AccuData Integrated Marketing http://www.accudata.com An Integrated Marketing Data Solutions Company Mon, 13 Jun 2016 19:48:02 +0000 en-US hourly 1 8 Proven Email Marketing Best Practices http://www.accudata.com/8-proven-email-marketing-best-practices/ http://www.accudata.com/8-proven-email-marketing-best-practices/#respond Mon, 13 Jun 2016 19:48:02 +0000 http://www.accudata.com/?p=3520 A number of factors can affect not only the deliverability of an email campaign, but also its effectiveness and conversion rates.  AccuData Integrated Marketing’s team of experts understands how to optimize your email campaign to maximize its overall success. Here are a few best practices to consider when getting ready to add email campaigns to […]

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A number of factors can affect not only the deliverability of an email campaign, but also its effectiveness and conversion rates.  AccuData Integrated Marketing’s team of experts understands how to optimize your email campaign to maximize its overall success.

Here are a few best practices to consider when getting ready to add email campaigns to your marketing mix:

  1. Audience – each email you send should have a specific purpose and messaging to match the audience segment you are targeting. You may be seeking to acquire new customers, introduce a new product, establish brand awareness or build customer loyalty.  Much of the following best practices will be determined and adjusted based on your target audience.  And remember that having valid email addresses for your audience will improve your email’s overall deliverability, minimizing bounce rates and ensuring the opportunity to engage your recipients.
  2. Time and date of the email send – when considering the best time to send your email, always take into consideration your target If your email deployment is a national send, your Email Service Provider should be able to send at a specific time in each time zone, ensuring your email is sent at the same time across the entire country.
  3. Sender reputation – this piece is critical when sending marketing emails. If the sender doesn’t have an average sending reputation of more than 90%, an email marketer can assume that the emails will get deferred (in a waiting/looping pattern) by the internet service provider (ISP) because it is deciding on whether it is a legitimately wanted email or spam.
  4. Landing Page – a unique landing page with a strong Call to Action can increase your email’s conversion rates. The Call to Action should be a strong offer specific for your intended audience with copy written for that targeted group.  The best landing pages have only one goal, and your copy needs to engage visitors to convince them to take that action. The page length depends on the awareness level of your prospects, with additional details added for audiences that are not familiar with your company or products.  Make sure your forms are simple and easy to fill out, and that buttons are clear as to where they will lead.
  5. Email Copy & Subject Lines – certain words in the copy and Subject Line can trigger email filters that will prevent your email campaign from arriving in its intended inbox. Words such as financial, financial aid, qualify, tuition, income, paying, free and lots of words typically used in legal verbiage like disclaimers are scanned too.  Bulleted lists are a great way to break up the copy, but try to limit them to fewer than 5 bullets. And keep in mind that mobile devices will cut off a subject line over 32 characters!
  6. Mobile Responsiveness – with emails being opened on mobile devices 60% of the time, this is critical. When emails are made mobile responsive, they automatically size to the recipient’s device and the phone number is coded to become clickable on mobile to initiate the phone call on their device. Did you know that people check their mobile phone up to 150x a day?
  7. Email Creative – trigger words should be used sporadically or be included in images, such as the headers. Consider your target audience and use images that reflect them in age and ethnicity for the audience you are targeting. Strong Calls to Action should be placed high up in the email creative, or directly below the header image. Personalized emails improve click-through rates by 14%, but don’t stop at the first-name greeting. Personalize the delivery of your emails with automation.
  8. Cadence of Email Sends – consider your target audience and the action you would like them to take in response to your email marketing efforts in order to determine how frequently you should send an email. Receiving too many emails is the #1 reason people unsubscribe.

Remember to A/B test everything listed in this guide to determine what works best for your audience.  From length of subject line to colors of the buttons on your landing pages, everything is worth testing and tweaking to get the best results.

And finally, here’s a statistic from the recent Email Evolution Conference 2016: on average, it takes 7 touches for conversion on B2C and 24 touches for conversions on B2B. So, consider your emails part of an overall campaign and make sure your branding and messaging are continued throughout to get the most effectiveness from your email campaigns.

