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5 High Performing Email Marketing Strategies for Financial Services

Here are 5 strategies for financial services companies to use to take their email marketing…

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Recap: 3 Ways to Dramatically Improve Your Email Results

Thanks so much to everyone who joined us yesterday for our webinar, “3 ways to dramatically improve your email results.” During the webinar, Nora Snoddy (Director of Communications here at Campaign Monitor) shared a ton of tips and tricks for getting more out of your email marketing program. Here’s a quick recap of what she covered—or, if you’d like to go ahead and check out the recording of the webinar, you can find that here! Email is a big deal (when done right). Email marketing has been around for a long time, but it’s still incredibly effective. According to our 2018 Industry Report, 59% of marketers said email generates more ROI for their organization than any other digital channel. But here’s the kicker: Even though it has the potential to be such a high performer, plenty of people are still getting so-so results from their email marketing. The problem is that because email marketing has such a lower barrier to entry (it’s inexpensive, easy to send, easy to build in most email platforms, etc.), marketers often put their programs on autopilot and neglect to optimize their email strategy over time. In fact, according to that same report I just mentioned… • 39% of marketers say they never personalize their emails. • 63% of marketers say less than half of their emails are segmented. • 51% of marketers haven’t started automating their emails. Email has the ability to generate an unmatched ROI for your brand, but to get there, you have to focus on the right things. But what are they? 1. Personalize the inbox experience. To help illustrate the importance of email personalization, Nora shared a quick story. Most days, she stops for coffee on her way to work. There are two shops close to Campaign Monitor’s Nashville office: Pinewood and Little Mosko’s. When she goes to Pinewood, the experience is perfectly fine—she orders her coffee, gets her coffee, and goes on her way. But when she goes to Little Mosko’s, the baristas there actually know her. They greet her by name, ask about her life, and offer her a piece of fresh banana bread they know she’ll like. Where do you think she goes more often for her morning java fix? The fact of the matter is, the brand that creates the better, more personal, more human experience will always win—and that’s especially true when it comes to inspiring customer loyalty and conversion. According to Infosys, 86% of consumers say personalization plays a role in their purchase decisions. Personalization works because you’re putting the focus of your message right where it should be: on the subscriber, not on your brand. Here’s an example of email personalization in action from our friend Jay Baer. These two emails are essentially asking for the same thing: an NPS score. The first email was one he got after a hotel stay at the MGM Grand. There’s a first name in there, but otherwise, it’s pretty impersonal. The second was one his wife got after ordering from a local food truck. It contains the same basic ask, but it feels much more personal. They include her first name, a photo of the chef, and even the specific items she ordered. And while Jay didn’t respond to the email from MGM, Allison did respond to the food truck. Segment whenever possible. All marketers tell themselves the same lie: If my emails aren’t doing well, it’s because my audience is too busy. Sure—no one is out there begging for more email, but I’m willing to bet there are a few brands you almost always pay attention to. That’s because they serve up content, offers, and invitations that are actually relevant to you. Relevancy creates time and attention, and segmentation is how you get there. Here are a few easy ways to start segmenting: • How they signed up • Location • Purchase history • Birthdays and anniversaries • Response results • Most engaged • Least engaged But what if you don’t have the data you need to effectively segment? Just ask! Most people are willing to part with personal information if it means getting offers tailored to their interests. Scale your efforts with automation. Automation is the most effective way to scale your email marketing efforts, but not many marketers are actually using it in their email programs. If you aren’t sure where to start with email automation, these three types of emails will help you lay a really solid foundation: 1. A welcome email or series. Welcome emails are incredibly important, so if you aren’t already sending one, it’s time. Your subscribers expect to receive them, it’s one of the most-opened emails you’ll ever send, it helps boost long-term brand loyalty—the list goes on! A pro tip: In your welcome email, be sure to reference exactly how your subscriber ended up on your list. Continuing that connection from signup to the inbox helps create context and sets your brand up for a better, longer-lasting relationship with subscribers. 2. Date-based emails. Along with a welcome after signup, it’s important to automate messages based on key dates like birthdays and anniversaries. Remember: Creating relevance is all about remembering what’s important to your subscriber, not just your brand. Plus, these emails really perform. According to ClickZ, birthday emails can lift conversion rates 60% over non-birthday email messages with the same offer. 3. Behavior-based emails. Let’s talk about behavior-based automation. You can automate emails based on behavior outside the inbox (like browsing a certain section of your website) or behavior inside the inbox, like clicking a link to a particular type of content. These emails help you cater the offers and content you send to individual subscribers because you already know they’ll be interested. Watch the full webinar. Hungry for more actionable email tips and tricks? You can watch the recording here!          

