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Video the New Mantra For Direct Marketing

May 17, 2010

Marketers are getting crazy to find new way to make their email marketing campaign as part of their direct marketing activity more effective. From effective I mean more Open Rates for their campaign.

Email Marketing have gone through a great revolution and I believe with advent of new technology its going to get better better and better. The technology have acted as an catalyst for the marketers who were till now using various conventional and traditional methods which in turn were expensive also.

One of the technology that should be given more attention is Video Email Campaign. Instead of the using the html based email campaign which could be victim of more strict spam rules or boring for the target propsects or customer, video becomes a great tool not only to express your message but also make it interesting to make an impact.

Though the open rate cannot be guaranteed to increase just because we have used video within the email but it has potentially a better rate of conversion. The reason for more conversion is due to fact that the impact will be more higher as compare to the text based email campaign. Having said that it should also ensure that marketers don’t send a movie size video whch is large and makes the entire campaign objective failed.

The video should be shorrt, interesting and appealing and at the same time have the right message. This is really challenging for the marketers. Due to impact, it is important that whatever is sent should go through goood amount design and approval cycle. Marketers should ensure that message is completely in sync with the campaign objective and no mistake is acceptable as any mistake will put your video email into a junk.

Another advantage that I see is the rate of forwarding the campaign email will increase as the users are more interested in forwarding the email which appeals them. This is good example of viral marketing with almost no effort.

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Choosing the right customer for Direct Marketing or Email Marketing Campaign

May 9, 2010

The role of a Marketing Manager in an organization has changed greatly over the last few years. The market continues to change rapidly with an increased number of products and increased competition and with direct marketing  focus now shifting to customer engagement. Customers are aware more than ever before of what they want and are spoilt for choice. The channels for direct marketing are also changing rapidly. Gone are the days when a billboard or an ad on television was a way to reach the customer.

Today’s marketers need to nurture and engage their customers and prospects – not just a random selection of people but a carefully chosen target group. This choice requires a clear profiling of the target audience for a direct marketing campaign based on an in-depth analysis of customer behavior and preferences. The Marketing Manager needs to be a friend who knows the customer so well as to be able to suggest what she or he needs and make the customer say – “Wow…you know what? That’s exactly what I need at this moment! It’s perfect for me!”

While it’s all very one-to-one, personal and exciting, this throws up a great challenge for a Marketing Manager. The questions that pop up in the Marketing Manager’s mind are:

  1. Where do I get this in-depth information on my customers/prospects?
  2. How do I choose the correct target set for my campaign?
  3. How can I do all this quickly and easily?

Add to it the limitations of the processes and current database systems that store the wealth of customer information in an organization, such as:

  1. Complexity of list pulling
  2. Dependency on a Database Analyst
  3. No flexibility and Time consuming
  4. No tracking of previous campaigns
  5. Complicated and not easy

To empower the marketers Campaign Management solutions should provide:

  1. Easy Segmentation: Marketing Managers should be able to define and store the target segments for a direct marketing or email marketing campaign in an intuitive and easy manner. Marketers are also looking for aggregations and other operations on the information present in the database so it could be utilized for defining the right set of customers for the campaign. It should allow the Marketing Manager to include and exclude sets of customers to ensure optimum coverage. learn more>>
  2. Easy modification: Marketing Managers should be able to quickly adapt to changes and modify the target segments for a Campaign. It should be easy to quickly pull out the counts and the list of customers for a campaign. By putting this in the hands of the Marketing Managers, they could now assess the impact of changes in the counts due to change in strategies.
  3. Flexibility: It must have the flexibility of further classifying these target segments so as to present various offers and based on the response, be able to follow up with the next offer.
  4. Quick and Efficient Execution: It should be easy to define campaigns and execute them in a quick and efficient manner.

This will help reduce the go-to-market time for campaigns considerably thereby improving the productivity of the Marketing Managers.

