Is Email Dead Yet?

Posted November 15, 2011 by dmaatl
Categories: Email

If you missed last Luncheon with Simms Jenkins,  you will find below some great tips from Simms’ presentation!

By Simms Jenkins, CEO of BrightWave Marketing

Is Email Dead Yet?
Hardly. With new business models centered on email as the “product”, the return on investment still surging and innovation occurring in the email channel, email marketing is the go to marketing platform for any digital marketer.  BrightWave Marketing CEO Simms Jenkins spoke about the innovations of the hot again email channel and talked about where email is headed in the future. Jenkins, also the author of “The Truth About Email Marketing” presented how top brands and technology are making email marketing go beyond customer retention, loyalty and sales.  Additionally, Jenkins covered how email plays a crucial role in emerging digital platforms, such as social and mobile.  The questions of how email and social live together was not only addressed but real examples of how to better leverage the channels for the sake of your brand and sales were demonstrated as well. Be sure to review the presentation and discover insights into key industry trends and the road map of the future of email marketing

  • the “new” best practices
  • Learn from leading-edge case study examples
  • Understand how to better position email internally and find the right budget, partners and resources
  • Learn the latest research on how consumers view email in a Facebook world
  • Understand how to integrate email into complimentary channels like social, mobile and other emerging areas
  • Hear real examples from leading brands on how and what customers prefer for digital messaging
  • Discover why it is not an “either or” world but how to best position email as the hub of these communications internally and externally
  • Find out how Social check in, Qr Codes, SMS, Facebook and more can take your email program to the next level
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Top 5 Ways Businesses Can Use QR Codes

Posted November 15, 2011 by dmaatl
Categories: QR Codes

by Thomas Harpointner, CEO of AIS Media Inc.

U.S. QR code (“Quick Response Code”) usage is increasing – rapidly.  comScore reported in June 2011 that 14 million U.S. mobile users (6.2% of the total mobile audience) scanned a QR code on their mobile device. Not surprisingly, the study revealed that nearly 50% of a scanned QR code resulted from a printed magazine or newspaper. Over 23% scanned a QR code from a flyer, poster or kiosk. However, what may surprise you is that over 27% of users scanned a QR code from a website on a PC.

Here are some creative ways you can put QR codes to use:

    1. Contact info. Use a QR code on your business card that links to a landing page which contains all of your contact information and social network profiles on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc. You can also link a QR code to a map, providing directions to your business along with hours of operation.
    1. Product details.This can be particularly useful for retailers. Link a QR code to a webpage which contains more detailed information about a product including pictures, technical specifications, and user guides. QR codes can link to just about any type of content and provide additional information, including photos, reviews, directions, event schedules and even videos. Best Buy has already added QR codes next to most of their product labels and Home Depot plans to have a QR associated with every item in their store.Be sure to link to a mobile version of your website or webpage to provide customers the best possible experience.
    1. Discounts, promotions and giveaways. Use QR codes on your website, your advertisements and throughout your store to reward customers for their patronage and increase customer loyalty. Bluefly.com used a QR code during a 45 second TV commercial for “The Real Housewives of New York City”. Viewers who scanned the code were rewarded with a link to a special video episode and received a discount of $30 off $150 at Bluefly.com.You can take it one step further and tie in the viral power of social media marketing by rewarding users for Facebook ‘Likes’ and Twitter retweets.
    1. Use QR codes to increase your Fans, Followers and Subscribers. Link a QR code to a mobile-friendly landing page that contains Facebook ‘Like’ button, a link to your Twitter page or email sign-up form to create a greater level of engagement among your in-store visitors. Just be sure you provide people a compelling reason to scan your QR code and connect with you online. Keep in mind that the majority of people who connect with brands on social networks or subscribe to email lists do so to get special deals.
  1. Integrate the viral marketing power of social media into your QR code strategy. If you’ve developed a great offer around your QR code, you’ll want to spread the word – as quickly and cost-effectively as possible. A great way to help achieve this is by empowering users to spread the word about your offer to their social network. Likify enables you to create a QR code that links directly to your business Facebook page ‘Like’ button.
Creative QR Code Example - AIS Media, Inc.
Creative QR Code Example – AIS Media, Inc.

