ExecutiveJobspro.com — Email Marketing within the job search industry

This week, I was able to speak with Rob Mason, founder of ExecutiveJobspro.com. He provided several tips for marketers who are entering (or in) saturated markets and explains why email marketing is essential for success.

What is Executive Jobs Pro, where are you located, and how did you get your start.

We are a career matching service (10 different sites for different job categories), helping job seekers take control of their search and shorten the time it takes to finding a great new job or career path. Our HQ is in Newport Beach, CA. However, we have Account Managers throughout the country. I am the only member of our services group that doesn’t come from staffing. I was an out of work producer that decided to do a documentary on the job market. I was so frustrated with my search. What I was doing felt like I was handing control of my future to someone else. I went for it and after meeting a ton of corporate recruiters I realized that what they look for in winning candidates was not information I had as a job seeker. A business was born. I built a team of insiders with connections and knowledge that I believed job seekers didn’t have.

Your business seems to focus on two groups: employers and employees. What are some of the unique ways you approach marketing for each individual group?

The key to a successful job search is an actual job search strategy. Most employ the least effective tools to land a job (job boards, waiting for headhunters to call). Our marketing is designed to spark a conversation, a personal and informed interaction. Once a prospective member has a chat or phone conversation with us there is an “aha” moment. This is typically followed by the realization that they have been using the worst practices to find a job. But, this feeling is tempered by the realization that now they have an effective partner for their search. We drive all marketing to this one-on-one interaction. After all, our service is not a software system. For us, it’s about a deep personal connection with our members.

Has email marketing always been apart of your marketing model or is it something that was added in to the mix over time? What made you decide email marketing was a useful tool for your business?

Email marketing is the most effective marketing for us behind word-of-mouth marketing/referrals. It’s about delivering a message to your audience in a specific moment, when they are ready for us. If we relied on ad marketing we would not be able to deliver messages over an extended period of time with consistency. Email marketing is about being consistent and showing your audience that you have what they need. It’s also an excellent conversation starter. We have been using email marketing for 9 years.

It seems the job website market is fairly saturated. What are some of the things you have done to set yourself apart?

We provide a service that we believe no other company can, actual contact with former Fortune 1000 recruiters. Our Account Managers have corporate recruitment contacts that they leverage to find the right jobs for each of our members, while these jobs are in the all important network and referral phase. Additionally, these talented staffing vets are available to guide our members and non-members with job search strategies, resume help and, most often, a boost of confidence for their search. From the time you arrive on our site and chat with an account manager (again, an actual former Fortune 1000 corporate recruiter) through the sign up process where you are writing to us about your search (we don’t use pull down windows or automation) there is a human being receiving your information and working for you at every step. Again, it’s a very personal and human experience. By the way, you guys provide the same level of personal experience which is unlike the other email services we have worked with. It makes a big difference.

What are 3 tips you can offer to ActiveCampaign users who are either getting ready to or have recently entered into a market which has a lot of competition?

  • Read customer reviews on competitors.
  • Have folks you know sign up with competitors and let you know what they loved and what they loathed.
  • And, the biggest treasure, ask potential customers what they want from a service. Every change we have made that has worked for us came from what the customer told us they needed vs. what we wanted them to experience. My biggest lesson, take my ego out of the equation. The customers make the service.

In regards to email marketing, what are a couple of your favorite features and why?

  • Live stats are huge. I know what we are going to do in a day in terms of revenue within two hours of the launch of our morning campaigns. ActiveCampaign offers a really cool interface that allows me to see what’s happening with the campaigns. This sets up my day and has made us more efficient as a company.
  • My favorite feature is your online chat. When we have questions or hit a snag with campaign performance you guys are ready and I don’t have to sit on hold forever.
  • Lastly, the deliverability of your service has the others we have used beat by at least 20%, that adds up. Thanks!!!

Why do you consider email marketing to be value adding to the job finder industry?

Yes, all of the services out there use it. We know because we are signed up with most of them…gotta know what your competitors are doing.

“Social Platform” uses email marketing + social media to grow businesses

 

For this week’s “Marketer’s Spotlight” I had the privilege to ask Tim Mayneord, CEO of socialplatform.co.uk a few questions about his views on social media and email marketing.

What is Socialplatform.co.uk, where is it located, and how did it get its start?

Social Platform is an inbound marketing agency based in central UK – It all started with a tweet! Social Platform has evolved as a “purely social” marketing and contact design agency all as a result of a Twitter conversation which took place in the summer of 2011.

With social media taking over the world how does Social Platform help businesses build the right strategy for them? What are some of the basic steps for a strong social strategy?

We work closely with our clients to understand who their target market is. We are surprised by the amount of business’s who overlook the basics and actually forget their “target avatar”, all too often they seem to be chasing their competitors clients. If we ignore basic principles of marketing, social media or any other for of lead generation for that matter will have little or no effect, it is really important to define a strategy through a process which really forces our clients to consider all elements of their business so we look at existing customer base profiling in addition to desired prospects, brand positioning, product propositioning in addition to competitor analysis. Remember the 3Ms Market, Message, Media -and its always in that order!

