after every company who breaks the law, but they will rely on customers to report any breaches as well. Basically it’s best to comply and not put yourself and your company at risk.

Resources on GDPR:

Any legislation change can be daunting, but fear not, we’re here to help! If you need any help with sorting out email practices before March 2018, get in touch and we’ll get one of our email consultants to help you out.

With so much going on in a Marketing team, you will often find you don’t have enough time to get everything done.  You will have had days where you’re in back-to-back meetings, and still have a whole hoard of tasks to do by the end of the day.  This is where an automated system would be super useful!

Luckily, there’s a little thing called Marketing Automation that can step in.  The basic idea of marketing automation is to set up a system to perform actions based on triggers (i.e. if a customer clicks an email link it triggers a second personalised email being sent several days later).  Once the email automation is set up, it then runs in the background without any additional work required, making your life and workload a lot easier.

There are many people that would benefit from having a Marketing Automation solution, but from a sales perspective, here are the top three reasons to start implementing automated emails campaigns right now:

  1. You can have pre-defined marketing programmes cultivating leads for you, while you’re off doing tasks that require more face-to-face contact.

  2. It allows you to optimise your time efficiently and achieve your goals without missing a beat.

  3. It allows you to be at the forefront of email marketing trends, bringing your business into the 21st Century.

 

So how would you put a Marketing Automation plan together?

Here is a useful Marketing Automation Workflow for you to refer to when setting up your campaign programme:

 (Click image to download)

 

What you need to think about:

Planning is exceptionally important in the world of marketing automation, for many reasons. Firstly, the term ‘marketing automation’ has, unfortunately, become somewhat of a buzzword, where marketeers seek out automation software under the misguided impression that it provides them with the digital marketing wizardry to automatically generate new leads. This misconception leaves many marketeers with sophisticated tools to automate the middle of their campaign funnel, but no solution that actually generates new leads at the beginning of the funnel.

In your planning phase, you should get to know the system you’re using and plug any holes in your lead generation funnel, allowing you to get your automated ducks in a row.

Secondly, planning helps to prevent you from making mistakes when you set your programme live.  It will ensure you have fully thought through every possible step / action your customer may take, thoroughly planning out what components you will need in order to make your campaign run successfully as an automated system.  Sounds complicated, but its far from it (and if you get stuck you can always check with us).

For example, email templates, forms, surveys and website content – make sure the right links are in place, and test that the right automation is being trigger when an action occurs (i.e. a link is clicked).  There’s nothing worse than getting a beautiful automation programme set up, only to find your customers aren’t ending up where you want them to go because you’ve missed a step in your automation set-up.

You might think that I’m going overboard and stating the obvious when I say you need to plan out every step of your marketing automation, but if you really want it to run successfully with seamless automation, then planning really is the key.

To help you along, I’ve set up an example workflow of a functional marketing automation programme.  The example below demonstrates a ‘Welcome Programme’ for a new customer being added to a contact database, taking you through every automated step for every action or inaction the customer may take within the programme, including time delays.

 

 

Now you have had a look at how a Marketing Automation programme could work, I’m going to take you through some does and don’ts of the automation world:

Does:

  • Integrate your inbound marketing strategy with your marketing automation. Inbound strategy is all about providing valuable, aligned content, and this should not change at all if you start using marketing automation.  If anything, it should be enhancing your communications, as you will be able to provide the content your customer’s need, at the exact time they need it, without any manual input during the process.

  • Send relevant content to your customers, and make sure you are providing them with what they are looking for.  People make the mistake of trying to drive business objectives without actually considering the customer who is going through the journey.  This is arising trend within the industry, with many companies providing workshops detailing how to achieve a customer driven strategy.

  • Set up engagement and retention campaigns to keep your current customers coming back for more.  After all, it’s much easier to sell to someone who has previously bought from you.  Content marketing is an essential part of making sales, and automation can help you do this.  Make sure you’re keeping on top of your content and constantly improving it, making sure it’s more relevant to your customer’s as they progress on their automated journey.

Don’ts:

  • Set up Automation without planning first or thinking about what you want to achieve. There is no point setting up a complex automated programme without getting the strategy right first.  Don’t be that person.

  • Mass email customers.  This is literally the worst.  I have unsubscribed from so may brands over the years because they are emailing too much, and none of the content was relevant.  If nothing else, you will end up having your emails marked as spam, so just avoid bulk emailing.

  • Start before planning.  So I know I harped on about this, but it’s seriously important.  Don’t spend days or weeks of your life setting up an automation programme before you have taken the time to properly research and plan every step and action.  Plan – you won’t regret it!

