Thursday, February 4, 2016

E-mail Marketers Fail at Subject Line Split-Testing

E-mail marketers are surprisingly sloppy when it comes to optimizing subject lines, a key element in e-mail response, especially open rates, per a recent study. A minority of surveyed e-mail marketers report consistent use of subject line split-testing prior to campaign launch, according to a study by Phrasee cited in a recent KoMarketing Associates post. Phrasee's "State of Split Testing" report shows that an average 22% of respondents said they had done no split testing of subject lines in their last month's campaigns, and 49% admitted to split testing for only a few campaigns. About a third said they split-tested subject lines for most (about 21%) or all (about 7%) of their campaigns. The low investment in subject line success was also shown by the brief time spent on developing test-worthy subject lines, with nearly 46% saying they spent only a few minutes on the task! Plus, many e-mail marketers who do test then fail to leverage results data for further testing; 44% told Phrasee they "don't really do much" to analyze results for design of future split tests. For the whole post, go to http://www.komarketingassociates.com/industry-news/report-split-testing-is-still-uncommon-in-email-marketing-2912/

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Where to Focus for Optimized E-mail Click-Through

Boosting e-mail click-through rate is a constant struggle, so we recommend to frustrated e-mail marketers a recent MarketingProfs article by Stephen Hovnanian--offering four basic areas to optimize for more quality clicks. His initial tip is to focus on optimizing user experience first--via seamless mobile and desktop designs and experiences that flow from e-mail open to final action. If your e-mail is mobile-optimized but your landing page or registration form is not mobile-friendly, you're wasting clicks, for example. Also target the audience by device usage and timing to optimize experience, and use "friction-mitigating" copy or visuals to guide recipients, advises Hovnanian. The second area of focus is varying call to action (CTA) by audience segment. For example, the CTA for the segment of top engagers (or brand champions) can go beyond clicks to urge valuable social sharing and brand advocacy. Segmenting for participation by type of content also delivers better CTA response, such as a webinar invite to past webinar attendees but a webinar recap to site visitors with interest in similar content. Third, leverage your online community and customer base for user-generated content (such as testimonials). It delivers social proof and brand advocacy building and can be paired with a strong, related CTA to boost click-through. Fourth, simply write better call-to-action copy! How? Hovnanian suggests completing the sentence "I want you to..." for active verbs and specific direction. For example, I want you to "Register for the Webinar." Of course, also test CTA design placement as well as buttons versus clickable text. For the full article, read http://www.marketingprofs.com/articles/2016/29194/four-email-optimizations-that-will-increase-your-click-through-rates

Thursday, January 28, 2016

2016 Customer-Centric Trends You Shouldn't Ignore

We've read many marketing trend predictions for 2016, but a recent Entrepreneur magazine article best emphasizes the new "customer-centric" focus of many shared predictions. Jay Arnold, vice president of marketing at FullContact, cites 10 marketing trends that he believes will make 2016 the "year of the customer." Here are just his first five forecasts. He foresees a proliferation of "marketing apps" this year, not just mobile apps but web apps, desktop apps and even TV apps, as marketers take advantage of the many free or low-cost apps that can now aid with tasks such as e-mail, social media, online ads, contact management, analytics and more. He also sees a shift to "insight-driven marketing," using analysis of the heaps of available data for more relevant targeting and messaging. Of course, this assumes a centralized database of multichannel customer info, so that is a priority task if not already under way. Content marketing got a lot of buzz last year, but Arnold now sees a greater shift from static content (such as social posts and white papers) to "interactive content," such as interactive assessments, calculators, training and games to keep people clicking and sharing useful information for sales. Everyone agrees that "personalization" will continue and grow as a proven response driver, but Arnold warns that 2016 will demand greater adaptation by channel and customer expectations. Consumers now expect relevant content tailored to them, but they will also be less tolerant of online and mobile advertising that is overly personal to the point of intrusive and creepy. Finally, Arnold predicts that 2016 will see a leap in "advocate marketing," as marketers realize that using customers to advocate for brands and generate referrals can be more effective than incentives and affiliate programs for referral generation--especially now that identifying influencers and advocates is easier than ever before via social and digital interactions. For five more of his customer-centric marketing predictions, go to http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/254620

