Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Event Marketing Channels, Attendees Not in Sync

Where should trade show and conference marketers go fishing for potential audience? In a multi-channel world, it can be challenging to balance online, e-mail, print and social media for best results. Now a recent survey by XING Events, as reported by MarketingProfs, shows interesting gaps between where event marketers are casting their nets and where potential attendees pool to research events. According the the XING Events study, which is based on a global survey of 2,621 event attendees and 1,630 event organizers, event attendees most often learn about work-related events through word-of-mouth mention by friends and acquaintances (66%) and via e-mail newsletters (59%). Fewer event attendees (20%) report being influenced by ads for print and online professional publishing. Online search has more impact when the audience is already aware of the event; for example, 49% say they use online search to find details about trade shows or conferences they already have heard about (via word-of-mouth, e-mail or print). Just 22% learn about an event by doing keyword searches. However, an even smaller portion (16%) of event attendees report that they use social media to research events. Event marketers don't exactly mirror attendees' preferences. About 89% of surveyed event organizers say they market their events through their own websites, culling search traffic. Some 76% say they market through e-mail newsletters, which is in line with attendee activity. The surprise is that 73% of event pros say they promote via social media even though it is not where most of the audience is currently looking for event information. And about 47% use traditional print channels. Despite its current lower usage among event attendees, social media is the marketing channel that most event marketers (65%) plan to grow in future. For more on the survey, see our blog post at http://www.acculistusa.com/survey-mismatches-in-event-marketing-channels-attendee-interest/

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Format Matters: Text E-mails Outdo HTML Versions

There's an ongoing debate in e-mail marketing over which format option will optimize results: simple text-based e-mails or fancier html versions. Marketo recently reported some surprising findings on this point: Analysis shows text-based e-mails perform significantly better than their more creative HTML counterparts. Although both formats have the same open rate, text-based e-mails have 21% higher unique click-to-open rates on the offer link and 17% higher unique click-through rates on the offer link, according to the Marketo study. So should marketers dump their html creatives? Not so fast. Why did the text-based versions win more response? The Marketo study found that text-based e-mails' fewer visual distractions focus response on the call-to-action link. In HTML versions, nearly 16% of clicks went to other links (such as logos) instead of the main call-to-action link, per Marketo. Other research shows that text e-mails are also viewed as more personal by recipients, who see the visually rich html e-mails as clearly commercial. Finally, text-based versions have a better chance of delivery since the messages are less likely to be caught in spam filters or to have mobile viewing issues. On the other hand, a key drawback of plain text formats, with no html, is that there is no tracking of open rates or clicks. Text-based e-mails without any html design elements also lack engaging visual impact for branding or product promotion, have less ability to break information into easy-to-read/scan sections or columns, and have fewer tools for directing CTA attention. So html e-mails continue to be used because of advantages that make them the right choice for campaigns relying on branding, richer messaging and detailed metrics. For example, html allows incorporation of branded images and logos that may yield higher conversion rates for some verticals. An html e-mail also can package more information in digestible, easy-to-read bites. It can direct action via color, clickable text and buttons. Most important, html offers tracking of opens and clicks for marketing metrics! For links to more detail, see http://www.acculistusa.com/seeking-e-mail-response-marketers-face-text-vs-html-choice/

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Data-Rich Segmentation Revs Nonprofit Mail Results

