Discuss

social media marketing

A Breakdown of What Exactly Happens During an ‘Unsubscribe’

By | Automailer, Blog, ecommerce, eDM, Research, Social Media | No Comments

Social_email_marketing_flat

In your email marketing campaigns, each message you send should come with a facility allowing readers to unsubscribe from receiving any future emails. Even if you don’t add an unsubscribe link yourself (which is a bad idea), one will automatically be added.

However, have you ever wondered just how exactly that link works? And more importantly, what happens to people who have unsubscribed, and is there a way to get them back? If you have multiple lists, how do you ensure that they only get unsubscribed from a particular list and not every list in your account?

Enform’s Automailer naturally comes with this functionality (an unsubscribe tag) whether it’s in the HTML page, template, or plain text version. Upon sending your campaign to your subscribers, each reader receives a copy of your email, with the tag automatically replaced with a unique link for each subscriber.

Each link is unique to each person and each email marketing campaign, so it’s not just a matter of copying an old unsubscribe and pasting it into your next email.

A Look at What Happens When a Subscriber Clicks on the Unsubscribe Link

Upon clicking the unsubscribe link, the user is directed to our Automailer system, which records the click and automatically recognises the subscriber and his/her corresponding email list and campaign.

Enform’s Automailer instantly unsubscribes users from your email list, with no need for you to manually change any settings on the program. Your campaign report will now show that user as having unsubscribed from receiving future emails.

The Suppression List – Ways to Manage Multiple Lists and Not Lose Subscribers

The default unsubscribe setting on our Automailer automatically removes an address from all listings in the same account. This means that if the unsubscribed address were in your ‘customers’ list and ‘newsletter’ list, it would be removed from both. We’ve also made steps to ensure that you don’t accidentally import an unsubscribed email address back into your account. Addresses that have unsubscribed from your campaign are immediately added to your suppression list.

However a unique feature of Automailer allows you to change your unsubscribe setting for your lists; this is extremely useful if you want the unsubscribe link to only remove users from the specific list their emails came from but leave them on other lists in your account. A great feature that ensures you don’t lose subscribers by a blanket suppression across all lists.

Once Unsubscribed, is a User Blocked Forever?

Former subscribers can re-subscribe at any time through your subscribe forms; only you are prevented from reimporting an address once it’s in the suppression list.

How do you Keep Users from Unsubscribing from your Lists?

There’s no foolproof way of keeping your database of subscribers 100% intact, but what you can do is make a compelling case for subscribers to stay, right at the unsubscribe page.

Take for instance, the unsubscribe page of Lazada.com, a major e-commerce player in Asia. Upon clicking the unsubscribe link, you’re presented with different options to better control the mail you receive.

better control the mail you receive

The options above are particularly useful for several subscribers annoyed with the flood of emails they’re getting, so giving them some kind of control over their messages increases the likelihood of them staying.

3 Tips on Getting Website Product Descriptions Right

By | Blog, ecommerce, Research, SEO, Web Design, Web Store | No Comments


product description matters

E-commerce solutions like PARts B2 provide detailed product descriptions and details from the supplier using a database 

The basic tenet of e-commerce: Help the customer find your product and get what they want. If a potential customer can’t find your product, you obviously won’t get a sale.

However, connecting with relevant product pages is just the initial phase of the purchase process. And while it’s true that many sites have made improvements to their navigation and information architectures, many product pages on e-commerce sites are still in need crucial improvements.

Enform’s clients already know that product pages should do more than just have a product image, a generic description, and an option to add to the cart. Instead, the page should sell the product, convincing users that the product on the page is exactly what they’re looking for.

Yet as simple as that sounds, many pages fail to do this.

Product pages are especially important since they fill the gap of the traditional shopping experience, where users are normally able to touch the product, examine its packaging, and test or fit it before the purchase. Online, users can only go by what they see on the product production.

Multiple e-commerce studies by web usability experts the Nielsen Norman Group (NN/g) show that as much 20% of all observed task failures, or times when users abandoned or failed to make a purchase, were caused by poorly written or incomplete product information.

NN/g recommends the following tips for website product pages.

