Email Marketing Key Takeaways from DGS4

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Watch a replay of the Email Marketing Panelists at Digital Growth Summit:

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Matthew Beckman, Moderator, IBM - Anita Taylor, Hopscotch - Elizabeth Jacobi, Javelin Marketing - Justin Soni, Silverpop Systems - Justin Freeman, LegalZoom - Rikke Alderson, Big 5 Sporting Goods - Sheena Graham, Relationship One

Personalizing emails to increase engagement

What tactic are you using today to define gains towards better relevancy, towards engagement and personalization?

Segmenting your email list and personalizing your emails can significantly improve your open rate. - @AnitaMTaylor

I have an interesting story about this that happened a couple of weeks ago at Hopscotch. The company had been sending out 1400 cold sales emails-1400 emails without any responses. We sent an email out to 25 people and got 3 demos. So 1400 emails, zero. 25 emails, three. How did we do it? We did it through segmentation, we segmented a very specific group of customers with a strong subject line, "Are your mobile apps great and boring?" That was the question. We knew they had great and boring apps because we knew who had built their apps. That email got a 47% open rate and resulted in a 10% conversion rate. - Anita Taylor

Make sure your emails have a clear, defined call-to-action that is relevant to your customers. - @Graham_Sheena

If you are going to add to your personalization, use the data that you already have. You already know their first name, you already know the industry that they are in, etc. Use that information to tailor your message and that is going to increase your engagement with your customers. Also make sure that your emails all have a clear, defined call-to-action and make sure that it is relevant to your customers. As Anita said, she asked a specific question because she already knew the answer. You know who your customers are so use that information to tailor your message and make sure that you have a specific action that you want them to perform whether it is a demo, a sales call, downloading a PDF or even a survey. Anything that you can do to gauge your engagement with your customers. - Sheena Graham

For a better email response rate use data based on where your customers are browsing on your website. - @Jac_EJ

There is data that you can collect from your subscribers, but also you can use inferred data based on where your customers are browsing on your website. If you are able to use that data to tailor your emails, then you are going to have a much better response rate and you can really get down to personalized one-to-one messaging. - Elizabeth Jacobi

I worked for the largest entertainment company in Canada, and we were promoting home screen services in addition to the movie theater service. Taking advantage of the inclimate weather that Canada often has, we would use that as a data source to personalize emails to them. So if it was raining in Toronto or Vancouver, we would trigger an email to say, "You're not going outside, you're not doing anything right now, why not watch a movie?" This way we hit them with an email that was relevant to them. Even if you just have a postal code for the city that they live in, you can use information in that area. I also have worked on a lot of sporting events where we send out stadium reminders for people who might be coming to the game with construction in the area, weather that day, and things that are informative for people traveling. You can use this as an opportunity to not just inform but also to engage and to learn more about what these people want to receive. - Justin Soni

Use your customers' postal data to send personalized emails triggered by weather or local news. - @Silverpop

For Big 5, we carry so many different products that we find it complicated to be that personal with the tools that we currently have; however, we have been able to develop sub targeting sections within our large database to try to make email content relevant to customers. The evidence is in the engagement, so pay attention to the engagement rates, the click through rates, what kind of product pages they are going to and what kind of categories, and use that information later. - Rikke Alderson

Find the ways in which you can make your emails relevant to your customers based on their behaviors. Their behaviors are the evidence of whether or not they like the way that you are interacting with them. - Rikke Alderson

The categories, or segments within your database, also have different engagement rates. Our firearms are a very engaged market and a very engaged group, very different from a footwear person. It's important to really track who you are trying to get to and set up metrics in advance so that you know what you are hoping to do and you know when you have succeeded. - Rikke Alderson

Use your data to send your customers something unique. - @TheJustyAllen

Identify where you have gaps in your data to target and get relevant data so that you can push to people and get them something unique that you may not have thought was possible before. We are seeing people doing weather targeting and they did not used to do this, and so you can look at other places and see what they are doing to get to their customers and copy those strategies and re-evaluate your own. Look at how your business fits into those strategies and how you can collect that data to use those strategies to build that personal element of contact with the customer. - Justin Freeman

I was at a TED Talk a couple of weeks ago and they said the average marketer is opening between 15 to 30 applications on a given day so that can be analytics platforms, ecommerce, simple Word/Powerpoint, etc. There is a lot of complexity there and capturing that data within your marketing ecosystem. - Matthew Beckman


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Integrating email data across platforms

Do you have any tips for integrating data across a variety of platforms, and eliminate that pain point of gathering analytics from many different applications?

