Category Archives: Marketing

Your Organization Should Be Ready for 6 Major Changes This Year

Think of a time when you made a major change in your life: Maybe you got married, bought your first house, moved out of state, or even just got a new pet. You took the time to plan for the new step in your life, and you probably didn’t try to tackle several life changes at once.

Like individuals, organizations experience major changes as well, such as mergers, acquisitions, CEO turnover, and rebranding. These changes usually happen more quickly and more often than any one person can handle, so it is critical that everyone works together to make the process smooth and successful.

With 70 percent of organizational change initiatives ending in failure, most organizations can learn a thing or two about managing change. This blog series explores some key facts and causes of organizational change and how to effectively manage change in your organization.

According to ATD research, 61 percent of organizations experience at least three major changes every year, and 26 percent experience at least six. That’s like getting married, having twins, buying a house, changing careers, getting a new pet, and starting a new diet in a 12-month period. Sound crazy? Maybe—but an ATD and Institute for Corporate Productivity research report on change management, sponsored by NYU Stern, found several key findings about managing change. The report was based on surveys from 765 business and learning professionals across the globe in a variety of industries. Here is what they found.

timeforchange

Rapid Change Is the New Norm

There is no reason to change something in your organization for the sake of change; however, the number of major changes and the speed at which they take place has increased. This means organizations need to be more agile and open-minded to effectively manage new programs. Does your organization’s culture have tools that allow for fast organizational shifts, such as open communication channels?

High-Performing Organizations Have Mastered Change Management

The majority of high-performing organizations report six or more major changes during a year. This suggests that they are able to be nimble and thoughtful throughout the process. They do not become overwhelmed during changes and keep the end goal in mind.
Need More Guidance on Managing Change?

LearnNow: Change Management Organizational change is a cyclical process. Adapting to that change successfully is vital for long-term success. The ATD LearnNow: Change Management event provides a practical model for change management. Rather than pushing complicated change management methods; you will learn tested business approaches (read: best practices) that executives and managers use to help their organizations rapidly change. You’ll find out how to constantly and rapidly adapt yourself, your employees, and your organization’s business models to keep pace with technology and economic events.

Money Is the Root of All Change

In the ATD survey, 51 percent of respondents said that an increase in revenue or sales were two factors that drove organizational change. These were followed by economic changes, cost-saving efforts, and market changes.

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With organizational changes directly and indirectly linked to monetary causes, leaders should ask how a change is going to improve organizational standing and will ensure that their goal is reached. Create an objective goal, such as a profitability or market share target, to measure the change’s effectiveness.

Make Sure Everyone Knows Who’s Accountable

According to ATD research, CEOs are often accountable for the end results of a large organizational change. Others responsible include department managers, C-level executives, vice presidents, and HR leaders. It should come as no surprise that change management typically is the responsibility of higher-ranking leaders; however, when CEOs were accountable for change, there was a decrease in the organization’s overall market performance. Make sure you know who is in charge of the outcomes and that it is the right person or people; don’t just automatically assign responsibility to the person at the top of the organization.

The Learning Function Should Stay in the Loop

While the change process itself can be a challenge, don’t overlook the training aspect—for example, workers may need to be trained in new skills, processes, or values following an acquisition. Leaders will better position themselves and their teams if they think about these potential training challenges ahead of time:

  • Has the learning function been involved during the whole planning process, including planning, design, and execution?
  • Is there a strong timeline in place for the learning function?
  • Are you providing the learning department with enough funding for successful training?

The Ultimate Barrier for the Learning Department Is Culture

When it comes to the learning department’s overall ability to effectively deliver training related to changes, 39 percent of survey respondents claimed inefficiencies in training are due to company-wide resistance to change. If you are in an organization resistant to change, you will first need to conquer culture change. Once everyone has a new mindset that welcomes change, not only will changes happen more seamlessly, but those creating training programs supporting the change will have a more captive audience.

How to start your own business

Start own business

 

I – Intelligence
D- diligence
E- Eternity
A- Ambition

All combines to one word – IDEA, sometimes we say necessity is mother to innovation, sometimes we tell idea generated this whole world.

What ultimately contributed towards it, was a WILL to move it. Scientific innovation made out wheels of revolution. Lesser people are now getting more towards education, but people want to become richer in seconds, I am also one of them.  Through my own realization, I can add,we want all without much of efforts or wastage of resources, truth is harsher,when it comes to implementation,  we see all drowning down effluent.

IMPLEMENTATION is just the big step towards success, no idea is working without implementation, just start today if you feel connecting any line to action,  start with single point and you will see the dots connecting.This is what you gonna need the first ingredient for starting your business.

Anybody can dance, any body can write, anybody can sing, so in real nothing is impossible. Whilst you find just implication.  All you need to know is implementing things, when it strikes your cords, and successful are those who frame implication before the idea is fully drafted.

