A Tried and True Sales Funnel?

Are the principles from 1898 that laid the groundwork for the marketing industry still relevant to today’s consumers?

No matter where we went to school or when we started our marketing careers, we’ve heard of and used the AIDA model for our marketing funnels. When Elias St. Elmo Lewis first published his thoughts on advertising to consumers in 1898, he created a new standard for businesses to communicate with their consumers and forever changed the entrepreneurial marketplace.

An excerpt from Lewis’ “Catch-Line and Argument,” in The Book-Keeper (Vol.15; p. 124; Feb. 1903), includes his perspective on the three fundamental advertising principles:

“The mission of an advertisement is to attract a reader, so that he will look at the advertisement and start to read it; then to interest him, so that he will continue to read it; then to convince him, so that when he has read it he will believe it. If an advertisement contains these three qualities of success, it is a successful advertisement.”

What is AIDA and how does it work?

The three principles Lewis identified are the basis of what would eventually be called the AIDA model. This model categorizes the cognitive stages a consumer passes through while determining on whether to purchase a product or service. This funnel model is made up of four stages:

Stage 1 – Awareness: Familiarize consumers with your product or service.

Stage 2 – Interest: Engage with consumer about the benefits of your product or service to encourage the consumer to research further.

Stage 3 – Desire: Establish an emotional connection, through brand personality, to transition the consumer from interest in the product/service to ‘wanting it’.

Stage 4 – Action: Create a clear and obvious call to action so that the consumer interacts with your company and takes the next step (i.e. buys the product, downloads a brochure, calls for more information, etc.)

So how can you use this in creating your marketing funnel? Consider this model to be more of a communications pipeline as it defines the mental stages consumers need to be guided through before deciding on making a purchase. Each stage requires using different platforms and engagement styles to communicate the relevant information.

As you prepare your basic marketing funnel, ask yourself some key questions to be effective with each stage:

  • Awareness: Who are the target consumers for our products/services? How will those consumers become familiar with our products/ services? What is our brand’s personality and how do we portray it? Which marketing channel/platform should we use (ie. Email campaigns, search advertising, landing pages, social media, etc.)
  • Interest: How will we gain our target consumer’s interest? What is our content strategy? What solution does our product/service provide? Do we have social proof available to back up our claims? How do we make this information available?
  • Desire: What makes our product or service desirable? How do we interact personally to make an emotional connection?
  • Action: What is our call to action? Is it easy for consumers to connect and where would they expect to find it? What offers should we present?

Now that we have looked at this model, the question is, does this model work for modern marketers? For over 100 years the AIDA model has been a staple of marketing around the globe, but as technology has progressed, consumers are changing their behaviors. The founding principles are still very relevant, but they stop short at recognizing the opportunity to nurture current customers into repeat shoppers and turning those customers into advocates for one’s company. In our next article, we’ll discuss how modern marketers are expanding the AIDA model and effectively turning their traditional marketing funnels upside down.

The 7 Common Mistakes that will ruin your brand’s credibility

As a marketer, you’re sending out dozens of communications a week to your subscribers. Have you ever quickly written an email and not had time to test it? Let’s face it, sometimes we make mistakes. Most of the time those mistakes are forgivable typos, but other times those mistakes can cause serious implications.

Below you’ll find the biggest mistakes we’ve come across in our 23 years of sending emails out for our clients, avoid these mistakes to ensure your brand’s credibility isn’t destroyed:

Mistake #1: Including inappropriate content in your test messages
Make sure that the content in your test emails are appropriate and something your clients wouldn’t find offensive if you accidentally sent it to them. Even if you’re just testing out a triggered mailing for an upcoming campaign, keep it professional. We have seen clients send personal or even offensive messages to their clients by accident when they test their campaigns.

Mistake #2: Not including working hyperlinks
You’ve probably all received an email that said “click here” sending you to a landing page to receive a discount offer or coupon. We’ve seen clients not include links when they set up their buttons, or forget to take out the placeholder link when they send their emails. Make sure to double check your links so you aren’t wasting your customer’s engagement on sending them to irrelevant or inappropriate landing pages.