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5 Email Marketing Calendar Templates to Kickstart Your Campaign

How do you ensure you’re sending out your newsletters, promotional emails, and more at the right times? It takes a little planning, forethought, and set-up, but starting with an effective email marketing calendar can simplify a major piece of the puzzle. Once you plan and visualize when to send out your newsletters, kick off your email campaigns, and schedule your marketing follow-up emails throughout the year, it’s easier to stick to your guns and follow through. That means the goals you set for yourself at the start of the year (or sales cycle) will be more achievable and doable than ever. If you’re not sure where to start or how to schedule your email campaigns, check out these 5 email calendar templates. You’ll master the art of the email marketing calendar in no time. When to schedule time-based email campaigns and marketing follow-up emails According to MarketingSherpa, 72% of people prefer to get promotional messages through email versus any other platform. Your subscribers expect these emails and prefer them delivered via their inboxes, so it’s wise to jump on the bandwagon. Of course, the power of promotional email campaigns is doubled when you tie them into marketing gold mines like holidays, national observances, and special days of the year. Think National Coffee Day, the Superbowl, Valentine’s Day, the first day of Spring, or National Cleanup Week (Not sure when each holiday falls? Search Engine Journal has the entire year broken down by holiday via this marketing calendar.) Here’s an example of a spring email offer from Birchbox: Before you start planning and scheduling email campaigns, go through your calendar and mark any holidays or special events that tie into your business, especially annual sales and promotions. You can take this a step further and use events that are personalized for each individual subscriber. These can include things like birthdays, wedding anniversaries and anniversaries of when they subscribed. These email marketing campaigns can be created to automatically get sent from Campaign Monitor using data you already know about your customer. This information could be stored in your Salesforce CRM, Shopify eCommerce or another tool that integrates with Campaign Monitor. Your promotional email campaigns can be one-offs, but, more than likely, you’ll send a series of emails and reminders to tempt your subscribers. Follow these calendar templates to schedule a winning promotional campaign. Calendar template #1: Email campaign for one-day events 2 weeks before sale/promotion/event – Announcement email 1 week before sale/promotion/event – Marketing follow-up email/reminder 1 day before sale/promotion/event – Final follow-up email and last chance reminder   Calendar template #2: Email campaign for ongoing events/promotions 2 weeks before the ongoing event – Announcement email 1 week before the ongoing event – Marketing follow-up email/reminder 1 day before the ongoing event – Reminder During the event – Reminder 1 day before the event ends – Final follow-up email/last chance reminder When to schedule informative, useful email newsletters As opposed to promotional email campaigns, informative newsletters are usually entirely non-promotional. Instead, they seek to provide your subscribers with useful, helpful, or pertinent information. You can schedule these to send around holidays if the topic is relevant (for example, you can send cleaning and organizing tips around National Cleanup Week). However, these types of emails are also great for filling in gaps in communication between you and your audience. It keeps you in constant contact, builds trust, and provides value. This informational email newsletter from Resy, an app for booking tables at restaurants, is a great example. In it, the company highlights hot dining spots around NYC:   These newsletters can also be personalized based on each subscriber’s behavior in previous email campaigns. As a subscriber