Today World is hub for startups, you might be interested in becoming one out of them, why not?Just focus the first doing, which attracts you most and then dwell on the nest.

People think you need knowledge and skills for development of startup and company to be build. A man who sells donuts can also be billionaire  by just setting his business the right way.You just need the passion that keeps you going till no end.

Trust me every body have it, if you are a die hard foodie, writer or dancer you just pick the right channel that connects you to inner you and can separate from outside world, and conquer world.

The Why and How of Outsourcing Marketing Automation Services

Every business faces challenges with keeping its sales and marketing processes flowing. The right service provider can help address that immediate problem and add corporate value.

Marketing-automation-interview-questions-small

So it is smart to consider outsourcing marketing automation services. But what can you expect from them and how to get started?

Read on to understand how to pick and get started with an marketing automation services team.

Three Common Challenges Cured By Marketing Automation Services
Any combination of the following three challenges are will steal time away from strategic planning and other high-value activities for your business. It’s all very frustrating!

Challenge #1 Marketing and sales technologies for running a competitive business evolve every day. They require lots of time on training to achieve the level of expertise required to optimize the tool.

Challenge #2 You’re not familiar enough with the ecosystem of solutions to assemble a seamless optimized revenue engine.

Challenge #3 You and your staff are too busy to do all the legwork that goes into campaigning and lead development.

If this sounds like your business, you’ve probably been kicking around the idea of outsourcing marketing automation services but aren’t sure where to start. And this human resources issue is only adding to your anxiety.

In such situations, hiring experts on a temporary flexible basis is a sound bet to help navigate the unfamiliar technological waters. The process of getting help is an investment in itself, so read on to understand what you can reasonably expect from a marketing automation services team.

How does outsourcing marketing automation services team add corporate value?

1.) Higher return on your ecosystem. The marketing automation services team is familiar with current cloud software tools that your company invested in and how they work together as a system. So they are prepared to advise and help you get more from those investments.

2.) Critical thinking and instant best practices. A marketing automation services team brings their years of experience supporting other clients with them. They’ve seen and learned from others’ mistakes.

3.) Adoption roadmap. Doing too much at the start is a known hazard of marketing automation platforms. The marketing automation services team sets an adoption plan based on priorities. For example, if handing more inbound leads and getting more meetings is the top priority, they’ll set those routines up in a few days. After this marinades, you’ll move onto the next set of objectives.

4.) Increase productivity. The marketing automation services team is more productive than you’ll ever be in setting up the ecosystem and dialing in marketing automation routines. Because it’s all they do. And, tasks are done by experts so the quality is more thorough. Spam checks, automation tests and QA is their one job. All this aside, you’re free to focus on other tasks that build value for your business.

5.) Cost Advantages. The marketing automation provider will deliver a sweeter deal on marketing automation services because they are making money on the software subscription too.

6.) Motivated To Bring Success. The marketing automation services team has a vested interest in your success and to keep pushing for better results. If you’re successful, your business will expand its use of the core marketing automation systems and other complementary tools. The team wants to be an indispensable partner to your organization by way of ROI justification.

30 TIPS FOR GREAT DIGITAL MARKETING

Tips-great-digital-marketing-ducttapemarketingA man walks into a bar/restaurant/hotel/car repair shop. Chances are, he found it online. That’s because today’s consumers, 80% according to Google, rely more on the Web to find and choose local businesses.

So how do you make sure that these consumers find and choose your local business? By using a mix of these four strategies for great digital marketing: search advertising, webSite, search engine optimization, and social media. Here are 30 tips to get you going.

SEARCH ADVERTISING TIPS

1. Identify and follow the rules of Bing, Yahoo!, and Google search ads before running your campaign as all have slightly different formats.

2. Optimize the URL displayed in your search ad so that it’s relevant to the product or service you are promoting.

3. Include target keywords in your headlines and copy that either match or closely match the keywords you bid on in order to boost the chance that your ad appears for those terms.

4. Write strong calls to action for your search ads that directly state what you want consumers to do. For example “Contact for a Free Estimate” or “Get a 50% Coupon.”

5. When using a click-to-call extension, consider using a tracking number so that you can identify and measure which ads perform the best.

6. Don’t spend precious text ad character count on your business name. It should already be in your optimized URL.

7. Do capitalize the first letter of major words in your ad. Don’t (read “NEVER”) go crazy with all caps.

8. Should you use correct punctuation in text ads? Yes! It just makes good sense.

9. Using trademarks in text ad copy is a no-no unless, of course, you own them. You can, however, bid on terms relevant to your business.

