The holiday season always manages to sneak up without warning. Halloween is fast approaching in just two months and Thanksgiving and Christmas follow right behind it.
Marketers: don’t let this time of year stress you out! We’ll be releasing a five part holiday content series aimed at making marketers’ lives much easier.
To start, we created an infographic to show what we learned over Black Friday/Cyber Monday 2014, and how you can apply these learnings to 2015. The data speaks for itself:
Key takeaways: send out deals early and make sure your emails are responsive.
Curious for more? Stay tuned for further holiday updates from Movable Ink!
When it comes to marketing technology, we have more choice than ever! There are an abundance of new solutions, all promising to make our lives easier and drive results for our brands.
At the same time, we have more budget to spend on these technologies. According to Econsultancy, 77% of companies will be increasing their digital marketing budgets in 2015 – the highest rate since their Marketing Budgets survey began. However, deciding which solution to purchase can be tricky.
We recently shared the five questions marketers should ask when selecting a new email marketing technology. Now, we’ll share five additional questions that will ensure you pick the solution that fits your brand the best.
- Is it scalable?
While a product may be right for your company today, will it still be suitable once your brand has expanded? If your team size increases or if you grow into new regions, can the technology support more users who might be located globally with different native languages? Does the technology have the ability to scale, or will it need to be replaced in 12 months?
- Is it future-proofed?
What is the roadmap for the product? Is the company investing in research and development in order to innovate and stay ahead? Marketing technology evolves at a rapid pace. If a product is not being developed, it can be obsolete within a year. You don’t want to spend time and resource implementing a solution only to reinvest in a different one in 2-3 years.
- Is it flexible/customizable?
Does the technology allow you to focus on the things that are important to your brand? With the number of solutions available, there is no need to ‘make do’ with a product that doesn’t completely address your needs. In addition, can the technology be customised to reflect your company? Choose a solution that is consistent with your image and doesn’t sacrifice the look and feel of your brand.
- How robust are the reporting capabilities?
Budget for digital marketing is increasing because it is easily measurable and accountable. The majority of solutions will come with some level of reporting. In addition to the types of data captured, find out about more robust reporting capabilities. Are the reports available in real-time? How is the data visualized so you can make sense of it? Advanced features like this will enable you to make more accurate insights and better decisions.
- Is the platform tech agnostic?
Marketers typically do not have the same technology skills as an IT professional. For easy setup and ongoing maintenance, choose a solution that comes with ‘out-of-the-box’ APIs, or is platform agnostic. In addition, find out what data flows between the platforms and how easy it is going to be to use.
The marketing technology landscape is continually evolving. A successful technology investment will scale with your company, address your needs, integrate seamlessly and continue to innovate with new features. By choosing a solution with these attributes, you will avoid the costly process of having to re-invest in a new solution down the line.
Want to learn more about what email marketing technology solutions can do today? Download our eBook, “Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Contextual Marketing.”
This is a guest post from Aleksandr Peterson, Technology Analyst at TechnologyAdvice.
Recruiting is tough. Unless you’re on the Fortune 500 list, you probably don’t have hundreds of applications streaming in every week for a single opening, especially if it’s a high-level position with unique skill requirements (such as a front-end web developer).
But that shouldn’t be surprising. More experienced job-seekers know they’re valuable, so they tend to be choosy about where they apply and what kind of offers they consider. By the time you discuss compensation and benefits, they might be talking to three other companies.
Recruiters Double As Marketers
According to a recent study by Jobvite, 69 percent of HR professionals expect recruitment to be more competitive this year. Seventy-three percent are considering increasing their budget for social media, 63 percent for referral programs, and 51 percent for mobile recruitment.
The way recruiters are hunting for qualified candidates in many ways resembles the tactics marketers use to attract business. Email marketing, which consistently yields the highest engagement and some of the most qualified leads, is one of those tactics. So, if recruiters can use marketing tactics to attract and engage job candidates, and one of the most successful marketing channels is email, then recruiters need to get up to speed on it.
Why Email Marketing?
Email marketing can target specific candidates and groups of candidates based on their demographics and behavior. And it doesn’t just engage them once or twice when they happen upon your site; it delivers content to their inbox and “nurtures” them, step-by-step, towards building a relationship with your company. Angela Zener, marketing VP at Findly, explains it this way: “As marketers build lead databases, target and re-engage customers, and work to make the sale, recruiters build talent pipelines, seek to continually engage talent, and encourage them to apply.”
The direct parallels between marketing and recruiting make email a smart choice for both.
How to Get Started
First, make sure you have the right technology in place to set up lists and automation rules. Some HR software for recruiters offers built-in email features, but the functionality can be somewhat limited compared to dedicated email marketing solutions.
Most systems are priced either by the number of contacts or number of emails you send. You probably won’t have a contact list as extensive as most users, or need to email them as frequently, so try to find a solution that provides the features you need (autoresponders, segmentation, analytics, etc.) but doesn’t blow your budget.
