Email Marketing Best Practices in 2016

woman sending email and buying online

2016 is here! New year, New life, New best practices!!!

Email marketing is getting harder by the second, imagine that by the year!

With this New Year of 2016, I´ve took the time to write the biggest RED FLAG´s of email marketing practices.

I like to keep it simple & clean, so I´ll just focus on 5 major issues:

  • Subject Lines
  • Content & Copywriting
  • Segmentation
  • Frequency
  • Mobile everything

So, let´s start with the first:

Subject Lines you should not use!

We all want to be edgy, new, and futuristic. Deep down, to differentiate from the herd…right?

Sure, but your Picasso vein has a time and place and maybe (just maybe…) your newsletter subject line isn´t the right place to put it to a test.

Remember your subscriber’s aren´t your childhood friends. They´re most likely individuals that share some common interest with you but only to a certain point so, refrain from sending shady, obscure, ironic subject lines.

Keep it professional. Explain exactly what you´re selling / advertising / communicating and do that with courtesy. There are several words you should not use, here are some of them…

Avoid using:

  • Buy Cheaper, Huge Discount, $ Off,
  • Bargains, Offer, Cheap, Sale, Stock-off and similar discount-related terms
  • $, €, %, !!! or any other punctuation
  • Invest, Investment, Funds, Cash,
  • Affordable, Save, Trust fund,
  • Credit, Money, Loan and similar
  • Ads, Spam, Junk, Traffic, MLM, Multi Level,
  • SEO, Search Engine, Increase, Freemium and similar marketing-related terms
  • Hidden, Password, Stop, Success and similar generical terms
  • All adult-oriented terms
  • Several pharmaceutical terms
  • Several medical terms
  • Urgency terms
  • Everything free-related

Content & Copywriting

Are you too lazy to write your own amazing and original content?

Great! Stop trying to have a website or blog then…

If you´re copying what someone else has written, why should someone go to you and not rather go to the original content instead?

This goes for content in webpages, articles, opinions and communication channels such as your email marketing campaigns.

Don´t be one more of the same. Be yourself and for sure, you´ll find YOUR audience. If you copy another website, another newsletter, you´re asking to get out of business fast because there´s nothing special about you to offer your subscribers / customers.

Segment, Segment…Segment!

For the content sake, don´t send everything to everyone!

We´re not all yellow and we sure as hell don´t all love yellow, so please don´t shove yellow emails down your customer´s inbox, assuming every single subscriber in your email database loves the same thing.

One easy way to stop doing this and really adding value is by simply adding subscribing options whenever someone decides to subscribe your newsletter.

Eg. Subscribe our newsletter by clicking one or more of the following:

  • News & Stories
  • Online Marketing
  • Paid Search
  • Social Media
  • All the above

This will help you understand which customer is interested in what and then deliver the relevant and more engaging content to its rightful recipient.

Frequency: too much is too bad…

Simply because someone loves chocolate cake, that doesn´t mean he or she would eat chocolate cake every single day of the week, don´t you agree?

Now that you establish that you have readers interested in your content – why else would they subscribe – setup the standards of communication.

Speaking for experience, even if you love a specific topic, that doesn´t mean you want to receive daily or even weekly emails about it.

Give you readers a chance to choose. Just set up a simple but very effective option on subscription:

  • Daily digest (newsletter sent once a day)
  • Weekly digest (newsletter sent once a week)
  • Monthly digest (newsletter sent once a month)
  • Hit me with everything you got (for fans @ our disclosure)

Mobile…Everything

Is there any doubt that 2015 was the year of mobile?

Back in October 2015 Google announced that mobile searches had finally surpassed desktop searches. If literally everyone is using a mobile device to access data, why should you keep optimizing just for desktop?

Ten years ago there was no such thing has a smartphone or a tablet, but they´re no part of our life an most important, our communication habits. The hours of day we access data with it, the type of usage and data we consume through it are of the utmost importance for all type of business. This is remarkably truer and doing nothing is not an option…

Earlier in 2015 Google released a new algorithm change that many quickly named as Mobilegeddon (mix between Mobile and Armageddon). It was basically a mobile friendly update that showed the world the importance Google attributes to a good, mobile friendly website.

