Marketing Awards Blog

8 Tips to Spice Up Your Email Marketing, From a Multi-Stevie® Awards Winner

Posted by Liz Dean on Thu, Feb 07, 2013 @ 11:54 AM

Janine Popick, CEO and Founder of VerticalResponse in San Francisco, California, USA, has won multiple Stevie® Awards, most recently for Executive of the Year in Advertising, Marketing & Public Relations in the management awards categories of The 2012 American Business Awards, the premier business awards competition in the U.S.A. (The entry deadline for the 2013 ABAs is March 27, request your entry kit here and it will be emailed to you right away.)

Janine Popick, CEO, VerticalResponseNow that the novelty of a new year has come and gone, you may have slipped into some old bad habits with your email marketing. Today, I’m going to share 8 things that will spice up your email marketing in 2013.

  1. Facebook—More Than Status Updates: You have got a Facebook page, right? Well, it’s super easy to set up an email address sign-up form on your Facebook page, and nearly every email marketing service provider has instructions for this. Plus, while you’re driving people to check out your Facebook page, give them a reason—like a sale—for supplying you with their email address.
  1. Email + Social Media = Power Couple: Email and social media need to be thought of as a great team, like Jay-Z and Beyonce. If you utilize one and not the other, you could be missing out on some killer traffic back to your website or blog. Include social media icons linking to your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or Pinterest sites in all your emails and newsletters. These give your readers another way to engage and connect with your business. Want even more engagement? Share your emails on your social networks each time you send one.
  1. Start at the Top with Pre-header: We’ve all read a million times that your subject line is one of the most important parts of your email. But, the pre-header (i.e., the first line of text above the body of your email) serves as a wingman, or secondary subject line. It shows up in the mobile version of your email, and provides more content, which can get more people opening your emails. Use a pre-header regularly and see how it impacts your open rate. 
  1. Kick Dull to the Curb: If your subject lines are a snooze-fest, then using a pre-header won’t help. If you’re sending out a monthly newsletter and your subject line is “February 2013 Newsletter,” you can certainly do better. Read the content of your newsletter. What’s the most interesting thing that stands out? What do you think would make someone stop, read, and click-through to your website? Craft your subject line using that info. No more dull subject lines. Ever.
  1. ALT Text Has Got It Going On: Follow my advice from Kick Dull to the Curb and add some zing. ALT text is the copy you place “behind” an image (instead of the default tag) that displays if your recipient’s email browser turns images off by default. For example, instead of leaving your image’s super-exciting default tag of “dogfood3.JPG,” you could write: “Get 25% off all dog food until 3/31/13!” This will give your readers more context if their images are turned off, and prompt them to enable images to get the scoop.
  1. Target Practice: It’s time to do more with less. Take portions of your audience based on what they’re doing (or not doing) and send them a message that means something to them. Here’s an example: Got a winery? I bet you know who bought Pinot Noir in the last 6 months. Send an exclusive offer to your Pinot fans and see if you get better results than just sending it to everyone on your list. Give ‘em a killer deal to try a new varietal at a steep discount.
  1. How Often Do You Do It? Have you been sending monthly or weekly emails, at the same time, every time? Time to shake it up! Try to mail more often, or maybe less. It’s simple and easy to test: Just take a portion of your list (say 20% for trial purposes) and send two newsletters a month instead of one. See if you get a lift in opens and clicks, or a decrease in unsubscribes.
  1. Content Rules the Roost: You know your business inside and out, and everything that makes it interesting and unique, so share this in your emails, on your blog, everywhere. And use your content to your advantage. You can take blog posts you’ve created with a common theme and turn them into a helpful guide, or take a few guides you’ve written and turn them into an eBook. At VerticalResponse we do a number of webinars with a common theme, like Facebook, then send out a bundle of them to our prospects. By providing useful information, we help potential customers; and when it's time to look for an email and social media provider, we hope they’ll remember us.