  1. Efficient Resource Utilization: The tool should be simple enough so Market Managers can execute a campaign with minimum resource utilization. The campaigns need no longer be delayed due to insufficient resource availability thereby providing a substantial saving on costs.
  2. Response Tracking and Analysis: The tool should allow the response data captured in the system to be easily interpreted and re-used for further planning. This will ensure that customers are being nurtured based on their preferences.

The focus of today’s marketing is valuing and developing customer relationships. In such times when customer loyalty and lifetime value are key to good marketing practices, the need for a simple, effective, flexible yet efficient Campaign Management tool is critical for any organization.

Sending Email at Right Time

May 8, 2010

One of the most important aspect of email marketing is scheduling of the email delivery. The following are my experience

1. Never send an email on weekend, your email will be part of hundreds of emails that the user receive. Its most likely the user will preferred to read the emails that looks like important from subject line.

2. Never send an email on Monday. The user will already be busy for planning the week ahead so chances of ignoring the email is high.

3. Never send an email at overnight as the user will read the email at morning with others so the point 1 becomes applicable.

4. Send an email sometime mid of the week around 12:00 pm – 4:00 pm. As the user is most probably on desk and have already replied to the necessary and important emails. Also the new email popups will ensure the user pays attention to the email.

Check more on One-One Marketing

Planning a Marketing Campaign

May 3, 2010

he following should be considered for planning a marketing campaign

a. Brief your marketing team about the overall objective of the campaign and what is expected from the each individual involved in the campaign. Collaborative tools will be good aid to any Campaign Manager.

b. Allocate Budgets for the campaign. Also ensure you have good tool to track this budgetary allocation to different part of the campaign in a granular level.

c. Do a complete resource allocation upfront.

d. Develop a contingency plan, you should always have Plan-B for the campaign. This allows to analyze the risk factors and mitigate the risks in future.

e. Publish the plan to the team and the stakeholder so that there is complete transparency about the campaign.

Check out more about it on One-One Marketing Solution

Tools For Collaboration

May 3, 2010

Marketers require effective tool for executing all form collaboration

  1. Approval Process
  2. Online Discussion on internal activities

Approval Process

Document approval, brief approval, design approval are some of the many things that any marketers require on a day to day basis.  Many of us uses email to perform these tasks but then all side effects comes up sooner than later. To overcome all these its better Marketers move to effective and efficient approval tool which takes care of their needs. Customizing the tool for every marketer needs should not be a difficult task.

Online Discussion on Internal Activity

Marketers often need to discuss various aspects of campaigns or any other marketing activity with peers sitting across desk, cities, countries etc etc. Instant Messaging have become effective tool but keeping this discussion in a system so that it can used for tracking why certain decision was taken will be more effective.  Online Messageboard type of application will be good.

For more information on Collaborative Tool : One-One Marketing

Another Good Link on Email Marketing Tool Comparsion

April 30, 2010

Check out this link good comparision on Email Marketing Tool

http://www.businessinsider.com/4-easy-online-marketing-tools-that-will-help-you-connect-with-your-customers-2010-4

Best Practices for Email Deliverability

April 30, 2010

Source: Marketing Transformation Forum , Direct Marketing Solution

In simple terms, email deliverability is about ensuring that an email is delivered to an intended recipient’s inbox.
Even though the goal of deliverability is simple, the process itself is quite complex. Ensuring successful e-mail deliverability is in fact a number of tasks and best practices that must be performed diligently and continuously by both the Email Service Provider (ESP) and the Client Marketers. Both are responsible in the end to ensure optimal email deliverability.

Here are some of the best practices that a marketer should be aware of, to ensure a successful e-mail direct marketing campaign:

1. Get Your Email Marketing Program in Compliance with CAN-SPAM: The cornerstone of deciphering the legislation is gaining a full understanding of what email is covered by the law. Failing to follow the regulations could place your email marketing efforts in violation. Get a copy of the CAN-SPAM Act and understand the dos and don’ts.