 

  1. Pages Should Answer Customers’ Questions

NN/g’s research specifically indicates that many users simply couldn’t find enough information to make an informed purchase decision. Now, there’s no way to guarantee that your product pages will answer all questions by potential customers, but that doesn’t mean you should settle for the bare minimum either.

answer_question

The J. Peterman Company is a company known for using lengthy, verbose stories for product descriptions, in their print catalogs as well as online.  They also follow their more eloquent prose with standard facts about the item for sale, such as “pointed collar,” “shell buttons at center front,” “1-inch grosgrain ribbon (antique white) at neckline and left front placket,” and “adjustable cuffs.”

 

Besides the most obvious features of the product, shoppers also want to know the smaller details on products they’re eyeing, and that can be anything from accents on clothes; furniture dimensions; product care information; size of toys; storage recommendations for edibles, to whether or not a hotel has a heated outdoor pool working all year.

Where many sites get it wrong is in their focus on basic information, or sometimes even the wrong information.

 

  1. Go Straight to the Point

Just because we told you not to settle for basic information, doesn’t mean you should input long-winded descriptions of your products. There’s a difference between a complete product description, and a wordy one. Users want information that describes the product, not incessant please to buy. One or two calls to action will suffice, don’t go too overboard with the marketing messages.

to_the_point

Forever21’s brief description covered key details about the product, its construction, and how a customer could wear the item. This was followed by a bulleted list of product details, including fabric, measurements and care which is quite a good example of going straight to the point.

 

Users often skim through text when browsing and reading online, and are more likely to read at the beginning of the text than the end. Given the importance of the first few lines of your product description, don’t waste it on text that doesn’t help the user.

Another great way of conveying the specifics of a product is to use product photos. NN/g’s found out that large and detailed images are a tremendous help to users wanting to know more about a product. Unfortunately, many sites settle for small images that fail to show sufficient product details.

 

  1. Make Comparisons Easy

Several online shoppers view the ability to compare multiple products as a crucial factor in shaping their purchase decisions. It’s imperative that you offer a facility to help users decide which of several products is best for them in a smooth and easy manner.

make_comparisons

Pottery Barn listed information about dressers in a consistent and descriptive way. Two bedside-tables descriptions began with brief overviews, and then bulleted lists that provided comparable details about the products, listed in the same order for each. Each listed dimensions, followed by materials, features, finish information, and hardware details.

 

It also helps if you can reduce the need for comparisons by making your product line simple if your catalogue allows for it. For those that can’t, such as e-commerce sites that carry multiple vendors, some help with tools is needed.

Many e-commerce sites already have tools that enable shoppers to compare products side by side. Some of these are effective, others not so much. According to NN/g, the key here is to offer comparable information in an easy to compare manner between similar products. It also pays to be consistent in the volume of information featured for every product; customers don’t like seeing plenty of information on one product, and hardly any on another.

Overall, remember that many customers are actually looking for a reason or confirmation to buy your product or transact, try not to disappoint.

Ideas to Make Your eDM Email Subject Lines Work

By | Blog, ecommerce, Uncategorized | No Comments

good-bad-subject-line-examples

The bitter truth: The vast majority of email newsletters, promotional campaigns, and email blasts never make their way past the crowded in boxes of their recipients.

Those that did manage to get views did so thanks to how users evaluated email subject lines and sender information.

Successful emails reach users who are confident enough to open them, and the keys to this are clear, easily recognisable sender information, and concise, well-written subject lines. Both factors help users make informed decisions on whether or not to open or bypass an email message.

Web usability experts the Nielsen/Norman Group (NN/g) put together some guidelines on how to create effective subject lines that should increase the chances of your emails’ success with users.

  1. Incorporate content into subject lines

With the mad rush of information reducing web users’ internet attention spans, email subject lines should let users know the kind of content the newsletter contains. Users want to know what’s in a message right away through the headline, and while it may seem like a good idea to tease users into reading a message, this is not the case with emails.

The argument against being too direct with subject lines is that users might not open an email newsletter if they see the content in the subject line right away.

NN/g however, notes that it’s much better to keep users informed and allow them to make a decision instead of forcing them to open the message only for them to have no interest in it. Most users may not even bother doing this, deleting the message instead. The interaction cost is simply too high with no clear benefit to the user. fail

We at Enform agree with NN/g’s assertion  that it’s much better to have some messages fail to be opened by some users, than risk penalizing them with opening messages they don’t like.

However, be aware that Junk mail and anti-SPAM filters look at subject lines very closely so go easy on the “killer sales” language.

email subject

  1. Place keywords into the subject line and limit it to 40 characters

For optimal viewing of subject lines, it’s best to stay within the character limits set by email programs. Because character limits vary between programs (not to mention they can change over time), it’s best to stay within the safe limit of 40 characters.

