marketing

White Label Digital Marketing: Labeling the Pros and Cons

Have you given a thought to white labeling any of your expert services to other third party agencies?

Just to clear the smoke for any of you who are unsure of the concept: essentially, the company that is white labeling their services / products creates the product or handles the service and sells it to a third party company to brand and sell as their own . It's like building a car and selling it to another company to brand and label it as they please and sell it themselves. The name comes from creating a product with no branding, sticking an empty 'label' on it, and delivering it to another company to fill in whatever they want on it.

So why would any company want to let another competitive company sell something that they could originally sold themselves, under their own branding?

One of the primary reasons is this: not everyone who is good at creating a revolutionary or exclusive product or service is good at selling and marketing it. Take something like mobile application development, for example. There may be a guy who can make some unbelievably fluid and useful apps, but he may not have the abilities or the network to sell it. Finding someone who can create a product and market it is rare at best. Branding takes money, time and dedication to develop. Established marketing companies or agencies are already in possession of a brand with an active following which you need to compete and ever convert.

Digital Marketing White Labeling also presents your product to a number of brands, which are (likely) larger than you would have been able to reach out to on your own. These brands have a relationship with regular clients that passes on to you; it can not be emphasized enough that things like trust take time to develop, time which these agencies have already invested. It's important to pick an agency that's active on social media marketing and has an effective local online marketing campaign.

So where's the catch? Picture this: you've developed a flawless product. The only people who love it more than the company you're white labeling to are the final recipients. You're financially compensated, handsomely. Then, you remember: on the outside, this work is not yours and nobody can know that it is. Without even a hint of your name or an autograph to signify your handiwork, the only follow up options you have are building a good relationship with who you're white labeling your services / products to.

Then there's the issue of creating competition for yourself; if you're white labeling on the side for some quick cash and you're trying to build your own brand, congratulations! By doing this, you've effectively started to compete with yourself.

So, do the pros of doing this 'ghost service' outweigh the cons? It greatly depends on your long-term plan for the company. At the end of the day, the reason companies white label their services is because the cost of developing a powerful brand, market presence, and consumer following involves a large investment. In the long term, the amount of revenue sacrificed as a result of white labeling may exceed the cost of building a brand for yourself.

The more irreplaceable your service or product is, the more sense it makes to white label it. If someone can replace you, then nothing is stopping the companies purchasing your service or product from doing it, and then you're back to square one. In the end, the effectiveness of white labeling can be substantial, but it depends on the long-term goals of you and your company.

website traffic
web design myrtle beach
best seo company

The Future of Digital Marketing: Five Trends to Leverage a Small Business Opportunity

Jameson General Store was a historical treasure in the small North Carolina Community. Jim Jameson, the owner, had been part of the family legacy over 100 years old. The company had seen bad times, including The Great Depression. However, their hard work and customer loyalty had sustained the company’s success.

Even when a neighboring community got its Walmart’s Marketplace Store, their customers remained loyal. Jim did not believe in utilizing online advertising and social media platforms. He believed that these activities were only a fad. Yet, their customers gradually started shopping online because Jameson General Store was limited in its product offerings.

In fact, most of the business that Jameson Store lost was not to local competitors, but online sellers. Jim was adamant about resisting the temptation about shopping online. Yet, when he saw his own 10-year-old grandson purchase a difficult item to locate in the area online at significant costs, Jim had to ponder his current marketing strategy with the changing landscape in the nation.

Today’s customers can purchase a variety of items online with minimum effort. Given this scenario, brick and mortar companies are fighting to stay alive with the fierce internet competition. According to a 2017 survey conducted by Square and Mercury Analytics looking at 1,164 U.S. business owners, the following observations were made:

  • 96% of Americans with internet access have made an online purchase in their life, 80% in the past month alone.
  • 51% of Americans prefer to shop online.
  • 67% of Millennials and 56% of Gen Xers prefer to shop online rather than in-store.
  • Millennials and Gen Xers spend nearly 50% as much time shopping online each week (six hours) than their older counterparts (four hours).
  • 51% of seniors have shopped on marketplaces, 66% at large retailer sites, 30% on web stores or independent boutiques, and 44% at category-specific online stores.

Marketing professionals understand the importance of the internet and how to effectively leverage this power. According to Socialmedia.com, 90% of marketers use social media for their businesses. Sadly, many small businesses do not recognize this fact. Many businesses had opted to bury their heads in the sand in hopes that this ‘internet thing’ will go away. It hadn’t!

In fact, e-Commerce is growing more than 23% annually; however, 46% of American small businesses do not have a website according to Square and Mercury Analytics research. This article focuses on how small businesses can leverage digital marketing to achieve greater success and enhance their market opportunities.

Digital marketing should be a tool that every serious small business should utilize. Digital marketing goes by many names such as e-commerce marketing, online marketing, and internet marketing. Digital marketing can be defined as “the marketing of products or services using digital channels to reach consumers.” The key objective is to promote brands the usage of the internet.

Digital marketing extends beyond internet marketing to include channels that do not require the use of the internet. Some digital marketing channels include websites, social media platforms, email marketing, search engine optimization (SEO), blogging, podcasts, and online advertising to name a few. Beyond technology gimmicks, businesses should know their customers and their core competencies. Digital marketing is not a silver bullet. Digital marketing is a tool for the savvy business professional.

Catherine Juan, Donnie Greiling, and Catherine Buerkle, authors of Internet Marketing: Start to Finish, suggest that effective digital marketing requires plenty of careful planning. They add, “The heart of getting real traction out of your internet marketing program is to tie marketing and sales data together, with metrics. Track what you’re doing, track the impact, and track the resulting sales.” Looking at the landscape of technology and internet innovation, small businesses should think strategically about the following five digital marketing trends:

Artificial Intelligence – Some people develop elaborate doom-day scenarios of machines to control the world. However, artificial intelligence (AI) is becoming a way of life in marketing. AI can be defined as ‘the theory and development of computer systems able to perform tasks that normally require human intelligence.’ Voice Activation technology like Amazon’s Echo is bringing AI into public attention. By 2020, customers will manage 85% of their purchases without interacting with a person.

Internet Searching – Buyers are more knowledgeable than ever with access to the internet. In fact, 81% of shoppers conduct online research before making big purchases. Thus, exploring how to utilize search engine optimization and getting your business at the top of searches is an invaluable step.

Mobile Communications – Most Americans have grown accustomed to instant gratification and easy access to technology. Mobile and tablet e-commerce will reach $293B by 2018. Smartphone and tablets are part of this wave of innovation. Mobile will account for 72% of the U.S. digital ad spend by 2019. Marketers recognize that mobile marketing is an untapped business tool.

Social Media – Social media platforms, like Facebook, allows buyers to connect with each other virtually. 65% of business-to-business companies have acquired customers through LinkedIn ads. Marketers realize this value.

Web Content – Good content will attract customers. In fact, customers are more likely to purchase from sellers with good, relevant videos/photos on their website. 52% of marketing professionals globally name the video as the type of content with the best ROI.

Faced with the tenants of competition, small businesses need to utilize digital marketing. Some small businesses may be hesitant to explore digital marketing due to their lack of trust and understanding of the internet. Philip Kotler and Kevin Keller, authors of Marketing Management, note “Top firms are comfortable using technology to improve the way they do business with their business-to-business customers.”

