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.

 

terminator advertisement

 

 

 

The Dominance of Email: Penetration and Performance

light exploding email icon

 

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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The Five Greatest Survey Questions Ever

Author Thomas Pynchon wrote: “If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don’t have to worry about answers.”

This quote is socially charged. Nevertheless, in this or any event, market research comes to the rescue. Asking the right question is central to the industry—part of the continued epic of understanding the intimate desires and motivations of various demographics.

qSample has provided research on keeping questionnaires for surveys as concise and straightforward as possible—all to understand the complex behaviors of humans.

Effective questionnaires are especially vital in an era where mobile devices erode both time and space for executing surveys. The mobile ecosystem is just smaller and consumer attentions spans are getting shorter. Mobile surveys are on the rise, so it’s prudent to embrace this new tech normal. As one market researcher put it:

The trend is clear that more and more surveys are being taken on smartphones and tablets. Desktop computers still account for the majority of responses, but for any given project market researchers can now expect up to 40% response on smartphones. This percentage will likely continue to increase in coming years.

So keep it simple, and start with simple. As Leonardo da Vinci once said: “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”

To assist with this approach for suitable marketing questionnaires, thought leaders in marketing have revealed essentially questions that can become the cornerstone for any type of survey (and beyond).

 

1.  What’s happening in your life that brought you here today?

 

This wording is found in noted copywriter Joanna Wiebbe’s book, Where Stellar Messages Come From. You can modify this open-ended question depending on your brand or forum. It may seem odd in a provided online survey, but the phrasing can be edited to inquire at what brought a person to a particular store or website.

The question is most effective in brief pop-up surveys, though. It takes an immediate snapshot of an individual’s state of mind, as well as how it relates to a brand. Information about a social media link or frustration at another product bringing them to your fiefdom can be pure gold.

 

2.  Were you able to complete your task today?

 

This straightforward inquiry also unlocks several dimensions of a respondent or potential customer. As bestselling author and marketing guru, Avinash Kaushik, states in his blog:

An extremely simple question that asks the survey takers to self report their own perception of your website’s effectiveness in helping them complete their tasks….We have the customers voice telling us exactly how well the website is performing when it comes to delivering the goods.

Again, this can be applied to surveys. It’s surveying the survey. Market researchers should always be auditing their own work, and who better than their respondents fresh in the study.

 

3.  Would you recommend us to a friend?

 

This question may sound obvious, yet marketers sometimes miss this elephant in the research room.

In fact, there might not be another better question in marketing. Bestselling loyalty expert Fred Reichheld agrees with this, calling it the ultimate question. He expands this notion fully in his book entitled (surprise) The Ultimate Question.

As with the other questions and repeating myself, the wording and context may be altered to suit the needs of the brand.

Sean D’Souza of Copyblogger offers some variable and follow-ups:

– What was the obstacle that would have prevented you from buying this product?
– What did you find as a result of buying this product?
– What specific feature did you like most about this product?
– What would be three other benefits about this product?
– Would you recommend this product? If so, why?
– Is there anything you’d like to add?

No, I can’t add anything else to the sound advice in this section.

 

4.  Any question that isn’t just yes/no or either/or

 

Not allowing options like “I don’t know” or an open-ended space in survey questionnaires is dangerously close to a leading question. Some experts say it is a leading question.

Inc.’s Jeff Haden is one such example:

Either/or questions, just like leading questions, assume some answer. Instead of sharing options, just state the problem. Then ask “What do you think?” Or “What would you do?” Or “How should we handle this?

Haden further states there is always an undisclosed option, an idea researchers might be missing, and it’s important to leave a space to let it flow out of respondents.

 

5.  The questions you ask yourself before the survey

 

This thought leadership insight comes from qSample’s own president, Rudly Raphael. He states: “In my opinion, there are three questions that a researcher should ask before any study.” These are:

Who is your audience?
What is the objective of your survey/research?
– What are your biases (and what can you do to avoid them from polluting) the survey?

In other words, you have to know yourself as intimately as you expect to know your audience. If you assume you don’t have a bias, according to Raphael, you probably do and it’s time you get some feedback on others in the company or project.

 

Conclusion

 

These five questions (or more like question narratives) incorporate the same the keynotes: empathy, directness and engagement. They tend to spark the best possible data from respondents.

They can also be utilized by sales people.

