A Step-by-Step Guide to Creating an Email Marketing Campaign Plan

A Step-by-Step Guide to Creating an Email Marketing Campaign PlanHere’s a number to think about: 3,800%. That’s the average email marketing ROI according to the DMA. But just because you’re doing email marketing, too, doesn’t guarantee you’ll also be getting the same spectacular returns. To generate decent ROI, you first need to develop a working email marketing campaign plan.

Putting together a coherent and doable email marketing campaign plan remains a daunting challenge for a great number of marketers. A lot of moving parts make up a typical email campaign, and it’s easy to get lost in the dizzying details. But with a clear planning process, the task becomes more manageable. Today’s post provides a step-by-step guide to campaign planning, plus a ton of email marketing tips and tricks to get you started.

 

Step 1: Set specific campaign goals and objectives

As email marketers, we’ve been raised to believe that everything starts with the list. But this mindset needs to change. Goals and objectives actually precede the email list. Everything only follows once you’ve identified the things your campaign needs to achieve.

Some email marketing campaign goals include:

  • Reaching out to cold prospects
  • Nurturing email prospects
  • Welcoming new subscribers
  • Verifying/Updating subscription
  • Promoting/Announcing new offers
  • Achieving conversion goals
  • Responding to triggers or actions

 

Step 2: Identify the types of emails to be used

Once you’ve specified your campaign targets, it’s time to figure out which types of emails work best for the tasks at hand. Marketers use dozens of email types, but these can be grouped into:

  • Prospecting Emails – These are emails sent to identify new opportunities for customer acquisition
  • Nurturing Emails – These are emails that cultivate relationships with leads, subscribers, or existing customers.
  • Promotional Emails – This type of emails announces offers or company-related news.
  • Transactional Emails – These emails are sent in response to a specific action or trigger.

 

Step 3: Know the target audience and segments

This looks like a fairly straightforward activity. But almost half of marketers still fail to segment their lists into relevant groups. There’s more to audience identification than simply knowing your target market. You have to define specific buyer personas that serve as your ideal audience profiles.

We’ve written about effective ways to segment a list in a previous post, and the key points are worth repeating here:

  1. Start with basic firmographics
  2. Map emails to sales funnel stages
  3. Follow a contact’s clickpath on your site4Find out what content they’re engaging with
  4. Find out what content they’re engaging with
  5. Keep track of responses and activities
  6. Apply a lead scoring scheme

 

Step 4: Flesh out a robust sending schedule

Now you’re ready to set the schedule and frequency of email send-outs. Different sources cite varying optimal times of day and days of week for sending out emails, but it’s good practice to test this out for your own campaign. The same holds true for sending frequency.

While not all campaigns need a detailed sending schedule, the following email marketing tips and tricks for scheduling will help you find the right send-out times:

  • Start with the widely-accepted “best” times for sending out emails (Tuesdays through Thursdays, between 8:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m.)
  • Let subscribers indicate how often to receive emails
  • Keep initial follow-ups to within 3 days of last touch point
  • Sync nurturing emails with your content calendar
  • Tweak schedule and frequency based on campaign results

 

Step 5: Brainstorm content and design ideas

You now have the why, what, who, and when of your email marketing campaign plan. The next things to think about are your emails’ content and design. Compelling copy and great design go hand-in-hand at producing successful email campaigns.

In terms of content, your emails need to speak to your audience and achieve a purpose. Consider the following tips when crafting email copies:

  • Use a catchy subject line
  • Make the copy easy to scan and skim
  • Keep it short and strong
  • End with a clear CTA

For the design, it’s the message that dictates the email’s look and feel:

  • Place main takeaways and CTAs at the top
  • Divide text into sections
  • Use contrasting color schemes
  • Format everything for easy skimming

 

Step 6: Choose suitable metrics and KPIs

You can’t manage what you don’t measure. That’s why selecting a suitable set of metrics is part of campaign planning.

Email marketing continues to be one of the most data-rich marketing channels around today. So, if you think “vanity metrics” (delivery rates, open rates, CTRs, bounces, spam reports, and unsubscribes) can tell you everything you need to know about your campaign, then you’re leaving a huge insight gap in your program.

To ensure your dashboard displays only the right numbers, follow the below steps:

  1. Revisit your campaign goals and objectives
  2. Use metrics that determine if you’ve reached each goal
  3. Look at all your campaign data sources
  4. Know which pieces of data improve timing, content, and impact

 

Step 7: Outline a clear process for testing

The final step in the planning process is to come up with a program for testing and tracking your email campaign. Testing allows you to continuously improve your email marketing campaign plan. So, you need to hammer out a workable testing procedure before hitting “send”.