This article demonstrated that today’s small businesses can utilize digital marketing to enhance their market opportunities. Hopefully, gaining this knowledge will help business owners so that they will not continue to bury their heads in the sand. The internet is here to stay. Pray that you are listening to this message.

© 2017 by DD Green

website traffic
web design myrtle beach
best seo company

The Base Elements That Are the Essence of Digital Marketing Today

Digital Marketing can mean different things to different people as it comprises a host of different aspects. Everything from the inbound methodology to Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM) are components of this marketing methodology. However, all these functions have the same goal – making sure that your website or brand is easily visible online and also ranks high on the Search Engine Ranking Page (SERP). While it may seem simple, it is anything but. And this is the case due to many factors of which some are listed below.

Here’s a list of factors that can affect your presence in the market:

• You have to pick the right keywords

• You need to have the right content strategy

• You need to make sure that your website loads quickly

• You need to perform both on-page and off-page SEO

• You must have relevant and good quality content

• And most of your competitors are also doing the same thing

This puts digital marketing firms in a unique place where the quality of their work plays a vital role in determining the status of their clients’ business and online presence. While many such firms opt for the brute force technique of generating subpar but high volume of content, the best in the business will have a steady and stable content strategy with adequate emphasis on quality while at the same time delivering content via the most optimum means and at the right intervals.

Do They See You? Are The Reacting To You?

All this has an impact on the common goal that has been mentioned above – online visibility and SERP ranking. Thus, it is safe to say that performing the key functions of this kind of marketing is in itself the essence of efficient and consumer-oriented marketing. With the Inbound methodology being all the new rage in this spectrum, the way businesses approach and interact with their customers has changed and is continuing to change quite dynamically. The focus of this approach hinges on the amount you know about your target audience or your buyer persona. This could be all you need to come up with content, SEM, SEO and overall online marketing strategies as a whole using a simple measure of trial and error to get answers and results.

Criteria On Which To Judge For The Best DM Company

As a business looking for the right online marketing agency, it is best to hire one that performs all of the following functions:

• SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

• SEM (Search Engine Marketing)

• Social Media Marketing

• Marketing Automation

• CRM Solutions

website traffic
web design myrtle beach
best seo company

The Secret Digital Marketing Weapon for Your Business

I tell my marketing clients and those that attend my various marketing presentations all the time that the two greatest assets you posses are your Attitude and Belief.

It seems paradoxical the more you give away, the more people are willing to pay for your services but it’s true. This exact approach has worked quickly and effectively for me for years. The key is that it’s got to be good and of high relevance to your target audience. This builds people’s confidence that you consistently know your stuff and that you can be counted on for long-term value. People soon realize that if you’re willing to give away such valuable expertise, think how great the solutions they pay for will be!

So how do you share your expertise with your target audience? Through writing and speaking. And it starts with being able to get your core ideas down on paper in a way that catches your audience’s attention and compels them to action.

If the idea of writing an article or giving a speech feels overwhelming, stay with me. I’m going to show you how easy it can be if you follow a basic formula that works every time.

Brainstorm a short list of things that your clients struggle with. What problems drive them to you? Why are they willing to pay good money for your services? Remember, it’s not about you it’s about them, their pain, and their needs. This is now your list of topics for articles and talks.

Pick one topic and answer the following questions:

• What’s the problem?

• What’s the lost opportunity?

• Why is this important to address?

• What will happen if it’s ignored?

• What’s your solution?

• What tips do you have for implementing your solution?

• What example can you use to illustrate your point?

Formula for Digital Marketing Success:

Attitude: Be enthusiastic and passionate about your value proposition to the marketplace. You know that what you offer can make a difference and have an impact on your clients. When it comes to your own marketing, if you feel good about yourself and you have self-confidence because you are doing everything for the benefit of your clients, you’ll become more attractive to prospective clients.

Belief: You don’t have to have a degree in marketing to get great marketing results. But you do have to believe in yourself and your actions. I call it a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you believe that can’t do something, you’re right – you won’t do it. On the other hand, if you believe that you can learn what it takes to get better marketing results you will.

If you’re persistent in pursuing your business and your small business marketing with a positive attitude and belief that you can, sooner or later you’ll find what works for you. You’ll discover the marketing strategies and tactics that allow you to begin attracting attention and bringing in new clients consistently! I know because it’s happening for me.

website traffic
web design myrtle beach
best seo company

5 Common Misconceptions About Digital Marketing – A Beginners’ Guide

If you know what digital marketing is, you should know how effective it has become today. Well, sometimes it is found that beginners face a few common misconceptions about digital marketing. And eventually, they have to taste early defeat in this challenging market. Believe it or not, I have also gone through the same situations. This is why; I feel I must tell you what things can primarily have negative impacts on your digital media marketing efforts.

It is no doubt that in this technology driven world, digital media based marketing has given the business development a new boosting towards faster growth. But following are some common mistakes that a newbie should avoid:

1. Higher time consumption versus fewer results: The first thing that disappoints a beginner is time against results. It is a fact that there is hardly any short cut to success (except pay-per-click advertisement) in the digital or the online marketing sphere! When you begin to start market your business online, you have to wait and watch for results for some time. After a few outcomes, rework on strategy can lead to expected results. But this does not mean that you should stop working on digital media based marketing ploys. One thing you must remember or convey to your superiors that results of digital marketing stay for a long time. Once the flow of business beings, it does far better in revenue collection than off-line marketing processes.

2. It is too technical and hard to track or measure: I can personally tell you that I have come across people who simply try to negate digital or online marketing as it is a bit technical. Some of my friends and even clients are heard to say, “You people better understand things as you have the technical knowhow”. But let me tell you my friends, I am not at all technical person and I do not hold any technical degree. Yet, Googling around and with the help of some of my friends, I am now easily handling my own site’s online marketing process. And talking about the tracking process, I can say there are so many tools to analyze and trace the output of your digital marketing efforts. For example, there are many keyword analysis tools that help you know the best keywords or phrases that would help you move forward and outperform your competitors on Google search results.

3. You need to invest lump sum money for success: Another setback that can really affect a beginner to take the first firm step in the domain of digital or online marketing is a money issue. Some people have a big misconception that digital or online marketing means an investment of a considerable part of your marketing budget. But this is not at all true. Whether you employ any digital marketing expert or yourself begin to work in this domain, very nominal investment can start showing you greater results. You can expect better results from other conventional marketing ploys even. There are so many free techniques that can be implemented to get firsthand results.

4. SEO is going to die so stop this nonsense: There are so many Big Brothers who have grown some deep knowledge in themselves about Google and SEO. They have the judgment – Google now does not allow or adhere to conventional practices of optimization of web pages (Meta tags, content etc.) so it is not necessary to invest your money in digital or online marketing (SEO is certainly the part of it). It would be better to follow other techniques. These types of conceptions are nothing but misconceptions about digital marketing! The on-page SEO (working on Meta and content) still has importance to Google and other search engines. Those ploys guide search crawlers to index and show the best results against the user queries. Yes, SEO techniques are becoming advanced to bring the best results to the customers and it is not going to die till the search engines are in the market.

