8 Emails to Include In Your Webinar Sequence

Webinars are a popular way to connect with potential customers, especially right now. They make it easy to share news about your business, while adding a face to your brand.

Getting people to attend a webinar can be tough, though. Most people are only willing to commit to one live event a week, so you have to fight for that real estate by staying in front of them.

Review this guide to the six emails you need to include in your webinar sequence that not only boosts your registration rates, but improves your attendance rates as well.

What is a webinar and how does it grow a business?

A webinar—or a web-based seminar—is a live event where you share a presentation. This can be anything from a simple screen share to a complex PowerPoint with video. You can even include videos, audio files, and documents your audience might need.

Webinars are practical for sharing information both internally and with your customers. Common reasons businesses run webinars include:

  • Content marketing
  • Deep dive into a guide or published article
  • Customer service
  • Employee training
  • Product demonstration
  • Technical support

You can make a webinar as engaging as you like. For example, if you’re holding an employee training webinar, you might have more interaction than during a product demo webinar where many potential customers remain silent.

But why do you want to use webinars? How do they help businesses grow?

Webinars make it easy for you to connect with potential customers without investing in local events. A successful event has surprising results for your business, like:

Creating a webinar is just the first step in a marketing strategy that includes live events. Your next step is to generate hype and get people to register for your online event.

What are the benefits of a webinar email sequence?

There are a few different ways you can approach marketing your webinar. You can create a landing page on your website—and you should, if you want the best performance metrics—or you can spread the word on social media.

And, as email marketing is still the most effective marketing strategy, that includes marketing your webinar. Here’s how a webinar email series can impact your event:

  • Email signups: Over half of webinar registrations come from people who heard about your event through email, then decided to register.
  • Attendance rates: For most webinars, the attendance rate is between 40% and 50% of people who registered for the event ahead of time.
  • Webinar registrations: In general, webinars will receive 260 registrations, which means an email has the potential to boost those numbers by reaching more people.

By incorporating a webinar email series, you can potentially reach more people, increase your registrations, and improve your attendance rates.

Emails to include in your webinar sequence for maximum impact

To make the most of your investment in webinar technology, you want to boost attendance before the event, and increase conversions after the event. So let’s look at emails to send around each part of that funnel.

1. Prelaunch and introduction email

If you want to generate hype around your webinar, a prelaunch email is an effective solution. You can build a landing page with key highlights about your event and include an email signup form for “future information” about the webinar (more info on landing page strategy here).

You can also use a prelaunch email to introduce your webinar options as TIAA did in their webinar email sequence. They include a broad CTA with a bold “view all webinars” button, and they include links to specific webinars they think you’ll like.

A prelaunch email can help you gauge interest in your webinar.

Source: Really Good Emails

This is a good opportunity to get people excited about your event. Your goal with this email is just information.

2. Signup and registration email

Your registration email is one of the most important parts of a webinar email sequence. This is where you formally invite people to your event. If you’re hosting a free webinar, this email can be as simple as pointing people in the right direction.

The key thing to remember about your signup email is that it needs to highlight the value. Why do people want to spend 30 minutes—or more—of their day listening to you talk about your company? BigCommerce packs a ton of information in their webinar signup email.

Your webinar registration email should be packed with pertinent information.

Source: Really Good Emails

Be sure to include the four main components of an invitation: who, what, where, and when. Link to the webinar landing page so they can see more detailed information and sign up.

3. Webinar invitation reminder

Depending on when you sent the registration email and when your event is, you might send more than one reminder email. You can send one within a week or a few days of the event, then follow up with a reminder email the day before the webinar.

Reminder emails don’t just go to people who registered for the event. Take advantage of list segmentation by creating reminder invitations for people who haven’t signed up yet. This can be a chance to convert them as Mavenlink did in their webinar reminder email.

Send different webinar reminder emails to people who have and haven’t registered.

Source: Really Good Emails

As the date of your event nears, you’ll want to maximize those registration numbers. Add credibility to your emails by including bios about the presenters.

4. Webinar signup autoresponder

For registrants of the webinar, make sure you have an autoresponder or transactional email set up to let them know they’ve successfully registered. If you have them register using your ESP’s signup form, then this can be automatically triggered when a custom field is updated, like “Webinar registration = Yes.”

5. Webinar reminder email

This email should only go to registrants, and is only necessary if you’re using a webinar platform that doesn’t handle reminder emails. For example, GoToWebinar has an option to turn registrant reminders on or off, so you can choose whether you want the platform or your own ESP to send the email.

The webinar reminder email needs to reiterate the date, time, and instructions for access the webinar when it’s live.

6. Recording and follow-up email

Recording your webinar is an effective way to get it in front of more people. Remember that landing page you created for the webinar? Upload the recording of your webinar there to drive traffic after the event.

Over 25% of people register for a webinar after it’s over. There’s no reason not to capitalize on the content you already created. UserTesting provides its webinar recording for free, along with an option to download the presentation slides.

 Invite people to watch the recording of your webinar on a landing page.

Source: Daniel Waas

Another takeaway from UserTesting is that they encourage you to share their recording with colleagues. You can improve your webinar’s ROI by getting it in front of more people.

7. Post-webinar survey email

After your webinar, especially if you plan to host more of them, you may want to send a survey to your attendees. This survey can help you narrow down better ways to approach webinars for your audience, a critical skill for any digital marketer.

Not everyone is going to jump at the chance to take a survey, though. So you can include an incentive like Splash did with their survey. They offer a gift card to participants who complete the post-webinar survey, plus a CTA for the next event.

Use incentives to encourage attendees to fill out a post-webinar survey.

Source: Splash

Some webinar platforms make it simple for you to create a post-webinar survey. However, you can create one using other marketing tools, as well.

8. “Webinars you might like” email

The last email you want to send in your webinar email sequence is the recommendation email. This is where you let your attendees know about other webinars they might be interested in. It’s also a chance to create a schedule for your customers, like Peloton does with their webinar courses.

 Encourage attendees and subscribers to check out other webinars you host.

Source: Really Good Emails

If you routinely host webinars, you can make this email part of a bigger marketing campaign. Start with your post-webinar recommendations, then add those subscribers to your webinar rotation.

Simple tips for optimizing the emails you include in a webinar email sequence

Creating a webinar email series is one part of the marketing process. To boost those registration and attendance numbers, you’ll need to optimize your email campaigns.

Before you plan your webinar email sequence, review these simple tips you can easily incorporate for email optimization:

  • Email personalization: A personalized email can lead to a 20% increase in sales, plus yield transaction rates that are six times higher than non-personalized emails. Leverage your customer data to add elements of personalization.
  • List segmentation: Nearly 60% of all revenue comes from email campaigns that feature list segmentation, and it can potentially increase yours by 760%. Segmenting your lists can make your webinar email sequence more dynamic.
  • Marketing automation: Email automation can lead to higher open and click rates, plus potentially give your business conversion rates as high as 50%. An email marketing automation platform can simplify this strategy.

Email optimization is critical to your marketing success. You’ll have higher engagement rates, which means you’ll have higher registration and attendance rates for your webinar.

Wrap up

Whatever your reason for creating a webinar, you know that a webinar email sequence can make or break attendance records. Before you plan your next live event, consider these key takeaways about marketing your webinar:

  • Emails contribute to most webinar registration, so a solid sequence is critical.
  • Look for opportunities to send webinar reminders and follow-up emails.
  • Include relevant information and highlight the foundation of the event.

The more effort you put into your webinar email sequence, the better your registration and attendance rates will be.

Ready to employ email marketing automation for your webinar series? Campaign Monitor has the right tools for segmenting, personalizing, and automating your campaigns.

The post 8 Emails to Include In Your Webinar Sequence appeared first on Campaign Monitor.

Top 10 Ways to Make Your Digital Marketing Efforts Successful

This is a guest post from Sreeja Burgula at Simplilearn Solutions.

If you want to succeed with your digital marketing efforts, it’s essential to study and understand all the channels and tactics that are available to you.

What is digital marketing?

Digital marketing includes all marketing efforts that use the internet and electronic devices, connecting audiences and customers wherever they may be online.

Professionals can gain expertise in digital marketing and improve their digital marketing efforts through courses and content.

A few of the critical parts of digital marketing are as follows.

  • Search engine optimization (SEO). Channels that benefit from SEO include: websites, blogs, infographics
  • Content marketing. Channels that benefit from content marketing include: blog posts, ebooks and whitepapers, infographics, online brochures
  • Email marketing. Including emails that contain follow-up, customer welcome, promotions, tips for customer nurturing, blog subscription newsletters, etc.
  • Social media marketing. Including marketing on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest
  • Pay-per-click (PPC). For example, paid ads on Facebook, promoted Tweets, sponsored LinkedIn messages, etc.
  • Affiliate marketing. For example, affiliate links on social media accounts and video ads on the YouTube Partner Program
  • Native advertising such as Instagram advertising and Facebook advertising
  • Marketing automation. For example, the automation of lead-nurturing workflows, email newsletters, contact list updating, social media post scheduling, campaign tracking, and reporting
  • Online PR. Channels that benefit from PR efforts include: reporter outreach via social media, engagement through blogs or websites, and engagement through online reviews
  • Inbound marketing. Includes a full-funnel approach to attract, engage, and delight customers using online content through any or all of the methods mentioned above
Get the small business marketing guide here.

