Constant Contact Email Marketing All Star

Constant-Contact-email-AllStar-LogoAs a Pittsburgh-based marketing consultancy, for the past 10 years we’ve partnered with Constant Contact to provide our clients with the best online marketing products and services available. You may know Constant Contact as the trusted marketing advisor to more than half a million small businesses worldwide.

Every year they recognize top performing users with their annual All Star Awards. we’re proud to announce that out of more than 500,000 Constant Contact users, our email marketing work for a great number of clients has earned us another 2013 All Star Award.

If you’re ready to grow your business with award-winning online marketing services, email Stephen Wayhart today or call him at 412.401.0555.

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BrandMill Named Email Marketing All Star

It’s always nice to receive recognition, but it’s especially rewarding to earn a true performance award.

That’s why we’re especially thrilled to be a two-time Constant Contact Email Marketing All Star. We earned the award by helping our client brands realize consistently high open rates greater than 25%, significant click through rates, low bounce rates and more.

Click here for our press release and/or click below to read it.

We’re big fans of Social Media Marketing, but feel many brands and marketing firms neglect the power of email marketing. We find that many brands are too quick to move to the next ‘shiny new thing’ without exploiting other effective tools.

Why do we work so hard to improve our email expertise?

Well, with email marketing’s return-on-investment (ROI) of over $40.00+ to $1.00, investing your time and effort improving your email marketing expertise makes all the good business sense in the world!

Make sure you’re maximizing your email marketing investment.  And, if you need a little coaching, give us a call.

Media Contact:
Stephen Wayhart, BrandMill
stephen.wayhart@brandmill.com
412.401.0555

 BrandMill Named One of Constant Contact’s 2011 Email Marketing All Stars

For the second consecutive year, BrandMill is recognized for achieving exemplary marketing results

 PITTSBURGH, PA — APRIL 2, 2012 – For the second consecutive year, Marketing consulting firm BrandMill® (http://www.brandmill.com) has received the 2011 All Star Award from Constant Contact®, Inc., the trusted marketing advisor to more than half a million small organizations worldwide. Each year, a select group of Constant Contact customers are honored with the All Star Award for their exemplary marketing results. BrandMill’s results ranked among the top 10% of Constant Contact’s customer base.

“We’re thrilled to be recognized again by Constant Contact for achieving strong marketing results for our clients,” said BrandMill Managing Partner Stephen Wayhart. “For several years, Constant Contact’s tools have helped us to help our client brands to better manage customer relationships and engagement. And, we look forward to leveraging their resources to more fully develop these relationships in the year ahead.”

Constant Contact customers using any combination of the company’s Email Marketing, Event Marketing, and Online Survey tools are eligible for this award. Constant Contact looked at the following criteria to select this year’s All Stars: frequency of campaigns, events, and surveys; open, bounce, and click-through rates; event registration rates; survey completion rates, se of social media marketing features and use of mailing list sign-up tools.

“There is nothing we like more than to see our customers finding success. It’s the reason Constant Contact was founded, and it’s a thrill to see the fantastic results that our All Stars are achieving,” said Gail Goodman, CEO of Constant Contact. “This group is really leading the charge when it comes to delivering relevant, engaging content that drives real business results. We salute this year’s All Stars for their success, and are honored to have played a part in their achievements.”

ABOUT BRANDMILL
For companies that need to profitably grow revenue and brand loyalty, BrandMill provides a virtual team of marketing experts that deliver actionable integrated marketing solutions and systems.  Unlike a typical Advertising Agency or in–house marketing department with limited personnel and expensive overhead, BrandMill draws from its extensive marketing network to deploy unique teams of specialists for every engagement to satisfy a firm’s key marketing communications needs on time and on budget. For more information visit www.brandmill.com.

ABOUT CONSTANT CONTACT, INC.
Constant Contact
is revolutionizing the success formula for small organizations through affordable, easy-to-use Engagement MarketingTM tools that help create and grow customer relationships. More than half a million small businesses, nonprofits, and associations worldwide rely on Constant Contact to drive ongoing customer dialogs through email marketing, social media marketing, event marketing, and online surveys. All Constant Contact products come with unrivaled KnowHow, education, and free coaching with a personal touch, including award-winning customer support.

Constant Contact and the Constant Contact Logo are registered trademarks of Constant Contact, Inc. All Constant Contact product names and other brand names mentioned herein are trademarks or registered trademarks of Constant Contact, Inc. All other company and product names may be trademarks or service marks of their respective owners.

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Every Day Should Be Checklist Day

For the past few months, I’ve been reviewing our work processes to evaluate why, where and when we’ve hit our mark and missed.