5. Social networking is all digital or online marketing: In this era of ‘Facebook’, ‘Twitter’, ‘what’s Up’ people are growing a deep misconception in themselves. They have started to think that social media marketing is all in all in digital marketing. If you can market you business in social channels, you then do not need to do anything else. But for the beginners I must say, stop thinking likewise! If you search, you would find there are so many other techniques that help in bringing results. Do not indulge your time entirely on social media marketing. For example, you have to know and work on making your online presence mobile friendly to reach the greatest number of people. And to do that, you have to know some key techniques that stand as a part of digital media based marketing.

Well, there are so many other misconceptions about digital marketing processes. But I have tried to put forward only 5 misconceptions that can lead a beginner to defeat! I have personally burnt my nail falling in a few of such damaging misconceptions. So I think, everybody should research well and find out the truth. There are so many blogs of experts that can guide a beginner to success in digital and online marketing. For example, Google’s Spokesperson Mr. Matt Cutts has a blog where he shares his good thoughts on digital and online marketing good practices. Such blogs and helps are innumerable and following those, success is bound to come for a beginner. I wish the above points would help you all be successful in avoiding common misconceptions of digital marketing. Know the truth and get the success.

website traffic
web design myrtle beach
best seo company

Tips In Choosing A Digital Marketing Agency

A digital marketing agency works with a lot of business today to help them reach the right agent. It helps businesses increase brand awareness. It helps businesses increase its customer base. If you are in the business industry, you’d surely want to find a reputable company to help you market your brand. Since these agencies can provide great impact to your business, it’s crucial that you choose the right one.

So how do you choose an agency? For sure, you will find a lot of agencies out there that offer the services you’d want. So how do you shorten the list? What factors do you need to consider in finding the best one?

• Go traditional. One way to find a good company is to ask for recommendations. Find out what agency has been working for a friend or a colleague. Ask about their experiences with the agency. Learn how the agency has helped them and if the results were satisfactory.

• Check out for awards. One way to find out if an agency is good is to check for industry awards. Good companies have been awarded with certifications for their astonishing works.

• Request for a presentation. Once you’ve narrowed down your choices, request for a presentation from these agencies. Be sure to explain what your company is looking for. And then ask them give a presentation of what marketing strategies can they provide for you.

When agencies make their presentations, you’ll need time to assess their ideas. This is not an easy task to do. You need to find the qualities you are looking for in an agency. Establishing your requirements can help you find which agencies are suitable for your wants and needs. So what qualities and other factors should you consider?

• Expertise. Digital marketing has a lot of aspects, and different agencies can provide several services for you. In digital marketing, there are aspects such as web marketing, social media marketing, etc. So when you are aiming for web marketing, find the agency that specializes in it; the same goes for the other aspects.

• Results. This is one factor that you need to focus on. You need to find out if the agency has provided good results for other businesses. You need to make sure that they were able to help businesses achieve their goals in terms of marketing. If your research shows that the agency was able to help the business increase its sales, its customer base, and its market share, then you’ve got a winner.

website traffic
web design myrtle beach
best seo company

Digital Marketing Training

Hearing a lot of buzz about Digital Marketing? Wondering what’s all the hype about? Read on!

As the digital marketing field continues to grow at a rapid pace, marketers are springing with new opportunities. A Digital Marketing Training Course has been created keeping in mind current industry standards. It is an initiative designed to educate students and professors in the field of Digital Marketing. A certification from Google is the best way to make your CV stand out. It will portray you’ve got genuine digital skills, and that you are motivated to work in today’s business world.

Digital marketing promotes both products and services using digital technologies, like Internet, mobile phones and many other digital mediums. Students that complete the course and get certified will have skills learned that help them shape their strategy for the competition.

Here are few kinds of marketing techniques by which promoting takes place – Your website, Blog posts, eBooks and white papers, Social media channels (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, etc.), Earned online coverage (PR, social media, and reviews), Online brochures, Branding assets like logos, fonts, etc.

Here are some tactics used Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Content Marketing, Inbound Marketing, Social Media Marketing, Pay-Per-Click (PPC), Affiliate Marketing, Native Advertising, Marketing Automation, Email Marketing. The best part about Digital marketing training is that it can work for any business in any industry regardless of what companies are selling, marketing still involves building out buyer personas to identify your audience’s needs, and creating valuable online content.

There’s approximately 150,000 digital jobs predicted by 2020 and not enough digital professionals to fill them. This provides those studying digital-marketing course with a unique competitive advantage – you’re gearing yourself up for a career where demand exceeds supply. Always a good move. Rarely a week goes by without a new onslaught of digital Marketing jobs announced for multinationals and national brands.

Digital-Marketing training is “Evergreen” career choice. The marketing, technology is constantly evolving, hence need for re-skilling is must these days. Churn your future with an impressive digital job.

Search Engines

Since most people enter the web using a search engine, knowing how it works and knowing how to make oneself visible through a search engine is paramount. Through search engine marketing you can create a brand presence, or make a sale, or get a customer lead that can later be closed through direct marketing channels.

Knowing all options that are possible for branding and marketing through search engines is necessary to be a good promoter for a company.

There are 5 strategies for search engine marketing.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Pay-Per-Click (PPC)

Contextually Targeted Text Ads

Paid Inclusion and

Digital Asset Optimization

Companies that use SEO and PPC are the highest.

Facebook and other Social Media Marketing

One must understand the complex dynamics of people interaction on social media. People interact with a brand while on social media either by seeing an advertisement, or Facebook page, or a picture etc. and they comment on the product or share or give feedback to other friends and relatives. Cashing in on this social presence is a part of digital marketing.

Email Marketing

Giving a consumer an option to receive emails about the product, discounts, offers and events. They must be relevant and interesting and motivate the consumer to go to the business website or buy.

Website

Building a website with a logical hierarchy in its navigation based on the goal of the website is an important skill to acquire. Website can be of HTML, PHP or WordPress depending on our interest.

Mobile Media

Since most of our population spends more time on mobile phones than on desktops and computers one must learn how to adapt ads, webpages and social media images to the mobile phone.

Many companies have a mobile app for purchase of product and that too falls under the purview of digital marketing.

To be an expert in the field of digital marketing one must have knowledge on how to bring together a campaign on all platforms simultaneously. Knowing how to link email to Facebook, Instagram, tweeter and your web page.

Digital Marketing is a huge and exciting field that is progressing fast. Companies are forever on a quest to find skilled digital media personnel to help grow their business. This is the only way businesses can stay ahead of their competition.

website traffic
web design myrtle beach
best seo company

Best 25 SEO-Friendly Themes for Your Business

The 34 Marketing Principles I Live By

coastal media brand

Can you guess how long I’ve been a marketer?

7 years? Maybe 10?

Guess again.

I’ve been a marketer for 18 years now. That’s a long time… And funny enough, I’ve also been an entrepreneur for the same amount of time as I’ve never really held a “corporate” job.

Many of you think I am smart, and I am great at marketing. But let me burst your bubble… I am NOT smart, and I am NOT a great marketer.

Instead, I’ve just been doing everything long enough where I’ve learned what not to do.