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Data Silos Can Stymie Your Marketing http://www.accudata.com/data-silos-can-stymie-marketing/ http://www.accudata.com/data-silos-can-stymie-marketing/#respond Tue, 24 May 2016 19:44:44 +0000 http://www.accudata.com/?p=3388 In a prior life, I worked for a company that had a fairly large marketing department that became notorious for building silos within each department. It seemed as if the print team was unaware of what the digital team was working on, and the communications team was removed from the research and analytics team.  I […]

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In a prior life, I worked for a company that had a fairly large marketing department that became notorious for building silos within each department. It seemed as if the print team was unaware of what the digital team was working on, and the communications team was removed from the research and analytics team.  I often joked that when I went to work, I was on a completely different planet than the rest of the marketing teams.

It was only a matter of time before new leadership arrived and the focus was on breaking down the internal silos. It’s a necessity because in today’s marketing environment there is constant pressure to achieve more results with the same or fewer resources. The same can be said about data silos and the need for data integration.

Fast forward five years…I now work at AccuData Integrated Marketing, a true data-driven marketing company, and I’ve learned a fair share about the intricacies of data silos. Data silos can not only hinder productivity but also negatively impact data integrity. When two or more in-house silos exist for similar data, their contents are likely to differ, creating confusion as to which represents the most up-to-date version. As a result, the most recent data may accidentally get overwritten with outdated or less relevant data.

Consider the fact that multiple departments may be collecting different data about your customers such as transaction history, response to various marketing campaigns, focus groups or even qualitative versus quantitative data collection.  All of this information is important, but may reside in different departments that don’t communicate with each other. That’s just some of the many obstacles with data silos.

Marketers know that having access to customer data is key for successful marketing campaigns.  Yet, when asked what their greatest challenges were when building and executing campaigns, the number one response was the inability to leverage all of their marketing data. While they understand the need to consolidate and centralize data, many marketers are not quite sure where to begin.

Enter AccuData. As consumer expectations continue to evolve and technology gets more sophisticated (and complicated), it’s now more important than ever for marketers to have access to complete, current customer data that can provide a more personalized, relevant and overall seamless experience.  Marketers that have more complete data have a much better chance of increasing revenue, boosting brand awareness and promoting customer loyalty.

I’m proud to be a part of the AccuData team of experts that can provide this level of expertise. Let us help you break down the data silos that may exist in your organization and develop a plan for data integration and data management.  Breaking down data silos will help deliver instant insights into your customer database that enable real-time decision making and the ability to optimize your marketing campaigns.

Contact us today for a free consultation!

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How to Avoid Data Paralysis http://www.accudata.com/avoid-data-paralysis/ http://www.accudata.com/avoid-data-paralysis/#respond Wed, 11 May 2016 15:17:00 +0000 http://www.accudata.com/?p=3375 I consider myself good at making tough decisions, but when faced with a deluge of conflicting information from a variety of sources, it can sometimes be difficult to discern a clear course of action. Even choosing a new restaurant can be daunting if you seek input from everyone who’s visited the restaurant with opinions about […]

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I consider myself good at making tough decisions, but when faced with a deluge of conflicting information from a variety of sources, it can sometimes be difficult to discern a clear course of action.

Even choosing a new restaurant can be daunting if you seek input from everyone who’s visited the restaurant with opinions about the food, the menu selections, the service and the prices.  And often I’ve received reports and seen social media postings that are wildly conflicting – ranging from rave reviews to critical opinions about everything including the restaurant atmosphere, wait times and most importantly taste of the food.

Typically, I try to consider the trustworthiness of the source of the review as well as the factors most important to me to determine whether I’m willing to try something new and make my own decision on its value. I’ll weigh negatives and positives and try to put together a clear picture of what to expect.

There’s actually a name for having so much information that it overwhelms you into inaction: data paralysis.

My warning to marketers is don’t let data paralysis cause you to abandon data-driven marketing strategies that can push your efforts and results far above your competition’s.