Mistake #3: Using your personal free email account instead of your business address
Keep your personal and business email separate! You don’t want to email your clients from your middle school email address. We’ve had clients mistakenly enter their personal email address as the “from” address. Customers most likely won’t want to buy from companies sending from addresses like: TeenStud2000@hotmail.com or CutiePrincess97@aol.com. Make sure that the “from” address is coming from a professional business email rather than a personal email, and that all aspects of the email are professional and relevant to the recipient.

Mistake #4: Not spell-checking, proof reading or fact-checking your work
In personal communications it might not matter if you misspell some words or use abbreviations, but professionally, your customers expect more.  Bad grammar and poor spelling signal to customers that your business isn’t on the up-and-up. Additionally, make sure to fact-check your messaging. Flat out lies and misrepresentation of facts will cause you to lose the respect and trust of your audience.

Mistake #5: Awkward or suspicious subject lines
The most important aspect of your emails is the subject line. Some of the subject lines we’ve seen have amazed us! Subject lines that start out with something like: “this is not spam” or “ACTION REQUIRED” are huge red flags. Other red flags include words in ALL CAPITAL LETTERS, or unnecessary punctuation, for example: “NEED HELP?!?!?!? GET THIS PRODUCT FOR FREE!!!!!”

Your subject line should be a short description of the email message. The line should be engaging, not something that scares readers away.

Mistake #6: Not removing standard filler text from an email template
If you’re using an email template, make sure to take out lines such as “insert text here” or “add image above”. No matter what the email message is, filler text needs to be cleared from the email before it’s sent out to your recipients. Otherwise, it looks unprofessional and it is clear that you were not putting your best effort to make the email template look professional.

Mistake #7: Copy and pasting from Microsoft Word into your HTML editor
Word or other document editors are great for drafting your content (spell check!), but if you copy and paste that content directly into your template, you run the risk of causing formatting errors. Make sure to paste as plain text or use the “copy from word” feature found in most editors to avoid issues. Also make sure to always test your messages using a product like Email on Acid to make sure that your messages can be viewed properly no matter how your clients choose to read your email.

Can Artificial Intelligence help you become a more effective marketer?

From Alexa to Watson we’ll discuss how AI is going to enable marketers to be more powerful than ever.

AI assistants are everywhere it seems. When many people hear the phrase Artificial Intelligence (AI), their minds immediately conjure up images of Hal from 2001 a Space Odyssey or some malevolent gadget from Netflix’s Black Mirror. In real life, however, AI isn’t a sci-fi villain, but a powerful tool to make your life more efficient and organized. These new assistants wake you up in the morning by turning on the lights, reading the news and reminding you about your day’s appointments. In the evening they lock your doors, order your groceries and turn off the lights.

As our days become easier and more efficient, technology companies are using the successes in the home to develop new ways for AI to help improve the efficiency of business. Companies, like Net Atlantic, are leveraging new machine learning algorithms to enhance business workflows and improve a company’s bottom line. But what do we mean when we say “machine learning algorithms?”

To put it simply, technology companies have written complex search query and data analysis codes, called algorithms, to look for and interpret massive amounts of data based on select rules. The computer extracts information from the data to determine trends and patterns in a process known as predictive analytics. Machine learning occurs when a computer combines the use of algorithms and predictive analytics to determine probable outcomes.

So how can AI with machine learning help you become more effective? Imagine that you want to run a summer promotion for your business. AI assistants can look at every communication you have ever made to your customer base and can determine the words or phrases that are best for you to use for the campaign. AI can also recommend the individuals in your audience most likely to engage with your messages and even tell you the optimum time to send out your messages. How much more effective could you be if an AI assistant, integrated into your marketing automation software, told you: who is most likely to respond, when the best time to contact those customers, and what messaging is the most attractive to your audience?

As AI revolutionizes the way in which we, as marketers, communicate with our customers, the workflow of marketing departments will adapt. AI has the potential to save countless hours of marketers studying data and spending more time creating engaging content for their audience. In our next post, we’ll dive deeper to explore how AI is already changing the way marketers approach communicating with their customers.