See, the first 4 or so years of my marketing career went really slow and didn’t go the way I wanted. This was mainly because I kept making mistakes. And even worse, I kept repeating the same mistakes over and over again.

So, when I was around 20 years old, I created a list of marketing principles to never break because I wanted to ensure that I didn’t repeat the same mistakes over and over again.

Over time I kept adding to the list, and it has helped me succeed not only as a marketer but also as an entrepreneur.

Hopefully, the list principles below helps you get to where you want in life. I know it’s helped me tremendously.

Here goes:

Principle #1: Don’t be the first

So many new marketing channels pop up, don’t be in a rush to try them all. Especially when these channels are new and unproven. You’re more likely to waste time than find wins.

At the same time, you don’t want to be the last either. The key is to be an early adopter. Once a channel is picking up steam, that’s when you want to jump on board and see if you can leverage it for your business.

Principle #2: Ride it while it lasts

Every channel that works eventually gets saturated. Some fade away, but most stick around, and some just don’t work as well.

For example, Facebook grew through sending out invitation emails to everyone in your email address book. That just doesn’t work anymore.

Digg used to be an amazing site that drove 100,000 visitors to a site in less than 24 hours. It doesn’t anymore. Google AdWords used to be a cheap way to drive sales. It still works, but it is expensive.

When you find a channel that is working amazingly well, push hard and milk it for as long as it lasts. As time goes on, you’ll want to keep leveraging it, but you’ll naturally have to scale back as more competitors jump due to price increases.

Principle #3: Sales and marketing should be owned by one person

To truly grow, you need to understand the whole picture. From how someone comes to your site, to what they are looking for, to how to sell, upsell, and retain a customer.

You need to think about the whole cycle a customer goes through.

For that reason, a company eventually needs a Chief Revenue Officer (especially in the B2B world). A CRO is someone in charge of both sales and marketing. The departments can run separately, but they need one boss.

When both departments don’t roll up into one boss, there is typically a disconnect. This will cause the conversion rates to be lower.

Principle #4: Go all in during recessionary periods

The market moves in cycles. When things go down people pull back on marketing. Don’t optimize for short-term gains, optimize for the long run.

Marketing tends to be more cost-effective during recessionary periods. This is when you should be spending more, doubling down, so that way you can beat your competition once the recession is over.

Principle #5: If you aren’t thinking long term, you won’t beat your competition

Most publicly traded companies optimize for a return within the first 12 months. Most venture-funded companies have a 1 to 3-year outlook. If you want to beat these companies, you need to have a 3-plus year outlook. This will open up more marketing channels that your competition can’t look at due to investors and outside pressure.

With your marketing, it doesn’t mean you have to lose money for 3 or more years to beat your competition. It means you just have to get creative. For example, I know marketing costs are rising each year, so I’ve invested in software to generate visitors at a much lower cost than CPC advertising.

Doing these sorts of things requires patience as it can take years for creative ideas to come to fruition.

Principle #6: Never rely on one channel

Good channels eventually become saturated and it’s too risky if your marketing is solely based on one channel.

If it goes away or stops working for your business, it will crumble you. You can’t control algorithms, and you can’t always predict costs. Focus on an omnichannel approach.

In other words, you can’t just do SEO or social media marketing. You need to eventually try and leverage all of the major marketing channels.

Principle #7: Marketing tends to get more expensive over time

It’s rare for marketing to get cheaper. You can’t control this. As much as you focus on marketing, you have to focus on conversion optimization. It’s the only way to keep you in the game as costs increase.

Try to run at least one A/B test each month. And don’t run tests based on your gut. Use both quantitative and qualitative data to make decisions.

Principle #8: Don’t take your messaging for granted

No matter how effective your traffic generation skills are, you won’t win if people don’t understand why they should buy from you over the competition. A great example of this is Airbnb. They beat Home Away and are worth roughly ten times more.

They both have a similar product and they both executed well. Airbnb came out much later, but they nailed their messaging.

Spend time crafting and creating amazing messaging. Typically, amazing messaging requires story-telling and understanding your customers.

You may have to survey your customers or talk to them over the phone, but eventually, you can come up with the right messaging using qualitative data. And once you’ve figured out the right messaging, retest each year as market conditions can change, which will affect your messaging.

Principle #9: The numbers never lie

Opinions don’t matter!

Marketing should always be a data-driven approach. Follow the numbers and keep auditing them as things will change over time. What works now may not in the future due to external factors that you can’t control such as privacy and security concerns.

For example, if your users claim to hate exit popups, but the data shows an exit popup increases your monthly revenue by 10%, then continually use the exit popup.

People within the organization will complain and argue with you, but as long as you aren’t doing anything unethical, follow the data.

Principle #10: The best thing you can do is build a brand

Whether it is a corporate or personal one, people connect with brands. From Tony Robbins to Nike, people prefer brands. By building a brand, you are building longevity with your marketing.

Don’t ever take it for granted and start building it from day one. No matter how small or big your company is, you should continually work on improving your brand.

From the story behind why it exists to showcasing it wherever you can, push hard on branding. In the short run, it will not produce a positive ROI, and it is hard to track the value of a growing brand, but it works.

When people want to buy sports shoes, they don’t always perform Google searches. Instead, they just think “Nike.” When people want a credit card, they think Visa, Mastercard, Discover, or American Express.

Brands are powerful and create longevity.

Principle #11: Always protect your brand

You’ll have opportunities to generate quick sales or traffic at the sacrifice of your brand image. Never do it.

It’s better to have less traffic and sales in the short run than it is to tarnish your brand in the long run. If you tarnish your brand, you’ll find that it will be hard to recover and cost more money.

Principle #12: Don’t take shortcuts

Every time someone presents a social media or SEO shortcut, avoid it. Typically, they won’t last long, and they could set you back through a penalization. It’s better to be safe and think long term.

It will be tempting but say no.

Principle #13: Don’t market crap

Building a crappy product, service, or site just won’t cut it. With the web being competitive and it being easier to start a site online, you need to make sure you have something incredible.

It’s 10 times easier to market something people love than it is to market something people don’t care about.

No matter how good of a marketer you are, it’s not easy to market something people don’t want. So first focus on creating something amazing.

Principle #14: Hire a full-time affiliate manager from day 1

There are always people within your space who aren’t competitors and have an established user base. Have a dedicated resource continually reaching out and partnering with these sites and companies.

It’s a good long-term way to grow without having to invest a lot of capital. Even if your product or service isn’t ready, hire this person from day one as it takes 6 months to fully build up a good base of partnerships and affiliates.

Principle #15: Go against conventional marketing wisdom

Doing what everyone else is doing won’t work for the long haul. Doing the opposite usually works much better.

It may sound risky to go against the grain, but it is one of the best ways to grow when you are in a saturated market.

A simple example of this is how Gmail grew when they first came out. Space was crowded and even though their tool was great, so was a lot of the competitors. Gmail grew by creating the illusion of exclusivity. People had to be invited by other members to get a @gmail.com email address.

Principle #16: If you aren’t scared, you’re not pushing the limits

If you’re cheering about everything you are doing when it comes to marketing, something is wrong. You need to be scared and be going through a mix of emotions every time you launch a new marketing campaign.