On your website it seems you focus on finding a real balance. What are mistakes you see your customer making before they come to you that throw off the balance?

Have you ever traded a car into a garage and 2 days later seen it on the forecourt, so clean you want to buy it back? The point is, you can clean a car but you are not able to valet it, you just don’t have the expertise or equipment to achieve a super deep clean and an “as new” paint shine. Most business leaders think they are able to achieve reach beyond their dreams, winning new fans, followers and ultimately build their list with quality leads, now to be fair to them, they probably could IF they had the right tools, resource and time – fact is they don’t! So the majority of our clients are those who have either tried a DIY approach and quickly realized that, if they are going to get serious, Social Media is well beyond “Billy in the bedroom” or they have realized that there is a world out there and that social channels are not full of kids.

With social media having many different channels, do you think people need to use all of them?

We’re back the to the 3Ms again. When you know your market and the message you want to broadcast we can then and not until then concentrate on the media, we use a hashtag to promote how and why we do what we do – #notonesizefitsall. One of the reasons we have adopted this is because we don’t believe that business need to necessarily use every channel, if your target market [sector] is not consuming information through Facebook for example then don’t waste your time using it, there is just no point, its a waste of energy, enthusiasm and money.

What role do you see email marketing playing along side of email marketing? What are a couple of ways you see them use successfully together?

Email marketing is a key component for our clients, why wouldn’t it be? We need to get one thing straight, Social Media has not replaced anything else its just something that needs to be done as well as traditional techniques, we also need to keep firmly in mind the consumption of information through segmented email. Everyone knows that people buy from businesses they know, like and trust. Think of your social media activity as being a tool to [really] segment your client and prospect base. You see through deep analytics and profiling you can really understand more about the people you engage and interact with, which then mean your list can be segmented with pin point accuracy, then, you can communicate to your audience with information of products or offers you know they will be interested in – your audience will open read and share the email you send just as long as it relevant. Use social media to promote offers and free downloads/white papers etc to build your list.

Within ActiveCampaign, what of the functions do you see as value adding to your customer and why?

All of our clients are reaping benefits from automated campaigns, most of which feature multi-level segmentation and CTA (call to action) triggers through to their linked CRM solutions. Most of our customers considered email marketing as being simply a bunch of sales letters which were sent out on mass and simply did not understand how powerful and dynamic a structured and complete clients ownership program can be and importantly how easy it is to maintain!

Can you please share with me 3 tips or strategies for being successful with social media and email within a business?

Sure, we actually have an 11 tip strategy plan which focuses on the formula to help maximize lead generation though social media for any business, So 3 key tips we would recommend
  • Know your market, make sure you sync’ your data too
  • Grow your list & grow your engagement.
  • Create compelling content – remember, we believe people like share and comment on anything as log as its relevant and in context.

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Golf Web Design – bringing digital marketing to the world of golf.

Erick from Golf Web Design was kind enough to participate in our Marketer’s Spotlight this week. He provides a great deal of insight  into how he and his team have helped Golf Courses succeed with email marketing.

What is Golf Web Design and what caused you to see a need for this type of business?

Golf Web Design is a web design and development company for the golf industry. We provide websites and digital marketing services for golf courses and golf professionals all over the country. We saw a need for a better, private label email marketing system that we could offer to our clients. Most of our clients already have large existing databases of customers and we needed a robust system that would handle their email marketing needs.

 Since this is such a niche market, what specific marketing needs do you most commonly see you customers needing to fulfill?

Our customers typically need a good email capture form on their website, the ability to drop customer information into segmented lists, the ability to send campaigns targeted at their different lists, and the ability to easily create a great looking campaign.

How has email marketing changed or influenced your marketing strategies for customers?

With the addition of ActiveCampaign, we have been able to offer a powerful new email marketing system to our clients. It’s been a great selling point for potential customers. When they see how easy the admin panel is to use, they are instantly sold on it.

Do you find that your customers are in need of a more modern digital marketing approach? If so, what do you help them do to improve?

Yes, most every new client that we bring on is in need of a more modern approach to marketing. Email has been their staple marketing system, but we have introduced them to social platforms as well as mobile marketing platforms such as push notifications within custom built apps  for their course.

I imagine many of your customer have very similar branding. What do you do to help them differentiate themselves from the pack?

Most of our clients usually have a unique market that they appeal to. Some are private courses, public, or resort. Each one has a target demographic and geographic market that they cater towards. The types of emails that are sent and the specials they offer usually differentiate one course from the next.

What email marketing tools have you found to be successful for your clients. i.e. segmentation, conditional content, email designs?

The biggest email marketing tool that we have seen success with is segmentation. A birthday month list has proven to really be a big hit with golf courses. Courses will usually offer a special discount within your birthday month if you are subscribed to that list.

What types of campaigns or call to actions have you found work for you customers?

Effective engagement for our clients begins with customers that actually want to read what they have to say in each email. From there, either a newsletter that features past results from tournaments or pictures of members are a big hit. Otherwise, coupons or special rates that the golf course has are the highest engagement emails.

What are the top 3 recomendations you have for digital marketers focusing on a niche market?

1. Be an expert in your niche. Make it your goal to know the ins and outs of that industry and add any kind of certifications or status to your credentials.