By getting back to the basics with these 8 Email Marketing tips you can succeed with your subscribers, prospects, and customers in 2013 and beyond.

Did you enjoy this post? If so, sign up for the free VR Buzz weekly newsletter and check out the VerticalResponse Marketing Blog.

About Janine Popick:
Janine Popick is the CEO and founder of VerticalResponse, a leading provider of self-service email, social media, event marketing, online surveys, and direct mail solutions for businesses and non-profits. She has won the Stevie Award for Best Entrepreneur in the Stevie Awards for Women in Business every year since 2008. Janine recently won the U.S. Small Business Administration award for Small Business Person of the Year and was named a 2012 Small Biz Influencer Champion by Small Biz Trends. Janine brings over 20 years of experience leading direct and Internet marketing programs for some of the biggest brands in technology and entertainment. Follow her on Twitter at @janinepopick.

About VerticalResponse:
VerticalResponse Inc. provides a full suite of self-service marketing solutions for small businesses, including email marketing, social media marketing, event marketing, online surveys, and direct-mail marketing. Its mission is to empower small businesses and non-profit organizations to easily and affordably create, manage, and analyze their own marketing campaigns. Users can benefit from a wide variety of features via a single dashboard, including more than 700 free email-marketing templates; social media management tools to create, schedule, and publish content, and engage with followers; and robust reporting so that they can understand overall marketing success. VerticalResponse is headquartered in San Francisco, California. For more information visit www.verticalresponse.com.

Tags: stevie awards, business awards, management awards, Janine Popick, VerticalResponse, Email Marketing, American business awards

4 Ways to Make the Most Out of Your Social Media, From an America Means Business Presenter

Posted by Liz Dean on Mon, Aug 27, 2012 @ 02:52 PM

Janine Popick, CEO and Founder of VerticalResponse in San Francisco, California, USA, has won multiple Stevie® Awards, most recently for Best Entrepreneur in the 2011 Stevie Awards for Women in Business, and the Gold Stevie for Executive of the Year/Advertising, Marketing & Public Relations in The 2012 American Business Awards. (The entry deadline for the 2012 Stevie Awards for Women in Business, the world's premier awards for women executives, entrepreneurs, and the organizations they run, is August 29. If you can't make the deadline, late entries will be accepted through September 28 with payment of a late fee. Request your entry kit today.) Janine recently spoke at America Means Business, a three day event for entrepreneurs, sponsored by the Stevie Awards. The following is an extract from that presentation: Janine Popick

As a business owner, the last thing you’re probably thinking about as you go through your day is posting to Facebook or tweeting on Twitter. I get it. I’ve been there. But getting started with social media is not that hard or intimidating—really! And if you are already using some form of email marketing, it’s even easier. Here are four tips on how to make the most of your already limited time and to make social media work to grow your business.

1. What to Publish
You’ve probably heard the phrase: Content is king. With social media, content is more important than ever. But who has all this content, and who has the time to create it?  Not me, you’re thinking.

Here’s a secret: You already have a ton of content that you can share with your fans and customers. Here are some fresh examples:

- Employee stories

- Photos and videos

- Guides, whitepapers, or notes

- Outside content (content you don’t own but can share)

- Questions and polls

- Great offers

- Events

- Press and awards

If you have a blog, this is where all your content should reside because a) you can post your content there and easily link to it in your social media posts, and b) a blog is ever-changing while your website is not. (If you don’t already have a blog yet, this is a key reason to start one.) A blog also gives you search engine optimization (SEO) benefits because search engines like Google love content. The more new content you have about a particular topic or category such as your industry, the more likely it is to appear on the results pages when someone is searching for those words.

The next step is to create a social media content calendar. It can be as simple as a monthly calendar that shows what you plan to post every day throughout the month. You'll want to leave room for spur-of-the-moment posts, of course, but having a plan will keep you organized and focused on the big picture. Don’t forget to designate who will be in charge of writing and/or posting them.