The comScore study also analyzed the source and location of QR code scanning and found that users are most likely to scan QR codes found in newspapers, magazines, on product packaging and do so while at home or in a store.

Reading a QR code on your smartphone requires a QR code reader app such as Red Laser or I-Nigma, both of which are available for free.

To create a QR code, you’ll need a QR generator such as Kaywa, which enables you to create QR codes that link to a web page, video, text, phone numbers, or SMS. Kerem Erkan offers more extensive capabilities and the option to customize the color and format of your QR code..

Business QR Code Usage [infographic] AIS Media, Inc.

QR codes produce measurable results.

Since QR codes typically link to web pages, videos, images etc., it’s easy to measure performance. You can link your QR code to a specific web page (preferably mobile-optimized) and use a URL shortener such as bit.ly or goo.gl. Both services offer you the option of creating a QR code and provide useful performance analytics.

Have you used QR codes in your marketing? If so, please share how and the type of results you’ve seen.

The SEO Tactics Chart: Tips to Dominate Your Search Category

Posted November 15, 2011 by dmaatl
Categories: SEO

By Ryan Woolley, Vice President of Client Services, Response Mine Interactive

Over the past 10 years, RMI has delivered hundreds of millions of dollars in organic revenue for our clients. The world of organic search has evolved dramatically, as has the search engines results page (SERP), and therefore also the tactics required to achieve success in this space.

Even with the dynamic evolution of the channel, we’ve found principles that work time and time again throughout the years. These include to:

  • Apply a direct response methodology to organic search
  • Go granular in keyword-level data analysis
  • Strive for quality, not quantity

Companies that are driving large-scale, sustainable revenue and customer acquisition through the organic channel have embraced these main beliefs. In many cases, they treat and measure search engine optimizations much like a paid search program – with discipline around testing, experimentation, and granular analysis.

RMI’s SEO Tactics Chart unveils many of the tactics that we’ve executed as a result of this way of thinking. Here are some of the key attributes addressed in the chart to help you dominate your search category.

Keywords: Conversion Intent
It’s critical to consider the mindset of consumers in their decision-making process and the impact this has on conversion. In the keyword realm, we often speak of this as Head, Torso, and Long Tail keywords. Think of it as a spectrum, where Head terms commonly drive the volume and brand exposure, but not necessarily the end goal of conversion as they are more research-driven. Moving through Torso to Long Tail and SKU-level terms you’ll find the volume begins to thin out as the conversion rate increases. Building revenue opportunity models that factor volume and conversion will usually lead you to a focused set of keywords that include a healthy mix of each keyword type in your program.

On-Site: Content & Quality
Simply adding content can be a challenge in many cases, particularly when dealing with e-commerce sites in the retail space. Sometimes it’s a platform restriction, other times there are concerns that adding content will distract the user or push product down the page thus negatively impacting conversion. All are relevant concerns. What’s worked best for us is placing a small amount of keyword-focused content above the product table near the top of the page while adding several short paragraphs of content below the product table near the bottom of the page. This usually satisfies the business, the end user, and the engine.

One of the cornerstones to successful on-site optimization is authentic, quality content. By authentic we are referring to the uniqueness of the content. Again using retail as the example, it’s common to find businesses selling tens of thousands of SKUs, each with a dedicated page on their site. The idea of adding product-level content for each page can be a time-consuming proposition.

A common quick fix that businesses will apply is to repurpose or “borrow” content about that product from the manufacture website. Most often this content adds little to no value to the retailer’s organic efforts, as it was not the original publisher of the content. Unique content that is first published on your own site is what you should be striving for when evaluating the value that your content will bring from an organic perspective.

Off-site: Diversification
You absolutely must have a data-driven keyword strategy in place to drive results from your link building efforts. Identify keywords that have the highest likelihood of driving incremental online conversions and set those terms as your target.

These keywords become the genesis of your anchor text. But, don’t fall into the trap that many SEOs do. Here’s a common problem:  “I want to rank for “men’s jackets” and in doing so I’ve determined that all of the links that I will attain will be targeted with “men’s jackets” as the anchor text.” This is a mistake. While you certainly need some focus on the primary keywords within your anchor text, it’s equally as important to work with derivatives of that keyword.

