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7 Tricks to Get the Most Out of Email Marketing Competitive Analysis

Posted On Sunday, 20 October 2019


Email marketing competitive analysis involves two things: a little design know-how and a little science. Every marketer needs the ability to get creative like a designer, all while applying data like a scientist.

To create a viable email marketing strategy, you should conduct thorough marketing analysis, investigating your competitors’ best practices.

By using a proper set of email analytics techniques to understand your competitors’ success, you’ll get a chance to drastically improve your future mailing campaigns.

Read on to discover seven tricks that will help you understand what the competition is doing well and how you can emulate their success in your own marketing.

1. Send cadence
In today’s digital space, email marketing is extremely important for business growth. If you’re new to email marketing, try warming up your list and researching a proper email cadence, so you don’t create a contrary effect for your business.

In other words, don’t be obtrusive: That should be your #1 rule.

Email marketing is also a perfect place to start with your competitive analysis. Start by signing up for a few of your top rivals’ newsletters and check the frequency of their emails. Do they send emails weekly, bi-weekly, or less often?

This will also allow you to step into the customer’s shoes and get a feel for whether or not their email marketing campaigns feel obtrusive.

What email benchmarks should you be aiming for? Find out by downloading our industry benchmarks guide.

2. Subject line
The subject line is the first thing we see when an email appears in our inbox. That’s why it’s so crucial to create an eye-catching subject line with clever copy and a good hook.

A competitive analysis will help you learn new, exciting subject line tactics. How do other brands in your field speak to their audiences? Do they use humor? Deadlines? Maybe their emails use an authoritative voice, establishing them as industry leaders.

Let’s do a short marketing analysis of these incredible subject line examples:

1. “The Deals That Make Us Proud (Unlike Our Nephew, Steve)”—this Groupon subject line made us laugh out loud. Groupon’s marketing is saturated with humor. If it’s appropriate for your brand’s voice and audience, you might consider trying something similar.

2. Another fantastic example is Crunchbase’s subject line: “China Falls, Sleepy Unicorns, And The Deals Aren’t Bigger In Texas.” Crunchbase’s marketers are particularly skilled in wrapping details about a story in one subject line. This odd mashup of words catches the eye and makes subscribers interested in the story.

3. Email design
You should pay particular attention to the email design, especially since images play such a huge part of storytelling.

When carrying out a competitive analysis, pay attention color palette, the use of branded elements, interactive visuals, images, and fonts.

It’s likely that, when you do a competitive analysis, you’ll see that your competitors use branded elements in their newsletters to make their brand look more authoritative. Investigate what placement they choose for their logo.

Below, you can see an example of a beautiful email design created by Carbon 38:

This is a Black Friday email example from Carbon. Look at other emails as part of your competitive analysis.

Carbon 38 has used a minimalistic black-and-white design without excessive decorations. They placed a logo in the email and used its branded colors to maintain the company’s general style.

A good practice is to follow your brand’s logo color palette and incorporate it into email design.

If you plan to use white-label marketing automation tools, you can simply upload your logo in a white-label platform, and it’ll automatically place your logotype in the email template.

Additionally, read up on web fonts in email so your emails can be legible every time.

4. Call to action
Consider how your competitors are utilizing calls to action. Do they use creative copy? Specific colors? How can you do something similar in your own emails?

Consider testing various CTAs to see which ones work best. It’s likely your competitors have done the same. You’ll also want to consider placement and design.

5. Mobile-friendly
Phones and tablets show no signs of slowing down, especially as young people enter the workforce and become consumers.

We know from recent research that Gen Z alone checks their email multiple times a day, most likely because they’re online almost constantly. This means your emails should be optimized for mobile sooner rather than later.

Mobile devices are a huge source of traffic and also conversions. No mobile optimization could mean fewer sales.

So, take a look at competitors’ mobile techniques. Chances are, their emails change quite a bit to suit the mobile user experience. And if your competitors haven’t optimized for mobile? Well, that’s a huge opportunity for you.

6. Landing page
In most cases, marketers design email campaigns for specific landing pages. In other words, your campaign’s success could depend on an effective landing page design.

Analyze this connection between your competitors’ emails and their landing pages. Are they visually similar? Is a landing page a logical continuation of a marketing message displayed in the email?

Clarity is crucial to landing page success, and that starts with copy. Keep the page as short as possible; don’t bombard people with tons of unnecessary scrolling. Minimal text, design, and CTAs could be the key to conversions.

