How To Use SMS In A Marketing Strategy

SMS

 

The power of SMS marketing cannot be denied. Everywhere you go – people are on their mobile phones.

93% of adults own a mobile phone in the UK, with UK citizens collectively checking our smartphones over a billion times a day (Deloitte, 2016).The speed at which people check their phones in anticipation of seeing what the latest notification may entitle, proves mobile phones are a powerful way of getting your message seen by the right people.

In fact in the UK, 61% of users digital minutes are spent on their mobile phone, with 68% of website traffic coming through a mobile (comScore, 2016). This not only demonstrates the importance of having all platforms mobile friendly, but also the increasing amount of time spent on mobiles with a rising amount of attention being paid to this device.

Unsure as to how your business can use SMS marketing? Carry on reading this article to discover the benefits SMS marketing may provide, along with how you can implement SMS into your digital marketing strategy with ease.

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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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Missing you!

Every now and then, I like to browse around online and see what I can buy (that I don’t need and can’t afford). Coincidentally, this shopping spree always happens near pay day!

One particular website that I visit more than most is IWOOT (IWantOneofThose.com) as it contains everything that a grown man needs: toys and very cool, geeky gadgets!

A couple days ago I realised I’d been neglecting IWOOT when they reminded me that I hadn’t paid them a visit in quite some time.

Their email had a very similar aim to Channel 4 and Betfred, which we’ve looked at on this blog before, only IWOOT haven’t gone for a big-prize competition or warning of an account closure. Their approach is simpler and, quite possibly, more effective.

IWOOT

“We miss you”

Emailing with the subject line “We miss you” was a great touch in my opinion as I instantly opened the email. As soon as the email opened up, I was invited to look at their website with a “welcome back” message and the offer of 20% off. Not forgetting the big call to action, “SHOP NOW”, which attracted my attention and encouraged me to click.

IWOOT’s email is a great example of awakening your customers from their inactive slumber and tempting them to come back, as both the subject line and the email’s content worked very well to draw me in.

Sending emails like this will help your company to keep everyone happy and loyal. It shows that you care, displays your generosity in offering an out-of-the-blue discount and will drive traffic back to your website. Not to mention meaning people keep an eye out for your emails in the future!

After I received the “We miss you” email I spent a couple of minutes on their website while travelling, and I quickly found myself opening another email from IWOOT saying, “Thank you for you purchase”. Well – surprise, surprise – it was payday a couple of days before!

Emails as Good as our Penalty Shootouts

Article by: Tom Hughes

football2

On Tuesday we published an examination of the differing standards of Valentine’s Day email marketing used by a wide variety of companies. Then, later that same day, I received this email from the English Football Association and decided it deserved its own mention.

Taking irrelevant Valentine’s-theming to a new heights (or depths, depending on your perspective), the FA sent this message with the subject line, “Give the gift of football this Valentine’s Day”. You can see they’ve also decorated the message with a fetching red bow, which everyone knows is the height of romance. Certainly not a leftover scrap of clip art from their Christmas campaigns. Oh no, of course not.

And that’s it. That’s the extent of their Valentine’s Day marketing. It somehow manages to be tacky and desperate yet nearly non-existent at the same time. Plus, surely they could’ve used more inspiring photographs than a bored Frank Lampard, a grimacing Roy Hodgson and a jiving James Milner?!

I feel sorry for Denmark for having to be associated with this campaign if anything.

To send better emails than the English Football Association, give us a call on 0203 320 8777 or visit our website today

5 Exceptional Examples of Retail Email

Sometimes companies get email marketing spot on or they really hit the nail on the head. Of course, there are times when it goes horribly and disastrously wrong, but occasionally you can find yourself surprised and entertained; reading to the bottom of the message, clicking, forwarding to a friend, or even deciding to make a purchase right away.

Below we have picked five examples of emails that come into the first category; instances of email marketing skill and imagination – for a variety of different reasons.