10. DUUA (don’t use unknown abbreviations). While it could pique the interest of a few searchers, why take that chance?

WEBSITE TIPS

11. If you haven’t updated your website since 2010, do it now. A clean, modern design is key in digital marketing, plus it ensures that you meet today’s best practices and Web standards.

12. Make your website mobile-friendly! The 2014 Local Search Study results indicate that nearly 80% of local mobile searches end in a purchase. This is a big audience you shouldn’t ignore.

13. Accurately complete your site’s metadata (title tags, descriptions, alt text, etc.). Not doing so can negatively impact your visibility on SERPs.

14. A business blog is a winning addition to your website. It can help boost your site’s SEO, set you apart from the competition, and demonstrate your knowledge and expertise. It’s a win-win situation.

15. In order to get found by local consumers, you need to optimize your site with local information like your address and geo-targeted keywords.

SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION

16. Having a business blog is useless if you don’t regularly create and promote original and sharable content to help prove relevance and therefore rank in search engines.

17. Enable share buttons on your blog so that readers can easily post your content to their social media pages and drive visitors back to your website.

18. Optimize your Google+ Local page to help your business name, phone number, location, and even opening hours show up in Google Maps and Google’s local search results.

19. Much like Google+ Local, Yelp is platform to complete and post information about your business. More importantly, it helps feed Apple Maps with local business results.

20. Include geo-specific keywords, such as your city, neighborhood, and zip codes, in your website, blog, and even social media copy to appear in search results for these terms.

19. Don’t only promote blog posts once. Repurpose them as engaging images, quotes, or questions in order to generate additional views, shares, and subject relativity.

21. Getting backlinks from influencers and other industry-related websites that have already established credibility are great for building your own authority and driving more visits back to your site.

23. Enable Google Authorship to help build your personal brand. By establishing yourself as a subject matter expert, you can share your own content, generate more shares, and drive more website visits.

22. Since positive reviews rank in search engine results, generate positive reviews with high rankings to help persuade consumers to choose your business.

26. Once you receive positive reviews, promote them on your website and social media sites so that consumers who search for you business on social sites or local directories see the great things others say about your business.

25. Images can help sell your business, and they also rank in search engines. Don’t name your images “photo.jpg,” and instead name them more descriptively, add alt text, or captions on your website to help images show up in search results.

SOCIAL MEDIA

27. Think, review, and review again before you make a social media post or comment. The ability to easily take screenshots makes it difficult to take back a social media mistake.

28. Since your employees also represent your brand, both in person and online, implement a social media policy that at the least permits them from sharing internal information.

29. Before you jump on a trending hashtag, make sure you know the origin of it. Not doing so can potentially cause social media regrets.

30. Like it or not, you “share” your brand on social media. And since consumers can start good and bad conversations about you, make sure to set up alerts that notify you of new mentions, comments, or messages.

Source credit: Tara Banda

7 Statistics That Prove Email Marketing Isn’t Dead

7 Statistics That Prove Email Marketing Isn't Dead

“It’s obvious email marketing is dead.”

“The days when AOL advertised ‘You’ve got mail!’ are long over.”

It’s hard to argue that receiving email is now often met with a groan. The reason? We’re inundated with emails. The average person gets 121 a day. The human race as a whole gets 193.3 billion. Business emails account for 108.7 billion. These are big numbers.

Perhaps, we overdid it — too much of a good thing. But, wait a minute, there must be a good reason why that much email is circling the globe, and if so, that’d mean that claims about the death of email marketing can’t be true. In fact, I’d guess that those who make these claims are only measuring their own subjective sense of overwhelm.

We don’t hate all email — just the ones we don’t want to read. The numbers agree with me. When it comes down to it, consumers still derive tangible benefits from email, and marketers still get a real payback. But before I roll out statistics to prove it, let’s pause. First, it’s important to understand why good marketers still love email marketing.

1. It’s easy to tap into the exponentially growing mobile market.

Without emails, it’d be nearly impossible for marketers to reach people when they’re not at their computers. People check their email on their cell phones and tablets at least once a day. SMS, by contrast, is not as popular. What’s more, texting may cost the user. It’s much harder to articulate a marketing message with a limited number of words.

2. Customers like to stay informed.

Customers like to know about coupons, because they like to save money when they shop. In fact, coupons are what drive online sales (though they also increase in-store sales). Customers also tend to like email sequences that educate and engage them. Mini email courses from subject experts can pack a lot of good information, creating a great win-win for marketers and consumers.

3. Email seamlessly integrates with other marketing strategies.

Think about how much pertinent information an email can communicate:

  • It can inform someone about your latest post.
  • It can remind someone of an interesting social-media message.
  • It can alert someone when a webinar is about to start.
  • It can alert someone about an approaching deadline on an offer.