But, with so many individual components to test, creating a testing plan (as well as carrying it out) can feel overwhelming. Put the following tips into practice to make this part of the planning process run more smoothly:

  • Test basic elements first
  • Focus on one component at a time
  • Make your sample sizes sufficiently large (i.e., at least 1,000 observations)
  • Use consistent schedules when testing
  • Trust the test results over gut-feelings, no matter how counterintuitive

 

Conclusion

At this point, you now have a working email marketing campaign plan. But before you hit send, it’s crucial to go over your outline once or twice to make sure you’ve covered all the essentials.

If you think some aspects of your campaign look tedious or too time-consuming, then a good email marketing automation tool can make things easier. In addition, reputable email marketing service providers help you carry out part or all of your campaign activities more effectively.

What other steps do you follow when putting together an email marketing campaign plan?

The 5 Cases Where It’s Okay to Buy a B2B Contact Database

buy b2b contact databaseIf you go around asking whether to buy a B2B contact database, chances are you’d soon end up being chastised for simply just thinking about it. This is a little unfortunate, since a bought list sometimes makes more business sense. In fact, there are specific cases where buying a list can potentially bring you better results than taking the organic route.

The main reason why a lot of marketers advise against buying B2B contact databases is that people tend to use purchased lists for spamming contacts. While this is a valid point, the truth is that it still boils down to how you use a bought list that determines whether you’re engaging in spammy activities. So with that aside, here are five situations where it’s really okay for you to buy a B2B contact list:

 

Case 1:  Your solution solves a real pain point.

Early-stage investor and serial entrepreneur Jason Lemkin raises this very interesting idea. If you can solve a real pain point, outbound marketing will always work for you.

The same can be said about using a bought prospect list in your campaigns. When your solution fixes an urgent issue or fulfills a pressing need that your target buyers are experiencing right now, why wait for leads to naturally start trickling into your funnel? Why not reach out to them and deliver value right away?

 

Case 2:  You’ve clearly identified your target prospects.

In an eye-opening post, creative strategist Jake Jorgovan shares the story behind his cold email campaign that landed him a consulting project with a bunch of new customers including some Fortune 500 clients.

Among the key points he mentions is that he was only able to build a cold email list after knowing exactly who the target audience was. So, instead of sending generic templates, he came up with relevant, compelling email messages that cold prospects were interested in.

 

Case 3:  You’re targeting a high-turnover industry.

It’s no secret that marketing data has an expiration date. MarketingSherpa places the average rate of database decay at about 2.1% per month or around 22.5% each year. For some industries, this can reach as high as 6.1% every month.

So if you’re targeting decision-makers in an industry where people tend to change job titles or move to new locations relatively frequently, one way to keep up is through using bought contact databases from a reputable list vendor.

 

Case 4:  You don’t have the resources to build a list at scale.

Aside from the time investment required to help your B2B list reach critical mass, organically growing your database also needs tons of effort and the right kind of expertise.

That’s why, if you’re unable to make all these necessary commitments, buying a contact list is a more viable option. What you’re paying for when you buy B2B contact database goes beyond list records. You’re putting resources where they’re needed the most.

 

Case 5:  You’re expected to deliver results in the near-term.

Let’s say your revenue goal for this quarter is $300,000, the average deal size is $10,000, and your sales cycle is around two weeks. That means you need to close 30 deals. At a close rate of 5%, you need to generate at least 600 new leads by the first half of the quarter to reach your targets.

While we’ve played around with figures in our hypothetical scenario above, the main point is that hitting sales targets is still pretty much a numbers game. In most industries, B2B conversion rates (lead-to-opportunity and opportunity-to-close rates) simply aren’t in your favor, so you need to start out with a large number of relevant prospects to get any meaningful results further down the funnel.

If you find yourself in any of the above situations, then by all means start looking for a trusted list vendor right now. Don’t pay too much attention to people who think they know what’s good for your campaign. Instead, let your solution, audience, industry, capabilities, and objectives decide whether you should buy a B2B contact database.

Why You Shouldn’t Overlook Invalid Email Addresses

Why You Shouldn’t Overlook Invalid Email Addresses

“What would happen when a customer registers an invalid email address into the marketer’s online registration, contact form or subscription page?”

