The Marketing Performance Booster

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1 The Marketing Performance Booster

2 Table of Contents An Introduction to Marketing Design & Delivery Common Mistakes to Avoid A Design That s Just Too Big...4 Ignorance of the Law...4 Faiure to Test & Measure...5 Rushing & Assuming...6 The Tempation to Purchase Lists...6 Forgetting to Be Human...7 Conclusion

3 Introduction What is Marketing? is a widely used and very helpful form of communication. However, when it comes to utilizing it for mass marketing campaigns, the traditional one-to-one messages simply don t cut it. marketing is a process that allows businesses to send one well-formatted, carefully planned message to many people all in the click of a button. Marketing allows companies to reach thousands of current or potential clients with valuable, informative and persuasive marketing messages through a permission-based system (this means your recipients must opt in to receive your communications. How Does Marketing Work? There are two important aspects to understand if you are considering beginning an marketing campaign. First, you ll have to know a bit about HTML and the actual design process. And then once you have a great ready to send out, you ll need to be aware of important aspects associated with the delivery process. Let s look at both of those topics now. DESIGN: marketing rookies sometimes misunderstand the process and mistakenly believe that they can simply attach an HTML file and all of their images to a regular message. Or, some people will paste HTML code right into their application, hoping their message will transfer that way. Unfortunately, when these mistaken newbies click send, they ll discover that neither of these methods will quite work out. Here s what happens on the recipient s end: Recipient's application breaks the paths to your image files and moves them into temporary folders Messages will most likely be sent in plain-text format by default, so the HTML won t be read or displayed correctly Recipients get a weird looking, confusing with either a bunch of separate attachments or a window full of code The beautiful design you created goes to waste

4 The solution to the design issue is to always send HTML s from your server in multipart/alternative MIME format. What does that mean? Well, when you use this format, your application will respond by combining your HTML plus a plain-text version of your message together. This ensures that if for any reason your recipient can t receive the HTML version, they will at least have a clean and clear plain text version to read. How do you send with multipart/alternative MIME format? Well, you ll either need to program a script to take care of the transfer or you can simply use a third party application such as Constant Contact or MailChimp. We recommend finding an marketing vendor you like and let them do all of the behind the scenes coding that s required for your design work to be put to good use! DELIVERY: So, you have your design and you re ready to send. But be careful there are several important considerations that are worth thinking through before you click that send button. Here are a few: The common services (Gmail) only give you the option to send to a limited number of recipients at any one given time. If you have thousands of leads in your database, then Gmail is probably not going to do the trick (or it is just going to take you hours and hours to get all those s sent). Sending from your own server can create problems too. Your ISP could shut down your account if you send too many s in a short amount of time or if you exceed your monthly bandwidth limit. Spam filters don t like seeing a bunch of s coming from a single IP address, which is what will happen if you use a traditional program and send from a home computer. Your s may never be received because firewalls will think that your messages are spam. Well, at this point you may be thinking that these issues certainly make marketing more complicated than you hoped it would be! Fortunately, though, there are a couple of easy solutions. What are your options? First, you can still send your campaigns on your own if you prefer to do so and don t mind the extra time and work it will take. However, if you do go with that option, be sure you send from a dedicated IP address or spread your delivery out among several different IPs to prevent blocking. We recommend a second, easier option. Simply set up with a reliable service provider and let them do the work for you! A program like MailChimp will automatically split your campaign up into sections and send each out quickly, but separately to avoid many of these issues. Working with an vendor allows you to manage your delivery, avoid spam filters and keep the process efficient along the way

5 Common Marketing Mistakes to Avoid Now that we ve covered the basics as far as how to manage the design and delivery, it s time to address some of those common mistakes that really cause businesses to struggle with marketing. When done correctly, marketing with can be a very effective and helpful form of communication. Don t miss out on the opportunity to have it work for you! Avoid these common mistakes so that your recipients can properly receive, appreciate and respond to the wonderful messages that you ve prepared for them. A Design That s Just Too Big The last thing you d want is to spend hours designing and developing an template that won t be fully visible to your recipients. We know you have a lot to say and that big, compelling design just looks too eye-catching to resist. However, keep in mind that most clients offer a relatively narrow preview window. Don t risk a design that will only be partially displayed on some accounts. That will be an instant turn off and distraction to your potential customers. We recommend sticking with a maximum of 600 pixels for the width of your design to ensure properly visibility in all standard windows. That may seem very small, but take the opportunity to get creative and develop new ways to lay out your content in a professional, clean-looking design. Keeping your design to these size limitations will also prove useful for those viewing your on a mobile device! Ignorance of the Law When we talk about spam, we re not just talking about some word that people use to describe s that they perceive to be annoying or irrelevant. Spam is actually a legal term that refers to unsolicited s sent to a list of people. If you are planning to engage in marketing and have not yet read through the CAN-SPAM Act, we highly recommend that you do so prior to beginning any campaigns. This law, which was passed in 2004, established penalties for spammers with fines of up to $11,000 per offense. This is not something you want to mess around with! Be sure that you understand the law and you re ready to send s the right way. The right way means sending permission-based campaigns. Your recipients should be a list of people who actually requested to receive marketing from your company. This process, referred to as opt in, can begin now. Before you even have your first blast ready to go, start collecting permission from your clients and leads. This will take some time, but it will be well worth the investment to avoid the potential results that can occur from sending s without permission. These results include:

6 Poor deliverability rates Poor open rates Poor Click Through Rates Spam complaints Legal liability and hefty fines Failure to Test & Measure One of the biggest mistakes people make with marketing is that they simply forget to take their time and run some tests. Once you have your content ready, you re very close to being able to hit that send button and complete your campaign. However, you ll want to take the time to do one extra step before you send. Run some tests to make sure your template will work in the various applications that your recipients may be using. Running these test may reveal that there s a little bug or two that needs to be ironed out. Take the time to fix those minor issues, test again to confirm that all is well, and then go on and send away. Here are some suggestions for how to test: Check from different services and ISPs to see how they identify spam and how they deal with flash Send test s to friends, family and coworkers who use various applications and ask them to report to you or send you a screenshot of how your appears in their window If you re using MailChimp, take advantage of the Inbox Inspector and Delivery Doctor, which is a helpful, automatic testing feature that can show you your as it would be received in the 10 most-used clients Once you ve tested and sent your s, it is equally as important that you measure results. Taking time to do so will prove to be tremendously beneficial, as it will allow you to tweak and refine your campaigns and avoid making the same mistakes in the future. You may even be able to identify specific points such as the best day of the week or time of day to send s to your particular list. Look for trends and even try split-testing to really get a better handle on how your campaigns could improve. Here are some metrics to look for:

7 Open Rates Click Through Rates Conversion Rates Unsubscribers New Subscribers Rushing & Assuming Want to avoid plummeting open rates and reports of spam? Then be sure not to rush through the creation and sending of your campaigns. It is important to really take time to think through design, content, and subject lines, which can each have a big impact on your key metrics. We d recommend even setting up brain storming sessions with a few key people at your company. Create a team of people that are organized, thorough and have an eye for good marketing material and let them meet to prepare, plan and review for each campaign. Also, remember to take the time to double check and ensure your list is completely opt-in. Do not ever assume that people will want to hear from you. Even if you have a list of clients who have been with you and received other forms of communication from you for years, it is still important to confirm their permission to specifically send marketing to them. Keep in mind that experts believe permission can go stale after only six months. That means that if you took the time to create an opt-in form and specifically ask individual permission, but you did all of that last year, than it might be too late at this point. To avoid having to duplicate your efforts and ask each recipient for permission all over again, commit to beginning a regular, consistent marketing campaign very soon after you ve first gotten permission. If your recipients are hearing from you regularly, chances are that they won t forget about you and their optin status will stay fresh for years to come. The Temptation to Purchase Lists Well, we hope at this point that everyone understands what a bad idea it is to buy lists. However, we find that many rookies are still trying to cut corners with this approach. The bottom line is that the individuals on these lists are often opt ins, but they are not opted in to your specific marketing efforts. They

8 probably just clicked yes at some point to the option of receiving special offers from third parties." For this reason, these lists aren t necessarily illegal, but they are generally just a bad idea. Be wary of anyone that just wants to hand over a big list of s as long as the price is right. If you do decide to work with these third party list vendors, then they should be doing the delivery for you so that the recipients will recognize the sender (the one they originally opted in with). This way, the risk also stays with that third party company and you protect your own company from the possibility of being reported for spam. Forgetting to Be Human marketing used to be referred to as blasting. But we ve found this description to be a poor way of characterizing what should be a very personalized marketing tool. Remember, we re talking about permission marketing. We re talking about having a personal connection with each recipient to the degree that you are confident that they know who you are, why you are sending them s and that they actually want those s. Often, when people use the term "blast," they are not fully committed to this personalized approach. They simply want to use marketing as a quick fix approach to their marketing efforts. Also, keep in mind that within the actual content of your s, you should use normal language and aim to be relatable, friendly, informative and helpful. Writing like a salesman often has the opposite effect than businesses may hope. While you may feel that you re creating a compelling sales proposition, your readers may just feel that you re pushy and impersonal. Write like a human and think of marketing as a real, personal and practical way to meet your customers where they are. They ll appreciate your relaxed tone and will be much more receptive to your message. With that in mind, we d like to share with you some of the major indicators that spam filters look for when they are reviewing s. By avoiding these, you will not only decrease your chances of being identified as spam, but you will also build that relatable, trusting relationship with your recipients. Here are some things to avoid: Using lots of exclamation points!!!!!! Using bright colored fonts USING ALL CAPS Sending one big image with little or no actual text Sloppy HTML Coding Using the word "test" in the subject line

9 Conclusion We hope that this e-book has been beneficial for you as you embark on your marketing efforts. You can utilize this great marketing tool to reach thousands of people in a personalized, compelling manner. Take advantage of the opportunity by putting these best practices into action and avoiding the common mistakes at all costs! Best of luck to you and if you need any continued help or guidance in the process, please request a copy of our complimentary marketing checklist tool. Cover Your Bases At Farotech, we have a developed a variety of helpful resources to help you maximize your marketing efforts. For a quick, easy tool to help you ensure that you ve covered all your bases, we recommend our Campaign Launch Checklist. Share this ebook:

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