Next, create an email marketing strategy that supports your hiring needs: decide who you’ll email, how you’ll get their contact information, and what kind of emails you’ll send. Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Careers page: Use your careers page as a hub for capturing contact information. Placing calls-to-action (CTAs) in the right places will give visitors a chance to subscribe to the mailing list. The CTAs should link to a web form that asks the job seeker for their contact information and area of expertise. You can use this information to send relevant email content.
- Welcome email: Once a visitor subscribes to job updates, you can send them an initial welcome email (personalized, of course) to let them know you appreciate their interest, and confirm their job preferences (We’ll send you regular updates about IT jobs at ACME). If you choose, you can also use the welcome email as part of a double opt in process (which is a general best-practice).
- Job Postings: Now that candidates are plugged in, you can send them updates about new job postings related to their area of interest. This demonstrates your brand is actively pursuing talent, and gives job seekers a chance to be the first applicants. It’s not always immediately rewarding, but if you build a targeted list of contacts, you’ll be one step ahead when you do have an opening.
- Newsletter/Updates: If your subscribers opt in to receive company updates or a newsletter, you can send them educational or informative content about the general job market, company changes, or topics relating to their field (of course, this means you’ll need to create content). Although this isn’t connected to specific positions, it keeps your employer brand top of mind.
- Transactional Emails: Transactional emails are usually associated with financial transactions (e.g. purchase confirmation, shipping update, etc.). But they can also be a powerful tool for recruiters when triggered by the flow of information between applicant and recruiter. For example, send an email to confirm you received their application, and provide a list of next steps. Transactional emails add transparency to recruiting, hiring, and onboarding and help the process flow smoothly. They also have higher open rates (above 100 percent, in some cases) than any other kind of marketing email.
Recruiters can be the next in a long line of professionals who use email marketing to stay engaged with their audience. Start simple — with welcome emails and a “job alert” feature — and see where that takes you. There’s a good chance you’ll see more applications from the right candidates and a smoother overall hiring process. The best part? You’ll never have to interview a stranger again.
This year has seen a lot of marketing trends come and go, but one of the most important ones has been context. When we’re talking about customer context, we’re actually talking about the new reality of email marketing: customers could be anywhere and doing anything when they’re checking their email.
That puts a big burden on your email campaigns. To remain relevant, emails need to be able to adapt to the constantly changing context of your customer.
A loyalty email could display a real-time balance right after a purchase and a rewards email could offer a live, geo-targeted map showing the closest locations where customers can redeem their rewards.
The possibilities for contextual marketing in email are endless. Here are five ways that you can leverage the power of a contextual marketing platform to revolutionize the inbox:
When your emails can detect the weather, you can target content more effectively. If the morning is rainy but the afternoon gets humid, a sale for rain boots should change – even after it’s sent – to a sale for shorts and t-shirt. You can also create more relevant content for customers who are experiencing different weather events.
- Device Detection
The user experience on different devices should be different. That means emails have to adapt to the current device on which they’re being viewed. In this way, brands can create responsive emails that can actually react to the exact device – like an iPad or an Android phone – and offer the right content to prompt app downloads and other mobile-specific engagement.
Offering live maps in emails can help make the content in the email a lot more relevant. Rewards programs can display the nearest locations where customers can use their points or a sales email can drive traffic to the nearest brick-and-mortar store.
- Real-Time A/B Testing
Context means that you have to offer the best possible customer experience… and to do that, you need to test what resonates the most with your audience. Real-time A/B testing allows marketers to split their audiences, test content, and then change the losing creative in real-time.
Even after you’ve sent out both Email A and B, you can switch the content so that all the emails show the winning creative and copy.
- Real-Time Inventory & Reservations
By pulling relevant data from API integrations and microsites, your email can become a hub for the latest information. You can display live Instagram or Twitter feeds, interactive seating charts, or available appointments and reservations. The same goes for product and inventory details.
Tapping into a third-party database allows you to create a seamless experience for the customer by offering the latest available products and services every time they open the email.
Context = Real-Time
The foundation of contextual marketing is personalization. And to personalize for a customer’s mobile experience, you have to be able to change messages, creative, and campaign dynamically.
As the number one digital marketing channel for ROI and one of the best ways to keep in touch with customers, email is a great place to start experimenting with context.
Boden, a popular British retailer, has seen tremendous growth since it embraced eCommerce in the late 1990s. As a global brand – selling online in over 50 countries – the challenge has always been to personalize without sacrificing too much time and energy.
Specifically, the Boden marketing team wanted to engage high-value customers with no recent sales activity in a very personal way. Inspiration came in the form of a print campaign that had run in the past.
Using their customers’ purchase data, and then pulling live details from their website in real time, Boden created a unique story for each recipient. To be precise, the campaign told 19,977 unique stories in email for 19,977 individuals.
The campaign produced unprecedented results. In addition to a 2000% increase in revenue per email – with 1 in 10 customers going on to make a purchase – the Boden team was honored with the Real-Time Contextual Marketing Award. This award, presented at the Experian Client Summit on July 31 in Las Vegas, celebrates innovation in contextual email marketing.
