3 Reasons You Should Be Using Email Automation

 

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“Email Automation” has become a buzzword for 2017. If you’re a business owner and you are actively searching to increase the efficiency of your email marketing strategy, then you’ve probably already heard of the concept.

Email marketing is still one of the most effective methods for engaging with customers. However, it is a rapidly changing landscape that is developing with the needs of the digitally advancing users.

So, are you truly aware of how automation can fit into and optimise your marketing strategy? Carry on reading our email automation guide to discover how to increase effective communication and brand awareness.

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How The Travel Industry Uses Email In 2017


With so many changes currently taking place in the digital marketing landscape, it can be difficult to keep up with every trend – discerning which ones have staying power and, more importantly, which ones are actually relevant to your business. Holidays and travelling are a special time in people’s lives and knowing that their travel company has paid attention to their personal details is vitally important at every touch point the customer has with your brand. Continue reading

Did you know Apple is not on Twitter?

When you’re one of the biggest and most loved brands in the world, you’d expect the first action someone in the marketing department would do is set up an active Twitter account.

But one of the biggest brands in the world, Apple, has decided their @Apple account and their thousands of followers should wait for any such interaction.

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Important e-shot™ Update Announcement

In a few weeks we’ll be releasing one of the biggest e-shot™ updates ever.

We’re delighted to announce that an extremely significant e-shot™ update is almost here.

The update will include lots of incredible new features – all at no extra cost – and it will be one of the largest e-shot™ releases to date.

MessageStudio

Read on below for a summary of the exciting new features and tools that are coming to the e-shot™ email marketing platform very soon.

e-shot™ users will receive an email with further details shortly before the release date.

If you’re not an e-shot™ user and would like to learn more about the system and this update, click here to send us a message online or call 020 3320 8777.

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Hot App Uber’s Cool Ice Cream Campaign

 

The controversial taxi app Uber has today launched an ice cream promotion around the globe.

It’s another in a series of very clever PR moves from the company who rocketed into the public consciousness with their black taxi strike stunt in June.

Yesterday, I received this email from the company:

uber ice cream

At around the same time as the above email screen shot, with well-planned cross-channel marketing, Uber announced on Twitter what was going on:

While the ferocious storms last night might have shaken Southern England, that doesn’t look set to dampen today’s impending heat-wave. Temperatures in London are expected to hit up to 31 degrees Celsius, making it the hottest day of 2014 so far.

Uber have creatively found a perfect way to take advantage of the fierce summer sun, using it for brand awareness, public good will and a load of positive column inches.

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Valentine’s Day Email Marketing

Article by: Tom Hughes

In 2013 something like £18billion was spent on Valentine’s Day. It’s an unfathomable amount, but just goes to show just how much the day is seriously big business. Its big enough business that companies as wide-ranging as rum brands and electronics retailers theme their marketing for the day – it’s not just the obvious romance-related firms like restaurants and florists that suddenly go all pink and flowery.

So we decided this called for an examination of some of the best and worst examples of Valentine’s email marketing around.

Café Rouge & Pizza Express

Two of the big players in the UK for special offers and promotions are Café Rouge and Pizza Express, so naturally they got in there early with their standard Valentine’s Day emails. We recently looked at Café Rouge’s inventive tube strike marketing but their Feb 14th offering is sadly less creative – although the line “Paris is always a good idea” is perfect for a French restaurant. It hits the nail on the head in terms of what their subscribers are looking for at this time of year. Whether that’s because they’ve got a hot date, or just because they’re after a good deal, their design is easy on the eye too.

cafe-rouge pizza-express

 

Apple

Their previous effort “Love at first touch” uses a Valentine’s theme (and a pun) to sell their iPod Touch – but this year they’ve chosen something even more cleverly worded. I’m a big fan of the line “Include a few love letters” to both represent Valentine’s Day and as an opportunity to show off the engraving they provide. Big thanks to Vikki Ross for this suggestion.

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Love-at-first-touch

 

UncommonGoods

UncommonGoods were featured in our five exceptional examples of retail email last week, but, like Café Rouge, in their 2013 offering they’ve gone for the risk-free, standard approach for Valentine’s Day and opted for “top 10 gifts” for him and her. What saves it for them is simply letting the oddball collection of items on their site speak for themselves.

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Sailor Jerry

Another thanks goes out to Vikki Ross for this spot, and it’s my favourite of the lot. To begin with, they’re on to a winner with the subject line “A sale, hell yeah. A Valentine’s sale, hell no.” As we’ve seen with Barack Obama’s election-winning campaigning these sort of soft swearwords really improve email open rates. Nice to see a brand sort of make a Valentine’s email while maintaining that they are most definitely not making a Valentine’s email. The broken hearted tattoo art and the copy of the email all add to this tone of voice, I particularly like the lines “Yes, we ARE having a huge-ass sale — but it’s only because we need to make room for our Spring Collection. Far be it for us to commercialize this modest holiday.” Top marks.