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

What B2B Marketers Can Do Better With Better Data

AccuList USA is dedicated to providing clean, up-to-date, targeted data for business-to-business direct marketing, and we urge any B2B marketer who still hesitates to invest in higher quality data and segmentation to read the recent CMO.com post by Ed King, founder and CEO of the Openprise data automation firm. King lists five ways high-quality data will make the B2B marketer's job easier and more effective. First, better data allows the addition of demographic scoring to the usual activity-based scoring for better targeting; for example, marketers won't prioritize a lead from online activity when demographic factors on the company or individual show it does not really meet buyer targeting. Second, with more accurate data about prospects and customers in terms of individual and company profiles, marketers can personalize communications and engagement for better conversion and reduced attrition throughout the sales funnel. Third, B2B marketers can better use account-based targeting as opposed to individual lead targeting, including improved use of automation platforms. Fourth, since all leads are not created equal, better data allows for optimized, speedier lead qualification and conversion--providing different treatment of net new leads versus leads from existing accounts, for example. Fifth, marketers can simplify their marketing technology investments, such as predictive, web or social bolt-ons with data cleansing mechanisms because of poor quality data from CRM or automation platforms. By improving source data, existing technology is more efficient and new technology investments can focus on other key needs, such as analytics or workflow. For detailed explanations and examples, read the full article at http://www.cmo.com/articles/2015/12/18/how-would-perfect-data-change-your-job.html

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Marketers Miss Personalization Edge of Social Data

Marketers are missing out on key opportunities to use social media data for multichannel personalization, reports Adweek magazine's SocialTimes blog, citing the "2016 Yesmail Channel Report." This is despite the fact that personalization has proven its value in response and conversion across channels. For example, marketers often fail to gather e-mail addresses, one of the most basic contact points, through social media. According to the report, 45% of marketers don't collect e-mail addresses on social media, and 70% don't collect e-mail from their own mobile apps. (Of course, an amazing 17% don't even collect e-mail via their own websites!) Even companies who build e-mail databases fail to then use freely collected social data points, such as demographic and location information, to effectively personalize e-mail communications. In fact, only 42% say they customize e-mail campaigns with the recipient's name, so it's no surprise that only 36% modify copy and just 34% alter images to personalize e-mail content. The problem stretches across channels: Only 50% say they modify any marketing materials based on easily collected demographic data from social channels, and just 36% use social media data, such as brand page likes, for personalized targeting. See the full article at http://www.adweek.com/socialtimes/report-retailers-missing-cross-channel-personalization-opportunity/632710

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Get Ready for 2016 Ad Rate Rises Across Channels

U.S. advertising rates are set to rise for almost all channels in 2016, according to a MarketingProfs report of forecasting by the American Association of Advertising Agencies and Havas Media. The ad cost bump is partly driven by higher ad demand from presidential elections and the Summer Olympics, per the forecast. So it's not surprising that the biggest jumps are forecast for television ad rates: a 3.8% increase for national broadcast TV, a 5.5% rise for cable TV and a whopping 13% leap for spot TV. The good news is that digital channels, where supply is expected to offset demand, are mostly set for very modest increases in average CPMs: mobile, online video and Internet/display advertising all up just 1%, although paid search rates is expected to show a 3.3% jump. For traditional print, average CPM increases are moderate, with a 2.5% climb for newspaper ad rates and a 3% bump in magazine rates. Network radio is the only channel forecast to drop in cost, down 1%. For a comparison of ad rate trends by channel from 2010 through 2016, see the MarketingProfs article: http://www.marketingprofs.com/charts/2016/29142/2016-advertising-rate-increases-forecast-for-nearly-all-channels

Thursday, January 14, 2016

2015 E-Mail Stats Provide Benchmarks for 2016

E-mail marketers are already launching their 2016 campaigns, but a quick look back at 2015's e-mail triumphs and troubles per marketing research can offer helpful benchmarks for this year. Direct Marketing News magazine recently summarized a slew of 2015 e-mail research data, starting with the tactics most likely to boost click rate response per marketers: Respondents in Ascend2's “Email Marketing Trends” report rated a meaningful call-to-action offer as the most effective tactic for boosting click-throughs (65%), followed by list segmentation for targeting (47%), message personalization (42%), and testing and optimization (35%). The bad news is that the same respondents also rated some of the more effective methods as the most difficult, with 41% citing list segmentation as the most difficult to implement, for example. Another survey found similar agreement on strategies for success: In a 2015 survey by Econsultancy and Adestra, most marketers rely on basic segmentation (76%), optimizing for mobile devices (61%), prompting content sharing on social media (56%), and routine list data cleansing (50%). But they also agreed that their efforts weren't outstandingly successful, with 44% rating e-mail campaign performance as average compared with 41% who saw performance as good to excellent. Nevertheless, e-mail remains a favored marketing channel because of its relatively higher ROI: The Relevancy Group surveyed 300 e-mail marketing executives and 91% rated e-mail somewhat or highly effective in terms of delivering revenue. And the Direct Marketing Association's 2015 "Response Rate Report" found e-mail campaigns provide the highest median ROI of 21%-23%, followed by telephone campaigns (19-20%), social media ads (15%-17%), and direct mail (15%-17%). For more e-mail stats, go to http://www.dmnews.com/email-marketing/email-by-the-numbers/article/462945/