The most important content should be placed right at the beginning of the subject line to prevent it from being cut off. Keywords that carry the most information and are the most descriptive should take prime real estate. Avoid the common mistake below:

(Company Name) Newsletter: The Annual Clearance Sale is Here

The first 3 words in the subject line above could have been put to better use, replaced with more meatier keywords such as the discounts being offered in the sale, the date of the promotion, what products are on sale, and more.

EmailSubjectLines

  1. Avoid redundancies

We already mentioned how important it is to select the right keywords for the subject line, so by all means, don’t repeat things like the sender information in your subject line. While it’s important to let users know whom their newsletters are coming from, don’t waste valuable space repeating information that could’ve been replaced with something important.

Remember, you have less than 15 seconds to get the readers attention with your email or eDM message, make it count.

 

How Do You Measure The ROI Of Social Media?

By | Blog, Research, Social Media | No Comments

Return on Investment. It’s the key phrase managers all over the world look for when putting up a business and/or making any move that involves their budget.

ROI and Socila Media

The advent of the digital age and the proliferation of intangible assets has made measuring ROI an almost impossible task. Business in the 21st century has long grown from the old days of measuring expenditures—in the manufacturing industry for example—and calculating the revenue dollars investments in equipment, staff, etc. would generate.

With intangible investments now being made in social media, doing the math to figure out ROI isn’t so simple anymore. This is especially tricky, when you know that investing in certain social media tools can lead to your Facebook followers growing from hundreds, to tens of thousands.

So, how do you go about explaining this to the higher-ups?

Think of Social Media as a Package

Business advisor Mike Bailey notes that given the difficulty in identifying the specific action, or actions, that caused a consumer to go from simply browsing, to making a purchase, throwing social media into the mix only compounds things and makes calculating ROI near impossible.

Many business owners make the mistake of thinking that social media can be used as a tool on its own, hence mistaking it to be a quantifiable investment.

Social media however doesn’t operate standalone, it cannot be evaluated this way. Bailey quotes Dr Anthony M. Cresswell of the Center for Technology in Government, University of Albany, who said:

Conducting a meaningful return on investment (ROI) analysis in … technology is a little like saying you want to live a healthier lifestyle.”

In the context of fitness, getting fitter and healthier is a combination of several factors, from having a healthier diet, making several visits to the gym, using the stairs more, running 5 miles daily, to sleeping better.

You can’t pin it all on one thing only, and the same concept applies to social media.

When one of your customers converts and buys one of your products, it could be due to one of several reasons, or a combination of them. The customer might have followed your brand on Facebook for months, only making a purchase after seeing a promotion on the social network. The consumer might have read an article or ad online that lead to your Facebook page. He/she might have even learned about your brand through ‘old’ media platforms like TV.

So as you can see, it’s hard to give credit to where it’s due with social media.

Explaining to Clients

So how do you go about explaining to people how effective social media , because let’s face it, while it’s true that social media offers a plethora of benefits for business, the people making budget decisions want facts, not rhetoric.

After stirring up discussions on LinkedIn groups, Bailey found one answer that made sense, one that also had a precedent.

His recommendation is to stop thinking of social media as a revenue-driving tool. While it’s sometimes capable of doing is, the core of its impact likes in raising awareness and cultivating engagement with your target audience. Social media essentially taps into the oldest, most effective form of marketing: word of mouth.

And word of mouth, through social media, reaches an audience business can’t even imagine, much less understand.

Reach is where you can make your most compelling argument for social media. Clients and business owners are accustomed to the metrics that come with traditional advertising, and while it may be losing market share to digital media, agencies respect it because it’s well-established.

True, paid social media campaigns offer similar metrics to justify social media expenditures, but even non-paid social media activity can provide figures for you to work with. These are:

  • Reach
  • Impressions
  • Mentions
  • Engagement

All of which are now recognized as metrics for social-media measurement, and available on most free social media analytics systems. From here, it becomes easy to make comparisons with traditional platforms for marketing, with metrics that they can understand.

The opportunity will then revolve around how social media has the potential to reach a huge audience, all while delivering a lower CPM (cost per thousand impressions) than traditional marketing tools.

 

Are Facebook Pages Still Worth It In 2014?