Why do businesses adopt digital marketing?

Digital marketing benefits the marketer and the customer in several ways. However, businesses adopt digital marketing strategies and tactics mostly because it’s quantifiable, results-driven, adaptable, and faster than any other form of marketing available to any company no matter its size.

That said, there are several specific reasons why businesses adopt digital marketing. These reasons include:

  • It provides an equal opportunity (competitiveness) for all business regardless of size and available resources
  • It’s more cost effective than traditional marketing
  • It allows targeted conversion of audiences and prospects to leads, subscribers, supporters, and customers
  • It enhances revenue growth by reaching larger and niche markets (global and local) in a more efficient way
  • It facilitates interaction with targeted audiences, wherever they may be online, including on mobile devices
  • It helps build brand reputation
  • It allows businesses to earn their audience’s trust
  • It influences prospects to take favorable action through CTA
  • It quickly provides analytics that enables businesses to grow

Recent trends in digital marketing

Digital marketing trends are constantly evolving as marketers find better ways to reach their audiences and as audiences demand better ways to interact with businesses.

Several trends have carried over from previous years, but the skill sets marketers need are constantly evolving. Just look at this research from McKinsey:

mckinsey institute research of digital marketing skill sets needed for digital marketing efforts

Source

As you can see from this research, digital marketing is both important and growing in scope. This means you should not only grow your own skills, but you should hire employees with a diverse group of abilities.

More resources to consider for digital marketing efforts

Skills are important, but digital marketing goes beyond knowledge: Resources are also vital to your digital marketing efforts.

Read on to learn about aspects you can add to your future campaigns.

1. Artificial intelligence. AI can be used in an unlimited number of ways to power customer segmentation, push notifications, retargeting, click tracking, etc., depending on your chosen goals and channels.

 How retail businesses are using AI and IoT

Source: Business Insider

2. Chatbots. Companies can have basic conversations with customers through chatbots at any time and get referred to a customer care representative when necessary.

3. User-generated content, like customer reviews, are not only convincing to other users, but they also cost the business almost nothing.

What marketers believe about User Generated content

Source: Social Media Today

4. AdWords spending has been on the rise since 2016 and continues to grow today. With the right strategy, businesses have managed to optimize and increase their ROI on paid advertising.

5. Omnichannel marketing. It provides a consistent and seamless communication process for customers across all channels. It’s an upgrade from multichannel marketing.

6. Accelerated mobile pages (AMP) and progressive web apps (PWA). These technologies provide faster loading time, better web experiences, and lower app development costs.

7. Email and marketing automation eliminates time-wastage, minimizes error, is cost-efficient, and increases collaboration between sales and marketing.

8. Voice search is increasingly being used as the technology improves and becomes more available to consumers through several gadgets including mobile devices.

Discover the results of our voice tech survey.

9. Video. Audiences are spending more time watching videos. Advertisers and marketers have noticed this and are building marketing campaigns to reach these audiences.

The increased use of video marketing

Source: Top Rank Marketing

10. Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) are both used by marketers in different ways to give audiences immersive experiences that’ll help them connect and engage with products and services.

10 ways businesses can achieve success in their digital marketing efforts

By combining the channels and tactics mentioned above, while keeping in mind recent trends and technologies that make it easier to connect, businesses can achieve success in their digital marketing in the following ways.

1. Be flexible and open to change.

Embracing the fast-paced changes in the digital marketing world and tweaking the new tools, strategies, and tactics accordingly, is a must for businesses to succeed and thrive in today’s world.

2. Set SMART objectives.

Setting Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound objectives that are consistent with your digital marketing plan is critically important. For example, a conversion objective can be to increase the average value of orders in online sales from $30 to $40.

3. Execute perfectly.

Once you create an objective plan for achieving your SMART objectives, you need to execute the plan on schedule. Executing perfectly will allow you to collect data and make changes to your plan to fit customer feedback. These changes also need to be executed quickly.

4. Exercise creativity throughout the process.

Right from the planning stage, be innovative and creative in using the content, as well as different integrated channels (omnichannel marketing) to reach your audience and target customers.

Content can include images, infographics, video, modernized websites, elegant designs, etc. Integrated channels can consist of mobile, social, web, phone, and physical stores.

Using integrated channels for digital marketing

Source: Multichannel Merchant

5. Target audience with market segmentation.

Understanding your target audience and reaching out to them wherever they may be is crucial for digital marketing success. Marketing segmentation is useful in helping marketers do this by studying audience behavior/characteristics and grouping similar traits, so that audience needs can be prioritized accordingly. Using AI and automation can help marketers achieve even higher levels of granularity and accuracy in an efficient way.

6. Diversify your channels, tactics, and strategies.

By understanding that no single digital marketing strategy is perfect, you become open to the idea that experimenting with different channels, tactics, and strategies is a critical part of achieving success.

One benefit of this mentality is that you’ll come across different audiences and customers that you didn’t know existed. These new audiences and customers can help you find new revenue streams.

7. Integrate your sales and marketing.

Integrating sales and marketing allows businesses to maximize every aspect of digital marketing because these teams will be working with a focused purpose as opposed to working against each other (knowingly or unknowingly).

Areas of maximization include the use of data, tools, seamless customer hand-over to different teams, etc.

Integrated digital marketing process flow

Source: Digital Deepak

8. Collect, measure, track, and analyze data.

Today, data is crucial not just to provide your customers with a level of service that they expect, but also to keep up with the competition. As such, collecting, measuring, tracking, and analyzing data in real time to get insights is simply a must for businesses to succeed in their digital marketing efforts.

9. Always stay connected to your audience.

Customers today want to communicate and know what’s happening with their chosen vendors at all times. Businesses must, therefore, create an always-connected environment to nourish this desire by not only providing up-to-date content, but also by availing tools (e.g., chatbots) that make it easier to receive and send the content.

10. Collect feedback and respond to it accordingly.

Use surveys, polls and comment forms to collect feedback from audiences and customers.

Once you get customer input, use it to inform which strategies are working and which ones aren’t, and then adjust accordingly. The constant improvement will lead you to digital marketing success.

Watch the quick video below to learn how you can get feedback from your customers.

 

Wrap up

There’s no one-size-fits-all solution for success in digital marketing. However, by incorporating different facets of digital marketing as mentioned above, you can achieve success in digital marketing.

Take a digital marketing course or two, read all the content you can, and most importantly, start testing campaigns.

Sreeja Burgula works as an SEO Specialist at Simplilearn Solutions. He has a keen interest in writing research-driven articles on IT Service and Architecture. He’s an expert in TOGAF and ITIL, bringing his SEO knowledge to keyword-focused technical articles.

The post Top 10 Ways to Make Your Digital Marketing Efforts Successful appeared first on Campaign Monitor.

5 Ways to Increase Conversion Rate From Email to Landing Page

As a savvy digital marketer, you likely spend hours planning how you can increase your lead generation strategy. More social posts? A new email journey? You may even be over-spending your budget on PPC ads hoping for a conversion.

The main goal of any marketing campaign is to drive action. After a lead clicks your CTA, are they taken to your company’s “contact us” form or a dedicated landing page?

If you haven’t considered creating landing pages for your email campaigns, you’re missing out on a huge lead generating opportunity. Landing pages are a critical element for a successful inbound marketing strategy and have an average conversion rate of 2.35%, with certain industries reaching over 10%.

Ready to boost your bottom line and earn new customers? Read on to discover how you can increase the conversion rate from email to landing pages.

Why are emails and landing pages a winning combination?

While captivating content and dynamic imagery are essential to increase email open and click-through rates, you need a final hook for your subscribers to convert into customers. Without a landing page, your email marketing campaigns won’t be as successful, and you run the risk of losing a new customer.

Why? Landing pages complement your emails by providing a final destination and message for your readers to learn more. Your landing page showcases additional features of your offering and provides a CTA for the user to move further into your customer journey.

Not only are landing pages effective for your current subscriber list, but they also help earn new subscribers. You can use the landing page across multiple digital channels to help build your email audience and generate new leads.

Tips to increase conversion rate from email to landing page

Simply adding a landing page to your email marketing campaign won’t be enough to improve your conversion rate or earn new leads. For a higher success rate, consider some of these methods.

1. Understand your audience’s needs.

While this may be self-explanatory, it’s easy to rush your landing page and end up with a haphazard strategy. Instead of jumping in, you need first to ask yourself a few questions:

  • Who’s going to be clicking from your email to the landing page?
  • Who’s your ideal customer?
  • What’ll they feel when looking at the page?
  • What’ll drive them to fill out a form?