If you aren’t then you’re not pushing the limits. Testing campaigns that your competition won’t ever dare to try, and, of course, be ethical when doing this. Don’t burn your brand.

The bigger the risk, the bigger the reward. Those who push the limits, tend to have a greater reward.

Principle #17: Don’t be unethical

You are going to have opportunities to gain quick wins at the cost of your customers. Always put others first. It’s the only way to survive in the long haul. In general, if you are going to have trouble sleeping at night, you shouldn’t be doing it.

A good example of this in marketing is how affiliates use forced continuity. This is when they sell physical products for free as long as their customers pay for shipping. What these customers don’t realize is that they are going to receive the same product every month and they will get a bill every month as well.

Don’t be unethical.

Principle #18: Get the right influencers onboard early

People tend to have a deeper connection with individuals over corporate brands. Get influencers on board early, as it will help you attract customers faster.

Make sure your influencers are related to your business or else it won’t work and will just be a waste of money.

For example, if you are selling a B2B software you don’t want half naked Instagram influencers promoting your product. It won’t work.

But if you are selling fashion products, having influencers on Instagram who have popular fashion channels will help drive sales.

Principle #19: Video is the future

People want to connect with you and your company. If you aren’t integrating video within your marketing, you are making a big mistake. Whether you like being on camera or not, video should be in your strategy from day 1.

When you create videos, don’t just put it on your site. Put the same videos everywhere… from social networks to asking other websites to embed your videos on their site.

You should even test running video ads as they tend to be more effective than text-based ads. They are more expensive to run, but the conversion rate is typically higher.

Principle #20: You don’t know everything

Marketing is always changing. No matter how good you get at one tactic, never stop learning. Having the attitude that you are great will only hurt you. Have an open mind and be willing to learn from anyone, especially newcomers with little to no experience as they bring fresh insights.

Principle #21: Don’t hire arrogant marketers

If you have arrogant marketers on your team, consider replacing them with people who are open to learning (assuming you aren’t breaking any HR laws).

Arrogant marketers are typically stuck in their ways and they aren’t open to change. Just because someone doesn’t know as much, doesn’t mean they can’t learn.

Arrogant marketers tend not to experiment, and they prefer sticking with what they know.

Principle #22: Little is the new big

Social media has empowered everyone. Don’t take people for granted, even if they don’t have money. By helping everyone, it will cause your brand to grow in the long run.

Don’t worry about a direct ROI when helping others, it will cause word of mouth marketing.

Because of social media, everyone can impact your brand in a good or bad way. So make sure it’s in a good way by helping everyone out (as much as it is feasibly possible).

Principle #23: Continually test what’s working

Because of external factors that you can’t control, things change over time.

For example, 3rd party authentications used to boost conversion rates, but now people are concerned with using them because of privacy concerns.

Always retest what has worked in the past every 6 months to ensure it is still helping you.

When you don’t retest, you’ll find that your conversion rates will drop over time and you won’t know the cause of it.

Principle #24: The majority of people don’t read

If you write a masterpiece, expect the majority of the people to not read it. Make sure your content and marketing landing pages are easy to skim. Without this, you’ll lose out on a large portion of sales.

Things like design, spacing, colors, and typography all affect readability and how easy it is to skim. Yes, messaging is important, but if no one reads it then you won’t generate sales.

Principle #25: Headlines are more important than content

8 out of 10 people will read your headline, but only 2 will click through and read your content. Spend as much time coming up with a headline as you do writing content. If you have an amazing masterpiece and a terrible headline, it won’t get read.

You shouldn’t stop with one headline either. Consider A/B testing a handful of headlines, as this will help you come up with a winning version.

Principle #26: Expand internationally once you’ve figured out your main market

The English language is always competitive. But markets like Asia and Latin America don’t have as much competition and people within these regions are willing to spend money.

Translate your website, content, product, and service as quickly as possible (while maintaining quality, of course!). It will open up more marketing opportunities and revenue streams.

When picking new markets, don’t just look at GDP look at the population as well. If one region has a slightly lower GDP but a higher population, consider going after the one with a larger population first.

Principle #27: Be willing to start over every year

If you are expecting to grow by just doubling down on what worked in the past, your growth will slow down.

By having the mentality that you need to start over and redo all of your marketing initiatives each year, you’ll grow faster as you will be receptive to change.

This doesn’t mean you should ignore what worked for you in the last 12 months, it means that you need to keep doing that as well as well as go back to the drawing board to try new tactics.

Principle #28: Ideas are a dime a dozen, but good team members aren’t

You’ll have dozens of ideas that you’ll want to test, but if you don’t have people to take charge of them they won’t go anywhere. Don’t bite off more than your team can handle.

If you want to grow faster, you need people to take charge and lead each of your marketing initiatives. This will also allow you to fine tune each channel and squeeze the most out of it.

And if you have dozens of ideas, don’t just hire any marketer. If you don’t hire the right person, with experience, you’ll find that marketing channel isn’t working out too well for you. So take your time.

Principle #29: Don’t hire people you need to train if you want to grow fast

There is nothing wrong with hiring people who need training, but it will cause your growth to slow down.

If you want more traffic and sales ASAP, you can’t hire people that need hand holding or training. Hire marketers with industry experience that know how to get off and running from day 1.

Ideally, you should even consider hiring marketers who have worked for your competition and have done well for them.

Principle #30: It takes 3 months for a marketer to get ramped up

No matter how skilled of a marketer you hire, even if they come from your competition, it typically takes 3 months for them to find their groove.

So, when you hire them as a full-time employee or a contractor, be patient and be willing to give it at least 3 months before you decide what you want to do.

Of course, you should see results within the first 3 months (even if they are small) but you still need to be patient.

Principle #31: People love stories and always will

Storytelling goes back centuries. They were effective back then and they still are today (and they will be tomorrow as well). Integrate stories within your copy. It will help you craft a better bond with your audience.

With a better bond comes higher conversion rates.

Principle #32: Don’t take trends for granted

If you see the market moving in a direction, even if you don’t think it will last forever, consider riding the wave. Even if you don’t like the trend, you’ll find that it typically makes customer acquisition easier and more affordable.

Use tools like Google Trends to help you determine which trends are popular and to see how the market is moving.

A great example of this is MixPanel copied the KISSmetrics product, but they grew faster as they rode the mobile analytics trend, while KISSmetrics did not.

Principle #33: Optimize for revenue, not top of funnel metrics

In marketing, looking at numbers like monthly visitors is great, but it isn’t the most important metric. Optimizing for leads isn’t enough either.

Your tracking needs to encompass the whole funnel. By optimizing for revenue you’ll be able to make better decisions and see faster growth.

When looking at your funnel, keep in mind that it shouldn’t stop with a purchase. There are upsells, repeat purchases, cross-sells, and even churn to consider.

Principle #34: Follow the rule of 7

People need to hear about your brand or see your brand 7 times before they’ll convert into a customer. In other words, you need to be everywhere if you want to win market share.

With every company having similar products and services, people have a hard time deciding who to buy from. If your brand is more prevalent, people are more likely to choose you.

Make sure you are leveraging as many proven marketing channels as possible.

Conclusion

Some of the principles above may seem obvious to you while others may not. But you’ll find that both you and your team will make many of the mistakes no matter how obvious they seem.

