By Cara Chatellier, Founder & Creative Director at Bubbly Creative
Let’s talk about email marketing. Your inbox is no-doubt full of emails from all sorts of businesses. So, what makes you click and open?
Some businesses choose to send out simple email blasts from their account, while others work with professionals to create captivating graphics and designs. According to DMA, for every $1 you spend on email marketing you can expect an average return of $42! If you’re looking to capitalize on your ROI and make email marketing work for you, here are a few tips to improve your email marketing strategy!
When you plan your emails, you can take the time to design them any way you’d like. Instead of choosing a font or design last minute and potentially losing some of your brand continuity, when you use a service like Net Atlantic, you’ll gain access to designers who have rock-solid knowledge of HTML and know the Dos and Don’ts of email design. They’ll work with you to create unique email marketing templates that render correctly and consistently, reflect your brand, and provoke action from your recipients. They’ll also take the time to build and test the final design to ensure it looks correct for all of your subscribers.
2. Don’t Skimp on the Visuals
Embedded content like images, gifs, and infographics can lead to significantly better email responses. Images, gifs, and infographics, allow you to connect with your subscribers and include information you can’t get across through copy alone. According to wishpond.com, “by using GIFs in emails, senders can see a 6% increase in open rate and a 109% increase in revenue!”
Many subscribers skim or completely ignore large blocks of text. Visuals allow you to get information across to your subscribers at warp speed.
3. Improve Subject Lines
According to Convince & Convert, 35% of email recipients open an email based on the subject line alone. The opening line is your first chance to grab subscribers’ attention and show them what your brand has to offer.
We recommend using:
Intriguing language “Don’t miss this limited time offer!”
Personalizations “Hey, Cara… we think you’ll love these!” (these can increase open rate by up to 50%!)
A subject line is like a first impression, make sure it’s a good one.
4. A/B Test
If you’re looking to try some new ideas with email marketing but are not sure how your subscribers will respond- A/B testing is your next step. Simply put, A/B testing is the process of sending multiple versions of an email out to clients and analyzing how they respond.
For example, to find out what embedded content is most successful for your subscribers, you could send out two separate emails:
One using infographics.
The other using a GIF.
If you receive more sales or traffic from one or the other, you’ll know what your subscribers prefer. A/B is often offered by professional services (like Net Atlantic) and can help your business create a clear path to success.
5. Use an Email Marketing Platform
Your options are endless when it comes to choosing an email marketing platform. Services like MailChimp, Constant Contact, and more have free programs where you can design creative and simple emails. However, their free versions leave a lot to be desired. Many need a knowledgeable partner who can support your business as it grows. With a platform like Net Atlantic, you’ll reach more customers, increase engagement, and generate more revenue.
With over 20 years in business, Net Atlantic takes your phone calls, discusses strategy with you, ensures great delivery, and gives you deep, insightful actionable reporting. A pioneer in email marketing, Net Atlantic provides the best combination of a great email campaign sending platform, personal technical support by phone email, and chat, and competitive pricing.
6. Hire a professional
If you’re reading these ideas and feeling overwhelmed, one of the best things you can do for your email marketing is to outsource! Working with an email marketing expert or digital marketing agency, like Bubbly Creative, who can help guide you to choose fonts, subject lines, gather your client list, learn what your subscribers respond to, and send out your emails, can be a big weight off of your shoulders. Why not free up your time to allow you to focus on what you do best?
Email marketing can be wildly impactful for your small business. But doing it well will take some time and effort to master. Don’t worry, Net Atlantic and Bubbly Creative have you covered. It’s time to make your small business pop!
Cara Chatellier is the Founder & Creative Director of Bubbly Creative in Salem, MA. Bubbly Creative specializes in making small businesses POP through digital and content marketing.
Email marketing is a digital marketing communication tool that has aided many companies in their business success. According to TechNomads, email marketing returns $44 for every $1 spent. If you are not utilizing it, you may want to consider it.
In fact, according to RIA Intel, email gets more traffic for financial advisors than any other industry.
Email marketing can be used to build trust, credibility, and rapport, while converting prospects to customers. Email gives you a great opportunity to put time on your side, as you grow a relationship and nurture a prospect through the evaluation and buying process.
There are many benefits to utilizing this marketing channel, including:
Building a more personalized relationship with your customer: Delivering personalized emails will create a sense of trust between you and your reader.
Informing your audience: Financial services have a lot more to offer than just basic services. Inform your customers about what else you can provide for them.
Expanding your marketing promotions to a new channel: Trying out new marketing tactics doesn’t hurt. It can be a great decision for your business.
Easing readers’ minds about the financial process stress: Financial planning and financial decisions are sources of stress for people, so creating messages that ease the readers mind could be beneficial.
Educating readers on successful investment strategies: This is probably the most important method used by financial companies to attract and capture new customers.
Below are strategies that have proven to work for this sector.
1. Appeal to newer investors by helping them improve their financial knowledge
The financial process can be extremely stressful for many people. Other than a person’s health and loved ones, there’s few things more important and personal to people than their money.
