The Future of Marketing is Automation

marketing automation infographic
Email is one of the most widely used and established platforms and has long been the cornerstone of many business-to-business (B2B) marketing plans.

Even as new digital marketing and advertising platforms, formats, and channels draw companies’ attention and budgets, email remains vitally important and is arguably more valued by B2B marketers now more than ever before. While its core function has not changed substantially, there are new developments and challenges marketers must address: mobile, content marketing and automation.

marketing automation

For B2B marketers today—personalizing messages and integrating channels are vital, and automation is essential for executing those tactics.

With content marketing now mandatory for email marketers and mobile making it critical that B2Bs reach the right individual with the right message at the right moment, it becomes nearly impossible to personalize email marketing without some form of automation.

B2B marketers recognize the value of marketing automation solutions, but many have been slow to fully integrate the technology into their sales and marketing efforts. Data released in November 2013 by BtoB Magazine showed just 26% of US B2B marketers had completely integrated automation into their sales and marketing initiatives at the end of 2013. More than half (52%), however, expected full marketing automation adoption for this year.

marketing automation features

Automation solutions are often broad and can be applied across multiple channels and formats, but for most, email automation is vital. B2B marketers surveyed by Regalix in March 2014 reported that among marketing automation features, email automation was the most important to them.

One significant insight from the Regalix data is that marketers say the email technology they need is not simply mechanisms to automate and manage email. Instead, they want sophisticated systems to manage cross-channel campaigns and deliver personalized, targeted experiences to customers.

Have you automated your marketing? To learn more – call Lori today at 877.447.0134.

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6 Critical Email Marketing Metrics

Email marketing
Email remains one of the most effective and inexpensive marketing channels available. 

One of its main strengths is the variety of goals that can be achieved, including sales, customer service, client acquisition and retention.

Campaign may have slightly different KPIs, but there are some that are universally applicable.

Here is a summary of some of the most important email KPIs that marketers need to be aware of .

Open rate

The most basic measurement of email success and one that doesn’t actually reveal much, the open rate simply shows the proportion of recipients who opened your email.

One major flaw with this metric is that it’s generally tracked using an impression pixel, so if a subscriber’s email client doesn’t automatically download your images then it won’t register as an opened email. Nonetheless, it’s worth tracking this metric over time for any major fluctuations or long-term trends, and for comparing the efficacy of different subject lines.

Marketers should also benchmark their efforts against other their industry peers.

Click-through rate

Another basic measurement of email success, revealing the proportion of people who clicked on a link within an email.

Email service providers setup different tracking URLs for each CTA, allowing marketers to compare the efficacy of each link in driving clicks, as well as users’ subsequent on-site behavior.

Click-to-open rate

This metric is more useful than a standard click-through rate as it shows the percentage of unique clicks compared to the number of unique opens. It is therefore a more accurate indicator of how well your email content is performing.

Conversion rate

The conversion rate tells you how many people that clicked through your email and went on to achieve a goal. This doesn’t necessarily mean sales, it can refer to any action that is relevant for your business, such as a downloading a white paper or even scheduling an appointment.

Tracking this metric over time will give you a good idea of the type of content and creative that is most effective for your subscribers. However it is obviously influenced by other factors such as design and your product offering, so it’s a good idea to compare the conversion rate from the email against your other marketing channels.

Unsubscribe rate

It’s inevitable that email subscriber lists will decline over time as people grow tired of your marketing messages and decide to opt out forever more. However the rate at which people opt out is impacted by the frequency, quality and relevance of your email marketing. It’s important to track this metric to ensure your messages aren’t repelling potential customers. Industry data varies, but in general an unsubscribe rate of around 0.5% or lower is okay.

Bounce rate

The bounce rate refers to the number of emails that failed to deliver due to an invalid or non-existent email address. This may not seem like a problem, but in the eyes of internet service providers a high bounce rate can label you as a spammer. You should carry out regular list hygiene checks to remove invalid emails or you may end up being classified as a spammer.

Take your email marketing to the next level. Call 877.447.0134 now.

Mobile’s Share of Email Opens By Time of Day [report]

Mobile Email
Mobile’s share of email opens continues to increase, with various sources reporting that share to be 50% or higher. A new report from Knotice pegs mobile’s share of commercial email opens at 48% during the second half of 2013, and analyzes how that share varies throughout the day. Mobile’s role tends to be greater in the pre-workday morning hours and in the evening, with tablets coming out at night.

 Mobile Share of Email Marketing by time of day

While the share of opens occurring on mobile phones was more than twice the share occurring on tablets between 9AM and 2PM, that wasn’t the case for the afternoon and evening hours. In fact, the tablet share of opens rose throughout the afternoon hours, reaching a peak at 9PM (25.5% share). At that hour, phones’ share of opens was only about 11% higher than for tablets.