Effective data use is key to nonprofit direct mail success, yet some fundraisers question the need for a more sophisticated data approach, of course. So we'll pass along a recent NonProfitPRO blog post by Chris Pritcher, of Merkle's Quantitative Marketing Group, which challenges overly narrow views of donor data. Too often, using data to understand the donor base is limited to one of two categories, Pritcher notes: 1) RFM (recency, frequency, monetary) data and giving history, or 2) donor demographics and behavioral measures, ranging from factors such as wealth or related interests/purchases to applying behavior-lifestyle systems such as Prizm. Whether the data is first-party or third-party sourced, each approach has its limitations. RFM often silos data from a single channel, for example, even though donors live in a multi-channel world. RFM also focuses mainly on short-term financial action, ignoring donors, especially Millennials, whose giving is maximized through an interactive, long-term relationship. Meanwhile, though donor demographics can help avoid low-opportunity lists and segments, demographics in isolation may be too general for effective response targeting. Wealth data indicates who has money but not who is willing to give that money to a specific cause, as Pritcher points out. Pritcher urges fundraisers to embrace "multi-dimensional segmentation" over the either/or data approach above. Nonprofits can analyze donor actions (both financial and non-financial) along with data such as demographics, wealth, donations to other organizations, etc., to create more actionable segments. For some basic tips for multidimensional segmentation success, see our complete post at http://www.acculistusa.com/fundraising-mail-benefits-from-data-rich-list-segmentation/

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Digital Giving Now Key to Fundraising Mail Success

Here are some key facts for marketers planning fundraising direct mail: 1) 35% of all donors say they like to respond to direct mail by giving online (with 50% of Millennials and Gen Xers saying they prefer online response); 2) 51% of website visits are made via mobile device, and 3) mobile devices are now used by the majority to read e-mail (54% of opens) and access social networks (80% of social time spent). Bottom line, if you want to get the most from your nonprofit direct mail (still the best channel for capturing donor dollars), a multi-channel, mobile-optimized approach is essential. On that point, MobileCause has developed a powerful infographic laying out the case for a nonprofit direct mail-digital marriage. Unfortunately, many fundraisers fail to make an easy connection between direct mail and online response, and are discouraging donations as a result. As the infographic points out, 84% of donation pages are not mobile-friendly, 73% of nonprofits do not offer social sharing, and 65% of nonprofits require three or more digital clicks to donate. At the same time, the infographic data highlight ways to correct that digital lacuna in fundraising direct mail. First, commit to making direct mail part of a multi-channel campaign--because donors are 50% more likely to give when they receive multiple reinforcing messages via multiple channels. Fundraisers can even optimize response by catering to generational preferences: Millennials like text reminders, Gen Xers like e-mail reminders and Boomers like call reminders. But for goodness sake, mobile-optimize e-mails, landing pages and donation pages! Then maximize donations by promoting QR codes, shortlinks and texting keywords across channels (and let the U.S. Postal Service reward that mailer QR code with a discount). For more tips, go to http://www.acculistusa.com/use-digital-donation-to-turbocharge-fundraising-direct-mail/

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

E-mail Tops Digital ROI With Personalization, Mobile

E-mail marketers will be happy to know that e-mail outpaces other digital channels in terms of reported return on investment, ahead of SEO, content marketing, paid search, and social media, per the "2017 Email Marketing Industry Census" from Adestra, in association with Econsultancy. E-mail ROI was rated as good to excellent by 73% of marketers surveyed, just edging out SEO, with 72% giving SEO a good to excellent ROI rating. Content marketing slipped to third place, with 63% calling its ROI good to excellent. Paid search followed with 60% ranking its ROI as good to excellent, and social media trailed (44%). But the report also raised questions about how accurately marketers assess e-mail impact. The majority of marketers are using click-through rate (91%), open rate (80%) and conversion rate (62%) to track e-mail performance, while other important metrics, such as bounce rate, delivery rate and list growth rate, are used by a minority. List segmentation is another challenge that may be impeding even higher ROI, falling midway in the ranking of best practices even though those who carry out advanced segmentation are more than twice as likely to report "excellent" ROI from e-mail marketing as those who don’t segment. What practices do marketers use to push e-mail opens and clicks? The census found that sending personalized and relevant messaging led the list of e-mail best practices reported; 80% of marketers are already doing this and 14% are planning for it. Personalization was followed by mobile-optimizing of e-mail (73% doing and 19% planning to start), regular list cleaning (57% doing and 24% planning), and promoting social content sharing (49% doing and 22% planning on it). Personalization also is the area of e-mail marketing where most respondents (30%) say they need to focus in 2017. For more see http://www.acculistusa.com/e-mail-earns-top-digital-roi-via-personalization-mobile-strategies/