Your email system should not only be integrated with ecommerce, but also with your in-store system. - @Rikkelise6

From Big 5's perspective, it is a very silo-universe. As a big company, what happens in our stores sometimes stays in our stores, which is a problem for us. Around data sets, I think it is important to pick the points that you think make sense first and then doing baby steps in the right direction. None of it can be done at once, or very rarely can be done at once, so figuring out where your easy pain points are and your easy connections to the most complex connections can help you try to run those parallel to one another and move forward. For us, we integrated our ecommerce system into our email system, but our in-store system does not connect to anything right now so we have been working very painfully to try to get that data connected into what is happening in our ecommerce as well as what our users are doing in terms of our email marketing. - Rikke Alderson

Make sure that everyone in your team is on the same page and data is being shared amongst all departments. - @Jac_EJ

We see this a lot with clients and various applications are managed by multiple divisions and I think that is why it gets complicated. If there is a way for you to bring the people who head each of these applications together and see what you can share, then integrations are going to become that much easier. I think now that there are more and more applications and more and more departments that all have a hand in areas of marketing and technology, it is becoming even more complicated. This just makes it even more important to connect with members from each team and make sure that everyone is on the same page, that the data is being shared amongst each of the departments. - Elizabeth Jacobi

Choose email software that provides the data that you are looking for and integrates with your CRM. - @Graham_Sheena

I would also recommend choosing software packages that already provide the data that you are looking for, because I've realized sometimes cool new email platforms are nice, but then when it can't hook up to my CRM, it doesn't make sense. Pick a solid software, test it out, ask for demos, request that you can go in and look at it to see how it works. Some people say that they have an integration with SalesForce, but then they tell you that you need an API or another data warehouse to connect to it so ask all of the right questions. Other departments may have information that you need so talk to them about leveraging that information. It's important to connect because you want to make sure that you can still get the data no matter what software the other department is using whether it's through IT or a data warehouse, etc. These are important questions particularly if you want to grow in the future. Think about what you want to do in the future and pick software that uses the features that you want to have in the future, not necessarily what you are using right now. - Sheena Graham

The challenge for classic marketers is that we don't come from data backgrounds. - @AnitaMTaylor

Whether you are a start-up or whether you are a large company, there is a challenge for everyone. I just came from a large utility that makes billions of dollars and has 13,000 employees, data was impossible for them and as a start-up data is impossible for us as well. I think one of the challenges for us as classic marketers is that we don't come from data backgrounds so it is all a little bit scary for us. I think the answer is that you have to start where you are because if you can use what you have to send more relevant personal messages to your people, you are going to be better off. - Anita Taylor

Don't be in such a rush to pick a technology. The more time that you can spend really analyzing what your business needs are and picking a technology that matches that business need, the better off you are because integrations are complicated and sophisticated. Sometimes people are in a rush to meet a very specific need but I think you need to think big picture and not be so hurried. Understand the technology that you are choosing and make sure it will meet the needs of today, six months from now and a year on and so forth. - Elizabeth Jacobi

Data is always a challenge regardless of what size company you are. - @TheJustyAllen

Data is always a challenge regardless of what size company you are. What I try to do is simplify that data as much as possible. If you have all of this data with you, how can you put it into a form that is easily readable and able to move fast and swiftly? Part of that might be finding new integrations. By trying to simplify it down, you won't have to open thirty applications, you will only have to open maybe five and they are integrated well. When you come in during the day, you have the data ready for you. - Justin Freeman

New technologies should have automated integration. It shouldn't become another job for your team. - @Silverpop

That is a huge hurdle and something that I work with a lot with our customers at IBM and something I ask them as they are looking at different technologies is, "How are you deciding your marketing stack or technology stack? Are you looking at best of breed? Are you looking at integrations down the road? Are you going all Microsoft or all Adobe or all Oracle?" That is really important to ask because too many marketers that I work with are using so many different platforms that things are really loose. When you can find loose connections, you can migrate the data closer and closer together. So you might take a job with a marketing team and find out that it's like a dog's breakfast of technology in there, they didn't tell you that in the interview, but it happens a lot. Something that I look at when picking technology or even when I am pitching technology is that if it is not automated when it comes to integrations then I don't want to hear about it. Meaning that your integration shouldn't become another job even if you have someone on your team that can handle it. I don't want my newest person to be there uploading CSV files all day and getting bored. That brain power can be used to do other things rather than doing something that should be automated at this point. Stay away from manual stuff. - Justin Soni


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Improving email marketing with data

How does a marketer stay in front of the technology without taking on a second job? What are some tips and tricks to communicate better about technology needs between the IT team and the marketing team?