Overall, the share of email opens occurring on a mobile device (phone and tablet) showed two peaks. The first was at 5AM, when they reached 52.8% share of opens, and the second was at 9PM, when they accounted for 54% share. When limiting the analysis to mobile phones, though, there were 3 mini-peaks: at 5AM (33.4% share); at 11AM (31%); and at 5PM and 6PM (31.1% share each).

The results suggest that mobile email opens trends haven’t changed too much over the past couple of years; back in October 2012, a study from TailoredMail found that mobile email opens tended to peak in the hours immediately preceding and following the traditional workday.

The Knotice report also reveals some other interesting trends: for example, despite their mini-peaks, mobile phones’ share of opens tends to stay quite constant throughout the day, ranging from a low of 27.4% share at 8AM to a high of 33.4% share at 5AM. There’s much more variance in tablet opens, which ranged from a low of 12.2% share at 10AM to a high of 25.5% share at 9PM. In other words, the mobile peaks tend to be driven more by tablet use than mobile phone use.

The report also illustrates that the tablet share of opens was notably higher in the second half (H2) of the year compared to the first half (H1).

For data on when B2B buyers and decision-makers access email on their mobile devices throughout the day, see the recent MarketingCharts Debrief, “Reaching and Influencing B2B Buyers and Decision-Makers”.

Other Findings:

  • The iPhone (25.6%) and iPad (15.7%) combined for more than 41% share of email opens in the second half of the year, compared to just 6% share for Android devices. This can be attributed to the manner in which a mobile open is recorded based on images downloaded… It also could be impacted by email app preview panes. Image download is not a default setting for all smartphones (particularly Android ones).
  • The 48% share of email opens attributed to mobile devices in H2 was up from 41% share in H2 2012.
  • Mobile’s share of email opens was highest in the consumer services (54.8%) industry in H2 2013, with consumer products (38.1%) on the lower end. Retail (49.2%) saw a high share of opens and B2B (37.6%) a relatively low share, consistent with recent data from Experian Marketing Services.
  • Mobile phone and tablet click-to-open (CTO) rates were highest for the financial services and consumer products industries, but continue to lag desktop. That aligns with findings from Yesmail Interactive, which indicate higher CTO rates on desktop than mobile.

About the Data: The report is based on a composite cross sampling of approximately 500 million emails sent across 11 industry segments in each half of 2013 in North America.

Are you email marketing campaigns optimized for mobile? Don’t miss any opportunities, call 877.447.0134 today.

Email Newsletters – Top Source of Info For Global Executives [survey]

Email NewsletterA majority of global executives rely on email newsletters for industry-specific news, details a recent survey from Quartz, with respondents as likely to be using email newsletters for information as they are industry and general news sites. Email newsletters also significantly outpace social media accounts as news sources, with social platforms generally used more for sharing than sourcing content. Even so, results from the survey show that executives are far more likely to use email (80%) to share content than they are to turn to specific social platforms such as Twitter (43%) or LinkedIn (30%).

Industry News For Global Executives

9 in 10 respondents said they would share work-related content if they found it to be valuable, with their preferred devices for sharing almost equally split between mobile (phone and tablet) and desktop.

Executives are active users of mobile devices, per the study, with 6 in 10 primarily using phones (41%) or tablets (20%) to consume news. Moreover, 43% cited the mobile web as one of their first 3 news sources checked daily, trailing only email newsletters (60%) among the options listed. Far fewer (16%) visit a news site on a desktop as one of their first 3 news activities. Those results are likely a reflection of respondents being most focused on news consumption when they wake up – suggesting that executives are opening email newsletters on their mobile devices and checking the mobile web for news before leaving for the office.

Interestingly, 6 in 10 respondents reported subscribing to magazines and newspapers, although only 3% count print as their primary news platform. And while digital news platforms appear to be much more important to executives, fewer (37%) pay for digital news – with the primary reasons for doing so being brand reputation, access to exclusive information and the quality of the journalism.

Turning to branded content, the study reveals that 86% of executives overall are interested in seeing content from brands, with 55% following brands within their industry. The topics of interest to the most executives, per the results, are industry analysis (68%) and company products and innovations (58%).

Branded content also appears to make an impression on executives, with 28% reporting sponsored content to be the last digital ad format they recalled, second only to video (54%).

While executives are using their mobile devices to consume and share news, they were significantly more likely to have viewed the last recalled digital ad on a computer (58%) than on a mobile device (42%). And while half of the respondents purport to notice mobile ads, few interact with them intentionally.