To make investing and finance accessible and available for everyone, keep it simple. Creating videos, explaining concepts, and sharing your knowledge can be beneficial to your customers. Dave Ramsey hosts The Ramsey Show, a podcast that aims to discuss anything money related, such as debt, retirement, budgeting, saving, insurance, taxes, home buying, and more. His podcast coupled with short YouTube videos captures his audience and seeks to inform.
2. Brand your newsletter with a title
A lot of newsletters try to make it more fun by calling it a fun title. Robinhood calls their newsletter “Robinhood Snacks: Digestible Financial News”. I don’t know about you, but reading that title makes me interested in reading further.
3. Offer benefits
Why would a customer want to be on your email newsletter? Besides learning something, it’s often because of something free. A free stock report, a free portfolio review, a free analyst report, a free three months added to your subscription.
It has been proven that giving away something often helps you sell something else down the road. This is called a loss leader, and is probably the most commonly-used marketing approach. Carefully calculate how the numbers can work for you, in a best-case and worst-case scenario, before launching your loss-leader promotion.
With investment newsletters, it’s easy to offer a certain amount of information for free. Want more after your free trial? Get out the credit card for the real premium content.
This newsletter offers a free consultation. It mentions the word “free” multiple times throughout the email. One mention is bolded and another is in a call-to-action. People love free stuff.
4. Offer educational opportunities
Financial literacy programs can educate, as well as encourage financial actions.
Just to give you an idea, some common topics include:
What should I do with $20,000?
How do I pay taxes?
How much should I invest in my retirement fund to become a millionaire at age 70?
Are growth stocks better now, or value stocks?
Are index funds really the best, or how about some target date funds, or inverse funds, or industry specific funds?
When you answer these questions with wisdom and authority for your readers, you create goodwill and can develop a following of people who want to hear what you have to say.
5. Create personalized messages
There are multiple strategies to complete this.
You could start and end every email with their name. For example, “Hi [First Name],” at the beginning and “Thank you [First Name], at the end. Or, you could include it in the subject line, like “[First Name], You’re Never Going to Believe This.”
You could also personalize it by segmenting your list. Everyone on your list could be at different points of the customer journey. Someone who purchases your product or service has different intentions and needs than someone that is just learning about your company. You can even segment with age, gender, lifestyle, you name it! This will lead to higher open rates, higher engagement, and less unsubscribes.
And of course keep track of specific interest areas that your prospects have indicated. A new 20-something investor will want to know about financial information that is far different from an age 65+ recent retiree.
6. Provide useful tips, ideas, suggestions, and selections that have good value
All kinds of advice on investments can be made through effective emails and email marketing. Many investment companies produce various research on topics like: bond investing, SPACs, ETFs, hot stocks, value stocks, income stocks, REITs, dividend stocks, turnaround stocks, municipal bonds, real estate investing, gold and precious metals investing, investing during times of inflation, stock market timing, hedge funds, and many many more.
After the new subscriber gets a few days, weeks or months of the free newsletter with good picks and sound advice, it’s time to upgrade them to a paid subscriber.
A good example of a service that offers quality content at a very fair price is the Motley Fool Stock Advisor. Every month, they reveal two stocks that they believe will outperform others in the market in a minimum of five years. With a subscription price of $99 per year, this newsletter has proven its value through their stock tips. It a fair price, and of course one good stock recommendation will cover that subscription price many times over.
Email can be one of the best strategies for a financial advisor or investment company. Make good use of tools provided by Emal Service Providers (ESPs) like segmentation, templates, inserting photos and gifs, split tests, dynamic content blocks, and personalized messages to help reach yoru email marketing goals.
7 Proven Tactics to Consider For Your Next Marketing Campaign or Promotion
As a content creator, there are lots of topics that need to be written about that can be boring. Odds are, if you find it boring, then the reader will, too. The last thing you want to do is put your reader (and yourself) to sleep.
So how can you come up with something interesting to say when you have to write about insurance, whitepapers, legal documents, statistics, actuarial science, ISO standards, computer manuals, annuities, Robert’s Rules of Order, or other potentially boring topics?
Here are seven tactics and strategies to spice up your next campaign:
1. Take the Topic and Spin It
If you can raise some eyebrows while discussing a boring topic, congratulations. This is a great way to convey your topic in a shocking way. This campaign from Huckberry makes a joke out of the use of Zoom during the pandemic.
They use this unique subject line to make fun of those who do not wear pants on Zoom, while promoting their 365 Shorts.
2. Paint a Picture in People’s Minds
Some of the best writers are able to paint a picture in people’s minds. This will guarantee that you provoke emotion and connect with your readers.
This wikiHow thread gives multiple tips on how to write to paint picture’s in minds.
3. Use Gamification Tactics
If you’ve never heard of gamification, it is using games, puzzles, or quizzes in digital marketing.
Companies use scratch-offs, mazes, spin-to-win wheels, crossword puzzles, quizzes, and more to spruce up their emails.
