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5 Frightening Myths about Email Marketing


This article was originally posted on and can be found here.

With more smartphone users having access to their email 24/7, it’s important to understand how new consumer behaviors affect your digital marketing strategies. We’re cutting through the hocus-pocus to give you five email marketing myths and the truths you need to know.

Myth #1: Email marketing is dead.

Perhaps one of the biggest myths about email marketing is that it’s no longer a valid path to your customers. This couldn’t be further from the truth. According to Adobe’s 2016 Email Survey, people are spending 17 percent more time on emails year over year – with 45 percent using their smartphone to check work email and 63 percent to check personal email.

Myth #2: The window of opportunity is small.

Some organizations avoid email as a marketing channel because they assume people won’t take the time to read it. This is a common email marketing myth. The truth is people are spending 7.4 hours a day checking their email messages, a 17 percent increase year over year. This means more opportunity for your readers to see your messages as they are on the go.

Myth #3: Millennials only communicate via social media.

Thanks to the rise of Snapchat and Instagram, some companies only view their millennial audience through the lens of social media. But according to a study by Mapp Digital, millennial U.S. customers prefer email over other marketing channels. They are also more discriminating: only 38 percent of millennials subscribe to seven or more brands’ emails. So when you’re in, you’re in.

Myth #4: One email speaks to everyone.

Another one of those email marketing myths: you just need one type of email for all of your customers. Unless we’re talking about your welcome autoresponder (you have one of those, right?), almost every email you send needs to be segmented and personalized. Gone are the days of “Send All,” and in are the days of speaking one-on-one to your readers.

Myth #5: Mobile-friendliness doesn’t apply to email marketing.

With all of the hoopla surrounding mobile-friendly websites over the past couple of years, it’s understandable that organizations overlooked this new format for email marketing. The truth is, if your emails are not optimized for mobile devices, then they may not display correctly on your readers’ screens. Information may be missing, it may be hard for users to navigate through your email, and it may take forever to load. All of these obstacles can ruin the experience for your readers, so be sure your emails are set up for the way customers are using email nowadays.

Now that you know the myths about email marketing – and the truths – you can look at your email program as an opportunity to acquire, engage and convert customers, rather than a frightening part of your overall strategy.

How to Measure Results for Email Campaigns

marketing metricsCongratulations! You did it.  You put together your email newsletter and clicked “send”.  After creating the content and finding relevant images, you finally sent it out to your subscribers.  Now what? You want to know if it “worked”, which is a pretty vague term, so consider some of the below metrics to measure success.

Open rate

This is obviously a good start – what percentage of recipients opened your e-newsletter? Keep in mind that if they do not download the images in it or click on anything, your email tool won’t count it as an open. Even though you won’t have an exact number for the open because of this, it can still help with trends over time. If you find that your open rate each month is generally around 40%, and then you start seeing lower open rates closer to 20%, it’s possible the subject line isn’t enticing or your recipients are dealing with email fatigue.


Your call-to-action (CTA) in the e-newsletter will likely be some kind of click. You want people to respond to your offer by registering for something, filling out a form, reading a post, or whatever action you define as important. This invitation to click can be placed in several different places of your e-newsletter.  Place it at the top for people who may not read more than a line or two and have the same CTA at the bottom for those who read your full offer to remind them what to do.

Converted Clicks

Let’s go with the example of registering for an event. Maybe 100 people click on the register button, but only 20 people actually register for the event.  I think of that as a “converted click”.  Recognize these are two different metrics and explore why that difference may be there.  If you normally offer free events and this time you’re promoting a paid one, the registration rate may go down because they don’t expect that from you; they are used to your freebies. Or, maybe you are scheduling an event first thing in the morning when recipients prefer a lunchtime event. Either of those reasons could result in fewer registrations. (more…)

Components of a Successful Email Marketing Campaign

Sending an email marketing campaign is not difficult.  There are a number of tools out there you can use, add some content, include a few images and you are ready to go. But simply understanding the “how-to” mechanics of getting an enewsletter out is not enough.  There are several considerations for a successful email marketing campaign.

Include enticing preview text

Have you ever received an email and noticed something before you opened it that said “use this area to offer a short preview of your email’s content”? You’ll see that when someone forgets to edit that teaser area to highlight the focus of the email newsletter and it happens frequently. You want to customize that line and make it interesting. You could even offer the short answer to whatever you are promoting with your headline. So if your headline was something like “Having trouble maintaining your blog?”, the preview text could start with “3 Steps for Better Blog Management……” That way, people know immediately that your enewsletter will answer the question or address the issue that was in your headline.

Include an offer only to your email subscribers

Give them a reason to be on your list rather than just going to the website when they might need your product or service. You want to offer some exclusivity so people remember why they subscribed to your list and to prevent them from unsubscribing.