2. Target your niche through industry publications or outlets. When other people do the talking for you – it makes you seem that much more credible. Try to get others within your niche talking about you.

3. Follow through on what you promise. This makes your current clients become your biggest fan – which equals word of mouth. Word of mouth is single best form of advertising there is. It’s not a digital form of advertising, but through digital outlets you can make sure people are happy with your services. And happy customers equal repeat business and more referrals.

If you would like to get your company featured in ActiveCampaign’s “Marketer’s Spotlight”, please
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Canaflora

Tell me about Canaflora. How long have you been in business, what do you do, what is the drive behind the business

Canaflora is a gift delivery company, sending flowers and gift baskets across Canada. We’ve been in business for four years and have grown exponentially from when we first started. Our philosophy is delivering good product at an affordable price and with strong service.

Since our inception, we believed that our customers shouldn’t pay hidden fees like many other similar companies charge. From the get-go, we’ve offered free delivery and a pay-what-you see pricing model. If we say $49.99 (+ tax), they pay $49.99 (+tax). No ifs, ands, or buts.

We adjusted our business model, cutting out as many middlemen as possible to make sure our prices stay fair and competitive. We have also opted out of an expensive downtown location for the same reason.

What made you feel email marketing was important to your marketing strategy

The more the customers come back to us, the more lifetime value they hold to our company. Our retention rate is a very important part of our business and what better way to reach our database than with email marketing?

Since you work with vendors all over Canada, what are things you do as apart of your business model to ensure you keep customer loyalty strong and also quality high.

At this point, we’ve realized we don’t do enough.

When just starting the business, we believed that if we provide awesome product and service, our customers would come back. Most didn’t. Everyone expects a positive experience and that didn’t make our business stand out.

Currently we’re introducing measures to make our product unique and easy to remember. We’re also diversifying our marketing activity to make sure the specials, advertisements, and other content our customers see are as personalized as we can make them.

What tools do you use besides email to help grow Canaflora?

SEO and PPC. We are also experimenting with direct sales at this point — B2B is a rapidly growing segment for us. We are currently trying out white label websites and Facebook ads too.

I see on your site that you also offer products internationally. What has it been like setting up your network outside of Canada? Do you have any marketing, networking, or sales tips for web companies starting the international process.

The International section on our web site is just drop shipping. We just resell services of another company which operates a worldwide network of florists.

We do have multiple international partners for whom we do drop shipping in Canada and this is a growing segment of our business. Initially we got them all just by emailing them or chatting through a social network about the business.

I know you use segmentation. Can you explain about the uses of segmentation and why it is important. Also, how have you seen segmentation improve the email marketing for you?

Its all started with poor performance of our regular emails. We started to research and brainstorm about how we can slice our database to drive more personalized offers and improve conversions of our emails.

At this point we segment our database by:

  • Purchase history (new customers, active customers, dead list)
  • Occasions – As our product is occasion-driven, we track what the occasions it was purchased for and then set up the appropriate reminder campaign
  • Geographic – we drive personalized promotions based on the area where the customers live or where their order was delivered before
  • Email activity – we track the way users handle our emails and add them to appropriate segment as a result. For example, users who never open our emails are segmented and then aggressively targeted with Facebook ads or direct marketing

Because customer’s habits depend so much on factors in their life, segmentation has helped us with either offering the appropriate products or improve our timing (for example, we know they’re more likely to order flowers if someone’s birthday is coming up). Doing what’s more comfortable for our customers rather than bombarding them with email specials they may or may not care about definitely helps improve our conversions.

For any marketers who are new to segmentation, what helpful tips can you give them?

  • First of all put together a list of how you can segment your database – Gender, Age, Purchase History, Geographic, Email activity, Social media activity, Email provider, etc.
  • Then prioritise the segments based on what makes the most sense for your business and start sending emails. Wait for results. The point is that your segmented emails should perform better than broad emails.
  • Based on our experience, segmentation is a never-ending process, so you can keep going with more and more personalization. Remember to watch your results and make sure it makes sense in terms of time and money spent, but if you have an idea — even if you think it may not be the best idea — it may pay off to run a test, just in case.

Are there any other features in the ActiveCampaign platform you find really useful for your business?

The biggest advantage of ActiveCampaign for us is that we can fully automate our email marketing activity. We are heavy users of ActiveCampaign API and Webhooks, which are integrated with our CRM. Based on that our segmentation process is 90% automated.

Basically with the help of ActiveCampaign technology and our own efforts, in one month we built a marketing automation software which would usually cost from $3,000 per month if you use an existing provider.

Aria Agency – Putting the “A” in in mArketing!

What is Aria and what types of customers do you work with?

Formally, Aria is an award-winning, independent, full-service agency with more than a decade of experience in destination, real estate and economic development marketing. Based in Dallas, our team of 14 work in disciplines including branding, interactive technologies, marketing, video and publicity.

Informally, we’re just creative, fun people, who love to design things people want to use, create brand memories and push the limits of promotion.

How long has Aria been an Advocate of email marketing?