What is true for websites applies at the same level to your email marketing campaigns. Chances are a little over 50% of your overall email traffic will be coming from mobile devices, so for me it´s a no-brainer. Hope you feel the same!

Not sure your website is mobile friendly? Check here!

Want to check if your newsletter is mobile ready? Check Litmus software.

 

To conclude

This is it! I´m pretty sure you can find tons of information related to email marketing procedures, but I´m just not in the mood for big, hard to read articles.

We will later talk about deeper levels of segmentation, like Remarketing associated with email marketing, and the use of less or more images or text within the email body.

Also take in consideration that Spam laws are similar from one country / continent to another, but simple tweaks in the law can make a very big difference so be sure to read all applying laws in your case.

Just to be sure, you can also check these useful links:

Definition of Spam

European Union Anti-Spam Laws

United States Anti-Spam Laws

Good Jobs– What qualities should you look for?

Good Quality Job
Looking for a quality job? Unscramble the puzzle!

This is a question that undoubtedly every one asks itself at least once in it´s life time. And even do it´s frequently asked everywhere in the world, since work / job conditions vary allot from one country or from one culture to another, how can we setup standards that will allow us to say cross nations: That´s a Great Job!

The OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development) gives us the answers. Good quality jobs help people:

  • Develop their skills,
  • Fulfil their ambitions,
  • Make them feel useful in society,

Benefits of having a quality job

People who hold quality jobs are generally healthier, meaning they´re more productive contributing to an enhanced performance. That´s easy to understand since life is made of balance and if you have it at work, you´ll be closer to achieve it in your personal life as well.

How to compare job quality

OECD has developed comparable measures of job quality in order to correctly compare diferente jobs, in diferente industries across the world. They do this by looking at the individual experience of people at work.

These measures focus on 3 main areas and their outcome for workers:

  • Earning quality: How does being employed contributes to material living standards?
  • Labour market security: Is there a high risk of unemployment? And how about the economic consequences of being laid off?
  • Working environment: How much pressure does the work involve? How much control people have over the tasks they perform?)

Other important metrics involve work time arrangements, work place relationships, opportunities for learning and work vs life balance.

Country wise, has expected, job quality varies dramatically between countries. For exemple in the EU (European Union), Germany, Finland and Denmark are normally associated with high job quality. On the other hand, Greece, Estonia and Hungary are on the low end of job quality, at least when comparing them within the EU.

And what about within groups of workers? Youth and unskilled (unqualified) workers tend to have worst job quality when comparing with older, more qualified workers.

Man normally get paid higher (still…) then women, but actually women are the one´s enjoying better work environment.

One other very important aspect of job quality it´s a career prospect, being able to see a future move to a better job position.

Also, being stuck in a low quality job right in the beginning of the work career affects long-term prospects of future earnings, working conditions and subsequently a future quality job expectation.

Challenges ahead

Low unemployment rates shouldn´t mean low quality jobs just for the sake of creating jobs. The challenge here is how can a Nation create not just more jobs, but better jobs.

This can be specially challenging in countries whose economics have been severely damaged by crisis in recent years, and still struggling to effectively increasing their economy.

On a personal note

Developing our skills, being hungry to learn and asking ourselves “what is this useful for?” is the best way to keep evolving has humans.  If you evolve you´ll naturally eager for new exciting opportunities and eventually they´ll catch up with you.

So my personal insight is:

NEVER STOP LEARNING

To see the OECD movie about job quality:

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kRtBgGE5kQw&w=560&h=315]

To see the full OECD Quality Jobs Database: http://stats.oecd.org/Index.aspx?DataSetCode=JOBQ

The 80´s: Major Tom style!

I´ve grew up with David Bowie and this song, especially after witnessing live the explosion of the Challenger space shuttle in 1986, January 28th.

That flight had several peculiarities but the one I remember the most was the presence of a young teacher, Christa McAuliffe, the very first civilian to ever fly on to space. Chosen for more than 11.000 civil applications, she was a solid inspiration for all those that dreamed the ultimate dream: travelling to space.

You need to remember that the 80´s were the “travel to space” Era:

The epic Star Wars franchise by George Lucas premiered in 1977, with the episode A New Hope, followed by The Empire Strikes Back in 1980 and Return of the Jedi in 1983.