clicks on specific content topic links you can use that behavioral information to personalize future newsletters with more of that type of content. To create your own newsletter-worthy email content, look at the content you create on your main channels as a jumping-off point. Tie in your helpful emails and use your newsletter as a linking opportunity. Calendar template #3: Informational email newsletters Look for gaps in your email marketing calendar between promotions, sales, and events – Send one-off emails with helpful tips, how-tos, or recommendations (can tie into web content) Weekly, during optimal send-times – Send out a weekly newsletter with updates, links to recently published content, and helpful tidbits (provide an opt-out option if weekly is too often for some subscribers) When to schedule event announcements and promotions Have a big event coming up that needs some promotion? Is a big change coming to your company that you need to communicate with your loyal subscribers? Sending out an event announcement is a great way to keep your audience up-to-date with all the goings-on. Big events are especially important to advertise via email. For instance, if you want to invite locals to an in-store gathering, a big party, a concert, or a benefit, they’re more likely to respond to a personal email invitation. That’s because emails drive conversions better than any other marketing method, including social media. Additionally, email has an average organic reach of 79%, which means over three-fourths of your recipients will receive and read the emails you send. This example from SXSW showcases how the yearly conference uses email to help get people to register:   This email from Hudson Ranch and Vineyards, meanwhile, is a great example of how to make an email invitation to an event seem exclusive:   Calendar template #4: Event invitations and promotions with marketing follow-up emails 4-6 months before the event – Save the date announcement: Let subscribers know what the event is, plus where, when, how, and why it’s happening 3 months before the event – Official announcement/invitation: Depending on the type of event, formally or casually invite your subscribers, detailing time, place, and other important information 1 month before the event – Begin weekly marketing follow-up emails/reminders: If your audience needs to save their spot or register, remind them and provide a call-to-action button in these emails 1 week before the event – Last chance reminder (“Spots are filling up quickly”, “Time is running out to register”, etc.) Calendar template #5: Announcements This template depends on what type of announcement you’re making. For example, if you’re going to announce a huge customer appreciation event, you can really build it up. On the other hand, if you’re making big changes to your business model/website/some other factor that will affect the customer experience, you need to avoid dropping hints and be as transparent as possible. This template is for the former scenario when you can really have fun with it. 2 months before the big announcement – Build up anticipation for the actual announcement, but don’t give it away yet (“A surprise is coming…”, “We’re getting ready for something big”, etc.) 1 month before the announcement – Follow-up email reiterating the initial message Weekly, up until the announcement – Reminder emails with curiosity-inducing hints Wrap up Email marketing campaigns are nothing without a plan to implement them. If you don’t take the time to schedule your emails and optimize send-times, you’re missing out on a big opportunity to grab more interest, opens, and click-throughs. Even more than that, your goals for the quarter or the year may slide by the wayside without a solid email marketing calendar to stick to. This calendar guides your marketing and helps you send the most impactful messages imaginable. Use the templates above to schedule your emails for the biggest impact, then let ‘em loose. You’ll make a much bigger splash with your subscribers and customers.