We’ve used email marketing from the day Aria opened its doors in 2000.  Email marketing is an integral piece of most of our marketing campaigns. Not only for clients but also for ourselves. Email is still a very effective way to communicate with your target audiences.

We’re constantly refining our approach to message, format, audience segmentation, and a dozen other details of email campaigns to find the most effective treatment for our clients and their constituents.

While I was checking out your site, I noticed you use lots of really stellar imagery. How important are quality images in today’s digital marketing world? Particularly in the small business environment?

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, right? And even that is probably an understatement for today’s fast-paced, me-first consumer environment.  People are busy, and it’s difficult to get them to slow down long enough to give you their attention and get your marketing message across. A well-crafted, beautifully designed piece can not only grab attention, but also leave a lasting impression with consumers, in a split second.

So, to answer your question in a word. Incredibly!

As you have worked with your customers, what are a few things you have found to be successful in designing emails?

Start with a simple design, and then simplify some more.  Keep it clean and ensure you’re encapsulating ideas in easy, bite-sized chunks to make it that much easier for your audience to digest. That’s what really ensures you get your message across. Also, we always keep in mind tech limitations with file download size and red flags for spam filters.

Since you focus a lot on brand development, could you give 3-4 tips and essentials when focusing marketing efforts on brand promotion?

Brand marketing is a pretty straightforward concept. It’s simply putting a comprehensive strategy around marketing with a consistent focus on imparting the brand components. It’s played out across the tactics you use to reach your audience.

It’s the execution of those strategies and tactics where businesses and brand managers often screw up.

A couple of tests you can use to avoid any misdirection in your own marketing efforts are:

  1. 1. Brand style guidelines are your measuring stick. The first thing you should always do is make 100% sure that each marketing component and promotional piece adheres to your brand guidelines. If the brand messages you’re sending out through social media, your website and your email campaigns are so vastly different that you don’t get a strong sense of brand cohesion when you look at all of those elements comprehensively, you need to reassess how you’re presenting your brand.
  2. Seek out, and listen to feedback from your consumers. Chances are you view your brand in a very defined way. And, a lot of times we find clients are surprised to find the public perception of their brand is completely different. And that’s what matters. Your brand is really how people describe you when you’re not in the room. Find out what the world thinks of your brand, and then tailor marketing efforts to change their way of thinking if you need to. What does Don Draper always say? “If you don’t like the conversation, change it.” It’s true.
  3. Quality over quantity. Remember your brand integrity and reputation is paramount. One awesome content marketing piece in support of your brand is better than 10 mediocre productions any day.

I see in your “Beliefs” section you state, “Traditional advertising alone yields unacceptably low returns compared to cost” – Can you explain what you mean by this and what is considered “non-traditional”?

By traditional, we mean print and broadcast. It’s the age-old tactic of blasting a message over and over again until it’s part of people’s nature. That really doesn’t work today where people are so inundated (every second of every day) by advertising, that it becomes background noise. It’s just part of the atmosphere — you start to tune out the neon of Las Vegas when you’ve been on the strip for a few hours.

Our aim with any client project (and our own) is to find the most efficient way to make our message as personal as possible. It’s really the only way to ensure you’re going to get the attention of your audience. If you can make it seem like you’re reading their mind, they’ll at least give you a few seconds to make your point.

We see social media, behaviorally-customized web experiences, and opt-in media (like email) as big players in this new marketing approach.

How can small businesses use email marketing to create an “experience” with their contacts, hopefully to build a lasting relationship?

Personalize, personalize, personalize. Use segmentation and personalization features to create content that your prospect wants and finds valuable. If you can add value through your marketing, things that enrich their lives in some way: it could be learning, it could be funny, it could be special offers, it could be advance notice, it could be tips, tricks and secrets… any way you can, make it about me, the recipient, and make it about what I’ve told you I want.

How important is it to make marketing, branding, etc personal in todays digital world? Can you share an example of how being personal helped a customer succeed?

See our previous response for how important we believe it is.

We recently undertook (and will be publishing results in our own case study soon) an interactive game for a client. It’s entire focus is on personalization. We’re using behavioral decisions (did they go to a museum or a concert, did they like a baseball player or a politician, etc.,) to create profiles of each individual. We’re using social media, text messaging, email marketing, and physical game components to personalize — down to the smallest degree possible — our messaging from here on out. And each decision from here on out only makes our personalization that much more specific and finite.

We’re really early in the stages of this new game, but we’re hoping for crazy engagement metrics compared to the one-size-fits-all approach of old.

We’ll let you know how it goes.

If you would like to get your company featured in ActiveCampaign’s “Marketer’s Spotlight”, please
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Boutique Hotel Seven Days – Pragues email marketing success

ActiveCampaign’s guest contributor for today’s marketers spotlight is Mrs. Radka Konigsmarkova, the General Manager of Botique Hotel Seven Days.

Please tell our readers about your business and where you are located.

We are a 4 Star boutique hotel located in Prague, Czech republic.

Since you are in the hotel / service industry what made you decide to start using email marketing?

There are several reasons we decided to start using email marketing. As the most important, I consider keeping communication with our guests and improving the overall impression of our services and care. The other reason was to find the best way to offer other services of our hotel such as airport transfers, spa & wellness, restaurants to the guests before their arrival. Especially to those who booked through some online reservation portal like Booking.com.

