Do What I Say AND What I do

Do What I Say AND What I do

When David Greiner decided to redesign the Campaign Monitor newsletter—rather than give it a simple facelift—he first studied the advice his company gave to customers. “Turns out we were breaking a number of the recommendations we’d been advocating for so long,” he notes, “and it was time to remedy that.” In a post at the Campaign Monitor blog, Greiner offers an in-depth discussion of his four redesign must-haves. Here’s a snapshot:

The newsletter had to be readable, even with blocked images. Though the previous design already addressed this issue, Greiner took it a step further. “I moved away from the large image-based header graphic at the top of the email and kept every important bit of information as text,” he explains. With the new design—shown in a screen shot at the blog post—a recipient won’t see the image placeholder, and might not even realize that anything has been blocked.

It had to be optimized for preview panes. Again, nothing groundbreaking here, but Greiner also put a spin on this concept by dispensing with a preheader altogether and diving right into a Table of Contents. “My testing showed this key content was now visible in the preview pane of every popular email client I tested,” he says, “even at a very low resolution.”

In its inaugural week, the redesigned newsletter’s click rate improved on the old design’s average by a cool eight percent.

Designer, heal thyself! Are you breaking any of your own newsletter design rules? If so, maybe it’s time for a makeover.

Source: Campaign Monitor


Three Tips for Making Smart Hires

Three Tips for Making Smart Hires

Successful marketing requires a strong team—whether it’s dealing with customers on the front line, writing copy for email campaigns or developing products. “One way to hire smart is to never do it in a panic,” writes Jennifer Prosek in her book, Army of Entrepreneurs. “This means creating and nurturing a constant pipeline of potential candidates.” And here’s how to do it:

Always be on the lookout for talent. Make a habit of identifying and getting to know potential candidates—even when you don’t have a specific position to fill. “Never get caught in the trap of recruiting only when you need someone to start in two weeks,” she says. “That’s when you’re vulnerable to making a mistake [or] overlooking a weak work ethic.”

Make talent-spotting part of your staff’s job description. “Too often, staffers assume that recruiting happens someplace away from the daily hum of business, in some corner of the HR department,” notes Prosek, who freely admits she isn’t her company’s best talent spotter. She highlights the importance of recruiting in the weekly blog post she writes for employees, and encourages referrals with bonuses for bringing in top talent.

Hire the right person for the right job—even in a downturn. “I have often made strategy hires that at the time raised eyebrows,” she says. “What’s she doing? Hiring this high-priced talent in this economy? But I know what I’m doing. I’m making sure we are bringing in the talent we need to be successful.”

If you want the best employees, never stop looking for them.

Source: Army of Entrepreneurs.

Kickin’ It Old School

Kickin’ It Old School

“Digital marketing has become the way to communicate in the 21st century,” says Elaine Fogel in a premium article at MarketingProfs. “Social media, email, search engine marketing, interactive marketing, blogs, wikis, and knols—the list goes on … to include mobile marketing, podcasting, videos.”

But in your rush to marketing’s online future, you shouldn’t abandon its offline past. Print collateral, argues Fogel, remains relevant.

Despite the seeming ubiquity of Internet access and usage, many people simply don’t go online. She cites a Parks Associates study that found 21 percent of Americans had never visited a Web site, sent an email or used a search engine. Even in highly developed European countries like France, Belgium and Austria, more than 40 percent of the population never uses the Internet; despite high rates of connectivity in countries like Japan and Taiwan, this number jumps—on average—to a whopping 85 percent in Asia.
Some segments prefer print marketing. Hispanic interest in direct mail has spiked in recent years, according to a Vertis survey, and while 85 percent of women between the ages of 25 and 44 read direct mail pieces, only 53 percent read email-marketing messages. “From this,” notes Fogel, “we can conclude that if you target women age 25-44 or Hispanics, print collateral may get your marketing messages through over digital options.”

Don’t neglect traditional marketing collateral. Says Elaine Fogel, “Even though digital marketing is growing with a vengeance, print collateral can still hold its place in an integrated marketing communications mix, at least for now.”

Source: MarketingProfs.

Give Away The Good Stuff

“If you want to create something very good,” says Tom Peters, “it takes time, energy, and sometimes money.” That, he argues, is exactly why you should give away your finest know-how for free. Before you beg to differ, consider his ten-point business case, which includes reasons like these:

It increases your reach. The marketplace is flooded with mediocre ideas that don’t merit discussion. Excellence, therefore, stands out and takes on a viral quality. “Giving away good stuff for free may be the fastest way to reach a lot of people,” says Peters.

It improves future projects. When smart people notice your ideas, he notes, “They may comment on your work, enhance your work, and maybe even, challenge your work.” It’s the equivalent of a kitchen cabinet making pro bono intellectual contributions.

It lowers the cost of sale. If companies decide to act on the ideas you present, there’s a good chance some will turn to your product or service during the implementation process.

Your Marketing Inspiration, and Peters’ number-one reason to give away the best you have to offer: “They don’t have to guess the quality of your work anymore,” says Peters, “so they will be more open to paying a premium for additional work.”

source: marketingprofs enewsletter


Three Tips for Getting B2B Email Frequency Right

Email FrequencyArdath Albee often gets questions about appropriate email frequency for B2B nurturing programs. How much is too much? How little is too little? “And, yep, wait for it—the answer is—it depends,” she writes at the Marketing Interactions blog.

So to help a range of B2B marketers find the right frequency for their email programs, Albee offers advice like this:

Accept that the length of the buy cycle is the length of the buy cycle. “If it’s 8 months, trying to increase the frequency to complete the program in 3 months isn’t going to change that,” she argues. “Buyers will move at their own pace.” Attempts to speed things up with additional email messages will likely annoy your leads and cause campaign fatigue.

Plan with a realistic view of your content-producing capabilities. It takes time to research, write, vet, approve and publish high-quality content. “Map your processes to a timeline so that you can meet the frequency schedule you choose to follow,” Albee advises. “Better to space it out and do it well than to rush to publish based on an artificial schedule you cannot maintain over the long haul.”

Coordinate the timing of email campaigns with each of your company’s departments. “Unless you can isolate your targeted lead list,” she says, “you need to look at the entire universe of email that they could be exposed to from your company and plan accordingly.” You might think you’re giving leads plenty of space, but they’ll feel bombarded if they’re also getting product announcements, corporate newsletters and webinar invitations from others in your organization.

Take the time to clearly map things out. There’s no simple formula for correct frequency, and yours depends on a host of variables—internal and external.

Source: Marketing Interactions.