Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Eight Ridiculously Silly Ways to Sabotage Your Email Marketing Efforts

Eight Ridiculously Silly Ways to Sabotage Your Email Marketing Efforts

Clearly, as a business owner or marketer, you understand the importance of email marketing. But are you doing it right?

Here are eight ways you may be sabotaging your email marketing efforts—and what you should be doing instead.

1.You dangle your lead magnet in front of the entire world
You're on a lead magnet promotion spree. Facebook groups, LinkedIn Groups, forums... You use every possible marketing avenue. And it seems to be working, because your list is growing as if on steroids.

Promoting your lead magnet is necessary, but have you ever thought about the quality of the list you're building? Are all those new subscribers your target audience? Are they genuinely interested in your products and services, or are they just in for that free PDF?

List quality is the most important goal of email marketers (70% of them say so), and 39% say poor email subscriber quality as a significant barrier to the success of an email list strategy, according to an email list strategy survey by Ascend2.

It doesn't matter how big your list is. If your list isn't made up of your target audience and active subscribers, they aren't going to buy from you or care about your products.

2. You disappear once they take the bait
Opt-in > Welcome Email
Apart from the above sequence, you don't use an autoresponder series—a series of pre-written emails that are sent to your subscribers in a sequence.

Among the benefits of autoresponder emails is that you...

  • Control what information your subscriber receives and in what order
  • Reintroduce old content to new subscribers
  • Introduce your affiliate products and paid offerings in a noninvasive way and provide value at the same time
  • Save time nurturing leads by automating the onboarding process
Consistent, high-value communication with your list is critical to building a relationship with your prospects and customers. Autoresponder emails work very well to automate the process.

3. You waste your welcome email with a generic 'Thank you for subscribing'
Welcome emails have the highest open rates (50-60%) among marketing messages. Subscribers are most engaged when they first sign up for your list. They look forward to receiving the value you'll provide. But they may also be unsure whether you can deliver on your promise.

The experience a subscriber has with your emails in the first couple of weeks will set the tone for the rest of their time on your list. You'll be squandering the opportunity to wow them and gain their trust if you send only a "Thank you for subscribing" email.

Here are some ideas for what you should be sending in your welcome emails:

  • Tell them about your "why" for starting your business and your brand story.
  • Encourage them to follow you on other social media networks.
  • Direct them to your top content and resources.
  • Set subscribers' expectations right from the start. Let them know how frequent your emails will be and when they can expect to hear from you.
  • Have a product- or service-based business? How about sending them a trial or discount code?
  • Remind them to white-list your emails.
4. You don't segment your list
You haven't the faintest clue about the varying interests and needs of the various segments of your list. But, just as it is important to have products of different price offerings, it is important to segment your list based on their needs and interests, because then you'll be able to send targeted offers that are of relevance and value to those subscriber segments.
Marketers who segmented their email list experienced higher open rates and lower unsubscribe rates, according to Mailigen:

  • 39% increase in open rates
  • 34% greater email relevance
  • 28% lower unsubscribe rates
Most email marketing service providers enable a simple subscriber tag or list segment feature based on your subscribers' link clicking behavior or lead magnet opt-in choices.

5. You send only broadcast emails
Broadcast emails are one-time emails sent to all of your subscribers. Most broadcast emails are blog post notifications and promotional emails. They are an important part of the email marketing mix, but they shouldn't be the only type you send your list.

Broadcast emails have a lower click-through rate than segmented emails, because their content is not equally relevant to all your subscribers.

6. Your emails are complicated
Stop distracting your subscribers with several calls to action. Do you want them to click over to your blog article or sales page? Pick the most important call to action—the single step that you want them to take.

Strip your emails off unnecessary sidebars, and graphics. Your subscribers will be more likely to perform that single call to action if they don't have to fight all those unnecessary distractions.

7. Your emails are not mobile-optimized
Some 33% of email opens occur on an iPhone, while Gmail accounted for 15% of opens, according to Litmus:

And according to Constant Contact, "75% of Americans will simply delete an email before reading it if it is not optimized to be viewed on their screens" (as reported by marketing agency Brafton).

So, if your email is not mobile-optimized for easy reading and interaction, you'll be missing out on increased conversions and higher click-through rates.

8. You don't re-engage 'dead' email subscribers
If they haven't responded, opened, clicked, or otherwise interacted with your emails in any way in 6-12 months, they are inactive subscribers—and huge missed opportunity for engagement and revenue.

But it's often easier to re-engage "dead" subscribers than to capture new ones. Have a process in place to sieve out inactive subscribers. Send them specific win-back or re-permission emails.

Explain your interest in reviving the relationship. Tell them exactly what they can do to display their interest. If they don't respond positively, remove them from your list. Doing so will save you time, energy and cost in the long run.

If you need help with your email, web site, video, or other presentation to promote your company, product, or service, please give me a call at 440-519-1500 or e-mail me at
X2 Media can help you target your content and get your message to the audience in a way that it is not only seen and heard, but remembered.