With the Hotel industry being so personal, what are some of the marketing tools outside of email marketing you feel are valuable to companies in the Hospitality industry?

Today it is all about the online marketing. We try to use all online tools that we find useful to build our online presence – blog, social media etc. We concentrate on our website, as I consider it as one of the most important marketing tools and we  constantly optimize it to increase the number of direct bookings as they are the key to the success of the hotel.

What are a couple of the features within ActiveCampaign you use in your email marketing and why are they important to you?

I really like the possibility to set up Auto Responder Campaign and Date Base Campaign as both types enable us to send the campaigns just at the right time without much effort. Once the campaign is set up, we just need to provide data and the rest is done by ActiveCampaign.I also find the reports very well done, user-friendly and clearly showing all important information. You can see an example of an autoresponder campaign which relies heavily on personalization tags below.

Providing shelter for patrons has been around for thousands of years. What are some of the things that have been changing in more recent times, and how does your Hotel adapt to these changes?

One of the things I have to mention is definitely the power of online reviews and ratings. I do not believe that with bad reviews and low score any hotel can be successful and profitable as the online reputation has a direct impact on the hotel revenue. I believe that our hotel deals with reviews very well, we read all of them and react to them. I am very happy that our guests appreciate what we do.

What are some of the steps you take with your marketing to set yourself apart from the competition?

We have guests on our minds whatever we do. We focus on guests and their needs in every stage of the booking proces, during their stay, and even after they leave. We do our best to offer our customers a value and offer only what we are really able to fulfill.

Do you have any words of advice or tip for other customers who might be in the service or hospitality industry?

It would be the same as what I have just said: Focus on guest and his needs in every stage of the booking proces, during his stay and even after the departure. Make everything easy for your guest – easy to find you, easy to book, easy to contact you, easy to check-in etc.

A Marketing Coach’s view on Email Marketing for Small Businesses

This week’s Marketer’s Spotlight picks the brain of marketing expert Chris Fourgere, owner and creator of Freedom Marketing Coach.

Chris, I see that Freedom Marketing Coach offers a wide range of marketing services. How did you get started in this industry and how has it evolved since you started?

I started helping people with just marketing and sales.  Then it morphed into fixing and creating systems and organization for their businesses so that they can hang onto and handle the sales increases! We use new media or ideas with tried and true methods. ie using Facebook fans to build our databases or client databases.

When it comes to marketing in general, what are the biggest mistakes you see small businesses make?

They do not have a strategy for getting more 1st time clients and then converting them to regular clients. They are constantly looking for a quick fix, without understanding that you can actually get paid to build your database and use automated systems like email to followup with all your prospects!

Do these type of mistakes often come from a lack of marketing strategy, or are there other factors that you see being the major contributors?

For sure a lack of a marketing strategy and the skills to create one, plus they have a hard time understanding how to leverage technology to do most of the work for them. They rarely also have a lifetime value of a customer/client figured out, so they are afraid of “giving stuff away.” ie. one of my other businesses is a restaurant, now I could run a magazine ad all pretty and stuff extolling the virtues of my restaurant, or I can put an email widget on my website giving away FREE appetizers to anyone who will give me their name and email. The money I spend on giving my prospects the Free appetizer drives way more business, and I know it because we track it, then a brand building add in a magazine. This trial run process can be used for ANY business.

Example: We work with a chiropractor who gives his new clients a 65 dollar chiropractic pillow when they come for the initial assessment. The visit happens to be 65 bucks also,  so the net out for the client is zero in essence. So now the chiropractor pays out the cost of the pillow, and time gives out $130 worth of value for $65, but he now can put that person on a care program. I am on it with this particular chiropractor. and will end up paying $1200 this year to have optimum health in regards to my back and neck so easily worth it for me and maybe even more for him!

With the growth of digital marketing, how to you see the landscape of marketing changing over the couple of years?

It is easier then ever to build a database online and two giants, facebook and groupon have continued to prove, the money is in the list. So get in touch with someone who can set you up with at least email marketing to begin, then facebook, then some type of loyalty program for starters, and make a marketing funnel for your prospects and clients to get into and stay in relationship with your business.

Obviously you are involved with email marketing. How do you see this type of platform helping your customers, especially those in the small business arena.

I recently spoke in front of a class of business students at a local college. It was 11 am in the morning and I asked how many of them had been on social media already 75% of the hands went up. Now the cool thing is, I asked how many had been in their email, and 99% of the hands went up. So as hot as social media is email is still king, and will be for a long time. They key is to begin with email which is as common as having a phone and integrate with social media later. But start with email and get out some communication to your prospects to educate them and let your clients know what is new, cool and can help them too!

What are your favorite tools to recommend using when you start people with their email marketing and why?

