Category Archives: featured

Two Keys To Email Success: Relevance And Segmenting

Email’s an effective way to market. But what makes an actual campaign effective? Here’s a hint: it’s not how big your list is or what time of day you send your emails.

Two research firms surveyed small, medium and large businesses about their email marketing to determine the most effective tactics for a good email campaign. The two most important components they found? Relevant and compelling content and segmenting lists to target that content.

Compelling Content = Big Challenge

All the businesses surveyed agreed that compelling, relevant content is the most effective email technique for keeping customers interested and engaged. No one wants to stay subscribed to boring emails. And if your newsletter isn’t related to what they signed up for, your readers are going to feel spammed.



Your email content matters, especially with so many online distractions vying for your customers’ attention. The average online consumer spends about 51 seconds scanning over your newsletter. The actual content of your email matters for keeping their attention.

Despite naming content creation as the most effective email tactic, business marketers feel it’s also the most challenging. If you’re stuck for fresh email content, you’re not alone.

In fact, we wrote an entire guide just for you with some of the techniques we use ourselves to amp up our own emails. Download it to the right.

Key #2: Segmenting

It’s not surprising that segmenting an email audience came in as the second most effective tactic, since segmenting is part of offering relevant content.

Instead of sending one generic newsletter to your entire list, break your readers into smaller segments and send emails based on their interests.

Here’s a perfect example: you own a local shop and you also sell goods online. You get email signups in your store and online. If you create two segments – one for local customers and one for out-of-town online ones – you can send in-store sale announcements to your local customers and online sale alerts to your online customers.

You’re also keeping your emails relevant – your online customers can’t visit your store to take advantage of in-store sales, after all.

You can use more than just location for segmenting. Check out our free guide to the right for ideas on targeting your own groups of customers.

Do you agree with the survey? What are your top keys to email success? Share your own story in the comments!

Cheap And Simple Ways For Small Businesses To Do Video

Video’s a really effective way to market. No, really – people spent twice as much time on sites with video, video attracts almost triple the monthly visitors, and that’s just the start.

And with video apps like Vine and the new addition of video to Instagram, you don’t even need cameras, equipment or a budget to start recording video for your business.

Here’s a run-down of all the ways you can do video on a tight budget – and their pros and cons so you can decide what’s best for you.

Quick, Creative Video Shoots

You can create some awesome, impactful video with just a smartphone and 6 to 15 seconds. Two video apps make it super simple to get your message across and make your business memorable. And they’re easy to share since they’re owned by Twitter and Facebook respectively.

Vine

Vine is Twitter’s video sharing app – and is the most creatively restrictive.

Vine limits you to capturing 6 seconds of video, which means you’ll need to plan your message carefully. But 6 seconds is plenty of time to make a memorable impact, demonstrated by the brands below.

Toyota experiments with 6-second stop-motion:


And a local newspaper shares a wild moment from a concert in town:


Video for Instagram

Instagram came to fame as a smartphone photo sharing app to take and edit photos on the fly. In June, Instagram announced new video features.

Instagram lets you record up to 15 seconds of video, with the ability to go back and delete clips to re-take them if you don’t like how they turned out.

Another win for Instagram video? Cinema mode, which features video stabilization – no more shaky camera while you’re filming with a phone in your hand.

Brands are already experimenting with Instagram’s video feature:

Like Lululemon, who found a fun way to show off their yoga gear:

Or Burberry, who took their followers backstage with sights and sounds from their fashion show:

Other Video Solutions

Vine and Instagram share the benefit of quick, easy video that’s super shareable – no fancy equipment required. But what if you need more than 15 seconds to tell you story?

YouTube and Vimeo are two free sites that can host your video and help share it with a wider audience.

YouTube

YouTube is the most popular video sharing site by far, with over 1 billion monthly users and 100 hours of video uploaded every minute.

Best for: Video blogs, product demonstrations, or any video you want a chance to go viral.

Vimeo

Vimeo is a much smaller community of filmmakers and video producers. The site sees 14 million monthly users and 16,000 videos uploaded each day. On the plus side, it means your video has a better chance of getting found and seen.

But Vimeo is more focused on creative, artistic videos – the site was founded by a group of filmmakers who wanted to give other artists a creative online outlet. A lot depends on your video’s quality.

Best for: Creative, cinematic video. In a business’s case, this likely means creative video ads that will spark an interest in others to check out your service. The more creative you can get, the better.

The drawback to these solutions? They’re not quite as simple as point-and-shoot-with-a-smartphone. You’ll at least need to invest in a camera to get the quality results you’re looking for (and that people will want to watch).

What’s the best video solution for your business? Quick and quirky Vine or Instagram creations? Or more traditional online video formats? Share your video tips in the comments!

