Insights

Why Email Marketing Still Matters to Building Products Brands

March 8, 2016

Originally published by the fantastic people at Point To Point LinkedIn, Facebook, Pinterest, Vine, Instagram, Periscope—and the list goes on and on. With all these ways to connect, it looks like email is on it’s way out, right? Wrong. In fact, more people use email today than ever before. Which is great for building products brands…

Originally published by the fantastic people at Point To Point

LinkedIn, Facebook, Pinterest, Vine, Instagram, Periscope—and the list goes on and on. With all these ways to connect, it looks like email is on it’s way out, right?

Wrong.

In fact, more people use email today than ever before. Which is great for building products brands that need to connect with their audience. According to a recent report, more than 3.8 billion people have email accounts.

Whatever the channel, each digital connection still depends on great content and context. Remember what we said here? If the email is not tailored or educational, it will have hard time breaking through no matter what stage the buyer is in. And the only way to ensure the content is tailored is to always, always, know your audience and approach email marketing as a part of an overall Inbound Marketing strategy.

Here are five more reasons why email still matters to the building products industry:

It’s a 1-on-1 relationship.

Email is a direct connection to builders, contractors and consumers. No matter where they’re at, on the road or the jobsite, they have access to email.

Refresh, refresh, refresh.

If you’re like everyone else in the world, you check email multiple times everyday. And contractors regularly catch up on email during lunch hours. That gives companies an opportunity to hit them with content consistently.

Email has a long shelf life.

Unlike banner ads or mailers, email has the opportunity to stay in an inbox for a long time. That works especially for hard-working suppliers, builders and buyers.

95% of online buyers use email.

Whatever a builder or contractor chooses to buy online from bulk products to small supplies, chances are they have an email account. And from it comes notification, reminders, shipping dates and so forth.

More people prefer email over other forms of marketing.  

Email is an easy way for builders and contractors to control their brand experiences on their terms. If the content isn’t relevant, they simply trash it and move along. Otherwise they can keep it in their inbox and decide later when to read it.

Any way you look at it, there’s one thing clear about building product brands. They’re all about information. Whether it’s the latest specs, newest products or simply an easier way to do something, email is the key for dispersing that info to your time-driven audience. It is a lifeline that still in it’s old age has yet to become last year’s marketing technique.

This is How to Reach Millennials

February 22, 2016

  Millennials (18-34 year olds) will represent $200 billion in annual buying power by 2017 (Harvard Business Review). So how can brands reach this lucrative demographic? We’ve all heard the typical advice, ‘put your advertising budget into social media, after all that’s where the action is’. There’s no doubt Millennials love their social media for…

 

Millennials (18-34 year olds) will represent $200 billion in annual buying power by 2017 (Harvard Business Review). So how can brands reach this lucrative demographic? We’ve all heard the typical advice, ‘put your advertising budget into social media, after all that’s where the action is’. There’s no doubt Millennials love their social media for keeping up with friends, events, and sharing each and every moment of their day.

But when it comes to consumer-to-consumer brand communication, they prefer more direct contact. A 2015 study by the Principal Financial Group shows given the choice between email, in person, postal mail, social media, phone call, online chat, or text message, Millennial respondents overwhelmingly choose email straight across the board. They want one-to-one contact with companies, whether it’s for offers, customer service, or other communication.

Marc Apple, owner and chief strategist at Forward Push Media believes no one is constantly on social networks, but most people check email every day, whatever their demographic profile:

“In my opinion, email is the original social media.”

Not surprisingly, Millennials check email more than any other age group according to a recent Adobe study. That same study found nearly 98% of Millennials check their personal email at least every few hours at work, while almost 87% of Millennials check their work email outside of work.

