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This Holiday Season Play The Long Game With Email Marketing

As we predicted, promotional email volume has skyrocketed this year as brands worked to retain and reengage customers because of pandemic-related shutdowns. And marketers facing the decline of third-party cookies are now chasing first-party data through — you guessed it — email relationships. Inbox placement and reputation management vendor Validity finds that global inbox volume has increased 94% since Q3 2020. Competition for email attention and email data is tougher than ever.

The stakes around your email program are higher. Because of data deprecation, first-party data is gold. And email addresses unlock user identity and permission — keys to this treasure. So responsibly collecting email registrations, preserving relationships with good sending behavior, and enhancing user profiles through regular email interactions isn’t just about getting more opens and clicks. Improving deliverability now makes or breaks your entire customer data strategy. Here is how to do right with email marketing this holiday season:

  • Don’t get lured into the temptation of over-messaging. We get the appeal of sending just one more message when you are facing looming Q4 transaction goals. But wearing out your list now sacrifices longer-term revenue, compromises your sender reputation, and potentially deletes forever the identifier you need to stay in touch with a customer. GDPR allows that users can request that their data be permanently erased from a marketing database if requested.
  • Keep registration customer led. Boxed and Rue La La now require registration just to browse their sites. But we advise not forcing a customer’s hand. Let customers control their opt-in. Rent the Runway’s omnichannel preference center collects explicit proclivities and zero-party data such as user size and style searches for use in product recommendations. And Dollar Tree gives subscribers a chance to change contact information, desired message type, and frequency.
  • Deliver value to customers. We bet your email strategy over-indexes on accomplishing your Q4 goals — sales volume, revenues, inventory liquidation. This is the case for most emailers. But the best way to win this holiday and still have a database and solid sending reputation is to give customers what they want, rather than forcing them into your path to purchase. As Validity found, Red Letter Days increased inbox placement when it targeted emails to user behavior and preference. And improved inbox placement boosted opens and clicks, which generated more data for better targeting. This virtuous cycle increased revenue attributed to email by 10%. Email marketing vendors like Bluecore and Cordial collect and make usable non-email data (like point-of-service data, supply chain updates, or SKU-level metadata) to improve message relevance.

Read more: This Holiday Season Play The Long Game With Email Marketing

Email marketing is bigger than ever, so here’s how your small business should do it

Email is a critical marketing tool. Research firm Statistica reports that, in 2020, about 306 billion emails were sent and received every day worldwide, and this figure is projected to increase to more than 376 billion daily emails within the next few years.

That should not surprise anyone running a small business. According to recent research from Campaign Monitor, an email marketing platform, 64% of small businesses use email marketing to reach customers.

Unfortunately, there is still a great deal of confusion among small-businesses owners about how to best deploy email marketing.

For starters, you don’t want to send hundreds or thousands of emails from your company’s mail server unless you enjoy getting into a fight with your internet service provider. That’s why it’s always best to subscribe to a bulk email service such as Constant Contact, Mailchimp, AWeber, or Emma. Besides providing templates and assistance for sending out email campaigns, the primary job of these services is to make sure that your email gets delivered.

The good ones will have best practices and actively enforce opt-in and data rules to ensure that you are not sending spam or messages to people who don’t want to hear from you. Because of these controls, the major mail providers such as Gmail, which recognizes that delivery is coming from a vetted source, are less inclined to block your messages or send them to spam.

What about content? The rule of thumb is that it should be short and mostly non-promotional. That’s because no one wants to receive advertisements. Your community will want information that will help. This information can be about your products but also include thought leadership, insights, and advice.

“If your email marketing is all about ‘buy my stuff, buy my stuff, buy my stuff,’ then you’re not providing any kind of value,” says Bonny Clayton, a Media-based web design and marketing specialist. “Keep doing that and your email list is going to die.”

Clayton also recommends that if you’re sharing a blog or information about a new product, “don’t give them the whole kit and caboodle in the email. Whet their appetite, pique their interest in the email, and then say, learn more by having a big juicy button for clicking.”

Read more: Email marketing is bigger than ever, so here’s how your small business should do it

How, why every artist should use email marketing in 2021

The current musical landscape consists of a melting pot of artists, all bidding for the attention of audiences with 12-second attention spans.  While social media is great when it comes to building an engaging brand story and identity, artists like you need to take their marketing efforts one step further.

That’s where email marketing comes in. Email is the tried-and-tested medium that can turn someone who stumbled upon your music into a long-term fan.