Moderation and diversification are important principles in anchor text selection. Do your homework and identify a set of valuable derivates such as “men’s winter jackets” and “cheap men’s jackets.” Diversifying the keywords within your link profile will help it in appearing natural.

An anchor text usage rule of thumb that we’ve seen success with looks something like this:

  • 50% containing the exact match keyword
  • 30% to 40% containing keyword derivatives
  • 10% to 20% containing brand terms/URL

Reporting & Analytics
Conversions, then Traffic, then Rankings. This is the mindset used when we approach any SEO program. Focusing attention on keywords that have the highest likelihood to convert to a sale or lead is not always synonymous with high traffic terms. Spend the time in your analytics package to understand the difference and apply more pressure to keywords that will increase revenue/leads.

And don’t forget about tracking the activity that is occurring in your call center as a result of your organic efforts. In our experience, more than 90% of the businesses we’ve encountered have overlooked this – even in instances where they are tracking call center conversions from paid search. The technology is there (we have had success with ClickPath,) and if your business model is reliant on call center activity for conversions, the information available through this tracking typically opens up new opportunities and gives you a much more accurate view on the entirety of the results you are driving.

About the Author

Ryan Woolley is vice president of client services for RMI, an award-winning digital agency that helps companies acquire more customers using lead generation programs. For more than a decade, RMI has generated billions of dollars in revenue for world-renowned brands in the b2b, healthcare, travel, and home services channels using its strategic customer acquisition approaches.

DMA Atlanta Luncheon | Thursday November 17th | Leveraging Multi-Channel Marketing

Posted November 15, 2011 by dmaatl
Categories: Luncheon

Joe Lobosco | Sr. Director, Business Development
Vertis Communications

Thursday, November 17th, 2011 | 11:30-1:30 p.m

Where: Maggiano’s – Perimeter  |4400 Ashford Dunwoody Rd | Atlanta, GA 30346 | Phone: 770-804-3313

Description:

Are you searching for a format that gives substantial substance on how to navigate multi-channel marketing and drive successful results for your prospects and customers as well as profits to your bottom line?

Please join Joe LoBosco and Vertis Communications at the DMA luncheon, where Joe will share his unique perspective on how to succeed in multi-channel marketing.

Joe will reveal the “formula” behind how Vertis worked with top corporations to drive successful multi-channel campaigns such as:

  • Harley Davidson
  • Ford Motor
  • MGM Grand
  • Lowes
  • Learning Care Group
  • Sir Speedy
  • Best Buy

Please invite a prospect or client company. Register early for best prices.

Registration

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QR Codes and Smartphones: 3 Marketing Blunders to Avoid

Posted October 14, 2011 by dmaatl
Categories: mobile marketing, QR Codes

by Paul Prisco, Founder and Principal at Dog Food Design.

Everyone’s talking about QR codes. I bet you’re asking why should I read another article about QR codes?

Today’s consumer is quickly adapting to QR codes as smartphone usage explodes. According to Nielsen projections there will be more smartphones in the U.S. than basic feature phones by year’s end. This is the main reason why you should start paying attention to QR codes—NOW!

Overall time spent on smartphones is increasing rapidly—in countries like Japan social media usage on mobile outnumbers desktop almost 6×1. The convergence of social media (Facebook), mobile devices (Apple) and search (Google) should be a key driver of your strategy given your brand objectives. This merger leads to huge opportunities like advertising, mobile commerce, and gaming.

The strategic value of QR code marketing is often questioned given the recent well-publicized mishaps. A few blunders that come to mind are:

BLUNDER #1 – Placing QR Codes in Remote Areas

QR codes are useless if they can’t be scanned. If you’re placing QR codes in areas like subways it’s not going to fly. Scout out the area first to make sure you’ll get service. Don’t forget to place in locations people can actually get to!

Consider placing inexpensive items like a postcard or sticker in those “No Service Zones” that can be scanned at a later date.

BLUNDER #2 – Pointing QR Codes to Your Desktop Web Site

To achieve results they first have to be measurable, right? You can’t measure anything in marketing without isolating the call to action. So, if you’re pointing folks from a print ad to a desktop site you’re making measurement difficult. Ideally, you want a simple mobile site, which is effortless in terms of usability and has a support mechanism for a call to action. This will allow you to:

• Tailor the user experience

• Create relevant content

• Measure the effort

To keep it simple direct consumers to a Youtube video, map or a phone call—without a mobile site. You don’t have to develop a full-blown mobile site if it doesn’t align with your budget or marketing objectives. A landing page that coordinates with your call to action or offer will do the trick as well.