But that doesn’t mean the same old email marketing will work. Ultimately, Millennials want useful emails. They want emails to work on the device of their choice, and they want emails to appeal to their interests and passions (Harvard Business Review). Here are some tips for planning your next email campaign involving Millennials:

  1. Mobile Rules – Since they live life on their phones, design your emails for mobile first. Use responsive design across every screen size. Get your call-to-action across quickly as part of a clear, captivating mobile user experience.
  2. Targeting – Stop batch ‘n’ blasting and start marketing to individuals. Millennials expect personalized, relevant content that interests them. Take advantage of a third-party hyper-targeted email advertising campaign and precisely target your ideal audience based on 100s of criteria. This is a great way to compliment your existing house list and the email delivery is handled by the third party.
  3. Timing – Millennials are more likely than any other age group to check email while in bed (45.2% according to a Harvard study). Experiment with sending emails first thing in the morning or late in the evening with content relevant to that time of day.
  4. Rock Your Content – Content is all-important, and that’s about personalization again. Make it relatable and relevant, speaking to them on their individual terms. It’s got to provoke thought and look smart or risk being swiped away to the trash folder.

Top 5 Myths of Email List Rental

February 9, 2016

  There has been a stigma around using email lists for some time, they seemed artificial, and some experts claimed it was bad practice. Only 10% of marketers admit to using third-party rented lists according to a Yesmail survey. However, using an email list rental from a reputable partner is one of the best ways…

 

There has been a stigma around using email lists for some time, they seemed artificial, and some experts claimed it was bad practice. Only 10% of marketers admit to using third-party rented lists according to a Yesmail survey. However, using an email list rental from a reputable partner is one of the best ways marketers can boost traffic to their site and increase conversions, all while expanding their in-house subscriber list. This is the new generation of email list rental. Today there are advanced audience targeting techniques, in-depth reporting, and no risk to the marketer’s sending reputation. Yet, too few marketing professionals take advantage of this proven customer acquisition channel due to lingering myths about how the process actually works. Let’s look at some popular misconceptions about using third-party email lists.

 

1. Purchasing Over Renting

Purchasing an email list gives you direct access to a large number of contacts. The data is yours to keep and use as you like. Often it’s a short-cut to increasing an existing house email list. It’s used mainly for marketers who want to cast the widest possible net and blast content out to huge volumes of contacts. Purchasing a list represents an ‘old school’ way of direct marketing and can have serious consequences for a brand’s reputation.

Renting a third-party email list is completely different to purchasing, and much safer. When done properly, the recipients’ email addresses are never given to the marketer and the emails are sent out via the third-party data collector. The marketer sits down with the data provider and defines the targeting criteria for the type of audiences they want reach. After the creative/content is developed, the campaign is tested, and it’s distributed to the selected audience.

 

2. My Sending Reputation Will Be Hurt

A reputable third-party data provider will handle all email marketing complexities such as compliance (CAN-SPAM/CASL), opt-outs, bounces, and spam complaints. The marketer is completely protected from any associated risks. A key to remember is to never send out an email campaign from your marketing software using a list other than your own. You’ll be risking the reputation of your IP address and your company.

 

3. Targeting Hasn’t Improved

Most people are surprised by how precise you can get with hyper-targeted audiences. In the U.S., there are roughly 20,000 audience sources available and each source contains lists of individuals who share a specific set of attributes or activities. For example, if you want to target consumers who are currently researching an automotive purchase, run a B2B campaign to a certain industry, or reach families who haven’t taken a vacation in 6 months, the options are almost endless. These audiences are significantly more responsive because your message is highly relevant and connecting with the right people at the right time.

“It will probably shock you on how precise we can get with this type of marketing, particularly in the United States,” says Kitty Kolding, CEO of Infocore. “There is no other place with as much data with as much precision and with as much depth.”

 

4. I Don’t Have Permission

A common concern around email marketing is permission. Many believe due to privacy and anti-spam regulations they are unable to market to contacts who haven’t already opted-in to receive emails from their company. The good news is there are third-party partners that have the verified permission to send emails to your target audience on your behalf. Many list companies will promise you a fully compliant and targeted email list, but do your research to ensure your partner can explain where their data is sourced and how often it’s cleaned. You get what you pay for when it comes to list rentals. A suspiciously low price is a sure sign the data is stale and lacks the proper permissions.

 

5. High Traffic = Results

If you’ve sent out your email campaign and there’s been a flurry of traffic to your site, make sure you check that it’s the right type of traffic. There are fly-by-night list companies and even some more well-known vendors that will supplement their lack of quality data and deliverability with artificial traffic. An important question to ask yourself is whether the campaign reporting and traffic patterns look like the activity of real people. Here are some key indicators to protect yourself:

  • Lots of traffic in the middle of the night.
  • Traffic only comes in small periodic batches.
  • 99% of all campaign traffic is from a desktop computer with the same operating system and browser.
  • All traffic cuts off after 24-48 hours with no residual traffic trickling in over the next few days.

