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Create Subject Lines for Results

Published by Charles Brodeur

Fifty characters could be all that stands between you and the success of your next email campaign. Why? Because 50 characters is all the space you have in a typical subject line – to catch the attention of your reader, entice them to open your email and take action. With so much at stake, marketers need a quick and proven reference tool for developing subject lines that get the desired
result: opened emails.

Let these rules be your guide.

Rule 1: Read the Newspaper

If you want to develop subject lines that result in higher open rates, pick up your local paper. Headlines usually highlight a story’s most important point with brevity, while taking the audience into consideration. Use that approach to make your subject lines short and intriguing enough to compel your subscribers toread your emails.

Subject lines should clearly state what your readers can expect from your email, what’s in it for them and what you want them to do as a result of the email. And your subject line must stand out from others in your customers’ crowded inbox in the most relevant way. Emulating the headlines from newspapers can be a good starting point in the development of subject lines.

Rule 2: Focus on the Objective

What is the objective, or end goal, of your email marketing program? In most cases your end goal is not necessarily high open rates, but rather to have subscribers take a specific and measurable
action. Determine what that one action is, and make sure your subject line will achieve your objective. For instance, if your goal is for recipients to purchase from your online store, don’t use a subject line that is informational in nature. Instead, use a clear call-to-action that emphasizes their opportunity to make a “must have” purchase.

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Email Marketing Metrics

Published by Charles Brodeur

How do you interpret your results? What metrics are available and which are the best metrics to determine success? The
following is a list of the basics, their priority, how to read them and how to use them to refine content:


Open Rate

This metric indicates how often a recipient opened your email. Since so many emails go ignored, it’s good to know how many got subscribers› attention. However, don’t be misled into believing that every opened email was actually read and digested – in some cases, email is scanned and dumped, opened by mistake or only opened to find the unsubscribe link. Open rate is not the best indicator of email success; however, it can be a great pre-response indicator and also a great way to get results on content or subject line testing.

Click-Through Rate

This is a metric that lets you know how often a recipient clicked on a specific link in your email to either go to your website or to take another action. Again, it’s a pre-response indicator, but it can let you know what content and actions in your email are the most attractive to the reader and give you a good idea of what part of the email was of most interest. Be sure and look at each link separately to determine the winners. Also look at the comparison of click-through to conversion or response. Did people click on your email links (showing interest) and lose it when  they got to the response area? This could be an indication that your response form either asks for too much information, the offer doesn’t pay off as promised in your email or that somehow you lost the reader’s interest.

Conversion or Response Rate

This is absolutely the most important metric. All email has a call-to-action, and this metric answers the question, “Did recipients convert to the action you wanted them to take?” Did they sign up for a subscription? Make a purchase? For most email marketers, the question about whether or not someone bought is the most important metric of all.

Unsubscribes and Spam Complaints

The unsubscribe metric is becoming less important over time. Since consumers are getting so overwhelmed with email, many don’t even take the time to unsubscribe or report email as spam. So in most cases, you’ll find that those people not interested will simply delete your email without reading it. But watch this metric for spikes that could indicate that your content is off base. And any spikes in spam complaints can adversely affect your deliverability so it’s important that you pay attention and take action to avoid this.

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Ten Point Email Marketing Review

Published by Charles Brodeur

Hopefully this guide provided information, tools and ideas for your email campaigns that you can implement right away. But even with a new focus on strategy, list building, content creation and analysis, there are still tactical things that should be periodically checked to ensure email programs are working. See how well your email program performs against these essential diagnostics:

Test your opt-in process

Take a minute to walk yourself through your opt-in process, especially if it has been a year or more since you designed or tweaked it. Your first questions: Do all the links work? Do they send you to the pages you expect, such as a registration or confirmation page? Next, how many clicks does it take to complete the opt-in, including clicking a confirmation link in a follow-up email? Usability rules say the fewer clicks required, the more likely the user will complete the process. Two clicks is ideal, three is reasonable and four or more means you're more likely to see users abandon the optin. Be sure and do this for all working opt-in points including your main opt-in page and all landing pages that are active on your site.