4. Email marketing offers the best return on investment ever.

Ultimately, email marketing is affordable, which means that, even if a campaign bombs, the marketer isn’t in trouble. In comparison, given their high spend, failed advertising campaigns using direct mail, print advertising, radio and TV can be disastrous.

7 statistics that prove email marketing still works

Now, let’s look at seven statistics that prove email marketing can still pack a punch:

1. Email marketing offers a staggering return on investment.

According to the Direct Marketing Association, it yields an estimated 4,300 percent ROI. Every dollar spent on email marketing offers a return of $44, says ExactTarget.

Related: 3 Steps to Maximize Your Mobile Email Marketing

2. Emails effortlessly nurture leads.

A nurtured lead increases sales 20 percent more than a cold lead. At 33 percent less cost than other lead-generating mechanisms, emails generate 50 percent more sales. In fact, smart email marketing is one of the single most effective ways to build relationships with customers.

So, what is smart email marketing? Essentially, it’s email marketing that follows a strategic marketing formula:

  • First, raise awareness. (Inform customers about a product.)
  • Second, stimulate a desire for acquisition. (Tell them where to get it.)
  • Third, guide the reader toward conversion. (Transform prospects into customers.)
  • Fourth, create customer retention. (Sell them related products.)

3. Email marketing is simple enough for DIY small-business owners.

When it comes to email marketing, most of the technology offered by an email service provider is invisible, while the user interface is easy to learn and apply. Small-business owners who have learned how to send out broadcasts and use autoresponders consider email automation as being worth $273 an hour, based on a survey by Constant Contact and participants’ estimated value of getting an extra hour of marketing activity in a 33-hour week.

4. Emails convert three times better than social media.

Email marketing works 40 times better at getting customers than Facebook and Twitter, and compared to social media, it offers 17 percent higher conversion. The secret to success is making every email count. Email not only converts better than the most popular social media, but people spend up to 17 percent more when they do buy.

5. People actually like getting emails.

Of course, it’s worth noting that this only applies to emails they chose to receive. But of those, 95 percent of people who sign up for a newsletter from a recognized brand consider the email useful.

6. It’s estimated that 91 percent of consumers check email at least once a day on their smartphones.

Besides calling and texting, checking emails is one of the most popular uses for smartphones.

7. Adding social sharing buttons can increase email click-through rates.

Adding social sharing button increases trust. As a result, the click-through rate increases by 158 percent compared to emails without it.

Smart email marketing

Not all email marketing is dead — only email considered “noise on the line,” boring email and spam. What is alive and well is smart email marketing.

Are you using smart email marketing? If so, share your best tips and recommendations by leaving a comment below.

3 Ways to Strengthen Your Email Marketing Impact

3 Ways to Strengthen Your Email Marketing Impact

Despite your best efforts to keep customers up-to-date with the latest brand news and offers, you’re seeing flat lined open or click-through rates, an unsubscribe mass exodus, and — worst of all — emails tagged to funnel directly to your customers’ spam folders (yikes). These are all sure signs that your email campaigns have stopped resonating with your audience and are, instead, starting to offend them. That’s because, while frequency of interaction can build loyalty and brand advocacy, there’s such a thing as being too attentive.

And if you’re being too attentive with the wrong kind of attention? That’s a relationship deal breaker on every level.

Too much of the wrong content delivered to the wrong people at the wrong time is better known in email marketing speak as list fatigue. The good news is your problem is fairly easy to diagnose. Even better: it’s fairly easy to fix, too. And fixing it should definitely be a priority — according to Econsultancy’s latest census, email marketing continues to be the leading channel for delivering ROI, ranking above SEO, PPC, content marketing, and social media.

Here are three major reasons your customers have lost interest in your emails, and what you can do to make it right again.

1. It’s like you don’t even know me.

The most integral part to any strategy — be that business plan or marketing plan — is doing the legwork to define and identify exactly who it is you’re trying to reach, what kinds of content they love, and when/where/how is the best time to capture their attention and deliver value. If you haven’t, there’s your first (and probably biggest) mistake. And because a whopping 60 percent of marketers admit that their biggest barrier to effective email marketing is the quality of their email database, it’s likely that many are skipping or skimping on this critical step. Unfortunately, your customers will notice immediately if you haven’t taken the time to do this; receiving content that’s canned or is irrelevant is an obvious indication of just how much you don’t care about their individual experiences — and they’ll show their displeasure by ending the relationship.