Why is email marketing beneficial to musicians?

Email is the internet’s currency. Anyone who’s online has an email address.

90% of emails get delivered straight to your intended recipient’s inbox. Conversely, only 2% of your Facebook audience see your posts. If you’ve got 1000 followers on Facebook, only 20 of them will see your post. If you have 1000 people on your mailing list, 900 individuals will receive your email in their inbox. That’s quite a difference!

Email is also one of the most powerful conversion channels out there. The average click-through rate of any given email is approximately 3%, compared to Instagram’s 0.22%. This makes a big difference when talking about overall revenue, merch sold and gig tickets purchased.

It’s also important to consider the fact that many people use social media to communicate with loved ones and to pass the time. On the other hand, email is a more professional communication medium. In fact, 49% of consumers prefer receiving marketing messages via email.

Then there’s also the indisputable fact that email is one of the most stable communication channels on the net. The first email campaign was sent in 1978 to 400 people. Marketers haven’t looked back ever since. By 2013, 53% of marketers agreed that email is the most effective communication channel. In 2020, around 306 billion e-mails were sent and received every day globally. This figure is set to increase to over 376 billion daily e-mails in 2025. Social media platforms come and go – but email has stayed and conquered.

Read more: How, why every artist should use email marketing in 2021

Optimizing Your Email Marketing In 2021

Digital marketing has more than shown its worth for businesses of all industries over the past year, and one strategy that’s been particularly valuable has been email marketing.

Email marketing is arguably more important now than it ever was before. However, while email marketing is extremely important right now, it can also be difficult to do well. If you want to get all of the benefits of email marketing, you’ll need to familiarize yourself with all of the best practices and stay current with the latest trends.

Don’t miss the impact that good email marketing can have on your business going forward. Use these tips to optimize your email marketing in 2021 and start appealing more to your audience.

Give emails a personal touch.

You’re probably already aware of the overwhelming amount of emails that people get each day, as you likely deal with this yourself. We all get tons of emails from businesses, and many of them don’t even look like they were meant for us specifically.

Generic emails sent out to all your contacts that don’t apply to a particular group of people or an individual won’t have much of an impact and could end up just getting deleted.

In 2021, personalization is one of the most important things you can do for your marketing efforts, especially email marketing. The more relevant you can make something, the more potential it has to be effective.

No one wants to spend their time reading emails that weren’t intended for them, and they definitely won’t feel compelled to do whatever the email is asking of them.

Ensure that you’re creating emails with relevant information for certain groups so that it appeals to their needs and interests. To personalize even further, include the recipient’s name, so they know they’re getting an email meant for them, not just anyone.

Boost engagement with interactive features.

Personalization isn’t the only way for getting users to be more engaged when reading your emails. While you may be able to write engaging content to keep your audience interested, adding interactive features to some of your emails is a great way of boosting agreement. This gives them more than just text to read when they open your emails.

Read more: Optimizing Your Email Marketing In 2021

Can BIMI Help Marketers Build Customer Trust?

BIMI (Brand Indicators for Message Identification) enables marketers to add a logo to their emails in the inbox so subscribers can quickly identify their messages and trust that they’re from the right sender. It can do for email marketing what https in front of a web address did for websites.

It provides a shortcut for consumers to decide whether or not to trust an email and gives them the confidence they need before opening an email as to whether it’s what it says it is or if it’s some sort of scam. The visual cue that BIMI provides may create trust and lead to fewer unsubscribes and spam complaints, and boost the deliverability of your email marketing messages.

At the beginning of the year, we wrote an article on building customer trust with BIMI. Now that Google has general support for BIMI in its inboxes, we asked marketers about their thoughts on how BIMI will change email marketing.

How Will BIMI Change Email Marketing? 

Like other email authentication standards, BIMI is essentially a text file in a specific format. BIMI helps organizations enhance their return on a channel that they already control and delivers a strong payoff for minimal investment.

BIMI files live on your sending servers and give the receiving inbox information about the sender. BIMI uses the DKIM, SPF, and DMARC protocols, which makes protecting a brand from fraud easier for email marketers, but that’s just one side of the benefits of BIMI. Let’s take a closer look.

Read more: Can BIMI Help Marketers Build Customer Trust?