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How to Send an Effective Marketing Follow-Up Email

Emails can provide your company with some of its highest marketing ROIs.Still, if your business is like most, you won’t receive the response you want after just one message. Instead, you’ll probably need to send at least one more before you get a positive result. That’s why you need to understand how to write an effective marketing follow-up email. Otherwise, the high-ROI you are expecting may never show up. Fortunately, there are 5 simple tips you can follow to quickly master this essential form of content. Any one of these will give you better results, but use them all from now on, and you’ll notice your email marketing campaigns really taking off. 1. Never send a marketing follow-up email too quickly. Kara Corridan has probably received more marketing emails than most. She was the health director of Parents magazine and is currently the executive editor of Scholastic. Here’s what she had to say about marketing emails that come too quickly: “Certain people that send me something on a Friday and then follow up Monday—it’s ludicrous. Even if we were interested, we couldn’t turn things around that frequently. You can try again in a month. Give us a chance to process.” That’s not to say you need to wait an entire month to send your follow-up. Every industry has its own standard. However, this is also why it’s important to figure out what makes the most sense in yours. Before deciding on the frequency of your follow up emails, first think about how you would feel receiving a follow up after you read the first marketing email from someone. How would you feel if the follow-up email hit your inbox a day or two later? Would you appreciate that or would you feel spammed? There’s a natural tendency to want to get in front of prospect often so many marketers will send emails too frequent in a sequence. Instead, make your send frequency at least 4–5 days apart. Give the recipient time to process the first email and decide whether it’s worth taking action before they receive another email. This takes time, but rest assured, there is no industry where following up every other day will get you the desired response. 2. Start with a reminder about your last email. Don’t start from scratch with a marketing follow-up email. Your prospects probably receive dozens of similar emails every week – if not more. After all, in 2017, 269 billion emails were sent every single day. So, there’s a good chance your recipient may not immediately recognize what yours is about. If that happens, don’t expect them to read it. Therefore, reference the last email you sent in the first line after your greeting. Don’t summarize it, though. On average, our attention spans are only about eight seconds, so never waste time with the openings of your email. Just reference the last one. If the reader needs a reminder, they can jump back into their inbox and find the last message. All you need is a sentence or two to reference the last one and then begin explaining why this next email is so important. 3. Get to the point. You’re not just checking in. Whatever you do, don’t begin your marketing follow-up email by “just checking in.” The benefit of those three words is that it makes it clear you’re not trying to pressure them into anything. The drawback is that you’re delaying why the email matters: its main objective. There are only four real reasons to write a marketing follow-up email: You need information You’d like to request a call, meeting, or some other kind of action You just want to catch-up You wanted to say thank you for one of the above or another opportunity Whichever it is, get to it right after you reference the last email. Don’t get lost in small talk. Remember, your recipient probably has a short attention span, and they may also be short on time—so start explaining why you deserve some of it. 4. Use action verbs. In a moment, we’ll cover how to end your emails, but before that tip will be helpful, you have to understand what must be included in the actual content. While you still want to keep your marketing follow-up email short, it absolutely must add value. You can’t simply send an email where all you do is ask for something. Instead, be sure you’re benefiting the recipient somehow, too. This is especially important in B2B, where data shows that 74% of buyers opt to work with salespeople who first added value. That is a massive difference. If your company utilizes account-based marketing, you’ll need to take the time to figure out what kind of value you can hope to provide the individual prospect. On the other hand, if your marketing follow-up email is going out to your entire list, be sure to segment it. Then, based on buyer personas, come up with a valuable piece of advice or other content that will show recipients that you’re focused on them — not just your company’s needs. Content upgrades can be great for this purpose. You can offer your recipients: eBooks Reports Case Studies Invites to a Webinar e-Courses Any of these options are above-and-beyond the normal follow-up email. However, because they come in the form of a link or attachment, they won’t add so much bulk to your copy that recipients immediately decide to move on. 5. End your marketing follow-up email with a specific call-to-action. Ideally, this marketing follow-up email will be the last one you need to send. To increase your chances of getting the response you want, be sure to include a specific call-to-action at the end. “Hope to hear from you” and “Let me know what you think” aren’t very good CTAs, despite how common they’ve become. Instead, consider one of the 75 CTAs we recommend. Here are some great examples: “Start your free trial” “Let us know how we did” “Reserve your seat” All of these give your recipient something specific to do. If you use action words throughout your copy, you’ll also set up your CTA with a better chance of success. Give your reader a CTA to be excited about If there’s one real secret to writing an incredible marketing follow-up email, it’s to always craft messages your audience will look forward to. Never send one out unless you know you’re offering them something they want—not just something you want them to do. That way, your recipients will actually be excited to open your email, read it through, and follow your CTA’s instructions. After that, you won’t need to send nearly as many follow-up messages, but those you do send out will have much higher rates of success.

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5 Ways to Use SEO and Email Marketing to Drive Results

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8 Tips for Writing Effective Re-Engagement Emails

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5 Ways to Improve Your Email Marketing Click-Through Rate

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Why You Shouldn’t Buy Email Marketing Lists (and What to Do Instead)

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Why Email is the Key to Aligning Sales and Marketing