  • Map your customer’s journey. Defining all the important touchpoints along your sales funnel will help you suss out the nuances and influences that drive your customer’s decision-making, which in turn will help you develop the most effective messaging and timing. And since it’s likely that your lists of customers (both existing and potential) aren’t presorted by where they are in the sales cycle, this will help you to begin the next most important process…
  • Segment your lists. While your customers might all be interested in your product or service, that’s likely where their similarities end; your messaging, strategy, and cadence needs to be aligned to where your customers are along their journey so that every interaction with you is relevant and valuable to each of them. Segmenting your lists enables you to further refine your content and ensure that the right stuff is going out to the right people at the right time, which makes your outreach more effective in capturing and retaining their attention as your relationship evolves.
  • Test. Retest. Optimize. Defining and identifying your customer’s journey is essential for establishing a solid foundation to strategize campaigns, but sometimes no matter how much you learn, you just can’t predict what customers will engage with most. The best part about messaging, email length, cadence—and everything else about email marketing — is that it’s all easily testable. Create different versions of subject lines and test them against each other; create one long and one short email newsletter and see which resonates the best. Testing will help you focus your strategies on what you know works best for your target audience, so you can optimize your campaigns and deliver higher quality content at every touchpoint.

2. I just need some space.

While almost 70 percent of consumers want to communicate with brands via email rather than direct mail or text, frequency of interaction is a key consideration; bombarding your customers is just as bad as forgetting about them. Unfortunately, getting the cadence right can be tricky. According to MarketingSherpa research, 86 percent of U.S. adults would like to receive promo emails at least monthly, but 15 percent would like to receive promotional emails every day.

That’s a pretty big difference.

Mapping your customer’s journey and segmenting your lists will help you define an appropriate email frequency based on specific customer needs or expectations. From there, you can test to see what works best and identify your email frequency sweet-spot, per segment.

  • Start with best practices. You’ll be well-served to tap into the wisdom and tactics of those who’ve blazed the trail before you, especially if you have no idea where to begin. Look into case studies, research, and insight from industry experts like Hubspot and Buffer. When it comes to email marketing, small things can make a big difference—we’re talking as small as a few characters’ worth of elements, like how subject line length, day of the week sent, and formatting can and will affect clicks and conversions. Find out what’s tried and true so you have a foundation for developing your own strategies.
  • Define a schedule (and stick with it). When customers sign up to receive email news and updates about your brand, use that initial welcome email (you’ve created one of those, right?) to tell them just what they’ll be receiving and how often. If customers know what they’re getting from the outset, they’ll not only expect to see you in their inboxes on a regular basis, they’ll also be less likely to feel smothered or exploited by your agreed-upon cadence. You can also use your welcome email to ask them specifically about their contact preferences, and save yourself from guesswork.
  • Don’t rely solely on automation. Email marketing automation is an incredible tool that helps marketers automate many of the tedious processes involved with identifying and nurturing sales leads. That said, it’s not like a Crock-Pot — you can’t just set it and forget it. If you’ve defined your customer journey touchpoints, make sure you’re consistently using them to monitor the ongoing effectiveness of your campaigns. And be prepared to make quick adjustments to messaging or email frequency as soon as click rates drop — something you can’t do by depending on automation alone.
  • Suggest a break rather than a breakup. An increase in the number of customers opting out (or unsubscribing) from marketing emails can be an indication that they’re put off by the frequency of content filling their inboxes. However, hitting unsubscribe doesn’t have to be their only recourse. According to a recent BlueHornet survey, 47.1 percent of customers would rather “opt-down” and receive fewer emails than unsubscribe. Not only will giving your customers a similar option help keep them engaged by allowing them to customize their interaction with your brand, it will also help you further refine the optimal frequency for your specific audience.

3. The thrill is gone.

If the first reason for customers hitting the unsubscribe button is frequency, the second is almost always bad or irrelevant content. By now you should have already made several passes through thecustomer journey map to define Moments of Value for your customers, and used that data to start developing content that delivers on them. Remember: you’re vying for the attention of a customer who may be accustomed to receiving more promotional emails a month than personal emails (nearly 54 percent of their total monthly emails received!) — you better make sure that your emails are the ones they open.

  • Get personal. Customers don’t want to just buy from companies, they want to connect with the people and personalities behind the brands — and they expect the same sort of consideration. Personalized content helps to show that you know, understand, and care about the people whose inboxes you’re occupying. Whether that means providing exclusive downloadable content based on their needs in the sales funnel or sending out personalized birthday promotions, that effort to keep the content personal and relevant will go a long way. In fact, Experian research finds that birthday emails have a 481 percent higher transaction rate than promotional emails! Try thinking of ways to harness and deliver that level of customization to delight your customers all year round.
  • Make a killer first impression. The truth is, it won’t matter how amazing and lovingly crafted your content is if nobody will open your email to see it. Since your subject line is typically the first thing customers see (and judge), you’ll need to be able to win them over quickly — preferably in 50 characters or less. It’s also important to be straightforward and not mislead your audience with “clickbait”-style subject lines. If your customer clicks to open an email and feels misled by the subject line related to the content inside, you may just lose their trust for good.
  • Optimize for mobile. BlueHornet research indicates that 67.2 percent of consumers now use a smartphone to check their email. Why is this important? Because of this: 42 percent of subscribers delete emails that don’t display correctly on mobile phones. Again, it won’t matter how awesome your content is if nobody will (or can) open your email to see it; if you’re not taking into account where and when your customers might be accessing your emails, and optimizing that content accordingly, you’re missing a vital component to your overall email campaign success.