Making Email Marketing Productivity a Priority

Making software that’s easy to use, full of features, and delivers on its promise is what we all expect from software companies.

But what about Productivity?

Can software really help a user do their job better, faster, with less keystrokes, and with more efficiency?

Yes.

I’ve used software programs that are very well-designed, that help me work better, faster, and especially smarter. I like that. Examples that come to mind include Microsoft Word, and Microsoft Excel. Like them or not, they do a good job of helping the user write and edit documents, and manage complex spreadsheets of information. They do an awful lot more too!

And now we have that same productivity in Email Marketing.

LM14 Mailing overview
ListManager 14

Net Atlantic’s new ListManager version 14 is now released, and contains a myriad of productivity improvements. In fact, it’s been designated our Productivity Edition.

The new ListManager 14 contains four key new areas of enhancements to explore:

  1. Productivity Improvements – with a new streamlined interface, the email marketing platform boasts a new easy to use drag and drop template designer which makes responsive email templates very easy to use. Also included are Automatic Audience Segmentation, and One-click list optimization and import with List Buddy
  2. Data Analytics and Reporting – including very high levels of detail on delivery of your email, deep engagement statistics, and letter grades assigned to your email campaigns to help you easily evaluate your performance.
  3. Dynamic Design Tools – new responsive email designer, responsive templates, and Email on Acid integration helps you create attractive and highly effective email campaigns which render properly on all devices.
  4. Advanced Security – The latest TLS (Transport Layer Security) deployment, advanced encryption, and SSL connections keep your data secure.

If email marketing is an important part of your job, take a look at the new Productivity Edition.

To learn more about the ListManager 14 Productivity Edition visit NetAtlantic.com.

ROI: Using Email Marketing as Part of Your Multi/Omni-channel Campaigns

You have a wealth of tools to choose from when developing an online marketing strategy, and there’s no doubt that certain tactics are more effective than others depending on the channel. However, there aren’t many content marketing formats that are successful across multiple channels and numerous campaigns. Email marketing is the exception to that principle, as it’s one of the best tools you can count on for purposes of ROI. Here’s why email is so useful and some tips on what you can do to harness that power.

Net Atlantic Gives Back: 2015 Scholarship Winners!

Salem, MA – June 24, 2015 – Net Atlantic congratulates Ashley Augulewicz (pictured left) and Madeline Thomas (pictured center), both of Beverly High School, on winning the Net Atlantic 2015 Scholarship awards for Science and Technology Achievement, as well as Leadership Achievement, respectively.

You’ve Surveyed Your Audience. Now What?

Analyzing Survey Data

Triggered surveys give you rapid insight into the quality of your customer care, your purchasing process, and ways to improve the user experience. By gathering and analyzing data and feedback from your customers (in real-time, no less), you learn more about them and gain valuable insight as to how you might optimize your email marketing programs to better suit them. When you can identify your prospects’ and customers’ needs and pain points, you can address them more quickly and more accurately.

Don’t Read Minds. Use a Survey

Don't Read Minds. Use A Survey

If you want to know how to increase your business, just ask your customers. Why waste time guessing? Just ask. In particular, inquire about what it is your customers expect from you, what features of your product or service they most enjoy, what they think about your customer service, and what exactly you could be improving. Put simply, you possess the ability to track customer satisfaction and dissatisfaction directly by surveying your customers. Plus, the fact that you, as a business, are expressing a desire to hear them out in order to improve their experience with you will always sit favorably with customers.

Why is My Email Marked as Spam?

It’s every email marketer’s worst nightmare. They spend days, or even weeks working on a perfect email design, layout, length, and subject line. When they find out from their customer or prospect that the message ended up in their spam folder, it causes extreme frustration.

If you’ve found yourself in this situation, you aren’t alone. Of the billions of emails that are marked as spam on a daily basis, many of them are well-meaning marketers who simply made a few mistakes with their email campaign.

Here are a few of the most common reasons that you are having trouble reaching the inbox of your recipients, and some of the best practices to correct these issues.