By | Blog, Facebook, Research, Social Media, tools, Uncategorized, Webpage Monitoring | No Comments

image1 (3)

From occupying a dominant position just a few years ago, Facebook’s fan (business) pages have seen their ‘fan reach’ sink to an alarming low, leading to speculation of their impending demise. If you maintain your own business page, fan reach is defined as the percentage of your fans that see your post after its published on Facebook.

Fan reach falls drastically

From 2009 to 2010, Facebook’s fan reach on its business pages was at 20+ percent, with many pages enjoying record impression results. Since then, page administrators have seen severe drops in their fan reach, so much so that even with significant growth, it would take at least 2 years to recover. Here’s a brief timeline on the problem put together by Just Ask Kim.

  • 2 years ago: Fan reach falls to 16 percent, a reduction but not enough to worry about
  • 1 year ago: Fan reach falls yet again to 14 percent
  • 8 months ago: Fan reach drops to 12 percent
  • 4 months to present: Fan reach has dropped to an all time low of 9 percent, with several pages reporting lower impressions

Of course, the numbers above are simplifications meant to make the downward trend understandable. But, in any case, several marketers have been forced to rethink their strategies, in particular, just how much time and effort they should spend on their FB pages with the start of 2014.

Not all pages are equal

Facebook-paid-advertising

Yet despite the fatalistic attitudes of many online and social media marketers, a subset of Facebook pages have actually been spared from this shortfall in fan reach. Marketers who have allocated a stable budget for Facebook advertising and creating effective ads have not been affected as significantly. While fan reach has fallen across the board, the effects are less consequential because they have a funnel that capitalizes on their ad strategy.

In other words, those paying for ads on Facebook aren’t feeling the decrease in fan reach as much as the people relying on ‘free’ reach are.

 Cough up the money

Similar to how Google had shifted its attention to its paid advertisement system, Facebook is slowly making a compelling case for page owners to cough up the cash and protect themselves from dwindling fan reach. And if your plan is to do it on a long-term basis, you’ll have to come up with a strategy that funnels money out of your leads.

Facebook fan pages have gone from being a free way to market your brand on the world’s largest social network, to joining the ranks of paid media. Facebook is of course, well within its right to do this— and are using this to maximize their revenue.

It’s now up to marketers to respond to this paradigm shift.

No budget? Here’s what you can do.

Facebook-EdgeRank-Formula

Just Ask Kim has taken the liberty of outlining some measures you can take to improve your fan reach without having spend one cent.

  • Study the EdgeRank formula to figure out how Facebook rewards pages with more reach and what they ignore.
  • Use your fan list to your advantage. Use posts that encourage discussions among your fans to show signs of engagement on your page, which in turns increases EdgeRank, thereby letting more fans see your posts.

Do note that if you choose not to invest Facebook’s business pages for your brand, you’ll have to do more research and work. In any case, we here at Enform can help you achieve better results with your social media presence.

 

Google Rolls Out New Product: Google Shopping

By | Blog | No Comments

Google_Product

Despite the fact that Google Shopping is already transitioning to a paid service tomorrow, many retailers using Google‘s online marketplace to sell their wares may be caught with their pants down once the drastic change takes effect. The rest have only known about the update over the previous holiday season, and are still trying to figure out just what the transition means for their business.

If your organisation depends on Google Product Search (Google Shopping’s old name) for traffic, now’s the time to adjust to Google Shopping to avoid losing momentum.

What is Google Shopping?

Google Shopping, formerly known as Google Product Search, previously allowed online retailers to simply submit large volumes of product data through Google Merchant Centre, which Google then ranked according to relevance, just as it would other organic results on the Web.

The transition of Google Shopping to the new commercial model means that search results are now based on both bid price and relevance, very similar to Google AdWords ads.

We at Enform believe it’s important for retailers to take note of this major change, since Google Product Search traffic will eventually disappear in favour of paid Google Shopping Traffic. For retailers, this also means that action will be needed for them to participate.

Starting tomorrow, online retailers will notice a shift in their traffic, and in light of these changes, the folks from ChannelAdvisor have taken it upon themselves to break down some elements of Google Shopping, providing measures on how to start using them.

Product Listing Ads

At its core, Google Shopping is driven by Product Listing Ads, which are essentially visual product ads with product data like image, title, price and brand. PLAs are displayed alongside search network text ads, and show up when Google detects a search query matching with the product data. Like Google AdWords ads, Google’s pricing for its PLAs are based on a CPC bidding model.