Until next month….remember, “you don’t get a 2nd chance to make a 1st impression”. Always make it a good one!

From X2Media I would like to thank you for your time.

John E. Hornyak

X2Media, LLC

TV Ads Are Better Than Online Video Ads (and How to Build a Great One)

TV Ads Are Better Than Online Video Ads (and How to Build a Great One)

Is there really a difference between TV ads and online video ads? If you ask consumers, the answer is a resounding yes: 63% of consumers say they trust the ads they see on television, whereas just 48% say they trust video ads they see online, according to a Nielsen survey.  Online ads are annoying because they interrupt what the consumer is trying to accomplish. Television commercials aren't perfect, but people accept them because they're already sitting in front of a television passively consuming entertainment.

Even if the content of an online video is the same as that of a TV commercial, customers will react more positively to the televised advertisement.

Why TV Is Still Relevant
Some companies presume television ads are no longer worth the investment, but that simply isn't the case. Although online ads serve their purpose, there are important reasons for marketers to stay on the airwaves.

First, television allows you to reach more people for a lower price per person. Although commercials are not as targeted as online ads, they manage to get the message across to consumers without breaking the bank: Television ads remain the most effective advertising medium, according to a 2014 MarketShare study.

What's more, TV ads require less from consumers. Online ads often request some sort of engagement, usually in the form of a click or a form to fill out, and they wrestle for attention with the rest of the content on the page. Whereas online requires consumers to "lean forward" to engage, television asks consumers to do nothing but "lean back" and devote their relaxed attention to the screen. Consumers aren't avoiding TV ads, either: Television viewers typically consume 73 minutes of TV commercials per day, Nielsen says.

Waiting 30 seconds for a YouTube video to load while an ad plays can seem like an eternity — much longer than the interval between one part of a television program and the next feels when viewers are eager to see a show's outcome. Because people are generally more willing to spend time consuming an ad on television, the odds that they will try out or purchase the advertised product increase by 16 percentage points.

Still not convinced that television marketing works? Just ask Dollar Shave Club: It used a national television ad campaign to double its subscribers.

In short, television viewers are easier to persuade, cost less to reach, and pay more attention than their online counterparts. If you want to spend less and bring in more customers, look no further than the flat-screen TV in the living room.

Make the Most of Your TV Spot
To get the maximum impact from your 30-second TV spot, you need to stand out from the commercials bookending your own. So take the following steps to make your ad memorable and inspire customers to remember (and purchase from) your company:

  1. Do your research. Even though television ads are more effective than digital ones, online ads can be a great resource for learning about your customer base. It's cheaper to try a few small online ads and track the metrics than to purchase multiple TV spots, so use digital avenues to learn about your customers before launching your televised campaign.
  2. Get your message down. What sells people on your brand? Why do they prefer your company to others in your industry? Answer those questions, and then relay your findings in a concise, simple way that customers will remember. If you can't articulate your brand message quickly, customers won't remember you when the show returns. Use humor or an iconic character to create a lasting impression.
  3. Bring in the best to build the best. If your company doesn't have a rock star TV marketer on staff, outsource one. The better your final ad, the higher your returns will be, so don't skimp on creating the best spot possible. Decide what you want to communicate, develop the structure internally, and then work with a capable consultant to bring your vision to life.
    When searching for outside video help, don't trust the demo reel. Anyone can scrape together a minute or two of good-looking content. Instead, look at the recent TV spots the firm has developed for others. That may mean checking out the company's various social media pages to ensure that what you're seeing gives you a good idea of what the company is producing at the moment. The quality of a company's latest work should give you a good indication of what you will receive if you work with it.
  4. Execute your strategy. Put the right content in front of the right audience in the right time slot. Partnering with a good media company can help you position your ad for maximum impact. The more you put into your commercial, the more you will get out of it, so don't skimp at the last minute and stick a brilliant ad in a spot where no one will appreciate it.
TV Front and Center
If you're about to send an email to your team to cancel all of your digital contracts and go fully televised—don't. Digital advertising has its place, just like printed collateral, social media, and experiential marketing do.

None of those media, however, can match the selling power of television. Build and implement a strategy with your TV ad at its center for a more effective, cost-friendly ad campaign and position your brand for greater success.

How to Engage B2B Decision-Makers Who Generate Your Sales and Margins: Market Focus

How to Engage B2B Decision-Makers Who Generate Your Sales and Margins: Market Focus

"The purpose of B2B marketing is to attract and retain profitable customers."

The first step toward achieving that goal is to know who influences buying decisions—and then win their sale-creating trust.
The first of this short series of articles offers straightforward guidance on how to...

  • Identify the buying-decision influencers in your market.
  • Define how your offering contributes to their success and their organization's success.
  • Create decision-influencer personas that focus on securing buying decisions.
B2B markets are complex structures. That's because the decisions that generate sales—what to buy, from whom, and at what price—are typically influenced by many people. Identifying all these influencers is the first step toward convincing buyers to trust their decisions—and buy from you.