If you have a brick and mortar business where people come you must go to staples and get a drawbox and starting giving something away for a monthly draw in exchange for the email addresses of your visitors. This way you can build your list and followup with everyone automatically!! You can also use a tablet to help with the signups if you want. Android le pan on Amazon is what I use,  and short cut the entering in of all the written ballots. But either way get going today. I have 15,000 people on my database and this is the method I use. Otherwise, get going with ActiveCampaign right away and you don’ t even need a website as they can host a form for you. Just get started and use the inexpensive tools like ActiveCampaign and a $35 draw box and a gift basket or gift card to giveaway to build your list online (your website or Facebook and instore if you have a physical location).

What are top 3  pointers you can give for those who are still in transition mode from pure traditional marketing to digital platforms?

  1. Get started today.
  2. If you don’t know how to do it hire someone who does it will be one of your best investments
  3. Remember traditional marketing to digital marketing is still marketing the delivery system is the only thing that is changed. So embrace change and profit!!

If you are interested in having your business featured in “Marketer’s Spotlight”, please send an email to atuttle@activecampaign.com

Why Panties.com loves ActiveCampaign!

Recently, I had the opportunity to ask Lila from panties.com a few questions about her experience with email marketing, while being a customer of ActiveCampaign. She provided incredibly insightful answers, and more than obliged us to give many tips and tricks she has learned while developing their email marketing.

1. What provided the inspiration to create panties.com?

We had been in business since 1985 when internet domain names became available to civilians. We purchased panties.com in 1994, and created our first website a couple months later. We chose panties.com because lingerie was already taken. In retrospect, it was a much better choice. It is shorter and no one can even spell lingerie.

2. Is your business 100% online or do you also have retail? What is the benefit of having your specific business model?

We have always been mail order type business model and we have never had a store front. The down side of not having a store front is that many lingerie businesses will not sell to web based businesses. Mail order has always been the dark sheep of retail lingerie. The upside to is that a web based business can be less costly to create. Some of them actually carry next to no inventory. I believe this is why there is such distrust of web-based businesses.

3. What types of advice can  you give any readers who might just be getting started in a web based business?

We specialize in gifts that men order for their sweethearts for Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Anniversary, and Birthday. Unlike many of our competitors, we still do print ads. Google Ad words has become so expensive with such a low conversion rate, that it has simply become a Google cash register. We’d make more money going to the casino.

Our email campaigns have become an unanticipated revenue producer. It has only been as the years have gone by that the the value of our list is has become so evident.

We first started with Vertical Response – a service that emails on the client’s our behalf. But it ended up costing us a minimum of $70 for each campaign – even years ago when our list was smaller. Plus there was a delay because they had to verify each and every campaign we sent. I think they were afraid we were going to start sending pornography, or do some type of bait and switch. They’d ask us to retouch photos and change our landing pages, the demands were unending. It was exhausting and frustrating. We dumped them in favor of an email program developed by the shopping cart company we used, DigiShop.

The danger of going in that direction is that if a company’s forte is a shopping cart software, chances are the mass email program they develop will never have their full attention. And that is exactly what happened. DigiShop stopped developing their mass email program, Fireblast, it fell behind the times, and eventually they stopped providing any support. The moral of the story is: purchase software that is the company’s main focus, not their secondary.
We then hired a web developer to create a new website for us. He came highly recommended. But we only took the word of the recommending party and did no research – another mistake. The website eventually turned out OK after thousands of dollars of additional custom programming from our side. One of the only good things this guy did right, was introduce us to ActiveCampaign. He claimed he had developed over 100 websites. He had a lot of experience in attaching email programs to the sites he developed and said that ActiveCampaign was the easiest and the best. He recommended ActiveCampaign over Constant Contact, Vertical Response, MailChimp and all others. He said it was usable by business owners such as myself, and did not require extensive technical knowledge to operate.   
By the time it came to go live, we had spent so much money developing the new website site and getting rid of the bugs ourselves (in spite of having paid the guy upfront) that there was nothing left in the budget to buy the ActiveCampaign software – I believe it was $500 at the time. So we purchased a monthly package. The website developer criticized us for doing this, saying that in a year we’d have paid for the entire software twice.
This turned out to be fortuitous, because we never would have had the automatic ActiveCampaign updates if we had simply purchased the software and installed it on our own servers. Plus I can call whenever there is a problem or I can’t figure something out. For my business, and my limited technical knowledge, this has been a godsend.

4. With a niche product like yours, is the demographic limited, or are you able to successfully reach people of all ages and genders? Do you have any different approaches to sales and marketing based on demographics?

Our customers are surprisingly mature. Our medium customer is a male in his 50’s. Our list is not big enough to segment according to area of the country, nor would it be useful. But if we sold plants and trees, it might.  

5. In regards to your email marketing. Have you found a frequency of sending (i.e. everyday, once a week, etc) that works well for you?

I researched this question extensively because I had the same question myself. Turns out that about three times a week is good for our product. Morning usually get more response than evenings. Friday and Saturday nights get the least response.