About the Data:

The Quartz Global Executives Study was produced by the marketing team at Quartz. These data were sourced from a 65-question survey of 940 global executives, administered in March 2014. The respondent pool consisted of business leaders in 61 countries and 36 industries. C-level executives were the most highly represented group by job title, comprising 43% of respondents; others in the pool included managing partners, managing directors, VPs, directors, general managers, board members, and advisors. Industries represented include: management consulting (24% of respondents); finance (15%); tech (15%); media and advertising (15%); healthcare and life sciences (4%); retail and luxury goods (4%); and others (25%). The four largest industry segments were selected for this analysis. Distribution of respondents across age ranges was: under 25 (4%); 25-34 (22%); 35-44 (22%); 45-54 (21%); 55-64 (20%); 65 and older (12%). The full dataset includes the findings presented here and others, segmented by global region, gender, age range, industry, seniority level, company size, and tenure with the organization. Respondents were sourced from the Quartz audience and via partner channels; data are entirely self-reported.

Take your email newsletters to the next level. Call Lori at 877.447.0134.

54% of Consumers Filter Email [report]

Email Opens on Mobile Blow Away Those on The Desktop
A new report highlights some of the latest email trends and insights. One takeaway: keep it short and sweet!

According to a new survey, more than 1,000 email users found that the longer an email’s subject line and body length, the lower the click-through rate.

The “Science of Email 2014” report, by HubSpot and Litmus, analyzed self-reported trends among users as well as observational data (measuring what users are actually doing when they open an email) to determine what makes for successful email marketing.

By measuring and comparing self-reported and observational data, the study illustrated discrepancies among commonly held email marketing beliefs. For example, the report found that while email users report that they prefer image-based to text-based emails, click-through rates0 dropped as the number of images in an email increased (this could be attributed to load times).

Other key findings:

  • The best time to send an email? When everyone else isn’t. The authors termed this “contra-competitive” timing. To prevent your emails from getting lost in people’s inboxes every weekday, try sending email over the weekend, for example. Yet, because email timing is still not an exact science, the authors suggested experimenting with what works best for your audience.
  • More people are using filters. Fifty-four percent of email users reported using a filter to automatically sort their mail, and more than 50 percent use a separate spam filter to divert commercial emails. As email users become savvier about avoiding unwanted email, marketers, too, must become more sophisticated at delivering email that users want, the report noted.

What email marketing trends have you noticed?

45 Words to Avoid in Your Email Marketing Subject Lines

Email subject lines
There’s an art to writing a good email subject line and there are some things you’ll want to avoid.

Consulting a number of experts and sources, in addition to some research, here is a list of words (plus the odd phrase or experimental bit of text) to avoid when composing the perfect marketing email.

Your subject line is the most important part of your email campaign. 100% of your audience will see it, whether or not they open your email.

Here are some suggestions:

Free tends to trigger spam filters, especially if you’re a company that hasn’t been mixing up its marketing messages and bombarding your recipient’s in-box with repetitive offers.

According to MailChimp…
Help, % off and reminder are regularly discarded.

Anything too ‘salesy’ doesn’t work: “shop early and save 10%” or “holiday sales event” are failures.

Just describe the content of your email in the most straightforward and concise manner possible, without making it sound like an advertisement. Try ‘newsletter’ or ‘promotion’ instead, thereby rewarding your recipients with a discount after opening.

According to Adestra, save, today and don’t miss are lousy for triggering opens too.

Last chance – people hate to think they’re missing out on an opportunity they’ve already been emailed about.

Mailchimp has found that donate is a big loser for open rates. Help and assistance are also to be avoided. However in slightly more heart-warming news, fundraising is fine.

Using numbers may help quantify your message, but constant sales and promotion emails can lead to fatigue. Mix it up as much as you can.

Refrain from using tired slang like LOL, amazeballs, WTF, derp, FTW, epic fail, epic win, cray-cray, totes, adorbs.

Adding ‘Fwd:’ or ‘Re:’ to trick your ready into thinking this is part of an ongoing conversation only creates distrust.

According to Adestra, content marketing headlines that use report (-23.7% opens, -54.8% CTR) and webinar (-16.6%, -70.7%.) fail to live up to expectations. As do the words book and learn.

Video, news and bulletin do work well though.

Personalization means nothing if your data isn’t correct and you don’t have 100% confidence in it.

“Paul check out these amazing offers!” when my name is Christopher, or even worse “[test] check out these amazing offers!”

In fact using a person’s name doesn’t really impact the open rate anyway, and can come across as needy or begging.

All of these…

  • Exclamation marks – the more the less I want to open it.
  • Smiley faces – or emoticons or emojis or anything with a face in fact.
  • Stars, squiggles, indistinct shapes – basically anything that isn’t actual text.
  • Hearts

[Putting anything in square brackets] or <these guys> immediately makes you think there’s been a coding error.

Although just to add balance, I did learn that travel site Travelocity achieved a 10.7% lift in unique opens by using a little airplane in its subject line. Which proves that relevancy to content and uniqueness is imperative to proper symbol use.

Remember that symbols appear in some email clients but not others. It may just be a waste of time.

What subject lines work best for you?

Take your email marketing to the next level. Call Lori at 877.447.0134.