How the Leading E-Mail Innovations Help Marketers

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email-buttonE-mail remains a prominent player for marketers to drive both revenue and engagement. As this medium has seen significant developments and dollars invested in technology, marketers are wise to keep pace and not rely on the status quo for their e-mail marketing efforts. E-mail must play a central role in your marketing.

E-mail drives data, and we marketers know that’s key. The more we can learn about our prospects and communicate with them in meaningful and ongoing ways the better it is for not only getting a sale but also for forming a trust relationship. E-mail is about so much more than just sending a message to a prospect or an existing customer. It’s what marketers do with the data gathered and the e-mail platform capabilities that drives real results.

One of the primary obstacles of using e-mail marketing that I see is a lack of real dedication or buy-in to the e-mail initiatives. Without dedicating the proper amount of time, human and financial resources to your e-mail strategy, it’s likely not to perform well, or worse, fail completely. Just as the e-mail platforms must continue to innovate in the technology they provide, we marketers must also continue to innovate in how we use e-mail to market to our prospects and customers. We must think about what our prospects want to hear, what they need to hear, and how we need to say it.

By viewing your e-mail tactics not as single deployments but rather part of a comprehensive whole, you’re beginning to set the stage for success. How can e-mail be part of your marketing whole? Each component must compliment the other as well as feed this circular marketing message – from e-mail to website to YouTube to Twitter, etc. – the message must be consistent and well orchestrated to tell a story across platforms in a compelling and cohesive way. Push the limits of how you define e-mail and how you use it. Innovate!

To provide you with a little inspiration, here are some e-mail examples I like because of their simplicity. They each do a good job communicating a clear message, offer specific and highly visible calls to action, provide a few opportunities to click for info, and stay true to their brand image.

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Trends in Digital Marketing for 2019

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The new year is all about connectivity, and those who embrace it will thrive in the increasingly more digital world. Here are some opportunities I think will be leading the way in 2019.

 

Connected TV Will Continue Its Rise

Connected TV (CTV) found its momentum in 2018 with viewership steadily increasing and projected to reach 190 million users in 2019 while traditional cable continues to decline. According to Extreme Reach, the growth of CTV doubled in 2018 versus the previous year. And, it overtook mobile, which accounted for 30 percent of video ad impressions. CTV enables televisions to connect to the Internet, opening up a world of content not before available through traditional TV viewing. This translates into unparalleled reach and better targeting for marketers.

Instagram TV Will Take On YouTube

In 2018 Instagram set out to disrupt the video market by launching its own YouTube competitor called Instagram TV (IGTV). In the past, Instagram stories were only viewable for 24 hours, and videos could only be one minute. With IGTV, this is no longer the case, and marketers and Instagram users are taking notice. Marketers are seeing the potential IGTV brings to engage with prospects in a meaningful and highly targeted way. Video content is still a powerful tool in 2019.

Artificial Intelligence Will Become More Pervasive

Marketers can’t beat the enhanced analytics AI provides, so it’s no wonder more and more marketers are using AI to plan and execute their campaigns. According to Salesforce, 51 percent of marketing leaders are already using AI in some form, and more than a quarter will begin using AI technology in 2019. With increased usage, we can expect to see improvements in this technology over time. Chatbots are a great example. Powered by AI automation, bots are reshaping the way customers interact with brands and shape the customer experience by answering queries and providing online assistance.

Augmented Reality Advertising Will Get Real

One of the most prevalent obstacles of online shopping is customers can’t personally engage with the product by touching it, trying it on, etc. Augmented reality (AR) technology solves this problem. Furniture brands like IKEA use AR so online shoppers can visualize what the furniture will look like in their homes, and makeup chains such as Sephora enable online shoppers to test products on themselves using an uploaded selfie. Consumers are opting to buy online now more than ever, so AR is going to become increasingly more important and more sophisticated.

Voice Advertising Will Enhance Customization

Currently, millions of people use voice devices to ask for information, make a phone call, text, or easily place orders — and advertisers are starting to take notice. According to Com Score, an estimated 50 percent of all searches will be conducted through voice by 2020. You can see the opportunity this technology provides to develop creative voice campaigns that use jingles or recognizable influencer voices targeted to your prospects. And, unlike text queries, which tend to be short, voice-activated searches provide marketers with greater context to more effectively tailor the message to the target audience’s needs and preferences.

Be On The Look Out For Visual Searches

This technology is just beginning to take off. A visual search enables a consumer to take a photo of a desired product with their smartphone and then locate the item (or one similar to it) in a store. Home Depot and Urban Outfitters are just two examples of brands using this technology. And, platforms like Pinterest, Bing and Google have rolled out search functions that enable users to locate items inspired by objects in the real world.

I am excited by these technologies and the possibilities they offer marketers in 2019. Don’t be afraid to try something new and take full advantage of all of the new ways we have to reach prospects. Happy New Year!

 

Demographics Don’t Gauge Your Target Market’s Mood – Why That Matters

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Unknown-1In a climate ripe with data gathering and advanced analytics, the mood of our prospects isn’t often considered. We’ve come so far since the early days of advertising, yet in many ways we still rely on the yesteryear approach to marketing. Think about how we price advertising, which is archaic when you consider it’s best to buy ads one at a time based on analytic analysis. Equally outdated is the basic premise of demographics – a practice that begun in the 1920s – and it’s enduring focus on greater segmentation and third-party data collection with disregard to how we consume media in today’s economy.

In all of our advances, we seem to have missed the boat. Social media is the closest we’ve come to hitting the mark. Only in that arena do we realize that we have the means to speak to our prospects in real time. But, that’s where we tend to stop. We don’t acknowledge that that means we can advertise to prospects frequently, optimizing campaigns around prospects’ given moods.