Which products Google will display on its PLAs will depend on how well optimised your product data’s quality score and click-through rate.

Feeds

Product data feeds refer to lists of single products that come with product details like price, name, URL for the product page, product image URL, category, description etc. Success with PLAs begins with properly optimised and accurate data feeds.

Be sure to look at your product information and see that all relevant fields are filled up, accurate and optimised.

More tips can be found on the ChannelAdvisor blog.

Nielsen Norman Group Survey Finds Websites Not Well Designed for Teenagers

By | Blog | No Comments

econsultancy-exciting-digital-opportunities-feb-2012

Given how the lives of today’s generation of teens are so intertwined with technology, most notably the Internet, it’s become especially important for web designers to be mindful of the Internet habits of teenagers when designing websites. Short attention spans, information just a click away, and text message interruptions are the norm with teens, which call for a clear reassessment of web design.

The Nielsen Norman Group (NN/g), a firm that specialises in computer user interface development and user experience, recently released the findings of multiple studies on how websites can be improved to match the preferences and web abilities of teenagers.

Web designers and online marketers may find NN/g’s findings surprising, what with the discrepancies it shows with current stereotypes, showing yet again that grown-ups have little or no idea of how teenagers think, in this case, when Internet usage is concerned.

NN/g’s research disproves the following assumptions:

  • Teenagers are tech savvy by default
  • Teenagers depend heavily on smartphones
  • Teenagers want a social aspect to their entire Internet experience
  • Teenagers are fans of online multimedia and graphics content

In other words, the NN/g’s study shows that not all teens are fearless techies, tethered to online media. We at Enform believe that such assumptions are oversimplifications at best, and can potentially lead your web design plans to fail.

Teens’ Purpose for Website Use

Just like adults, teenagers go online for a plethora of reasons, entertainment chief among them. Teens generally have specific goals for using websites, even if they mainly involve killing time for only 10 minutes. As with adults, teens want websites to be easy to use and navigate through, making it quick and simple to accomplish tasks. Teens don’t just surf the web aimlessly, which makes website design just as important with them as it is with adults.

Among the most basic purposes teens use the web for, include:

  • Homework
  • Hobbies
  • Entertainment (e.g. music and games)
  • News
  • Communicating with friends
  • Shopping
  • Product research (even if teens have little purchasing power, they still look for products for their wish lists and for purchases through their credit-card-holding guardians/adults)

By comparing previous studies with their latest findings, NN/g found that teens have grown to become more successful at navigating through websites. During the 8 years that passed between old and new studies, the firm’s research shows that teens show an annual 2-percent increase in the success of their online tasks. 

However, teens aren’t as web-proficient as you might think. Even with the improvements they’ve made over the past decade, they still make mistakes, and when they do, they often give up immediately. With their impulsive decision-making, teens still have a lower success rate for achieving their website goals compared to adults—71 percent for teens vs. 83 percent for adults.

NN/g found 3 reasons for this problem.

  • Lower literacy rates
  • Poor research strategies
  • Higher tendency to be impatient

Given these three issues, NN/g made the following recommendations on web design for teenagers.

NN/g Recommendations:

Improve Content Writing

Create content for impatient users. Younger audiences shy away from pages with walls of text. In other words, they’re not keen on spending too much time reading—they already do that in school.

Communicating with teens requires the use of effective web writing and formatting techniques. Highlight content in brief yet information-filled photographs, use bulleted lists, and be smarter with your keyword usage.

Use easy-to-understand words instead of terms more understood by college graduates. Use short sentences and write through a 6th-grade reading perspective.

Make your Content Entertaining, but Don’t Overdo It

NN/g’s surveyed teens complained about sites that were too boring. Dull content is the bane of websites, but don’t go overboard with interactive and fancy designs. Teenagers are usually drawn to eye-pleasing websites, but they hate cluttered and multimedia-loaded sites (we’re looking at you fans of Adobe Flash).

Some of the interactive features teens are actually drawn to, include:

  • Online games and quizzes
  • Online forms for feedback
  • Online polls
  • Site features for sharing content like pictures, videos or stories
  • Message boards/online forums

Snappy Websites are Gold

Nothing irritates a teenager more than a slow-loading website, so make sure you have a fast, bug-free website. Younger Internet users have a tendency to expect instant gratification, so place speed on top of your list of design priorities.

Avoid widgets that add to your site’s loading time, even if you think they’re cool and add value to your site.