Obviously, market researchers are required to mine deeper and into other spectrums of the respondent’s mind. As Raphael says:

The best questions for online surveys are challenging because it depends on the topic. Researchers design surveys for a myriad of a myriad of verticals like products, services, intelligence, etc. An IT question about network adapters will not be helpful to someone writing a finance survey.

Nevertheless, these questions serve as cornerstones for surveys or at least tools for that essential simplicity in a mobile era.

They are the right questions to gaining the right answers in your research.

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Infographic of the Week: Putting Together the Survey Puzzle

Hand with floating puzzle pieces representing market research

Market research is a $24 billion a year business. It employs more than 150,000 workers nationwide. Online research has become the preferred method for research in this industry, and online surveys are an integral component.

Needless to say, it’s crucial for an online survey to be as complete as possible before it self-actualizes as raw data for ravenous researchers. Surveys may not fall under the onion-motif of Shrek, but are more like a delicate puzzle that can provide a complete picture for various studies. A missing piece can mean incomplete information or faulty responses.

The latest qSample infographic deals with this sometimes puzzling issue. Please feel free to download at the bottom for your profit. We hope we are supplying yet one more piece to your market research success.

Survey Puzzle

Case Study Why Consumers Buy Green

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Why Ant-Man Content Can Be Heroic For High Traffic

Picture of ant-man representing sorter content for marketing

Like many progressive tech companies, qSample has embraced a content marketing philosophy for branding and assistance to clients in the market research industry. Our work was even showcased recently in Piktochart—highlighting how leveraging the power of infographics has enabled us to thrive in a competitive field.

Content marketing truly relates to qSample’s philosophy of taking creative risks in order to continually engage an increasingly educated yet cynical culture (or convincing the “dinosaur in the boardroom,” as President Rudly Raphael calls the challenges of B2B initiatives in the 21st century).

Yet it seems content marketing might be in danger of becoming a dinosaur itself, stressed by recent and pack-like trends. Namely, I’m referring to the sought-after formula of article-length.

 

Those who contend longer is better

 

Leading the way are such luminaries as the SEO company Moz and content marketing guru Neil Patel. As examples, Moz declared that longer posts on their blog get linked more often, while Patel, in his How Long Should Each Blog Post Be? A Data Driven Answer, advocated length when it comes to content:

Once the word count exceeds 1,500 words, it’s in the golden share zone. In my own research on Quick Sprout confirms this. All of my posts that are more than 1,500 words receive 68% more tweets and 22% more Facebook likes than the articles with fewer than 1,500 words.

…I’ve shown you the data that proves that longer content gets better ranking, higher indexing, and more sharing.

So longer is better? Titan word counts make readers and Google happy?

It’s possible, considering the sterling data provided by those I just mentioned. However, that formula-driven attitude is a reason content marketing came into being: to eliminate the cut-and-paste, key word-stuffed, and mechanical content that plagued the internet before the arrival of the savior-algorithms of Panda and Hummingbird. We simply live in a more organic internet.

 

Those who contend shorter is better

 

Why go full circle if suddenly dry formulas begin to enslave content again? Why not look beyond to see the future belongs to those who takes creative risks?

Or we can look at some examples in the past where Ant-Man content created unforgettable classics—from individuals who took those creative risks but were recognized as savvy content marketers in their respective fields:

Shortest Poem: Adam by unknown author, although some credit famed poet Odgen Nash. It simply goes:

Adam
Had ’em.

Shortest Short Story: Baby Shoes, Never Been Worn by Earnest Hemingway.

That’s the whole narrative. The title is the story.

This short story conjures many evocative notions to different readers. It’s as poignant as any long Greek epic because our imagination and experience sit on the front row of this story. Hemingway allegedly wrote it as a wager against someone who claimed he couldn’t write a story in six words or less. You really can’t get better copywriting than this in any agency.

Shortest Novel: The Dinosaur by Italian Augusto Monterroso. The entire story goes:

When he awoke, the dinosaur was still there.

This mention can be debated or even negated. Novels are generally classified as being at least 40,000 words in length. But in a summer where Jurassic World devoured movie records, let’s go with this.

Shortest Music Lyrics: I admit this is almost folly to tackle. There are countless instrumentals with brief voice insertions or background (e.g.: Why don’t we do it on the road? by The Beatles, where Paul just reiterates the title).

