Tag Archives: email marketing

Learning from the Best: Stellar Email Marketing Campaigns

 

Having fresh and updated tactics for email marketing campaigns is a constant goal for companies. As time passes new technology emerges, consumers engage in more trends, and competition arises. Consequently, there is an ever-growing need to keep up with the most successful campaigns and better yet, understand how they achieve their success.

Looking back at 2016, we have compiled the best marketing efforts that have optimize email campaigns and inspired current marketing efforts.

Uber

Launched in 2009, the car-sharing app Uber has been creating numerous possibilities for riders, financial opportunities for drivers, and making the service available in more cities. The company has an outstanding way of enriching their customers’ experiences by building email campaigns with unique offers. Subscribers are constantly being provided with new offers, free rides, and rewards. Uber has even offered their customers ice cream on a hot day and roses for Valentine’s Day.

Uber’s email content is characterized by a simple and concise style, which is perfect for those email subscribers who are quickly skimming their emails. The company uses this simplistic approach to increase consumer engagement and retention by providing a main subject line at the beginning of the message. This subject line presents the core message of the email, in case subscribers are not willing to read all of the content. Also, the content is followed by a call to action button that stands out from the copy of the email,  this grabs the readers’ attention and encourage them to want to learn more about the offer.

The success of Uber’s email campaigns relies on the integration of all their marketing assets. The company’s email campaigns mimic the app interface and incorporate the brand’s strategy in their content and design. Brand consistency is one of the tactics the company has optimized in order to gain brand loyalty.

Grubhub

Grubhub is a web-based mobile company that allows users to order food from a wide variety of restaurants in close proximity to the user. The company has excelled in the food delivery service and has become the number one choice for many Americans across the country. Grubhub’s marketing efforts are characterized by implementing catchy subject lines aligned with current events. These efforts can mainly be seen on the company’s email marketing campaigns.

Grubhub approach for their email content is captivating and catchy. The copy of the email is casual but its main purpose is to build relationships and engagement with current and new customers. The company’s call to actions are seamlessly placed in the email surrounded by high quality pictures. This guides the customers’ eyes to the “order now” buttons. Another aspect of the company’s marketing campaign is the frequency of their messages, Grubhub sends a variety of message to their customers informing them about newly added restaurants, promotions, and even when its raining outside.

The success of Grubhub email campaigns relies on the ingenuity of creating impactful content from day to day activities.

QuestionPro

As a leading provider of online software, QuestionPro’s platform allows users to generate the insights they need to make better decisions. The company provides a wide variety of tools for polling and data visualization. Conducting research can be an arduous task, but QuestionPro’s email invitation survey has been carefully crafted to guide respondents through the survey process and ultimately increase survey response rates.

The survey administration process begins with an email invitation. The company has developed a simple and effective approach to encourage their respondents to take the survey. It all starts with a catchy subject line that increases the chances of email open rates. When opened, the email displays a clear, concise and simple message asking the respondents to take the survey. The message is followed by call to actions, which are effectively placed at the bottom of the email to drive attention to the survey link.

The success of QuestionPro’s email campaigns relies on clear call to actions and concise messages that encourage readers and respondents to take action.

Email campaigns have become an imperative tool for companies, consequently marketers have been faced with the challenge of creating campaigns that will not go directly to trash folder. In the midst of inbox clutter and increased competition, companies are trying to capture customer’s attention through different marketing efforts. The examples mentioned above, introduced several strategies that that make those companies stand out in the endless stream of messages.

Mind Blowing Text Messaging Statistics [Infographic]

 

Social Media may rule our lives, as qSample has demonstrated. Yet when it comes to marketing or simply engaging deeply with our audiences, email is the king of all internet media (as our president Rudly Raphael proved in his article The Dominance of Email).

The queen might be text messaging. It’s often overlooked as an efficient form of marketing, according to Small Business Trends. Regardless, the relevance of text messaging as a medium is astounding. For example, check these statistics:

  Texting is the most frequently used app on smartphones–with 97% of Americans using it at least once a day.
  More than six billion text messages are sent in the U.S. each day.
  People worldwide will send 8.3 trillion text messages in 2016 alone. That’s almost 23 billion messages per day or almost 16 million messages per minute.
  Text messaging has a 45% response rate, while email only has a 6% response rate.
  Over 80% of adults text, making it the most common phone activity.
  Text messages brag a 98% open rate, while email only delivers a 20% open rate.

