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Tag Archives: software

Optimization Expert Flint McGlaughlin Rapidly Diagnoses Pages LIVE in Real-Time (Part 2)

Sometimes making a small webpage change – like naming a form or download – can increase conversions dramatically.

The post Optimization Expert Flint McGlaughlin Rapidly Diagnoses Pages LIVE in Real-Time (Part 2) appeared first on MarketingExperiments.

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Return to Sender: Email Marketing Is NOT Dead, But It Needs Rejuvenation

Email Marketing Is Not Dead

Email Marketing Is Not Dead

Oh, look. Another death of email marketing headline. All too often, we see posts that lead with this provocative clickbait proclamation, while keeping the contradicting nuances under the surface.

Ironically, this kind of practice is exactly WHY email marketing has seen its reputation tarnished. The focus has shifted too far toward style at the expense of substance. Marketers became so singularly obsessed with compelling opens and clicks, through irresistible subject lines and poppy CTAs, that many of us lost touch with the core value of this digital channel: direct, one-on-one engagement.

I’m here to tell you that this value still exists, and might be more essential today than ever, in spite of (maybe even because of) the waters becoming so muddied. Recipients will welcome a little freshness and clarity in their inbox, from those brands and influencers that are willing to buck the trend.

Dead? No way. Email marketing is alive and well, and it can still be a central component of a successful, customer-centric marketing strategy when done right. 

The Rise and “Fall” of Email Marketing

This life experience might be unique to fellow millennials, but I’ll never forget the jolt of excitement I felt as a preteen logging into America Online in the mid-90s and hearing those three magical words: “You’ve got mail!” The internet in general was too new and grand a concept for my young mind to grasp, but anyone could take delight in a mysterious message sent expressly to you — like a present waiting to be unwrapped.

via GIPHY

Fast-forward a couple decades, and the quaint charm of a full inbox has largely disappeared. Irrelevant messages began to proliferate and pile up like AOL trial discs. Spam started running amok, to the point where — as of March 2019 — 56% of all email messages were categorized as such. The sheer volume of messages we receive, and the dread of digging through them all, can cause legitimately troublesome levels of stress and anxiety

As a result, many emails are now being cast aside, either because inundated human users click delete instead of open, or because increasingly stringent filters are diverting them to the spam folder — especially if they come from a company or unfamiliar sender. 

There’s no doubt that trust has been shaken. Anecdotally, I’m sure most people reading this have been scarred by an experience where they had to completely shut down an email address because it became overwhelmed by promotional junk, or where they repeatedly tried to unsubscribe from an unwanted newsletter to no avail.

It is at times like these that well-intentioned, creative, value-driven marketers can answer the call and rise above the fray. Here’s how.

Rejuvenating Your Email Marketing Strategy

A fact that might surprise you: open rates aren’t in a state of steady, ceaseless decline. In fact, according to Super Office, the average rate has generally been increasing (or at least remaining steady) year-to-year over the past decade-plus:

Email Open Rate According to Super Office

Meanwhile, a new Email Usage Study from Adobe finds that the average person spends 5+ hours per day checking email, including 3+ hours at work. 

As Adobe’s Sarah Kennedy puts it in a blog post: “The Adobe survey findings solidify how important email still is in the everyday lives of our customers, and this means there is still a big opportunity for marketers to utilize email to engage with people in relevant and useful ways.”

Relevant and useful. Therein lies the key. Here’s how we can pursue these ideals.

Refine Your Mailing List

First of all, opt-ins are essential. If you can’t verify that a person on your list actively volunteered to receive emails from you, remove them. You might even want to consider a double-opt-in (send a confirmation email once a person signs up). It’s better to write for 10 people who truly want to receive your messages than 100 who are ambivalent or worse.

From there, any type of segmentation you can do will help. Can you divvy up your list based on areas of interest or specialization? If so, you’ll be able to create different content (or even slight variations of the same content) oriented more toward the specific individuals receiving it. A little personalization goes a long way.

[bctt tweet="It’s better to write for 10 people who truly want to receive your messages than 100 who are ambivalent or worse. @NickNelsonMN #EmailMarketing" username="toprank"]

Use Email to Build Relationships, Not to Sell

There are multiple problems with salesy emails. One: people generally don’t like them. Two: spam filters tend to be triggered by the terminology used in these messages. Three: they represent a fumbled opportunity.