Clients were asked  about the rate of their typo errors and their replies were mostly “If it bounces back, my ESP filters it out and removes it from my list. It’s not much of a struggle.” But truth be told, it is a struggle and is far more complex. It ought to concern any know-how email marketer.

Businesses ought to monitor the emails they procure. Customer emails are generally the life of their marketing efforts. It is okay to pay for them, yet spending excessively and not getting your money’s worth is bad by any means. The real cost of faulty email addresses is far more worrying than marketers, and the business as a whole, may anticipate. Certain implications ought to be put into consideration.

First, marketing investment are wasted. Odds are, that the lead that appeared on your site did not just accidentally wandered there. That it is your marketing effort that motivated that lead to take action and provide their email address and other personal information. In the instance that the business cannot reach out and engage this lead more, then the marketing effort and money you have invested, is good as useless.

Second, prospects left hanging. When there is a typo in the registration, it is a mistake. Anybody registering their email address on the business website does it in the belief of hearing news regarding new product or service updates, an email activity alert, or a promotional offer. At the point when that expectation is not met, the confidence placed by the customer has been broken. Worse, they may not even be aware that  business’ failure to connect was the consequence of their own typo error. They would then assume that they were not valued and is being neglected. The reaction would be disappointment, separation and a customer left to ponder what perhaps had turned out badly.

Lastly, decreased ROI. While coming up short on client expectations, there is an added (grudgingly) consequence to that and that is as the efficiency of those faulty email addresses are made smaller thus will be its Return of Investment in the email campaigns. Regardless of whether the business’ goal is an increase in sales, spur social appointment or petition for donations, undeliverable emails is a bane to the ROI.

 

Looking for IT Lists? Here’s What You Should Keep in Mind

 

Looking for IT Lists? Here’s What You Should Keep in MindThe IT business is among one of the industry behemoths in the world today. With the fast-paced upgrades in innovation, businesses and a lot more are fusing IT in their operations. Likewise, the advancement of more up to date and more effective software has many businesses testing the market and opening their ways to potential IT providers who can give them quality service (and ultimately, help them at providing quality service too) for a reasonable value. On the other hand, IT companies themselves, dynamically search for approaches to acquire IT sales leads in which one of this approach is purchasing business lists. They can leverage such to reach IT managers and IT chiefs that they’re targeting.

While on the subject of lists, purchasing a list of IT chiefs and additionally list of IT managers is of an extensive advantage when you need leads. Utilizing an excellent list can bring in favorable outcomes like for example when your having a targeted email campaign and you purchase a mailing list of these mentioned prospects. Having a great number of contacts in your database in order to keep it loaded with potential prospects is a smart thing to do. However, there are instances where you need to manage any conceivable wasteful aspects that accompanies when purchasing business lists/IT mailing list from a business list provider. If you happen to have purchase an inaccurate and messed up business list, it would merely pull you down. As opposed to reaching prospects and working on business proposals immediately, you’ll rather need to first sort out the business list you purchase, which in itself takes up a lot of your time – time that should have better spent on closing sales and not struggling on your database.

So in case you’re in the IT business industry that is searching to purchase business lists from a business list provider, endeavor to choose a supplier that offers only accurate and well-segmented records. This can spare you significant time as well as help you in closing sales for your company.

Imperative Maitenance in Data-Driven B2B Marketing

Imperative Maintenance in Data-Driven B2B MarketingAs effortless as it may sound when said, maintaining data is not actually something that you can just breeze through. Even key employees, in many instances, acclimate to the gaps brought about by terrible data and the matter in question gets to distinctly escape the B2B marketing leaders. Taken cover behind those bounces and unsubscribes, is a hollow, brimming with wasted cash carelessly spent on B2B marketing of poor database.

A Data Hygiene and Enrichment Report conducted on 2015 gave way to the formulation of a five stage preparation as suggestion to enhancing contact database to boost client’s experience — and eventually, a B2B marketing’s potency. They are as follows; (1) Evaluate the current state of your database; (2) Build a data governance plan; (3) Formulate a data standardization strategy; (4) Identify channels for appending data and (5) Assess the tools at your disposal.

Creating a game plan for administrating and standardizing data are vital elements for a data driven B2B marketing. However, it is the initial step that is the most decisive: assessing the status quo of your database.

Correspondingly, this is the part where data check tools turns out to be very crucial: at the absolute starting point of the procedure. Coupled with a verification service to refresh obsolete records, dispose flawed data, and reaching out to past leads, you will take out a hefty portion of the email deliverability problems that always confront a large number of marketers.