Below, you can see a landing page design from Ouai. This is an excellent example of minimalism in web design.

Minimalism is key in landing pages. Email Marketing Competitive Analysis.

Take a look at competitor landing pages and consider how you can improve upon the experience in your own landing page.

7. Personalization
Don’t miss a chance to check out your rivals’ approaches to personalization. Do they send personalized emails based on web behavior? What custom elements do they use?

Keep in mind that email personalization doesn’t end with “Hi [First Name].” This concept mostly means that an email contains information that a user has been previously interested in when interacting with your website.

For example, you can send different emails to customers according to trigger events that have occurred on your site. They include the following:

A person views a specific product on a store
A person hasn’t logged in for a long time
A user signed up for your mailing list
A prospect abandoned a shopping cart
Wrap up
Attractive design isn’t enough to improve conversions: You need a broad understanding of what other companies in your industry are doing. A comprehensive competitive analysis can help you reveal the practices that work best, which you can then creatively adapt to your marketing.

First, investigate the messages that your competitors use in a subject line to intrigue users and make them open the email.
Then, try to understand how other companies get in touch with people who have been searching for specific categories on their website. Take into account user behavior and deliver them exactly what they’ve been looking for in your store.
Surprise customers with your highly personalized approach.
Keep your email and landing page design minimal and don’t overload users with text. Your copy should be clear and concise.
This is how you can easily get the most of your email marketing competitive analysis.

3 Seriously Undervalued Email Marketing Strategies

Posted On Monday, 14 October 2019


Great advice usually isn’t sexy.

Ask some of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs about the best advice they ever received and they’ll say things like:

“Make your own luck.”

“Say no to almost everything.”

“Invest in relationships.”

It’s great advice – profound even – but not exactly sexy. You were hoping they’d say something mind-blowing, something totally life-changing. Like most things in life, there are no shortcuts when it comes to success.

The same is true of email marketing. The three tips we are going to talk about today are basic – this is email marketing 101. But, surprisingly, they are often overlooked. Take a few minutes and ask yourself if your current email marketing program is addressing these three key areas. I’ll bet there’s room for improvement.

1. Send emails that are actually great.
I know, it’s not actually as easy as it sounds.

But let’s consider what constitutes a great email. It’s not about flashy headlines and eye-popping graphics … it’s about simplicity, readability and usability. It all comes down to content.

How many articles have you read that suggest the key to a great website is creating “great content” or the secret of successful email is sparkling copy? What the heck does that actually mean?

Here’s the deal. Most articles that glaze over the creation of great content do so because the author has no idea how to do it. (Sorry, it’s the truth.) Writing content that 1) resonates with readers and 2) converts readers into paying customers is an art. So few people are able to do this consistently that it’s nearly impossible to find personalized instruction on the topic.

The truth about content that actually works is that success factors vary greatly from one audience to the next.

I’m no expert … I consider myself of student of content creation and marketing. But here at Vero, we’ve created some content and email campaigns that have absolutely killed it.

Here are few things I’ve learned from those efforts that you can apply to your own email:

Find your voice. Just be yourself. Everyone knows the difference between a genuine expression of excitement and a sales pitch.
Get personal. Talk about failure. Address your weaknesses. Explain the challenges you face. Everyone can relate to roadblocks.
Prove yourself. Don’t beg for attention with sensational headlines. Strive for simplicity and clarity, then deliver information worthy of your readers’ time.

2. Be consistent.
Choose a frequency and stick to it.

How many email marketing campaigns, especially newsletters and digests, have failed because the sender wasn’t consistent enough? How many quit before their audience really had a chance experience the content?
 order to succeed with a tricky (but powerful) platform like email marketing, you have to be willing to stick to your guns for the long haul.

Why?

Because it takes time to create habits.

And your readers cannot form a habit of reading and clicking your emails without frequency and consistency, says Nir Eyal:

Companies can begin to determine their product’s potential for forming a habitual behavior by plotting two factors: frequency (how often the behavior occurs) and perceived utility (how rewarding the behavior is in the eyes of the user). “The Habit Zone,” as I call it, is where an action occurs with enough frequency and perceived utility for it to become the default behavior.
Groove is a great example of this. They send exactly one email per week at the exact same time. I shot CEO Alex Turnbull a note about their email strategy – which is a major contributor to their 100,000+ visitors per month (Compete.com) – and offered this advice:

One thing I’d encourage every blogger to do is to keep yourself in your readers’ inboxes on a regular basis. In our early days, we’d email sporadically. Sometimes it was once a week, other times people didn’t hear from us for 3-4 weeks in a row. The emails we sent after lapses like that almost always had lower open rates and higher unsubscribe rates than the previous email.