Updated: Yahoo Releasing Email Addresses Monday, July 15

In the next 7 days, all email campaigns need to take this step.

Yahoo accounts are closing – specifically, those that haven’t been logged into in 12 months will close.

Shortly thereafter, they will be released for the public to claim.

Some Of These Addresses May Be On Your Lists

Since this post was originally published, new information has come to light. Word To The Wise reports, “Last week, a Yahoo spokesperson told the press that only 7% of the inactive accounts had associated email addresses.”

However, of those 7%, those who haven’t opened an email from you in over 12 months are likely to be among those released.

Other people may claim these addresses.

If those addresses are still on your list, the new owners will get your emails (that the old address owner, not the new, signed up for). Not expecting them, they may report you for spam. If the released addresses go unclaimed, your emails to those addresses will bounce. Both situations can impact your deliverability.

Again, only 7% of Yahoo accounts inactive for the past year have email addresses, some of which might be on your list.

However, according to Return Path, “Yahoo! will likely attempt to unsubscribe the inactive accounts from the mail they’re receiving.”

It would be prudent, at this point, to unsubscribe your unresponsive Yahoo subscribers.

To Clear Old Yahoo Addresses From Your List, Follow These Steps

Note: This feature is only available to customers with the analytics package. If you do not, you can upgrade for newer features that allow you to see who exactly is opening your emails, clicking on links, and more. AWeber is one of few services that provides this much insight on subscriber activity, and we highly recommend contacting us to upgrade if you have not already.

Step 1

You need to identify what email addresses on your list will be released. Search subscribers from Yahoo who haven’t opened an email from you in 12 months – but were added before that point (so you don’t unsubscribe recent subscribers who haven’t yet opened an email). Save them as a segment.



Step 2

If you choose, send that segment a win-back email. Chances are, someone who hasn’t opened an email in 12 months won’t open this one either, but stranger things have happened. (If you do this, you’ll need to take Step 1 again (to account for those who open your win-back email) and create a new segment.)


Create your email, then choose that segment to publish to

Step 3

Stop sending emails to that segment of Yahoo addresses by opening that segment, checking the “all” box and hitting “Unsubscribe.”


Do this under the Subscribers Tab

If the new owner of the email address decides to subscribe to your list, they will be able to, and the address will revert from unsubscribed back to subscribed on your list.

That’s it; you’re done. Call us if you need help (877-293-2371 or +1 215-825-2196).

Note: Yahoo will forward email from a user’s old address to their new one, so if any of your current subscribers (with active Yahoo accounts) choose a new email address, you won’t lose them.

Facebook Hashtags: Are They Worth Your Time?

Facebook users added hashtags to their posts #ironically. That is, until two weeks ago, when Facebook officially added support for hashtags.

Now hashtags on Facebook are clickable and organize conversations across the social network.

But does it mean anything for your business now that hashtags on Facebook mean something? Or are they just more noise to filter out?

Facebook Brands: Meet Hashtags

Hashtags are for categorizing conversations and they originated on Twitter. Other social networks – like Instagram, Google+ and Pinterest – similarly use hashtags to group together similar content and make it easier for other people to find.

Facebook’s hashtag feature works the same way, pulling up a list of related conversation when users click a hashtag in a post:

Hashtags are also searchable through Facebook’s Graph Search, which mixes publicly shared posts with posts shared from friends in your network.

Does Your Page Need Hashtags?

The official word from Facebook is don’t count on hashtags to replace or overhaul your current Facebook strategy.

Much like Graph Search has the potential to give your business page a bit of an edge in getting discovered by new fans, hashtags may unearth your page’s content to users who wouldn’t otherwise see it.

A post that got buried in a fan’s news feed could get exposed again with appropriate hashtags. But you probably won’t gain a ton of new followers from it.

In my official opinion? Use hashtags if you want to, but they’re not vital to your Facebook strategy.

If you do choose to hashtag your Facebook posts, here are a few tips to make them more worthwhile:

Don’t overwhelm people with hashtags.

You’ve probably seen this on Instagram – people who caption their photos with every conceivable related hashtag. And it’s total gibberish: #pretty #sunset #gorgeous #summer #relaxing #weekend #colors #colorful #beauty #natural… Limit your hashtag use to one or two relevant ones at the end of your post. Facebook marketing is still all about the content.

Use relevant hashtags.

You have a much better chance of your post getting found if you use hashtags related to your industry or post’s topic. If you’re talking about a local event, you might want to include the town’s name in a hashtag.

Don’t use hashtags for the sake of using hashtags.

If a hashtag makes sense in your post, use it. Don’t add a hashtag for the sake of adding a hashtag. And don’t feel pressured to use a hashtag in every post you publish, either.

What’s your take on Facebook’s newly functional hashtags? #Win or #fail? Share your opinion in the comments!