Find a good friend in IT. Someone who can help liaison between marketing and the technology. - @TheJustyAllen

Find a good friend in IT. Someone that you can easily communicate with that speaks your language and who can help liason between you and the technology. They can understand where you are coming from and understand what IT needs to know in order to get their job done and meet your goals. If you can find that person, hold on to them. Honestly. - Justin Freeman

Know what you are looking for. Then find a person who can help you to find that data. - @Graham_Sheena

The thing is you already know what you want and so if you can find that one person that you can communicate with and say, "This is what I'm looking for and I'm looking for all of the people that have 'x' and I'm looking for it in the CRM but I can't pull it" then this person can help you. That is the number one thing that you need. If you know what you are looking for then you have half the battle. You don't need to know how it's created or how it's done. Have a clear objective of what you want done or what you are looking for and that's a huge part of it. - Sheena Graham

If you are from a start-up, you don’t have the luxury of being just a marketer. - @AnitaMTaylor

I would also say that if you are from a start-up and you are a marketer, you don't have the luxury of being just a marketer. It behooves you to learn a little bit about technology, learn how to code HTML, learn how to code CSS, learn Sequel. You don't have to be as good as your IT guys, but since they often don't have time for us, you will do yourself a service so that you can get half of the job done on your own. - Anita Taylor

Make it safe for people from your company to ask questions. Good communication leads to better results - @Rikkelise6

One of the things that has helped me a lot is that I do a lot of the creative things under my role, but I know how to do Illustrator programs and I've coded my own website just because I find it interesting. The key is that when you are talking to your IT team or people who are going to try to get you what you need, you need to express to them what you are trying to get to and how you are trying to get to it. They need to understand. Make sure that they can speak it back to you because at the end of the day, people do not like to look stupid. I mean that with love. If they don't know what is going on, they won't always ask questions and then it will be a problem. Make it safe for people to ask questions and not feel stupid. For me, with our Executive team who have been around for a long time because it's a 60-year-old company, a lot of times that is one of their biggest fears. So understanding that and making it safe for them can go a long way. - Rikke Alderson

As a marketer you are directly responsible for revenue just as much as a sales person. - @Silverpop

When I hear words like "code freeze" or "data lockdown," as a marketer you have to understand that you are directly responsible for revenue just as much as a sales person. You are being judged on engagement, conversion, things like that, etc. Sometimes your technology teams do not understand that and they are focused on security, but that's just really maintaining the status quo and making sure that everything is working properly. I like to get people from buy-in to put pressure on the IT teams to make sure that I am getting the attention that I need to launch something or do something. So if I have a marketing program that requires integration, some data points, whatever it is then I will actually put out there, "Hey, this program is looking to do x% more engagement, x points for revenue. If I don't get this going, then that is all forfeited so I really need the support from other divisions. In the start-up, it is a little bit easier because there is more energy towards growth and growing quickly, but as you get into bigger businesses you can find yourself moving at a snail's pace. You start to wonder what are you doing day-to-day here so you really want to get that buy-in to push everyone and help yourself out. - Justin Soni


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Email deliverability tips

There is a lot of talk right now about ad blocking technologies. Gmail and Outlook are implementing certain screening technologies for the inbox. What practices must we put into place to ensure that our messages are getting to the Inbox, being delivered and have a chance to be opened, read, and acted upon?

It’s about understanding your audience and what their engagement is with your brand. - @Jac_EJ

I think it's really about understanding who your audience is and what their engagement is with your brand and specifically the email. If someone signed up and a year later they are not engaged with your email message at all and they are no longer engaged with your site, they are only going to bring down your deliverability if you continue to mail to them. Make sure you have a good onboarding process from the time you get them as a subscriber or customer and see if you can keep them. Always have a good re-engagement strategy because sometimes people do eventually get bored if they are not engaged with the brand and you do not want to keep them on your list. - Elizabeth Jacobi

Be careful with your email frequency, because you don’t want to be put into “Promotions” or “Spam.” - @Graham_Sheena