Now, we send emails every single Thursday. It gets people used to hearing from us, and our open rates are higher because of that. Even if you’re not writing new posts each week, you can still send useful emails to maintain that relationship.
Groove is a great example of this. They send exactly one email per week at the exact same time. I shot CEO Alex Turnbull a note about their email strategy – which is a major contributor to their 100,000+ visitors per month (Compete.com) – and offered this advice:

One thing I’d encourage every blogger to do is to keep yourself in your readers’ inboxes on a regular basis. In our early days, we’d email sporadically. Sometimes it was once a week, other times people didn’t hear from us for 3-4 weeks in a row. The emails we sent after lapses like that almost always had lower open rates and higher unsubscribe rates than the previous email.

Now, we send emails every single Thursday. It gets people used to hearing from us, and our open rates are higher because of that. Even if you’re not writing new posts each week, you can still send useful emails to maintain that relationship.
Great advice usually isn’t sexy.

Ask some of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs about the best advice they ever received and they’ll say things like:

“Make your own luck.”

“Say no to almost everything.”

“Invest in relationships.”

It’s great advice – profound even – but not exactly sexy. You were hoping they’d say something mind-blowing, something totally life-changing. Like most things in life, there are no shortcuts when it comes to success.

The same is true of email marketing. The three tips we are going to talk about today are basic – this is email marketing 101. But, surprisingly, they are often overlooked. Take a few minutes and ask yourself if your current email marketing program is addressing these three key areas. I’ll bet there’s room for improvement.

1. Send emails that are actually great.
I know, it’s not actually as easy as it sounds.

But let’s consider what constitutes a great email. It’s not about flashy headlines and eye-popping graphics … it’s about simplicity, readability and usability. It all comes down to content.

How many articles have you read that suggest the key to a great website is creating “great content” or the secret of successful email is sparkling copy? What the heck does that actually mean?

Here’s the deal. Most articles that glaze over the creation of great content do so because the author has no idea how to do it. (Sorry, it’s the truth.) Writing content that 1) resonates with readers and 2) converts readers into paying customers is an art. So few people are able to do this consistently that it’s nearly impossible to find personalized instruction on the topic.

The truth about content that actually works is that success factors vary greatly from one audience to the next.

I’m no expert … I consider myself of student of content creation and marketing. But here at Vero, we’ve created some content and email campaigns that have absolutely killed it.

Here are few things I’ve learned from those efforts that you can apply to your own email:

Find your voice. Just be yourself. Everyone knows the difference between a genuine expression of excitement and a sales pitch.
Get personal. Talk about failure. Address your weaknesses. Explain the challenges you face. Everyone can relate to roadblocks.
Prove yourself. Don’t beg for attention with sensational headlines. Strive for simplicity and clarity, then deliver information worthy of your readers’ time.

2. Be consistent.
Choose a frequency and stick to it.

How many email marketing campaigns, especially newsletters and digests, have failed because the sender wasn’t consistent enough? How many quit before their audience really had a chance experience the content?
 order to succeed with a tricky (but powerful) platform like email marketing, you have to be willing to stick to your guns for the long haul.

Why?

Because it takes time to create habits.

And your readers cannot form a habit of reading and clicking your emails without frequency and consistency, says Nir Eyal:

Companies can begin to determine their product’s potential for forming a habitual behavior by plotting two factors: frequency (how often the behavior occurs) and perceived utility (how rewarding the behavior is in the eyes of the user). “The Habit Zone,” as I call it, is where an action occurs with enough frequency and perceived utility for it to become the default behavior.
Groove is a great example of this. They send exactly one email per week at the exact same time. I shot CEO Alex Turnbull a note about their email strategy – which is a major contributor to their 100,000+ visitors per month (Compete.com) – and offered this advice:

One thing I’d encourage every blogger to do is to keep yourself in your readers’ inboxes on a regular basis. In our early days, we’d email sporadically. Sometimes it was once a week, other times people didn’t hear from us for 3-4 weeks in a row. The emails we sent after lapses like that almost always had lower open rates and higher unsubscribe rates than the previous email.

