Tag Archives: email marketing

The Impact of COVID-19 on Email Marketing

We’re well into months of remote work from the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite all the uncertainty of what will happen next, it’s clear the old way of doing business, and really business globally, will likely never be the same. 

As we all shift to our “new normal” ways of work, one constant that our team has been relying on, along with the marketing teams we support, is email. As a platinum-level Adobe partner and a Specialized Marketo Certified Partner, we found ourselves leveraging email more than ever to  communicate, offer support, and simply connect with our existing customers in new, personal ways. 

After looking at some of the data that has come through on email marketing in the times of COVID-19, it’s clear we aren’t alone in our reliance on email. After digging in, here’s a few trends we found. 

Email sends increased during the early stages of the pandemic.

We’ve seen a huge spike in emails related to the coronavirus pandemic during the first few weeks of stay-at-home orders in the United States. Just look at this chart from Sparkpost showing the increase in coronavirus-related subject lines:

Email engagement increased. 

The good news is that mapping to that increase in sends, we saw an increase in email engagement. According to Grit News, some email marketers have seen anywhere from a 5% open rate increase to a 30+% engagement increase. One of our clients successfully sent  4X the number of emails monthly which has led to 300X the previous engagement level among their audience. 

Messaging has become an even more delicate balance.

With or without a pandemic, the golden rule of email still applies. Send relevant content to the right people at the right time. During times of crisis, there’s a lot more pressure on what relevant content (and good timing) will mean to your audience. In recent research from MarketingCharts, they found that 79% of marketers were somewhat concerned (52%) or very concerned (27%) about “making missteps that may harm their brand image.” 

No one wants to be the brand sending tone-deaf messages to an audience already going through impossible circumstances because you forgot to turn off a smart campaign or didn’t adjust next month’s newsletter content to fit our current realities.

Thankfully, we’ve seen some great examples of thoughtful, engaging communication in the last few months. They’re empathetic and clearly composed, and they offer real value to the audience.

Deliverability challenges were rampant.

Understandably with uncertainty, some businesses overshot and sent too many messages to audiences they may have not communicated with in a long time. Marketo and other providers did send out helpful guidance on managing your reputation and inbox placement during unprecedented times of email volume.  Much of this was spurred by quick changes in team members and emails hard bouncing.

Depending on whether you are on your own or shared IP, there are risks in sudden spikes or dips in email volume. Now is a good time to familiarize yourself with your email deliverability situation and make sure you have a strategy and are staying consistent. And as always, you should have an email strategy to weed out people who have not engaged with your email content for some time.  Leadous does offer a special program focused on this process specifically.  

What’s Next

As we enter the next phase of the pandemic in the U.S., we’re likely to see new trends in email and marketing as a whole. However, it’s reassuring in a time where not much is certain, that email is here to stay and the guiding principles remain the same:

  • Be empathetic in your messaging
  • Understand who your audience is, what they’re looking for from you, and how that aligns with your brand goals
  • Don’t overstay your welcome in the inbox

Keep those in mind through every campaign to make sure you’re providing shared value to your audience. And as always, if you’re looking for more insights into developing your email strategy now and in the future, contact Leadous

Three Key Components to Accelerate Growth with Marketing Automation

According to Forrester, marketing automation spend will reach $25B by 2023. With more than half of all businesses already using marketing automation, and the other half planning to, It’s clear that marketing automation is a mainstay for the modern marketer. Particularly growth-focused marketers. 

In order to scale operations, at some point growth marketers’ need to automate some of their work. As your business grows, often so does the workload on your marketing and sales team. 

Whether it’s working to automate lead qualification, nurturing prospects, or cross-selling and up-selling into an existing customer base, marketing automation makes those processes more efficient and effective. 

But marketing automation is more than just the tools that power it, it’s about the people and strategies that govern those tools. In order to truly accelerate growth – you need all three components in your business to reach success. 

The Right Marketing Automation Toolkit

A carpenter is only as good as his (or her!) tools. And in the carpentry of marketing automation, this couldn’t be more true. Without the tools that make sense for your business case, it’s going to be difficult to get your marketing strategy off the ground, no matter how brilliant your strategy or your team really is.

Marketing automation tools can be extremely powerful, or extremely cumbersome, depending on what your goals are, and how you want to get there. One of the reasons we work exclusively with Adobe + Marketo, is for its power and ability to scale from small and medium businesses up to huge enterprises.

Marketo marketing automation allows you to efficiently streamline and automate personalized one-to-one experiences for your business use case, from email to social media to digital ads to website content experiences to SMS text messaging, the list goes on!

Getting the right capabilities setup in your marketing automation system can be difficult at first, with tools like Marketo, you have a lot of customizations to choose from depending on your business needs. Choosing a partner to help you onboard, implement and integrate successfully is key. From there, ensuring you have the support and reporting to tune up your instance will only further ensure your success. 

A solid, cohesive marketing + sales strategy

Once you have the right tools in place, or even before if you’re in the process of selecting the right platform for your business, you need a clear strategy in place for your marketing automation that aligns across marketing and sales. 