When someone opts into your newsletter and then starts getting overtly pitched right away, it can feel like a betrayal of trust. As a relatively direct and personal form of marketing communication, email should be used to deliver value and build brand affinity. This is not to say you must avoid any type of lead generation elements in your messages, but make them subtle and sparse.

[bctt tweet="When someone opts into your newsletter and then starts getting overtly pitched right away, it can feel like a betrayal of trust. @NickNelsonMN #EmailMarketing" username="toprank"]

Speak as a Human, to a Human

Your emails should never come from an address that looks like this: noreply@company.com. Use a real person’s name in the sender field (an executive or marketing manager or whomever you want to use as the face of your outward brand communications) and craft content in a way that feels human and friendly. 

Ann Handley, Chief Content Officer at MarketingProfs, has an awesome newsletter called TotalAnnarchy that epitomizes this genuine vibe. At Social Media Marketing World earlier this year, she gave a talk about creating a newsletter people want to read. Among her tips: focus less on the NEWS and more on the LETTER, make it delightful, and write as if your message were only going out to one person.

I love the way Ann frames the present value of this channel as a marketing tool: Email is the only place where people, not algorithms, are in control.

[bctt tweet="Email, when it's done well, is like hot fire. It can burn like nobody's business. Ann Handley @MarketingProfs #EmailMarketing" username="toprank"]

Make Your Emails Visually Interesting

This is tricky terrain because different email clients will display images differently (and sometimes not at all) but in general it’s wise to err on the side of making your emails more colorful and lively. Among their examples of powerful B2B marketing campaigns, Campaign Monitor shares this webinar promo email from AdWeek featuring an animated GIF to infuse their content with understated movement. 

AdWeek Email Marketing Example

(Example via Campaign Monitor)

Just like on social feeds, compelling visuals can make your emails stand out in a crowded inbox. But make sure you don’t cross the line into gaudiness. 

Make Email a Thoughtful Part of Your Overall Strategy

“We need more traffic to our blog post. Do an email blast.” This kind of reactionary thinking is a problematic aspect of email marketing. 

As we say repeatedly, promotion should be built into campaigns from the start, and every channel should have a distinct purpose. Connect your email strategy with your goals and give it the proper effort to become a worthwhile standalone piece rather than an obligatory add-on. 

Bring Your Email Marketing Strategy Back to Life

The rumors of email marketing’s death are greatly exaggerated. This channel can still be a key fixture in your content strategy if you give it the care and attention it deserves. But like other content channels, in order to maximize its efficacy we need to emphasize quality over quantity, focus on building trust-driven relationships, strike a human resonance, spice up the visuals, and connect it to our larger goals and strategy.

When you achieve this, you just may reignite that “You’ve got mail!” spark of wonder that recipients feel when your messages pop up in their inbox.

Email marketing isn't the only form of promotion that may be missing from your strategy. Learn how to cure what's been called "invisible content syndrome."

The post Return to Sender: Email Marketing Is NOT Dead, But It Needs Rejuvenation appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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How to Use LinkedIn to Build a Powerful Network

Are you connecting with the right people on LinkedIn? Want to build a stronger LinkedIn network? In this article, you’ll learn how to make strategic LinkedIn connections to grow your influence and your business. Why Build a Selective LinkedIn Network? Whether you’re an entrepreneur or a business professional, LinkedIn is the perfect social media platform […]

The post How to Use LinkedIn to Build a Powerful Network appeared first on Social Media Marketing | Social Media Examiner.

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How Hyper-Targeted Marketing Helped Zola Take Over the Wedding Industry

Fast-growth wedding startup Zola used landing pages to get crazy-specific in messaging to different segments and boost signups on its ecommerce platform.

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Q3 Wrap-Up: What’s Changed For B2B Marketers & What’s Ahead in 2020?

QQ Digital Marketing Recap Standing Businesspeople Image

QQ Digital Marketing Recap Standing Businesspeople Image

We've now reached the end of the third quarter of 2019, one filled with many significant B2B marketing changes and several surprising twists and turns that will combine to affect how the industry moves forward as we enter Q4 and push forward to 2020.