Here are some difficult lessons I’ve learned along the way to successful data-driven marketing:

  1. Make sure the data you’re using is clean and current. Decisions made using incomplete, inaccurate or outdated customer and prospect records can lead to actions that will have the opposite effect of your desired outcome.
  1. Augment your own data with third-party data to get a clearer picture of customers and prospects. No one source usually has all of the data that you need to form a complete picture.
  1. Align yourself with your IT department to make accessing all of your customer data easier and interpreting business intelligence more meaningful.
  1. Establish clear goals for revenue, upselling and customer service and understand how to measure your wins in each. Use these metrics to determine if the data-driven choices you’ve made are working.
  1. Use the data and make adjustments based on your key performance indicators. Results is the crux of really making and showing a difference when using data.  Every interaction, each demographic element about the contact, psychographic information about their interests all need to be collected and analyzed to determine which are the important bits of data that define your ideal customer. And that’s where data paralysis can set in for marketers not used to evaluating all of these different data points.  Before you can even begin to segment customers and prospects and develop targeted messages for these personas, you have to determine their identity.
  1. Seek the assistance of data experts, like AccuData Integrated Marketing, to help you gain a deeper understanding of your customers and prospects.

Here’s perhaps my sagest piece of advice: when you’re ready to move beyond the transactional data you’ve collected, and develop a robust picture of your customers, you’ll need to employ data scientists that can provide customized data modeling.

Rather than data paralysis, the results will be higher response rates, more customer engagement and increased marketing ROI.  And who doesn’t want that?  Just like diving in and finding a new restaurant I love, mining your data for valuable insights can lead to new, better results!

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Multi-channel Marketing is Not Just a Catch Phrase http://www.accudata.com/multi-channel-marketing-is-more-than-just-a-catch-phrase/ http://www.accudata.com/multi-channel-marketing-is-more-than-just-a-catch-phrase/#respond Thu, 28 Apr 2016 18:06:30 +0000 http://www.accudata.com/?p=3323 How many licks does it take to get to the center of a tootsie pop? How many advertising messages does someone need to be exposed to before they take action? I think I can safely say this is an age old question. Why? Because way back in 1885, Thomas Smith, a London businessman, wrote a […]

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How many licks does it take to get to the center of a tootsie pop? How many advertising messages does someone need to be exposed to before they take action? I think I can safely say this is an age old question. Why? Because way back in 1885, Thomas Smith, a London businessman, wrote a guide called Successful Advertising where he shared his insight about how often someone needs to see a message before they make a purchase.

Smith’s Effective Frequency Theory can still be applied to today’s marketing tactics:

The first time people look at any given ad, they don’t even see it.
The second time, they don’t notice it.
The third time, they are aware that it is there.
The fourth time, they have a fleeting sense that they’ve seen it somewhere before.
The fifth time, they actually read the ad.
The sixth time they thumb their nose at it.
The seventh time, they start to get a little irritated with it.
The eighth time, they start to think, “Here’s that confounded ad again.”
The ninth time, they start to wonder if they’re missing out on something.
The tenth time, they ask their friends and neighbors if they’ve tried it.
The eleventh time, they wonder how the company is paying for all these ads.
The twelfth time, they start to think that it must be a good product.
The thirteenth time, they start to feel the product has value.
The fourteenth time, they start to remember wanting a product exactly like this for a long time.
The fifteenth time, they start to yearn for it because they can’t afford to buy it.
The sixteenth time, they accept the fact that they will buy it sometime in the future.
The seventeenth time, they make a note to buy the product.
The eighteenth time, they curse their poverty for not allowing them to buy this terrific product.
The nineteenth time, they count their money very carefully.
The twentieth time prospects see the ad, they buy what is offering.

And today’s latest research shows, it takes 20+ touches just to generate sales-ready, qualified leads. As the number of marketing channels and tactics increases, so does the number of touches it takes to get someone’s attention.   Consumers encounter almost 30,000 marketing messages per day. The number of channels marketers can use to reach consumers has exploded in the past decade. The ways in which we consume marketing is also evolving. Consumers are approached (sometimes bombarded) by dozens of channels…emails, texts, radio, blog posts, social media, TV, digital ads, direct mail and even package design (#ShareaCoke).

As both a marketer and a consumer, I’m truly thankful for multi-channel marketing! The idea of sending or receiving a marketing message via the same vehicle 20+ times would drive me crazy. The other day I received an email from Old Navy, touting their new summer favorites. Naturally I’m a sucker for a cute sundress, so I took the bait and clicked the link.