Email Marketing: Still a Customer Engagement Workhorse

Consumers have never had so many ways to engage with brands, but despite that, a majority of them still prefer the old reliable channel of email marketing. With so much buzz around social media, SMS text messaging, and push notifications, it might seem like the right time to deprioritize email as an engagement channel. But new research shows that would be a huge mistake.

MoEngage conducted a consumer survey across four key global markets: the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and Germany. The goal was to understand better what consumers expect in communications from brands and how they want their personal data used by brands to deliver a better experience. We learned from this exercise that 33% of all respondents still put email at the top of the list when it comes to preferred engagement channels.

In fact, 39% of global respondents said they would like to receive weekly emails from their favorite brands that contain highly personalized offers. This same survey did show an increase in the adoption of mobile apps, SMS, push notifications, and chatbots as engagement channels – and these are still important as part of your multichannel strategy. Yet, email still reigns supreme. Why?

Here are the top six reasons brands must place email marketing at the top of their priority list:

It Reaches an Audience That Wants to Be There

Email marketing is the best method of direct response marketing there is. That’s because users have raised their hands and actively opted into hearing from you, so they’re more willing to open them to learn about the latest products, sales and personalized offers based on their previous purchase history.

Email is Ubiquitous

While not every global consumer has a social media account, it’s a safe bet they have an email address. Whether you’re enticing new customers or trying to reengage with your existing base, email is still highly valued across internet users. Even in emerging countries where reliable internet infrastructure is not widespread, email is the de facto communication tool. In 2019, the number of global email users was 3.9 billion, and by 2024 is expected to reach 4.3 billion.

Personalization is Easy with Email

Email marketing began as a one-way broadcast to reach the largest possible number of potential customers. Fast forward to today, when advancements in AI, data collection, audience segmentation and analysis make it easier than ever for marketers to create highly personalized email messages.

Read more: Email Marketing: Still a Customer Engagement Workhorse

Email Marketing Isn’t Dead, but Old Practices Have Become Obsolete

It’s true that talks about the demise of email marketing have been going on for quite some time. “Social media is taking over”, “other marketing channels are more efficient” and numerous similar myths have been circling around.   The reality however is different! Nobody is pulling the plug on email just yet. Despite the obvious rise of social media in our everyday lives, people still receive emails in their inboxes and they expect it more than ever. The email remains the “king” among digital marketing channels driving a tremendous ROI for businesses.  

What seems to be dead (or obsolete, to be exact) are the strategies used and the email marketing methodology followed by some businesses!  

THE TRUTH ABOUT EMAIL MARKETING While email marketing is not something new, it’s still alive and kicking and far from dead according to the numbers. Specifically, according to recent statistics, email is an integral part of our daily online life. The number of global e-mail users in 2020 amounted to four billion and that number is expected to grow to 4.6 billion users in 2025.  

To put things into perspective, 3.6 billion people used social media in 2020. So, there are more people using email than social media.  

What’s even more interesting is the fact that the trend towards mobile devices has also affected emails, and almost 50% of total email opens occurred through mobile devices. So, people can effortlessly check their email even away from their PCs.  

As for the email’s effectiveness as a channel, 47% of marketers agreed that it is the most effective marketing channel, followed by social media marketing (39%), SEO (33%), and content marketing (33%).  

What’s also changed throughout the years is the affordability and functionality of email marketing services. The market is now full with robust tools with advanced features, while their pricing is affordable even for start-ups and small businesses. Some of the top email newsletter software right now can be found here.  

Read more: Email Marketing Isn’t Dead, but Old Practices Have Become Obsolete

Why Companies Turn To Digital Marketing To Survive COVID-19

In the coming months, businesses are going to become more reliant than ever on their digital strategy. Without wanting to sound too alarmist, in many cases it will be the deciding factor in whether they make it through the tough times ahead.

The unprecedented, almost-total disappearance of all channels related to live events and conferences, and the increasing barriers on face-to-face business, pose an enormous challenge. Key to resilience is the development of ongoing contingencies to mitigate against this loss.

B2B companies in particular rely on the annual circuit of trade shows and exhibitions to network and build customer relations. In industries that are not digital-native, they may also be less sophisticated in their digital growth and customer relations strategies. For smaller businesses especially, used to getting new customers through word-of-mouth referrals or on the strength of a hard-won reputation, their loss is coming as a shock.

Larger companies are also now finding themselves in the position of having potentially lost millions through cancelled events. They won’t claw back the hours of time and expense spent on preparations for this year, but insurance and flexible cancellation policies will leave them with marketing budget to reassign. Digital is likely to be the clear winner here, and companies – including ones that may not so much as had a Facebook page before – will need to move into social marketing, content marketing, SEO and influencer-led campaigns.