Don Treat Teenagers as Dumb

For your site’s content, avoid using a tone that’s babyish or condescending. Teens feel ostracised by content made for “grownups,” but they don’t want to be talked down to. NN/g’s studies found that teebs gravitate towards content created by peers, so create content that includes images, real stories and examples from other teenagers.

NN/g’s studies surveyed websites included sites aimed at both teenagers and children, using the word “Kid,” which had an effect of driving away teens. They also showed an aversion to garish and colourful web designs.

Give Teenagers Control Over Social Features

Give teens an option to share content, but don’t force it on them. Teenagers like the social aspect of the Internet, but they’re not obsessed over it, despite what’s shown in movies and TV.

Today’s teens are also taught to be more careful with their privacy, so avoid using features like forced registration, automatic linking with Facebook/Twitter profiles and more.

Sharing options should also include email, since according to the studies, teenagers actually prefer using email to protect their social accounts and online activity.

What About the Adults?

Now you may be wondering, “If I adjust my website for teens, won’t that compromise my adult audience?” We at Enform believe that the changes needed to attract teens won’t drive away adults; in fact, it will only target an additional population of adults composed of:

  • Adults with insufficient reading skills
  • Adults new to the Internet
  • Adult users who want to achieve their website goals faster

As you can see, these changes may be tailored for teenagers, but they also target an important segment of adults.

Social Media Generates Intense Interest. Will it be Profitable in 2013?

By | Blog | No Comments

According to a 2012 study by Econsultancy, social media engagement proved to be the most exciting digital opportunities for marketers during the previous year. The study, which saw 54 percent of respondents—consisting of company marketers and agents—considered social media as the online marketing opportunity they’re most passionate about, rating it ahead of three digital opportunities.

These include:

  • Mobile optimisation at 38 percent
  • Content optimisation at 37 percent
  • Conversion rate optimisation at 31 percent
  • Brand/viral marketing at 27 percent
  • Video marketing at 24 percent

Social Media Considered a Top Priority

Surveyed marketers also noted that for the year 2012, social media marketing would be included in their top three priorities. In fact, social media engagement, along with content optimisation, topped the list at 39 percent. This was followed by:

  • Brand/viral marketing at 32 percent
  • Mobile optimisation at 29 percent
  • Content marketing at 29 percent

Passion Not Translating to Revenue

The same survey however, shows that while social media marketing is a high priority and engaging point of discussion, marketers still can’t figure out how to make it effective when it comes to generating revenue. Among the companies and agencies who participated in the survey, close to half admitted that while social media has added new goals and programs to their marketing schemes, it hasn’t generated much revenue to support new hires.

However, if used correctly, social media can provide a platform for business growth and networking at a convenience. The use of blogs and social networks, for instance, Facebook and Twitter, companies can market a new product or offers directly to their intended market. But, it is imperative that any message sent via social media needs to convey a strong and meaningful message or else it will be seen as ‘junk’ and become irrelevant.

What Will the New Year Hold?

With 2013 upon us, we at Enform believe that the time is ripe for social media to finally become a real income-generating platform for companies looking to expand their online presence. We earlier reported a disparity between the goals of brand marketers and what consumers wanted from brands, and we think the two camps will finally see eye to eye this year.

 

Brand Relationship: How Consumers Respond to Social Network Marketing Messages

By | Blog | No Comments

 

When was the last time you ‘Liked’ a brand’s Facebook post on your News Feed or followed a brand on Twitter?

http://socialmediaraw.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/112_9_1_16221773.jpg

A recent survey conducted by Vanson Bourne on behalf of Pitney Bowes Software delved into how consumers respond to social media marketing messages from the brands they follow. The study shows that while close to half of consumers welcome messages from their followed brands, the response is eliminated when terminating the ‘follow’ or ‘like’ relationship—only 18 percent of online consumers welcome social media marketing messages from brands they don’t like or follow.

On the other hand, 1 in every 5 consumers who knowingly follow a brand, find their social media marketing messages irritating. This figure jumps to 40 percent in people who don’t follow the brand.

The study, titled “Social Media: Contrasting the Marketing and Consumer Perspectives,” involved 300 respondents composed of senior marketing executives working in business to consumer companies in the US, Australia, Germany, France, and the UK, along with 3,000 consumers from similar markets.