That sundress has since managed to show up on my Facebook page and again when I was reading Yahoo news. A day later, when browsing another news site, I once again got a glimpse of that cute little sundress

I lost count of the number of times Old Navy’s multi-channel marketing tactics infiltrated my space. I’m not even sure that their post card for $20 Super Cash was my tipping point, but I will admit that I now own that sundress.

Multi-channel marketing represents a distinct shift in the way consumers interact with a company. Marketers today are pacing themselves with how consumers operate – in lots of places, and often times, all at once. Campaigns are becoming strategies rather than merely tactics, so marketers need to continually make sure their brand has an ongoing presence on multiple channels.

Businesses can either put all their eggs into one marketing basket and hope for the best, or embrace the explosion and adopt multi-channel marketing. Marketing will continue to evolve and become more complicated, making channel management even more important with each new development. Are you satisfied with your current multi-channel marketing campaigns? And even more importantly, are the tactics and channels you’re using producing the results you want?

Contact the AccuData team of experts to learn more about how they’ve helped businesses like yours adopt multi-channel marketing for optimized campaigns and maximum ROI.

 

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Prevent Bad Email Addresses from Costing You http://www.accudata.com/prevent-bad-email-addresses-from-costing-you/ http://www.accudata.com/prevent-bad-email-addresses-from-costing-you/#respond Wed, 20 Apr 2016 14:52:15 +0000 http://www.accudata.com/?p=3252 If you’re confident that your email address database is clean, you’re probably kidding yourself.  Not only does email data decay at a faster rate than postal data, it’s often laced with SPAM traps and invalid addresses that could even damage your brand’s reputation if you try to send to those addresses. One of the things […]

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If you’re confident that your email address database is clean, you’re probably kidding yourself.  Not only does email data decay at a faster rate than postal data, it’s often laced with SPAM traps and invalid addresses that could even damage your brand’s reputation if you try to send to those addresses.

One of the things to consider when reviewing the hygiene of your email database is how those email addresses were compiled.  If you’ve allowed customers to opt-in to your email program, chances are high that they have made mistakes when typing their email address.

Especially with more of us filling out forms on our mobile devices, the chances of missing an @ sign or typing one character incorrectly is almost ensured.  And of course, you’ll always get the false email addresses and names that are entered simply to open a promotion.

If you’re using email addresses that did not have opt-in verification, it’s best that you stop employing that practice altogether.  SPAM traps consisting of abandoned email addresses are used by email providers to target poor sending practices.

Once you start sending to invalid or inaccurate email addresses, you’ll experience a host of hard and soft bounces in response to those emails. But as a reputable email marketer, you want to ensure that your emails are delivered and seen by your intended audience.  Bounces can damage your reputation and may actually prevent emails getting to your customers.

As global email volume increases, email service providers rely heavily on engagement activity of those emails to determine the legitimacy of the senders.  As Email Marketers, we have to focus on creating highly engaging targeted email messages that create engagement actions including opens, click throughs and forwarding.

Sure, you receive a report after sending an email message showing you the engagement and deliverability of your email.  But what does Bounce Rate really mean, and when should you be concerned? Some industries, like real estate, average high bounce rates exceeding 13%, while most bounce rates between 5 and 10%.

But all of this can be confusing when you aren’t sure which email addresses are outdated, which are potentially legitimate, but just in the wrong format, and which ones are dangerous SPAM traps. All you know is that they didn’t get through, and your efforts were wasted on those emails.

AccuData Integrated Marketing offers a tool called AccuValid that can verify all of the email addresses in your database and returns a result code based on the email’s deliverability.  You can use AccuValid to maintain a clean email database, increasing your chances of making it into the inbox.

I used the AccuValid tool on our own internal customer database and discovered more than 20% of the email addresses were invalid.  This gave our sales team an opportunity to reach out to their customers and ask for their updated email addresses.  And by sending to only valid email addresses, AccuData is protecting its brand reputation.

Our mission of customer service at AccuData is to continue providing our customers with marketing Best Practices to assist in improving their results.  AccuValid is an important way to prevent your emails from being blacklisted and to increase the deliverability of your emails.

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