Pizza Hut used this slot machine for promotions. Everyone loves free stuff and discounts, so this is a great way to bring boring topics to life.
4. Invite Your Reader to Participate
By making your reader participate, it makes them feel special and creates a connection between them and your brand, thus creating excitement when you email them.
There are tons of ways to create engaging emails.
You can do this by creating compelling call-to-actions, include a dynamic visual or video, add personalization by using their name or any information you have about the reader, asking questions and encouraging replies, and segmenting your email lists.
You can even encourage your readers to forward emails to their friends. To some people, running is fun. To other people, running is boring. In this tweet, Adidas creates excitement and encourages their Twitter followers to “retweet” the tweet to challenge their friends to a run:
Your reader wants to hear your content because they want value from you. Give them exactly what they want! If you are an advertising agency, give your readers some advertising tips. If you are a clothing brand, give your readers coupons.
You want to marry your voice with your customer’s voice. If you have to discuss that boring topic, give your readers what they would want out of it.
6. Add a Personal Touch
It doesn’t always have to be serious. Include some of your own personality into emails. It becomes more personalized and increases that connection. You can interject facts or your own personal experiences into your email copy.
For example, if you are an insurance company, include some wild facts about insurance. Starbucks actually pays more for their employee’s health insurance than it pays for their coffee beans. That will get your audience’s attention!
7. Include Eye-Catching Visuals and Graphics
Sometimes it is nice to show, rather than tell. Windsor creates this aesthetically pleasing email for the fashionistas out there. They show some trendy outfits while including promotions and using a clean and pretty color palette.
Including graphs like this one about sleeping disorders are fun and way better than normal bar charts or line graphs. Find some online or make some of your own!
In a perfect world, we would all write about what we love. For now, we can’t do that but we have ways to work around it. Add some spice and seasoning to these boring topics and you will capture your reader’s attention for sure.
One-page documents will save you time and money, acquire customers in an effective way, and provide clarity. The best one-page documents will turn a prospect into a customer, a stranger to an investor, and an uninterested party to a captivated party.
What is a one-page document?
A one-page document is a marketing asset that can describe your business, your products, or your services. It only contains a single page of information, as the name suggests. It is like a brochure, but is less work for the reader.
There are many different names that these go by, which include:
PDF data sheets
And of course just like they say it is harder to give a two minute speech then a ten minute speech, it can be a challenge to put all the great things you want to say about your product, service and company all into one single page. That said, it’s definitely worth the effort to do so, as nobody has time any longer to read pages and pages of text.
Benefits of One Page Sell Sheets
1. The first benefit is that they provide clarity. Just the essential information, please! One-sheets read quickly, provide concise descriptions and facts, and include the benefits of your product or service.
2. Another benefit is that a one-sheet is brief and attention-grabbing. Nobody wants to read through a pamphlet, or have to sift through a large brochure full of information. A one-pager will clinch your customer’s attention span that will make them remember who you are.
3. It also gives customers something to hold on to. A customer could be organizing their desk or home office or car one day and find your one-sheet, and then remember who you are and decide they want to pursue your products and services. It is a tangible item in a world full of digital advertisement, which will make out to your advantage. Just like postal mail can have certain advantages over email, a one-sheet can also have that kind of advantage in certain situations.
4. Many business people expect these. One-sheets are a kind of executive summary. A document that cuts through the fluff. And they’re great for showing to a superior or manager for getting budget approval and signoff on a project, solution, or software. It’s solid and real and tangible, and that’s a good thing.
5. Your sales team will love using them. It helps them sell. One-sheets can be easily sent by email as an attachment, printed out for in-person use, given out at trade shows, and more.
How to Write a One-Sheet
When writing a one-sheet, make sure to include what is best for your business. But, there are some key staples for writing these documents. Make sure your one-sheet includes the following:
Logo and Company Name
This is a little bit of a no-brainer, but we just wanted to stress the importance of it.
2. Product or Service Name
Prospects need to know what they are buying. You want to get your product name in their head to start the brand recognition.
In this section, you want to clearly and briefly describe your product or service. In this section, you also want to mention pain points. Make sure to accurately describe the pain points without sounding too negative. You want to connect with the audience, not put them in a bad mood.
4. Clear Title, and if possible your Biggest Value Proposition
The first aspect of the sheet that is read is the title. It is imperative that it captures their interest. And if your biggest value proposition is something that a prospect is looking for, even better.
5. Colorful visuals
Even before the title is read, you want to create an eye-catching, visually-attractive page. If you haven’t already, create a color palette that works for your company. Canva Pro allows you to create color palettes and even suggests colors to put together.
6. Attractive data visuals
Nobody wants to read numbers, they want to see them. It’s a one-page sheet, so there will be quick glances at different aspects of the sheet. Colorful charts can tell a story that sometimes take too long with words.
Your customers need to know why they should become your customer. Including benefits will show them what they are missing and what they didn’t even realize was a benefit in the first place.
End the sheet with a compelling call-to-action. You can use phrases like “Call me today at 123-456-7890” or “Start saving today!”.