I think you’ve got enough there to start you on your Marketing Automation journey.  If you want to discuss how Marketing Automation could work for your business, our Enabler team would be happy to chat you through our Automation software and how it could help deliver you deliver on your goals.

As a marketer, there’s nothing worse than the frantic last-minute creation of new content or scrambling for a topic to post about. From erratic emails to hurried hashtags, when it comes to your marketing communications sometimes being reactive isn’t always the best philosophy. Proactively planning your communications ahead of time means that you will always have relevant reading at the ready. More importantly, your business objectives and marketing goals will benefit from having more focused communications that deliver you both richer content and quality results.

Sound good?  Then you need an editorial calendar! Allow me to give you an overview of what exactly editorial calendars are, how to create and use them, and a few tips for generating that sometimes-elusive content…

 

What is an editorial calendar?

Providing a bird’s eye view of your content, an editorial calendar is a fantastic tool to help plan your marketing communications for the year ahead.  It is hugely beneficial when it comes to planning cross-channel promotions as it enables you to consolidate your content planning in one place and maintain a consistent tone across your content. Upcoming industry events, public holidays and topics of audience interest will help inspire your content generation, and allow you to set up a posting schedule for your communications.

Your editorial calendar provides you with a clear overview of your communications, ensuring you maintain a regular active presence across all your communication channels, as well as allowing you to spot any gaps or missed opportunities ahead of time. Build a familiar identity through your calendar content by maintaining a consistent tone of voice, post frequency and choice of topics. By being savvy and planning in advance, you can get your content ‘in the bag’ ahead of time more efficiently, delegating content creation or research amongst your team so you don’t have to single handedly build your calendar.  Be creative and make sure you are using every suitable marketing channel available (social, email, blogs etc) to really maximise your communications effectiveness and achieving your marketing goals.  All-in-all, an editorial calendar ensures your marketing communications remain as time-efficient and engaging as possible.

 

 

Creating your editorial calendar

Start by deciding how you want to set your calendar up; some people swear by spreadsheets, whereas others like to use one of the dedicated tools available (more on these later.)
When you’ve got your format sorted, start by looking ahead and plotting in any industry events such as exhibitions or conferences, as well as internal events such as promotions, seminars, product launches, training or networking sessions your company is looking to deliver. Make notes of any content creation opportunities around these events, such as topics for articles, blogs, email campaigns, photo opportunities or subjects for videos.  Try to ensure you plan your content to suit a range of channels (e.g. social media, website, blog, email) and formats (e.g. article, infographic, video) in mind, so that your communications stay consistent without ending up in a rut with lots of duplicate content.
At this early stage, be sure to meet with others to share ideas, begin to delegate tasks and set deadlines, and keep each other up-to-date with progress going forward.

 

 

Tips for content generation

It’s important to establish the fundamentals of your content before you get posting to ensure that it’s all meaningful – your audience will be able to tell if you’re just posting for the sake of it.

  • Consider the purpose of your content. For example, do you want it to drive lead generation, increase sales, or present your company as a thought leader or raise brand awareness?

  • What sort of audience and customers are you looking to attract?  Think about their possible demographics and how to appeal to them in terms of topics of interest so that the content you post is directly relevant to them, and your time of posting and tone of voice are targeted appropriately.

  • Pin down the resources and skills at your disposal in the office; you may have copywriters, photographers, and designers who would be happy to get on-board and help boost the quality of your content…use them!

Now that you know where you’re going and what you’ve got to work with, you can start to plan your topics…

  • Link your products and services to seasonal holidays and events; ideally you should aim to produce more than just a generic “Merry Christmas” greeting message. For example, if you’re in the property industry link it to successfully selling your house in the winter, if you’re in retail highlight some amazing gifts you sell, and if you’re in the travel industry showcase some amazing holiday destinations for the winter.

  • Not everything has to be an article – remember that content “snippets” are great too – a series of ‘top tips’, for example, or an interesting fact of the week. A balance of light-hearted and informative will make your content well-rounded and broadly appealing.

  • Stuck for content ideas?  You can use HubSpot’s blog topic generator. Enter up to three nouns and let it generate related blog titles for you – it’s great for some quick inspiration!  For something more in-depth, you can use Buzzsumo to see the topics generating the most engagement in your industry and plan your content accordingly.