6. What type of tools do you use with your email marketing and how do they help your business.

We use the segmentation extensively and find it very useful. I encourage everyone else to do the same. I’ll give a few examples:
  1. Let’s say you have a product that has sold very well, but seasons change and it is now time to close it out. How do you offer it at a discount without pissing off the customers who paid full price in the past three months? What we do is make a list of all customers who have purchased said product, then upload their email addresses into ActiveCampaign and create a special list. Then we segment the Campaign to not send to anyone on that special list. We can then send out a 50% off offer knowing that those who have already purchased the product will not get the email.
  2. You can also use the same segmentation to avoid sending emails to people who have already purchased a product.  No sense in sending advertisements to those who already have the product. The less email, the better.
  3. You can can use segmentation to send emails to people who may want to buy the next in a series of products. If product A is followed by product B, you can create a list from your database of all people who have purchased product A (and therefore may want product B), and send them personalized email using the ActiveCampaign token system that will personalize the correspondence.  Use the segmentation tool to exclude anyone who has already purchased product B. That way you can email customers who have purchased product A but not product B. And best of all, if you can’t figure it out, ActiveCampaign will walk you though it on the phone.
Other things we do with email marketing:
  1. Prune your list. Sometimes smaller is better. We routinely clean our list for non-responders. If someone has not opened an email from your company in six months, then delete the address. People do not want emails they don’t read. If you are paying according to your list size, this can keep your cost down. We all want to boast how large our email lists are, but non-responders do no one any good. You do not want your company to build up residual resentment from people by sending our unwanted emails, anyway.
  2. I find one offer per email helps conversions. A lot of the email I receive from companies look just like their home page and have so many offers and so much to look at that one is confused about the call to action. Our emails are very simple. One photo, one offer – Free shipping or 33% off, etc.
  3. Always check your email offer before it goes out. Make sure that every hyper link connects to the page you intend.  You’d be surprised how many large companies do not do this. I receive so many emails that do not connect to the offer sent. When the link does not work, you receive no revenue from it. Plus you irritate the customer for having wasted their time.  I actually received an email from a well known lingerie supplier offering us 30% off “stalkings”. It did not  make them seem terribly intelligent. The one time you decide not to check your email thoroughly will be the one time that it does not work.
  4. Make it very easy to unsubscribe. You don’t need to be emailing people who don’t like you. And your reputation will be better. One of my friends decided to sign me up with Match.com. It took me years to figure out how to off their list and several angry emails before I finally stopped receiving photos of ugly dudes holding photos of taxidermied animals they’d shot.  I resent Match.com so much, so much I’ll never go near them again, even if I do decide to date.
  5. Send out really good offers! We never shy away from 50% off a special item, free shipping on a popular item, even at Christmas. We even do free giveaways – no minimum order – using some product that is useable and saleable but we simply bought too much of. Make your customer look forward to hearing from you!
  6. Invest in beautiful graphics. We had a graphic artist create a drop dead gorgeous template for our emails and upload it to ActiveCampaign.  It isn’t cookie cutter and gives a special signature to our emails.
  7. If you need help, call ActiveCampaign. You’d be surprised how people don’t call for help when they need it and just try to figure it out themselves, but never do.

Marketers Spotlight: Informatix

In this weeks “Marketers Spotlight,” I interviewed John Makras, an Account Manager with Informatix in Queensland, Austrailia. John provides insight into how digital marketing is a multi-faceted tool which should be well rounded and versatile in order to optimize success.

1. Let’s start with a basic get to know you question. What is Informatix and what need is the business trying to meet?

Informatix is an online marketing agency that offers a variety of services and support for businesses of all sizes, across multiple industries. We work to increase visibility, strengthen branding, and help companies reach more customers, more effectively, in an ever-expanding digital world. We are a full-service agency, and our services are available both a la carte and in the form of customized marketing packages. We’re proud to offer a wide range of digital opportunities for all types of businesses looking to grow through online marketing. Our services are versatile and beneficial for any company. We can help startups and businesses establish an Internet presence and build a global customer base, even without technical knowledge. We also save companies time and money by taking both routine and specialty marketing tasks for them, and applying our skills and experience
to improve platforms, unify presentations, and boost profits.

2. I see that you have many different types of services you offer. Have you always offered all of these services or have your offerings been evolving as the digital marketing world expands?

At Informatix, we strive to keep our services—and our clients—on the cutting edge of technology. We are constantly evolving in order to stay ahead of the latest developments, and to deliver the digital advantage to our customers. We understand the importance of keeping pace with the fast-moving online world, from updated design strategies to new avenues for connecting with customers and prospects, like mobile phones. A company that isn’t up-to-date will lose opportunities and risk falling behind the competition.

3. To continue with the theme of the last questions, how important do you think it is for businesses to engage in multiple forms of online marketing like the ones you offer?

We believe it’s essential. Successful online marketing is about exposure through diversification and repetition. The more often a potential customer sees a business online, the more likely they are to remember that business and either look them up, or click through the next ad or communication they receive. A combination of several different online marketing methods, a strong email marketing platform to ensure continued engagement with customers and prospects, and analytics to help determine what’s working and what’s not, is the most effective strategy in the crowded digital marketplace.

4. When did you start offering email marketing and how do you see it helping your customers?

Email marketing is a core offering for Informatix. We’ve specialized in this service since the beginning, and we’ve evolved the technology, analytics, and strategies incorporated with our email marketing platform to ensure continued effectiveness. Even with all the buzz surrounding new online marketing avenues like social media, email marketing is still the most effective method by far. Studies have shown that email has higher open rates, engagement, and ROI than any other digital communication. A reliable, attractive email marketing platform should be at the center of any online marketing strategy.