Discrepancies

What struck us the most here at Enform is the disconnect between what brands are doing with social media messages and what consumers want. By comparing how marketers use social media messaging for marketing purposes with what consumers like, Bourne’s study uncovers a number of discrepancies.

For instance, the study reveals that 36 percent of consumers are interested in messages about upcoming sales and promos, but only 9 percent of social media marketers report to creating such messages. Meanwhile, 36 percent of consumers expressed interested in receiving messages about new services and products, but only 19 percent of marketers have created such messages.

Marketers apparently use social media messaging as a means of interacting directly with customers, but only 15 percent of those surveyed report to seeing value in this, preferring instead to getting messages about discounts and bargain coupons.

Another discrepancy the study found is how 24 percent of marketers see newsletters as crucial in generating consumer interest, even though only 9 percent of consumers like receiving them.

Social Media Still Not Supreme

When it comes to brand interaction, only 19 percent of consumers admitted to using social media to contact companies online. Instead, 67 percent of users report to using email, followed by 31 percent who call companies, and 30 percent contacting the company through their official website. Of course, these preferences may change over time.

Given these results, we, at Enform believe that a change in strategy as far as social media messages shouldn’t hurt. These results however, do not mean that the best way to use social media, is to inundate customer base with spam; the best approach is, always send something of value to your customers.

 

Want to increase your revenue per email by 900%?…..

By | Automailer, Blog, eDM, Research | No Comments

….Restaurant.com did

Image from Contactology

For many years, Restaurant.com enjoyed growing revenues bolstered by the ‘Batch-and-blast’ email strategy. Readership remained until 2011, when subscriber engagement fell down by as much as 35 percent. Even with the appeal of “certificates”—essentially digital versions of coupons—that can be exchanged for discounts across the restaurants under their system, the company’s generic emails failed in engaging customers.

Time for a Change

Restaurant.com shifted gears with its email campaign, overhauling its program in just 1 year. Instead of going with a “firing and forgetting” strategy, the company employed a sophisticated system that combines both automated and targeted emails.

The new strategy can be broken down into a 6-step process:

  1. Building internal support – First starting with home, Restaurant.com took measures to gain support from its investors, IT department, and creative team.
  2. Laying a Foundation – Restaurant.com had to change its database infrastructure to address new goals of their email campaign. Matching customer behaviour and interactions from the channels they came from, for instance, initially proved impossible, calling for a new system to be put in place. Likewise, a new eDM analytics system was set up because of this very reason.
  3. Rethinking the Marketing Strategy – One of the first things Restaurant.com did was to reduce the frequency of its emails, cutting the previous monthly volume of 22 emails in half. The focus should be on quality, not quantity. For example, A/B testing  is a tool that tests the essential factors of email marketing significantly eliminating ‘trial and error’ resulting in emails that are both interactive and effective.
  4. Lifecycle-based Automated Emails – Restaurant.com. launched a new system of automated emails or “auto-responders” that reach out to customers they predicted were mostly likely make a purchase of certificates—these are subscribers with data showing they already made a purchase.
  5. Behaviour-specific Emails – Restaurant.com also formulated emails that perform specific actions, such as reminding subscribers of items abandoned in the shopping cart, encouraging them to participate in social media promotions, and more.
  6. Quality Control – Restaurant.com also made it a point to test every aspect of the campaign thoroughly before launching it. Different campaigns were tested, and each aspect scrutinised before making a database-wide change.

The Results

Implementing these solutions provided a higher ROI than using the batch and blast strategy that was previously used. Despite having attractive coupons on their eDM, their method lacked strategy.

Using an A/B testing tool, the user is able to target specific groups and identifies what engages their intended audience more effectively. Changes made by Restaurant.com to its email strategy have been nothing short of stellar. The conversion rate of the new emails over the old generic ones rose by 150 percent. Likewise, the company saw a 900 percent revenue increase for every 1000 emails sent (that’s $200). And both figures are for the automated emails alone.

The benefits when utilizing this type of testing system is the accuracy it is able to deliver making email campaigns more purposeful and less clumsy, eliminating the ‘firing and forgetting’ strategy.

Fortunately Enform Automailer has most of the elements talked about as standard features allowing for targeted, strategic eDM campaigns with effective ROI. Essentially, the main purpose of creating an eDM is to engage and interact which in turn generates results. So why waste the effort?

You can read more about this case study at Marketing Sherpa. There’s more info about Enform Automailer service on our site, or contact us on 02 8999 1900 if you’d like to discuss.