Who's Who in Your Market? Understanding Market Composition
Before even thinking about issues like content, or the communication channels to deliver it, or contact points within the B2B buying cycle, or measuring returns on marketing spend, you must first identify who's who in your market.
Skip this first step—or wing it using entrenched assumptions—and there's no point in taking the next step: providing all the decision influencers with content that wins sales-creating trust.
This simple graphic illustrates some of the typical components of a B2B market:

Within the Sphere, influencers fall into two categories: external and internal.
  • External influencers might include industry analysts, specialist consultancies, commentators in the media, distributors, value-added resellers, and peer-to-peer influencers—typically people who are (hopefully) willing to recommend a supplier based on their experience as a customer.
  • Within customers, internal influencers may represent finance, strategy, business analysis, production, marketing, sales, HR, project management, R&D, after-sales support, and specific users of the products and services being considered.
For major purchases—the ones that create major sales—people from different internal functions may come together as a decision-making unit, and they might be joined by external advisers engaged for their specific expertise.

Decision Influencers Have Two Objectives, Which Are Always the Same
When considering buying decisions, all influencers share two common objectives:
  • First, they need to trust that their professional responsibilities will be fulfilled.
  • Second, they need to trust that their decision will benefit their organization.
You must therefore demonstrate how your products and services will contribute specifically to the success of each influencer and to the success of their enterprise. You need to provide evidence that will prove the two objectives will be met. It must be evidence—not hollow propaganda in which "the large print giveth and the small print taketh away" (Tom Waits, "Step Right Up" from the album Small Change).
That evidence—and that evidence alone—should form the basis for content. Content that proves your offering will fulfil each influencer's objectives: Buying this will be good for me and my organization.
If your content achieves that goal, then the combined weight of all the influence within the Sphere will support a unanimous decision to buy from you.

Influencer-Based Personas: A focus on Securing Buying Decisions
Harnessing support across the Sphere requires a mechanism to keep tabs on influencers, including on how they and their objectives may change. Because the buying environment does change: Influencers move on, and needs alter in response to economic circumstances or as a result of, say, technological advances and how they are applied.
Influencer-based personas provide this mechanism in the form of a straightforward fact file that records information about everyone who affects the buying decision—such as who they are and what they do. Much more importantly, such personas should define the boxes each influencer needs to tick in support of a buying decision. Based on that information, content can then be tailored to address the particular needs of everyone within your Sphere.
Considering the multiple decision influencers within an overall B2B market, content that falls into the one-size-fits-all category is not likely to be very effective. "Brighter than Bright" may help to sell BriteRite washing powder to shoppers in a supermarket, but "Just Dig It" won't sell many earthmovers to roadbuilders.
Accordingly, the process of creating sales-generating content can begin only once there is an accurate understanding of who's who in the overall market.

Identify the Heavyweights in Your Sphere
"Don't count the people that you reach, reach the people who count."
David Ogilvy's guiding remark about effective advertising also highlights that some influencers count more than others. It makes sense to identify the heavyweights in your Sphere and ensure that they have the fullest possible understanding of how your organization meets their specific requirements.
It's hardly surprising that commentators in the media, across multiple formats, can carry heavyweight influence throughout the Sphere. In 2014, the Economist published a survey on the effectiveness of content marketing from the perspective of the audiences being addressed: Articles, research reports, and briefing papers were the most helpful forms of content for executives searching for information about a business-related need, the survey found.
Clearly, it's sensible to identify respected media titles and their writers, and to engage them on topics relating to your offerings that will interest them and their readers.
In addition to the media, two other heavyweights are consultants and peer-to-peer influencers:
  • If their function involves specifying products and services on behalf of clients, consultants and professional advisers can exert enormous influence on a buying decision.
  • When existing customers recommend your organization by describing how it contributes to their success, they can be compelling advocates in the decision-making process.
Win Sales-Creating Trust: Define How Every Influencer Benefits
As part of the process that simplifies the complexity of B2B markets, you need to understand what type of content will meet the objectives for each influencer within the Sphere.
For example, reliability may be just one of many benefits produced by your offering, perhaps translating into low maintenance costs or increased productivity through reduced downtime. Maybe it improves day-to-day operational efficiency or strengthens the integrity of processes.
Reliability might produce all these benefits and more. Great! But who benefits and how? How does reliability make a contribution that's relevant to a value-added reseller's success? For end-users, what requirements does it fulfill? And why would reliability motivate a consultant's recommendation, or persuade an industry analyst or media commentator to express a positive opinion?
When specific benefits delivered by your products and services are trusted to meet the specific objectives of all the influencers in an overall market, there's logically a high probability of creating profitable sales. That's because everyone who matters trusts that the right decision is being made about what to buy, from whom, and at what price.