Star Trek movies, another epic franchise, first debuted in 1979 with Star Trek: The Motion Picture, followed by Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan in 1982 and Star Trek III: The Search for Spock in 1984.

And who can forget about Space: 1999, the cult british Sci Fi TV series with the unforgettable Martin Landau and Catherine Schell and the lovely and exquisite Maya.

For all of this, David Bowie Major Tom´s is a must! It reminds me of a lone gone Era where everything was mysterious, the year 2000 a bigger mistery and dreams were still bigger than life – has they should always.

ENJOY:

Freemium Marketing Strategy – the Good, the Bad and the Villain!

Freemium marketing (mashing up “free” and “premium” words) consists in offering your services (normally) free of charge, usually on a standard version, and with it hopefully trying to make a name for yourself in the market and building your database. After that the aim is to introduce your new acquired data base with upgrade premium options that need to be paid for of course!

 

The Bad Freemium

I´ve always been a little disappointed about freemium products and the whole freemium approach. It seemed that all the different approaches I´ve crossed eyes with, where either:

  1. Too light, which meant that the offered free service was not compelling enough and therefore failing has a customer acquisition and market awareness tool;
  2. Too heavy, meaning it delivered too much for free, failing to leave your database asking for the premium stuff;

 

The Villain Fremium

Freemium games are, for me, one the biggest villains in the freemium marketing approach!

One example: League of Legends generated in 2015 almost 1 Billion in microtransitions revenue. Get this, some players have complained of spending has much as $2,000 since they first began to play. And there’s stories of teenagers stealing mom´s credit card to pay for the upgrades and “champions” buy out.

Remember the not so old phrase “if the product is free, you are the product”?

Do you get why I call them the freemium villains?

 

Apps are the world of freemium and by the looks, they’re here to stay.

26248_FreemiumApps
Apps: Freemium rules!!!

 

 

The Good Freemium

Of course, the best for last! Some freemium´s are actually very good!

Let me present you with 3 examples that rock:

 

  1. The Take it App

They’ll let you print 5 polaroid style photos for free, and after that you get to mail them all over the world for $2,95 (2,7€)……nice!!!

They state that “prints are in 3.55 x 3.95″ (9 x 10 cm). They’ll remind you of the timeless Polaroid prints. Your message is printed at the back of your prints.”

The freemium part ends after 5 photos, and believe me when I say it´s addictive enough to catch on!!!

 

  1. Google Penalty Checker

This one is for SEO geeks! They let you freely check up to 2 domains, but for more you got to pay. Pretty smart don’t you think? This is a tool designed for web agencies. Have you heard of online web agencies with less than 3 customers?

Already drooling over the tool? Check it out and give me your thoughts!

 

  1. MailChimp

This one we all know. If you have less than 2,000 subscribers, they’ll let you send up to 12,000 monthly emails for free! But the fun part (email automation, database connectivity, segmentation and the best reports) are paid. Gotta love Freemium!!!

I’ve personally tried the free stuff and it works just to the point when you start thinking in the premium version.

 

And this is it! Hope I’ve managed to help.

See ya!!!

Rui

Increase Online Sales – what to do!

For the last years, again and again I´ve been approached countless times and asked the same exact question:

  • What should I do to increase my online sales?

If you´re an owner, sales manager or eCommerce manager, I´m pretty sure you have already asked yourselves this questions at least a couple of times too.

It’s simple “to do” math:

  • Offline Sales are generally decreasing, and has been so for the last years,
  • Online Sales are now the biggest growth driver, with very consistent increases for the last years and no expectancy of slowing down;
  • Online Sales are often associated with higher margins & better average rates;

 

So back to the above question, what´s my answer? I´ll divide that in 4 parts:

 

  1. Have a strong, complete and reliable sales reporting

It sounds 1st grade stuff but the truth is that if you want to increase online sales you need to know how much overall you´re making on all your sales channels and segments; after that is done, you need to break down all third party sales apart from your direct sales and specially your online direct sales apart from your voice or on-store sales. All “glued” with a last year, last week or last day (what better suits your business) comparison;

 

  1. Leverage your brand online

One of the biggest and most common mistakes with digital marketing is when you first try to go for the big buck positioning & search terms advertising. That´s like aimlessly dropping 100.000 flyers of your gourmet wine store in your local city. The odds are to spend lot´s of money and not getting lot´s of sales or even a good amount of awareness.