2. Send Relevant, Targeted, And Personalized Messages: By now it’s a known fact that the more relevant and personalized an e-mail is, the more effective it will be. Knowing this—and with marketing automation systems now available that put these capabilities within the reach of almost any marketer—email marketers have little excuse for blasting out generic, single-shot emails to un-segmented lists. Not only will better-targeted, more personalized emails achieve better conversion rates, they will also improve deliverability due to fewer complaints and better sender reputation.

The same marketing automation systems mentioned earlier, enable marketers to build sophisticated segmentation and targeting models through a simple-to-use interface. The ability to easily generate these complex customer segments and even sub-segments for testing purposes enables marketers to take their e-mail targeting to the next level.

Similarly, “personalization” is no longer a matter of inserting the recipient’s name into the “To” line. Today’s best marketing automation systems enable marketers to make almost every graphic and text element of an e-mail easily customized and personalized.

There is also no reason to see streams of e-mail communications as static and linear. Again, advanced marketing automation systems allow marketers to create adaptive campaigns that react to past contact behavior. Perhaps the contact responded best to a certain kind of offer in past, or clicked on a certain kind of link: marketers can ensure that the next email this contact receives draws on this information to compose an even more custom message, with the email stream becoming more and more relevant and personalized with each successive interaction. This is the dream of true one-to-one marketing, made possible on a mass scale.

3. Mail Regularly: Most marketers worry about emailing too much, but sending too little can be as big a problem. To keep bounces at a minimum, be sure to email everyone on your list at least once every 90 days. Email addresses “churn” at an incredible rate, and infrequent mailing can raise overall bounce rates to undesirable levels.

4. Make It Easy to Unsubscribe: Make sure the Unsubscribe or opt-out button is prominently displayed in the message, giving the recipient a clear option other than reporting your message as spam.

5. Enforce Strong & Relevant Exclusion Rules: Make sure those customers who have ‘Unsubscribed’ from receiving future emails are automatically excluded from all future email communications, as this will no doubt lead to a blacklisting. Also, make sure strong communication rules / policies are automatically enforced to avoid over communication as this will contribute to poor reputation and possible blacklisting. For example, no more than one (1) email in a 10 day period and no more than three (3) emails in a 30 day period.

6. Manage Bounced Emails: Make sure those customers who returned a ‘Hard Bounce’ are automatically excluded from all future email communications, as this will no doubt lead to a blacklisting. Also, make sure those customers who returned a ‘Soft Bounce’ are excluded if they have soft-bounced at least there (3) times over a period of 3 – 4 weeks.

7. White Listing: Include a request in your email for the recipient to add the sending email address to their ‘Safe Senders’ list. Emails sent from this address would then in future always be delivered directly to the recipient’s inbox, provided no other deliverability issues are encountered.

8. Check Content for Spam Score: Always run your outbound email through a content checker, such as integrated SpamAssassin, to reduce the chance it will get tripped up by filters.

9. Test Renderability: Always test your message to ensure it will render properly for different recipient email clients. Also, because a lot of email clients block images, try turning them off for a test to see how the message looks and whether it still communi¬cates meaning with the graphics disabled.

10. Try and Test Appealing Subject Lines: The main purpose of a ‘Subject Line’ is to achieve an open. It is worthwhile testing many variations to see which one works best.

11. Testing Emails: Testing out emails on sub-segments and samples before mass-sending is a marketing best practice for multiple reasons. Not only can it help assess the effectiveness of your message and predict conversion rates, but it can identify deliverability issues. Test your messages to check for higher-than-normal complaint rates or numbers of unsubscribe requests. Split-test different versions of the same email on random sample to isolate the biggest factors in deliverability rates, or test the same email on different segments to identify different segment behavior patterns—perhaps a certain segment is more sensitive to certain factors and at risk of lodging spam complaints. One option for finding out if your messages are being delivered is to use a “seed” list of addresses.

12. Monitor Basic Email Campaign Performance: Keeping a close eye on basic key metrics such as opens, click-throughs and bounces can help you uncover deliverability prob¬lems. For example, if you see a sudden increase in bounces or a drop in opens, chances are you might need to take a closer look at deliverability.