Who's monitoring your incoming mailboxes.

It makes sense to automate your email marketing or newsletter program as much as you can, to reduce the need to supervise opt-ins, opt-outs, registration changes, targeting and segmentation, etc. However, remember that there's a human being behind every email address on your list, and they’re capable of just about anything. That includes not following directions for opting in, opting out,  sending feedback or otherwise contacting you. That's why you need to designate someone, either in your department or in your company's IT department, to monitor all email mailboxes associated  with your outgoing messages to watch for misdirected opt-outs, complaints and comments. Most especially this includes the email address you use to send your messages. No matter how many times you tell people not to reply to messages or how easy your feedback or unsubscribe process is, subscribers are going to hit «reply» anyway. Someone must monitor that mailbox to catch and route personal replies. If you haven’t designated someone, now is the time to do so. If you have, check in often and find out what type of traffic and feedback is coming in.

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The Six Step Lead Generation System for B2B

Published by Charles Brodeur

Lead generation is a tough thing to do. It takes time, lots of time, and the results are few and far between. 

We have put together a system for generating leads that motivates, automates, and provides results.  It's a bit complicated and has taken some years to perfect but now it's working and I'm going to show you how to do it for your own business.

The system is a 6 part Sales & Marketing System for lead generation. Read More

Shipping Charges and Shopping Cart Abandonment

Published by Charles Brodeur

PayPal  recently published a survey of online transactions (or non-transactions)  and here is how we read the results:

The biggest challenge for online merchants is getting them through the eCommerce Conversion Funnel.  The funnel usually looks a little something like this:

StoreFront (Home Page)
> Catalog View
>> Product List View
>>> Product Detail View
>>>> Shopping Cart Summary**
>>>>> Check Out Form

** The Shopping Cart Summary is the page where the buyer sees a summary of the products selected, the taxes, and the shipping charges.  This is where the ABANDONMENT occurs.

We can measure and test abandonment rates to help your site reduce abandonment.  And PayPal has helped us to see what items need to be considered or tested to increase sales.

Here are our interpretations of PayPals survey:

Main reason why visitors leave the Shopping Cart Summary:
 - To gather more information like "Shipping Costs"

Main reason for abandoning:
 - Shipping Charges were too high
 - Wanted to compare prices with another website
 - Wanted to compare prices with a Bricks and Mortar store
 - Wanted to look for an online coupon
 - The preferred payment option was not available

Main Suggestion for Online Merchants
 - Provide shipping charges upfront before the checkout
 - Provide as many options for payment as possible

Shipping still seems to be the main driver for visitors to leave a website behind.  We suggest that all online merchants carefully examine their shipping policies and consider making "Shipping" a marketing function rather than an "Operational" function.

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Five goals for your Website

Published by Charles Brodeur

I was recently asked to give some advice to a friend who wanted to have a web designer design her website. My friend runs a salon and she was one of those people who knew that she needed a website but didn't know about the business...

She had no idea what Web Designers charge, she didn't know how her website would work for her, she hadn't thought about what content she was going to put there, she just knew it was 2010 and every small business needs a website. Well, it was time to teach her a couple of things as a favour and help her with her strategy for her website.

I went through 5 strategies with her when I explained the opportunities with a website:

Goal 1: Selling Online

The most well known goal for eCommerce Businesses where you're looking for an extra channel to sell your products and services.

Strategy: To reach sales targets and reduce shopping cart abandons, you'll need to focus on an all-in-one eCommerce site complete with catalogs, products, shopping cart, shipping and a payment gateway and that provides an interesting and seamless shopping experience. Don't forget to add extras like upselling, recommended products, product galleries and plenty of credible product information to help meet your sales and orders targets.