How do you look for this?

  • Look for whether all these indicators show up in your web analytics for that campaign.
  • Compare against your house email list campaigns.
  • Compare against other digital media traffic (display, search, etc).
  • Does this traffic and the behavior pattern differ greatly from what real people do on the site and compared to the traffic from all the other advertising sources?

 

Check out Future Flow Media’s hyper-targeted email capabilities and learn how we help brands reach new audiences. Ready to start building your next campaign? Contact us at sales@futureflowmedia.com or call 1-877-478-8248.

Once is not Enough: Mobile Retargeting

January 21, 2016

  Most customers will not buy, book, or request more information the first time they visit your website. They spend time doing research and can forget about a certain product or service very easily. A category or product page they’ve read on your site gives you valuable information about that consumer. Retargeting completes the loop and displays ads to those high-intent…

 

Most customers will not buy, book, or request more information the first time they visit your website. They spend time doing research and can forget about a certain product or service very easily. A category or product page they’ve read on your site gives you valuable information about that consumer. Retargeting completes the loop and displays ads to those high-intent visitors while they browse other sites. This has been proven to be highly effective since, as cmo.com reports, consumers who see retargeted ads are 70% more likely to return and convert.

Mobile Usage Is Surpassing Desktop

The majority of retargeting efforts are setup to work with desktop consumers. As you’ve probably heard, mobile usage is out-pacing desktop in almost every category. Take the Travel/Tourism industry for example: In 2016, more travel sales will booked on a mobile device compared to a desktop or laptop. Accommodations and airfare booked via desktop continue to decline as people grow increasingly comfortable researching and booking trips on small-screen devices. eMarketer’s latest travel industry study forecasts 52% of US travelers who book trips via digital channels will do so using a mobile device, which will be up from 43% in 2015. It’s clear your audience is on their smartphones and tablets more than desktops and now they are making more significant purchases on those devices.

Apps vs Mobile Web

The majority of mobile usage occurs within apps compared to mobile web. Nielsen data shows an overall 80/20 usage split between apps (email, social, news) and web browsers (Chrome, Safari). But don’t ignore the mobile web when buying media because it’s still very important for brands with mobile-optimized sites who have customers arriving from search engines. Tablet users spend 56% of their time on the mobile web (comScore). The key to successful mobile retargeting campaigns is the ability to access ad inventory across all environments, networks/exchanges, iOS, Android, in-app, and mobile web.

In 2016, it’s important to be engaged along the entire digital purchase journey. Google reports 90% of consumers start a task on one device and finish it on another. Mobile retargeting is a great mid-funnel marketing tool that keeps your brand in front of potential customers at the right moments with personalized, relevant ads on the device they use the most.

Remember:

First, make sure your website or landing pages are mobile optimized. Second, choose a digital advertising partner that has access to mobile ad inventories across iOS, Android, apps, and mobile web. Talk to Future Flow Media about retargeting your audience on their mobile devices. Contact Us

You might also like: The Difference Between Cookie and ID Targeting

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Insights Round Up: December 2015

January 4, 2016

  A round up of insights and articles we’ve shared over the past month. Make sure you’re the first to know when we have new insights by signing up for alerts on the right hand side of the page.   1. Hard Rock Café Targeted Mobile Campaign – Hard Rock targeted nearby customers through rich mobile advertising, and…

 

A round up of insights and articles we’ve shared over the past month. Make sure you’re the first to know when we have new insights by signing up for alerts on the right hand side of the page.

 

1. Hard Rock Café Targeted Mobile Campaign – Hard Rock targeted nearby customers through rich mobile advertising, and directed them to the closest Hard Rock Café location. Visits went up 220% as a result. Read More

hard rock cafe

 

2. Travel Industry Tops Email Open Rates – A new email benchmark study from Silverpop found the Lodging and Travel industry was a top performer when it came to email open rates and CTRs. Read More

email symbol desk

 

Insights Round Up: November 2015

November 30, 2015

  A round up of insights and articles we’ve shared over the past month. Make sure you’re the first to know when we have new insights by signing up for alerts on the right hand side of the page.   1. Is Your Vendor Padding the Numbers? – There seems to be a large discrepancy between what…

 

A round up of insights and articles we’ve shared over the past month. Make sure you’re the first to know when we have new insights by signing up for alerts on the right hand side of the page.