Q3 saw numerous exciting shifts in new directions, and a few seemingly slight changes in course that are nonetheless poised to make big impacts in 2020.

We're always working to bring you the most relevant B2B marketing news, including over 180 weekly industry news videos, hosted by Tiffani Allen, Joshua Nite and others here on our blog and on our TopRank Marketing YouTube channel.

Each quarter we reflect on what's happened in digital marketing and look ahead with key trends. Let's examine both the challenges and opportunities the quarter's top B2B marketing news has brought our industry.

The Digital Marketing Sights and Sounds of Q3

When It Comes to Digital Marketing Spending …

Forecasts from the third quarter showed that global digital advertising spending is expected to continue to rise. In the U.S. alone digital ad spending grew to $28.4 billion for the first quarter of 2019, up 18 percent from the same quarter a year ago. (ClickZ)

IAB 2019 Ad Spend Chart Image

What Else?

    • Digital advertising spending was up nearly 20 percent in the second quarter of 2019, according to study data that also highlighted the comparatively greater number of small-to-medium size firms using digital versus traditional formats. (Broadcasting & Cable)
    • Digital advertising expenditures in the U.S. increased by 18 percent year-over-over from the first quarter of 2018, hitting $28.4 billion, with paid search comprising some 40%, according to IAB report data. (ClickZ)
    • By 2021 global digital advertising spending is predicted to increase by 47 percent from 2019, with ad expenditure growth up by 5.3 percent, according to Zenith. (MarketingProfs)
    • Amazon cut into Google’s advertising market share during the quarter, garnering ad revenue growth of 53 percent for sponsored brands and 102 percent for sponsored products, while Google spending growth slowed from the prior quarter. Microsoft’s Bing also saw desktop ad spending growth, its strongest since 2016. (MediaPost)
    • Revenues from advertising on social media and messaging platforms climbed 26.2 percent year-over-year during the first quarter of 2019, but at a slower rate than last year. (Mobile Marketing Magazine)
    • Forrester Research released a report looking at the strong growth of Amazon ads and how the company’s rise is affecting an array of rivals from Facebook to agencies and ad-tech firms. (Marketing Dive)
    • Mobile advertising within apps saw impressions increase by 26 percent in the second quarter of 2019 compared to last year, and in-app mobile video is increasingly driving ad spending. (MarTech Advisor)
    • 73 percent of B2B senior-level executives use more sources when researching and evaluating purchases than they did last year. (MarketingCharts)
    • By 2021 podcast advertising is expected to top $1 billion in annual revenue, IAB predicted. (The Verge)
    • Digital video advertising spending has seen continued growth according to IAB study data, with the average survey advertiser projected to spend $18 million in 2019, up from 2018’s $14.2 million. (Adweek)
    • 63% of B2B companies plan to moderately raise spending on email marketing, with top goals being increased engagement, conversion, and lead generation, some of the trends of interest to digital marketers among forecast data released during Q3 by GetResponse and Ascend. (MediaPost)
    • Some 65 percent of marketers see high-quality data as the most important element for campaign success, while also estimating that roughly 21 percent of marketing spending goes towards poor quality data. (MediaPost)

Read more on this topic:

When It Comes to Search Marketing …

Q3 saw the release of data showing that for the first time most Google searches don’t yield subsequent clicks, with 50.33 percent ending on the search giant’s result page, and 45.25 percent of searches resulting in organic clicks and 4.42 percent in paid advertisement clicks. (SparkToro)

2019 September 20 MarketingCharts Chart

What Else?