BLUNDER #3 – Crafting QR Codes that Don’t Scan

There is room for creativity when creating QR codes but there are technical limitations. A QR code needs to be at least 1″ x 1″ and most you’ll find are 1.75″ x 1.75″ to be on the safe side.

Avoid placing on textiles such as t-shirts, which in theory is a great idea but doesn’t work that well. QR codes will work on color backgrounds—but the message here is to test, test, test! Make sure they work on different phones, different angles and on different substrates and keep testing!

All of these marketing blunders reinforce the fact that marketing isn’t always executed with the consumer in mind. Placing your customer first and thinking of ways a QR code will add value to the process should be top of mind.

Paul Prisco is the Founder and Principal at Dog Food Design, A design and direct marketing agency for brands. He can be reached at 404.829.2704 or paul@dogfooddesign.com.

7 Tips to Improve Your Unsubscribe Process

Posted October 14, 2011 by dmaatl
Categories: Email, Loyalty

by Chel Wolverton, WhatCounts

Too often in email marketing the unsubscribe process is overlooked.  Marketers have the attitude of, “They’re leaving anyway; why does it matter if the process is a good one?”  This is a huge missed opportunity because the unsubscribe process can actually be used to winback your subscribers.  Read on for seven tips on how to improve your unsubscribe process, and feel free to comment below if you have any tips of your own!

Tip #1: Be Immediate!

While the CAN-SPAM Act says that marketers have 10 days to remove an opt-out from their list, best practice is to implement an immediate removal.  This will help to keep your recently-departed subscribers happy, and will cut down on complaints.

For example: If you opted out from a company’s emails, and then received another email from them the next day, wouldn’t that make you irate?  You’d probably think that your opt-out request wasn’t received, or was ignored, and you’d end up hitting the “Mark as Spam” button, thus registering a complaint.

Remember the typical subscriber isn’t as email savvy as we may think they are, so they won’t necessarily know that you have a 10-day leeway to remove them from your list.  Nor will they care – they’ll expect to be removed immediately!

Respect and honor your subscriber’s wishes, and make sure their opt-out requests are taken care of and acted upon immediately.  If you’re using an email service provider (ESP) to help you with your email campaigns, you should be able to take advantage of their immediate, maybe even “one-click”, opt-out mechanism.

Tip #2: Don’t Hide the Unsubscribe

We are a big fan of making the opt-out link within your emails very easy to find.  In fact, we often encourage clients to “welcome the unsubscribe”.  After all, an opt-out is much better for your reputation than a complaint.

These days, subscribers have become accustomed to seeing and using the “Mark As Spam” button within their email client.  This button feels secure to them, as they trust that by using it they’ll no longer receive emails from your company again.  The button is also easy to find.  The drawback for email marketers is that every click of this button is registered as a complaint for your company and that ultimately hurts your sending reputation.

In comparison, opt-outs do not hurt your reputation, but the option is often hard to find.  The opt-out link in most emails is in super tiny font at the bottom of the email.  Instead of discouraging subscribers from opting out by trying to hide the link from them, try highlighting it in red or moving it to the top of your email.

We have had few clients who were seeing high complaint rates try this, and the simple act of moving their opt-out link to the pre-header area of their email significantly cut down on their complaint rates.

Tip #3: Offer Opt-Down or Pause Options

Have you ever received too many emails from a sender and wanted to cut down on the number of emails you received, but you didn’t want to opt-out completely?  We all have cluttered inboxes.  Help your subscribers to manage theirs by offering an opt-down option on your opt-out page.

With this option, subscribers would have the ability to receive less frequent mailings from you instead of opting out completely.  For example, offer a quarterly “best of” newsletter instead of a monthly one.  Letting your subscribers choose what works for them will cut down on your unsubscribe rate and will enhance the subscriber experience.

Consider the idea of offering a pause option on the opt-out page.  DailyCandy does a great job of this; check out their opt-out page.  When you go on vacation, you can pause your DailyCandy emails and set them to start back up again when you return.  This helps to better manage a cluttered inbox, and also allows you to stay subscribed.