Once you have these questions answered, you need to focus your entire campaign around the responses. Customers demand personalization and want to feel a connection with the brands they communicate with. By creating landing pages targeted towards specific buyer personas, you’re more likely to appeal to your audience’s needs and earn a conversion.

For example, if you’re targeting a younger generation, try including a video on your landing page. Short-form videos are highly digestible content and a fun way to display your value, while quickly capturing your lead’s attention. Videos on landing pages increase conversions by 86%.

2. Highlight the value proposition and deliver.

In both your email and landing page copy, you need to showcase your value proposition.

While it’s easy to get into a groove of duplicating landing pages with a new offer, it’s essential to dig deeper and explore why your audience would believe your offer is worth their information.

Your email teases the value, and the landing page needs to act as the gateway. Providing anything from a checklist, free trial, or ebook, the landing page isn’t just click-bait—it’s a solution to your subscriber’s problem.

Additionally, don’t beat around the bush about why people should care about you. Once you’ve hooked a subscriber from your email to landing page, immediately describe how your product or service will benefit their lives.

Airbnb uses a landing page to help users make more money.

Source: Airbnb

3. Create captivating headlines that elicit emotion.

Emails and landing pages have one major thing in common: the need to create successful headlines. In fact, 90% of users who read the headline are more likely to read the CTA copy as well. Your headlines are the first impression that the subscriber has of your brand, and thus needs to be attention-grabbing and quickly sum up your value proposition.

When developing your headlines, make sure the message remains consistent between the email and landing page copy, so your audience isn’t confused by the transition. You’ll also want to trigger an emotion—anger, exclusivity, achievement, etc.—because the majority of people tend to make their decisions based on their emotions, rather than data.

Teambit plays on emotions for landing page

Source: Teambit

4. Keep the form short and sweet.

How many times have you been turned off by a long or confusing form? Think of it this way: If a user feels like they’re giving up more information than the value they’re receiving, they won’t convert.

While many forms have between five and 11 fields, the optimal number is three. Consider what information you need to build an engaging retargeting email campaign afterward:

  • First name: need
  • Email address: need
  • Last name: want
  • Phone: want
  • Occupation: want
  • Location: want
  • Interests: want

The great thing about aligning a landing page with your email is that you may already have the “want” information captured, so you can always go back and connect the dots.

Trulia uses single form field on landing page

Source: Trulia

5. Add trust signals.

If you’re looking to build credibility with your subscribers, consider adding testimonials from satisfied customers.

People trust people. Using trust signals within your email and landing pages shows the lead that you’re reliable to reassure their decision to convert. Considering that 88% of people will read reviews before submitting information, testimonials are a great way to build social proof.

Your trust signal doesn’t have to come from reviews. You can also utilize powerful statistics or numbers to showcase how your products are being used. Numbers help establish your authority in the industry and create a bandwagon effect.

 TransferWise shows strength in numbers with landing page copy

Source: TransferWise

Create an email and landing page campaign in four steps.

Feeling inspired by the tips to increase conversion rates from email to landing page? It’s time to put practice into action and develop your lead generation strategy. Before you start, take a look at this step-by-step guide to creating an effective email and landing page campaign:

Step one: Develop a matching message.

As part of a customer journey, the email and landing page need to have similar messaging. Determine a consistent tone, value proposition, and purpose.

Think of the email as the teaser content, while the landing page expands more on the benefits you’re offering. For example, if your email teases out free returns, the headline on the landing page should reflect that offer.

Step two: Design a cohesive look.

Similar to messaging, the email and landing page need to have a cohesive design, so it’s clear the two platforms are aligned. The streamlined approach makes it easier for the subscriber to feel connected to your brand and follow through with the conversion.

Keep in mind that you don’t need to overdesign your elements to be successful. In fact, it’s recommended to ditch common web elements, such as a navigation bar on your landing page, to eliminate extra distractions. For your design, use similar:

  • Theme for stock photos
  • Color palette
  • Fonts

Step three: Focus on one CTA.

Your CTA is one of the most critical elements of your email and landing page design. After all, without one, you’re unable to capture any leads. While it may be tempting to include a CTA about your initial offer and your newest blog, focus your attention on a primary call to action. If a user has too many options to click, they’ll become distracted and will most likely not take action at all.

When designing your CTA, consider the following elements:

  • Size: A larger button will quickly draw the subscriber’s eye when compared to inline, linked text.
  • Color: The color should be different than the background and copy to create contrast.
  • Whitespace: There should be enough space between the body copy and button so it’s free of distraction.

Step four: Test and monitor.

Testing is a crucial aspect of understanding your campaign’s performance and discovering where you need to improve. It’s recommended to A/B test your email and landing pages to see what resonates with your audience more.

You can test the CTA, headline, imagery, and more by sending two audience segments different versions of your email or landing page. For example, If you see a higher click-through rate on a particular subject line but a decreased conversion rate, you can analyze why your CTA isn’t hooking the subscriber.

Wrap up

With a compelling email and landing page campaign, you’re more likely to engage your subscribers and boost your bottom line. While these two elements go hand in hand, you need to pay attention to each channel’s performance to understand how the campaign is performing overall.

If you’re looking to increase conversion rates from email to landing page, consider the following:

  • Set goals and understand your audience’s motivators.
  • Make sure your offer is valuable to your subscribers.
  • Write compelling copy and design that’s consistent across both platforms.
  • Don’t distract your subscribers with a lengthy form.
  • Add testimonials and trust signals to boost social proof.

Ready to send better email campaigns that convert? Start your free trial of Campaign Monitor today.

The post 5 Ways to Increase Conversion Rate From Email to Landing Page appeared first on Campaign Monitor.

5 Interesting Ways To Monitor How Your Business Is Performing

This is a guest post from Kayleigh Alexandra at Microstartups.

If you want to get simplistic about the success of your business, you can say all business survival comes down to two metrics: profitability and cash flow.

If you’re making more money than you’re spending, you’re probably in a good position, but anyone who’s run a business knows things are far more complicated than that.

Not only do you need to understand the many factors that contribute to those metrics, but you also need to know various other things that reflect the health of the business: everything from the number of qualified leads in the pipeline to the rate of employee churn. Just because an issue has yet to impact your bottom line doesn’t mean that addressing it isn’t a matter of some urgency.

Naturally, you can’t do anything about these health indicators if you aren’t aware of them, so implementing wide-ranging monitoring methods is mission-critical. There are a number of ways to gauge performance, obviously, many of which you’ll already be familiar with. Still, there could be some you’re missing.

Read on to discover five such tactics for monitoring the performance of your business. You may wish to implement some or all of them, or simply take them as points of inspiration for brainstorming your own methods.

Automate post-purchase email surveys.

Getting feedback from customers is vitally important, yet it’s something that many businesses overlook.

Some prefer to avoid negative comments altogether, deciding they’re not representative of how customers really feel.

Others simply don’t want to do anything with it, assuming they know better and disgruntled customers should just go elsewhere.

Smarter business owners understand that they need all the customer feedback they can get. It’s essential for achieving improvements, cutting costly churn, and inspiring the kind of loyalty that drives long-term customers to spend more and generate lucrative referrals. But what’s the best way to gather valuable customer feedback?

It pays to be proactive, and one of the most reliably effective ways to gather feedback is through automated, timely email surveys (learn more about email automation here).

For instance, you can have a survey email triggered 24 hours after the completion of an order because one sent immediately after may be confused as an order confirmation.

You can then send a more detailed survey after a week after the product has been delivered, allowing enough time for the buyer to have formed an opinion on the quality of the product, but not letting so much time pass that they’ve started to forget about their first impressions. Since you want to hold on to new customers, you need to take the comments seriously.

Glean insight through live chat.

If you go into a brick-and-mortar store, you’ll likely see employees asking shoppers how they can help them and improve their experience. An online store should do the same thing.

This includes surveys and a quality support team who handles support tickets.

You may also consider using a live chat feature to help visitors. It makes it easy to maintain 24/7 chat representation, scales perfectly under heavy demand (given adequate processing power), and can markedly reduce phone calls and wait times.

Still, whenever you can add a personalized touch—such as a number to call or even a friendly note inside a replacement order—you should.

Regularly consult your employees.

Whether you have 100 employees or just one, your employees are of paramount importance to the performance of your business. Most companies understand this and track employee activity very carefully. They find ways to gauge productivity and incentivize excellence, often to good effect.

That said, while those things are important, metrics aren’t everything. Consider having more conversations with your employees. Assuming you have a team, there are inevitably plenty of things happening in the business of which you’re not fully aware—wouldn’t it be useful to learn about them?

And, if there’s a disparity between how your operation is going and how you think it’s going, that’s obviously significant information.

You can try surveys for this, particularly if you have a large team, but it’s better for morale and internal communications that you find the time to speak to people directly (ideally in-person). There’s no reason why you can’t be simultaneously friendly and professional. Ask about anything and everything, and think carefully about all responses, even those that seem questionably relevant—it’s possible for one trivial issue to have broad repercussions.