Your customers want to stay connected through email. In fact, Forrester research finds that U.S. adults are twice as likely to sign up for emails to stay in touch with your brand than to interact with you on Facebook. Don’t let something as easily reversible—and preventable—as list fatigue spoil a perfectly good relationship. Staying in tune with your customers’ wants and needs, providing them with options, and customizing their experience whenever possible are all things that will help maximize their delight and reinforce their long-term devotion to your brand.

 

Do Your Marketing Emails Prompt ‘Inbox Blindness’?

Ever heard of “banner blindness”? It’s your email subscribers’ brains’ natural defense against the ads plastered over every website they visit.

Related: 3 Ways to Strengthen Your Email Marketing Impact

Think about it: Most websites position their ads in similar places — such as across the top and down the right-hand side of the page

And after your subscribers visit hundreds of sites and see thousands of ads, those spots on the screen become black holes. They don’t even register in people’s consciousness anymore.

The ‘inbox blindness’ your email subscribers develop

The average adult gets 121 emails per day, according to a report by the Radicati group — and that’s more than most people can afford the time to pay attention to. So, even though your subscribers did opt-in for your emails, they’re likely numb from the sheer volume of commercial emails they have to wade through overall. Your emails simply no longer register (your competitors’ don’t either).

Instead, your subscribers just scroll right on past them.

So, how do you beat this inbox blindness and grab your subscribers’ attention? The key is to use pattern interrupts — subject lines that stand out and jolt your dozing subscribers back to life.

Here are three pattern-interrupt subject lines you can use to snap your subscribers out of their inbox comas and get your emails opened.

1. The ‘faux-personal’ subject line

What’s the one kind of email that everyone always opens? It’s the quick note from a friend or a family member.

And if you take a look at the subject lines people naturally use when they communicate with those they know and love, you’ll notice that they don’t look anything like the long headline-style subject lines most marketers write. Instead, friends use subject lines that are short, playful, informal. Like these:

  • hey =)
  • quick question
  • Can I ask a favor?

Short subject lines like these work especially well for cold email outreach, for that first “welcome” email you send to new subscribers, and for when you want to wake up a list of folks you haven’t mailed in a while.

Related: 7 Statistics That Prove Email Marketing Isn’t Dead

2. The ‘quirky characters’ subject line

Another way to make your subject line stand out: Give it a little extra visual “pop,” with unusual symbols and emoji characters. Those special characters come installed on all popular mobile and desktop devices, so you can use them with confidence that they’ll show up when your subscribers view your emails.

In a typical overstuffed inbox, subject lines run together into a wall of gray — but emoji characters seem to leap from the screen.

Online marketing expert Ryan Deiss, who tests his emails relentlessly, makes heavy use of emoji in his subject lines. Deiss has said that he used an alarm clock in the subject line of a recent email campaign to emphasize to customers that “your time is running out.”

I myself recently sent an email newsletter with the “?” character in the subject line. That particular email snagged me an open rate that was 80 percent higher than normal for that particular email list.

3. The “Uncle Sam” subject line

Remember those iconic world wars I and II posters with the guy in the star-spangled top hat? In those posters, Uncle Sam points straight at the viewer and says, “I want YOU for the U.S. Army.” Remember?

There’s a reason this became the most famous poster in the world. It’s that that image stops you cold in your tracks — there’s no doubt in your mind that Uncle Sam is calling you out.

In the same way, an “Uncle Sam” subject line can grab your subscribers’ attention, addressing them directly.

So, for this particular subject line, start off with the words “You” or “You’re,” followed by a blunt, hard-hitting statement, such as the following:

  • You’re a fraud.
  • You had ONE job.
  • Your account has been suspended.

A word of warning: This technique can come across as aggressive or even shocking to some subscribers. There may be repercussions.

But if you do use it, the copy of your email should quickly hook the reader and “pay off” the subject line — helping the viewer see the connection between the subject line and the content of your company’s email.

For example, software development coach John Sonmez recently sent an email with the alarming subject line “You’re fired!” And at the top of the email, he proceeded to pay off the subject line by showing how he himself had once made a bad assumption — a mistake shared by many in his audience — and how that assumption had cost him his job.

But, Sonmez’ unhappy memories aside, this subject line worked, spiking his open rate by 39 percent; Sonmez also received a flurry of replies from customers wanting to learn more about the program he was selling.

