5 Ways to Streamline Your E-Mail Creation and Approval Process

 

email-buttonE-mail marketing is a very effective way to both drive and nurture leads. However, it can be difficult to generate ideas, offers, and content…and to obtain the necessary approvals.

Here are five ways you can streamline your e-mail creation and approval process.

  1. Designate a Gatekeeper

One person should be in charge of your e-mail marketing. This person is the one who will be in charge of making sure everyone responsible is getting their work done on time and that e-mails are being sent when and to whom they are supposed to.

Create an e-mail calendar that includes the e-mail topic, the call to action (CTA), and who in your organization is going to provide copy, data, photos, etc. for the e-mail. This ensures there are no surprises and everyone is working from the same page.

It’s also a good idea to designate one person in each business area as the e-mail contact. This person is responsible for reporting any e-mail worthy news from their department to the e-mail gatekeeper. One of the biggest obstacles with creating e-mails is having the content. This is a good tool to create a flow of content ideas.

  1. Work Smarter

It’s a good idea to come up with two or three reusable e-mail templates. This way you’re not recreating the wheel each time. You can rotate the order of the templates you use so prospects don’t see the same template back-to-back. Then, all you have to do is drop in new copy, new images, and a new CTA and you’re done!

  1. Establish Guidelines

It’s helpful to have some guidelines established before you begin. For instance, decide the contact name and information you will be using for each type of e-mail campaign you send and where it will be placed in the e-mail. Will all e-mails (regardless of who they are from) use the same logo and direct prospects to the same website?

Also, make sure each e-mail adheres to your brand guidelines and make sure everyone involved has a copy of your brand guidelines to refer to. You’ll also want to address what makes a good subject line as well as words to avoid in your subject line so you can increase your open rate.

  1. Develop a Need-to-Know Mentality

Of course, in a perfect world, everyone’s opinion would count and everyone would get equal time to weigh in with an opinion on each e-mail you send. But, we don’t live in a perfect world. We live in a fast-paced, results-driven marketing world. As such, it’s best if you streamline your e-mail marketing approval process to the bare bones. Whose eyes absolutely, positively have to see the e-mail before it is sent?

  1. Meet to Discuss Progress

Figure out what works best for your organization, but a brief meeting to discuss new content ideas, what’s working, and what isn’t is essential. (Make sure you have someone from Sales present so you know how the e-mails are working for them.)

If you implement these five strategies, you’ll get your e-mail creation and approval process in check and start seeing the payoff of this effective marketing tool.

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4 Ways to Measure the Success of Your Social Media Videos

 

The success of video in social media can’t be denied. It has the highest conversion rate most likely because it’s the most personal medium, closely replicating real life. So, we marketers want to make sure our videos are hitting the mark. Here are four ways you can measure how your videos are working for you.

  1. Make your video no longer than 90 seconds.

Prospects have short attention spans. Videos between 20 and 90 seconds in length are optimum. After that, your engagement is going to suffer. Make sure you know beforehand where you’re placing the video and what time constraints that platform may or may not have. Another recommendation to consider is adding captions to your video since most platforms have the videos play on mute unless the prospect clicks on the audio. If your captions tell prospects what the video is about, they are more likely to click the audio on.

  1. Respond to what your view-through rate tells you.

Your view-through rate tells you how many prospects your video reached and how many watched it (for 3 seconds or more). If your view-through is lower than you want it, you need to address either the video or your reach. A/B splits are a good option to test the video content. Also, make sure you engage with your prospects from the start of the video or you will lose them.

  1. Know that seconds count.

It takes just 3 seconds to be considered a view, but if you can get prospects to view your video for 10 seconds or more, you know you’re doing something right. You want your prospect to stick around and watch the video you created – hopefully to the end. Prospect video views of 10 seconds or more are considered positively engaged. Anything beyond that signifies highly engaged prospects and a real home run.

  1. Feedback counts too.

Of the videos that reach your prospects and that they can view and that they watch, if those prospects rate your video poorly, then you’ll need to address your content. If, however, they like the video, leave a positive comment, or share the video, then you know your video hit the mark.

Video has emerged as one of the most powerful and effective marketing tools you have at your disposal – if you do it right. Use these four tips and listen to and analyze the feedback you get from your prospects. This will get you going in the right direction.

 

 

 

 

What Experiences Are Your Prospects Looking For Online?

As marketers we’re always interested in what experience prospects are looking for when they go online. AOL recently asked more than 50,000 people this very question. They polled individuals in eight countries including the United States, Brazil, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, Canada, and Spain.