Time and again, I’ve come to the conclusion that our processes would greatly improve with new, improved, and more checklists.

And, strict adherence to them.

We use checklists throughout our marketing engagements such as “Countdown-to-Go” checklists for new store, new product and new campaign launches, but sometimes we move too fast to please our clients and fail to either take the time to create or use a checklist. Simply put – to quote the old adage – “When we fail to plan, we plan to fail.” Simple as that!

We usually deliver high results, but with better processes the question is, “How high is up?”

How much better , faster, cheaper could we have executed a campaign if we flawlessly executed our plan leaving no stone unturned?

Well, today is National Checklist Day (sound the trumpets) and I’ve been preparing for it by reading Dr. Atul Gawande’s, The Checklist Manifesto.

Gawande makes a great case why even experts need checklists – the complexity and speed of things today make simple checklists necessary.

His belief is that the smarter we get, the more we take things for granted.  And, checklists can close these gaps in flawless execution.

Throughout his book he offers case after case examples with pilots, surgeons and a myriad of other professions.

We need checklists because we all communicate poorly. For example, the majority of us often make these three serious errors:

  • We leave out important information assuming that others know it
  • We’re not specific in our directions again assuming that others understand us
  • And, sometimes we fail to be clear and concise in our directions because we don’t want to insult others

Checklists can compensate for these failings.

Moreover, if you want to extend your intelligence and train others to do the right thing at the right time, you need checklists for everyone to follow – to keep everyone on the same page.

So, we’ve been working on detailed checklists for Website launches, email campaigns, public relations campaigns, creative briefs and more.

How about you? Do you use checklists in your profession? Are you sold on using them more frequently?

I’m sold once again. Check that!

P.S.: Here’s a checklist for checklists!

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Social Media Builds Small Biz Awareness

Nearly 40% of American small businesses use social media marketing (SMM) to build their brands – up from 10% last year and since everyone is looking to more effectively and efficiently hook up with their customers and its no surprise to me to see the growth of active brands in SMM.

Among brands using social media marketing, 39% say it has increased it’s brand exposure however 17% say their  brand has seen no benefit at all.

Why the difference? My bet is that it all comes down to strategy, execution and measurement.

Here’s how the the social media tool usage breaks down by the numbers: 27% – Facebook, 9% – LinkedIn, 8% – Twitter, 5% – Blog.

In my personal brand experience (e.g., with my own brand site and client sites) if only 5% of SMB’s in the study are using Blogs, then I’m not surprised to see their disappointment. Blogs ROCK by adding rich search engine friendly copy and help guide and customers. A Blog is a natural extension to your Website and email marketing and to not have one is a big mistake.

Blogs are a low cost platform for 1 to 1 and 1 to many conversations and discussions and they boost website traffic and help you manage your online reputation and so much more. And, I can’t think of a brand that could not benefit from having a Blog. And, a better Website! Lots of small businesses are not keeping up with putting forth a great Website presence – all of this interactive/social stuff needs to be integrated people!

You need to  remember that your customers now have their own audience and are a communication channel and the more you can improve your brand experience and customer relationships and be connected to them via social media marketing you will build bridges between you and them and their friends and family.

Sure this stuff takes time, but anything worthwhile usually does! And, the multiplier effect of this low cost communication tool (remember this stuff can help you save on advertising spending) will pay off far more than the time you invested in it if you truly ‘bring it.’

 

As people move more to mobile computer use, social media communication will skyrocket and all communication networks will be social.

We’re getting there pretty fact already – about 30% of Facebook users access their accounts via their phones now (check out Facebook Connect)!

Sources: eMarketer the American Express OPEN fall 2010 “Small Business Monitor.”

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How to Improve Your Email Marketing Results

Email keeps rocking on as the killer app in online marketing (per DMA email’s ROI is over $40 to $1), and I continue to  be amazed that most brands don’t take the time to refine and improve their email marketing efforts. So many of us are far too quick to move on to the next new marketing tool without striving to flawlessly execute email marketing.

What a waste.

Forrester reported in a recent survey, that just 7% of American consumers believe the emails they get blasted with, are important or relevant.

With the ton of consumer data most brands have at their disposal, it’s a simple case of lazy marketing.

As this MarketingSherpa chart shows, there are many easy ways to improve your email marketing open and click-through rates.

For example, at a minimum brands could  testing subject lines, offers or calls to action, send time or day of week, copy and layout, landing pages and from lines, hyperlink quantity, placement and more.

The kicker is you got to do it…you got to “bring it.”

As the chart points out, over 50% of the surveyed brands have yet to take advantage of these easy ways to improve their performance.