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iStock

iStock have produced a really poor effort. They’ve gone for the classic approach of mentioning Valentine’s in the subject line and loosely selling their product with the holiday, while not actually making the email very Valentine’s themed or relevant. Well, they do have this stock of Valentine’s pics to buy but their whole email feels cheap – and the photographs they’ve chosen aren’t especially exciting considering their business is supplying pictures!

istock

 

Rakuten / Play.com

Finally, Play.com. Oh dear. Picking the opposite approach to iStock, their email also fails. The message is completely overloaded with Valentine’s guff. Clichés abound, the whole thing is a sickly pink and covered in flowery decoration and hearts. It even ends with buttons marked “underwear” and “lingerie” after trying to bundle every single product they sell as in some way romance-related, from tech gifts to glam clothes. Also, at the end of the message the Valentine’s theme suddenly ends and it’s business as usual, which is a strange postscript.

playcom

 

Tips:

1. Don’t just market for couples

Whilst Valentine’s Day is a time for couples, romance etc etc, don’t forget that single people exist and they will spend money at this time of year too. 60% of V-Day shoppers buy something for friends or family members – neglect these people at your peril.

2. Build a relationship with your contacts

Every time you speak to your customer base, whether by email, social media or in person, you are building a relationship. This is the perfect time to say thanks to your subscribers – send an offer, exclusive content, promotion or even send a survey to capture data from your contacts to continually boost brand awareness and improve your rapport with better personalised messages in the future.

3. We can help

I don’t just mean call us on 0203 320 8777 or visit our website to find out how we can help you get your email marketing spot on for Feb 14th and beyond, but take inspiration from the examples above. Don’t go nonsensically overboard like Play.com or boring and extraneous like iStock. Do be original and cheeky like Sailor Jerry, clever like Apple or tasteful and sensible like Café Rouge. Most of all, just don’t make your Valentine’s campaign look like a last minute afterthought.

Café Rouge are Going Underground

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The day before London experienced two days of commuting misery while tube workers held a 48 hour strike, this email from Café Rouge popped into my inbox.

We’ve looked at brilliant reactive email marketing on the e-shot blog before. However, this great example by B&Q was reactive in the truest sense of the term; it appeared in the aftermath of extremely bad storms in the UK.

Café Rouge have gone one step further.

The tube strike was announced well in advance, so they had time to plan and arrange their topical email promotion to arrive in inboxes the day before the transport closures in England’s capital.

So when subscribers opened the message it couldn’t have been any more up-to-date and relevant.

As tempting as it is to swap my dull sandwiches for their moules marinières, my commute doesn’t involve taking the tube – so asking my boss to work from a French restaurant is probably not going to happen.

I’d imagine that’s the same for a lot of people.

Yet while people might not follow the “try working from Café Rouge this week” suggestion in their droves, the email succeeds because it puts the restaurant right into subscribers’ minds with a great offer.

When lunchtime comes around, the “delay free” set menu might be too difficult to resist. Especially if your commute took twice as long as usual (and you had to skip breakfast).

Another company trying to use the strike for their benefit is Innocent Drinks who posted this picture on their Twitter feed (twice within two hours). The problem with Innocent’s tactic is that is seems entirely motivated to gain internet attention, without offering any sort of valuable promotion like Café Rouge’s two-course discount.

Innocent’s “London Transport Options” picture is overbearingly twee and whimsical, as if the whole tube strike was some sort of childhood adventure. Nevertheless, they know their followers well as the tone of the image has definitely worked from a social media standpoint – gaining a combined total of almost 5,000 retweets at the time of writing.

Clearly, reactive marketing can be an extremely worthwhile exercise, whether by email or social media. But only if it’s carried out as expertly as in these two examples.

 

london transport

Tip of the Month – February: Emails Needs More Than Just Content and Design

When writing, designing and executing an email campaign you need more than a copywriter and a designer to motivate the reader into making a purchase or taking your desired course of action.

It takes lots of planning and thought about all aspects to have the best possible impact.

We believe that the three key elements that need to be considered are:

  1. The key features or advantages of your product or service.
  2. The offer, incentive or call-to-action you will promote.
  3. Strategy; amount of messages and follow-ups to be sent, the time between sends and period of time to deploy the whole campaign.

There’s no simple way to solve things, but there are ways to go through these three questions step by step to ensure the best possible outcome.

1. Start by listing the most crucial features that your product or service offers. Then, it’s all about thinking from the perspective of your target audience: how does each feature benefit me? Why should I buy?

Lastly, list the advantages of getting this benefit from you rather than one of your competitors.

2. For the offer, incentive or call-to-action, have a look at what’s done well in the past. Obviously, searching your past email campaigns for ideas should be the first step. But use email marketing statistics and reporting tools (such as those offered by e-shot) to ensure you’re picking the optimum ideas, rather than those you simply liked the best.

If this is a new campaign and you have none of your own past emails to look to, explore the marketing done by competitors or campaigns done in other digital and print channels.

3. Finally, we get to multi-effort campaigns. Many marketers seem to believe that there’s a set blueprint for this type of campaign; that the key is the precise number of emails, sent with the perfect time between them. But that’s just not true.