For the sake of argument (and maybe my word count!), a leading contender would be Five Years by Sugar Hiccup. The song goes

And he will never be back.

These lyrics repeat for a good five minutes.

Shortest film: Video is regarded as content, and a booming content marketing tool on the internet. It’s almost an impossible title to have, as there are whole film festivals dedicated to extremely short movies.

One would have to mention Fresh Guacamole. It’s considered the shortest film ever nominated for an Oscar. Thus, it’s noteworthy and it runs exactly 100 seconds.

Shortest sentence: There isn’t one. All written mediums have one-word sentences in many memorable works. On a side note, it’s notable that the longest sentence in all literature is in Ulysses by James Joyce. The bloody sentence is 4,391 words long.

(That might make Moz and Patel happy, though).

Yes, you may say, but what does that have to do with the hallowed present and the digital worlds?

One of the most renowned marketers today is Seth Godin. His blog draws incredible traffic. Guess how long his posts typically are?

Patel himself answers this question in the article, mentioning one post by Godin:

66 words.

The rest of Godin’s posts are a few words longer or shorter. He might as well write about a dinosaur wearing baby shoes…

In this spirit, our primary research reveals that when it comes to surveys, shorter questionnaires, shorter questions and shorter sentences just promote better online research.

 

Those of us in between longer and shorter

 

All of this, of course, does not mean that shorter is better in the overall internet scheme of things. Again, content marketing (and online research) should be about taking creative risks to continually engage an increasingly educated yet cynical culture (and the boardroom dinosaur, with or without baby shoes). It goes without saying that spreadsheets and data should lead the way in any market research; but again, the point is not to have unimaginative numbers dominate the internet as in the past.

Search engines are more intuitive than ever, so qualitative entertainment now balances quantitative presentation. Internet audiences have basically become protagonists in a Nirvana song, always clamoring: Here we are, entertain us.

In essence, content should be as long or short as content needs to be. As an example, Upworthy found little association between length and attention. Here we are, entertain us.

Gandalf famously said in Lord of the Rings:

A wizard is never late, nor is he early, he arrives precisely when he means to.

As wizards of marketing and research warlocks, our content in various mediums should be as long as it’s meant to be. Somewhere in between the genius of Godin and Patel, we will find the voice to make clients and customers not just like our brand but experience our brand.

Here we are…

Hard to reach audience button

Infographic of the Week: 7 Steps For Keeping Your Email Lists Clean

They say cleanliness is next to godliness, and the God in the Machine that is our online ventures requires the continuous cleaning of our cyberworlds. Less poetically and more to the mark, email lists used for business or research should be kept orderly for the best possible outreach. As marketing guru Neil Patel stated, “Email is by far the most effective marketing channel we have today…the average return on $1 spent on email marketing is $44.25. Nothing else comes even close.”

The sanitizing information for this week’s infographic was provided by qSample contributing writer Alex Ivanovs, who has written for many lauded publications including The Huffington Post. As he explained in his research:

Email subscribers are most frequently lost as people either lose interest, change their work places, in some cases because of closing their accounts, but quite often due to overly spammy newsletters. Anyone who has built their list for several years, will know how important it is to keep the list clean, if only to be able to get rid of poor marketing metrics.

In his article, Alex provided five tips. We’ve expanded his findings to seven and presented them in visual steps we hope you find purifying. Keep it clean and keep reaching your target audience:

Tips Your Email Marketing Lists Clean

 

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5 Tips for Keeping Your Email Marketing Lists Clean

A group of brooms standing up

Email subscribers are most frequently lost as people either lose interest, change their work places, in some cases because of closing their accounts, but quite often due to overly spammy newsletters. Anyone who has built their list for several years, will know how important it is to keep the list clean, if only to be able to get rid of poor marketing metrics.

On top of helping you with keeping your metrics clean, in the recent years we’ve seen a drastic change to the algorithms of email spam filters. Back in the day, spam filters uses the written content and subject lines to determine the quality of an email, however in the recent years it has expanded to other areas. A list that’s populated with outdated (inactive) email addresses is going to be suspicious one way or the other.

It doesn’t just affect you short-term either, a list that hasn’t been cleaned for years has the potential to be penalized by email delivery services and have lowered sender score, crucial to having all your emails sent out on time. In this column, we’re looking at ways of keeping our lists clean and tidy.