  • Google gave content creators the ability to incorporate multiple thumbnail images from the same video, which will all appear in search results linked to various spots within a video, using custom markup code. (TechCrunch)
  • Audience targeting is the top search marketing technology affecting search engine marketing strategy. At 86 percent, audience targeting topped keywords, which came in at 83 percent, and re-marketing, which had 76 percent, Q3 survey data showed. (MarketingCharts)
  • Google has made new image tracking data derived from recent changes to Google Image Search available in its Search Console feature, including an array of swipe-to-visit image analytics and other mobile AMP-centric features of interest to marketers. (Search Engine Journal)
  • Jumping up a single position in Google search results can boost click-through-rates by over 30 percent, and online content containing questions within page titles saw 14.1 percent higher CTR rates — two insights from a Google search result analysis published during the quarter. (Backlinko)
  • Google rolled out playable podcast episodes that appear directly in search results, presenting both new visibility opportunities along with attribution and analytics challenges for marketers and brands. (Engadget)
  • Facebook began offering more advertisers options for inserting ads within search results on its platform, including new news feed campaign options for marketers. (Search Engine Journal)
  • A Q3 Marin Software survey showed that paid search accounts for 40 percent of digital ad spending, with paid social just under 20 percent. (ClickZ)
  • Digital marketers using Bing search advertisements got new insights from Microsoft Advertising, which added to the metrics data available including those relating to impressions and “prominence metrics.” (Search Engine Journal)

Read more on this topic:

When It Comes to Content Marketing …

During the third quarter report data showed that B2B marketers see in-person events, content marketing, traditional e-mail, and paid social as the most effective B2B marketing channels. (MarketingCharts)

2019 August 16 Marketing Charts Chart

What Else?

  • Facebook began testing the elimination of “like” counts in news-feed posts, a move echoing a similar shift from tests conducted with its Instagram property — aimed at placing greater focus on content and less on like counts. (TechCrunch)
  • Among senior B2B marketers, a sizable 82 percent viewed content as important for achieving marketing goals, however only 48 percent believed their content was only somewhat effective — or even ineffective. (ClickZ)
  • 80 percent of B2B buyers expect a B2C-like experience, while 47 percent read between three and five pieces of content before initiating sales contact communication. (Webbiquity)
  • YouTube video content was the subject of a Q3 Pew Research study that examined popular channels with 250K or more subscribers. Among them, just 10 percent produced 70 percent of the content, the research showed. (Social Media Today)
  • Facebook announced new features aimed at helping creators monetize content, including several new placement choices for video advertisements, brand collaboration enhancements, and Creator Studio additions. (Marketing Land)
  • B2B marketers see their websites as an effective method for building awareness, however the sites often fail to offer compelling content and directly answer top questions, according to Q3 research from Forrester. The best sites engage using interactive visuals, useful tools, and experiences that demonstrate a keen audience understanding, the study revealed. (MediaPost)

Read more on this topic:

When It Comes to Social Media …

Q3 saw a number of reports detailing the health of social media and how marketers, brands, and consumers use various platforms, and the technology as a whole.

Liking posts topped a Q3 list of how people interact with brands on social media platforms, at 51 percent, followed by 31 percent who leave reviews, while millennials are more likely to purchase due to social ads. (Social Media Today)

2019 August 9 Marketing Charts Chart

What Else?

  • Twitter is foremost a “look at this” social media destination, YouTube is primarily a learning target, while Instagram and Facebook fall into the “look at me” category. (Adweek)
  • Consumer conversations about brands share very little crossover from social media listening and offline discussion, according to study data released during the quarter that looks at real-world and social media interaction differences and similarities. (Marketing Land)
  • 60 percent of regular emoji users like brands using emojis that match their own personality, and 51 percent are more likely to comment on social media posts from brands that use emojis. (MarketingCharts)
  • 56 percent of Gen X consumers find too much advertising on social platforms, and 42 percent don’t like brand social interaction. (eMarketer)

Read more on this topic:

When It Comes to Influencer Marketing …

Implementation of B2B influencer marketing continued its growth during Q3. Influencer advertisements were also seen to have generated 277 percent more emotional intensity and 87 percent more memory encoding than traditional television ads, according to Q3 survey data that also examined the varying effectiveness of macro, micro, and celebrity influencers. (eMarketer)

2019 July 12 SmallBizGenius Chart

What Else?