 

1. Is Your Vendor Padding the Numbers? – There seems to be a large discrepancy between what many digital media vendors report and what they’re actually able to deliver… Read Post

 

2. Consumers Want Your Advertising – New research from MarketingSherpa suggests consumers don’t actually hate advertising, they just have preferred ways of receiving that communication from brands… Read Post

 

3. How North Dakota Tourism Targets Visitors – With a small budget and competing destinations surrounding North Dakota, the tourism division has to make the most effective use of its money… Read Post

How North Dakota Tourism Targets Visitors

November 23, 2015

  North Dakota had the eighth-lowest tourism budget among the 46 states reporting figures to the U.S. Travel Association in fiscal year 2013-2014, spending nearly $6 million. The state which spent the most that year was Hawaii with $82 million, Delaware spent the least at just over $2 million. With a small budget and competing destinations surrounding North Dakota,…

 

North Dakota had the eighth-lowest tourism budget among the 46 states reporting figures to the U.S. Travel Association in fiscal year 2013-2014, spending nearly $6 million. The state which spent the most that year was Hawaii with $82 million, Delaware spent the least at just over $2 million. With a small budget and competing destinations surrounding North Dakota, the tourism division has to make the most effective use of its money. With the help of research, the state is able to find out what brings people to North Dakota and what media they consume. According to the department, it appears to be paying off: visitation increased 22% between 2011 and 2013.

“It’s really just trying to take all that information and trying to lay it all over on top of each other, and make sure the most important things rise to the top,” said North Dakota Tourism Division Director Sara Otte Coleman. “The bottom line is most of the efforts we put in we want to be able to measure.” 

North Dakota is planning a $3.3 million media buy in 2016, with 78% of that being spent on ads in the U.S. and another 15% to Canada. Roughly 6% will be spent on niche advertising. Their advertising will be targeting Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Illinois for the U.S. markets, and Manitoba and Saskatchewan in Canada.

The tourism department plans on using print, TV, and digital media including email marketing. Targeted digital media such as email allows North Dakota to engage specific audiences while they’re online, and recent studies show email is the preferred method for consumers wanting to receive news and promotions from brands (MarketingSherpa). An example of how research helps shape the state’s marketing, is the decision to focus on families in nearby states and provinces, because most of North Dakota’s out-of-state visitors travel by car.

“We need to be very strategic about our media buys in order to make that as effective as possible,” said Heather LeMoine, Marketing Manager at the North Dakota tourism office.

How effective has their marketing been recently? Longwoods International, a research firm contracted by North Dakota, said in a 2014 report that visitors spent $94 for every advertising dollar spent. Meanwhile, the report also said the North Dakota ad campaign in U.S. markets generated 1.1 million incremental trips that would have not otherwise taken place, bringing in more than $200 million in visitor spending and nearly $16 million in state and local taxes.

 

This post is based on an article by Inforum. Image from tripadvisor.ca.

 

Consumers Want Your Advertising

November 6, 2015

  Digital advertising has been hit hard lately with all the buzz about ad-blocking software claiming to create an ad-free experience for everyone. New research from MarketingSherpa suggests consumers don’t actually hate advertising, they just have preferred ways of receiving that communication from brands. Only 8% of the consumers researched said they didn’t want to…

 

Digital advertising has been hit hard lately with all the buzz about ad-blocking software claiming to create an ad-free experience for everyone. New research from MarketingSherpa suggests consumers don’t actually hate advertising, they just have preferred ways of receiving that communication from brands. Only 8% of the consumers researched said they didn’t want to receive marketing, while each respondent cited a preferred way of discovering new products. More than one-third of those surveyed said email is their preferred way of communicating with brands on their smartphones.

“This may be somewhat surprising to some, as when mobile marketing is talked about, email is sometimes not included,” said MarketingSherpa director of editorial content Daniel Burstein. “Buzzier topics like location-based marketing—iOS iBeacon, for example—and apps tend to get the most attention.”