If you learn about that kind of issue while it’s in its infancy, you can nip it in the bud and prevent it from ever becoming a serious performance-affecting issue. Preventative measures are always better than reactive decisions, and a short monthly catch-up with each employee could make all the difference in keeping your operation running smoothly.

Pay close attention to your lead sources.

All businesses should think seriously about is diversifying their lead generation. Just as it’s dangerous to be overly reliant on one large client, it’s risky to have the bulk of your leads—or all of them—coming from one source.

This is particularly true for digital marketing, because platforms rise and fall a lot more quickly than we like to imagine. It might feel as though Facebook has been dominant forever, but it really hasn’t been, and other popular services (like Snapchat) came around even later.

How long can a business endure? Some companies have been around for hundreds of years, and they manage that longevity by adapting to changes.

Let’s say you get your leads through Facebook Ads, for instance. It’s a great advertising channel at the moment, with industry-leading targeting options and a massive range of prospective recipients.

But what will happen if Facebook runs into problems tomorrow? As we saw from the Cambridge Analytica scandal, even Facebook isn’t impervious to problems.

Due to this, it’s fair to say that your business would be performing better if it were bringing in leads from more platforms, because that’d make it enormously more resilient and would give it more room for growth. Delve into your analytics to figure out where your business is coming from, and see how you can expand that funnel as widely as possible.

Use your industry for context.

Talk of metrics and KPIs tends to push businesses to be very insular, perhaps looking only at their own performance figures from past weeks, months, and years. Small percentage changes can easily captivate managers and investors alike. Are visitors down 5% from last week? Something’s gone awry. Email queries up 15% from last quarter? The email team is doing well.

There’s a massive problem with this, and it’s the lack of context. The question of why visitors are down 5% from last week is incredibly important. It could be due to some ill-advised social media posts damaging the brand’s reputation, yes, or it could simply be due to a nationwide dip in interest stemming from something else getting more attention. If it’s the former, you need damage control. If it’s the latter, you don’t need to do anything. Some dips are totally normal.

While you can’t access competitor analytics, so you can’t compare directly in every regard, you can do things like monitor social media mentions for your main rivals to see how they’re doing. You might see that their mentions dip when yours do, meaning the issue is something unrelated to your specific company.

And, if you find that certain competitors are thriving in notable areas while you’re struggling, that gives you a strong idea of how to improve. Look at what they’re doing and relate it to your efforts. Are they using different tactics or just executing better? The more clearly you see your relative deficiencies, the more precisely and swiftly you can address them.

Understanding how your business is performing relative to your expectations and your competitors is the key to achieving consistent improvement. Without that kind of context on your side, you’ll be left in the dark with no road ahead, so try implementing the five tactics we’ve looked at here to see how far they can take you.

Kayleigh Alexandra is a writer for Micro Startups, your online destination for everything startup. She’s passionate about hard-working solopreneurs and SMEs making waves in the business world. Visit the blog for your latest dose of startup and charity insights from top experts around the globe @getmicrostarted.

The post 5 Interesting Ways To Monitor How Your Business Is Performing appeared first on Campaign Monitor.

How Email Testing and Rendering Works and Why It’s Important

Have you ever designed the perfect email on your desktop, only to open it an hour later on your iPhone and realize the formatting completely changed? Your heart drops, and you already received a text from your boss. What went wrong?

Great user experience starts before you even click “send” on your email campaign.

Although you need to include personalization and dynamic design, that means nothing if your subscribers on Outlook, Gmail, and Yahoo can’t read it. How can you make sure you send out a flawless email?

As an email marketer, you need to make sure every email campaign is tested and rendered for any issues. Think of it this way: Email rendering changes for the individual subscriber. What device are they using? What email client? What size screen? All of these affect how your email looks and is delivered.

It’s recommended that every email marketer creates a testing plan to not only retain your subscribers, but also increase your return on investment (ROI). If you’re still confused about email testing and rendering and why it’s essential, let’s break down the basics to get you started.

What is email testing?

Email testing allows you to view your email before sending it out to your subscriber list to verify links, design, spelling errors, and more. Many platforms like Campaign Monitor offer a way to preview the email in a web app or send a test email to yourself (see how Campaign Monitor helps you do that here).

Testing your emails will help you fix:

  • Broken email designs
  • Incorrect or untracked links
  • Incorrect subject line, “From” name, and preview text
  • Spelling and grammar errors
  • Broken images or missing alt text
  • Irregular font or content display

However, it’s important to note that, just because the test email looks great to you, it could still appear differently based on the subscriber’s viewing preference. This is where rendering comes into play to ensure that each email is correctly formatted for the individual subscriber.

Why is email testing important?

A silly mistake like a misaligned image block on a mobile device or sending your subscriber to the wrong landing page could have a disastrous impact on your ROI.

While it may seem small, email errors could cause your subscribers to view your company as no longer credible. With customers losing trust in your brand, your open rates, click-through rates, and ROI are likely to see a decline.

For example, say you have a targeted email list of 50,000 subscribers that you plan on promoting your newest product to, and estimate that this campaign will bring in $10,000 of new sales. With over 50% of subscribers opening emails on a mobile device, that means over half of your audience is viewing an email that may not be designed correctly. Most likely, those subscribers are left wondering what to do in the email, or why they should purchase from you. Overall, the email mistake could cost you $5,000 out of your predicted $10,000.

With the potential to lose out on valuable ROI, you must implement an email testing strategy that helps you curve any errors and fix it before sending it out to your audience.

What is email rendering?

Did you know that every email has 15,000 different rendering previews? While email testing is crucial, email rendering verifies that your email will be displayed optimally for the variety of web clients, email clients, and devices that your subscribers may use. Five major factors will determine how an email renders:

  • Operating system: Windows, Linux, and Apple all have different policies and structure
  • Email service provider (ESP): Many email platforms display their own templates differently, and operate mobile stacking or font adjustments based on their settings, so elements may appear differently across every ESP.
  • Screen size: With hundreds of different screen sizes available, the email needs to fit smartphones, desktops, laptops, and tablet sizes.
  • App and web-based email clients: Inbox providers like Gmail, Outlook, and Yahoo all display HTML differently and may disable certain features.
  • Images enabled or blocked: Email clients sometimes block images, so your email must be understandable without the intended imagery.

For example, check out the differences between the iPhone and Outlook view for this Just Eat delivery email. This email was properly rendered to match both email client and screen size, so the user can capture their delivery information quickly.

Outlook View of Just Eat Delivery Email

Source: Really Good Emails

iPhone 8 View of Just Eat Delivery Email

Source: Really Good Emails

Why is email rendering important?

Email rendering is important because it creates a seamless user experience for the subscriber, no matter how they view your email. Especially important for HTML emails, it also helps ensure that your initial design and message is how you expected it to be. Consider the following additional reasons why email rendering is crucial:

  • Operating systems and browsers continuously change, sometimes without an announcement.
  • Email service providers often make changes that affect your email’s code, such as stripping JavaScript or <embed> codes.
  • Email design trends constantly need to be refreshed to appeal to various audiences.

Rendering and testing go hand-and-hand when it comes to your ROI. If the email appears off to someone who uses Gmail or opens it on a tablet, you’re potentially missing out on converting your subscribers into customers.

As technology and email constantly evolve to fit user preferences, email marketers must ensure their communications are held to the same standards to produce results.

How to test and render emails to improve your ROI

Now that you understand the importance of testing and rendering your emails, it’s time to dive into how exactly you can execute your new strategy. While testing may take more time, it’s the only way to ensure your email is free of errors and renders correctly on every device. The extra effort far exceeds the reward of meeting your bottom line and earning repeat customers.

Testing your emails

Testing is a vital step in the email marketing process to verify that your message reaches subscribers in its intended manner. How can you test your emails? Depending on your current platform or expertise, there are a few different ways you can go about this.

Send through an ESP.

Most ESPs, like Campaign Monitor, make email testing a simple part of the campaign process. Once you edit a template or upload HTML, you’ll see an option to send a test campaign to one or multiple email addresses. ESPs like Campaign Monitor also offer a preview to show you what it appears like on different devices.

screenshot of campaign monitor's design and spam test

Send through a testing service.

Different tools, like PutsMail, allows you to input your HTML and send it to your email address. A quick option, you’re able to bypass the ESP and test different versions of your email design.

Send to real devices.

If you’re unsure about using a digital platform, you can easily preview the design in a phone, tablet, or laptop to see how the design looks.

Campaign Monitor Testing Email Platform

Once you understand your testing capabilities through your ESP or preferred platform, you must put it into practice every time you send out an email campaign. This will not only become an important habit for you, but it’ll also create a memorable user experience for your subscribers.

Rendering your emails

Unfortunately, there’s no one-size-fits-all guide when it comes to email standards and online platforms because each email client has its own set of policies and priorities. However, there are a few best practices you can follow to ensure your HTML will be viewed correctly.