I would say Gmail is not my friend. I was at a company where 64% of our database was Gmail email addresses. We needed to get into Gmail. So what we did is we started testing the different services such as Litmus, Email on Acid, we checked our deliverability and made sure that they actually made it to their destination, we checked what tab it was going into, etc. Some of it had to do with subject content, some of it had to do with email content. These are the kind of details that determine what your sender score is. You want to make sure that you are 89 or above. You want to check that you have consistent sending times and you are not sending every single day because you don't want to be put into "Promotions" or "Spam." You also need to segment. If you are going to be segmenting, even your people in Gmail, some of them won't get an email today because they are not in that particular group. Make sure that you use those email providers very carefully. Once you are on their bad list, you are on their bad list so you need to be very careful. If your database is predominantly Gmail then you will be in trouble if you ignore these best practices. - Sheena Graham

No one woke up this morning and thought, “I really want an email from such-and-such company.” - @AnitaMTaylor

The most important thing to keep in mind is that it is the Front Line and not the Subject Line that determines what people are going to read. If your mother emails you, you are going to open it or not open it differently than if a brand emails you. Who you are is the number one determinant of whether your messages are going to be opened and read. I think that list hygiene is important and so is talking to your customer about what they want to hear. No one woke up this morning and thought, "I really want an email from so-and-so or such-and-such company." You have to earn your right to be in their inbox and if you don't earn that right, then off you go. For those who are B2B, one thing that you should be aware of is that the new Outlook filter is so slick that it doesn't just filter outside mail, it filters your coworkers. So if you have a co-worker that always sends you crap that you don't open, it goes straight into the crap folder. - Anita Taylor

If people don't open your emails, then that's your problem. You have to work on your content. - @Rikkelise6

If people aren't opening things, then that is your problem. You have to work on your content. I was on a panel a couple of weeks ago and we were talking about banner ads and the key there is to address the problem instead of go around it. If it isn't good content, isn't interesting, and isn't relevant then you will be ignored. Full stop. I know that I do it as a human person and these bots, you will get around them for five minutes and maybe five minutes. You need to look at your content, see if it's really working, test it and test it again. Test, test, test. Remember just because you like graphics, doesn't mean that someone else likes it. Who you work with for email needs to be somebody who thinks about your business, if they are not thinking about how you get into gmail, if they are not thinking about what is causing the problem with whoever the email service providers are then that is a problem. You need to have people that are defending on your behalf. You don't have the time and you need to know that you are working with someone who cares about the business. - Rikke Alderson

Don't try to sell something in your first email, instead simply welcome your new subscribers. - @TheJustyAllen

You have a good chance the first time that they come up and want to receive emails from you to build that goodwill immediately and from there on, you may not want to sell them something immediately and instead simply welcome them. Let them know that you are there for them. Even a simple welcome email, which we added at LegalZoom, can improve metrics. It improved our metrics, customer engagement and our customer's experience with our brand. - Justin Freeman

Email clients are looking at what people are doing with emails. Was it forwarded, clicked on? - @Silverpop

The email client is also looking at what people are doing with that email and not just whether or not they are receiving it. Just because it was sent or received or opened, that is not the end of it. Was it forwarded, clicked on? How many seconds was it viewed? We are working with technology now and Litmus provides this as well, but how many seconds did somebody view your email can be helpful. This goes right back to content and marketing. What do my emails look like? What am I doing call-to-action wise? Are people actually taking advantage of that? We know that 80% of revenue comes from 20% of your customers so look at what is happening with that conversion as well. What kind of smaller groups are really being engaged? What are the send times? It's good to get an understanding of why certain people are engaged and try to replicate that success. - Justin Soni


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Mobile email tips

What are your content strategies as more and more viewership, more and more engagement is taking place on mobile? How are your content strategies evolving as you look at different devices?

Keep it short, stupid. - Anita Taylor

Make sure your emails are responsive for all sizes of mobile devices. - @Graham_Sheena

Make sure your emails are responsive for all sizes. For email, if it is on mobile, you want to make sure that your call-to-action is at the top because people might not scroll to the bottom. Make sure that the webpage that you are going to is also mobile. Make sure that the content is short and sweet. I think that works. You will notice really fast whether or not it is working, if your call-to-action is wrong or your content isn't good enough. Think about how people are using these devices and think about how you are using these devices. These people are people too and they don't have all the time in the world. They might be sitting there taking lunch and they don't have time for your email. - Sheena Graham

