Posts Tagged ‘training’

Gmail offers unsubscribe link and the world of email marketing comes to an end

Wednesday, February 26th, 2014

It’s all change again, Gmail rocks the world of email by apparently making it even easier for a recipient to unsubscribe from legitimate marketing email.

This is a shock to some, especially to those who thought they were safe by hiding the unsubscribe button, deep within the very small print at the bottom of the email.

So, is this going to be a disaster for some email marketers? Or is this new process just a little different from something that first saw the light of day in 2009…..

Back in 2009, Gmail Spam Czar (remember Czars!) Brad Taylor announced that Gmail had now made unsubscribing far easier than it was before.

Up until that point, the only option you had to vent your anger at spam was to report the email as such. If you wanted to unsubscribe, the only option was to risk the unsubscribe link in the email itself, which according to Gmail, could be risky.

There were those senders who tried to make it is easy as possible for recipients to unsubscribe, by having the unsubscribe link at the top of their template. Unfortunately, there were still many email marketers that wanted you on the list whether you wanted their email or not.

Brads announcement, heralded the beginning of Gmail giving feedback to senders (following the likes of Hotmail, AOL, Yahoo etc). Gmail was now giving recipients the opportunity to mark the email as spam AND unsubscribe from the email list the email was sent from.

Although this was restricted to legitimate senders only and those who could incorporate the ‘list unsubscribe’ header in their emails, it was a major step forward in the fight to reduce unwanted emails.

 Gmail unsubscribe

Shortly after this announcement, Gmail updated the process for those users that wanted to unsubscribe, without reporting the email as spam. Thanks Gmail.

On to the present day and to the latest change in Gmail, that……hold on to your hats……makes it easier to unsubscribe!

Is this good or bad you might say? Well, not only does it make it easier to unsubscribe by adding a prominent unsubscribe button alongside the senders name, it also makes it easier to unsubscribe than it is to mark as spam.

Not only that, but Gmail is also piloting a feedback loop for certain email senders, which will be using a different process to hand back complaints.

This is quite a turnaround for Gmail, which for a long time has held back from the closer relationship with senders that the other big ISPs enjoy.

Marketers have known for quite some time that using the complaint data, IP reputation data and inbox placement data provided by some ISPs actually helps improve the user’s experience.

Being able to use this additional complaint data will undoubtedly help marketers to improve the Gmail recipient’s experience. Maybe this is what Gmail want, but whether marketers want to use it or not, is a different matter.

This could deepen the divide between marketing emails sent using segmentation and those that are just bulk spam.

It will also help Gmail differentiate between good senders or bad, as the good senders will use the extra data to fine tune the content, segmentation and frequency of their email campaigns. The bad senders wont.

So, do I think this move by Gmail is a good one? Yes I do. Anything that helps marketers to improve their email marketing program is a positive move. Anything that ensures recipients are receiving emails they want is a positive move.

The more positive moves senders and receivers make, the stronger the email marketing channel becomes.   

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Gmail offers unsubscribe link and the world of email marketing comes to an end

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Eight impressive social campaigns we’ve seen so far in 2014

Wednesday, February 26th, 2014

In January I forgot to publish our monthly roundup of impressive social media campaigns. Please accept my apologies.

But fear not, for this post includes examples of high quality social campaigns that ran in the first two months of 2014.

So read on to see eight examples of innovative or interesting campaigns, featuring Urban Decay, Land Rover, Esurance, Renault and Juventus FC…

Land Rover’s #Hibernot

In January Land Rover launched its #Hibernot campaign which centred around an online hub for winter trails, walks and activities up and down the UK.

The site launched with more than 80 Land Rover supported activities that are set to take place in Britain this winter, allowing people to get out and enjoy this ‘grey and pleasant land’. 

Visitors to the Hibernot site (which is built using responsive design) are encouraged to add to this bank of activities, which is curated by Land Rover, by posting images of their own outdoor adventures using the hashtag #Hibernot.

The #Hibernot campaign has social at its core but is also supported by traditional media with TV and cinema ads promoting its launch. The creative idea fits perfectly with the Land Rover brand, which also has decent social communities with 102,000 Facebook fans and 77,000 Twitter followers.

Net-A-Porter’s app

Earlier this month Net-A-Porter announced the launch of its new Porter print magazine which aims to become a fashion bible to rival the likes of Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar.