Whether it is the principles above or your own, consider creating a list of your own for your team to follow. And it shouldn’t just be for marketing. I have lots of principles… especially in regards to entrepreneurship.

So what other principles should marketers follow? Just leave a comment below with some of the principles you follow.

The post The 34 Marketing Principles I Live By appeared first on Neil Patel.

Marketer Cheats his Field With Design - Creates 15 Logos in 15 Da...

How to Use KPI Benchmarks to Drive Better Marketing Decisions (And Results)

kpi benchmarks

Data is the cornerstone of digital marketing results and producing great campaigns for the future.

The more traffic you get, the better your tactics worked.

Are you ranking #1 for a keyword? It looks like your efforts have paid off!

But have your efforts literally paid off? Have they actually made money for your business?

You might feel good when you read those kinds of metrics, but they don’t prove that your company has fulfilled its ultimate goal: to make a profit.

We all like to look at this kind of data. But in reality, most of us are doing data wrong.

We are focusing on the wrong key performance indicators (KPIs) and using them to make bad marketing decisions.

Data should always be the first thing you look at when allocating a budget or informing a new campaign.

But what happens when the data you’re looking at isn’t good enough?

If the data doesn’t show you the entire picture, you risk dumping your budget into efforts that simply won’t produce results.

Tracking the wrong metrics is a recipe for disaster, but using those metrics to inform your decisions is even worse.

It could be the make-or-break difference for your business.

I did this countless times when I was a young entrepreneur growing my business.

I was using the wrong data to inform bad decisions and taking my budget to a different platform, only to realize that it was a waste of time and money.

Thankfully, I’ve learned a few things over the years that I can share with you to help you improve your marketing.

Here’s how you should be using KPI benchmarks to drive better marketing decisions.

What are KPI benchmarks and which ones should you focus on?

Key performance indicators are metrics that are designed to tell you how effectively you are achieving your business objectives.

They are meant to quickly tell you if your marketing tactics are working or not.

Tons of businesses use KPIs at multiple levels to measure the success of their efforts.

KPIs can range from high-level to low-level and could be anything from traffic to sales depending on your goals, business, and specific campaign.

A lot of times, marketers get caught up in things like traffic or clicks. We obsess over having the best click-through rate or the number one ranking spot for our goal keywords.

But when it comes to KPIs, you need to focus on real data.

You need data that tells you exactly what impact you had on your business.

For example, is your goal to drive more Facebook Page likes?

pasted image 0 360

Then your KPI shouldn’t be focused on metrics like traffic or visits or impressions.

Why? Because your end goal doesn’t involve any of that.

Your end goal is page likes, meaning that your key performance indicator should be page likes!

It tells you in one metric how your efforts are performing.

It’s the blanket metric that you should use to inform your decisions.

It would be the same thing if you were running social media campaigns for followers on Twitter or Instagram.

pasted image 0 372

So, what if you’re running a Google AdWords campaign and your end goal is leads?

In that case, your KPI wouldn’t be anything like traffic or clicks. It would be how many people you actually land for a consultation or convince to become an email subscriber.

Sometimes, we get caught up in metrics that are great on the surface.

But focusing on these metrics can send you down a rabbit hole that you may never escape.

It can sabotage your marketing efforts by making you think that certain tactics are working when in reality they aren’t.

Overall, KPIs should meet the following criteria when compared to other data and metrics:

pasted image 0 330

KPIs should be meaningful enough to use in your marketing decisions.

They need to concentrate on material gains in terms of contributing cold hard cash to your bank account.

They need to align and even guide the strategic positioning and direction of your brand, too.

So, what falls into KPIs and what doesn’t? Well, this is a good rule of thumb:

pasted image 0 345

If you want to find out your own KPIs, I have a formula that can help you uncover them in just a few minutes.

Here’s how:

Step 1. Define your objective.

First, you need to figure out what your end goal for a specific campaign or department is. For example, the sales department exists to close prospects on sales.

For marketing, it’s likely to bring in more visitors and drive more lead sign-ups.

Once you’ve outlined the major objective of a campaign or department, head to step 2.

Step 2. Define the measurable success.

If your sales department’s goal is to close prospects to produce sales, measurable success metrics could be:

  • Close rate
  • Total sales
  • Overall business growth in terms of profit

If your marketing department exists to bring in new traffic and leads, your KPIs might be:

  • Traffic
  • Conversion rate from traffic to leads
  • Total leads

Once you’ve done this, you can use your data for the right efforts. Here’s how you’re doing data wrong and how to use your KPIs for better decisions.

A prime example of how data goes wrong and why

People often see A/B testing as the gold standard of benchmark data.

They put stock into these tests, and once they do them, they make massive changes to their marketing game plan.

But the truth is that A/B testing is a waste of time for most small businesses. At least when it comes to certain marketing campaigns.

According to Conversion XL, most A/B tests fail. Why?

It’s because you need a minimum of 1,000 conversions monthly to reach any sort of statistical significance.

But often — and I’m guilty of it, too — we take A/B testing data as foolproof evidence that should always inform our decisions.

It can cause us to put too much money into platforms that really don’t work.

For example, let’s say that you A/B test having a free trial sign-up with a credit card and without one.

You can see this on most SaaS product sites:

pasted image 0 393

So you test a landing page with a credit card required and one without.

You quickly notice that you’ve got double, or maybe even triple, the conversions on your page without a credit card required.

You quickly think:

Wow! I’ve struck gold.

Eliminate the credit card usage ASAP. Take down the landing page.

Let’s pump all of your budget into this to drive more of these conversions!

But that’s dangerous. It’s the wrong way to look at data.

It’s not how KPIs are meant to be used.

For example, let’s say you check back in 2-4 weeks when the trials are starting to end.

You notice that only 5% of trial users converted to a final service when they signed up without a credit card.

But now you’ve put all of your eggs in one basket,= and it’s too late to go back.

All of those visitors who signed up for free trials didn’t convert.

And when you look back, you notice that the majority of people who sign up when a credit card was required actually converted to the full product.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X-QgSpzub0s?feature=oembed&w=700&h=394]

KPIs are all about quality — not quantity. They are about what really moves the needle for your business.

A/B testing is a common pitfall that small businesses fall into when trying to use data to drive better marketing decisions.

Sure, A/B testing is useful. But only when you use it over and over to generate consistent results.

How to use KPIs to make realistic marketing decisions

Now it’s time to use data for good.

Tip 1. Create a KPI dashboard in Google Analytics.

KPIs are fantastic once you’ve got them outlined.

But how do you make better marketing decisions with them?

By making them the focal point of your data collection and analysis process.

They need to be the center of your focus if you want to make a real impact on your business growth and development.

To start, I recommend creating a custom dashboard in Google Analytics. To do this, head to the “Dashboards” report under “Customization:”

pasted image 0 411

Next, hit “Create” to start a new custom dashboard:

pasted image 0 408

Now you can choose between two different options.

You can either create a new custom dashboard from a blank canvas or select a starter custom dashboard.

For this, I recommend creating one from a blank canvas to really customize it to your efforts.

pasted image 0 350

Click “Create Dashboard” to continue.