But what happens when you can't sell online because what you sell is a physical service or you're not running a for-profit business? There's 4 other goals you can set for your Online Business to get return on investment...

Goal 2: Build Your Community

This goal applies particularly well to non-profit organizations like Churches, local Neighborhood organizations, Community organizations, Charities etc - they need to have online conversations/discussions with their current members and attract new ones.

Strategy: To build an online community, you'd need to nurture a social site with a discussion forum and post regular news on a blog to keep visitors coming back. Make a space for photo-uploads to show what's going on in your community, post podcasts of speeches or presentations for your visitors to download in a members-only area. Make sure members know about your site and that they contribute as well!

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A Solid eCommerce Strategy is the Key to Success

Published by Charles Brodeur

Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) is a constant battle online. I call it "Shiny Object Syndrome". It is so easy to lose focus these days and bounce from one great idea to the next before we have fully executed on the first great idea.

That's why we need a plan that follows a the path to success. 

Decades ago, business owners had it easy - they weren't dealing with the rapid and volatile change we deal with today.There was a strategic, focused way of managing a businesses that you may remember - the 4 P's.

The 4 P's, aka the "Marketing Mix", is a combination of four marketing ingredients that you must constantly balance and control when running your business.

The 4 P's are still relevant today, and we have a bit of an update to applying them to the eCommerce Business:

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Email Marketing for your Sales Team

Published by Charles Brodeur

Do you need to generate more sales?  Do you want to fire up our sales team?  Is your Marketing Department producing good quality leads?

One of our clients has a very effective way of using the BigTurns Email Marketing Platform as a calling list for his sales team and I would like to share his methods and successes with you here.

First, you need to know about the Email Marketing Platform.  The BigTurns platform is hooked into the BigTurns Analytics and Reporting engine.  That means that when you send out an Email Blast you will have access to the following Data: Read More

Ways to optimize your Online Shop

Published by Paul Pyrlik

The year 2010 should be used to optimize your existing eCommerce Platform. Many Online Shops I see out there have enormous potentials for improvement. Some of them can't be implemented easily, e.g. Clean URLs (URLs which just reveal their resource, but not their technology) - here you are often limited by the technology and platform you use. However, there are many things you can do in the field of technical Search Engine Optimization (SEO). For this purpose one option would be to create a whole new template to get started. You can overhaul the GUI (graphical user interface) and optimize the template for all the search engines like Google and Yahoo. What needs to be done for this can be listed quickly:
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Automate Your Accounts Receivable

Published by Charles Brodeur

Do your customers pay on time?  Do you spend more than 1/2 a day a week collecting payments from delinquent accounts?  When you call for payment do your customers pay by Credit Card?  Would you like to automate your accounts receivables?

The Process to Automating Your AR Collections

First, you want to take a look at your Aged Receivables.  Do you have many customers past due over 30 days?  Over 60 days?  Over 90 days?  Do you have a system or process to collect the funds?

Point is, most small businesses don't have the time to effectively manage their Aged Receivables.  A lot of the time, small business owners don't focus on collecting payments until a cash crunch hits - like pay roll.

So, we need to build a system to communicate to your customers in a organized and systematic way to show that you are: 1. on the ball and 2. coming for your money.  How do we do this, you ask?  Easy.

Automated Multi-Step Email Collection Campaign

Step 1:

We create a 5 part email campaign to send to your Delinquent Accounts.
  • Email 1, is polite reminding them to pay their bill
  • Email 2, questions their delay in payment
  • Email 3, The language is "Concerned" and requests payment again
  • Email 4, The language is stern and demands payment now
  • Email 5, Notifies the customer hat their account has gone to collections.
  • After the last email is sent we set up a "WorkFlow notification to automatically email the AR manager and the collections department about the Delinquent account.
The wording is customizable in the template.  In that, you can say what you want, but you will need to say the same message to every customer in the same time frame.

 Read More

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