A good way to devise your sending strategy is based again on past performance; which time of day got most opens, most clicks etc. Don’t bombard your subscribers, as this e-shot article warns (and warns again), but don’t leave it too long so that your first emails are forgotten. It’s a good idea to have a first message with a good overall perspective of your offerings and follow it up later with more detailed or specific information.

Don’t worry too much over the interval between sends – make sure points 1) and 2) are taken care of first.

The number of emails and the time between sends isn’t an exact science, and is rarely as crucial as the actual content, planning and purpose of the emails. That’s the part that needs careful planning.

Don’t rely on just fancy design or hard-selling language. Ensure you’re approaching your product/service from an angle that resonates with your customers first.

Want help with making sure your campaigns are planned, created, executed and analysed to maximise their potential and maximise your ROI? Give us a call on 020 3320 8777 or visit our website and our seasoned email marketing professionals will guide you through.

Email: The Bridge that Connects Your Marketing Islands

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More than ever before, marketing campaigns aren’t carried out on a single channel.

The growth of so many forms of digital media, alongside ever-present formats like print or broadcasting, has given companies a wealth of opportunities to advertise their products and build their brand’s image.

However, at e-shot we believe email marketing is the key to connecting all of these separate strands.

Email can act as the bridge that links together your marketing islands.

You might suggest that we’re pretty blatantly biased, being an email marketing company after all. While this is true, email is our trade, that doesn’t mean we’re being misleading!

As we mentioned in this examination of TripAdvisor’s trailblazing cross-channel marketing techniques, there’s no method as powerful and adaptable as email for succinctly tying together any other advertising and marketing format you employ. Email is a peerless device to bind your cross-media marketing strategies.

Think of it as a way to capture the essence of your blog, website, Twitter feed etc. into one digestible, presentable message. Rather than having messages lost amongst cluttered news feeds, packed newspapers, busy timelines or having to hope for site visits, email marketing puts you in your subscribers’ inboxes for when they’re ready to pause their hectic lives for a moment to enjoy your content.

 

Social Media

Social media is often heralded as the executioner of email marketing because it’s still the much-hyped new kid on the block in internet terms, and it’s certainly growing. However, first and foremost, ignore the idea that digital marketing channels must be in competition with each other.

According to Hostpapa, email marketing reaches 75% of its target audience, whereas social media reaches only 4% (on average), but you’d still be wasting opportunities by ignoring either option.

By always including clear social media sharing links in your emails you ensure your content will have a presence in both arenas, a chance to be passed around between users, as well as the reassurance that your messages are going directly into subscribers’ inboxes to begin with.

 

Content Marketing

Filling your blog or website with helpful, worthwhile, entertaining and valuable articles is a great idea. By creating and curating relevant content you will attract and retain customers and keep engagement and interest high. Yet what better way to present a digest of recent articles than a regular email newsletter? Snippets of stories dispatched straight to a subscriber’s inbox provides you with the best possible platform, so you don’t rely on people thinking of you and then directing their browsers to your site.

 

Cold Calling

Cold calling potential customers is becoming less and less popular – and perceived as a nuisance by the general public – but in the B2B world it is still a vital marketing tool. Nevertheless, sales are extremely rarely initiated and closed in a single conversation, so a follow-up email is a vital component for salespeople to capitalise on leads. With email marketing’s personalisation and segmentation capabilities, following-up on a cold call has never been so efficient or effective. Email marketing services mean you can save time while still guaranteeing a personal touch.

 

Direct Mail Marketing

Whether you’re sending out old-fashioned postal campaigns or attempting a unique take on the mail marketing genre like these brilliant efforts, either way it doesn’t have to be the antithesis of digital marketing as you’d imagine.

For a start, mail marketing runs a high risk of being quickly discarded and a much larger risk than email of getting damaged under muddy shoes as somebody walks through their front door this winter! Also, the email marketing average ROI is £22 for every £1 spent, whereas direct mail’s average return for each pound invested is just a lowly £4.60.

More than this, the two formats can work in tandem. Inside your physical mailshot you could include an incentive for the recipient to go online and sign up to your email newsletter – for a chance to enter a prize draw for instance. Thereby doubling your marketing reach! Then continue to send your postal campaigns but now with the chance to email new subscribers too. Keep both formats strictly adhering to your brand message and you unlock a whole new layer of marketing possibility.

 

Traditional: TV/Radio/Magazines

“Traditional” marketing channels are risky, expensive and possibly the hardest way to accurately target relevant prospects – not to mention being a very problematic form for gauging results.

Nevertheless, if you follow the theme or content of a traditional campaign with a consistent email marketing send, to reinforce your brand’s identity and underpin your overall message or promotion, then you will be able to really take advantage of any heightened interest that a traditional marketing campaign might generate.

On its own a traditional campaign might fall on deaf ears, but coupled with email marketing you can remind customers and prospects of what you’re trying to achieve for an excellent chance of a great outcome. Plus email marketing’s report generation and detailed analytics provide an insight far beyond any information gleaned from a traditional advert.