To help promote the magazine, Net-A-Porter created an iOS app called ‘I Am Porter’ which tapped into the craze for selfies.

The app allows users to take a photo of themselves or upload an existing favourite photo, add a cover line and PORTER masthead to transform themselves into a cover star. 

Users were then encouraged to share their photo on Twitter or Instagram, and it has proven to be relatively successful. 

There were around 2,800 mentions of the #IAMPORTER around the magazine’s launch, according to Topsy. 

Juventus #LoveJu

In what was labelled the worlds ‘first social-driven choreography’ Juventus gave its global fans a chance to get involved in the pre-match rituals.

Fans of European football teams often go through extensively choreographed set pieces prior to kick off, generally involving songs and flag waving.

For the game against Inter Milan on 2 February fans could submit their own choreography ideas through a Facebook app, essentially creating a pattern that the fans in the stadium would recreate using coloured pieces of card.  

More than 3,000 choreographies were submitted with a 16-year-old boy from Paris being the eventual winner.

There were also 13,500 tweets using the hashtag #LoveJu, some of which were displayed on the stadium’s big screen prior to the game.

Overall it was an innovative and spectacular way of rewarding overseas fans and encouraging them to get involved with the team’s social media feeds.

Pedigree’s Life-O-Graph

The execution of this campaign isn’t all that impressive, but I’ve included it as an example of how even more traditional brands are trying to become more agile.

Marston’s Pedigree probably doesn’t have particularly broad appeal among younger consumers yet it has jumped on a social media trend to produce an app for sharing recreations of old photos.

The app allows users to upload images from their phone and then recreate them to compare how they changed over the years. It was inspired in part by two brothers who gained a degree of fame online by recreating a load of their old baby photos.

                      

The idea is that the images can then be shared through Facebook or Twitter, with Marston handing out prizes to the best ones.

I’m not a huge fan of the campaign as it seems to be trying a bit too hard to alter the brand’s image, but it’s still an interesting example of how companies are trying to harness the power of memes for their social marketing.

Renault’s #UndressNewTwingo

To promote the launch of the new Twingo model Renault ran a teaser campaign that slowly unveiled the new car the more people tweeted about it.

On 11 February Renault and We Are Social teased media and influencers with content announcing the pre-reveal and encouraging them to get involved.

Then at 5pm on 13 February a live video stream showing a new Twingo covered in spyshot camouflage stickers launched on undressnewtwingo.com. 

The influencers, their audience and the general public were then invited to tweet using the hashtag #UndressNewTwingo. 

For every 100 tweets, a new choreographed striptease was performed around the Twingo by a professional dance troupe, slowly unveiling the new design of the vehicle.

There were 45,000 visits in just a few hours on undressnewtwingo.com (without paid media). More than 100 blog posts were published about the campaign and during the 1.5 hour pre-reveal event, there were around 4,000 tweets. #UndressNewTwingo organically became a trending topic in France.

Urban Decay Pinterest contest

Urban Decay is currently running a Pinterest competition that offers its followers the chance to win tickets to the Coachella music festival.

In order to enter the competition people have to create a pinboard called ‘Electric Festival Style with UD’ then pin the looks they would wear at this year’s music festivals. They must also follow Urban Decay on Pinterest and submit their email address via an online entry form.

Urban Decay has almost 50,000 Pinterest followers so its an excellent forum on which to host the competition and it has already received hundreds of entries, which makes it a data capture success if nothing else.

Esurance’s Super Bowl tweet

Millions of dollars was poured into Super Bowl TV ads this year, yet Esurance managed to become one of the most talked about companies in America by choosing not to air a commercial.

Instead the insurance broker aired a commercial immediately after the game ended to announce that it was running a lottery to give away $1.5m. All users had to do to enter the competition was tweet using the hashtag #EsuranceSave30.

By airing the commercial after the Super Bowl Esurance claimed to be saving $1.5 million – 30% of the estimated cost of airing an ad during the game.

According to Topsy the hashtag has been used more than 3.8m times in the past 30 days, which is rather impressive regardless of the cost.

Reiss’ Pinterest contest

Yes, here we have another fashion retailer trying its luck with a Pinterest competition.

