Email Timing and Testing Best Practices

For our clients, I find that emailing campaigns early in the morning and early in the week provide better results. Early morning emails work better for us because it’s easier to get people’s attention before they jump into their daily activities. See B2B Magazine article here and this eMarketer chart which both agree. I’m sure early morning deployments work well for both B2C and B2B businesses alike.

Giving people ample time to react and respond along with a respectful reminder works wonders too. Marketers forget that not everyone opens their email every day and often their addresses are personal (non business) and may only get opened once a week.

Email timing is critical to the success of a marketing campaign. And, deciding the right time of day, and the precise day to deploy your email message is as important as the message itself, but many brands don’t pay enough attention to timing.

You need to get the timing right because your message competes with every other message received by land line phone, mail, social media and smart phones.

Pivotal Veracity discovered that the average elapsed time between when messages are first sent to when they are first seen is growing to about 26 hours.

See their report here: pivotal_veracity_email_engagement_index_q1_q3_2009

In addition, another email marketing best practice involves testing.  Email testing is pretty easy to do and I continue to be amazed by the lack of it by brands of all sizes. eMarketer reports that only about 63% of Marketers test their email campaigns! Ugh!

According to a recent ExactTarget study, 40% of email marketers’ lists are unengaged recipients and another 44% have a low level of engagement.

Different strokes (messages) for different folks is key to having an engaged database.

So, what can you test?  What should you try? Well, just about anything and everything! Check out just some of the opportunities in this chart:

Marketers need to  maximize message relevance and avoid sending email subject matter to people who do not care to receive it.

Try creative copy split-run email tests by taking your list and divide it in half (or thirds) and simply test two/three different subject lines or calls to action or other features such as copy, design, offers or more.

Start testing your email marketing campaigns. It’s easy…just do it!


Why You Should Outsource Marketing

In the past 20 years, business process outsourcing such as accounting, distribution and more became (still is) increasingly popular.  Advertising has been a widely accepted outsourced service, but what about outsourcing marketing?

In my experience, most brands have super marketing teams that excel in execution and creativity.  However, these crack teams are pulled in so many directions that they lack the time and skill or expertise  to think more strategically or analytically.

Over the last few months, our firm has participated in a lot of new business meetings and one of the key questions that eventually bubbles up is, “Why should I outsource my marketing?”

With the speed and sheer amount of radical changes in marketing (social media, mobile etc.), media fragmentation, economic challenges and more, marketing outsourcing is an attractive strategy to employ to cost effectively stay ahead of the marketing curve and your competition.

Here are 10 reasons why you should outsource your marketing.

  1. You’ll increase a laser like focus on your brand’s core competencies
  2. Corporate personnel can redirect their efforts in other business building areas
  3. You can immediately take advantage of world-class talent and specialized services
  4. You will gain an objective point of view and reduce bias
  5. Your overhead and payroll will decrease which will free up capital
  6. The amount of political corporate control will be reduced
  7. Your pace of positive change will accelerate and you’ll be more flexible to meet market changes
  8. Profits and overall business unit value and performance will increase
  9. You will improve productivity, product quality and service levels
  10. And, you’ll gain an immediate significant competitive edge

Certainly, your success is dependent upon choosing the right marketing partner and welcoming them as a true integrated partner. Start small with easy to manage projects and watch your business profitably grow.  Selecting a capable, trustworthy, enthusiastic outsourced marketing partner could be the final piece of your sales building puzzle.


Do Better in Google with WordPress

wordpress_logo_buttonThroughout the year, I’ve been using WordPress more and more to build a variety of Web sites and have been super impressed with it.

Not only is WordPress easy to use for non-programmers, but it is so search engine friendly that my clients have easily realized double and triple digit increases in Web traffic.

I’m always on the lookout for new Web technologies and in the world of Content Management Systems, I just researched WordPress a bit more to see if it was too good to be true because there are so many out there (see list here).

My concerns were put to rest after I caught this video of Matt Cutts who works for the Search Quality group in Google, specializing in search engine optimization issues.

“Straight From Google: What You Need To Know”
WordCamp San Francisco – May 30, 2009, by Matt Cutts

In this video (see about 3:10 minutes in), Matt states that if you want to do better in Google, “WordPress automatically solves a ton of SEO issues.” and that it is such a fantastic piece of software that, “WordPress takes care of 80-90% of your Search Engine Optimization mechanics.”

Matt’s word is good enough for me and I encourage you to watch this video for additional SEO tips. I’ve been a big Google fan since its birth and it’s quality people like Matt Cutts that keep me loyal.

Check out Matt Cutts’ Gadgets, Google, and SEO Blog too – good stuff.


Great Package Design Sells

stop-n-grow designI’m looking forward to reading New Packaging Design by Janice Kirkpatrick (Laurence King, 192 pages, $35) after checking out its reference in Fast Company magazine today and the fact that German agency Jung von Matt’s shopping bag design for Stop n’ Grow (a German product that helps people to stop biting their nails and sucking their thumbs/fingers) made the cut in its list of 12 of the World’s Coolest Packaging Designs, I’m sure it’s a good one.

With the holiday shopping season right around the corner, how many of you are “brown bagging” it?

Even if you don’t compete in the retail sector, can you improve how you package your “Brand You” brand, your Web site, your presentations, proposals, invoices and general emails?

Packaging serves to preserve, protect, promote and it’s even expected to be kind to the environment – does yours?

These days packaging should WOW people too!

In your marketing planning process for 2010, look for inspiring design examples everywhere and work on ways to create WOW designs throughout your organization. I assure you that you’ll separate yourself from common brown baggers.

To get you started, here are several more creative shopping bag designs that are sure to inspire you!

P.S.: Here’s another great idea by JVM to communicate the need for dental insurance in bowling alleys…BRILLIANT! This example proves that a great idea can transcend language differences and still communicate a core message.


Warren Buffet

I’ve admired Warren Buffet for many years and here’s a great clip of him speaking to an MBA class at the University of Florida (one of several  – enjoy them all).

He’s been in the media a lot in recent years by choice and it appears he does it more so out of love and concern for our country and others and as a way of giving something back.

And, his recent book, Snowball will be on my bookshelf and read by year-end.

Buffet’s brand is a successful one for many reasons such as his intelligence, and energy, but more importantly his INTEGRITY – great qualities to have in a successful brand.

Brand Integrity is so rarely provided, but so very much respected, admired and desperately needed.

Certainly you can tell he love’s what he does too.  Surely, you may think it’s because he’s so incredibly wealthy, but my bet is that he’s always loved what he’s done and he’s honest to the core.