For more context and awe, we present you our latest infographic (and please text your friends or colleagues about it; they’ll open it more than if you email them this data):

Mind Blowing Text Messaging Statistics

 

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The Ron Burgundy of Tech

 

A book taking the business world by storm is Disrupted: My Misadventures in the Startup Bubble, written by Dan Lyons. The work is a scathing critique of tech startups and their Wonderland-meets-the-Hunger-Games sensibility, centered mostly on Lyons’ stint as a marketer for inbound software company HubSpot.

I haven’t laughed out loud in years while reading a book—although weeping might have been a more suitable reaction in various sections. Lyons describes the new normal of tech startups: a work culture that exploits workers within racist, misogynistic and ageist ecosystems; a business model that fosters neo-feudal economic realities where a few get very rich while the middle class gets atomized; an Orwellian atmosphere of mystic Groupthink where workers fall on their swords while simultaneously glorifying egomaniacal founders and supporting mediocre management.

Lyons, a former Newsweek reporter and current writer for the HBO hit Silicon Valley, makes HubSpot the centerpiece to his case for the toxic malady that are tech startups on the American workforce biology. Witness hallways teaming with beer taps, free candy, orange bean bags and overworked Hipsters. Witness endless meetings where a founder bestows a teddy bear an exclusive seat at the conference table. Witness realms of magic realism math where a company that has never made a profit can go public. And witness that Doublespeak tech lingo where a fired employee is called a “graduate” and never spoken of again, while management goes around telling employees that 1+1= 3 (and they better believe and make it happen).

That’s just scratching the surface of Disrupted. However, one can tell that Lyons does have fondness, empathy and even admiration for HubSpot. Personally, I can say HubSpot has brought value and useful information to my marketing life.

Lyons’ true wrath falls on an individual who seems to exemplify the corruption and greed of tech startups.

“The Ron Burgundy of Tech,” Lyons calls this person (and is the title of a chapter in his Disrupted). This is none other than Marc Benioff, the billionaire founder and CEO of Salesforce. Lyons’ revelation of Benioff occurred when he attended Dreamforce—Salesforce’s annual conference in San Francisco in late 2013. We might as well get to his insights from the book.

He starts the chapter by offering this formula:

Imagine Joel Osteen pumped up on human growth hormone. Imagine there’s a secret government lab where scientists have blended the DNA of Tony Robbins with the DNA of Harold Hill, the aw-shucks shifty salesman from The Music Man. Imagine a grizzly bear in a pinstriped suit, standing on his hind legs and talking about changing the world through disruptive innovation and transformation.

That’s how Lyons sees Benioff, watching him give the keynote speech at the Moscone Center.

The critique gets worse.

Lyons calls him “a buffoon, a bulls**t artist, and such an out-of-control egomaniac that it is painful to listen to him talk.” He says Benioff is like “some kind of cheesy talk-show host, roaming up and down the aisles, a man of the people” saying astral remarks like “the speed of now” and “the internet of customers.” He further mocks at how Benioff states: “Have you transformed the way you innovate?” (you can switch the two buzzwords around, and it makes just as little sense).

“There’s an art to this kind of horses**t, and Benioff is its Michelangelo,” Lyons declares, dejected at the speech while thousands of techies eagerly drink Benioff’s Kool-Aid. It gets worse for Lyons, as such figures as Sean Penn and Deepak Chopra appear to edify Benioff, while Huey Lewis and Green Day are prostituted to play at the festivities.

The rest of Dreamforce is a mixture of Roman debauchery and New Age spirituality. As mentioned, this where Lyons has his epiphany, the point the Red Pill fully goes down—for he sees Salesforce and the rest of the tech startup industry for they are (not companies who claim falsely, like Google and Apple, that they want to change the world). As he writes:

Having the best product has nothing to do with who wins. What matters is who can put on a great show, who can create the biggest spectacle, who can look huge and unstoppable and invincible, and who is the best at bluster and hype.

When it comes to these things, nobody comes close to Benioff. Nobody has cashed in on the bubble as well as he has. In 2012, Salesforce.com lost more than a quarter of a billion dollars, and in 2013 it will lose almost as much. In 2013 the company is fourteen years old and not making a profit. But its revenues are growing more than 30 percent each year, and growth is what investors are looking for, so even though Salesforce.com is bleeding red ink, its stock has doubled over the past two years, and Benioff’s personal net worth has soared to $ 2.6 billion.