Being crystal clear: the single most valuable search anyone can make is your brand name. You should always aim to be present when someone (an actual or a future customer) wants/needs to engage with your brand. If they search your name, they´re likely already introduced to your brand proposition (value & promise), so be sure to be the first and most relevant result for anyone searching for you!

That takes us to the next part:

 

  1. Own your online space

Whether we´re talking about search engine marketing or social media, you should own the most relevant positioning concerning your brand and your value proposition to the market. Your website (don´t have one yet? Big huge mistake!) should tailored to answer some very simple questions:

  • Who am I?
  • What do I offer?
  • Why is it important?
  • Where / how do I get it now?

Your social media presence should not be an ill thought-off pit stop, but a good vibe, good experiences sharing community. Take the change to engage with your customers and prospects without the formal attitude (depends on the business of course).

Very important: create great and useful content for your market and be sure to spread it well, always aiming back to the source, you! This online content strategy tends to build awareness on the community for the type of product / service you provide and grants you with “expert opinion” that you can later leverage on.

Very important: please don´t forget about mobile! Sure your website´s desktop version is very important and you can´t afford to neglect it, but pay very attention to mobile search (meaning tablet & mobile). Mobile has been rising like crazy for the last couple of years and now represents more that half of all online searches according to Google data.

 

  1. PDSA Plan + Do + Study + Act

Have you heard about cycles? Cycles don’t stop and that’s pretty much the basic idea here! Plan, Do, Study and Act – ALWAYS (see image below).

To increase your online sales you need to continually improve your process. It doesn’t matter that your doing today a killer job in getting specialized traffic or you´re reaching a 20% look-to-book conversion. You still need to keep on improving or eventually you´ll be left behind.

pdsa cycle

 

Those are 4 very basic concepts, but they allow you to correctly setup your mindset to grow your online business and watch it getting bigger and bigger!

Did you enjoy reading this post and would like to discover some amazing tools to help you increase your online sales?

Yes? Great! Be sure to follow my blog to get all news first hand.

Best,

Rui

Online Sales Wordcloud

AdWords certification

Is having an AdWords certification badge a full proof guarantee that you´re able to correctly – and profitabily – handle AdWords accounts?

What do you think?

Let me put it this way:

  • Do you have a driving license? Yes, good for you!
  • With the permit you have, can you drive a car? Yes, you can!
  • But, does possessing a permit/driving´s licence makes you a top professional driver?!? Not by a million miles!!!
  • It get´s you to drive a car on a daily basis, fair enough, but it´s completely useless if you´re aiming to win a professional car race;

AdWords competitive scenario is much like this.

Sure you can have an AdWords certification course, and you can even have IT knowledge, but do you seriously believe you can beat someone that for years has been professionally managing several dozens of Adwords accounts in highly competitive industries thus taking precious insights on the tools, marketing approaches, etc etc etc?

Don´t really think so…

Wait…it get´s worst!

Do you know whats actually worst that not knowing AdWords? Is thinking you do…

Has most of us know, when you start to work with AdWords it´s actually really easy to spend lots of money! One simple tiny little thing, and the second the campaign air´s, you´re burning tons of your money or worst, your customer´s money.

Unless you have the time to become an expert, the money to burn and the willingness to keep learning daily, it´s best if you just leave it to the experts!

Biased or not, this is my opinion! By the way, here´s my individual AdWords Certificate:

Rui Martins AdWords Certification

 

 

Welcome!

Hi guys,

If by any chance you´re not a spider / crawler but and actual human and you´re reading this, then Thank You & Welcome In!

Let me start by saying this is a personal blog and by no means represents the will and thoughts of any other organization or person, except for my own.

In the remote possibility that I post something that you dislike (it happens), please be kind enough to proceed with your life, disregarding it completely!

My posts & articles about technology, online marketing, online sales, eCommerce or any other subject present on this blog, are my own but I´m always looking for good ideas so I´ll probably be using mentions to several other authors. Hope you don´t mind!

Now, quoting Porky Pig:

Thats_all_folks.svg