Offer something new

I occasionally order delivery service from a local pizza place and was on their email list for a short while.  Every single time they sent an email, it had the same exact offer. Every single time. It was the same coupons for the same items so I finally unsubscribed. There was no reason for me to be on the list and really no reason for them to send an email since the offer never changed and could be accessed by anyone on the public site.

Use a simple call-to-action

I’ll use another example from my inbox. I occasionally receive an email from a company addressed to me by name which mentions the special deals that are selected for me based on my interests.  But when I click on the link to see my deals, I have to log onto the site with a username and password. If you’re anything like me, you don’t remember all of your passwords off-hand.  With that particular site, they got me the first couple times, but I eventually unsubscribed because I didn’t want to hunt for a password to see a “deal” I may not even want.   Make sure your call-to-action is simple and does not make users work for it.  If your offer is a deal on “Product A”, when they click on the link, they should go directly to the page that has info about “Product A”.

Segment your list

The lazy way to email is send the same message to everyone on your email list. But that makes it clear your recipients are a number and not a name. If you are a brick-and-mortar store but also serve people nationwide, recognize those differences when you create an email. If you email the entire list and invite them to an in-person deal at the store, that’s only going to annoy people who are 200 miles away. In this case, It’s ideal if you can collect information about recipients from the start by asking for city or zip code when they sign up for your list. But if you did not collect that info during the initial sign-up, you can ask users to update their profile. When you explain the update is for the purpose of catering offers specific to them, you’ll get a decent response because they don’t want anything irrelevant coming to them any more than you do.

You may not send the perfect enewsletter every single time and there will be some trial and error.  There’s not one magic trick that works with every audience and every brand. But if you remember these tips and cater them to your type of business, you’ll start to see a good response.

Yes, Virginia, It is Time for Online Holiday Marketing

This post was originally published on

Holiday Marketing on the Internet

As we write this late summer blog post, much of the U.S. is getting in that last beach vacation, starting first days of school, and thinking ahead to Labor Day weekend. For online marketers, however, this entire last month has been spent planning clients’ strategies for the holidays. You read that right. If your business has not put much thought into the merriest season of them all, then it is time to get serious about where you can focus your resources.


For those with an e-commerce platform, ensuring website pages are mobile-friendly is where you should consider putting your money first.

In 2014, mobile devices accounted for 26 percent of e-commerce sales between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday. Many shoppers research products on mobile devices and purchase from a desktop, so you want to make sure the experience is seamless as the user switches between screens. Why give them a reason to go to your competitors?


Another consideration for those invested in holiday online marketing: remarketing. Facebook, Google, and other networks are making it easier for brands to reach out to shoppers who visited their websites but didn’t yet make a purchase. See how holiday remarketing works.

Social Media

Leveraging your social media presence is also a smart way to approach online marketing for the holidays. Facebook is an excellent platform for video (and is even adding GIFs to its display options). Pinterest can be a great, image-driven starting point for “gift guide” boards filled with pinned items from your website.

Facebook, Google and Pinterest are implementing features that allow users to buy the product directly from the social networks, an attractive option for online-only shoppers. Check out Pinterest’s Promoted and Buyable Pins as a holiday online marketing approach this year.

Other social media ideas to get brands and their audiences in the spirit: publish images or video of employees giving back to the community through Instagram and Snapchat. Knowing who your audience is can help determine which platforms and messaging will work best.

For other ideas and help with developing a holiday strategy, contact the RSO Consulting online marketing team.

Email is Still a Winner When it Comes to Marketing

Although sending email is still a winner, writing content and pressing “send” isn’t quite enough for a successful email marketing strategy.  Your goals with email depend on the type of business you have, but the below items are definitely worth considering for your next email campaign.

Ecommerce sites

Did the shopper abandon their cart?  There are a number of reasons that can happen, so you can send an auto-responder to remind people they still have items in their shopping cart.   You don’t necessarily need to offer a discount to get them back, because people abandon carts for different reasons. An initial message can simply invite them to come back.  If they don’t come back to their cart immediately, another message could go out with a 10% discount offer if they complete their order in a certain time period, such as 24-72 hours.

Individualized follow up with leads

What is a lead to you?  Filling out a form? Downloading a white paper?  Once you have their email address, set up an auto responder based on their action.  Maybe it’s an invitation to a product demo, or introductory rates relevant to the content in the white paper.  This helps segment data based on customer preferences.

When do you send it?


When Do You Send More Email?

This content was originally posted in Direct Marketing News.

The debate about email is still raging in the marketing realm but a recent article found in Direct Marketing Magazine is going to provide some clarity of when to send an email and when not to send an email.

