We’re almost there; Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and every other day from Thanksgiving to Christmas will fill up with online shoppers looking for those special gifts. Online businesses will ramp up marketing efforts and website optimization to capture all they can from floods of consumers scouring their inventories. Big and small companies, alike, will be looking for the advantage that makes them stand out this holiday season.
The demands and expectations to boost sales during the holiday season are inevitable. Whether your business is retail, publishing, media, entertainment or any online marketing effort involving targeting and sending email, this year’s sales goals are likely higher than last holiday season. As email marketers, we all face the same pressure from our organizations to send more email and drive more traffic.
Suddenly September is here, Fall is closing in, and Holiday 2014 is right around the corner. As of today, there are 85 days left until Black Friday, the official kickoff to the holiday season. If you’re not planning out your holiday strategy now, you could quickly get behind. Yes I know I’m preaching to the choir but this season comes around once a year, and there are some new email tricks you can use to drive success in 2014.
One of the best ways to engage email subscribers is to connect with them emotionally, although this is often easier said than done. I have spoken and written many times about the importance of creating emotional resonance – either positive or negative – between your message and your audience. It is essential because without some sort of feeling connection to you, at least occasionally, subscribers will become bored by the purely practical (i.e. 20% savings this week!), often repetitive litany of subject lines showing up in their inboxes and easily tune out. It’s fine to engage them intellectually, but if you want your email to create a lasting impact, it needs to pack an emotional punch too.
Subject lines… the easiest thing to write, the hardest thing to get right. There is just no single rule, tactic or word that works every time. Best practices sometimes fail and A/B testing can produce unexpected results.
Why is this? In simplest terms, being original keeps your subscribers on their toes and can spark in-actives into life. But if every subject line you write is surprising and original, your subscribers catch on and that lack of clarity has a negative effect.
Your email subject line. It’s an invitation, a front door, a salesperson, an ambassador. It’s important, to say the least. Here are 10 ½ tips to make your subject line Don Draper not Al Bundy, caviar not tofu — in a word: better.
Recently fellow influencer Bob Frady talked about “Why CASL is Bad Law“ and one that really isn’t going to stop spam. Canada ranks as the number 7 global source for spam, producing about 4% of all the spam tracked in the world according to SpamRankings.net. While this pales in comparison to the 38.9% of Global Spam originating from the United States, it is still a major problem and represents a significant threat to consumer privacy.
There are dozens of sources, methods, and tactics to grow your email subscriber list, and we all know that not all of them are equally effective. Marketers have vague notions that organic list growth is best and paid acquisition of sources may yield lower quality subscribers, but there is little data available that gets at the validity of that assumption. I pulled some data from my own subscriber list to help throw some hard data into the mix.
It may seem self-serving for the long time CEO of an email agency to write about how to hire an agency. I certainly recognize that I am biased, but so is everyone. I will be as candid as possible. I also think that having worked for one for the world’s largest agency holding companies (NYSE:OMC — 75,000 employees, $16B annual revenue) for the last 14 years I have an uncommon perspective in the email space.
"While CASL seems well intended (What? You like spam so much that you won’t try to stop it? You must be a spammer!!!!) it’s a lousy piece of legislation. It’s akin to trying to kill a fly with a hammer. CASL is bad legislation for three simple reasons –"
For many of us in the email marketing profession, customer interaction equals B2C. Tens of billions of marketing emails are sent every day – to consumers. “Buy This!” “Check Out This Incredible Offer!” “Download the Last XYZ You’ll Ever Need!” … the thrust of most email campaigns is planned, designed, targeted, segmented, analyzed, measured, filtered, and executed with one purpose: drive consumers to a website and convince them to take action. So goes the eCommerce engine. And it works.
"11 years ago, back in 2003, I founded a company called eDataSource, the world's first email intelligence company. As a result of the data eDS was collecting, I was able to clearly demonstrate, for the first time, the power of email to drive large spikes in traffic, across the board, and from an independent, 3rd party perspective. To say my jaw dropped open is an understatement."
"While mailing subscribers is indisputably important, there are several reasons why the importance of capturing email addresses has nothing to do with sending your new subscribers another email. And how you obtain those addresses has become critical."
If you take them aside in confidence and buy them a drink or two, most people working in email marketing will eventually admit there’s a hungry beast they have to deal with that is never full and always has an appetite for more. No matter how much or how often they feed it, it’s a bottomless pit.
"Every marketer knows that one of your greatest assets is your email list. In the '90s and early '00s, relatively little attention was paid to how you actually built that mailing list; the focus was on building the biggest mailing list possible, and mailing lists were often bought, sold, or shared. Nobody really thought about the concept of "permission", after all email was the closest thing to free advertising and marketing you could get, and if somebody had an email address, it was considered fair game."
"As email marketers we often get ‘in the weeds’ – focused on whether or not the opt-in box is checked (if you’re collecting email addresses from Canadians, CASL says it matters), agonizing over where the email sign-up call-to-action appears on your Website and trying to figure out if someone who offers to send your ‘sign up today’ message to 70 million qualified (according to them) prospects around the world is worth the $1,500 they’re going to charge you (hint: it’s likely not)."