9. Contact Information
Your phone number, name, title, address, social media channels, email; anything that will make it easy for people to find you.
Other things you can add to your one-sheets include testimonials from your customers or employees, features of your products or services, a section about “who we are”, and results or success stories from past clients.
Here are three examples of one-page documents.
This example from South Seattle College has great visuals that pop, an organized and clean color palette, and easy to read blurbs. There’s lots of information conveyed here, and it’s communicated very well.
This one-sheet for Tarran Deane is clear and to the point. Her headshots are eye-catching and she has a clear call-to-action.
This one-sheet is focused on Net Atlantic’s Platinum Edition email marketing campaign management platform. This includes benefits, contact information, and a business-friendly, clean color palette that matches the company logo. A few more graphics used lightly could improve the presentation, but nonetheless various technical information is communicated well.
Helpful Tools to Use To Create Your One-Sheet Sales Page
Canva: It is amazing for graphic design and creating eye-catching, appealing visuals.
Grammarly: Nobody’s grammar and writing are ever perfect. This platform will ensure that you have no spelling errors and your sentences flow smoothly.
A one-page sheet will summarize your business, products, and services. Whether you are a B2C or B2B, Fortune 500 company, or a small business, create your one-sheet now and benefit from this effective sales tool.
I’ll be completely honest with you. College students hate email. They dread checking it. It is a form of communication with their professors, their partners in group projects, and all of those lists they did not mean to subscribe to. Email just isn’t fun. Coming from someone who just completed four years in college, we do not love checking our emails.
Furthermore, everyone thinks that the stereotypical college student parties all the time, skips classes, sleeps all day, and is broke. But is all that true?
No. College students can be a great demographic market to sell to, and their lifetime value as a customer could turn out to be huge. So, how can you get college students like me to open your emails?
Money to Spend
According to College Marketing Group, U.S. college students have an average spending power of $417 billion, as of March 2019. College students go to college and begin to find out what hobbies they enjoy, what foods they like, and how to spend their free time. This experimental stage is perfect for your brand, as students will be making tons or brand choices for the first time. If you can clinch their interest at this age, they could be a lifetime value customer.
College students spend their money in multiple non-essential categories, like restaurants, beauty, fashion, electronics, live music, media, and the gym. If your business falls under these categories, you may be able to strike gold.
A typical student spends 3-4 hours per day working online. With many colleges moving to virtual options, it is now estimated that they spend 8-10 hours a day online. This is a lot of real estate for email marketers!
How to Stand Out
Deals, Coupons, and Discounts
College students want a deal. They do not want to pay full price for anything! So, you need to be creative with your discounts and coupons. Grubhub has this strategy down pat. They offer coupons in their emails daily, and they often send emails at night. This is perfect for targeting those college students who want a late night snack delivered to them.
You can also email them student discounts. Phone providers, entertainment companies, restaurants, and digital subscription companies all offer them. Check out a list of 60 amazing student discounts here.
2. Keep It Real
What does that mean? Play it straight. Don’t get all complicated. College students are savvy shoppers and buyers. They’ll check your feedback, find it cheaper if needed, get free shipping, and find some old coupon code (that you forgot years ago) that lets them check it out for half price!
So keep it simple, and keep it real, and be honest with them. They’ll appreciate it!
3. Target them specifically
Not all college students are the same. Freshmen are different than seniors, men are different than women, and studious students are different than the non-studious students. International students also have their own preferences. Ethnicity, age, gender, affluence, campus involvement, and race play a huge role in a college student’s buying habits.
This Apple advertisement below targets a certain group of college students directly. You can buy an iPad or Mac for your schoolwork, and get Beats included. This is clearly for the more technological savvy, multitasking, and music-loving college student.
4. Send at a Good Time
The best time to send to college students is at night. This is when college students are the most alert. Emails sent from 8:00 PM to midnight have shown higher click and open rates for this demographic. Another great time to send is in the early morning. A study reported that 70% of college students check their email in bed.
5. Engage with them
What do college students do all day? Some may say sleep, but college students spend a majority of their day listening to and participating in lectures. Your email should be the farthest thing from a lecture, so sending mid-day should probably be avoided.
Keep your email engaging, while having a simple call-to-action. You will be sure to see results. A fan favorite is a promotional wheel, like the image below.
If you are email marketing to college students, it’s time to sharpen up your strategies and tactics. Put your coupons and deals into overdrive. Target them when they’re most likely to be responsive, or at least when they’re awake!
College students are a large demographic that can be very responsive to compelling advertising. If you understand who college students are and what they want, you will be able to maximize their lifetime value, shape their brand awareness, and tap a superior market with potentially huge lifetime value.
Google My Business is one of the best things you can do for your company. It’s #1 on our list for a reason!
Okay, that might be a little dramatic, but hear me out.
A Google My Business listing allows your customers to find you when they are doing a Google or Google Maps Search. They will be able to find directions to your company, phone number, contact information, your website, photos, and reviews.
It will appear at the top of your browser, whether you’re on a phone or computer. It is an informative, convenient, and free way to get your information out.