Now, we send emails every single Thursday. It gets people used to hearing from us, and our open rates are higher because of that. Even if you’re not writing new posts each week, you can still send useful emails to maintain that relationship.
Groove is a great example of this. They send exactly one email per week at the exact same time. I shot CEO Alex Turnbull a note about their email strategy – which is a major contributor to their 100,000+ visitors per month (Compete.com) – and offered this advice:

“Even though the email was super basic, it gave me validation that people cared about this content,” says [ProductHunt founder Ryan] Hoover. And when he eventually decided to build the site, the email list became the most important asset and springboard for driving traffic and keeping people coming back again and again.

Because they set the expectation that subscribers will receive an email every day, they 1) are forced to stick to it and 2) don’t surprise anyone when they get five emails each week.
Whatever frequency you choose, stick to it.

3. Grow your list by asking nicely.
Growing an email list isn’t rocket science. First, you have to provide content that’s useful enough for people to want more of, then you have to ask nicely for permission to email them.

There are lots of ways to ask – from pop-ups and interstitial ads to social media and Hello Bars. The tool you choose matters less than the way you ask.

4 Ways to Marry Your Email Marketing and Website Optimization Strategies

Posted On Monday, 7 October 2019


Do you hear that? It’s getting louder. It’s the sound of millions of emails, targeted ads, and personalized web experiences fighting for relevance. Despite the noise, B2B and B2C brands succeed at delivering relevant information to their target audiences. According to Direct Marketing Association, for every $1 spent on email marketing, the average return-on-investment is $40.56. But there’s a difference between threading the needle and really creating something.

In many cases, data is being used to deliver personalized email campaigns with fantastic results. The Aberdeen Group says that personalized emails improve click-through rates by 14% and conversion rates by 10%. With results like these, the motivation to test, segment, and personalize email campaigns will no doubt increase. However, the success of these incremental improvements to email marketing depends largely on the next steps customers take after engaging with your email. Whether you’re sending them to a specific landing page or inviting them to take advantage of a personalized offer on-site, the work doesn’t end in your customer’s inbox.

By looking at how you use data to improve email marketing from the broader perspective of your web or mobile experience, you can multiply the impact of your targeting. And it’s worth it. According to Steelhouse, using correct targeting and testing methods can increase conversion rates up to 300%.

Break Down the Barriers
Closing the data loop and breaking down the organizational divisions between email marketing and website optimization is increasingly common. Marketers are adopting this strategy, particularly as facts about open-rates on mobile come to light and digital teams unite forces. But any brand making a significant investment in email marketing will soon be throwing good money after bad without an optimized, personalized mobile experience. Eisenberg Holdings says that companies typically spend $92 to bring customers to their site, but only $1 to convert them. Instead, make your money count twice by investing in a strategy that combines data from email marketing with on-site behavior for a comprehensive approach to optimization.

According to EConsultancy, 64% of companies would like to improve their personalization, 64%, their marketing automation, and 62%, their segmentation. The key is to unify these three key areas for a strategy that will keep your communications relevant and your audience engaged. Here, I’m going to share four ways your website’s optimization strategy can enhance your email marketing efforts, and vice versa! Let’s get started…

1. Use Website Data to Validate Email Segmentation
Segmenting your audience for email marketing is not an uncommon practice. However, the segmentation of your website traffic is often treated as a mutually exclusive effort.

Try This: Use your website data to validate predefined segments for email marketing campaigns with a URL parameter. By doing so, you can find out whether your segments behave how you expected them to with metrics that look at their behavior from first click to exit.

2. Use Email Marketing Attributes to Create a Better On-Site Experience
The data from email and websites can interact in either direction. One leading travel brand worked with Maxymiser, a website and app optimization solution, on an email campaign designed to bring users to the site by converting email prospects with a featured destination that best reflected their preferences (either collected or expressed.) Using Maxymiser’s optimization solution, the brand selected 36 destinations to offer and used each one as a specific variant of the test.

Try This: Segment visitors who came from email and determine which predictive attributes will make their visit the best possible experience. In the above instance, the brand took the attributes generated by an email campaign and used them to test and target on their site—and you can too.

3. Map Email Engagement and CRM
With the right tools, you can map the unique identifier to a CRM file and target specific individualized content to that visitor.

Try This: The data-driven marketer (you!) could place an individualized identifier in the URL of an email campaign. You can also match up an individual from the aforementioned unique URL to segments or visitor groups defined in the CRM file.

4. Test and Target from Email to Landing Page (Mobile or Desktop)
Using your optimization solution, you can test custom content on your predefined email segments by redirecting them from email to a specific landing page.

Try This: Optimize both your emails and landing pages in a single test and combine your analytics for a clear perspective on your user’s behavior. This might be a particularly interesting test to run on a mobile landing page.