A little goes a long way . . .

Used sparingly, these three techniques can grab the attention of subscribers who habitually turn a blind eye to your emails.

You’ll get noticed — which is tougher and tougher to do these days.

Related: 3 Reasons Your Small Business Should Use Email Marketing

And you’ll have an opening to win back your subscribers’ attention with your captivating content.

15 Ways to Drive More Home Page Conversions Without Reinventing the Wheel

If you’re serious about generating leads through your website, you’ll probably have several landing pages set up for a variety of content offers, with multiple conversion paths for visitors to take. That’s great, but it’s surprising how many people miss relatively straightforward opportunities to drive conversions on their home page.

Think about it – your home page is almost certainly the most visited page on your site. But how many people arrive and bounce straight off? If you can keep them there and push that conversion rate up by just a couple of percentage points – that’s potentially a big increase in leads.

Many home pages underperform because people are reluctant to change them. The design, layout and content were probably settled on following hours of discussion involving multiple contributors during the initial website project. So there can be some anxiety about tweaking that formula. Understandably, because the home page is so important, some people just won’t want to mess around with it once it’s done.

However, there’s no need to treat your home page like a sacred text – and making changes doesn’t have to be a huge project. This list contains 15 things you can do to drive more conversions on your home page without reinventing the wheel. And by sharing the rationale for such changes with your colleagues, you should be able to ease any lingering doubts.

1) Put people on your home page

Think carefully about the images on your home page. If you don’t include images of people actually using your product or service (or looking like they need to), it could be difficult for others to imagine themselves doing so. Using images of people in industries and scenarios that your prospects will recognise and identify with is a simple way to add the human element to your business, and could be the simple prompt a visitor needs to click your ‘contact us’ button or another CTA.

2) Avoid poor stock photos

Putting people on the home page doesn’t mean using the first stock photo you find. Be careful about the images you select – many of those available in stock image libraries are bland and cheesy. A poorly chosen image will quickly send visitors away. You need images that relate to your target industries, will resonate with your prospects and most importantly inspire action.

3) Use emotional language on your home page

Don’t overdo it, but rewriting the copy on your home page to provoke an emotional response in your visitors is a good way to increase conversions. The first step is to think about your potential customers and identify their emotional needs. You can then write copy that taps into those emotions. HubSpot recently shared this list of emotional words that could help you to get started.

4) Show your product on your home page

It’s surprising how many businesses don’t show their product on their home page. If you’re a huge organization with a strong brand, you probably don’t need to. But if you’re struggling to convert people on the home page, this could be a reason for your problem.

Software firms are some of the worst offenders here. People want to know what your product looks like – can they see themselves or their colleagues using it? They shouldn’t have to delve further into your site to find out what it’s like. Including a few screenshots is a simple way to give people an initial idea of your user experience.

5) Get to your value proposition quickly

Research has shown that a large percentage of website visitors will leave between zero and eight seconds of landing on the page. You only have a few seconds to get your unique value proposition across, why people should do business with you and the benefit of it. You need to make this clear with a simple, punchy and jargon-free headline at the top of your home page.

6) Try different CTAs on your home page

Don’t be afraid to experiment with different calls to action on the home page. You don’t always have to offer content to generate leads. Sometimes you may instinctively feel that the home page is just too early on in the user journey to justify pushing your white papers and guides. But sticking to a generic ‘contact us’ or similar CTA probably won’t set your conversion rate alight.
Think about what your visitors are likely to respond to and experiment.

One of our software reseller customers recently boosted conversions by changing a home page CTA to ‘Request a demo’. Their prospects were clearly engaged by the prospect of signing up for a demo, rather than just making contact.

7) Use testimonials/social proof on your home page

Social proof and testimonials build trust. You need them on your home page, not tucked away in a corner of your site. Select a few of your best quotes from satisfied customers, with names and photographs if possible. You can also link through to full case studies if appropriate.

This kind of content can be particularly persuasive for prospects who shortlist your product alongside several others and are looking for a reason to make a decision. Putting it on the home page shows you can afford to be open and transparent about what existing customers think.

8) Keep your forms simple and short

Forms on the home page should be as short as possible. You can use a larger number of fields on your landing page forms for high-value content offers, but remember that many people arriving on the home page are engaging with your business for the first time. Don’t give them a reason to leave, which they almost definitely will if faced with a form that looks time-consuming.

Think carefully about what you really need on your forms and remove anything that is surplus to requirements.

9) Include a great content offer

Many people will want to find out more about you before they download some content, but there’s nothing to stop you from promoting a really great white paper or downloadable guide on the home page. Choose the content offer that best represents the current focus of the business and create an outstanding CTA to tempt visitors into downloading.