Of course, this means there’s opportunities out there for the taking, if you are a B2B supplier in an industry that has been slow to adapt to digital marketing. A key factor in resilience is adaptability. If it’s standard in your industry to go out and meet new customers face-to-face before you do business, adapting may mean opening new channels over web or social media platforms where introductions can be made and relationships fostered. In the coming months, your prospective clients are going to be less open to the idea of letting you walk through the door and shake their hand – and no-one really has any idea how long this will last and whether this will lead to longer-term change.

As Scott Jones, CEO of 123 Internet Group, told me “We are in uncertain times, but with the increase of remote working and a collaborative approach, companies are turning to digital channels and embracing the transformation. We have seen a real spike during the last few weeks from companies wishing to create or update websites, launch new e-commerce channels and create social media campaigns focused on home-workers and a real focus on using influencers and SEO to reach new audiences.”

Being confined to the office – or even the home – rather than on the road on sales visits or at events, means marketers have more time to develop digital strategies. This means researching where your customers can be found online, and how different approaches and tactics might impact your success. If your organization previously put token efforts into digital channels – because like a lot of other businesses, you had built your networks offline and that had always seemed to work – now is the time to revisit them. That could be as simple as giving your website and social pages a refresh, or a more innovative approach.

Ratnesh Singh, head of global business at events technology agency Buzznation told me that he found out quickly that clients did not want to lose the networking opportunities provided by the conference circuit. On top of this, they are looking for new ways to spend their remaining marketing budgets. He said, “With our corporate clients, events often consume 50 to 60 per cent of their marketing budgets. They still want to spend that money and they are open to trying something new.

“There’s a window of opportunity here – when things are back to normal budgets will be going back into live events and that’s what they will be spending their time on.

“But if they see the benefits and opportunities that digital channels can offer, this will become part of their long-term marketing contingency plans.”

As well as offering immersive 3D virtual events, Buzznation has also found that businesses wanting to become more sophisticated in their use of live social platforms. Singh said “Clients are turning to Facebook or LinkedIn Live. Often these are platforms they have dabbled with in the past but never fully integrated into their marketing strategy. Now they see value in partnering with companies like us that know how to help them make the most of these channels, to achieve better production values and more targeted campaigns.”

It’s certainly true that the coming weeks, or months – or however long this situation lasts – will be a challenging time for any company that isn’t ready to think about how they will replace the opportunities that have been lost.

As long as businesses approach the shift to digital marketing strategically, there’s no reason why it should just serve as an emergency fill-in, but could carry on providing long-term value when the world eventually gets back to normal. And of course, it would make companies more resilient to deal with any future pandemics.

The Influencer Marketing Statistics You Need to Know [Infographic]

As influencer marketing evolves, it seems that there’s a new survey or report released every other week, highlighting the various best practices to locate, reach out and connect with relevant digital identities – and why you need to do so.

It can be hard to keep up, so with this infographic, the Vamp team sought to collect all the most significant findings of the year so far.

The stats here underline just how much growth there’s been in influencer marketing – highlighted by a 1500% increase in searches for ‘influencer marketing’ over the past three years. And it’s little wonder that people want to learn more, when the process has proved its worth so competently. Some 87% of shoppers admit that they’ve been prompted to make a purchase by an influencer, and almost the same amount of marketers believe it’s an effective marketing solution (84%).

Looking to get a better handle on the rise of influencer marketing, and why it’s so effective? Check out the graphic below.

Read more: The Influencer Marketing Statistics You Need to Know [Infographic]

 

LinkedIn Marketing Priorities in 2019

Are you planning to make LinkedIn a focus of your digital marketing efforts in 2019?

For those that are looking to get more out of the professional social network, it can be helpful to know what others are doing on the platform, and what they’re looking to achieve with LinkedIn’s tools. That’s the focus of this new infographic from LinkedIn – the platform recently surveyed its members to get more insight into expectations, priorities and more, related to platform use.

There are some interesting insights here. The questions are obviously LinkedIn-specific, but it’s worth noting the most popular topics (the platform’s ‘Matched Audiences’, which combines your data with on-platform insights, is a key focus) and what other marketers are using LinkedIn for.

You can read LinkedIn’s full report here, or check out the graphic below.

Read more: LinkedIn Marketing Priorities in 2019