However, coming clean from the start, the below emails were stumbled across by hunting the internet – I haven’t actually received them myself (just in case you wondered why they’re all addressed to different people). I’m not scamming brands for small discounts and I don’t have multiple personality disorder either.

 

1. UncommonGoods

UncommonGoods

 

Key Strength: Content

 

This email from the unusual American shop UncommonGoods pretty much blew me away. I can’t remember seeing an email that so creatively tells a story using its quirky products, let alone an email that contains items as varied as a neck tie, luggage bags and a bowl made from a bike chain!

It’s playful and full of puns – which are always appreciated – but crucially UncommonGoods have devised a creative and fun way to display a range of goods while keeping you reading right through to the end of the email. It’s charming, funny and really effective.

 

2. Amazon

Amazon

Key Strength: Relevance

 

The way Amazon’s targeted emails work borders on the telepathic. I’m sure it’s all down to complex algorithms rather than thousands of internet retail soothsayers, but their triggered campaigns are relevant to the point of being uncanny. It’s hard to find another retailer that could possibly compete. For instance, click on a couple of cameras on their site and the next thing you know you’re receiving a message advertising their bestselling or best-value cameras in the range you perused, in a effectively personalised email that must surely encourage an incomparable amount of site returns and purchases.

 

3. Dominos

Dominos 2

Key Strength: Timing

 

Two things Dominos’ email marketing excels at; timing, and making their messages mouth-wateringly attractive. This email ticks both boxes, timed to hit your inbox in the mid to late afternoon, for when the memories of lunch are fading, subscribers are starting to feel peckish and wondering what they’ll do for dinner. Obviously, the pizza retailer have also mastered the art of capturing truly tantalising shots of their pizzas, which really to add to the temptation to buy.

 

4. Dell

Dell

Key Strength: Design

 

Things aren’t going so well for Dell at the moment, their heyday is behind them and the computer market is fierce and unforgiving. Nevertheless, this email from back in 2011 shows some really great design, compelling arguments to buy, humour, eye-catching illustration and call-to-actions all over the place (without being too in your face). I particularly like the fact Dell’s email used simple black and white drawings to get their point across – managing to make their computers look great in a unique way without resorting to flashy photographs.

Plus, the entire thing reads a bit like a Buzzfeed or Mashable article – “5 Signs You Need a New PC” – with that catchy, engaging style they do so well. Oh wait, here’s a similar Buzzfeed piece.

 

5. Rent the Runway

Rent the Runway

Key Strength: Ingenuity!

 

Offering 10% off? A subscriber might click if they like your brand. 20% off? Getting warmer. 30% off? Very tempting.

But even promising 30% off in an email promotion might not cause subscribers to click through to your site if they’re not in the mood or feeling a bit grouchy. So, in this example, Rent the Runway have used an ingenious incentive to get click-through rates absolutely skyrocketing; an element of intrigue and surprise!

As far as a subscriber knows every single person that clicks might be ending up with the minimum amount, but by turning the discovery of their discount into an action that feels like a prize draw they have undoubtedly drawn an immense volume of interaction, site hits and the holy grail of potential sales conversions.

 

 

These aren’t the best retailer emails of all time, they’re simply very effective and different approaches to email marketing. There’s plenty of wisdom to be found in their techniques as well as tips that all users of email marketing could utilise to their benefit.

To help you create similarly stunning campaigns, why not give us a call on 020 3320 8777 or visit our website today?

Overdoing It with Emails Might Be Your Undoing

In October 2013 I bought a watch from the American clothing site Jack Threads. I liked the design so much that I overlooked the poor quality watch strap which began to disintegrate almost immediately.

Anyway, this blog isn’t the place for me to air my consumer woes – it’s not Short Change. But this blog is the place for explaining something remarkable that happened subsequently concerning my relationship with the brand.