 

 

Tools and templates to get you ahead

For something simple, you could use an Outlook or Google calendar visible to everyone who will be working on content creation, or an Excel sheet (download HubSpot’s free Excel editorial calendar template – just fill in a quick form). There are however many excellent free or inexpensive tools available online that could help you be even more efficient and create something a bit more special:

 

CoSchedule – Editorial Calendar

This one has been developed by the guys at WordPress, so if you’re already using WordPress as your CRM you can add their editorial calendar as a plug-in and keep everything together. No need to fret if you don’t use WordPress – you can just access your calendar through the CoSchedule website instead. You can start by signing up for a free trial to see if you like it, and will benefit from a helpful tutorial that guides you through the set-up. The interface looks just like a calendar, and it’s very easy to use with drag and drop flexibility. To continue after the free trial, CoSchedule costs from $30 per month.*

 

Trello

This simple platform starts you off with ​​an empty board, to which you need to add ‘sticky note’ like lists and add your content information (topic, deadlines etc). As you begin to build up your lists you will see a calendar start to form, and you can easily shuffle things round by dragging and dropping if you rethink your strategy. It’s also fun and personalisable with different background colours, stickers and colour-coding. The basic version of Trello is free to use, though you can upgrade to a paid version from $9.99 per month.* if you need the extra bells and whistles, which include unlimited “Power-Ups” for your boards, a higher limit on the size of attachments, more personalisation options, greater security, and priority email support

 

Asana

Asana is a project management ​tool​​ which can be used for editorial calendars too. Start by setting up a project and titling it something gloriously imaginative, like “Editorial calendar”, then assign each member of the team their tasks/content to create, grouping each one under the project as you go.  Asana is great fun if you like ticking off lists, has a range of seasonal themes you can select from, and is very straightforward to use.

 

 

 

Hootsuite SproutSocial

These fantastic social media tools allow you to plot in your posts into a calendar with all your links, images and copy well in advance, so that your posts always go out at the exact time you want, creating hassle-free social media management.  Both platforms allow you to view all your social streams in one place, allowing you to view and respond to engagement quickly and efficiently. By planning your content in advance, these platforms allow you to be reactive where it counts, by identifying key influencers and potential leads, and turning them into customers. Gain valuable insight into your audience demographic and interests using the indepth analysis dashboards on both platforms, and helping you tailor future content more effectively to drive further engagement.

 

 

 

Whichever tool you choose, taking the time to set up your editorial calendar will equip you with a valuable asset in your marketing communications. It will allow you to tailor your content to your products and business objectives, and help drive consistent audience engagement. Even better, posting regular interesting content will help to raise your brand awareness, which in turn is likely to lead to more customers and boost your ROI.  This blog should help you get your editorial calendar off the ground, so now all you need to do is source your content and you’re away!

Happy planning! 

Did you know that your email marketing database can degrade by around 22.5% every year? Whilst this rings more true for B2B than B2C, due to people moving companies and changing email addresses, this is still a problem for the majority
of marketers.

For this reason, it’s more important than ever to keep your data fresh and current. Knowing how to do this without taking the easy route and buying data is a tricky business, so here are some top tips to help set you on the right path.

There are two main areas that you’ll really need to focus on to keep your data clean; acquisition and retention. If you’re focusing on acquisition, you need to work on strategies to gain new subscribers and generate new business through them. If you’re focusing on retention, you need to keep your current customers engaged and active. It’s only with a delicate balance of both that you’ll be able to achieve data harmony.

So, now we’ve gathered the ideas behind what you’re doing, let’s talk about the how of acquisition. How do you get new subscribers and make sure you nurture and maintain them?

 

1. Reel ‘em in with an offer or competition

This is a tactic that many brands use to encourage users to subscribe to their lists. Whether it’s a £5 voucher towards their first purchases or a chance to win a trip to the Maldives, incentives are a fantastic way to get additional subscribers.

They’re also especially effective if the incentive is consistent with what you’re going to be sending them as part of the subscription. For example, if you’re a beauty brand, offering money off a facial is not only a great introductory offer but also means they’re going to be expecting more beauty offers in the future, making them less likely to unsubscribe from future mailings. Keep it relevant and you’ll go far.

 

2. Social Media

Many brands are really great at pushing their social media through email but not so good the other way round. There are a number of ways you can use social media to promote your newsletter. I’ll touch on a few of them below but always be creative with how you use social media.

  • Use a simple sign up form. There are many ways you can add an email sign up form to your Facebook page. Facebook-specific sign up apps exist, as well as Facebook itself providing you with a newsletter sign up drop down option on your business page.

  • Use social media to promote the offer or competition you’re using to promote more sign ups. You can even incentivise using premium content.