Tip #4: Show Subscribers What Else You Have to Offer

Opt-outs often occur when subscribers are just no longer interested in the email content.  If you have other types of emails that you send to subscribers, make sure these are highlighted on your opt-out page.

For example: Take another look at the DailyCandy opt-out page.  You’ll see they have a preference center at the bottom of their opt-out page that lists all of their subscription types.  So, if you were, say, moving from San Francisco and want to start receiving the Dallas emails instead, you could make that change instead of having to opt-out completely.

Showing your subscribers what else you have to offer will decrease your opt-out rate and increase your subscriber retention rate.  Again, it’s all about letting the subscriber choose what works best for them!

Tip #5: Reveal a Little Personality

The typical opt-out process is boring.  You click on a link in the email, you’re brought to a page, confirm your opt-out, and that’s it.  With this type of process, the subscriber will feel no remorse at all about opting out.  Try shaking things up a bit by adding some personality to your opt-out process.

That could be with a personalized opt-out page or with a fun twist.  Take Groupon for example.  When you opt-out from their list, you’re immediately removed, but also introduced to “Derrick”, the guy who thought you’d enjoy receiving the daily Groupon email and who you can now punish. Check out the full video here; it’s pretty funny, and maybe even funny enough to make people change their minds about their opt-out.

Tip #6: Survey your Unsubscribes

Wouldn’t it be great to know why people opt-out from your emails?  Ask them!  Take our client Cardstore.com for example.  On their opt-out page, they provide a drop-down menu for people to answer why they are opting out.  The options are:  Never Opted into List, Too Frequent Communication, Not Interested in Material, and Other.  The subscriber can then elaborate on their decision to opt-out in the comment box provided.

This information is not required, but we actually see a lot of people take advantage of this option, and the data can provide some great insight as to how Cardstore.com can improve their email program.

Tip #7: Periodically Test it Yourself

Finally, don’t forget to go through the opt-out process yourself every so often to make sure all is working correctly.  We typically recommend doing this at least once a quarter and definitely before any high email volume times of year (for example: the holiday season).

Go through the entire process to (1) ensure the opt-out link is easy to find within your email, (2) make sure the email link is working and takes you to the correct page, and (3) the opt-out request is processed within an appropriate amount of time (see tip #1).  Checking this process periodically will ensure you are staying CAN-SPAM compliant, and also giving your subscribers, even those on their way out, a good experience from your emails.

Remember: even subscribers who have opted out are still future re-subscribers and maybe even customers.  Treat them as valued subscribers even during the unsubscribe process, and show them that you really care about their preferences.  It may just help to win them over again!

DMA Atlanta Luncheon | The New Inbox & Other Email Marketing Innovations

Posted October 14, 2011 by dmaatl
Categories: Email, Luncheon, Uncategorized

Simms Jenkins – CEO BrightWave Marketing

Thursday, October 20, 2011 | 11:30-1:30 p.m

Where: Maggiano’s – Perimeter  |4400 Ashford Dunwoody Rd | Atlanta, GA 30346 | Phone: 770-804-3313

Description:

Email is the digital glue for most brands and plays a significant role in customer and prospect communications. As the original digital social network, Simms Jenkins (CEO of BrightWave Marketing, North America’s leading email focused digital agency and the author of “The Truth About Email Marketing”) will demonstrate how email plays a crucial role in emerging digital platforms, such as social and mobile. The questions of how email and social live together will not only be addressed but real examples of how to better leverage the channels for the sake of your brand and sales.

About the Speaker:

Jenkins has led BrightWave Marketing in establishing a top tier client list including Affiliated Computer Services (A Xerox Company), Chick-fil-A, Cox Business, O’Charley’s, RaceTrac Petroleum and Sports Illustrated.

Jenkins was awarded the prestigious AMY 2010 Marketer of the Year from the American Marketing Association for being the top agency marketer and the Email Marketer of the Year at the Technology Association of Georgia’s Tech Marketing Awards.

Jenkins is the author of The Truth About Email Marketing, which was published by Pearson’s Financial Times Press and is currently the Email Marketing Best Practices Columnist for Click, the largest resource of interactive marketing news, information, commentary, advice, opinion, research, and reference in the world, online or off.

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