Seven signs email marketing is not dead

You’ve probably heard it said…”Email marketing is dead.” Well, don’t believe it! Email marketing is not dead, it’s just evolving.

The truth is, email is an important part of any marketing campaign. When used at the right times as part of an integrated multi-channel approach, email delivers just the right message in a highly targeted and measurable way.

Vendors like Constant Contact, Marketo and Hubspot make tools that not only incorporate email as an essential component to any marketing campaign, but also rely on email to be the closer for social media and inbound marketing efforts.  Email is a valuable and proven way to get your customers back to your site or responding to an offer.

Not convinced? Here are seven signs that email marketing is not dead:

  1. 94% of adults check their email every day. (Source)
  2. 74% of online adults prefer email for commercial communication.  (Source)
  3. 62% of adult US Internet users check or send email on a daily basis.  (Source)
  4. Social media users are over 60% more likely to check email at least four times a day than those who don’t use social media. (Source).
  5. People. who buy products marketed through email spend 138% more than people that do not receive email offers. (Source)
  6. 44% of email recipients made at least one purchase last year based on a promotional email. (Source)
  7. Email generates a 2x return compared to other channels. (Source)

Check out this infographic from Marketo that sums it up.

Why Infographics?

You may have noticed a trend in business marketing that uses a type of presentation format known as “infographic.” Or maybe you heard someone use the term, and weren’t exactly sure what they meant?

So what exactly is an infographic, and what is it used for?

An Infographic, or Information Graphic, is the visual presentation of information, data or knowledge in a format that allows complex information to be presented quickly and clearly.

The concept of the infographic is not new (ancient cave painting could be considered one form of them) but their recent popularity for sharing in social media platforms has taken them to a new level in online marketing. You know the saying of a picture being worth a thousand words? Well, that’s the idea behind an infographic. A combination of charts, graphics, pictorial facts and figures makes infographics interesting to look at, entertaining and educational.

Infographics are generally designed to get across a lot of information in a small space. They are often vertical in format, but can also be used as slides or animated. A number of online applications and tools have cropped up to help the “graphically challenged” create interesting infographics without needing a great deal of graphic skills. These use premade templates and designs.

However, a graphic designer with skill in presenting information visually can create one-of-a-kind infographics that brings complex or confusing information to light quickly. These invite sharing on sites such as Facebook, Linked In and Pinterest. Infographics can be an important part of a Content Marketing strategy.

Here’s an example of recent infographic created by UP team members for a client called Netsize, a mobile billing application company.

NetSize Infographic
NetSize Infographic – m-commerce on the move

The psychology of influence

When it comes to social media, the thrust of any strategy is aligning your core message with your audience’s needs. But there is a reason it’s called “social” media. How does what people you know and “like” affect how a message influences you?

A key strategy for success in using Facebook and another social media sites for brands is to make use of the influence of “friends” and expand on an individual’s social networks to enter their sphere of consideration. If your friend (or colleague) recommends something, “likes” it or “shares” it with you, you’re more likely to pay attention than if the message comes from a random unknown brand.

So how does the psychology of influence work? This infographic from Pardot does a good job of summarizing it.

What do you think?

Infographic pyschology of conversions
Infographic on Psychology of Conversions by Pardot.com

The new Linked In Company Pages

What you need to know

Last week LinkedIn announced some changes to the overall look and feel of its Company Pages. This is good news for marketers, but also means you need to rethink how you present your Company on LinkedIn (and plan to update it if you have an existing Company Page.)

Think of Company Pages as place to showcase for your company on LinkedIn. With a few weekly updates, you can keep millions of LinkedIn members in the loop on your company news, products and services, business opportunities, and job openings.  (Find out more info about Company Pages here.)

New Layout Option

The biggest change you’ll notice about the new LinkedIn Company Pages is that the layout is much more graphic-oriented.  Similar to the change Facebook made earlier in the year, a Cover photo will now be prominently featured at the top of all Company Pages. (However, this new option will be rolled out gradually so not all companies will have access to it until later in the year). This is a great chance to showcase your company’s branding front and center with a featured image. Likewise, company information (or summary) is now at the bottom of the page, and no longer the first thing people see when they come to your page.  Here is an example of the new page:

Linked IN Company Page Example

The Overview tab is still the first area that people see when they search for your company on LinkedIn. It includes a summary section and your company updates, job postings, and new hires. This feed is your company’s way of communicating important messages to your audience. You can also use this feed to automatically post updates to Facebook and Twitter. Use it to post information on your company’s services, offerings, and news to keep the page looking fresh and updated. The new layout will also make it easier to target your update to specific audiences (by demographics, region, employees, etc).