Researchers boiled the responses down to eight so-called content moments or experiences users want when they log on. The infographic below illustrates the results AOL found from the survey.

 

As you can see, most prospects go online to be inspired, feel good, and see fresh ideas. Consider keeping this in mind as you develop your digital content and strategy.

How to Use Touchpoint Mapping to Improve Customer Experiences

34ways_long1 digital-mktI came across this article by my colleagues at Spectrio and wanted to share it with you. As a brand, you should have influence over each interaction a customer has with your business. You should consider every possible situation that could bring your customer into contact with your brand and design that scenario to deliver a positive experience. And for that, there is touchpoint mapping.

Before we look at touchpoint mapping, we need to look at what a customer touchpoint is.

A customer touchpoint is any interaction between your business and a customer. It includes any interaction before, during, or after a customer purchases something from you.

A customer touchpoint happens through personal interactions and marketing channels. The interaction may be direct where you control the experience (such as a delivering a marketing message or ad campaign). Or, it could be indirect and you don’t have control over the experience (such as a word-of-mouth review of your business).

While you may not have complete control over every customer touchpoint, as a business owner, you still want to do your best to influence each situation. The best way to develop a plan to manage these interactions is through touchpoint mapping.

What Is Touchpoint Mapping? 

Touchpoint mapping is the act of outlining each interaction that a customer could have with your brand. It looks at each step of the buyer’s journey and identifies the places where customers come in contact with or experience your brand.

Touchpoint mapping is important because it allows your brand to visualize and improve every experience a customer has with your business.

Because no customer buyer’s journey is exactly the same, each brand will have multiple variations of touchpoint maps. To create your maps, consider all of the possible ways people experience your brand and use the following process.

How to Start Touchpoint Mapping 

Now that you know what customer touchpoints and touchpoint mapping are, it’s time to implement a strategy for using this marketing method.

1. Identify Each Customer Touchpoint 

To start touchpoint mapping, begin by identifying each interaction that your business has with your customers. It helps to look at the experiences in categories: before purchase, during purchase, and after purchase.

While some of the touchpoints may overlap, this categorization can help you visualize and identify each potential interaction. Touchpoints marketing and advertising may include the following:

Before Purchase

  • Website
  • Reviews / Testimonials
  • Directory Listings
  • On-hold Messaging
  • Auto-Attendants and IVRs
  • Advertisements and Promotions
  • Store Locations
  • In-store Advertising
  • Word of Mouth
  • In-store Events
  • Digital Menu Boards
  • Content Marketing

During Purchase

  • Website (Ecommerce Section)
  • Showroom Design
  • Product Demo Videos
  • Staff/Employee Engagement
  • Overhead Music and Messaging
  • Checkout Kiosks / Point of Sale Systems
  • Checkout Lines

After Purchase

  • Order Fulfillment
  • Thank You Cards
  • Customer / User Portals
  • Billing / Invoices
  • Packaging
  • Rebates
  • Follow Up Emails
  • Online Help Center
  • Education / Follow-up Resources
  • Customer Service Phone Lines
  • Questionnaires / Surveys

2. Map the Touchpoints

Once you have identified the places where your customers interact with your brand, begin to place these experiences in chronological order.

As you go through touchpoint mapping, consider the steps that lead your customers through the purchasing process. Use the phases of a retail buyer’s journey to guide your outline.

  • Step One — Making Customers Aware of Your Brand: The customer is becoming familiar with you brand and products.
  • Step Two — Getting Customers Through the Door: The customer is familiar with your brand and is planning a visit to your physical store.
  • Step Three — Initiating Sales: The customer is in your store and is working through their purchasing process.
  • Step Four — Getting Customers to Come Back: The customer has made a purchase and is considering coming back and purchasing from you again.   

Don’t create just one buyer’s journey that goes through this process. Create at least 4-5 different types of customer maps to consider all of the different experiences your customers may have.

3. Improve Each Customer Touchpoint 

Once you identify each possible customer touchpoint, the next step is working to improve the interaction. You need to look at how you can provide the best possible experience for the customer at that moment.

As you attempt to improve your customer touchpoints, focus on making your brand experiences:

  • Simple: The experience should be easy for the customer to understand and interact with.
  • Appropriate: The experience should fit the context of its channel and interests of your target audience.
  • Relevant: The experience should match what the customer would expect and need to find during that phase of the buyer’s journey.
  • Meaningful: The experience should provide significant and useful value for the customer.
  • Appealing: The experience should tap into the cravings of the customer and give them the things they desire.

Look at each touchpoint and ensure that it has the qualifications of an exceptional and useful customer experience.