Essentially, my relationship with Jack Threads absolutely nosedived during the next four weeks. And the reason for this relationship breakdown is extremely noteworthy from an email marketing perspective.

OD pic1

Plain and simple, it was an example of email marketing bad practice.

Not because of the design which was always attractive and clear and even looked fine on my phone.

Not because of the content which was exactly as you’d expect from an online retailer you’d recently shopped with.

Not because of the subject lines which grab your attention in the inbox (and that’s harder than you might think).

No, the reason our brand-customer relationship was destroyed was because of their overwhelming, overpowering frequency.

OD pic2

Between 22nd November and 17th December I received over fifty emails from Jack Threads (the screenshot of my Gmail inbox is one just one page of their messages).

That’s an average of more than two emails per day!

Admittedly, this was during the pre-Christmas marketing frenzy so some extra emails with BUY NOW deals and last minute promotions is expected. Nevertheless, that’s an excessively extreme barrage.

If you check enough preference boxes, Amazon will probably send you a similar volume of communications. However, the crucial differentiating factor is that a retailer like Amazon offers you email communication preferences in the first place – and there’s a huge amount of options (see screenshot).

OD pic3

There was no way to cut down how many emails I received from Jack Threads, or what category they pestered me with. They just kept on coming in a relentless stream of “last minute” promotions.

I’ve written about the benefits of inbox condensing site Unroll.me before, and to begin with I put the Jack Threads bombardment into my daily subscription emails “rollup”. Yet even though I was receiving their emails once a day in one email digest, I still felt inundated. Sometimes the “rollup” would arrive containing nothing else except Jack Threads’ latest pestering.

And so I did the one thing that email marketers and businesses don’t want to hear.

I unsubscribed.

I would’ve liked to continue receiving the messages, once a week or so, and might have even considered making another purchase down the line – because I do really admire their products. In fact, for anyone that likes to browse the internet for great deals then their offers are a great place to start.

But they broke the golden rule; they abused my trust as a subscriber by hounding me. It felt as though they were a desperate spammer.

There’s an extremely important lesson to be learned here, like the moral conclusion to a Fresh Prince of Bel-Air episode. An email marketing parable. Offer subscribers choices and don’t repeatedly ram your adverts down their throat.

Of course keep in touch, remind subscribers what you do and present them with offers to boost sales. But in the long run a slow and steady approach will be infinitely more beneficial than going quite so frantically over the top.

Email Marketing Guide for Florists

florist

I should buy flowers for my girlfriend more often. In fact, she reminds me of this on a regular basis. Yet, generally, I still stick to the classic, clichéd occasions. Well, basically Valentine’s Day and when I’ve got some serious making up to do.

I’m sure I’m not alone in this floral negligence.

For florists this translates to times of intense sales, such as just before February 14th, coupled with long stretches of dwindling business for the rest of the year.

So they need a way to bypass such seasonal extremes, to boost sales all year round and keep subscribers updated – while gently reminding them that they should buy their loved ones flowers far more often.

Email marketing with e-shot is the perfect solution; florists can stay in the forefront of their customers’ minds and ahead of the competition.

Using email marketing to send out email reminders, newsletters, catalogues, coupons and announcements, florists can give the personal attention that customers appreciate – without the time or hassle of doing it manually.

Email marketing helps retain current customers, build lasting relationships and also reach new markets without breaking the bank.

With a well segmented and organised database of customers and order histories, email reminders can be sent out regularly without you having to sift through old order forms or client files.

Email newsletters can highlight new designs, flowers that are in season, large projects that a florist has supplied flowers for, or even congratulatory messages for clients celebrating weddings and other events.

Have a large supply of pansies? Write about the varieties you have, how they can be used in great bouquets and even promote special offers.

Maybe you worry about running out of red roses in February? Well, write about other flowers that are great for Valentine’s Day and back up your claims by easily displaying attractive pictures.