 

Get rid of Hard Bounce

In email marketing, a hard bounce happens when an email is failed to be deliver within 48 hours or more. These days, a handful of email marketing software providers have in-built tools for allowing you to clean your list of these hard bounce emails, while some will do this for you on automated basis.

Typically, these are the reasons for a hard bounce:

Recipient email address does not exist.
– Domain name does not exist.
– Recipient email server has completely blocked delivery.

Before your next campaign, make sure that you know how to clear your hard bounces, and then develop it into a regular habit. It’s one of the best ways of keeping your sender score and your domain protected for credibility.

 

Manual labor

Technology is clever, but not everything is possible to automate. In your email list, you’re bound to find emails that stem from typos, auto-correct mistakes, and other similar traits. Truthfully, there is a very likely chance that a good portion of your subscribers have provided either an invalid email address, or misspelled it. This will hit the hardest those who don’t opt for a double opt-in process.

In that respect, it’s a good idea to perform a manual scan of your email list at least once a month, look out for emails that have the “.com” or “.net” misspelled, are missing the “@” symbol, or have the name and domain as numbers; frequent spammers. The best way to protect yourself from this is by enabling a double opt-in feature which will make users verify their email addresses, and won’t be added to the list until they do.

 

Remove casualties

If you work in a specific industry and/or provide content in exchange for a signup, quite often you will find that a few of the people on your email list come from specific company accounts; casualties. These are typically the email accounts that are used within a specific department and/or part of the company, and nobody has any intention to spend any money or time on the emails you send. Here are a few examples:

admin@example.com
webmaster@example.com
helpdesk@example.com
accounts@example.com
etc,. etc,. etc,.

they might not be ignored always, but the lack of engagement with these addresses has been known around the email marketing community, and besides — you can always check the engagement for yourself, avoid damaging your sender score with poorly treated emails.

 

Ask before removing

Three months, six months, a year. It seems that a lot of email marketing experts have a different opinion on how long to keep a part of your email list active. If you’ve got some segments laying around that you haven’t emailed in a while, perhaps before letting them go — a reengagement email to ask for their input is a good idea. If their email account is still functional, there’s a chance they might want to stick around; or unsubscribe for good.

Simply asking customers to update their email information can have surprising engagement results. This tactic gives the customer an opportunity to enter a new email address if hers has changed, customize her email settings, and sign up for mobile or social media updates, if it turns out that’s how she prefers to engage. — KISSmetrics

Keep your reengagement emails short and sweet, let them know about your latest ideas, let them know that you’d love to have a conversation with them. It’s an easy way of letting them know that you care about them.

 

Data driven email marketing

Your list should always be in top-notch condition, which means that your list is segmented in a way that reflects the overall engagement of each individual list member. A modern email marketing platform will usually have this feature by default, so there isn’t all that much work left to do; other than organizing and analyzing.

The subscribers who open all emails are the top dollar, and should be prioritized straight away, subscribers who have decided to open fewer emails, should get a taste of something different once in a while; just to spark their interest.

In a recent update, Pardot mentions keeping your email lists as one of the top priorities this year, emphasizing how important list hygiene and data quality are to your sending reputation.

 

qSample Guest Blogger: Alex Ivanovs is an online entrepreneur with the focus on building highly-engaging content sites in the field of business, technology and development. You can find his most recent work at CodeCondo; an aspiring community of tech-oriented minds. He is also a contributor to the Huffington Post.

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Infographic of the Week: Writing the Perfect Email Subject Line

This week’s infographic can be useful for any kind of subject line in an email, even if the title does say “surveys.” We feel this is important—as we are getting to the point that “emails” might join “death” and “taxes” as the only certainties in life.

After all, if you think that getting someone’s attention with a phone call, marketing campaign or snazzy website is difficult, just keep in mind these statistics from a Source Digit report:

By 2017, there will 182.9 Billion Emails Sent/Received Per Day Worldwide; 4.9 Billions Worldwide Email Accounts.

Here are the complete and stunning statistics:

This is in billions!

This is in billions!

Regardless of what industry you’re in or the context of your email, a small detail like the subject line may be the difference between success and failure.

The data from the article is based on the thought leadership piece by qSample president, Rudly Raphael: Boosting Response Rates: Crafting the Perfect Survey Invitation Email

Please enjoy, please let us know what you think, and please have a good weekend, as always.

 

Writing the Perfect Email Subject Line

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