 

infographic-preferred-promotions-01-2015

 

Post based on Ad Age article.

Is Your Vendor Padding the Numbers?

  Posted By: Chris O’Neill, VP, Business Development, Future Flow Media   There seems to be a large discrepancy between what many digital media vendors report and what they’re actually able to deliver.  This sets expectations for campaign performance way off base and lets dishonest vendors continue operating. Let’s use some benchmarks for email campaigns as…

 

Posted By: Chris O’Neill, VP, Business Development, Future Flow Media

 

There seems to be a large discrepancy between what many digital media vendors report and what they’re actually able to deliver.  This sets expectations for campaign performance way off base and lets dishonest vendors continue operating.

Let’s use some benchmarks for email campaigns as an example.

House list campaigns have the best performance because subscribers are so engaged with the brand they took the time to opt-in directly.  Average open rates are in the 20-40% range with click-through rates (CTR) in the 4-6% range (percentage of emails sent). (eMarketer, 2015)

3rd Party/Prospect/Rented list campaigns perform differently because though they opted in to receive offers via email, they don’t yet have the loyalty and rapport as the house list subscribers.  These campaigns average 9-10% opens and 1-1.5% CTR (percentage of emails sent). (eMarketer, 2015)

FYI: Email is still an amazingly effective tool to contact unreached or under-engaged audiences, IF you use the right partner with confirmed permission-based 3rd party opt-in data (no spam and no risk to your brand). 68% of consumers rate email as their number one method for staying in touch with businesses compared to just 5% via social media. (Constant Contact, 2015)

What happens when an email list rental vendor claims to have achieved 25% opens and 5% CTR on a campaign?

  1. They could be sending out more emails but not taking them into consideration on the report, artificially inflating the numbers.  If the order was for a 100k email drop, but they actually sent 300k (without telling you), the report would show 3 times higher open and click percentages.  Are those extra records targeted recipients or just random data to generate extra activity?
  2. I hate to say it, but there are companies out there that pay people for clicks or use some kind of bot to simulate email traffic.  The best thing to look out for when evaluating a new (or current) vendor is to simply ask yourself whether their claims make sense.  Are their performance promises, or campaign reports, somewhere near the ballpark of what industry benchmarks say they should be?
  3. There can be exceptions and homeruns with email campaigns, but not all the time.  The campaigns we run here at Future Flow Media average 10-15% opens and 1-2% CTR and periodically see higher results because of our optimization expertise.  Don’t be alarmed if you have a successful campaign, just be observant of what “normal” is and should be.  When you compare campaign metrics to industry benchmarks and it looks too good to be true, there’s probably something fishy going on.

Insights Round Up: Sept & Oct 2015

October 30, 2015

  September and October were busy months at Future Flow Media! We published a ton of new insights and they’re all here in one mega post. Make sure you’re the first to know when we have new insights by signing up for alerts on the right hand side of the page.   1. How TV and…

 

September and October were busy months at Future Flow Media! We published a ton of new insights and they’re all here in one mega post. Make sure you’re the first to know when we have new insights by signing up for alerts on the right hand side of the page.

 

1. How TV and Digital Video Work Together – Hear from industry experts on how to best integrate your TV and digital video media. Read Post

Tv-Video
2. The Difference Between Cookie and ID Targeting – One is about devices, the other is about people. Which is better for you? Read Post

Blog post (3)

 

3. Viewability and Online Success – Best practices for ad viewability and measuring success. Read Post

 

4. 3 Ways to Not Poison the Pool – What are the best ways of increasing hyper-targeted audience reach and engagement? Read Post

Blog post (1)

 

5. How to Enforce Accountability in Automotive Campaigns – Learn how automotive marketers can ensure accountability when using outside partners for conquesting campaigns. Read Post

Automotive Campaigns

 

6. Winning the Micro-Moments Battle – Micro-moments are happening along the customer decision journey. Brands need to anticipate them and be there with relevant information or risk falling behind. Read Post

micro-moments-hands-coffee-smartphone

 

7. How Research & Data Shape Your Message – Email is still huge for Tourism marketers, just ask West Virginia. Read Post

West-Virginia

 

8. iOS 9 and the Mobile Ad-Blocking Dilemma – How will iOS 9 affect mobile advertisers and publishers? Read Post

iOS9

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