If You Want a Personal Connection With Prospects, You Can’t Discount Mood

Much (if not all) of our segmenting is hard fact centered; we never consider mood. Yet, we increasingly want to use our technological advances to make a more meaningful, personal connection. It seems counterintuitive, and I’m not alone in this thinking.

We should be putting more emphasis on prospects’ given mood and optimizing from that vantage point. Media buys would then be adjusted to the content that speaks to the prospects’ moods, using real-time reactions. Traditional, long-held demographic segmenting practices alone will not get us where we want to go. We have to dig deeper and consider the moods of our prospects to reach them in a meaningful way.

Is Amazon the Next Great Advertising Platform?

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Amazon continues to experience spectacular growth in advertising revenues, so it’s worth it for marketers to look into this option. Now, that task is even easier. Last week Amazon released its inaugural 2019 Advertising Forecast, which published the results of a survey of 681 digital marketers and advertisers to better understand the challenges and opportunities that Amazon advertising products present.

Here are highlights from the report that I think are worth sharing.

44 percent of Amazon advertisers plan to add campaign automation tools in 2019. While the report shows that currently larger companies with revenue greater than $25 million are using Amazon ad automation tools more so than smaller businesses (under $10 million), both categories are equal in their intentions to use automation tools in 2019.

The tools they intend to use include ones from Kenshoo, Splitly, Sellics, Seller Labs, Prestozon, Pacvue, PPC Scope, Helium 10, Adlucent, Jungle Scout and Ignite, as well as proprietary tools.

Marketers will benefit from keeping top of mind thatAmazon purchases are “bottom of funnel,” which means shoppers log on with a specific purchase in mind. There’s an opportunity to capture some market with “similar products” with an Amazon ad that Kenshoo supports.

Recognizing the potential on Amazon, there are an increasing number of tools being developed specifically for Amazon to help marketers. For example, Teikametrics offers a retail optimization platform that optimizes Amazon search term bids, product keywords and other search parameters, and also supports the deployment of Sponsored Brand ads. Teikametrics takes advantage of the fact Amazon is often both the inventory advertiser as well as the order fulfillment center. Using this tool, sellers can zero in on important metrics like how many ads to run if inventory is low, or whether it is better to increase advertising or lower prices.

As Amazon continues to invest in its advertising offerings, marketers are looking for tools that will enable them to effectively scale and automate their campaign management. Amazon’s 2019 Advertising Forecast signals there is a substantial opportunity for new tools to help marketers do just that and that we’ll likely see ongoing innovation in this area as vendors work to meet growing marketer demand.

 

How the Use of Emojis Can Improve Social Engagement

The beauty of emojis is that they enable us to communicate in ways we just can’t do with words. They also allow us to make an emotional connection, no matter how fleeting. This is why marketers are increasingly implement strategic (and restrained!) use of emojis in their communications to prospects.

And studies show they are making a smart move. In a recent study by All Academic Research, participants who were sent messages with emojis scored higher on memory than those who were sent messages without emojis. This indicates emojis are an effective marketing tool. The study also went on to report that the use of emojis works to portray businesses as friendlier.

In case you weren’t sold on the use of emojis in your marketing, check out these facts:

  • Emojis in a tweet can increase engagement by 4 percent
  • Emojis in a Facebook post can increase the number of likes by 57 percent
  • Emojis in a Facebook post can increase the number of comments and shares by 33 percent

There’s no reason you shouldn’t be using emojis to increase engagement. Here’s where it can get tricky. There are literally thousands of emojis to choose from, so choose wisely and use them judiciously. According to a study by HubSpot that looked at 19,617,281 HubSpot published posts across all social platforms, here are the top 10 emojis most likely to increase click-throughs:

At first glance, this is an odd selection, right? I’m sure you noticed that none of these emojis are faces, which really surprised me. This could mean it’s productive to use less popular emojis in your marketing strategy, for the novelty factor, which may be what helps drive engagement. So, pick unusual emojis that are relative to your content and use them sparingly.

 

Why You Should Use HTML for Your Marketing E-Mails

There was once a time when there was a valid concern regarding the deliverability of HTML e-mails, but that is no longer the case. So if you aren’t using HTML for your marketing e-mails, you should. Here’s why.

1. HTML Drives More Leads

With HTML you can build in interactive hyperlinks and calls to action that take your content to the next level, generating more leads and sales conversions than plain text ever could.

  1. HTML Is Responsive

Another advantage of using HTML is the fact you can offer an unsubscribe option. This gives your prospects the opportunity to opt out of future e-mails from you, so your list is comprised of only the best, most qualified leads who want to hear from you.

HTML also gives you the huge advantage of gathering analytics, seeing who engaged and how. This enables you to track and measure audience engagement and refines your e-mail marketing strategy based on what you find out.

  1. HTML Design Isn’t Busy

Often marketers worry HTML e-mails will be too busy. Not true. You can make HTML e-mails just as clean as plain text e-mail but with all of the added benefits HTML offers. In fact, HTML provides the perfect balance between effectively branding your company and controlling the content message, ensuring the content is the focus of the e-mail.

  1. Even HTML Design Must Follow Best Practices

When using HTML, you still have to follow best practices. Keep your design clean, your copy short, and your call to action prominent. Take advantage of analytics and test subject lines and offers to see what works best to get your prospects’ attention. Remember though to only test one thing at a time or you won’t know what impacted the results you see. Most importantly, always, always use a good e-mail list!

HTML is really the only way to go when it comes to sending your marketing e-mails, so don’t be afraid to use it. You won’t regret it!