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Study: Consumer E-mail Behavior Varies by Industry

To optimize consumer e-mail response, marketers must adjust strategy for consumer behavior that differs by market vertical and device use. So they'll find valuable guidance in Movable Ink’s "US Consumer Device Preference Report: Q1 2017" report on how opens, conversions, engagement and even order values are affected by market vertical and device preferences. For all industries studied—retail, travel and hospitality, financial services, and media/publishing and entertainment—the report found most e-mails are opened on a smartphone as opposed to a tablet or desktop. Smartphone e-mail opens have especially jumped for financial services, up 7% from the fourth quarter of 2016 to reach 70% of opens in the first quarter of this year. However, retail is not far behind, with 61% smartphone opens for apparel and 57% for non-apparel e-mails. While smartphones still led opens, the more content-heavy media, publishing and entertainment vertical also has a good portion of desktop e-mail opens at 32%, followed by travel and hospitality with 29% desktop opens. Tablet opens are also stronger for media and publishing at 18%, higher than any other industry.Mobile optimization is clearly key for open rates, but retailers should not neglect desktop design because that's where the orders are racked up. Non-apparel retailer e-mails attribute 73% of conversions to desktop use, for example, with 51% of conversions on desktop for apparel retailing. Desktops also deliver the highest average order value for retailers: $171.04 for apparel and $138.57 for non-apparel sales. When it comes to e-mail reading time, the study generally found that iPhones are able to capture more attention than Android mobile phones, Android tablets, desktop computers, or iPads. The finance industry had the longest read lengths on iPhones, with 68% of subscribers spending 15 or more seconds reading their e-mail thanks to the Apple devices. Media, publishing and entertainment e-mails also garnered high iPhone read time, with 61% reading e-mail for 15 seconds or more. For more, see http://www.acculistusa.com/study-how-consumer-e-mail-behavior-varies-by-market-vertical/

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Reputation Scoring Key to E-mail Deliverability

Deliverability is the first step to e-mail marketing success. If your e-mail never hits the inbox, all those subject line and content tactics are useless. So why do the top e-mail marketers get a 90% inbox placement rate, while others languish below 50%? A deciding factor is reputation, as measured by a "sender score," according to Return Path's annual "Sender Score Benchmark Report." A sender’s reputation score is a number, calculated from 0–100, that mailbox providers use to evaluate whether or not e-mail sent by a particular IP address is likely to be legitimate and wanted or should be filtered out of inboxes. Return Path's analysis finds that e-mail senders with a reputation score above 90 saw an average of 92% of their e-mails reach the intended recipient, but e-mail deliverability drops to 72% for senders scoring between 81-90 and just 45% for senders with a score between 71 and 80. So how do you get and keep a strong reputation score? A recent post by Krista Barrack, for the sendinblue blog, cites six ways you could be damaging your sender score, starting with e-mail list issues. One common error is collecting invalid e-mail addresses in your house list (often caused by typos, especially from mobile users). These create hard bounces to erode your sender score. A second mistake is using purchased e-mail data where people have no opt-in relationship with your brand and so don't engage or mark your message as spam, hurting your score. That's why, as responsible data brokers, we don't sell e-mail data and instead broker list rentals so messages are sent by the list owner with valid recipient opt-ins. A third house list problem is allowing outdated, unmailed addresses to accumulate and become invalid. To deal with the problem, set up a program of regular communication and hygiene to prune your list frequently. Poor content quality affects sender scores, too. If your e-mail message is not mobile-optimized, is loaded with spam words, is plagued by faulty links, and/or is not relevant or honest, recipients are either not going to open it, will label it as spam or will opt-out. Timing matters, too, and the most common sin is embrace of a spammer's excess frequency. Note that studies show read rates drop with increased weekly frequency--and opt-outs and complaints rise. Finally, watch for spam traps hiding in your e-mail list. These can get you blacklisted! For more detail, go to http://www.acculistusa.com/whats-the-secret-to-better-e-mail-deliverability-your-reputation/