  • Email size: Emails need to be sized around 600px wide (more sizing info here) and under 102kb size to load quickly and get delivered better.
  • Background images: Always include a fallback background color behind your original image in case the image doesn’t render.
  • Fonts: Set fallback fonts and CSS to accommodate Outlook. Otherwise, your content will appear in Times New Roman. It’s best to avoid custom fonts and utilize something universal like Arial or Helvetica.
  • Buttons: Different email clients display links with a blue/purple underline or block the button image altogether. Utilize a bulletproof button that includes a small snippet of in-line CSS and HTML.

The best way to ensure you execute these best practices is, of course, through testing. You can test your email rendering by previewing the email throughout the entire design process, sending test emails to visualize the design in different devices, or using your ESP’s professional testing tool.

Wrap up

As an email marketer, it’s your responsibility to ensure each email you send out elevates your brand and promotes sales. Whether you’re promoting a new feature or sending out a welcome series, each email is a representation of your company that needs to hook your subscribers and convert them into long-term customers.

It all starts with your testing and rendering process. With both emails created in templates or HTML, you need to test each email before it’s sent to check for:

  • Inconsistent design in different email clients
  • Broken or untracked links
  • Incorrect design formatting
  • Spelling or grammar errors
  • Font or color irregularities
  • Disabled images or buttons

If you’re ready to set your next email campaign up for success, Campaign Monitor offers testing and proper rendering for each email. Try it for free today.

The post How Email Testing and Rendering Works and Why It’s Important appeared first on Campaign Monitor.

The Best AWeber Alternatives for 2020

In terms of email service providers, the ESP landscape has never been as crowded (or complicated) as it is today.

There are hundreds of choices for organizations of every size, and, for many, the process of choosing the right email platform is nothing short of daunting. This is especially true for small and medium-sized businesses that are trying to make the most of their marketing budget.

While AWeber is a favorite for many brands, the company has recently seen some issues concerning billing and account closures. There have even been several complaints against AWeber on the Better Business Bureau, which has resulted in email marketers searching for AWeber alternatives.

Let’s take a look at what AWeber has to offer, and then explore some of the email platforms that can provide suitable alternatives.

What is AWeber?

AWeber is an email marketing platform that offers marketing teams powerful yet simplified features to make email marketing simple for brands of all sizes. The software company was first established in 1998 by CEO Tom Kulzer and, since its initial beginnings, has grown into one of the most well-known email marketing tools available.

AWeber Homepage

The brand prides itself on being able to create a “remarkable experience” for clients, all while continuing to grow and provide them with the best that email marketing has to offer.

What does AWeber offer email marketers?

AWeber currently offers customers a variety of plan options, along with a free trial, so new customers can get a taste of all that the brand has to offer. When it comes to available features, the brand has plenty available to help you create stunning emails and maintain a healthy email subscriber list.

Current AWeber features include:

  • Subscriber management/segmentation
  • Email tracking
  • Mobile apps
  • A variety of different tool integrations
  • Signup forms
  • Autoresponders
  • Email split testing
  • Email automation
  • Drag-and-drop email editor
  • HTML templates for customization
  • A team hub

What do customers have to say about AWeber?

While there have been several complaints made to the Better Business Bureau regarding “deceitful pricing,” and accounts being shut down for “unexplained” reasoning, there are hundreds of other customer reviews that rate this tool very highly.
The problem with this is that it can lead to potential new clients being thrown off by the severity of the complaints made, especially since most of them were made in the last half of 2019. With 82% of consumers stating that they’re put off by negative reviews, it’s no surprise that there’s a recent spike in those interested in AWeber alternatives.

AWeber alternatives for marketers

While there’s no perfect email marketing software available that’s 100% guaranteed to solve every email need you have, there are many AWeber alternatives that can provide marketers with an excellent customer experience, while providing plenty of available features to help create stunning campaigns.

1. Campaign Monitor

campaign monitor home page

Campaign Monitor is an internationally known and trusted email provider, with well over a decade of experience in email marketing. Not only known for providing outstanding customer service (currently boasting a 99% customer satisfaction rate), Campaign Monitor also has a rich array of features to cover every email need, from subscribing and designing all the way to personalizing and anlyzing.

Noteworthy features include:

Best of all? It’s free to get started, and our onboarding resources will get you set up and sending in no time.

2. Mailerlite

Mailerlite Homepage

Mailerlite is an email marketing software that prides itself on “keeping it Lite.” With a clean design and intuitive functionality, they make sure that everything they offer clients is easy to find and simple to use. With an available 14-day free trial, new perspectives have a chance to get their feet wet before making the decision to purchase a plan or not.

Some noteworthy Mailerlite features include:

  • Drag-and-drop editor and custom HTML editor allows you to choose between a premade template and your own design.
  • Subscriber management gathers new subscribers and segments your existing ones.
  • Email automation can send emails without your action.
  • A/B split testing allows you to test before you send.
  • Campaign reports monitor each campaign and determine just how successful it was.

3. Emma

Emma Homepage

Emma’s industry solutions were built to help your marketing teams overcome some of the more unique challenges that come with leading a franchise, university, restaurant, nonprofit, or agency. Their Emma HQ product helps dispersed organizations that oversee multiple locations stay organized and brand-approved through the use of an approvals dashboard, multi-account reporting, and shared template controls.

Noteworthy features of the Emma software include:

  • Marketing automation is the best way to reach your subscribers with the information that they’ll find most relevant. Emma converts your customer data, such as website visits and recent purchases, and helps you turn that information into highly targeted, trigger-based messages for each person on your list.
  • Email editor flexibility enables you to create beautiful emails that’ll wow your readers. The HTML template builder allows you to customize any campaign down to the last detail, or you can use the drag-and-drop editor to create stunning emails without all the coding know-how.
  • Integrations keep your brand up and running with services that you’re already comfortable with.
  • A/B testing helps you improve subject lines as well as email content.

4. CM Commerce

 CM Commerce Homepage

The CM Commerce email marketing platform is designed to help ecommerce brands foster a loyal relationship with their subscribers. This email marketing service focuses heavily on leveraging customer data from your Shopify, Woo Commerce, or BigCommerce store to automate incredibly relevant emails and deliver AI-powered recommendations. Not only does CM Commerce integrate hand-in-hand with these major ecommerce platforms, but it also helps you learn just how valuable the email customer journey is in running an ecommerce business.

Noteworthy features of the CM Commerce ecommerce email marketing platform include:

  • Premade email automations are key to making the sale. CM Commerce has a library of premade workflows like abandoned cart, reviews, and win-back campaigns (among many others) that only require a copy and brand update before they’re ready to send.
  • Review collection and automation: Use CM Commerce to request, collect, and automatically display product recommendations and reviews to give social proof at key points of conversion.
  • Coupon generation and tracking: Offering coupons has never been easier, as CM Commerce generates the code and tracks it from email all the way through purchase.
  • Detailed reporting shows how much revenue has been generated by email in recent time periods, and even breaks down revenue tied directly to specific campaigns.

Wrap up

With so many reputable email marketing services available to marketing teams, we understand that the processes of choosing the right one can be tough. If you’re currently looking into an AWeber alternative, here are a few email marketing software must-haves you should be looking for:

  • Customizable templates, both HTML and responsive
  • Simple-to-use email builder
  • Marketing automation capabilities
  • Mobile-ready
  • Reasonable send limits
  • Email split testing
  • Flexible pricing
  • A variety of integrations and plugins
  • Rich analytics and insights
  • Outstanding customer support

Find success with Campaign Monitor.

Started by email marketers for email marketers, Campaign Monitor lives and breathes email. And we won’t leave you behind in a quest to grow our own business.

It’s free to create an account and import your list, so you can test out the features and capabilities before you start paying. You’ll be surprised at how easy it is to choose a mobile-ready template and customize it in the drag-and-drop email builder, and you’ll be surprised at the time you’ll save creating an automated series in the visual journey designer.

So try it out for free, and see how efficient and powerful your email marketing can become.

The post The Best AWeber Alternatives for 2020 appeared first on Campaign Monitor.

14 Ways to Improve Your Email Copy and Increase Conversions

This is a guest post from Megan Wright at ChamberofCommerce.com.

Email marketing is a strategy that can yield an ROI of as high as $38 for every $1 spent and, thanks to the many tools available today, you can deliver an outstanding customer experience to boost conversion at a low cost.

However, our inboxes are overcrowded. As more brands are tapping into the power of email marketing, it’s not always easy to cut through the clutter and get people to open your emails or take action.

Cut through the clutter by learning to improve your email copy.

The key to email marketing success is to write high-converting copy that focuses on nurturing relationships with your audience, which can increase conversion.

Read on to learn how you can instantly improve your email copy.

1. Set your objectives.

Whether it’s making a sale or reading an article on your website, each email should focus on a single goal. Identify your objective and then decide on the one action you want readers to take.

Then, build the subject line and content around that goal to create a coherent narrative that’ll naturally lead to the CTA. Focusing on one objective also allows you to track metrics effectively, so you can increase the effectiveness of your email copy.

2. Define your audience.

Consumers expect useful and valuable information from brands. They’re much more likely to open and engage with your emails if the content is relevant to them. To understand your audiences’ challenges and desired outcomes, start by creating a series of buyer personas that document their demographic and psychographic information.