In Q1 2014, more email was opened on iPhones (38%) than all desktops combined (34%). You can be sure that these percentages have only increased in the last 12 months. With that being said, if you’re hoping to convert a visitor with email, you have to optimize your mobile landing pages. A website optimization solution like Maxymiser can run the aforementioned desktop landing page test on mobile as well. A unified optimization and email marketing team could easily work together to generate a rich tapestry of insights by segmenting email audiences and testing the optimal experience on desktop or mobile, depending on where the user comes from.

So, don’t just think about the connection between email marketing and optimization; plan for success by aligning your strategy with a multi-channel approach like the one I have described above. On the road to becoming a holistic digital marketing organization, the marriage between email marketing and website optimization is one of the most valuable steps.

Author: Becky Hirsch

The Case for Email Marketing Metrics: Top 5 Best Practices

Posted On Sunday, 6 October 2019


Email matters more today than ever before. By the end of 2018, an estimated $500 billion in digital commerce revenue will be attributable to email marketing, reports Gartner. And if you are managing email marketing campaigns your CMO wants to know:

What impact did they make in terms of revenue?
Can you prove they achieved a return on investment?
How did they influence sales and opportunities?
These are the metrics that matter to the CMO and rest of the marketing team, and you’ll be expected to report on these metrics with each campaign you launch.

Fortunately, we created five best practices on email metrics to help you get the most out of your email marketing initiatives.

1. What You Should Measure and Track
It’s no secret that your CMO doesn’t really care about the open rate or click-through rate of your email campaigns. So, here’s a list of a few email metrics that will help to make you and your campaigns stand out:

Engagement score: A standard way to measure the engagement of your emails over time and not just as an isolated standalone event
First-touch (FT) attribution: This answers a simple business question, ‘which campaigns generated the most profitable new names (leads) into the database?’
Multi-touch attribution: This answers a complicated business question, ‘which campaigns are most influential in moving people forward through the sales cycle over time?’
These metrics take the guesswork out of evaluating your marketing efforts and will help you to get the budget and resources you need to make email a core part of your strategic marketing plan.

2. Get Stakeholders to Buy-in Early
When planning strategically, make sure that all relevant stakeholders are involved and have buy-in from the beginning. This helps assure that everyone will be well aware of the benefits and limitations of the email marketing initiatives.

Best practices include:

Set expectations with all stakeholders
Determine the strategy, goals, and attribution model
Agree on what metrics will be looked at and when
Taking the time to get early buy-in from all stakeholders assures that everyone is on the same page and helps mitigate any surprises from lack of communication.

3. Test and Control
You’re ready to quickly launch your email marketing initiatives. That’s great, but take a breath before jumping in headfirst! Here’s why. Testing of the effectiveness of these initiatives is important. For example, you can create two to three separate messages and test them in a well-formed control group; and in doing so, you can understand the nuances of your message as well as your intended audience.

Tactical testing tips:

Examining contact frequency
What copy, tone, and length work
Testing on different subject lines
Including images, different call to actions, etc.
With a smaller, controlled test group, you’ll be able to scrutinize specific metrics to see what doesn’t work and what resonates with your audience.

4. Fine-Tune and Adjust
It’s imperative to use email metrics insights for the tactical as well as the strategic. If some metrics are indicating low effectiveness, you don’t always have to scrap the entire campaign. If possible, as covered in “Test and Control,” you can make a few tweaks here and there with your email marketing campaigns to better target your audience.

You’ll be surprised that a few fine-tuned measurements, done in small increments, may give the boost you’re looking for.

5. Plan for Future Success
Email metrics are about improving your ROI and not just proving your ROI. As covered, you want to get insights not only on what works but what works better. Be sure to design your email marketing programs to be measurable and then also apply the insights from previous measurements in the current cycle of planning.

Conclusion
Only 1/3 of CMOs say ROI of total marketing spend is a key performance indicator, reports Gartner. That means it’s a learning process but you can still reach that competitive advantage over 2/3 of your competition so, keep at it!

The best practices covered should not be seen as just standalone pieces but part of an overall holistic email marketing and metrics approach. You’ll notice that some of these suggested best practices overlap and support each other. Approaching your email marketing initiatives and metrics in a unified matter can help you develop an analytics culture not only in your marketing department but your whole organizations. And with these insights, you can take both strategic and tactical measures to improve your marketing initiatives today and on future horizons.

Author: Emma Mears
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