2. Review Sites
There are a few companies that allow you to create a listing for your company and customers can write reviews. It is similar to Google My Business, but it gives your company some more exposure.
Buffer is a social media planning platform. You can manage one Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn account with ten posts scheduled for free.
This tool will let you schedule a social media post for a later time and it will post it for you. Free to use, it costs only $10 to upgrade to unlimited posts, which is not a bad deal. It will track your post analytics with easy-to-read graphs and insights.
Canva is one of the easiest, customizable, and enjoyable Photoshop-type application on the web. It offers thousands of free templates that you can just quickly edit and voila! You have a perfect graphic for your company’s social media and website.
If you want to buy a Pro plan, you get the opportunity to make a brand kit, 420,000 templates, and 75 million photos, videos, audio, and graphics to use.
Screaming Frog is a SEO spider tool that will “crawl” your website and extract data to find SEO issues.
With the free plan, it will find broken links, review meta robots, analyze page titles and meta data, and more, while also avoiding you a headache.
6. Guerrilla Marketing
Guerrilla marketing is innovative, out of the box, low cost marketing for the purpose of exposure. The idea is that it’s a fraction of the price, but has the same or a better effect. It typically happens in new, smaller businesses because of their smaller marketing budget.
Guerrilla marketing can use unique, zany, funny and outside-the-box ideas to get the word out. With Guerrilla marketing, you are only limited by the crazy ways you can think of to promote your company, and get free exposure and press when your idea gets noticed.
As an example, a not-so small company, Domino’s Pizza, once used stickers to leave a sidewalk imprint ad on the ground. It worked!
Wix allows you to build and customize your own professional website, all free of charge. It offers gorgeous templates and aesthetically pleasing features. Every user will find some template that they love.
8. Social Media
There are many sites that make it easy for businesses to set up pages. Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn are some of the most popular sites that businesses create a presence on.
All of these sites offer insights and analytics to help you examine your content and decide what’s working and what’s not working.
A white paper is a research report that presents a problem and provides a solution. Ideally, it should be fair, unbiased, informative, and authoritative.
It will provide value to your customers, allow you to be seen as a thought leader, and provide technical expertise. They have proven to be very beneficial for SEO and website traffic. This article, “What Is a White Paper and How to Write It” explains how you can utilize this strategy for your organization.
10. Inbound Links
Inbound links are links on other web sites and social media platforms that get people to your website.
There are many strategies to build them, like getting mentioned, doing do-marketing activities with brands, getting your press releases to be published in publications, and guest blogging, which is explained next. Inbound links are great because they usually last for years.
11. Guest Blogging
Guest blogging is writing a blog post to be published on another blog as a featured author. Guest blogging will give you solid backlinks (links back to your web site from the blog), grow your awareness and following, and help expand your professional network.
It will just take a little extra time on your part, but it will be worth it. Learn more at Guest Blogging 101.
Videos have become a huge part of social media in the recent decade, and Typito will let you edit videos while adding text, creating transitions, and more, all for free!
15. Comment Marketing
Some businesses use a strategy of comment marketing by commenting on other business’ posts. Of course your valuable, informative, or clever comment will typically include a link to your web site and your great solution to a problem. The goal is to provide a valuable, beneficial comment to create trust, awareness, and exposure for your own company.
Testimonials create trust with prospects. 92% of customers read online reviews before buying.
Ask your current customers for reviews. They can email them to you directly or write them in your Google My Business listing. Most platforms make it easy to send a link to your best customers so they can leave you a (hopefully) positive review.
SEO is a crucial aspect of marketing your business. This free tool allows you to find new search words, see how certain keywords are performing, and what keywords your competitors are using.
These free resources are a great way to do marketing on a budget. It’s a great way to work smarter, and be cost-efficient with your budget. We hope that you can add at least one of these tools to your marketing strategy toolbox. If you have a favorite free marketing resource, please leave a comment!
How much should I spend on marketing each year to grow my company?
Young, fast-growing, and online companies will often spend 10 – 20% of their annual revenues on marketing activities.
Mature, conventional, large companies will often spend 4 – 8% of their annual revenues on marketing activities.
An average of all companies suggests that companies spend about 8-10% of their annual revenues on marketing activities.
You may be a business owner deciding how much you want to spend on advertising or an employee in a marketing department planning to pitch your proposed budget to senior management. Either way, it can be good to know how your spending compares with other companies and industries.
We all want to hit that sweet spot where we optimize our marketing spend. It can be hard to determine this, so here are some rules of thumb that have shown success.
On average, marketing budgets make up around 10% of a company’s total budget. The U.S. Small Business Administration suggests that if your company makes more than $5 million per year, 7-8% of your revenue should go towards your marketing budget.
The first thing you should look at when deciding on a budget is your company’s gross revenue. If you are a small and new company, your budget should be between 10%-20% of your gross revenue. You need to establish your brand and name recognition, so spending a higher percentage is key.
At the other end of the spectrum, if you are an older and more established company, you can spend around 5%-11% because you will likely already be known in the industry.