5. I see that you have a 5-step process when working with your customers. Why do you feel this is important when it comes to digital marketing?

The biggest challenge with digital marketing is finding a solution that works for a particular company. No two businesses are the same, and the best strategies are tailored for each individual company. Our five-step process—Discover, Strategize, Execute, Analyze, Apply—ensures that each of our clients receives an online marketing package that is customized to suit the specific needs of their business. We work with clients before, during, and after projects and campaigns to make sure that everything runs smoothly, and to help them leverage the results of their marketing efforts for further gain.

6. When a business is first getting started with serious digital marketing (i.e. not just updating Facebook once a month), what are a few of the top metrics people should look for to measure success and why?

When it comes to digital marketing, success can be measured in several ways. One of the top metrics companies should analyze is their email open rates, as well as the clickto-open rate. These metrics reveal which campaigns are the most effective in terms of content, delivery time and frequency, and more. When combined with A/B split testing, the metric is even more valuable. Another important metric is website traffic—not just volume, but also first-time versus repeat visitors, most frequently visited pages, and average length of time for visits. Analyzing traffic can reveal a great deal of information about the efficiency of a website in converting visitors to paying customers. Live chat services are a great way to improve this metric.

7. In regards to email marketing, what are the tools (automations, split testing, etc.) that you see consistently helping your users? Why do you feel they are so beneficial?

Automation comes in high on our list of effective tools for email marketing. It saves so much time for a busy company—and in business, time is money. Many of our clients couldn’t believe how much easier automation made their working lives. The ROI for automation is extremely impressive, too. Companies can reach more of their customers and prospects faster, and with reliable frequency. This in turn builds awareness and brand recognition, and boosts click-through rates and conversions. Live chat is another high-impact tool that’s packed with benefits, from a reduction in customer service workloads and expenses to further automation, all leading to greater engagement and increased revenues. One of the more powerful and most underused, or improperly used, email marketing tools is the online survey. There is so much valuable information that companies can gain from a well-written, implemented, and tracked survey, but many businesses simply don’t have the time or the knowledge about what makes a survey effective. Our survey offerings have delivered fantastic, consistent ROI for our clients.

Jerry’s Artarama – Responsive marketing success

Recently, I had the opportunity to conduct an online interview with Mike Gundry, the President of Retail at Jerry’s Artarama. As Jerry’s Artararma is great customer of ActiveCampaign, I wanted to learn more about them as a business, their digital marketing, and of course the email marketing tools they use to help maintain relationships with their customers. His answer to my questions are below.

1. What is Jerry’s Artarama and how did it get started.

Jerry’s Artarama was founded in 1968 by Jerry Goldstein in New York. Jerry’s Artarama has become one of Americas premier source for art supplies and framing.  To date Jerry’s Artarama consists of 16 retail stores, one to open later this year, and a full service website mail order division.  Jerry’s offers products from around the world exclusively to their customers in the United States along with the other brands all at amazingly great prices.  Jerry’s also offers full service frame shops at all stores. It is the goal for each of our stores to become the center of their local art community.

2. Who are the people you typically reach to with your business (students, teachers, men, woman, etc)

Jerry’s services artists and art aspirers from all age levels.

3. How has digital marketing changed the marketing landscape of Jerry’s Artarama’s business model?

Jerry’s utilizes email marketing and social media to reach a much broader market place.  Jerry’s is able to have a much more extensive marketing campaign due to the economics of digital marketing along with the ability to make marketing decisions quickly. In years past we would have a yearly marketing plan that would include flyers, post cards, and some traditional print media.  We would have to live with the plan even if it was not getting us the results we were looking for.  With digital marketing we can make changes and alterations along with adding whole new concepts in a very short period of time. 

4. As a business with a strong eCommerce presence, what are some of the tricks and tips you have learned about how to get customers to be repeat customers.

Even though marketing has many new tools in todays day and age, the marketing message is still the same.  Customers still want why they always have wanted.  They want friendly service, quality products all at a great price.  To accomplish that, we create our email campaigns to offer more than just price and products, but to offer service; services like free art lessons, local art happenings, announcements of demonstrations in our stores and much more.

5. What made you choose to start using Email Marketing

Email marketing is very important to targeted markets like ours.  I don’t think we even have an option do we? Email is the best and most efficient way to reach customers.

6. Are there any particular tools of email marketing that have been really useful for your marketing strategy.

That is the best part of email marketing, you can do many things and don’t have to rely on a few proven tricks.  If I had to narrow to one, it would be to have limited time deals.  Through email marketing you can your message to your customers at a exactly the time you want them to receive it which allows for some quick call to action marketing.

7. Are there any types of content or subject matter that you have found to be really successful with your customers in regards to email marketing.

Besides FREE, the best subject matter is specific category sale.  For instance in our business we offer specials in categories like “Giant Canvas Sale”.

8. How do you see email marketing continuing to grow with your overall marketing strategy in the future?

We have all but eliminated any traditional print media. We still do some mailings, but our efforts are to get many email addresses as we can from our customers and interested people.