Now you’ve got tons of options to choose from when creating a new widget for your dashboard:

pasted image 0 399

You can add dozens of widgets to your dashboard and customize them with different metrics, graphs, and stats.

Now, obviously, everyone will have a different dashboard depending on their company goals.

Metrics won’t always be the same, so there is no cookie-cutter dashboard you can copy.

Remember: KPIs should be the best of the best metrics and indicators for your success.

No two campaigns should contain all of the same KPIs.

But, I will show you how to set up a few different amazing widgets for your dashboard to get you started.

One of my favorite custom dashboard widgets is meant for marketers who want to analyze their traffic impact on conversions.

It helps you quickly identify which channels, whether it be organic or paid or direct, are driving the most sessions and ultimately the most conversions.

To get started, select the “Table” option as your widget:

pasted image 0 396

Next, select “Source / Medium” as your first metric:

pasted image 0 364

This will give you data on how your sources perform relative to these next two metrics:

pasted image 0 368

In the end, your dashboard should look like this:

pasted image 0 403

This will generate a table that analyzes how each source (direct, organic, etc.) plays a role in sessions (traffic) and how they impact goals (conversions).

Another of my favorite widgets is to track your content marketing backlinks.

Here’s how to set it up:

pasted image 0 337

Select the “Table” option and display the following three metrics:

Full Referrer + Unique Pageviews + Bounce Rate.

This will give you an idea of which referral links you are getting and which are performing well for your business.

Setting up a few dashboards like this for your own KPIs is going to be critical in making better marketing decisions.

It allows you to spend less time analyzing vanity metrics and more time focusing on real data that shows the full story.

Tip 2. Take that data and put it to use.

The key to using KPI data is to see the big picture regarding what your tactics are accomplishing.

While a tactic like Pinterest posting might help you generate traffic, what was the real result in relation to your goals?

Sure, it might be awesome to increase your traffic via Pinterest by 67.65% like I did. But what resulted from it?

pasted image 0 414

Did that traffic get you anything to grow your business?

Most people would see these numbers and instantly say, “Let’s cut out Facebook and Twitter and focus on Pinterest.”

But what if Facebook and Twitter are driving most of your real conversions to sales even if they have fewer traffic numbers than Pinterest?

You’ve just essentially cut off two amazing sources of direct sales in exchange for traffic that doesn’t convert.

That’s a big mistake.

This is why key performance indicators are so powerful for marketing decisions.

They help you look past the surface and understand the real impact of your marketing tactics.

A great way to do this is by analyzing the entire customer journey and producing reports that don’t only focus on the last-touch attribution bias that we see in typical conversion data.

Here I’ll show you how to analyze both right inside your own Analytics in minutes.

To get more data on the customer journey and lifecycle and to see how each part of your marketing strategy plays a role, head to Analytics and open the “Behavior Flow” report:

pasted image 0 356

From here, you can analyze how different traffic sources impact behavior flows on your site:

How to Use KPI Benchmarks to Drive Better Marketing Decisions (And Results)

For example, is referral traffic sticking around? If not, it might not be worth your budget to focus heavily on it.

Is your organic traffic having multiple on-site interactions and converting? This is important data.

It tells you that prospects aren’t just coming to your site and giving you impressions or new sessions.

It shows you that you’re actually driving business growth with it.

The behavior flow is one of the most underutilized tools in Analytics.

It’s essentially a free buyer’s journey or sales cycle model tailored to your site.

It helps you visualize how each source and medium works to bring in visits, where they go, and what they did on-site.

You can also change the starting metric to social networks if your objectives focus on social media marketing:

How to Use KPI Benchmarks to Drive Better Marketing Decisions (And Results)

The options are diverse here and you can select between dozens of them to see how each impacts behavior with your site.

Now, you also need to focus on reporting data that shows you conversions, too.

For example, what if your conversion report says that social media is getting you zero conversions?

It’s not doing a darn thing!

That’s probably 100% false.

Let me explain:

Marketing data suffers from serious bias in the form of last-touch attribution.

Last-touch attribution is defined as conversion data that gives credit to the last “touchpoint” that a user landed on before converting.

For example, if they hit your landing page via organic search and converted, then the conversion data would give credit to the organic search.

Do you see a problem with this?

Take a look at the typical buyer’s journey and tell me if you think it’s that cut and dry:

pasted image 0 334

Does a user really only need one touchpoint to convert?

Obviously not, or this wouldn’t exist!

Buyers can take weeks or even months to convert, landing on your site or other online channels potentially dozens of times.

They could have found you on social media, clicked a lead magnet remarketing ad, typed your direct link, found your blog via organic search, and then converted finally from a PPC ad.

But in that case, PPC would get the credit, when in reality, all of your channels played a role.

This is potentially dangerous because it can cause you to think that some platforms aren’t driving conversions when, in reality, they were critical factors.

Try running a report on the “Model Comparison Tool” in Analytics to see how different channels helped conversions:

pasted image 0 352

Next, select the model to analyze:

pasted image 0 376

You can choose between multiple models to see how your channels were involved in the buying journey:

pasted image 0 387

You can even create new custom models or import more templates:

pasted image 0 380

In the table below, look at what percentage your individual platforms play as their roles in the conversion process:

pasted image 0 383

Do you notice that one is lagging behind in almost every test?

pasted image 0 406

Then you might really consider eliminating it from your strategy. This would be a prime example of using data for real marketing efforts.

Give it a shot today to use your data to make real, informed marketing decisions.

Conclusion

Data is the fundamental proof that marketers should be using to create campaigns and inform marketing decisions.

Think about it:

When you check Google Analytics and see that your traffic is on the rise, you must be performing well, right?

At first glance, the tactics you’ve put into practice appear to be working.

But it’s not that simple. In reality, most of us are doing data wrong.

And using data in the wrong ways can sabotage any quality marketing campaign.

Putting your budget into the wrong platform could make or break your business.

Trust me. I’ve been there.

It’s easy to get the data wrong and use the wrong KPI benchmarks.

But once you’ve started to hone in on these benchmarks, you can use them to make better marketing decisions.

Start by creating a custom dashboard in Google Analytics to weed out the bad metrics and focus on the real key performance indicators.

Next, take the data that expands beyond the simple metrics and put it to use.

Make sure that you back up any tactic with sound data.

Revolutionizing the way you see and understand data can turn your business from a zero to a hero in no time!

What are the KPIs that you track to inform better marketing decisions?

The post How to Use KPI Benchmarks to Drive Better Marketing Decisions (And Results) appeared first on Neil Patel.

10 Ways to Increase Interactivity in Your Emails

This article was contributed by Kevin George.

Emails are constantly evolving. What began as an interdepartmental communication channel is now a vital marketing tool to reach the masses. Unlike a social post which is lost in a sea of updates, your emails reach your subscribers’ inbox, ready to be opened and read.

But the steps every email goes through are almost similar. Your subscriber receives your email, opens it, spends roughly 8 seconds to go through it, decides to either respond or move to the next email and repeats the same steps. Every email marketer struggles to make their emails interesting enough for their subscriber to spend more time and this increased time spent can be really pivotal in converting them into customers.