  • Use Google hangout on air to host a webinar, making sure to share your resources as well as subscription links. Once people see what you have to offer in this arena, they’d be crazy not to sign up!

  • Create a sign up form and share across your Twitter followers.

The main thing to keep in mind when trying to use social media to gain more subscribers is what you can offer your new subscribers. If they’re already following you on Twitter/Facebook, what will you do for them on email that they can’t get on social media?

 

3. Entry pop ups

Annoying, yet effective. Entry pop ups are shown to a visitor as soon as your page loads. Generally speaking, it will block the viewer from seeing the page they have clicked through to until they engage with the pop up. This means that as soon as a user comes to your page they have to do one of three things.

  1. Convert with you and sign up to the newsletter which will cause the pop up to disappear

  2. Close the pop up in order to view the web page

  3. Click away from the site and go elsewhere

Naturally, we’re aiming for scenario ‘a’ in this case. Before you freak out that ‘c’ could happen, consider this: while entry pop ups have the potential for turning people off your site, they also do something incredibly clever. Not only do they force your visitor into action, potentially resulting in an additional email subscriber, but they also prime them to take further action such as purchasing from your site.

If you’re going to go down this route (and personally I’d recommend you do, studies have shown that popups can drive 1,375% more captures when compared with sidebar opt in forms) then make sure you do a lot of testing first to make sure it’s right for your brand. It’s especially important to consider factors such as timing and messaging when making your decision.

 

4. Exit pop ups

These have a very similar concept to entry pop ups but are used with different intention. An exit pop up will… well, pop up, when a visitor is about to leave your site. It’s implemented using cursor tracking, where anyone about to click the close button on their browser will be detected by the pop up app, triggering the pop up. Exit pop ups are a last ditch attempt to get a subscriber before the user leaves the site.

Exit pop ups are definitely something to consider, as they can salvage a bad situation (when a user has been on the site but not completed any action you want them to. A really effective way I’ve seen this done is with shopping cart abandonment, where you can combine an attempt to make a sale with an attempt to gain a subscriber.

In this example, the brand has offered a discount code for items already in the basket, whilst simultaneously attempting a data capture. Now in all likelihood the user will do one or the other. They’re either going to go back to their basket and apply this discount or enter their email address. This one in particular is smart, because it implies that the user can come back later and use the discount… but only if they let the brand email them. It re-piques lost interest and has the potential to grow the email list.

 

5. End of content sign up

This one is especially good if you’re a company that blogs. A user may have come to your site with the intention of reading an article. The logic runs that if they enjoyed the article, why wouldn’t they want to read more of what you have to offer? Sign up forms at the end of content that suggest more of the same content will come to the users inbox if they subscribe, is often very effective.

 

6. On site forms (contact, side bar)

The best place for these types of forms are somewhere near the top. With this method, you’re looking at catching people who come to your website, and catching them quickly. You want this sign up form to be one of the first things (if not the first) that they see.

Another really great place to put them is at the bottom. If people are making it to the footer of your website, the chances are, they’re engaged with your content. If they’re engaged with your content, why wouldn’t they want more?

There’s absolutely nothing stopping you from using both these methods. Alternatively, you can use something that many brands have great success with, which is called the ‘Hello bar’ (inventive, I know). It’s right at the top of the page, so users aren’t going to miss it.

 

7. Use current email subscribers

This is something that a surprising number of brands miss out on. People forward emails. I’ll forward an email to someone if I see something in it I like or that I think they might be interested in or benefit from. This happens both across both B2B and B2C audiences.

B2B occurs more with industry event invitations but can also happen within a business if someone sees an article they think a colleague would like. B2C tends to happen with consumer products such as tech and fashion. Just this morning, I forwarded an ASOS email to a friend who’s getting married, because ASOS have just started a wedding line and I thought she might be interested.

But what’s happening to those people being forwarded the email by their colleague/friend? Currently, I’m going to assume that they’ll click through the email, get what they need and then leave, never to hear from the brand again.

We don’t really want this. Instead, why not provide them with an option within the email creative to subscribe. Copy I’ve seen that works really well is ‘Was this email forwarded to you? Click here to join the mailing list’. Congrats, you’ve just created a subscriber out of another subscriber, with very little additional effort on your part. It’s digital word-of-mouth.

So, now that we’ve covered acquisition, keep an eye out for my next blog which will be about retention. If you have any questions about email marketing or want to talk about what we do at Enabler, feel free to get in touch. Happy email building and I’ll see you soon!