Interview your best customers to gather in-depth insights and use social listening tools to learn about the general sentiment. Pay attention to how your audience talks about their pain points and what they want to achieve, so you can adapt their language to write copy that resonates.

3. Segment your email list.

Did you know that marketers experience a 760% increase in revenue by segmenting email campaigns?

Based on buyer personas and customer data (e.g., purchase history, geographic location, preferences, how they interact with previous emails, etc.), you can implement a segmentation strategy to send the most relevant content and offers to each audience group.

Get the segmentation guide.

4. Send personalized content.

After you’ve set up audience segments, you can send personalized emails with targeted content to meet consumers’ expectations and increase your ROI.

For example, personalized email subject lines are found to generate an average of 50% higher open rates.

Improve your email copy by making the content personalized. This Chatbooks email example shows a personalized image of a baby.

Also, incorporate email into your omnichannel marketing strategy by integrating your email platform with a centralized customer database. You can send the most relevant content and offers based on not only audience segments, but also the recipients’ interactions with your brand on other channels.

5. Write a killer subject line.

You can improve your email copy, but your copy won’t achieve anything if you can’t get recipients to open your emails! Given that 33% of recipients decide whether to open an email based on the subject line alone, you can’t afford to ignore this key component.

Find out what’ll entice your audience to open an email. Incorporate urgency, curiosity, mention of special offers, personalized content, relevance, and timeliness into your subject lines and track the open rates to see what makes your subscribers tick.

And if all else fails, consider implementing subject line formulas.

6. Optimize the preheader text.

The preheader text gives you an additional opportunity to tell recipients about the content of your email by expanding on the subject line, so they’re more likely to open your email.

This image shows preheader text, the text that comes after subject lines in an inbox. Optimizing this is a great way to improve your email copy.

Source: Campaign Monitor

Preview text is limited to 35 to 140 characters, depending on the email client and the device used to view the email.

To prevent key information from being truncated, put the most important content first and send out test emails to make sure the copy shows up properly on multiple platforms.

Learn preheader text best practices by watching the short video below.

 

7. Improve legibility.

You can’t get readers to take action if they don’t read through your email, so make sure the content is easy to read and digest.

Write in simple sentences and use short paragraphs. Structure the content logically, focus on one idea in each paragraph, and use white space to improve legibility. Use bullet points to enhance clarity and add images to increase engagement.

8. Use storytelling techniques.

Storytelling is an effective way to build intrigue and get recipients to read your emails. Stories not only entertain your readers, but they also trigger emotions and change brain chemistry.

You can use various storytelling techniques to create email copy that’ll spark the readers’ imagination, trigger emotional responses, and pique curiosity. Paint vivid pictures to engage your audience and build up the narrative to lead to the CTA.

9. Focus on the benefits.

If you want subscribers to read your emails, you need to do more than simply improve your email copy and diction. You also need convince them why it’s worth their while by showing “what’s in it for them” from the get-go.

Communicate how they can benefit from reading the email. For example, learning to overcome a challenge, getting the latest information on a topic they care about, or finding out how to take advantage of a special offer.

Easily optimize your CTAs.

10. Write conversationally.

To nurture relationships with your audience, write conversationally to make them feel like they’re talking to a friend. Don’t be boring and use humor, if appropriate, to make your content more engaging.

Address the readers directly as if you’re speaking to them one on one, eliminating any formalities to help your copy flow. Read your final copy out loud to see how it sounds when spoken. If you encounter a sentence that doesn’t flow well, adjust it until it does.

11. Build emotional connections.

Build brand loyalty and increase conversion by fostering emotional connections with your customers. For example, use language that resonates with your audience.

You can also tell a story to invoke a feeling, leverage relatable analogies to communicate a concept, paint vivid pictures with words to illustrate an idea, or use power words to elicit emotions or actions.

12. Add an appealing CTA.

To increase conversion rates, you need to prompt readers to take action by including an effective CTA in your email copy. The CTA should be clear, ask the recipients to take one simple action, and start with an action word (i.e., a verb).

Writing CTAs are an easy way to improve your email copy, as they need to be short, sweet, and easy-to-understand.

It doesn’t mean you’re hard-selling in every single email. You can ask readers to read an article on your site, share the email, or take a survey. This will help “train” your subscribers, so they’re more likely to take action when you send out an offer.

13. Leverage consumer psychology.

Increase the effectiveness of your email copy by tapping into consumer psychology, such as the fear of missing out (FOMO). For example, you can communicate scarcity and/or urgency (e.g., limited time or quantity) in your email copy to encourage subscribers to take action.

People look for social proof when making purchasing decisions, and you can increase conversion rates by featuring testimonials in your emails. Also, different colors evoke different emotions, so experiment with the designs of your email template and CTA button to optimize results.

14. Test your campaigns.

To find out what works for your business and what makes your audience tick, you need to track the results of your campaigns. Based on the data, you can set up a hypothesis on changes you can make to improve your conversion rates.

Then, use A/B testing to see what works better and make incremental improvements to your email copy. This method can be used to fine-tune your headlines, copy, CTAs, and more to help you find out what works best for your market.

Learn how to A/B test now.

Wrap up

Last but not least, remember that consistency builds trust and trust leads to conversion. Make sure you align everything in each email and the entire campaigns to deliver a consistent customer experience.

However, with the many moving parts involved in email marketing, it’s not always easy to keep track of each campaign and drip sequence. Setting up a system to track all the content can help you orchestrate a customer experience that builds trust and drives conversion.

To make sure that nothing falls through the cracks, you can use a “bullet journal,” which helps you create an index of all the tasks involved in each campaign, while breaking down a complex plan into daily and monthly action items.

No matter how you orchestrate your email marketing strategy, keep in mind that delivering seamless customer experience is the key to building trust and relationships that’ll drive conversions. So, as you’re learning to improve your email copy, be sure to improve your strategy overall.


Megan Wright is the Chief Editor for ChamberofCommerce.com. Chamber specializes in helping small businesses grow their business on the web while facilitating the connectivity between local businesses and more than 7,000 Chambers of Commerce worldwide.

The post 14 Ways to Improve Your Email Copy and Increase Conversions appeared first on Campaign Monitor.

Social Distancing + Work: Remote Best Practices from a Sr. Art Director

This article is written by Becky Chastain, Senior Art Director at Campaign Monitor. The article is based on a graphic she originally published on Linkedin.

A month ago, I had my daily routine down to a science.

See, there’s a stereotype about creatives: that we’re all easygoing, take-life-as-it-comes types. But that’s not exactly true for me. Sure, I love to relax or be spontaneous, but I also need a schedule, and, for a long time, I had the same one.

My schedule pre-quarantine:

6:00 a.m. – Wake up

6:30 a.m. – Meet my dad at the gym (My dad and I are workout buddies.)

7:30 a.m. – Shower and grab a breakfast bar

8:30 a.m. – Arrive at work

8:30 a.m.– 5:00 p.m. – Put in a hard day’s work filled with:

  • Meetings
  • Brainstorming sessions
  • Design
  • Reviewing work and providing feedback
  • Socialization (AKA arguing over the best reggae music and discussing whether a female performer is an actor or an actress. You know, the important stuff.)

5:00 p.m. – Leave the office, relax with my family, and get ready to do it all over again the next day.

And then social distancing happened.

I feel like I should go ahead and say right now that I am pro social distancing. We should be doing everything we can to flatten the curve, protect our most vulnerable, and keep medical professionals from being more overwhelmed than they already are.

Still, social distancing sucks. And I say that as someone who feels very lucky—lucky to have a job, and even more so to have a job where I can work remotely from the safety of my home. I totally get how fortunate I am, and I don’t want to take that for granted.

But, even with that knowledge, social distancing has honestly been really difficult.

If I’m being real, I miss my team. I miss my family. I miss people. I’m an extreme extrovert who gets a charge from others and feels most inspired when I have people around me. My team and I try to create work that connects people; that’s our idea of a job well done—only there aren’t that many people around us now.

Okay, sorry, that got dark. I just mean I can’t walk up to someone and bounce an idea off them anymore. Now a “quick idea” involves connecting to Zoom or writing a novel in Slack, and that can definitely work—I’m not saying it can’t—but it takes some getting used to. When quarantine first started, I felt like I’d lost that freedom to connect.

Week one of quarantine

As you can probably guess, I struggled. (This article gets more positive. I promise.)

Quarantine week 1 schedule: non-existent

That first week, I didn’t have a morning routine, which meant my morning kind of bled into my workday. And my workday then bled into the end of my day. Nothing marked the beginning or end of my time to be “at work” and my time to be “at home.”

And this affected everyone in my household. My wife felt the effects of it; I felt the effects of it. Surprisingly, even our dogs seemed to struggle without their normal routine.

That’s when I decided week two would be different—mostly because it had to be, for the sake of my household and work life.