They say ‘What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas’. But last week, the Movable Ink team returned to New York City from the Experian Client Summit with some news worth sharing.
One of the conference highlights was the 2015 #SuiteLife Awards ceremony, which was live streamed from the main stage on the last day of the conference. The awards showcased brands whose email campaigns stood out for creativity, innovation and most importantly – delivering results.
Out of a large field of contenders from the Experian client base, we were excited to see that a resounding 6 out of 9 SuiteLife Award Winners were also valued Movable Ink clients!
While we were directly involved in powering the campaigns for some of the winners, including Boden (who won for Real-Time Contextual Marketing), we salute and celebrate alongside all of the winners.
Movable Ink is proud to be working with the following clients that won a SuiteLife Award in various contest categories for email marketing innovation and excellence:
- Boden / Real-time Contextual Marketing
- Bass Pro Shops / Insight to Interaction
- American Eagle Outfitters / Cross Channel
- Foot Locker / Mobile
- SiriusXM / Creative
- Finish Line / People’s Choice
We also want to congratulate the other SuiteLife Award winners for their noteworthy, award-winning campaigns:
- Modi Media / Data for Good
- Neiman Marcus / Innovation
- DirecTV / Acquisition
While the conference was a blast, these 6 clients give the Movable Ink team a reason to celebrate after returning home. Hats off once again to our clients for pushing the boundaries of email marketing and to all of the winners!
Every startup has a story. Some are longer than others, but at their core they all contain a ‘lightbulb’ idea, lots of hard work, and a dynamic individual (or individuals) who keep the dream alive.
Our co-founder and CEO, Vivek Sharma, has long been active in the Lean Startups Meetup (which has now become the Founder Stories Meetup). This Meetup group is dedicated to sharing what makes startup founders ‘tick’ and how they overcame challenges to succeed.
Tonight, Vivek will share his story. Come learn with us!
Are You More Mary Poppins Or Maria Von Trapp? Can We Guess Your Zodiac Sign Based On Your Favorite TV Show?
These are both real Buzzfeed quizzes (you can take them here and here, respectively), and while you may not know your results (yet), you probably do know that online quizzes have made a major comeback.
Don’t believe us? The numbers speak for themselves. 2013’s most popular story on NYTimes.com – posted two weeks before the new year – wasn’t actually an article, it was a quiz about, “How Y’all, Youse and You Guys Talk.” “What City Should You Actually Live In?” has been viewed more than 20.5 million times as of today.
However, quizzes aren’t just fun and games – they’re great tools for generating leads. But how? And what do you do with these leads once you have them?
Boombox and Movable Ink are hosting a webinar, Quizzes and Context: Generating Leads and Turning Them Into Customers, on Thursday, August 20 at 1pm EST. We’ll go through how to use quizzes to meet your lead generation goals and nurture those leads with contextually relevant email. We’ll even take a look into how you can progressively profile your leads without leaving the inbox.
Subject lines. Time of day. Mobile Calls-to-action. Colors, layout, headers, columns. If you’re an email marketer, this is a pretty standard optimization laundry list. There’s always something that can be improved and optimization is a perpetual process, not a goal.
That said, many email marketers seem to be forgetting one of the most important things to optimize in their email campaigns. In 2015, it might be the most important thing: content.
Despite the hype surrounding content marketing, few brands seem willing to venture into uncharted territory and create compelling content within their emails. But as inboxes keep overflowing and personalization becomes a prerequisite for an open, email marketers are in the perfect position to start optimizing content as well.
Here are three different content strategies you can try when optimizing your campaign:
- The Magazine
B2C brands like GoPro and Redbull are on the cutting-edge of content marketing as they create full-blown media experiences for customers.
You might not have the same marketing budget as these brands, but that doesn’t mean you can’t do anything. Interview an interesting customer, offer some tips that your audience might find useful, and focus on a pressing pain point or issue that’s on your average customer’s mind.
Then, mock up a magazine cover and make it an experience. By presenting the content as something premium, customers are more likely to get interested in reading it (especially if you target this content by personas).
- The Curation Engine
If you really know what interests your audience, try gathering three articles a week and emailing it to them. The more personalized the content, the better. Make these emails totally content-driven, rather than sales-driven, and include your own thoughts on the developments you’ve included.
When customers feel that you’re offering them something valuable every week, they’ll look for your email and, consequently, open and click in much higher numbers.
- The Multimedia Experience
Want to really make your email content pop? Try using multimedia content to spice things up. Including photos or GIFs within the email can create a much more compelling experience than just text.
When it comes to visual content, don’t only think about products. Include behind-the-scenes office photos, interesting pictures from your industry, and shots of your product in action.
Optimum Content = Click-Throughs
Marketers are always trying to increase their click-through rates. With creative and entertaining content, you can do just that – and keep customers coming back for more every time they find a new email from your brand in their inbox.