Not only your email should be mobile friendly, but also webpages that email leads to. - @Jac_EJ

I received an email last night where the company wanted me to purchase something and I was all set to purchase it but the link on the email went to a site that was not mobile friendly so I had to go to my computer. At night this was kind of a pain so I thought about it. Make sure that there is a full mobile experience so that if people are getting an email, it is mobile friendly and they can follow it through to make the purchase. - Elizabeth Jacobi

We really haven’t evolved properly with regard to mobile friendly links for purchasing products. - @Rikkelise6

We really haven't evolved properly in the regard for mobile friendly links for purchasing products. I think the most important thing that you can do is figure out what the possibilities are, figure out what the best practices are and figure out what matters most to your universe. Really prioritize those things that matter. Make sure that you are doing one of them really, really well and then the next one, really, really well. You can't do all things really, really well so pick and choose and prioritize. - Rikke Alderson

Know on which devices your audience is looking at your emails. - @TheJustyAllen

Know where your audience is looking at your emails. If you are seeing only 20% on mobile then maybe that isn't a priority, but you should still learn how to code responsive HTML emails or know somebody in your company who can learn or knows how to do so. At my previous company, we saw our engagement go from 20% to 60% in a year and immediately we knew what we had to do. We had to move all of our emails to a mobile version. It is important to make sure that things are mobile responsive and when Apple Watch came out, we were not focusing on tech but this made us feel like we should be focusing on tech. We monitored what the engagement was on Apple Watch to see if we needed to focus on that. Look at the different areas and watch your engagement figures. - Justin Freeman

Think about what you are trying to do with the email and what the purpose of the email is. - @Silverpop

As we move into different devices and the Internet of everything, the technology companies that have provided all of these new devices will leave companies by the wayside if you can't keep up. For example, we are seeing more Apple Watches and as that becomes more popular, marketers need to be aware. Marketers should respond to what people are most commonly using. This is especially true as we move into further out technology such as the potential future of Apple in the car industry. Marketers need to be aware of how the content reads, how Siri might pronounce words, how the content would look, etc. It brings you back to fundamental concepts of information and messaging. Think about what you are trying to do with the email and what the purpose of the email is.

Don't be afraid of a plain email. People like emails from people, not companies. - @AnitaMTaylor

Don't get too caught up in this idea that there was a little bit of success by doing things one way so now that way has to be the only way. Don't let your competitors move into a new technology sphere without you. Be cognizant of where things might be headed in terms of wearables and new technology. - Justin Soni

Don't be afraid of a plain email. People like emails from people, not companies so one of the emails you can try is a simple email that looks like it was typed by a person in Gmail or Outlook. Avoiding the flashy graphics of standard emails. - Anita Taylor


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Email marketing with location data

How do you incorporate Geo-fencing and incorporating it into your email marketing strategy?

Geo-targeting is not quite as effective when it comes to email as push notification or SMS. - @Silverpop

When you talk about Geo-fencing or Geo-targeting, typically the way that customers work with that now is that I need to know the customer's location and so that means that the customer needs to share that information via an app and check a box saying it is okay for me to track their location. The customer has to opt-in to this channel. They won't just give you this information, it has to be your app that is feeding it to your database and then triggers off an email or mass message, etc. Typically, I would say that geo is not quite as effective when it comes to email as push or SMS because if I am in a location and I'm shopping I am probably not looking at my email. If I get an app push or a message, the first thing that I think of is that one of my friends might be messaging me but it might be a retailer sending out a message or discount. I think that's a more effective way to go about it. Or you can also use it to try to drive people to a location that is having a promotion, etc.- Justin Soni

Some tools can track a person in a store and use that data as a trigger for sending out an email. - @Rikkelise6

The Geo-data we have is usually based on a lasting engagement so we don't always have data on them all the time. To really use the Geo-data most effectively, you need to get it from an app that can then push it to your database. There are tools that can track when a person goes into a store and then use that data as a trigger for sending out an email. The best thing that we do in this regard is we build out anywhere from three to twelve different types of emails that are built based on whether there are triggers; however, we manually track ours. We do this because not all of our tools integrate well into the system that we use. An example of a horrible experience that I had, and I love REI, happened when I received an email about cold weather coats from REI even though I live in here in California. It's so warm, I don't need this kind of email about winter coats and those are the kinds of things that can piss you off as a user. You go, "Ugh. They clearly don't get it." This is a brand that I have loved forever and I still felt annoyed by it. I also tagged them and tweeted them about it saying "REI failed." The thing is we can all fail and we will all fail, none of us are perfect but we have to notice what goes wrong and try to fix it. - Rikke Alderson


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Adding videos to email marketing

Is video a good idea for emails in terms of engagement and deliverability? I have heard conflicting opinions on the issue.