Every marketing company or marketing department always struggles to balance between keeping in contact with their contacts and contacting them too much with emails. But sending multiple emails a day does not necessarily mean that you will scare customers away. There are just very specific times when more email will help and very specific times where more email will hurt:

When it helps:

  • email marketingWhen you have a clean and segmented list:
    • Being able to segment your lists and even schedule workflows dependent on a specific action is the perfect example of when more email can turn into more revenue dollars. These workflows and segments are also the perfect way to indicate where your customer is in the buying cycle. For example, you could break your contacts into three main groups according to the sales/marketing funnel.
      • Lead: This category would indicate that the customer is maybe interested in your product and would mean that they might have opened one of your emails in the past month
      • Prospect: This category means that your customer knows who you are, knows your product, and would have opened 1 email in past 2-3 months.
      • Customers: This category would show that your customer has identified a need and that your solution might be right for them or that they are a preexisting customer who might be ready to buy again. These customers open nearly all mail you send them and even click on the content inside an email.
  • When you are leveraging scarcity or urgency
    • If you have a certain deal or promotion running that is nearing its expiration then this is the perfect time to put some more mail in a customer’s inbox. You can tap into a customer’s sense of urgency with wording such as “last chance” or “sale extended.” A lot of times these words will push customers to speed up their buying process just so they can get your current promo or discount.
  • When you have the right content:
    • Many companies sell tons of different products. However, this does not mean that one customer is interesting in ALL of your products. Sending your customer what they want to see if a great way to personally reach them and influence them to buy. For example, if you work for a health and beauty company and a customer has clicked on nail polish in a previous email. This is when you would want to hit them with some nail polish specific emails and not hair care products or self-tanning lotion emails.

When it hurts:

  • When customers are making big ticket purchases:
    • Fact of the matter is that most people are not buying multiple cars or houses in one year. These are also items that require significant consideration before making a purchase. So reaching out to previous customers who just purchased would be a waste of time. Even if they haven’t purchased yet, it can be good to give your customers some space to mull over the purchase decision they have to make.
  • If they aren’t receiving your emails
    • If all of the emails that you send to one contact are bouncing then you know it is time to delete them out of your database. Sending emails that never even reach its intended destination is not a good use of your resources. This is why it is so vital to keep your lists clean and updated. Also, a follow up phone call never hurts and it can also identify people who might have switched jobs or got a new email address that you were unaware of.

All in all, more mail does not always hurt. However, it is just essential to first identify those customers who will benefit from more mail. This technique can prevent customers from going to competitors and enable you to send the right content to the right customer. Just be careful before you press that send button. Make sure you have updated contact information and aren’t bombarding a customer who needs time to consider their purchase.

3 Ways to Build a Successful Content Marketing Plan

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Content marketing is the new way to do marketing online. When it comes to define what it is, many self-proclaimed gurus might create fancy slogans and descriptions, but what it really boils down to is this: creating relationships with free content.

Some people say content marketing is the new SEO, not only because it is replacing SEO, but also because high quality content marketing ultimately helps search rankings.

Why is content marketing different from other traditional forms of marketing? Let’s take a look at what it means for your business, your customers and the future of your online activities.

The cornerstones of successful content marketing

In a world where everyone is trying to get our attention, what really makes the difference is interacting with someone that actually delivers value. Interruption-based TV advertisement does not work anymore. Online tutorials do. Even sites giving insurance quotes for free generate millions in revenue. What’s changing?

Don’t pitch, teach

Successful content marketing is based on providing value without expecting anything in return. This simple act significantly lends to overall trust, loyalty and sales. If a business is not willing to invest in providing value for its prospects, in the long term, it will more than likely fail.

Authority and sales

Companies who are doing content marketing right understand that they need to be perceived as authorities in certain fields. Free guides lead to consulting and speaking gigs; free video series lead to TV interviews and book sales. Brands that reach authority status win a lot of business doing little traditional marketing.

Conversation is essential

Will you just email your list an eBook or send them a video link? If you’re serious about this new type of marketing, you should be ready to start a conversation with your audience. If they benefit from what you share, they will be willing to help you understand more about them.


Web Seminar Recap: Social Media for Real Estate

The world of real estate is changing. Open houses and yard signs used to be enough to run a successful real estate business. This is unfortunately no longer the case. Why? More than 90% of all home purchases now begin with an online search. When a buyer begins to search for their next home online if your real estate website does not appear in the results you’ve lost the client before you even started. Enter content marketing for buyer leads.

On December 5th ASPE-ROI instructor Bobby McDonald presented the free web seminar, Social Media for Real Estate. In this one-hour presentation Bobby gave an outline for content marketing success and for securing quality buyer leads through your website.

Topic discussed included:

  • How to get started with content marketing
  • A roadmap to content marketing success
  • IDX options and forced registration
  • How to integrate social media with your content marketing strategy
  • Lead sources overview

You can listen to a complete recording of this presentation at Select “View Event Recordings” in the top right corner.  You can also download the slides from this presentation by visiting our Web Seminar Archives.