Utilizing data to test theories and make choices has always been a much better solution for creating B2B marketing strategies than relying on instincts. However, it follows that if you want a data driven B2B marketing to work for you, prioritizing the quality of your data is a given.  For sub par data will throw off all your subsequent data and will also bound to hurt your B2B marketing endeavors.

 

B2B Email Marketing: On Point Opt-In Email List (Part 2)

B2B Email Marketing: On Point Opt-In Email List (Part 2)Email List Building Best Practices
As you make your email list of opt-in B2B prospects, you need to be able to do the best practices possible.

Use “Short” Forms
When asking B2B prospects for personal information, keep your form simple and straightforward. Construct your form in a way that it’ll only get a minimum yet important data (i.e. first name, last name, and email address). Overdoing your form can bring out the skeptic in them. Toning it down would work just fine.

Utilize Progressive Profiling
As what have been implied, overdoing it when asking for your B2B prospect’s personal information can be a turn-off. That is why marketers employ progressive profiling. When your B2B prospects visit your website for the first time, they should only be required to answer few fields in your landing page (i.e. first name, last name, and email address). The next time they were to fill another form on your website, put in new fields (i.e. business name, job title and phone number). With this, you gradually acquire lead intelligence and avoid scaring them away.

Add to a Subscription Center
Allow B2B prospects to manage their subscription preference in a subscription center. In this page, they can manage the frequency of the subscription they get. In addition, this subscription center will minimize singling out as prospects can choose as opposed to completely stopping.

Conclusion
By making relevant content for your B2B prospects, you can immediately produce your email list of opt-in prospects. It is vital that once you have established making such kind of content, you have to stock it in various channels such as social medias, blogs, and your website. Spreading your content through this channels will allow you to widely extend your reach of B2B prospects.
Always do best practices when creating forms, profiling and managing subscriptions for this will streamline the procedure. Start building your email list now!

B2B Email Marketing: On Point Opt-In Email List (Part 1)

B2B Email Marketing: On Point Opt-In Email List (Part 1)The idea of creating a totally opt-in email list with no help (such as a reliable third party source) can be an overwhelming activity. So how would you do it as efficient as you can so that you can proceed to getting and nurturing leads the soonest time possible? Here’s how!

Step 1: Attracting B2B Prospects

The most vital piece in building an opt-in email list is creating an interesting and relevant content for your B2B prospects. Let’s examine how to use content curation and different advertising channels to build up an email list of purely opt-in B2B prospects.

Offer Premium Content

Making top-of-the-channel premium content offers like industry reports and analytics, ebooks, and guides can satisfactorily draw in not just B2B prospects but also industry influencers.

Blog the Content

Through dependably curating blog content that is vital to your B2B prospects, you put yourself up as a thought leader who is dedicated to increasing the value of the industry. B2B prospects that aims to drive their skill set forward, and who might need to remain beside new industry examples and best practices, will subscribe to your blogs.

Network Content Online

Being visible in online communities or social media platforms where your B2B prospects usually are, increases your reach and chances of pulling them in. Make sure to utilize noticeable and engaging content like recordings, infographics, blog passages and even new premium content offers to attract them to your own business website.

Step 2: Creating An Opt-In List

When you have created a strong foundation of interesting and relevant content for your target B2B profiles, you can now begin on building your B2B email list. There are two ways to do this:

  • Request them to subscribe. Aside from an excellent content that promises huge industry news and progress. Significant rewards and freebies can also be a great push for prospects to sign up. Be that as it may, don’t make it difficult for them to locate your form. Place it inconspicuous areas of your website such as in your landing page, blog page or footer. Flaunt figures and social verification wordings such as “10,000 followers or supporters”. This will increase the chances of prospects hopping in on your database.
  • Require them to join. Another commonly used strategy is to “door” premium content offers like industry ebooks, reports, and client contextual analyses. This strategy pertains to requiring a prospect to submit contact details through a form before getting into the content. This can be a truly successful strategy when building your email list especially if you have some really good content to offer.

Choosing the right database/contact list provider

Choosing the right database/contact list providerThere are an overwhelming number of database and contact list providers globally and each of them comes with their own edge and potential issues. Given this, choosing one could really get challenging. So here are some of the key considerations that would guide you in picking the right match.