We've done video email and it increased our overall rate and engagement with the customers. - @Graham_Sheena

I have actually done video email and I think it increases your overall rate and engagement with the customers. We don't have the technology yet to embed it into email, which I think will be a deterrent. Right now using a snapshot with a direct link to the video does seem to increase engagement. I don't think it's going away, I think the technology is getting better and hopefully we can do video in email soon. There is one app that does it called LookBook and they are really good. They can even put the person's name inside the video for every email that you send. - Sheena Graham

If you want to send a video in your email, it has to be a good video. - @Rikkelise6

With video, it has to be a good video. It can't be crap. You have to have something high quality or otherwise, why would they want that? The other thing is that you don't want the video to go off when someone opens the email because they could be in a room in the middle of a meeting and nobody wants that. Be conscious of when and how you are using those things. Use them judiciously. Don't use them just because you can, you have to do it because it is fulfilling some business goal. - Rikke Alderson

I would recommend testing it if it is something that you are thinking about and making sure that it works for your specific brand. What works for one brand may not work for another. - Elizabeth Jacobi


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Email marketing software

What are your recommendations for email marketing software?

I would say proactive companies are the best. If you sign up with a company that gives you a 30-day trial or a bucket of messages, and you do not have an account representative there and you are just a trial user then that's not great. As you start investing in email marketing and you start looking at enterprise solutions, you need to find somebody proactive or at least have people on your team that know what is going on or can get you smart analytical details such as sender score, open rates, etc. - Justin Soni

I like free email software. But if you are serious then you will need to pay for a solution. - @Graham_Sheena

Most of those systems have share IDs but the lower you are, the more people will have the same IP and the higher you are, the less people are on your IP that is shared. You might also have multiple IPs for one system so that is one thing. You want to look at the system that you are using. I like free systems if you are testing and doing other things, but eventually if you are taking it seriously then you will need to pay for a solution. I'm not going to name names as well but all of them have their pros and cons. Pick the one that is best for you and pick the one that has the features that are best for you. Look at the features that you are going to use right away. Sometimes you won't even use half of the features that come with the program because there are so many. - Sheena Graham

When choosing an email software, I would ask specifically how they manage deliverability. - @Jac_EJ

I would also ask specifically how they manage deliverability because I am at an agency where we work with multiple platforms and some handle deliverability very well and some do not. It is something that we do for most of our clients and it's important. Ask the email marketing software company how they handle it and ask for references of current clients. See if one of the current clients will talk to you about how they handle deliverability. - Elizabeth Jacobi

For small business I strongly recommend MailChimp, they have a very easy-to-use interface. - @AnitaMTaylor

If you are in a small business then I strongly recommend MailChimp, they have a very easy-to-use interface so for people who are not technical, it is very easy to use. They have mobile built-in and if you are just starting out and you are not an IT geek then MailChimp is awesome. - Anita Taylor

Be careful though because MailChimp has a lot of rigidity and you have to fit into their box. That might work well for you or it might not work well for you. - Rikke Alderson

Think about integration from an email perspective when you are selecting a business to work with. - @Rikkelise6

It is also important to think about integration from an email perspective when you are selecting a business or person to work with. I have been working with an old school company for about eight years called Email Direct, which is a medium-sized business and we are looking to evolve our capabilities, but when you are selecting things you need to think about how big you are and how robust you need to be. You might make different decisions from MailChimp to Constant Contact to Silverpop or HubSpot depending on your needs. The key is that you can get something that doesn't have support but then you have to figure everything out on your own. Working with a company that is a bit bigger than you need then you can get support and an account executive to answer questions for you. It is really all about self-service or high-touch service so it depends on your needs. - Rikke Alderson


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Email marketing tips

Given that you are all traditional marketers and none of you are analytics experts, what would you have done say 5 or 10 years ago differently so that you would be better off today?