Now, here in the Moscone Center, the P. T. Barnum of the tech industry is giving a master class in how the game is played. It’s the Marc Benioff show, brought to you by Marc Benioff, with special guest Marc Benioff. Fifteen thousand people are packed into this hall. Thousands more are packed into spillover rooms. It feels like a rock concert. In fact it is a rock concert.

Oddly enough, Lyons admits that he wanted to buy Salesforce software, such is the charisma of Benioff under the spectacle of watery lights and frenzied sound in the auditorium. More than a rock concert, the keynote speech event (and conference) is more like a religious revival where the audience devours the software like Communion.

Lastly, Lyons criticizes Benioff’s philanthropy because he makes it public and way to leverage customers—instead of being discreet like Bill Gates or other old tech guards. Okay, there’s more, but hopefully you have gained a taste of Disrupted and the alarm it sounds.

Personally, I’ve never used Salesforce and know little of Benioff. I suspect he has probably brought more light than darkness into the world. Still, Lyons characterization of the mogul, at the very least, is an allegory of what has befallen the tech startup industry. He is obviously not alone in this assessment (hey, there are more writers on Silicon Valley). The worst is not the dog and pony show of the tech startup industry, the smoke and mirrors full of self-mythologizing, or its vicious, Darwinist work philosophy dressed in Star Trek themes.

No, it’s the reality that, according to Lyons, another tech bubble bursting will soak the middle and lower classes even worse than in the 90s. Then the whole country will be disrupted in ways that might make the 2008 crash seem like a small interruption.

 

Note: A similar story appeared in Valleywag, Marc Benioff Is the Ron Burgundy of Tech, in 2013 and written by “Anonymous.” It’s not secret, though, that Lyons went to write for Valleywag after leaving HubSpot. No plot thickening here.

 

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The Dominance of Email: Penetration and Performance

 

Many in the research industry banged the mobile drum as if mobile data collection would replace online in only a few years. This mindset, like other delusions of grandeur, ignored the clear challenges ahead for such a victory. Mobile data collection certainly managed some progress in the space and according to the latest GRIT industry report published by Greenbook.org, it is producing some respectable numbers. However, it still has a long way to go; furthermore, it fell short of other outlandish claims like its potential to end email. The emergence of new research methods without question tears market share away from online data collection, but is that enough to say email is dying?

The tyrannosaurus and email belong to the same species according to many analyzing the impact of email in the age of mobile apps, omnichannel integration, and other competitive technology. Though other options certainly perform well, and possess growing user bases, email remains king with no signs of slowing down.

Users find email, as allegedly the most used application type, trustworthy, valuable, and comfortable in contrast to other options. It offers the versatility and ease of use other applications, even the most well-engineered, do not.

In the age of choice, with so many competing technologies and services, a stalwart like email endures attacks from all sides. Email stands in the way of new media organizations and application organizations that see an enemy rather than a resource to leverage, a view likely resulting from the dramatically different profit margins of email and SaaS. This article explores the state of email both as a channel and web application type, and its relationship with users.

 

The Birth of Email

 

 

The concept of mail, passing messages verbally or in written form, likely began ages ago. Documented evidence reveals Pharaohs utilized couriers to deliver documents throughout Egypt. Other regions eventually caught up to the infrastructure and theory of Egypt employing their own mail systems.

The United States’ mail system began in the late 1600s with personal mail delivered by associates and assistants. In this era, a governor established the first formal post system, between New York and Boston. 5 It took roughly over 200 years for the postal system of today to develop from poorly-constructed, individualized systems relying on various transportation methods. These cobbled together systems relied on odd combinations of coaches, horseback, steam ships, trains, and hot air balloons.

Military communication, in its never-ending quest for new and better technology, spawned a plethora of tools, however, the military nor its internet birthed email. Email began humbly in the early 60s as nothing more than shared access (i.e., time-sharing) to a system, much like the collaborative software used today. People placed messages in another user’s directory through the mainframe they shared and accessed with workstations.

When the military’s ARPANET grew, like other aspects of computer use, email experienced dramatic changes in use and technology. Email, a defining moment for ARPANET, arguably saved the project and gave us the internet.

Today, email remains the most important type of application on the internet. Some believe it transformed the internet from something critical only to certain users to something the average person wanted to use.