  • Create a data set that satisfies your business’ data standard and segmentation criteria (So if you do not have one, you ought to lay it out now.)
  • Served and/or still serving reputable clients and have a major base of operations in North America
  • Verify and maintain the accuracy of their data to ensure its high quality. They should be able to keep up with people changing jobs, job positions, addresses, contact numbers, etc. and must gather their data from reliable sources or from personal interaction with the key contact persons.
  • Keep in line with FCC and CANSPAM regulations. Database and contact list providers compliant with these regulations does practices such as filtering out spam traps or steering clear of DNC registered numbers to avoid putting their client’s reputation and sender score at risk
  • Specialize in the industry you are targeting. Although, a lot database and contact list providers now specialize in a wide array of  industries and are pretty much flexible in customizing list for meticulous clients.
  • Offer Data Integrity Guarantee. That is, in the event that they have sold some outdated records, they will replace it without asking for additional charges.
  • Excellent client service (because it always boils down to those three words).

Never keep your guard down when selecting a database/contact list provider for your business. Always remember that substandard management and service begets substandard list. Take your time in contemplating who to select and do not be hasty. This way, you end up with nothing less than the best.

How to Be a Reliable Mailing List Provider

Companies that are in dire need of mailing leads turn to the services of a mailing list provider in order to get what they need. As a provider, you need to make sure that you are indeed the right company they should be making their regular purchases from; not to mention you also want the repeat business. However, that is not going to happen if you provide less than desirable services.

a reliable mailing list provider

In the world of business, results matter and if we do not get results, then we are most probably wasting out hard earned money. A business is like a fine-tuned machine. It has plenty of cogs that mesh together so that it can work. However, it needs fuel for it to continuously function: profit, income, money – call it what you will. And without it, even a top of the line mailing list provider will not get very far in the long-run.

Are you a provider of different types of lists, or a leads database? If so, here is how you can be a reliable provider:

Good Mailing List Provider provides customers with clean lists.

With the multitude of leads you have jam-packed into your database, a few duplicate items may be unavoidable. Really, who has time to over every single entry and make sure that it is accurate? Actually, the answer is you. It is your job to make sure that your lists are clear of duplicate entries and dead-end leads. If you cannot do such a task, then you are not going to be labeled as a reliable mailing list provider by your customers. One of the first steps to becoming a list seller that people will willingly do repeat business with is that you provide clean lists to all your customers. Here are a few tips:

Keep to a regular update schedule – Your lists are not going to clean themselves, you are really going to have to invest time and effort into doing it. As such, keep to a regular update schedule so you can continuously figure out the status of your lists and thus provide better service.

Segment your lists – Practicing list segmentation allows you to provide your buyers with better quality lists. Targeting factors such as the total number of employees a company has, their target market, or what industry they fall under are all good criteria to base your segmentation on. However, if your buyer specifies his own wants for a list, then you can base how you segment on their preferences.

Stand by the quality of your data.

If you want to become a reliable mailing leads provider, then you are going to have to look and sound the part as well. It is not always about the product; it is also about how you conduct yourself as a company. Good businesses need to look strong in the face of adversity, and most of the problems you are going to experience will most likely come from your clients themselves. One of the things you will experience is getting various complaints about your lists. As such, stand by the quality of your data. You as a list provider know (if you update your database) that your lists and entire database are filled with high-quality leads. You need to assure your clients that your data is accurate, precise, and time-based. Here are some ideas:

  • Accuracy – This is how close your shots to the bulls-eye are, meaning just how on the mark your data is to each and every record in your database.
  • Precision – Unlike accuracy, precision is how closely packed your shots are to the bulls-eye, meaning their distance from each other. The more precise you are, then the closer each shot will be to each other. Under these circumstances, this denotes how consistent you are with each record on your lists.
  • Time-based – Things change, we cannot deny that one single fact. Information also changes, and thus you need to make sure your data is time-based. Get all the latest news about each record you have in your list and stay up to date with what each company has going on.

These are just two of the many things which a mailing list provider should be able to do for its clients. If you want to be recognized as a list company, then you need to make sure that you have clean lists and stand by the quality of your data even when complains arise, however do not be hesitant to listen to what your list buyers have to say as this is part of your obligation to them as a company. Still, these two ideas will give you an idea on what you can do to improve your performance and services.

How to Bake the perfect Email List! (A not so step by step procedure

Baking a fresh batch of muffin in the morning is one of the best feeling you can ever feel. Why? Because of the aroma of the ingredients is still fresh and can be easily smelled right after you take it out of the oven. Isn’t that what some of us dream of?

Well, there’s no doubt that if you’re inquiring or buying an Email list, you want a freshly profiled batch of Lists.  But if you think it’s easy like baking a muffin, I have bad news for you, It doesn’t!

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