Note that online ecommerce-type companies almost come in at the high end of marketing spending. Conversely, traditional manufacturing, industrial and conventional types of companies often focus on sales and client relationships (service) over marketing, and thus come in at the low end for their annual marketing budgets.
Where to Spend Your Dollars
There are many, many different avenues to spend your marketing budget, such as your website, email marketing, branding, lead purchases, events, webinars, public relations, sponsorships, print ads, trade shows, link building, influencers, and of course social media.
A New World, A New Budget
For many companies today, for many reasons, most of your budget will go to some aspect of digital marketing. According to HubSpot, digital marketing is “all marketing efforts that use an electronic device or the Internet.”
Digital marketing will encompass email marketing, search engines, search engine optimization (SEO), social media, email, web site development, electronic storefronts, shopping carts, virtual trade shows, webinars, and more.
The table above shows the U.S.’ total media spending in different categories for a span of six years. As you can see, digital forms have increased every year, while TV, print, and directories have shown a decrease.
One reason that digital marketing is the preferred channel for your marketing efforts is that almost all activities are measurable. You can easily track the number of unique visitors to your web site, the opens and clicks on your latest email marketing campaign, and the number of clicks you get from a Google Ad. With offline marketing such as a billboard or radio advertisement, it can be very difficult to gauge effectiveness.
Another reason that digital marketing is so effective is the ease of deployment and ability to increase, change, or turn off campaigns. Web site pages can be easily changed. Prices and offers can be adjusted. And if needed, campaigns can easily be paused or suspended.
If you add up all of your other marketing costs and compare it to digital marketing, digital marketing is significantly less expensive. Compared to pricey billboards, print advertisements, direct mail, and event marketing, digital marketing is a lot better for your wallet.
Offerings like Google Ads, WordPress, and social media planning tools like Buffer and Hootsuite can help you plan and spend wisely to build your online assets and then promote them effectively.
Venture-Backed Aggressive Growth Companies
Marketing investments factor directly into cost per acquisition (CPA) of a new customer. Spend too much to get a customer, and you lose money (in the short term anyway). Spend very little money to get a new customer, and it can be a wonderful thing, as long as you can service that customer profitably.
Many young promising companies that are venture-capital backed with growth capital (money from investors) will run for many months or even years at a loss (called runway) in order to acquire customers and eventually get profitable. They spend huge amounts of money in marketing to acquire new customers.
Companies in SaaS (software as a service), a very strong business model, looking to grow aggressively will sometimes spend more than 100% of their annual revenues in sales and marketing when they feel confident that the company has a potential for explosive growth and marketplace disruption. See chart on this web page which shows a financial model for a SaaS startup: https://tomtunguz.com/sales-marketing-spend-model/.
A Seismic Shift in Sales and Marketing
Many people now believe that the buyer is in control of the sales / purchase process. At one time a high-powered sales staff was required for success. But things are a bit different now. Simply put, business is done differently.
Modern marketing approaches involve a series of touches or interactions between the prospect (buyer) and the company (seller). As the buyer moves through the sales funnel and goes deeper and further into a relationship with the company, the buyer’s perceived value or score is higher. Some marketing automation programs use sophisticated methods to score and rank a company’s hottest and most-likely-to-buy prospects.
Here’s how it works in a B2B example: A prospect does a web search. Prospect goes to seller’s web site. Prospect either signs up for email newsletter, or downloads a special report whitepaper. Two weeks pass. Seller sends prospect an email with invitation for a free trial, or free online demo. Prospect takes the free two week trial. Etc.
So, as you can see, this activity is ALL marketing related. It moves the prospect along. It “nurtures” the relationship and builds trust and reliability. It is predictable. The formula works.
There is no trade show. There is no sales call. There is no office visit from a regional sales representative who happens to be “in the area.” There are no endless voice mails left on the prospects voice mail.
Digital marketing is how buyers like to learn about, research, try out, evaluate, and decide on purchases. It’s buying on their terms, in their own way, with the buyer in control. The larger and more impactful the purchase, the more importance that a marketing process is followed in order to build trust and confidence.
Of course if the purchase is highly technical or needs a lot of education around the product or service, a thoughtful sales effort is needed. This educational needs-analysis process works even better if the company can offer a Sales Engineer or Customer Success Manager to answer questions and help onboard the new customer in a much more accommodative way. This can be a superior non-threatening way to help the prospect decide to buy from you.
How to Pitch Your Budget
If you are a marketer within a company, you probably have to pitch your budget yearly, and justify your spending. You have to ask yourself, How do I explain how important my proposed initiatives are?
When pitching, you need to focus on the what, why, and how much. Pick out what you want to spend money on, what the ROI is, and how much it will cost. This will give the budget approver exactly what they need from you. Support your reasoning with data. Keep it short, sweet, to the point, while pitching the crucial information.
It may be helpful to you to know what you would remove from the budget and what you would add to the budget. Your company could have extra funds to add to your budget, or need to decrease your budget. This will show the budget approver that you are prepared and have thought through your plan.