Ah summertime, that wonderful period of the year where people flee to sunnier climes to get their tan on. Unfortunately, for us marketeers this makes it harder to reach customers as the number of out of office notifications increases. Since we know this happens every summer, how can we adjust our email marketing tactics to ensure we’re being as effective as possible?

 

Don’t run for the sun

Most importantly, do not stop marketing just because the sun comes out. The months may be deathly slow but there are still opportunities to connect with your customers. Your emails may also be more likely to hit the target, as customers potentially have more leisure time over the summer and could be more receptive to your messages.

 

Embrace the challenge

The summer months are a great opportunity to do some testing, especially with content (here are some ideas). It might be time to employ user generated content and experiment to discover what your customers really want. Here’s one example of a brand who took advantage of the summer season and kept their customers interacting:

 

Feel at Home #holidayspam

Three were very clever with this campaign. Travellers are often wary of expensive roaming charges and so avoid using their phone for calls and data while abroad. Three also knew that people love to share their holiday snaps and brag about their experiences abroad. So they decided to tap into this behaviour and counter the fear by emailing customers to confirm there was no extra cost for using their phone in many popular holiday locations. This was a great tactic as it offered added value, solved a problem for customers and made them feel grateful to Three for keeping them connected while away. It’s exactly what any customer would want. Noone wants to pay extra to use their phone when on holiday.

Secondly, Three further encouraged sharing by using #holidayspam and designating 18 vacation destinations around the world where customers could upload and share holiday

pics – at no extra cost. The pictures could be uploaded to both Twitter and Instagram, essentially creating free advertising for Three. To further incentivise sharing, if the customers uploaded a holiday snap at one of these locations using #holidayspam, they were entered into a competition to win an amazing holiday!

In summary, they provided customers with a tangible benefit, made it fun and incentivised it with the chance to win a holiday… which they knew they’d want, as they’re already on holiday! They specifically designed the campaign around the idea of holidays and engaged customers at a time where they were less likely to interact with the brand. The video below shows just how well it worked.

 

 

The key element that I took from the success of this campaign was the mobile aspect of it. Gone are the days where people go to a foreign country and are no longer reachable. People take their phones everywhere and with an increasing amount of places offering free WiFi, emails are always accessible. With this in mind, it’s more important than ever that your emails are fully mobile responsive. Make it easy for people to interact with you. Ensure that your emails are mobile optimised and that any landing pages are too. Read more about making your emails mobile responsive.

 

 

Plan ahead

Over the summer, you need to innovate and work harder with your email marketing to keep your customers engaged. Luckily, much of this can be set up in advance if you use marketing automation. Whilst you might want to send your usual newsletters and one-off campaigns, you can also set up emails to run automatically when a customer meets a certain condition or a combination of conditions. This works particularly well during summer when you’re short staffed. For example, if you’ve set up a summer email campaign that includes a competition, why not include the competition into your welcome programme. This means that every time a new customer signs up to your list, they automatically receive an email telling them about the summer competition. Just remember to take it out of your welcome programme when the competition ends!

 

What about timing?

It’s also important to consider the timing of your campaigns. If people are on holiday, the location data you hold about them might not be so relevant anymore. With this in mind, it’s often better during summer months to do a campaign that could be applicable no matter where you are in the world and not worry so much about the time you send your campaigns. (Although, there’s nothing like doing a bit of send time testing over the summer months to work out what works best for your database). That’s why competitions are so effective, since you can enter no matter where you are. Campaigns that tend to work less well during the summer period (depending on your business that is) are in-store offers. Asking a customer to come into their local branch over the summer isn’t necessarily a great move as there is a reasonable chance they won’t be around to take advantage of it.

 

Let’s play a game

A clever content idea is to use games. There’s nothing worse than being stuck at an airport with nothing to do and brands should take advantage of this opportunity. Create a highly addictive, brand related game that you can push out through email to your customers. Just last summer, I noticed the game ‘Heads Up’ from Ellen DeGeneres being played at an airport by at least five separate groups of people. Games are a great source of data capture too; use a form at the start or end of a game asking your customers to enter their details so their score can be saved. This means you can build your email lists during a time where you thought your email marketing wasn’t going to be as effective.

 

In summer-y

It’s never too early to start preparing your summer campaigns. All the best ones I’ve seen have taken lengthy planning but it’s worth it! You also might want to take holiday yourself, so make sure you have your automation sorted before you go. Summer isn’t the time to abandon your campaigns, it’s an opportunity to get even more creative. Embrace the challenge and have a happy summer emailing!