Also, talk about living bouquets for those environmentally conscious clients. With e-shot, email newsletters have pre-set templates that can be quickly personalised with your own information and sent out to your entire database in an instant or our designers can produce bespoke designs just for you.

For slow months in which you are anticipating low sales, send out discounts and special offers. Obviously you’ll never know everybody that has a birthday or special occasion coming up, but by sending out email announcements and coupons you can remind your customers that flowers are the perfect choice for any event.

Email marketing helps safeguard your revenue so that you won’t suffer from the natural income dips during slower months.

Personalised treatment for clients once meant your staff had to work extreme hours. With email marketing, everything is quick and easy and an added benefit of the format is that every piece of marketing you send can quickly be forwarded on to friends with just the click of a button, or shared on social media, allowing you to have a much further reach without extending your marketing budget.

Campaign of the Month: Sussex life – January 2014

Campaign of the month14

 

 

Sussex Life (by Archant)

Steady yourself. Try to relax. It’s finally here. e-shot’s Campaign of the Month winner has been handpicked.

And the award goes to…

Sussex Life!

As usual our winner hasn’t tasted victory for one attribute, instead ticking a long list of email marketing advantages – and avoiding the pitfalls.

It’s a winning mixture of design, content, layout and best practice that makes the Sussex Life newsletter a worthy winner.

To heed the example set by their very effective campaign, here’s our breakdown of their email’s best features:

  • Clear social media buttons at the top of the email – but not overcrowded with every social network under the sun, just Twitter and Facebook.
  • Excellent image/text ratio and great photography.
  • Great range of items relevant to their audience, from 10 facts about Burgess Hill to Worthing’s first Christmas Pudding Race.
  • The email has been nicely touched up with festive dashes without going overboard, such as in the Christmassy colour scheme plus the tree branch and Yuletide decoration at the top.
  • Sections where something is for sale are clearly marked but a high priority is also placed on elements that will engage subscribers and keep them interested.
  • Each item is nicely spaced and has an enticing and clear Call to Action.
  • The special offers at the end of the email are a great way to increase click-through rates and reward subscribers.
  • The Call to Action links are “read more”, “subscribe today” and “download now” – nothing as forceful as “BUY NOW!” etc.
  • Going for the subtle sell, concentrating on brand identity and driving traffic to all strands of their online media presence means that subscribers view their emails more favourably.
  • Also all of the text below each photo is a hyperlink for each item – but done covertly so the email doesn’t appear to be overcrowded with links.

Once again, massive congratulations and well done to Sussex Life for this sterling example of email marketing excellence – I spent a lot of time telling the rest of the office to buy me their Sussex Life 2014 Calendar for Christmas on the strength of the newsletter (and I don’t even live in the county!)

 

 

Tip of the Month: The Importance of Good Manners; Saying Hello with Welcome Emails – December

Hello! Bonjour! Привет! Shalom! ¡Hola! Guten Tag! Bonjourno! 今日は! 

Why Welcome Emails?

When a user signs up to your site, makes a purchase online or opts-in to receive messages from your company via any other method, the best thing to do is to react quickly and send that individual a welcome email.

Why bother? Well, welcome emails generate four times more opens and five times more clicks than any other messages. Within the first week of subscription, these individuals will be at their highest level of brand awareness and engagement, as a result more likely to recognise that this is solicited contact.

 

ebay_welcome

Every company should seize this great opportunity and period of peak user interaction, by saying hello and thanking the subscriber. It’s nice to be important but it’s more than important to be nice – you’re building brand rapport here after all!