4. Set a Schedule for Reviewing

Touchpoints for marketing and advertising don’t end once you create and implement your new strategy. Marketing channels and your operational processes will continue to evolve and change. So, your customer mapping must do the same.

A customer touchpoint map is a work in progress. You will need to continue to revise and update the touchpoint map as new purchasing paths are created and new marketing platforms are introduced.

To effectively use touchpoint mapping as a way to create better customer experiences, you need to make it a continual priority. It will likely fail to produce results if you approach it as a one-time strategy. So put in the up-front work, and then set a plan to execute and continue to refine your touchpoint mapping to get the best benefits and results.

Audit Your Customer Touchpoints Right Now

If you want to start improving your touchpoint mapping right now — start by doing an audit of your current customer touchpoints. Use the free customer experience retail audit worksheet from Spectrio to conduct a review of the major touchpoints that customers experience inside and outside of your store.

 

The Best Times to Post on Social Media Platforms

 As marketers we rely on social media platforms to distribute content and promote our brands. Social media is very effective. And, to make it even more effective, we can stack the odds in our favor by making sure we use the different platforms to their fullest capacity. One way we can do this is by being conscious of the timing of our posts on the different platforms. Some times work better than others. When it comes to figuring out which times work best for your brand, there is no concrete rule.

Each business is different – certain days and times will work better for some than for others. The key is to consider the platform and how your prospects interact with it. Also keep in mind time zones – maybe the majority of your prospects are in a different time zone than you are. If so, you’ll want to post at a time that’s optimum for your prospects’ time zone.

This said, I did discover a great infographic that looked at data from over a dozen studies to create an effective go-to sheet for the best posting times on the different social media platforms. Consult it before you make your next post.


16 Video Marketing Benchmarks That Make Your Video More Impactful

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video_marketing_largeVidyard recently spent hundreds of hours analyzing video data from more than 250,000 videos and 600 million video streams to put together the first-of-its-kind Video in Business Benchmark Report. What they learned is very helpful for marketers. This infographic shows 16 of their greatest findings you can use to see how your video stacks up.

How to Get More Prospects to Engage In Your Social Media

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In the 2017 State of Inbound report, more marketers reported they planned to add social channels like Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube to their marketing efforts than in the previous year’s survey. The reason we’re seeing this spike is because the use of social media by prospects is so pervasive. But, finding the right platform and right approach on social media to reach prospects can be tricky. The key is to make sure you’re always testing new strategies to see what works and what doesn’t. But, beyond this, we as marketers need to evolve our views on social media. And, not just how we use it but also why we are using it.

For awhile now the goal of social media strategy has been laser focused on generating leads and then trickled down to brand and content promotion. This isn’t a bad plan. It’s a great one – if you are coming at it from the right perspective. The focus isn’t on your company. It has to be on your prospects – what are their interests and goals and challenges? We have to consider our social media an opportunity to be social with our prospects and not promotional. There’s a big difference between these two. Here are some ideas to help you retool your social media approach.

  1. Do Your Homework

There’s a lot of information out there on your prospects if you take the time to go looking for it. And, to make it easier, you can start by looking at the analytics you already have for your current social media campaigns. Which ones got your prospects to engage? What information did they find relevant? Once you know this, design your social media around what you already know is of interest to your prospects.

Make sure if you’re going to share a blog or e-book on your social media that you first make sure the information is relevant to your prospects and then that you present it in a manner that is preferred by your prospects – think infographics, videos, etc.

  1. Think Like Your Prospects

When you start evaluating how to generate more likes, comments, and shares from your social media audiences, think about how you personally use each platform. It’s a good idea to create a detailed marketing persona for your prospects so everyone on your team has a good understanding of whom your messages are talking to. Consider how they spend their time on the different platforms and what it is they want to see on each.

  1. Apply Your Marketing Knowledge to Your Social Media

Most likely, social media is “new” to you, but marketing isn’t. And, social media is just another tool to market to your prospects. So, use your marketing knowledge to make your social media the most impactful. Use tried and true marketing approaches like making sure you have a call to action, you test approaches, and you use professional quality graphics with titles and subtitles when necessary.

And when it comes to creating content, think about how you optimize blog posts with on-page SEO elements, creating titles, headers, meta descriptions, and URL structures to help your blog posts and webpages rank in search engines. Apply this thinking to your other social platforms.

If you follow these tips, your social media engagement rate should increase because you’re creating prospect-centered content on platforms that resonate with your prospects. You’ll see that more of your prospects will begin to like, comment, and share your posts.