In addition, you need to “bucket” your email addresses into databases of similar behaviors and/or event-based activities such as:

  • Life changes (e.g., new home buyer, new mother etc. )
  • Brand activities and interactions (e.g., purchase or complaint etc.)
  • Industry/environmental shifts (e.g., interest rate changes, price shifts etc.,)

Then, you move from this simple exercise to a “next best action” tactic whereby based on a customer’s previous interaction (e.g., purchase), your marketing follow-up message is related (e.g., promote service guarantee, insurance etc.,)

With any new effort, it’s wise to walk before you run with new activities you’re not accustomed to doing.

For example, one of our restaurant clients does a ton of wine tastings, so we simply started with separating our “wine enthusiasts” into a separate database and emailed wine event information only to them. Then, we only sent reminders to those who opened the initial email invitation and significantly increased open rates, click through rates, reduced opt-outs and event attendance.

Before you move on to the next new shiny tool in your marketing toolbox, make sure you can truly hammer out great email campaigns. You need to realize that you never quite arrive in this business, you got to keep striving, keep testing, keep doing – net…keep on keeping on.

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$6 Google AdWords Campaign Lands Dream Job

For anyone looking for a new job (pay attention college grads) or trying to get that next big sale and running into a roadblock because you can’t get the attention of a key decision maker, check out this brilliant job search strategy by copywriter Alec Brownstein.

  1. Brownstein used Google AdWords to target Ad Agency Creative Directors on Madison Avenue in New York
  2. He bet 15 cents per click that these Creatives were no different than the rest of  us self absorbed people who Google ourselves
  3. What the CD’s saw when they Googled themselves was a personal ad from Brownstein – BRILLIANT!
  4. Young & Rubicam offered him a job!

Note: Brownstein’s Google Job Experiment YouTube video has been viewed over 500,000 times!  Rock on Alec!

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Email Marketing to Double by 2014

Forrester says that by 2014 (see Advertising Age article), you and most of your customers are going to get over 9,000 email marketing messages a year which is about 25 messages per person per day or two times what you both got last year!

And, email marketing spending will increase to $2 billion in 2004 – about 2X what was spent last year!

So, what’s all this mean for marketers like you and how can you overcome your customer’s email irritation and overload?

Here are three ways to immediately improve your email marketing:

  1. Integrate email marketing with social media communications since most young adults (18-24 year-olds) prefer it over email; over 20% of adults prefer it too
  2. Segment email databases into smaller/tighter unique groups and send relevant, timely messages
  3. Be religious about testing your email campaigns and work to improve your creative executions and copy writing

Good luck!

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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!

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The Kids Are Alright Part II

In an earlier post, I reported that it was great to see the Gen Y kids driving the tremendous outpouring of financial support for Haiti relief via texting.

I’m happy to report that the American Red Cross “Text ‘Haiti’ to 90999” campaign has raised $24 million to date. See the DMNews story here.

Think about this campaign for a moment. It has achieved some amazing accomplishments – in a short period of time – since this devastating earthquake hit Haiti just last week on January 12th:

  • $24 million has been raised via $10 individual donations to help the Haitian people – 1/5th of the amount the American Red Cross has raised to date – breaking all records by a huge  margin.  Reference note: After Hurricane Katrina – a mere 4.5 years ago – the ARC only received $120,000 via texting – and Katrina occurred on American soil!
  • The ARC has built a valuable mobile text database for future marketing communications and financial appeal efforts
  • The ARC’s core donor base skews older and texting gave the Gen Y folks an easy, quick and convenient channel to offer their support (marketing lesson – treat different people differently)
  • The campaign execution of  the ARC and its mobile firm partner mGive was flawless – amazing too – considering the fact that they started to work on the texting campaign the evening of the earthquake
  • The viral goodwill spread of the “Text ‘HAITI’ to 90999” campaign in Social Media channels such as YouTube, Facebook and Twitter (100K tweets/retweets)

I’m far from being in the Gen Y segment, but I did text a donation to the ARC and will tell you that it was easy for me to participate. As important, I felt comfortable donating because of the supportive and reinforcing messages I saw on TV news and various high profile broadcasts such as the NFL playoffs and the Golden Globes.

Also, after texting the shortcode “HAITI” to 90999, I was asked me to respond “yes” to confirm my donation and then I received a nice comforting thank you too – nice touch.

This overwhelmingly positive experience led me to spread the ARC’s good word and to feel more comfortable using this channel in the future.

Strong brand promise, ease, convenience, simple message and trust are the hallmarks of success for the ARC’s texting campaign and they could be put to good use for your brand’s future success too.

Photo by CollectiveGood.

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