Are you interested in using social media to drive traffic and generate leads for your business but are unsure how to get started. Check out our Social Media Marketing Boot Camp!



Email Marketing Tips & Tricks

Strategic Link Placement

If your only call-to-action is at the end of your text, you might not get results. Most readers won’t scroll all the way to the bottom of the page. Don’t make it more difficult for people who are ready to buy your product. Place your call-to-action and links to landing pages in prominent locations and in large font.

Use One Call-to-Action Button

The more choices we give people, the higher the possibility of losing them because they don’t want to read a lot of text. Open with a compelling statement (or hard offer), followed by two to three bullet points, then an action button at the bottom.


Why You Need Social Media Training…Reason #4

Learn to integrate social media with your other campaigns.

Here is why many companies fail to successfully utilize social media as a marketing channel:

Creating an account and posted a couple of times about your products or even coupons is not a strategy.

Whether you are new to social media or currently using social media as a marketing channel, social media training from ASPE-ROI can help you take your social media marketing to the next level. One of the huge values is learning to integrate your social media efforts with your other marketing campaigns. On its own, social media can help drive traffic and revenue, but when you incorporate it with your other marketing channels, that is when you truly see its power.

 For some fun, consider this. Do you remember Captain Planet? Well I do!

In Captain Planet, the Planeteers each possessed a power: Earth, Wind, Fire, Water and Heart (I always felt bad for this kid). They were tasked by Gaiai, the spirit of the Earth, to defend the planet from pollution and other environmental disaster, while making efforts to educate mankind on environmental issues. When times got tough for the Planeteers they had to combine their powers in order to summon Captain Planet who would inevitably show up just in the nick of time to save the day…and the planet. Ultimately, Captain Planet represented the concept that the combined efforts of the team were stronger than any of its individual parts (FYI: I had to research a lot of this. I’m not a closet Captain Planet connoisseur. I just liked the concept).

The team concept is very basic and fundamental concept, but it holds true in just about everything you do and it doesn’t make it any less appropriate for my purpose here. Think of social media as just one of your marketing powers that when combined with your other powers can result in the ultimate campaign. Think about it this way. Say your budget for you latest promotion only buys you 1,000 mail pieces. That is 1,000 customers you are able to reach. By incorporating social media in to that campaign, you now have the potential to also reach your 1,000 followers. Your new reach is 2,000 customers and with little to no additional effort or budget spend. If you incorporate your promotion into your email marketing, your website and your sales staff, your reach can grow exponentially. If you also tie a social aspect into the campaign promotion in your emails and on your site, you give yourself even more chance for you message to be spread. This team effort is what makes the difference.

Social media is the new word of mouth. Learn to harness its pass-along ability.

That is a very simplistic view of the landscape using only Reach as a metric for success, but for time-sake we won’t get into the more advanced metrics and benefits of integrating social media. The thing to take away from this is that where social media really excels is in its ability to reach potential customers for very little extra cost. Social media is the new word of mouth. People still tell each other about products they like and tell even more people about the products they hate. But 5 years ago where 1 person may only have voiced their opinion to a handful of people in a given day, they can now reach hundreds, even thousands, of people through Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube.

Harnessing this pass-along factor is what makes the difference between an average campaign and a great one. The key is knowing why people share information on social media and how they share it. If you can appeal to both of these aspects, you position yourself to reap the rewards of having your content spread through the networks of your customers, their networks, and their network’s networks.

The ASPE-ROI Social Media Boot Camp can help you do just that

In our social media training classes, you will learn about the various social media networks and their unique features and nuances. You will also analyze the types of people that make up the various networks and discuss why some content gets shared and why other content doesn’t. Knowing this helps you decide where best to post your content, how to adapt it to other networks and how best to tailor your message to these unique audiences. You will also discuss real-world examples that illustrate best practices and common mistakes to avoid. You will also spend a large portion of the class brainstorming a social media campaign specifically for your company. You will leave with a road map and plan on how to execute the campaign that they developed when you return to the office.

I’ll leave you with the words of Captain Planet, “The Power Is Yours.”


Why You Need Social Media Training…10 Reasons

Over the coming weeks, I will be posting 10 reasons why you need social media training. In this new and constantly evolving space it is imperative to stay on the cutting edge to be successful. Many people are hesitant to take social media training because they are skeptical of self-proclaimed experts and gurus. That is why we have put together a team of experienced and knowledgeable instructors who travel the US teaching companies how to properly utilize social media as a sales and marketing tool. We’ve done the heavy lifting for you and weeded out the snake oil salesman. As one of the nation’s leading training providers, we know who and what make a successful learning experience. The goal of this series is to show you why you should consider social media training from ASPE-ROI.