Most departments receive new budgets in the beginning of a fiscal year, and many companies use the calendar year as their fiscal year. Companies will try new promotions, offers, pricing, vendors, and other marketing approaches at the beginning of the year, quarter, or month.
We’ve noticed that the new year starting in January often brings about a whole new energy and interest in starting the new year fresh, with lots of optimism. Marketing departments of all kinds look for new ways to gain exposure, purchase advertising, send emails campaigns, and coordinate their social media efforts. What new tactics and approaches can you use that you may not have tried before?
Set your marketing budget, measure the impact, and reevaluate periodically. Find what works for your organization. As long as you set defined goals and milestones, and follow a plan to execute your strategy, your budgeting process will be the kick-off to a new season of marketing success for you and your organization.
6 Tactics to Drive Engagement and Generate Email Campaign Results
As we are entering Thanksgiving and the December holidays, you are probably starting to plan your holiday email marketing campaigns. Email and ecommerce have grown a lot over the last few years, as more and more people shop and buy online. Even brick and mortar locations can benefit from email reminders this year. Email is critical for getting people to your business.
Here are the key upcoming dates to launch themed email marketing campaigns:
Thanksgiving: November 26, 2020
Black Friday: November 27, 2020
Small Business Saturday: November 28, 2020
Cyber Monday: November 30, 2020
Giving Tuesday: December 1, 2020
Hannukkah: December 10, 2020 through December 18, 2020
Christmas: December 25, 2020
New Year’s Eve: December 31, 2020
New Year’s Day: January 1, 2021
Holiday marketing campaigns can be the holy grail of your business. It is your company’s final push of the year, and we want to tell you how you can make it great. Here is a list of our recommendations for successful holiday campaigns.
1) Use Holiday Buzz Words
Here is a list of phrases and words you can use that are non-denominational and buzz-worthy. These words can really get your customers in the holiday spirit!
Showing thankfulness: Thank you, Your Support, Our Appreciation for You
2) Deploy Mobile-Friendly Emails
60.9% of the U.S. buyer population make purchases from their mobile device. You need to make sure your email marketing campaign is mobile-friendly and easy to navigate. If you aren’t, you are going to have an incredible amount of lost sales.
Mobile friendly email is called “responsive.” It displays correctly on phones, tablets, laptops, and desktops, because it responds and renders correctly for best readability. Looks for responsive templates from your email service provider.
3) Align Your Content and Emails
Think about what makes the most sense for your business. What holidays are best for your business? For example, Black Friday deal email promotions would be best for stores that are online and brick-and-mortar. Companies like Best Buy, Target, and Walmart (see below for email) thrive during Black Friday.
But even if your business is a service business, or your products are more virtual, you can still create effective email campaigns around them. Offer savings, specials, discounts, coupons, and freebies to generate some buzz. Everyone wants a deal!
4) Make a Holiday Email Promotional Calendar
Create a calendar with weekly or daily promotions and deals. A visual calendar will make your customers excited. Better yet, it creates a month worth of email content for you.
This calendar will also make you think seriously about your promotions, the spacing of them, and how they may be received. This is your roadmap for the next two months.
5) Use Non-Traditional Holiday Colors
Brown and white, lavender and silver, and blue and white are all non-denominational colors that will stand out beside the obligatory red and green colored emails. The idea here is to stay away from the basic red and green themed emails that fill our inbox.
6) Add a Little Fun into It
Everyone loves graphics, GIFs, and memes! Add in a holiday-themed joke to make your reader’s day a little bit better. Careful use of emojis or holiday-themed graphics will help you with your competition. Have a silly contest to generate response and engagement. Make a simple survey for your subscribers with a holiday theme. Connect in a personal way.
Consider using a carefully planned editorial calendar to schedule and execute relevant, enticing promotions for increased sales this holiday season. Try to connect on a fun or genuine way for increased response. Try to do something a bit different to stand out, connect with your readers, and resonate with your subscribers. Inject some personality and humanity into your messages. These strategies will let your emails shine in all of your reader’s inboxes.
Writing allows you to communicate in a thoughtful manner when other vehicles of communication like distance and time zones are not feasible. It is a reliable form of business communication that professionals use every single day. It provides documented evidence, avoiding a ‘he said, she said’ situation.
Although there are all these positives to written communication, there are some negatives. When writing, you can never take your words back. You can send emails that you wish you could just take back. You could send accidental emails, sometimes to the wrong person. It could be detrimental for your relationships and even your career.
While you cannot take some of your writing ‘back’, you do have plenty of time to get it right before sending. Here is a list of circumstances in which you should step back from your desk, delete that draft, and go on with your day.
1) When You Are Emotional
Especially when you are mad. This is when you will say something you will regret.
You need to enter and exit a cooling down period, and then you are ready to go to discuss the situation with the individual.
If you need to let it out, you should write it down on a piece of paper, so you are not one of those people that accidentally sends the message.