Data is where the future is going and without a knowledge of data, you might one day be obsolete. - @Graham_Sheena

I would have gone into data and learned all of those things. I realized that I could have saved myself a lot of heartache if I knew the details behind the way that everything worked. Data is where the future is going and without a knowledge of data, you might one day be obsolete so that is what I would go back and focus on. - Sheena Graham [su_spacer size="1"]

Curiosity is the most important. You cannot be not curious in today’s world. - @Rikkelise6

I was in school a long time ago, but I would say that curiosity is the most important. You cannot be not curious in today's world. You have to understand how it all works even if you don't do it yourself because for me, I go and learn all of the time. You can go and learn pretty much anything on YouTube. You want to know how to do anything, go to YouTube or ask people. You have to really be proactive and curious. - Rikke Alderson

Learning how to read the data and what to do with it would be valuable. - @TheJustyAllen

Learning data and HTML properly because I taught myself. Learning how to read the data and what to do with it would be valuable. - Justin Freeman

It's important to know about whether or not the data is pre-campaign or post-campaign so that you know how to work with the data. The more time you spend on strategy such as how do I acquire new data, how do I understand that data a little bit more, etc. I take that data and then apply it to the next campaign but as marketers, you have to keep guessing and trying out new strategies. Keep testing. - Justin Soni

As marketers, you have to keep guessing and trying out new strategies. Keep testing. - @Silverpop

Analytics. Really understanding analytics is crucial. - Elizabeth Jacobi

If I could go back and do it all over again, I wouldn't apologize for being a marketer. I think a lot of time as marketers we hear, "You're just a marketer" and you hear that often enough, you start to shrink. I have come to realize that we are marketers for a reason because companies need us and if you don't believe that they need marketers, look at some of the crappy websites and crappy emails that you get. - Anita Taylor


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Email send times for engagement

What are the best send times and the best frequency of emails to send out?

Really hard one to answer because it is so difficult to analyze by yourself. We work with a company that does email optimization called Audio Point and based on their co-opt of names they can pinpoint the time that someone is most likely to open. It's not necessarily a day of week though, it is a day of the week and a time of the day. Find a company that can help you analyze this. - Elizabeth Jacobi

Email sending time depends on your audience and you have to figure out internally as a company. - @TheJustyAllen

It depends on your customer. It will be different across the board. I was with a company that determined that the best send time for them was around 8am because that was the best time for engagement. Now we might see that the optimal time is 3pm and that has a longer engagement. It all depends on your audience and it is something that you have to figure out internally as a company. - Justin Freeman

Keep in mind that the ideal email send times are always changing. - @Rikkelise6

You have to keep in mind that with the way technology is now, the ideal send times are always changing. It depends on your subgroup and it depends on so many different factors. Making the assumption that you can figure this out is kind of silly in my experience. Every time that we think we know, we find out that it changes. Frequency, I think is as frequent as is engaged. So it's not frequency as a number, but frequency in terms of engagement. You can send it six times a day if they open it six times a day. Holidays people expect it so there is a higher engagement rate. For us, Father's Day is a big deal so we do a different type of frequency in that time frame based on the user's engagements. - Rikke Alderson


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Email tips for startups

If you are starting a new company and you are just taking your baby steps with little commitment to solutions, what are some good ideas for starters? What apps should an absolute newbie use to avoid some of the pain that accompanies growth?

Figure out what you want to get from your email and design your strategy upfront. - @AnitaMTaylor

Don't worry about the app. We can talk about different email solutions, but email has been around a long time and they all pretty much do the same thing. I think the starting point is to really figure out what it is that you want to get from your email program and design your strategy upfront. Then you look for apps that meet your strategy. - Anita Taylor

Know what your business strategy is first and pick apps that work with that. - Elizabeth Jacobi


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Using surveys in email marketing

I think that companies should spend more time asking their customers what they want. Why not put questions in emails to ask customers specifically what they want to see?

Make sure that whatever you are surveying, you are able to deliver on it. - @Graham_Sheena

Asking questions is your best answer but you also have engagement, which is telling you the answer to these questions on an ongoing basis. We do an annual survey, which is by no means efficient. I think that's a really interesting idea to put on the bottom of your email two questions every time or once a month, etc. Create a series of questions, that would be pretty interesting to see the responses. We have 60,000 people responding to our annual survey every year. That is our #1 engagement because people want to tell you what you think. So I'm 100% behind that. - Rikke Alderson

Sometimes companies will give customers the option of choosing the amount of email that they receive by once a day, once a month, once a year, etc. If 3,000 people pick once a day then are you prepared to send them an email once a day that is engaging? Make sure that whatever you are surveying, you are able to deliver on it. - Sheena Graham


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