Without knowing your current state, and the direction you’re headed, you can’t prescribe the right marketing automation mix to get you where you need to go. Making sure that destination jives across both marketing and sales makes both sides of the house happy. 

Ultimately, both marketing and sales want the same things: more leads, more revenue. Agreeing on the plan and the way to get to that goal makes both of your jobs a little easier. This is another area where a trusted partner can step into help. As a third party advisor, they can look with fresh eyes at both sales and marketing operations, what’s working, what’s not, and help to nail down how the two can better work together to reach their ultimate goal of revenue growth. 

The right people to rule it all

Once you’ve got your tools and strategies in place, you need the right people to make it all work. This is where a lot of companies struggle. The marketing automation field is a hot one, and it can be difficult to find the right talent with the right skillset in your company. 

But without people to build, monitor, report on and adjust your marketing automation toolkit, your growth will be stunted. Technology without people can only get you so far. 

A partner with a proven track record in your marketing automation platform (or the ability to help you choose the right platform for your needs) is key. By working with a partner, you can scale up or scale down the support you need, whether it’s a full marketing automation team that builds and improves on your programs, just ongoing support, or a bucket of hours to focus where you need them. You can scale up or scale down the support you need when you need it, to ensure your programs stay fresh and are helping you grow. 

Overall, the key to any successful marketing growth strategy goes beyond the technology you need to make it all work. Of course you need the right technology that will give you the tools you need to achieve your plans. You also need an aligned strategy between sales and marketing. And you need the right people to manage and improve on it all. 

Leadous, an Adobe campaign and Marketo consulting partner, can help you optimize all three of these components in order to accelerate your growth. Check out our full suite of services designed to build the custom Marketo journey for your business, and let us know if you’re interested in learning more! 

Community Giving with a Twist of Orange

At Leadous we love marketing. We love Marketo. And we love our local Twin Cities community.

That’s why we’re so excited to announce our new initiative, Leadous Loves, where we’ll be giving back to our local community, with a twist of Leadous orange.

Leadous Loves

Kicking off in June, our team members are regularly going out into the community to volunteer our time and talents. We’re starting with Hearts and Hammers, which provides exterior home improvement assistance for Senior Citizens, Disabled Adults, and Veterans of the United States Armed Forces or their Surviving Spouse so that they may continue to live independently. Read more about their amazing mission here.

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Leadous will also be supporting The American Red Cross and Union Gospel Mission Twin Cities at future community giving events this summer.

We’d love for you to join us at a future volunteering event, suggest your favorite nonprofit, or just send some positive encouragement our way as we step a little outside of our comfort zones and trade in our keyboards for power tools!

If you are interested in partnering with Leadous and being a part of giving back with a twist of orange love, please reach out today.  

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Should You Use Emojis in 📧 Subject Lines?

Emoji use by brands in campaigns has risen a huge 609% year-over-year (from 2016 to 2017) in digital communications – Email Marketing Daily

Emojis are, for better or worse, a huge trend for consumers. So it’s no surprise that more and more brands are choosing to incorporate emojis into their email subject lines. But do they work?

A couple studies have come out recently saying they do, if used appropriately.

Emojis have some pretty clear benefits for email marketing. By using emojis in place of some text, you’re able to convey more in less characters. The average mobile inbox only shows 30-40 characters in the subject line. By incorporating one or two emojis, you can take full advantage of that space.

Plus with a couple of emojis in a sea of text subject lines you’ve got a better chance of grabbing your reader’s attention without affecting deliverability. 

According to the Emoji Use in Email Subject Lines report, which looked at emojis in emails compared to text-only subject lines throughout one year, subject lines using emojis has a higher read rate than comparable text-only subject lines.

However, there is a risk of emoji email oversaturation as emojis become more and more popular for brands. In a recent Mailjet study using a/x testing (testing up to 10 variations of the same email) they found that overall open rates with emails using emojis went slightly down from 31.5% in 2016 to 28.1% in 2017. The ❤️ emoji being the top emoji for open rates.

 

2016-2017 Emojis

(Source: Mailjet)

 

So how do you make sure your emoji-laden email is one that gets opened?

  • Stay consistent with your brand and tone — as a marketer you know your organization and audience better than anyone, if an emoji isn’t in line with your brand, stick to your gut and take it out!
  • Test, test and test again before sending. Verify whether the emojis you want to use will render correctly across email clients and browsers.
  • Implement A/B testing for your email campaign with a subject line using emojis and plain text to collect performance data.
  • Don’t overdo it! Use emojis in moderation so you’re not oversaturating your audience.
  • Make sure your emojis have a purpose. Whether they’re conveying an emotion, visualizing your brand, or just telling a story, don’t just add them because you feel like it.

Do you ❤️  the idea of emojis in subject lines? Check out the Emojipedia for a full encyclopedia of every emoji that you can copy and paste into your email subject lines. You can also see how certain emojis should render on different devices or browsers.

If you’d like more tips on using emojis for your audience or have some examples of brands doing emojis well, leave us a comment below. We’d love to hear from you!