To make any email engaging, you have two options:

  • Make your email content engaging
  • Make, how your email content is presented, engaging

Email marketers have been using best practices and experimenting with email elements such as layouts, colors, email copy, visually appealing hero images, since long. Now, what if we tweaked the method of presenting the above-stated email elements so that your subscribers interact with your emails to unfold the message?

See here for the anatomy of the perfect email and how to use personalization in email.

Dr.-Marten

Would you like to remind your subscriber about limited sale via text (a) or have a countdown timer (b) in your emails?

Presenting Interactivity in Emails…

Ever since the amalgamation of CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) into HTML emails, the scope for including keyframe animation in emails became possible. Using keyframe, any specific element from an email can be moved, expanded, reduced, flipped, etc. The end result is super amazing elements that change according to the user interactions.

We shall look into some of the interactive email elements that are being included by brands to make their emails STAND OUT. With some minor exceptions, the below stated interactive email elements are supported well in most of the widely used email clients.

Countdown Timer

Countdown, in any form, triggers the fear of missing out in the minds of the reader. Leveraging this sense of urgency, email marketers use countdown timers in their sale promotion/ announcement By using CSS, you can enable the timer to countdown from the time the email was opened to the deadline time. Unfortunately, this is currently only supported in Apple devices and Thunderbird, but fortunately for the non-supporting email clients, a GIF of the countdown timer can be a good fallback option.

The E-commerce industry can use countdown timers to depict the expiry of an ongoing offer or even for the abandoned products in the cart.

Dr.-Marten

In the above example, the countdown is right in the first fold. 

Scope of Application:

  • Ecommerce sites can create ‘limited period’ urgency while offering discounts on different products and in their cart abandonment emails.
  • Attendees to an event can be sent reminder by event companies
  • Automobile industry can send emails to enthusiasts with a countdown before the launch of a new car model.

Navigation Menu

Most of the brands now feature a navigation menu in the header or footer of the email. But when the email is opened on a mobile device, the content stacks up to make the email unintentionally long. This can be overcome by hiding the navigation menu within a collapsible menu so that only those interested can click on it. Moreover, the navigation when placed at the footer, shall not force the email content to shift down, as with the case in the navigation menu on the top.

This is compatible currently on Android native and Apple’s Native email clients.

Nike

As you can observe, in the above email the mobile layout features the navigation menu at the bottom

Scope of Application:

  • Links to extensive tour options can be offered by brands in Travel and hospitality services, neatly tucked behind menus within emails.
  • E-commerce websites can provide links to different product sections to showcase new product launches, recommendations and cross selling within the navigation menu.

Rotating Banner

When you need to showcase different products or variation of the same product, stacking them into columns is not a very wise decision in terms of email length. In such cases, integrating all the images into a rotating banner can be really helpful. Rotating banners automatically loop between different images, separated by a preset time interval – one image at a time. This doesn’t require any manual input from the user’s end and it keeps on running in a loop, being especially helpful when viewing on mobile devices.

Rei Ghost - Carousel

Adventure Gear retailer REI’s email features a rotating banner at email header explaining their featured product

Scope of Application:

  • Tour and travel companies can showcase various tour packages in limited space.
  • Academic and educational institutes can have a slideshow of their awards and achievements.

Sliders

Counterpart of rotating banners, sliders perform a similar function but the only difference is that in sliders the subscribers can rotate the banner in either direction, based on their interaction. Moreover, you can have separate CTA buttons for individual frames to help monitor user interactions.
Nest Slider

Home Automation Nest email features the slider showcasing their products.

Scope of Application:

  • Technological companies can display their products/services offerings, customer feedbacks, etc. through a slider.
  • Retailers can show all their newly launched products in one email, courtesy sliders in email.

Scratch & Flip Effect

For a dramatic effect, coupon codes in emails can be hidden behind a silver strip that a subscriber needs to virtually scratch or click in order to reveal. This is helpful in creating a sense of mystery and raises the subscriber’s curiosity level.

In desktop, both effects will work well in Apple Mail & Thunderbird; in mobile devices, it will work in native apps only.

Email-Flip-New

EmailMonks have implemented a flip in their email for Easter offer

Scope of Application:

  • E-commerce websites can create some drama by sending a coupon code that is revealed by a scratch effect and flip-flop a product’s image and information.
  • For a research company, providing stats and a brief about a research can be done successfully through a flip effect.

Accordion Effect

You can reduce the overall email length by hiding the email content behind tabs. When the subscriber clicks a tab, the content expands and any other tab shall get collapsed automatically. Really helpful when you need to share secondary information on a single product that’ll remain hidden until tapped. Although supported in desktop clients, its applications are best enjoyed in emails opened in mobile devices.

Accordion

In the above email, the content is neatly stacked into tabs when viewed in the mobile layout

Scope of Application:

  • Publishers and bloggers can implement accordion to accommodate more content in their email newsletter.
  • eCommerce retailers can provide secondary information about a product that’ll remain hidden until tapped.

Integrated Forms

Integrated Forms

Instead of redirecting your subscribers to a landing page, you can embed in-line forms within your emails for lead generation purposes. By having an integrated form in email, you increase the form filling efficiency manifold. But what needs to be noted is that only Text box, Paragraph, Checkboxes, and Radio Buttons are supported currently.

These come very handy when you need to conduct surveys or collect feedbacks. The data collected in the form field can be redirected to any search engine or your website database to enable search right from your email.

Scope of Application:

  • E-commerce websites, in their post purchase email, can add a form in which the customer can review the product.
  • Restaurant owners can send promotional emails to get subscribers for filling form to process the specific order or for reviewing their experiences.

Tooltips

Tooltips

Similar to the tooltips you encounter on websites and desktop applications, you can integrate a tooltip within an email. This can be really helpful for e-commerce emails, where subscribers can get additional information about a specific product by clicking or tapping on the overlay. Combined with embedded forms in emails, it can be used to provide helpful information.

Scope of Application:

  • Apparel and retail stores can show elaborate information on their products when the user clicks on the tooltip box.
  • Tourism companies can share the details about amazing destinations with related package details displayed on correct word.

Video

The most engaging content since the popularity of Youtube and Snapchat, you can even include a video that is embedded in the email. Upon user interaction, the video can play right inside the email. Currently supported in Apple devices, Outlook for Mac and Android native clients.

In the above email, Eurostar has added a rotating banner using GIF as well as an embedded video right in their email.

Wrapping Up

Email marketing still manages to bring the highest ROI, and innovations such as these interactive elements, keep email at the top as the preferred marketing tool by most marketers. Moreover, those with non-supporting email clients are not left in the dark since all the above interactive emails designs come bundled with appropriate fallbacks in order to not ruin the user experience.

Have you ever received or sent any interactive email? Share your experience in the comments below.

About the author: Kevin, the Head of Marketing at EmailMonks – one of the fastest growing Email design and coding companies, specializes in crafting beautiful email templates, PSD to HTML email conversion and free master email templates. He loves gadgets, bikes, jazz, and breathes ‘email marketing’. 

10 Ways to Increase Interactivity in Your Emails 10 Ways to Increase Interactivity in Your Emails 10 Ways to Increase Interactivity in Your Emails 10 Ways to Increase Interactivity in Your Emails 10 Ways to Increase Interactivity in Your Emails 10 Ways to Increase Interactivity in Your Emails