We are currently working through some issues with a client as they move into a new branded template with their emails. Several hurdles have been crossed but the last big one is taking the design and turning it into a responsive version for mobile traffic. By recent analysis, this customer has nearly 30 percent of it's target audience looking at their email on their mobile device. Unfortunately, the programs they have been using to deliver these important communications has not been able to produce a responsive version. We're seeing low open and click through rates. We hope to have the new templates approved through a branding council in the next month and then will be eagerly watching our mail stats as those first few campaigns roll out to their customers. Check back in April for an update.
I was asked to help identify some weaknesses in an organization's email marketing program recently and also offer some best practices advice. The thought shared by internal resources was that the tool they were using wasn't doing the job. After looking at a few campaigns that had been sent and talking about the audiences that would be interested in their message it was clear that the tool wasn't the problem. The problem was that the same message was being sent to every contact in their subscriber list. List segmentation and dynamic content is available in a variety of automated marketing solutions currently available. If you don't have access to tools like that, then list segmentation with different emails going out to your various segments might be the answer. Regardless the technology you've chosen to use, having good content that's relevant to the right person is the key. If you need help digging through both the creative and analytical side of email marketing, we can help. Send us an email or complete contact form below to start a conversation.
I've talked with two different organizations this week about moving their website out of a content management system that isn't working for them. In one case, the hope was that the site that was created was done so in a tool that would allow a novice user to make simple content updates. This would reduce expenses and remove bottlenecks.
Not What You Wanted?
If the CMS your site is housed within isn't working for you, if you don't understand how the system works or are finding it more time consuming than you thought, you have a couple options. The first option is to meet with the developer/designer and have them walk you through the instructions again. It might have been that you just didn't have the right focus the first time. Or you may fine it helpful to have them watch you try to make a couple changes so they can see what issues you are having.
The second option, which might sound worse than it is, is to have that site moved itno another CMS that's more user friendly for the novice. There are a number of great tools out there now including Weebly and Squarespace. Both of these products offer a variety of predefined templates as well as an interface that does not require a great deal of programming knowledge.
Get A Second Opinion
Even after your site has launched, it's not too late to get a second opinion to see if there is a CMS solution out there that better fits your needs. Nothing is one size fits all anymore. If your site isn't getting updated because you or your staff cannot figure out how to use the tools at your disposal, contact us and we can either setup some additional training time on the tools you are using, or we can come in and recommend another CMS solution. Don't let your invvestment just sit there, make it work for you!
I'm working with an organization right now that is trying to solve the problem of low response to a recent customer survey that was sent out. In talking with the client, it was determined that it wasn't a technical glitch. A survey link had been emailed out to their member list with an impressive 50% open rate on the email. So what was the problem? After a little research and some conversation with various staff members, we uncovered a few items that could explain the low response and ensure a better result next time.
The message was buried
In dissecting the email, I found the email contained not only the survey link but also four other high profile announcements. I know we don't want to bombard anyone with our email messages, but something as important as a member survey really should live on its own. If you are already asking for a few minutes of your customer's time to participate, we shouldn't expect they wade through a promotional email and then have the energy to engage in your survey.
No testing, no variation
Member surveys are great opportunities for AB testing. Perhaps some kind of offer could have been extended to part of the group or tweaks to the content could have been made. While they were slow to entertain the offer of a discount, a gentle reminder that membership could provide very valuable information and ultimately generate more loyalty swayed their opinion.
The bottom line
Simple lessons learned here included the fact that no project is too large or small for remembering the basics. Are you making the right offer and are you prepared to make alterations if you aren't getting the results you want. For more information on how to improve the effectiveness of your campaigns, contact us for a free consultation.
Don't panic, help is near!
I recently started working with a new client who contact me about their need to have a new website as they were opening a brand new facility. Like a lot of new clients, they were extremely eager to get started and have the site up soon. Like a lot of new clients they were also looking for help in determining what this new website would do for their business.
Defining your website's goals
Ask a sales person what their goals are and they can list specific targets and actions they plan to undertake so they can reach those goals. They get paid for results, so no plan typically equals no pay. For online marketers, there usually isn't the direct line from their efforts to their paycheck. If there was, we'd have less inefficient, ineffective websites out there.
If you are thinking about a new site or revamping your current site, here's a few questions to ask yourself:
Of course these questions may be important to you if you've been tasked with building the site, but perhaps the answers aren't going to come so easily from the person(s) who have given you this assignment. No worries, that's where we come in. Contact us if you are just in the beginning stages of identifying goals and resources and we can help you figure all of this out. Don't worry, you don't have to go it alone!
I spent a fair amount of time over the last week revisiting some SEO basics and have enjoyed getting back into reading Avinash Kaushik's blog. A friend also recently shared an e-book Avinash authored that mixes some good old fashioned common sense with the latest in best practices for measuring the effectiveness of your digital efforts. In working with a new client recently, I have found myself reinforcing the value between web reporting versus web analysis.
Read through the definitions of both below and think about which one your organization is doing.
For organizations new to digital measurement tools like Google Analytics or WebTrends, data being collected is often presented in the form of simple reporting to those that will listen. The screen capture below provides basic reporting and most likely a yawn or perhaps a defiant "So what!" from the person receiving it.
While it may contain the same visually stunning, if not even more beautiful charts and graphs, web analysis dives deeper into the data to identify trends, develop possible theories to test and attempt to uncover whether or not your website is really providing any value and/or reaching its goals.
If you haven't setup goals and are tracking conversions on your website and figuring out if your site is making or losing you money, contact us for a free analysis of your current digital measurement plan.
I work with two large clients that use the same content management system and it just so happens that both are in the market for something new right now. Both are out hunting for a new solution and hope to have something in place within the next 12-18 months. It's an important decision and an interesting process to participate in. Like shopping for a new car, there are lots of bells and whistles to distract the CMS buyer from what's really important. If you are also contemplating a change, here are a couple things to keep in mind.
Get your team involved in the selection process
It's easier to define what you want the system to do than to establish a plan to ensure that your team can use the tools you purchase. The great thing about content management systems is that you can make nearly anyone a content contributor. The awful thing about content management systems is that people without digital skills are enabled/expected to become content contributors.
When deciding what system to purchase, take an inventory of the skill set on your team and find out what the level of digital experience your average team member has. Once you've identified a couple "average" users, have them test drive the new CMS and take notes on what they have problems with or how quickly they pick up on everyday tools they'll have at their disposal.
Once you identify the average user, you can also start making your training plan and support system for those that fall below the average. Does the vendor you've chosen offer training as part of your purchase or online tools? Do you have a few super users that you will charge with being a point of contact for those struggling with the new system? These are all items that you can plan for by involving your team up front.
Embrace your content strategy
A good car sales person will tell you not to buy the vehicle that allows you to drive the in-laws around town for the three times a year they visit for the weekend. It's most likely more than you need and not going to do what you really want it to do. Same holds true for your CMS. It's great for it to have the ability to blog, post videos, accept plug-ins for social media, etc. But if you aren't currently creating content that falls within one of those categories, you either need to spend more time on developing your strategy (and put off your purchase) or scale down the requirements you have created for your next CMS.
Just like cars, there are a lot of great content management systems out there that offer all kinds of features and benefits. Not sure what's best for you, contact us and we can help you put together a strategy or share a helpful checklist that can walk you through the process.