Reiss offered entrants a £1,000 shopping spree if they created a board called ‘Reiss – Be Mine’ using Valentine’s inspired imagery and at least five items from the brand’s spring/summer range.

They then had to tweet their board @Reiss in order to be officially entered.

A quick Pinterest search reveals that there were more than 100 entries which isn’t bad going, though Reiss missed a trick by not including a data capture element.

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Eight impressive social campaigns we’ve seen so far in 2014

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77% of UK shoppers consult reviews before buying online: report

Wednesday, February 26th, 2014

It will probably come as no surprise to find out that customer reviews are an important feature to include on an ecommerce site.

They help to educate shoppers who are researching their purchase and reassure them that they are making the right decision.

We’re so used to seeing product reviews that it looks odd, perhaps even suspicious, when a site doesn’t include them.

In fact it could be argued that reviews are so common nowadays that there’s a danger consumers will become immune to their charms or will become dubious as to their validity.

Nonetheless, a new survey of 2,000 UK consumers by Trustpilot has found that three out of four British shoppers (77%) consult online reviews before buying online, so clearly reviews are still incredibly important for driving conversions.

It obviously needs to be pointed out that Trustpilot operates an online review platform so has something of a vested interested. 

The survey also suggests that 60% of Brits have written a review in the past year, which I’m slightly dubious about though the figure could well be that high if you include comments posted on social media.

To further highlight the importance of consumer reviews, here’s a roundup of data taken from several other studies which show the impact they have on driving conversions.

And for more information on this topic, check out our blog posts looking at 10 ways to encourage customer reviews online and investigating whether the number of consumer reviews in PPC ads will affect credibility.

88% of consumers consult reviews

A study from Reevoo back in 2012 painted an even more extreme picture of the vital need for consumer reviews.

It suggested that a massive 88% of consumers ‘sometimes or always’ consult a review when making a purchase, and 60% were more likely to purchase from a site that has customer reviews on.

More than half of respondents (52%) said friends’ recommendations were influential, followed by consumer reviews (48%), advertising (24%) and advice from sales assistants (22%).

The findings in Reevoo’s report came from a nationally representative survey of 1,000 UK consumers.

Kia

After noting the efficacy of consumer reviews online, car brand Kia decided to display them in its dealerships as well.

Its customers could therefore see reviews of Kia vehicles and the customer service of the showrooms themselves in both an offline and online setting.

In addition, Kia used online reviews in its recent TV ad campaign, prompting viewers to head online to check out the opinions of people who have bought its cars.  

The results speak for themselves, as users reading reviews online were:

  • 484% more likely to request a brochure.
  • 300% more likely to book a test drive.
  • 509% more likely to search for a local Kia dealer.

Consumers trust recommendations from friends and family above advertising

Our post looking at how trust signals can double your conversions includes stats from a Nielsen study showing that 92% of consumers say they trust recommendations from friends and family above all other forms of advertising.

And according to a study conducted by Search Engine Land, 72% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.

Another study by nToklo suggests that UK retailers that don’t offer a platform for customer recommendations could be missing out by as much as £9bn in extra revenue.

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77% of UK shoppers consult reviews before buying online: report

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Five ways to avoid content congestion

Wednesday, February 26th, 2014

While content creation might be the marketing strategy du jour, creating unique and creative stories is just half the battle.

Getting people to actually read and engage with your content is the most important – and difficult – task.

With the popularity content marketing is seeing, brands risk creating a tide of ‘content congestion’, an overload of content that leads many to ignore it altogether. 

Even the most engaging stories can get lost in the flurry of newsletters and social updates that are pumped out daily from brands.

So how can you make sure that your content doesn’t get lost in the shuffle?

Go for quality

This might seem obvious, but it applies just as much to your content narrative as the actual number of content pieces.

One consistent tone, look and feel to the different content your brand is producing will help this content stick in the minds of readers for far longer.

Keep it VIP

Using exclusive, in-depth content increases the value of what you create. As an added benefit to clicking on your content, offer a gated download such as a white paper or video.

Withholding the content means that there’s a conversation to be had post-purchase, and means that the customer engagement with your brand will last longer.

Invest in talent

Hire an editor that is as much a marketer as a writer. They should oversee everything from your editorial calendar, freelancers and editing to ensure that content fits your brands tone and voice.