Sales and marketing teams sometimes go head to head. However, sales and marketing alignment helps companies become 67% better at closing sales, generating 209% more revenue in the process, according to a study by App Data Room and Marketo. Even so, only 8% of companies have strong alignment, according to Forrester. For companies that struggle with sales and marketing alignment, the worry is not only the rewards they’re missing out on but the damage that the fracture between teams can cause. Research from Aberdeen Group shows that poor alignment results in a 4% revenue decline, while a study from IDC revealed that an inability to align sales and marketing teams around the right processes and technologies costs 10% or more revenue per year. As you can see from the graphic below, smooth alignment allows for optimal orchestration of sales and marketing hand-over and faster sales cycles. But there are often physical, functional, and cultural differences at hand with poor alignment. Teams work separately, with differing goals and objectives, and with little regard for how the other goes about their business. This leads to unqualified leads traveling from marketing to sales and causes sales reps to ignore 50% of marketing leads and waste half of their time on unproductive prospecting. Fixing the issues, however, isn’t nearly as difficult as it seems. All that’s really required is to bring teams closer together and improve lead qualification. Enter email marketing. Start with your ideal customer Defining your ideal customer persona is the start of any communication or sales. It needs to be well defined and agreed upon by your entire organization. If you’re a small team or a startup, it’s also worth sitting together with sales to understand which customer personas they consider “low hanging fruit.” If you don’t build your email strategy with a clear customer persona in mind, you risk sending out generic messages leads to marketing handing over dead-end leads to sales, rather than focusing on highly targeted messages to a qualified group. It’s essential that marketing sends out the right content, to the right people, at the right time. Once you’ve all agreed on your customer personas, you can begin to use email automation to create a process that nurtures leads continuously until they are sales-ready, and useful tools such as lead scoring and will allow you to identify when the timing is right for sales to contact them. You can do this in six steps, combining email automation with a lead scoring and website tracking solution. 6 steps to align marketing and sales Step 1: Attract new leads Create helpful content interesting for your target customers such as ‘How to’ articles, infographics, hints and tips, and videos. Include email sign-up forms on any page that features this content with call-to-action offers for exclusive email content (ebooks, white papers, etc.). Step 2: Generate interest Build on interest by sending subscribers articles on products or services, ebooks, Webinar invitations, and white papers. Step 3: Show value If Step 2 has proven successful, work on convincing prospects with case studies, product demos, and testimonials. Step 4: Identify hot leads At this stage, prospects are weighing up their options. Now is the time for comparisons and data sheets—and the sales team to jump in. Consider SalesWings as a lead scoring and website tracking add-on for Campaign Monitor to align your marketing and sales team around top priorities. Step 5: Sales phase By now the prospect is a hot lead. Promotional offers, product discounts, and free trials can be promoted to support sales to get them onboard. Step 6: Post-purchase Work on customer loyalty drips with after-sales service emails and upsell/cross-sell offers. These six steps take you smoothly from the marketing end to the sales end of the sales funnel. At every step, people will drop away, leaving only prospects with buying intent. The challenge now is to correctly qualify leads to maximize the chances of making a sale. Segment your email lists for better lead qualification Not every lead becomes a customer, so you need to work out who to spend the most time on. Do this by segmenting your email lists so that prospects are sent more relevant information. There are many different ways to segment email lists, but where qualification within the six-step process is concerned you should focus on: 1. Target customer persona Finding out which subscribers fit your customer profiles (demographics, location, company size, etc.) will help you speak directly to their pain points. 2. Email activity How subscribers have interacted with your past emails is a good indicator of interest. Subscribers that haven’t opened or clicked on links within emails should be separated from subscribers that have visited pages that showing buying intent such as pricing and demo pages. 3. Website engagement What your leads read on your blog, the products and services they look at unveils in a natural way to what target segment they belong. Using a real-time lead segmentation solution you can build smart segments using automation. Segmenting your email lists to better reach your targeted audience is shown to increase revenues by as much as 760%, which is proof, if ever you needed it, that segmentation helps to qualify leads. The next, and final step, to stronger alignment, is to use the results of your segmented email campaigns to give sales reps the hottest leads. Using website tracking and lead scoring to hand-over leads to the sales team Segmentation puts your email campaigns directly in touch with your target audience: those most likely to buy based on their interest and actions. Open rates and click-throughs are then an interesting metric to understand who’s engaging with your campaigns and showing you campaign success. What is essential at this stage of the process, is to be able to filter out the right leads for sales—and these metrics may just not be enough. For a full lead qualification, you will need information about broader activity, timing, lead and company insights. If not, your sales team will complain about poor lead quality, even if they are good! Website tracking provides the sales team with real-time insights into the buyers’ true intent. What are their concerns? Which products or services on your website do they consider viable solutions? For instance: Are they reading a blog post about a specific expertise you have? Are they revisiting a specific product or service? Have they downloaded a form or guide? Have they had a look at your pricing page? If you combine lead engagement tracking (website, forms, email and more) with a lead scoring mechanism or integration, your team will be able to quantify that interest and provide your sales team with a reliable metric on the urgency a lead should be engaged. If you can provide your sales team with information on what’s behind the score (what exactly are leads doing), you help them save time on lead qualification. And that’s when you start to use reporting and analytics to enhance your sales and marketing alignment concretely. Wrap up Aligned sales and marketing teams are better for business, and email marketing is key to making it work. Use website tracking alongside email automation to involve sales reps in the marketing process, allow marketing leads to transition seamlessly into sales leads, and gather the data needed to improve email content for better long-term lead qualification.

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The Top 10 Ways Segmentation Can Increase Reader Engagement

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