With the new layout, the Services/Products tab is more prominently featured. If you haven’t yet taken advantage of this feature of a LinkedIn page, you’re missing out on a great (FREE) way to advertise your company’s core offerings. There is a space to highlight each of your products or services, as well as an image area to place up to three (640×220 pixels) banner-ad type of images with clickable links to URLs.  You can create multiple versions of this page to be served to different audiences based on their profile content.

Another change is that Career opportunities or job openings for your company is now featured at the top of your company page. However, you need a Careers page subscription to access all of these features, including the clickable cover image that can be used as a call to action. You can use the image to highlight a specific job, a list of jobs, or opportunities located on your website, or provide examples of your company’s work culture.

Example:

Linked In Services Page UP There Everywhere

Insights

A major benefit of using LinkedIn is the ability to gain insights about the demographics and people who are interested in your company. The Insights tab on your Company Page gives you information about user engagement, follower demographics, total impressions, as well as recent users, new followers, and member growth.

Follow Companies

You can find and follow companies by going to the Linked in Companies tab. You’ll see updates from companies you follow similar to on Twitter.

How to set up Company Pages

LinkedIn offers an online guide and videos with help for setting up your Company Pages. Visit LinkedIn here.

Or watch this video:

In addition, Hubspot has put together a great free guide on using the new LinkedIn Company pages as well. Download it here

Twitter launches Certified Products Program

You may have noticed that there is a thriving ecosystem of Twitter developers building products and services to help businesses user Twitter more effectively (and to measure/analyze their success).  But how do you know which tools to choose? Which ones really do what they are supposed to? And which ones will leave your data flapping in cyberspace?

To make it easier for businesses to choose the right tools, Twitter is launching a new Twitter Certified Products Program. This stamp of approval from Twitter offers some assurance the the products have met certain standards. The program will help businesses choose the best third-party applications in three categories:

  1. Engagement – increasing customer interaction
  2. Analytics – measuring the success of program efforts
  3. Data Reseller – to find the target audiences you need

Twitter Certified Products Program

The first cut

Twelve companies have made the initial cut of Certified Products:

Social media management — some tools to help you

Social media is the current marketing darling, but it’s not a magic bullet, and contrary to what you might think, it’s not “free.” Running a proper social media campaign (one that gets results) requires time, strategy, planning, resources, tools and commitment. And as we all know, time is money. And some tools are as well.

To get started, you need social media accounts set up on a variety of channels. But more importantly, you need CONTENT worthy of posting there. Think video, images, infographics, case studies, e-magazines, white papers…you get the picture.

Social Management Tools

For a well-planned social media effort, monitoring, analysis and user engagement tools are needed. A few content generation tools are helpful too. Here are a few that I find useful:

  • Hootsuite – this is a social media monitoring and posting tool. It allows you to monitor multiple accounts at once as well as monitor Twitter, Facebook, Google +, Linked IN, etc. all from one dashboard. You can assign other members in your account to respond to posts, schedule posts for days in the future, and track links and shares of the posts. You can also set up (at additional cost) regular reports that get mailed to clients and yourself with stats on the accounts.
  • Pictochart (an infographic pictograph production tool). It offers templates that make it easy to turn information into cool infographic. Infographics are a big trend in social media and can help you help get more Tweets and Facebook shares).
  • Shortstack. This nifty app creates custom tabs for landing pages, surveys, contests, etc, within a brand’s Facebook Page.
  • TweetDeck – Meant for posting, this free tool lets you manage multiple social media profiles (Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, Foursquare and Google Buzz)  in one dashboard. You can update all or just a few with the same status at one time.

For monitoring social media reach

These tools let you manage mentions and monitor streams across multiple platforms.

  • Addictomatic – a multi-platform buzz dashboard
  • Social Mention – a slightly more sophisticated multi-platform buzz dashboard
  • Samepoint – another dashboard that includes some additional platforms the others don’t offer
  • Twazzup – a real-time news dashboard (with a bias towards Twitter)
  • Google alerts (weekly + in date order) – Use quotes around search terms, click “more search tools” on left menu, search by date range options (including blogs)

 What are your favorites?

Do you have any social media tools to share?

Facebook Pages have new targeting options

Facebook has begun rolling out a new feature they’re calling “Page Post Targeting Enhanced,” which allows Pages to target posts to sub-segments of their fans based on gender, age, Likes, and other characteristics. This will allow businesses to tailor marketing messages to specific audiences. For example, a business could tell teens, “We’ve got swag”, while telling adults “We’re reputable.”

Until now, Facebook Pages could only target posts to fans of certain locations and languages. The tool could make Pages even more useful to marketers and convince them to pay for ads to grow their fan base.

The criteria apply only to the news feed, and all posts will remain visible on timeline, according to Inside Facebook, which posted the list of criteria:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Interested in
  • Relationship status
  • Language
  • Education
  • Workplace
  • Location (country, state, city)

Facebook Pages Post targetting feature