  • Global spending for influencer marketing will top $5 billion and could reach as high as $10 billion over the next two years, during which time 57 percent of marketers expect to add the practice to their marketing activities. (Social Media Today)
  • Influencer marketing spending in the U.S. and Canada has seen 83 percent year-over-year growth, accompanied by second-quarter spending of $442 million. (The Drum)
  • 70 percent of U.S. consumers who use social media platforms and follow at least one influencer say they trust the opinions of influencers at least as much as those of their own friends, with 78 percent trusting influencer opinions over those presented in traditional digital ads. (MediaPost)
  • Pinterest and LinkedIn (client) are increasingly seeing social influencers utilizing the platforms, and finding new audiences and success with online video. (CNN)
  • Micro and niche-influencers are forging stronger target audience connections and boosting long-term loyalty, while the use of traditional paid influencers among marketers has seen rising associated costs. (eMarketer)

Read more on this topic:

When It Comes to The TopRank Marketing Team …

The team at TopRank Marketing has had a busy, exciting, and productive Q3, and here are just a few of some of the team’s highlights in the press during the past quarter:

  • Lee Odden: “B2B Doesn’t Have To Mean Boring To Boring” [Podcast] (B2B Marketing Exchange)
  • Why Experience Matters [Video] (The New Economy)
  • Eight Colors That Will Brightly Grow Your Personal Brand (Forbes)
  • What Customer Experience Management Means For Today’s Business Ecosystem [Video] (Adobe Experience Cloud)
  • How To Build A B2B Influencer Marketing Strategy For 2020 (Demand Gen Report)
  • How to Build a B2B Influencer Marketing Strategy for 2020 [Infographic] (Social Media Today)
  • The Stranger Things In B2B Marketing: 5 Ways to Avoid The Upside-Down of ABM (Engagio)
  • Augmented And Virtual Reality: The Latest Engagement Drivers In B2B Marketing (Demand Gen Report)
  • The Guide to B2B Influencer Marketing for CMOs [Infographic] (Social Media Today)
  • A Shark’s Perspective – Episode 147 – Lee Odden [Podcast] (A Shark’s Perspective)
  • 5 Crucial Ingredients for a Tremendous Content Marketing Strategy [Infographic] (Social Media Today)
  • 5 Easy Ways Your Brand Can Use Twitter Video for More Engagement (Social Report)
  • The Top B2B Influencer Marketing Trends for 2020 [Infographic] (Social Media Today)

Goodbye, Q3. Hello and Welcome, Q4.

B2B marketers, we hope that your Q4 is filled with plenty of success and innovation, and hope that you'll join us each week and keep up with the latest industry news, trends, and opportunities in our Digital Marketing News Roundup, with highlights and video commentary from Tiffani Allen and Joshua Nite.

*Disclosure: LinkedIn and Adobe are TopRank Marketing clients.

The post Q3 Wrap-Up: What’s Changed For B2B Marketers & What’s Ahead in 2020? appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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How to Write Facebook Ads That Convert

Want your Facebook ads to move people to action? Looking for a framework to help? In this article, you’ll discover how to develop and compose Facebook ad copy that converts and sells your products. #1: Research Customer Needs and Preferences in Facebook Groups Marketers often talk about how hard it is to get accurate customer […]

The post How to Write Facebook Ads That Convert appeared first on Social Media Marketing | Social Media Examiner.

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New Facebook Live Tools: What Marketers Need to Know

Welcome to this week’s edition of the Social Media Marketing Talk Show, a news show for marketers who want to stay on the leading edge of social media. On this week’s Social Media Marketing Talk Show, we explore new Facebook Live tools with Luria Petrucci. Tune In to the Social Media Marketing Talk Show Listen […]

The post New Facebook Live Tools: What Marketers Need to Know appeared first on Social Media Marketing | Social Media Examiner.

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Optimization Expert Flint McGlaughlin Rapidly Diagnoses Pages LIVE in Real-Time

Flint McGlaughlin works through audience-submitted pages to help live attendees achieve marketing wins.

The post Optimization Expert Flint McGlaughlin Rapidly Diagnoses Pages LIVE in Real-Time appeared first on MarketingExperiments.

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Social Spotlight: Air Jordan or A/R Jordan

Welcome to the Social Spotlight, where each week we’ll dive deep into what we love about a brand’s approach to a specific social campaign. Read more...

This post Social Spotlight: Air Jordan or A/R Jordan originally appeared on Sprout Social.

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Digital Marketing News: Google Brings Multiple Thumbnails to Video Results, Facebook’s AR Ads Plan, Twitter Adds Multiple List Feature, & More

The post Digital Marketing News: Google Brings Multiple Thumbnails to Video Results, Facebook’s AR Ads Plan, Twitter Adds Multiple List Feature, & More appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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