2. How to Increase Reach
The ultimate goal of being on social media is to increase your reach—i.e. the number of people who have the opportunity to be exposed to your company and message—and to increase engagement. There are multiple ways people can engage with you on social media, from someone answering a question, sharing your post or your tweet, or commenting on a post, to liking your Facebook post or Facebook page.

How do you encourage engagement? You can:

- Ask questions

- Share blog posts, events, company news, industry news, videos, and photos

- Thank your customers on their Facebook profiles or send them a tweet for mentioning your company or sharing your content (people love to be acknowledged!)

- Include calls to action with your content

- Use contests and giveaways to incentivize your followers

- Send solo email campaigns encouraging a follow or like (be sure to offer a bonus offer or flash discount)

Just remember: Your posts don’t have to be all about business, and they definitely shouldn’t just be about you. Tap in to your audience’s interests. You can share content about topics that are currently in the news, or a worthy cause, or just something fun. The goal is to catch your readers’ attention and get them to take an action.

3. Get it all to Work Together
Recent research by my marketing technology company VerticalResponse found that businesses that use both email and social media get a 28% higher open rate on their emails than those that don’t use both channels. Here are some easy ways to integrate email, blog content, and social media that will get more people to pay attention:

Blog:

- Add an email opt-in form to your blog.

- Repurpose blog posts as content for your email newsletters.

- Use email to help build a strong following for your blog.

Get that email address!

- Ask Facebook followers for their email address.

- Have a welcome tab on your Facebook page with a form asking for their email address.

- Tweet “sign up to receive email-only” offers, then link to an opt-in form.

Email and Social Media:

- Post your email to your Facebook page and Twitter feed.

- Include “like us on Facebook” and “follow us on Twitter” buttons in your emails. Most email service providers offer the option to include these.

- Send a solo email asking recipients to follow you on your social networks.

4. Keeping Track
Like any business plan or strategy, when it comes to social media it’s important to see what’s working, what isn’t, and to learn from what you’re doing. Fortunately there are a lot of free or low-cost tools out there. Google Analytics is a great, free tool that tells you how many people visit your website and what they like to click on. Facebook Insights is another free, easy-to-use tool that lets you see which posts are popular, how many people they reach, and other metrics. For Twitter, check out Twitter Counter or TweetDeck.

Social media should not take you away from running your business. Instead, put these timesaving ideas in to action and watch your business grow!

For the full American Means Business Days presentation, download it for free here.

Did you enjoy this post? If so, sign up for the free VR Buzz weekly newsletter and check out the VerticalResponse Marketing Blog.

About Janine Popick:
Janine Popick is the CEO and founder of VerticalResponse, a leading provider of self-service email, social media, event marketing, online surveys, and direct mail solutions for businesses and non-profits. She has won the Stevie Award for Best Entrepreneur in the Stevie Awards for Women in Business every year since 2008. Janine recently won the U.S. Small Business Administration award for Small Business Person of the Year and was named a 2012 Small Biz Influencer Champion by Small Biz Trends. Janine brings over 20 years of experience leading direct and Internet marketing programs for some of the biggest brands in technology and entertainment. Follow her on Twitter at @janinepopick.

About VerticalResponse:
VerticalResponse Inc. provides a full suite of self-service marketing solutions for small businesses including email marketing, social media marketing, event marketing, online surveys, and direct mail marketing. Its mission is to empower small businesses and non-profit organizations to easily and affordably create, manage, and analyze their own marketing campaigns. Users can benefit from a wide variety of features via a single dashboard, including more than 700 free email-marketing templates; social media management tools to create, schedule, and publish content, and engage with followers; and robust reporting so that they can understand overall marketing success. VerticalResponse is headquartered in San Francisco, California. For more information visit www.verticalresponse.com

Tags: stevie awards, American business awards, stevie awards for women in business, America Means Business, Social Media, Email Marketing, Janine Popick, VeritcalResponse