Don’t forget that your navigation also needs a clear link to a resources/download center, where people who aren’t yet ready to download can see the content you have to offer.

10) Add a video

Video can be a powerful conversion tool for your home page. According to Crazy Egg, people who watch a video of your product are as much as 85% more likely to buy.

For IT and software companies, demo and walkthrough videos are particularly effective. You can’t explain all the features of your software in text on your home page, and few people would take the time to read it anyway. A video can explain what your software does and why it’s better than the competitors all in less than a minute. Due to the abundance of screen capture and recording tools now available, making this kind of video is also relatively cheap and straightforward.

11) Don’t use a slider/carousel

The use of home page sliders, also known as carousels, was identified as “one of the most prevalent design flaws in B2B websites” by Search Engine Land in 2013. They were right, but there are still too many sites clinging on to this feature – and it can damage conversions.

Sliders are problematic from a number of different standpoints, including SEO (multiple slides means multiple H1 tags to dilute your keyword relevance) and website performance (slides featuring hi-res images typically increase page load times). The potential result is that either people don’t find your site in the first place, or they’ll get frustrated and leave before you even have a chance to convert them.

12) Optimize your home page for search

More traffic to your home page means more conversion opportunities, so don’t treat SEO as a separate job best left to your technical colleagues. Before you convert, you need to get found – so your home page has to be optimized for search.

Identify your main keyword, plus supporting keywords and phrases, and follow SEO best practices with the content on your home page. It’s important not to neglect any aspect of your page, from the meta description to the H1 tags and image alt tags.

13) Put CTAs above and below the fold

Placing a call to action below the fold (where visitors must scroll down to see it) can seem counter-intuitive. After all, you want people to see your CTA button and click it straight away to maximise conversions, right?

Of course that makes sense, but several tests including those highlighted here by Kissmetrics, show how some pages with CTAs placed below the fold have out-converted pages with a CTA right at the top. The key thing is not the placement of the CTA in itself, but where it is placed in relation to the copy on your page.

Do you need to explain the benefits of your product in more depth before asking your visitor to click? Or can you convince them with one or two lines of copy and a well-chosen image? These are the things you need to consider when placing CTAs on the home page.

14) Make it fast

You simply can’t afford a home page that doesn’t load quickly. The impact of a slow page on conversions can be huge. One Aberdeen Group survey found that a single second delay in page load time typically results in 11% fewer page views, a 16% customer satisfaction rate and a 7% loss in conversions.

15) Test everything

The final point goes back to one of my original recommendations. Unless your conversion rate is already sky-high, don’t treat your home page like it’s set in stone. Test different approaches, different headline copy, an alternative CTA placement, a new image style or form. Monitor your results. Keep working at it and you’ll see a much better return.

See, that wasn’t so bad, wasn’t it? The truth is that no homepage is perfect and you shouldn’t worry about trying new things, especially when the benefits far outweigh the risks. The trick is to understand that improving your homepage conversion rate doesn’t have to be a huge project.

All you have to do is start small and focus on a few of the areas above for some quick wins. Maybe add a video, hone your emotive language, try a couple of different CTAs, and then continue optimising from there. Pretty soon you’ll have a homepage that swaps bounce rates for greater user engagement and helps improves conversions across the board. 

source:http://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/home-page-conversions-without-reinventing-wheel

How to Solve the Marketing Skills Gap In Your Company

A few weeks ago I was talking to Maureen Blandford about marketers, marketing technology, and the need for all of us to move faster.

Our conversation turned to skill sets and the current digital and technology skills gap in marketing today. A thought I had in that conversation has been gnawing at me since: “Today’s marketers don’t have the aptitude for marketing technology.”

We continue to hear about the skills gap in marketing today and marketers are continuing to get trained on technology. But it isn’t closing the gap. If anything, as we rely more on technology in marketing, the gap is actually getting worse! Why?

Because today’s marketers don’t want to deal with technology.

I complete my time sheets because I have to. It is a requirement, and I’ll here about it from my boss if I don’t. I don’t love doing my timesheets. I have no passion for it. (Well, actually I do, but it isn’t a good kind).

Many marketers approach technology the way I approach timesheets. It is a functional requirement. Just one more thing they need to deal with in their day. This is why we are facing a shortage of the skills we need today, and the situation continues to get worse.

The solution to today’s marketing skills gap isn’t training. It is hiring people who are genuinely interested in and curious about marketing technology. People that look for ways technology can solve their challenges and aren’t phased by using technology in new or unexpected ways.

Training many marketers today to use technology is a band-aid that just briefly covers up the problem, until our marketing technology changes again a few months later.

So let’s stop focusing on training the wrong people and start focusing on hiring people with the interest in and aptitude for the technology we will use today and into the future.