Week two of quarantine

I decided week two would not be a weird mix of home and work (more than it already had to be because, you know, social distancing). I realized that, without proper structure, my projects wouldn’t be their best, and I didn’t want my situation to affect the quality of my work. By Monday morning of week two, I had a new schedule.

Quarantine week 2 schedule:

6:30 a.m. – Wake up and do yoga with Kelly (my wife) and Adrianne
7:00 a.m. – Take the dogs for a long walk for better, calmer behavior
7:45 a.m. – Shower, put on real clothes, eat breakfast
8:30 a.m. – Start checking emails and get ready for the day
9:15 a.m. – Morning coffee with my team
10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. – Put in a hard day’s work and set a timer on my computer for that work to end.
5:30 p.m. – Relax with my family and get ready to do it all over again the next day.

Right away, I saw a major difference in my efficiency and morale. And this didn’t just impact Kelly and our dogs—it impacted my whole team.

See, working remotely highlighted a lot of things our team was doing really well—which was awesome. It felt good to know that, even with all the wild stuff happening, we could still continue to function and work hard. But it also showed us the aspects we needed to work on. Changing my personal schedule also impacted how I approached our team and, in effect, changed how we worked together moving forward.

Let’s go over some of the ways we approached remote work, starting with week two.

Remote work best practices for social distancing (and life, in general)

As a disclaimer, these are the remote best practices our personal team has found to be most helpful. I’m a big proponent of information-sharing, so I hope these methods can be useful to you and your team too.

1. Create a routine.

By now, you already know schedules are a big part of my efficiency, but creating a routine also encourages me to stay focused during working hours, allowing me to relax during downtime.

Working from home can blur the lines between relaxation and business, so a schedule that resembles a “normal” dayjob provides the ability to say, “Yes, I can do that right now,” or, “No, I’m off work.”

Of course, I understand that children, pets, and spouses can heavily impact your schedule and your work life. The purpose of the routine isn’t to make you feel guilty, but to help you create something that works for you, allowing you to focus and feel good about the work you’re doing. (Maybe this means your most productive hours are during naptime or early in the morning.) Whatever your schedule is, let it help you rather than hinder you.

2. Morning coffee.

Morning coffee is less about pouring a cup and more about sitting with my team on Zoom for a few minutes each morning. We have a chance to wake up, drink something warm, and discuss project updates, concerns, highlights, and, maybe most importantly, what’s going on in our respective lives.

These can be serious conversations (How’s your family doing? What’s the hardest part of isolation?), or they can be light (Listening to anything good right now? What’s the best movie you’ve seen lately?).

Morning coffee with your team, even while working remotely, is a great way to stay connected during social distancing.

Above, senior art director Rob Beckham keeps morning coffee light

 

If you have the opportunity to do this, I highly recommend it. Once a day or once a week can be a great time to connect with your team and communicate what your barriers are, what your successes have been, and how you’re doing.

3. Check your tech.

Technology is obviously a game changer for those of us working remotely, so awareness is crucial right now. If you’re not a tech person, you don’t have to suddenly be a pro, but checking your notifications may keep assignments from slipping through the cracks.

Collaborative tech has united our team members during quarantine—by this, I essentially mean anything that allows multiple people to view a project, comment, and provide feedback.

Tech I recommend for creative teams:

For site design and prototyping

For staging and feedback

For testing

What tech should you lose?

Only you know what’s working for your team and what isn’t. My advice? Keep a complete list of all the programs you’re paying for, regularly noting whether they’re helpful or not. When it’s time for the next monthly or yearly payment, you’ll know how best to spend your resources.

4. Communicate recognition.

Recognizing successful, hardworking team members is important, but how you communicate that recognition is equally valuable because different people prefer different forms of praise.

For instance, one person on your team may love public recognition through Slack or a department-wide email. For another person, though, this could be embarrassing, discouraging them from standing out. For that team member, a simple bit of praise in a meeting could be just as gratifying.

As a manager, it’s top priority to know what motivates and drives the individuals on a team. Pay attention to people’s personal interests, providing them with opportunities they want. For the right person, that’ll leave a lasting impression.

5. Encourage human connection.

I mentioned I’m an extrovert, so I look forward to meetings and morning coffee dates with my team. For a more introverted person, however, a less required social option might be best. That’s part of the reason we created our weekly #freaky-friday Zoom call.

#freaky-friday is a totally optional Zoom happy hour, where we log in, catch up, and play trivia. We also have an affiliated Slack channel where I post cocktail recipes.

When the office was open, I would occasionally make tasty concoctions for people in the office on Friday afternoons. I really miss this interaction, but the online version we created keeps that tradition alive. As with happy hour, of course, drinking is totally optional and not at all expected. Above all, we’re there to enjoy each other and keep that interaction alive.

When it comes to social distancing and work, try encourage team connection by hosting a remote happy hour.

Members of the Campaign Monitor team during a #freaky-friday happy hour

While a happy hour isn’t for everyone, you might do something similar, like a game of Zoom trivia or a table-top Skype session. This weekly meeting has been something many of us look forward to, and it’s interesting to see what we’re all doing as we live through this historic moment.

6. Stay grateful.

I know “staying grateful” could seem insensitive at a time like this, but, honestly, this experience has made me truly appreciative. This may sound cheesy, but my wife and I have been saying “Thank you” to everything we took for granted before (even inanimate objects, Marie Kondo-style). In a way, more things are sparking joy for us these days.

Personally, I’m really grateful for my health, my loved ones, my coworkers, even my yard. I actually thanked a box of wine recently, just because I didn’t know when I’d be able to go back to the store to buy another one.

And, even if thanking objects isn’t your thing, this attitude goes beyond the people (and things) in your personal life. I’ve tried to implement a grateful attitude in my work life as well.

Ways to broaden your work attitude:

  • Check on peers and coworkers who are heavily impacted and be aware of what’s going on in their city.
  • Spend time researching how different industries are affected. This may provide a more keen understanding of how the pandemic is creating a ripple and why certain people are being impacted more acutely than others.
  • Reach out to customers in order to understand what they’re going through and how you can help.

Wrap up

While I can’t pretend self-isolating is perfect now, or that I have all the answers, I can honestly say I’ve improved my work process for the better. But, like everybody else, I’m taking things one day at a time, and some days are better than others.

On behalf of all of us here at Campaign Monitor, we hope you’re staying safe and finding ways to manage during this strange time. And, if you have your own tips or best practices for social distancing, feel free to share them with us. We’d love to hear how you’re doing.


 

Becky Chastain has worked in digital marketing for nearly a decade, with extensive experience in data-based marketing and advertising. She currently leads the creative team at Campaign Monitor. You can learn more about her here.

The post Social Distancing + Work: Remote Best Practices from a Sr. Art Director appeared first on Campaign Monitor.

40+ Work From Home Tools, Resources, and Tips During COVID-19

Hundreds of thousands of digital marketers are finding themselves working from home for the first time in their careers. And, for many of us, it’s challenging to navigate. Between shouldering stress from the current COVID-19 crisis, handling pressure from shifting priorities, or facing an entirely new—and potentially not-so-focused—workspace, getting your job done may seem impossible.

And if it is impossible, hopefully your company has given you flexibility to take some mental health time. But if you’re trying to power through, it’s vital to have the right tools and resources to stay productive.

Here’s a list of work from home tools and resources we’ve gathered from marketers in our company, giving you a curated list of what we’ve seen to be effective.

Reach out to us on Twitter or Linkedin if you have any feedback on the list, and we wish you the best in maneuvering the coronavirus and WFH environments.

Tools for communicating

When you don’t see your teammates every day, communication is more important than ever. Video makes it possible, and, our teams have found, it’s also far more helpful than solely relying on messaging or emailing, as you can pick up a lot from demeanor and body language in a video.

So here are a few trustworthy platforms for communicating, whether it’s through a keyboard or a camera.

Zoom Everyone is looking to online video communication services during COVID-19, and Zoom seems to be consistently at the top. Zoom is also offering some features to K-12 educators for free during the pandemic.

Microsoft Teams If you’re already entrenched in the Microsoft ecosystem, Teams might be a good fit for your video conferencing and collaboration needs.

Google Hangouts Meet Another great video collaboration service for teams that use G Suite. And for small businesses or individuals that have Basic plans, Google is extending features from the Advanced Plan of Hangouts Meet to all users, allowing for larger meetings, live streaming, and recording.

Around This new video communication app has definitely piqued our attention. Leaning on AI and machine learning, the app automatically crops the frame to hone in on your face, even following you as you move. At the time of this post, you can request early access.

Slack A staple at thousands of businesses, Slack is an easy way to get started with (or to elevate) text chatting for your team. It’s free for small businesses and groups to try out the platform.

Tools for collaboration

Collaborating is one of the biggest challenges when teams that are used to working together in person are now working remotely. Here are a few tools to help make it seem like you’re brainstorming in the same room, or to make sure projects meet their deadlines.

Zoom whiteboard If your team is using Zoom, make sure to lean on its handy, built-in whiteboard tool for brainstorming and wireframing.

A Web Whiteboard Another whiteboard collaboration tool that has a few more features than Zoom, and requires no sign-in or cost.