 

Trends

 

 

Business Email 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
Average Daily Email 105 110 115 120 125
 
Average Received 72 75 78 81 84
 
Average Sent 33 35 37 39 41

Table 1: Corporate Emails Sent and Received Daily Per User 2012 to 2015 23

 

Daily Email Traffic 2013 2014 2015
Sent/Received Per Day 182.9 191.4 196.4
Growth 5.00% 3.00%
Business Emails 100.5 108.8 116.2
Growth 8.00% 7.00%

Table 2: International Daily Email Traffic 2013 to 2015 22

 The steady growth, and continued growth, of email coincides with penetration of communications technology and services. Email began with expensive computers only accessible to public organizations, businesses, and those of means; however, as the technology developed, prices fell.

The early 90s saw the internet opened to the general public as prices continued to drop, and distribution of product expanded. The internet reached substantial public penetration by the late 90s, and connection speeds grew. Mobile technology prices, as a result of Palm devices, plummeted, and found their way to the general market. Mobile devices and supporting wireless service too began to see prices dip, improved speeds, and more penetration.

The cultural response to the technology held just as much power as its progress and expansion. Though absolutely absurd, the average person was convinced (by marketing and their peers) to acquire a cell phone. This came after years of viewing the devices as practical only for critical professions (e.g., medicine and military). Mobile technology morphed into a status symbol and trend with entertainers singing about the latest devices. Individuals and organizations also promoted the idea that people without the devices were troglodytes. Despite trends and marketing, the technology did (and continues to) enhance quality of life such as supporting education, productivity, and socializing.

In this era with new connected devices continuing to emerge and support related technology, the presence of services like email only grows. Email clients for Apple mobile devices currently dominate the client market space.

email statistics graph

A readership survey from Success magazine reveals in-person and email (40%) communication as the two most preferred forms.15 A study conducted by NewVoiceMedia found 19% of respondents considered email the  most effective way of contacting businesses and solving problems.16 A MarketingSherpa study shows 72% prefer for this communication to occur via email; furthermore, email outperformed traditional media and new media. Email proved popular across almost every demographic.

An ExactTarget survey found email to be the favored channel for deal searching, sharing content from family and friends, and financial alerts.18 A recent syndicated research conducted by qSample.com  explored workplace productivity tools, and more than 51% of those surveyed preferred email to in-person meetings, email besting all other forms of business communication.

 

The Big 3: Gmail, Yahoo, and MSN

 

 

Three free online email services currently dominate the space and public awareness: Gmail, Yahoo! mail, and MSN (an umbrella for Outlook, Hotmail, and Live mail) mail. Hotmail began as one of the first free webmail services, and shortly after launch, Microsoft acquired the service. Yahoo benefited tremendously from the dotcom era, and quickly acquired a promising company for its Rocketmail webmail service. Both companies enjoyed popularity and a high profile during their eras as fresh and appealing companies. At the time, Google remained an almost obscure metasearch engine.

Both email services generally satisfied users, but suffered from performance issues due to their simple HTML design. Google, one of the first large organizations to recognize its potential, developed a service using dynamic code now known as AJAX. Their design featured a robust service with function more like an application than a site.

Gmail boasts 900 million users as of May 2015 with MSN claiming over 400 million (as of January 2016), and Yahoo estimating 273 million (as of February 2014). Outlook’s support for over 100 languages and Gmail’s support for over 70 further extends their reach in existing and growing international markets. 26 Litmus, an email marketing testing and analytics application, analyzes and publishes email market share data. 11 Litmus data reveals Gmail holds 15% of the market while MSN holds 5% and Yahoo stands at 3%.

Users associate certain email addresses with professionalism, and consider email as essential as a phone number. A report from Visible Logic, Inc. reveals 70% of respondents believed non-domain-level email addresses made an individual appear unprofessional, “lazy,” and “cheap.” They ranked a branded email as most professional, with Gmail in second place.

 

The Future of Email

 

 

Email use, applications, and the needs it satisfies remain essentially the same as decades ago. Only its integration has experienced substantial change such as creating accounts, customer support, account management, and more.

Email serves a need not easily replaced because strong options (e.g., text, collaborative software, mobile apps, and social media) fail to pull users away.6 Many SaaS based research tools, like QuestionPro, collect hundred of thousand of surveys monthly, using email as a vehicle to invite users to participate in such surveys. These numbers continue to increase steadily year after year.

Of course, one cannot argue that the medium is causing some level of fatigue, among email recipients who are constantly exposed to a barrage of product offers, sales pitches, network invitations, etc. It will be up to email marketers to find a better way to sanitize and communicate their message. However, the argument that email is dying is as absurd today as it was 5 years ago when people like Facebook’s co-founder (Dustin Moskovitz) made that claim.

Writing the Perfect Email Subject Line

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