Tips:

  • Optimise your subject line. It’s an important first step to achieving a pleasing level of user interaction. It should plainly state why you’re emailing in order to maximise opens and conversions. Try including ‘Welcome’ in the subject line.
  • Also use the subject line to give them an additional compelling reason to open the email!
  • Ensure that new subscribers are sent the welcome email within a week – the longer after a user subscribes that they receive the email the less chance they’ll still be engaged and in the same mind-set to properly read the message. e-shot’s Performance Filters will assist you in achieving this (call the team for assistance on 020 3320 8750 or check out e-shot’s features).
  • Think about what you want to achieve. If you’re after a short-term business boost then combine your welcome message with an incentive. For example, if you’re an online shop, then offer discounts or promotions to drive subscribers to order.
  • Set your subscribers expectations. What you will be emailing to them and how frequently, so they don’t feel like they’ve been duped into receiving messages that are far too regular for their liking.
  • Collect additional data to improve the relevance of future emails. Utilise the Profile Management tool from within e-shot (again, please feel free to call our team for help here).
  • Request that your email address be whitelisted (validate that you are a safe sender) – if you provide simple instructions how to do this then all the better. The easier it is for a subscriber to label your email as safe, the more likely they are to bother doing so, and consequently the greater chance your emails will successfully avoid the spam folder in the future.

 

And last but not least, don’t say too much. Decide what you want your welcome email to achieve and get it dispatched. If you’ve been polite and friendly, explained how often your newsletters go out, collected data and explained how to mark your address as safe, don’t then overload the message by also including a gigantic demonstration of your full range of products.

Keep it simple, keep it light and keep it helpful – and you should find subsequent emails are amenably received… so long as you don’t suddenly start sending out four times as often as you promised!

Email Design: Capturing My Undivided Attention

Email has always had its limits when it comes to designing, thanks to the old-school coding that designers have to follow; tables within tables rows, after rows and columns after columns, not really allowing text and images to float freely on the page. Or when they do, it’s due to broken code that makes your email campaign look like a Picasso painting!

Creating something that stands out is harder than it looks. Producing an email that’s image heavy could result into the email going straight into spam. Anyway, most email clients will not allow you to see images until you agree to the content, therefore the first impression you see in the preview pane will predominantly be white and plain giving you no information at all (which is very bad practice!)

How about Typography I hear you ask?

Nope! Again, there’s a limited catalogue of fonts that are email friendly. So trying to make a typographic masterpiece is a big bold NO.

With all the limitations that designers face when designing an email campaign, it seems to be a losing battle trying to create something that will stand out on the screen while keeping on the good side of best email practise. However, problem solving is a hobby of mine and I love a challenge like this. As designers we were always taught, “If you can’t break the rules, why not bend them?”

Recently, I was amazed by an email sent to me. It was so simple and yet done perfectly.  A social media site trying to claw its way back from the dead.

MySpace have re-vamped the look and interface of their website and it looks great, with their creativity overflowing into the email campaigns that they send out.myspace-email]

For me, this email has everything that an email campaign should have!

Subject line: Todays top headliners. Tomorrow’s next big thing.

Short, very snappy and catchy, “Tomorrow’s next big thing.”

 

Design and Layout

  • Everything aligns in the centre;
  • Easy to read with a clear call to action;
  • Catchy header that gives the subscriber a sense of urgency;
  • Short paragraphs with eye-catching images and links to the right article/page.

myspace

 

Wait It Moves?!

The image behind the heading is an animated gif!

This was a stroke of genius as the design forces your eye to interact and lock on to the email. Another reason why this works so well is that it’s only an image and the important information is another element which is placed infront, therefore the recipient doesn’t lose the crucial details if the .gif is blocked by an email client.

Finally, the heading itself is great as it gives off a sense of urgency; “What’s Now, New and Next”. This will undoubtedly increase the campaign’s click-through rate.

It has been over seven years since I logged into (or even looked at) my MySpace account, due to other social sites having my captivated and undivided attention – and I know that’s extremely typical. But as I received this campaign I was astonished that an email which is so simple yet attractive pulled my attention back to the long-neglected pages of MySpace. I don’t think I’d care if my inbox was flooded by emails if they were all like this – so well thought-out that they even took my attention away from my work!