2) When You Have Bad News to Share
Put yourself in somebody else’s shoes. No one likes to receive bad news over email. Bad news is better delivered in person. People want your personal attention when delivering bad news. It is the more respectful route, and your coworkers and bosses will appreciate that you had the courage to communicate the bad news in person.
3) When the Email Exchange Will Take More Than Four Emails
We will not lie to you; emailing does get in the way. It takes up a major chunk of your workday. Writing emails does get in the way of progress.
If a topic takes more than four emails to discuss, call a meeting. It will take way longer to draft and send four emails than having a quick 15-30 minute meeting.
4) When You Are Trying to Resolve Conflict
Pick up the phone, call a meeting, or meet at the water-cooler. Conflict issues that arise in the workplace or generally anywhere will never be resolved over online communication.
Have you ever been involved in an email exchange in which the participants try harder and harder with each back and forth to state their case more strongly each time? It often only infuriates the other person, and digs a whole deeper and deeper for you both. Try another way.
5) When You Have Had a Couple Drinks at Lunch
This is a no-brainer.
6) When Your Email is Simply Too Long
If your email is going to take at least two minutes to read, do not send it. Instead, call a meeting to explain the contents of that email.
7) When Your Email Could Have Legal Repercussions
Don’t put it in email if you are, for example, unhappy with a human resources decision, work at a publicly traded company and are commenting on company performance, setting up a romantic rendezvous with a coworker if it is against company policy, or soliciting work outside of your company such as a side-gig. There’s lots more too but you get the idea. Yes, people do these all the time! But why press your luck?
Email can be an amazingly efficient medium for communication. The key is knowing whether to send that email or walk away, delete it, or call a meeting. This could save your (work) life. If we all sent one less email per day, the world would be a better place.
If you struggle with any aspects of writing, or if you are an accomplished writer, you can benefit from a wide new array of AI-inspired software and web tools that can help you navigate writing challenges of all kinds. Now anyone can write better emails, blogs, titles, and marketing communications.
Do you feel like your emails are not workplace appropriate? Are you running out of content ideas? It is easy to become stressed about these issues. You want your email and content to share information, lock-in a business deal, or just simply make a request, but this can be difficult.
Now there’s a fix for these struggles. There are online tools that can help you write any email you need and generate content.
Co-Founder and Co-CEO of AI21labs, Yoav Shoham, believes “Words are crude and you don’t always find the exact words, though they exist. That is true for all of us, even good writers. Our goal is to lessen the gap.”
Here are a couple of writing assistant platforms.
AI21labs has recently released Wordtune. The extension allows you to alter your words. There are two tones, which are casual and formal. It also has the capability to shorten, expand, or completely rewrite your words.
Other applications that it includes are Smart Paste, Word Finder, proposed examples using similar sentences, and suggestions to keep your messages crystal clear. It does not get in the writer’s way, as you can choose when and where you want suggestions.
This extension is compatible with Google Applications, Outlook, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Messenger.
Grammarly is a writing assistant that scans your text for common and complex grammar mistakes. Spelling, style, and tone are Grammarly’s specialties. You will receive immediate suggestions that go way beyond grammar.
Grammarly can be used on different platforms like Outlook, Gmail, Salesforce, Slack, Twitter, and Facebook, to name a few.
One of Grammarly’s newest updates is perfect for your email marketing readers. It will organize your writing feedback by theme. You will be able to tell how each change helps your readers understand your message better. This will, in turn, help your readers and help you become a better writer.
Gmail Smart Compose
Gmail Smart Compose was released in 2018. It is free if you use Gmail.
The purpose of this feature is to help you type your emails faster. It eliminates repetitive writing, reduces spelling and grammar errors, and suggests contextual phrases.
You can simply hit the “Tab” button on your keyboard to add the suggested phrase to your email. Compared to Wordtune, it always predicts what you are going to type. However, if you prefer not to use this feature, it’s easy to turn it off.
Grammar might not be your only content problem. Some of us struggle with writer’s block, and we cannot think of topics to write about. Here are a few writing assistants that will get your creative juices flowing.
HubSpot Blog Topic Generator
This blog idea generator allows you to type in a idea in the form of a noun and will generate suggestions. You can get a week’s worth of blog ideas for free, or you can pay to receive a year’s worth of ideas. Not too shabby!
Portent Idea Generator
This one is a favorite. Works great with any topic. Try it and prove me wrong.
Portent’s Idea Generator is different than any other generator. You can type in your topic, just like the above platform, but it will generate eccentric, wacky titles that will definitely intrigue your readers. Some of the results can be really humorous, but also catchy!
We typed in email marketing and this is what we received:
This is a tool founded by online marketing expert Neil Patel. It allows you to search a keyword or phrase and see other content ideas written by other sources. A unique aspect about this feature is it provides you with a certain link’s estimated number of visits and how many backlinks it has.
Although you have to pay to receive more than ten ideas, this platform contains useful information that could be worth your while.
There are some great new writing, grammar, and topic tools at your disposal whenever you need them. Whether it be typos, a lack of content ideas, or complete change of tone, these platforms can transform your writing. Now you can use technology to write your best email marketing.