A talented editor should be held accountable for hitting KPIs as much as the head of marketing should. Additionally, your editor must be armed with the software and tools to analyse their efforts.

That way, they can constantly iterate their strategy and measure ROI. 

Understand what works and do more of it

Every quarter you should try your marketing strategy on a new channel. This means you can understand what works for your audience, and keep doing it.

There’s plenty of new software out there to help you analyse and monitor the results of your content, and understanding what content was most successful (and for which audiences at what times).

This will keep your content focused and successful.

Go offline

You heard right, think about going offline to connect.

Some of the best content marketing campaigns have integrated real-world and online content, and with online content marketing reaching an all-time high next year, digital-only tactics might not always cut it. 

With the online market as busy as it is, content congestion is a challenge that all brands – big and small – will have to contend with. 

Here are some brands that have created great content and avoided congestion

McLaren has excelled at creating focused, relevant brand content with their TV series ‘Tooned’, a family friendly cartoon series about the most famous Formula1 drivers throughout history.

Utilising social media, from YouTube to Twitter, as well as Sky TV, Mclaren has combined online and real life experiences and has clearly made a huge effort to ensure the show is creative, funny and most importantly – ensuring that the consumer comes back to the brand again and again.

Ella’s Kitchen is a healthy kid’s food brand whose bright, fun packaging translates well into its digital offering.

The site targets tech savvy parents and is packed with engaging content – from try-at-home activities to a digital weaning guide.

The social media channels offer advice as well as giveaways, while the newsletter encourages parents to part with their email addresses by offering advice from a nutritionist as well as discounts. 

Colgate is a great example of a brand acting as a publisher. Colgate provides a dedicated online site (‘Oral and Dental Health Resource centre’) with videos, tips, interactive guides and over 400 articles related to oral health.

The brand is using its own expertise and depth of knowledge to provide valuable content that draws the customer in, rather than pushing it out to them directly.

The content that Colgate provides is something that can be scaled down so that even a smaller start-up company can pull from their experience and create blogs, newsletters and content that reflects the business.

If you get these points right, your brand will become one that is synonymous with valuable content that will have the consumer coming back for more  - and you’ll be much more likely to come out the other side of the fight against content congestion.

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Five ways to avoid content congestion

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57% of marketers using faster email technology report higher conversion rates

Tuesday, February 25th, 2014

Conversion rate is one of the most important metrics in email marketing, speaking to marketers’ ability to turn engagement into revenue. 

However with 42% of marketers who use slow email technology reporting lower than average conversion rates, it seems that revenue is being lost through outdated, sluggish systems.

The Email Marketing Speed Imperative study, published by Econsultancy in partnership with dotMailer, looks at how much impact email marketing technology, in terms of speed and ease of use, has on email marketing success.

The research also explores:

What is the dollar value of a faster-to-use email system in return on investment terms? How is email list growth affected by the responsiveness of email technology? How do most email marketers divide their time between nine key activities, and how should they be allocating it for maximum success?

The report is based on an online survey of more than 500 client-side and agency email professionals across a range of sophistication, company size and sector, conducted in the fourth quarter of 2013. Respondents were located primarily in North America and the United Kingdom.

Here’s a look at how marketers’ conversion rates and ROI relate to sector averages, broken down by the speed of their email marketing technology.

Marketers with faster, easier to use email systems clearly have an edge over their peers. 11% of the fast group report ‘significantly higher’ conversion rates, and 33% report ‘somewhat higher’ than average.

Another question asked in the study was “how does the speed of email technology relate to ROI?”

Organisations that calculate their email ROI were queried on their ratio of cost to revenue. 

Those with fast systems report an average ROI for email of $38.80, nearly 33% higher than the $26.20 reported by those with slow systems.

Email has always been the one of the top channels in terms of ROI and the return on email is very high, even in the worst cases. However there is a large disparity between the three different groups.

The marketers in the fast/easy to use technology category reported an average ROI of nearly 40:1 for every dollar spent, in comparison with a ratio of 26:1 for those in the slow group. 

When email marketers aren’t spending their time with rote tasks such as campaign deployment and management, they are able to carry out higher level practices, such as strategising, testing and advanced segmentation, all of which can lead to higher ROI.

For much more insight, research and guidance, download our full report: The Email Marketing Speed Imperative.

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