Asana, Basecamp, Monday, ClickUp, or Trello With similar offerings and a variety of differentiating features, these four project and task management tools make for ideal collaboration across teams. Assign teammates, set dates, and keep track of goals and progress all in one app. Our tip: Assess whether your team has specific needs you require of a project management tool, and then make a decision based on the tool that looks easiest to you.

Tools for focus

Whether you have kids, dogs, neighbors, or your own thoughts pulling you away from focusing, here are some tools to keep your work on track.

Coffitivity For those of you just wishing you could work in your favorite coffee shop, here’s a background chatter generator.

Krisp Keeping your focus away from roommates or kids rummaging through the kitchen again is easier when you use a noise cancelling tool like Krisp.

I Miss The Office This free office noise generator is not only helpful, but its beautiful design will entice you to play around for a while, giving you a nice reprieve from less light-hearted tasks or news.

Tools for learning new skills

This is an unprecedented time in our world’s history, where orders to shelter in place mean many have more time on their hands than ever before. And instead of following a thread of documentaries related to Tiger King on Netflix, here are a few places you can learn a few skills to get a step ahead.

Class Central Free collegiate learning in massive online open courses.

Pluralsight An online video learning platform, focused on helping you develop and advance in tech skills needed for the jobs of tomorrow. And they’re offering free courses in April 2020. Take advantage of their 7,000+ tech courses all month with no watch limits or credit card required.

Free drawing classes from famous illustrators For the art enthusiast who hasn’t had time to hone their craft, join a free art lesson and see if you can enhance those creative chops.

Resources for working

Articles, guides, and editorials on working, cooperating, and managing remotely.

Remote Work Resource Collection Invision has always been at the forefront of remote collaboration and innovation for teams. This resource hub is no exception.

“4 Ways to Keep Your Remote Team Connected During Quarantine” Sydney Eddy, one of our in-house contributors at Campaign Monitor, outlining some ways our own teams are staying connected while out of office.

Digital Working: COVID-19 Notion, a project management software company, gives their manifesto on working while remote.

“Virtual Hangouts, Online Tutorials And Remote Raves: Ways To Stay Connected While Social Distancing” Holly O’Mahony at Culture Whisper on lighthearted ways to do things together.

Suddenly Remote Starter Kit This guide from Zapier is for all you tech-forward companies looking to streamline your work in the new remoto era.

How To Turn Yourself Into A Potato (And Other Things) For Zoom Meetings, Teams Calls And More Tricks for setting up camera filters to spice up your virtual meetings.

This Twitter thread on remote work from Helpscout’s VP of Design Linda Eliasen.

REMOTE: Office Not Required A book by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson at Basecamp.

Digital Body Language: The Art of Managing a Remote Team People Ops and remote-first thought leader Chelsea Rosenberg with quick and easy tips for remote management.

Remote Work for Design Teams An in-depth guide from Invision on working remotely for designers and design teams.

Resources for managing stress

This is easily one of the most stressful times our world has universally faced. Here are some tips on how to manage your stress while trying to get work done from home.

“4 Astronauts Reveal Their Secrets To Surviving Months Of Isolation With Other People” Dave Mosher at Business Insider giving insights from people trained in isolation.

Calm blog Access free meditations to reach for peace of mind during an extremely stressful time.

“How to Turn Conference Calls into Mini Workouts” YouBeauty helping you keep the blood flowing.

How to Make Working from Home with a Dog a Success Wisdom Panel talking up the benefits of working alongside a dog, while giving tips on how to stay focused on work when a dog might be competing for your attention.

Resources for people with kids

With COVID-19 causing schools to be closed and students and kids to be at home, those that are trying to work from home are also trying to find activities to keep their families active, occupied, and learning. Here are some helpful resources for supporting your children while working from home.

Scholastic Learn At Home Program An activity portal of free, daily courses for kids.

Mystery Science Free Science lessons for students in kindergarten through fifth grade.

Hippocampus.org 7,000 free, educational videos across 13 subject areas.

Mindfulness Resources for Teens Techniques for developing the skills to be present and aware every day.

15 Mindfulness and Relaxation Apps for Kids with Anxiety Technological solutions that support addressing and overcoming stress and anxiety from publisher Parenting Chaos.

Emotional ABCs An online service with social-emotional learning resources and programs.

GoNoodle Free movement and mindfulness videos created by child development experts.

30 Emotional Health Activities A month-long calendar of daily activities that’s free to download and use.

Online Museum Tours Free virtual trips viewing famous artworks and artifacts from around the globe.

Virtual Field Trips Free videos and live feeds of animal habitats, famous locations, and unique areas.

Free Art Lessons YouTube-based art classes starting.

LUNCH DOODLES with Mo Willems A free art activity from an education artist-in-residence provided by the Kennedy Center.

Other less-work-related resources

When you need to step away from work or a chance to take a breath.

Sirius XM (temporarily free) Sirius is offering their subscription for free until March 15.

Netflix Party A Chrome extension that allows you to watch Netflix while also video chatting with your friends and family.

Audible (temporarily free) One of the world’s largest suppliers of audiobooks is offering a huge selection of free audiobooks as long as the world is at home. The service started as a tool for distance learning, offering books for children and teens, but has since expanded for all audiences. Check out the audio version of classics, or listen to Harry Potter (arguably also a classic).

Goat 2 Meeting For a modest donation, Sweet Farm will video conference in a goat from their farm to your next Zoom meeting.

Anecdotal tips from the Campaign Monitor staff

We scoured our global staff message thread for tips that emerged while we started closing offices and moving to remote work. Here are some top picks:

  • Have a designated workspace. Ideally in a separate room of the house if possible. For me, I have my desk in my guest room, so that when I take breaks or am done for the day, I can physically leave the “office.”
  • Come up with and stick to a routine, especially in the morning to get you going. For me, I’ll read in the morning or do a yoga/meditation practice, and always make a nice warm breakfast with coffee.
  • Always take your lunch break. This is mandatory for me. I have to take my full lunch break to help break up my day. It’s also a time to nourish myself with a home cooked meal. This also means not eating lunch at your desk or near your designated workspace.
  • Take breaks often (10 min). Especially if you aren’t used to working from home or don’t like to sit/stay in the same place for a while. But, when you come back to work, eliminate any other distractions (i.e. snooze notifications for an hour), so that you can really give your full attention to the task at hand and get into a state of flow. To get to a flow state or be in the zone, you’ll need at least 10-15 minutes of focus with undivided attention.
  • Tackle the biggest thing you’re dreading the most, first thing in the morning. It will make you feel much more accomplished throughout your day and help you to tackle the smaller things toward the end of the day, when your energy level and focus naturally decline.
  • Have things to look forward to after your work day. This makes it a bit challenging with COVID-19, as I usually go to yoga classes after work or go out with friends. But, try to do something for yourself after work that you’ll look forward to. Maybe it’s continuing a good book, calling a friend or family member, doing an online yoga or workout class, making your favorite dinner, or baking a yummy dessert you wouldn’t normally indulge in. Anything that will make you feel grounded and restored that serves your unique need that day.
  • Stay connected. Slack channels, weekly team meetings, one-on-one’s with a manager—try to get more connected to those that I work with. With COVID-19 and knowing that most of my colleagues are WFH, I’ve recently started to pick up the phone and call them more to ask my question instead of simply messaging it. It’s been a really wonderful way to reconnect, catch up for a couple of minutes, then get down to business.
  • If/when possible, get outside. With the weather being warmer in the US, I’ve been joining my good friend for walks with her dog around the block. It may only take 15 minutes, but it feels good to get outside in nature, feel the sun on my skin, and breathe in fresh air. By the time I get back, I feel more energized and ready to focus again.
  • Need another monitor as you temporarily transition to more remote work? If you already own an iPad, you can already use it as a second monitor! Check out Apple sidecar to learn how to make your iPad part of a more remote workplace. Here’s a YouTube video on how it works.
  • Share what you’re working on. Post your one-two big projects for the day in your team message channel to allow people to weigh in or offer support. Or share work in a project management tool. Track projects, work collaboratively, or virtually congratulate people for crossing items off their to-do lists.
  • Read more. A report from Demos says that reading, even for a brief time each day, can help you deal with isolation and “significantly reduce feelings of loneliness.” Need some reading suggestions? Check out this list of the top 50 non-fiction books that last 25 years.
  • Get together online. Schedule a regular, daily video chat for your team to connect and stay informed, even if just for 15 minutes. While we typically use video for work, try using it to connect as a team as well. Try a coffee catch-up, a tour of your apartment, a meet-and-greet with your pet, or go for a walk. Just find ways to stay connected as a team despite working from home.

Wrap up

Working from home during COVID-19 stay-at-home directives offer up a vast array of challenges. Have your own tips to share? Share your own resources, tips, guides, tools, or other helpful comments with us on Twitter or Linkedin.

The post 40+ Work From Home Tools, Resources, and Tips During COVID-19 appeared first on Campaign Monitor.