Monday Mornings with Madison

Monthly Archives:
March 2014

Effective Email Marketing in 2014 – Part 2

The four letter word in the world of email marketing is SPAM. No marketer wants its emails to be considered spam. No company wants to be labeled a spammer. Certainly no business wants to be blacklisted. And yet, it is estimated that there is anywhere from 200 billion to upwards of 1.5 trillion spam email messages broadcast daily. Just exactly what is considered spam email and what isn’t spam? Email spam — also known as junk email or unsolicited bulk email — involves identical or nearly identical messages sent to numerous recipients via email. Definitions of spam usually include that 1) the email is unsolicited and 2) that it is sent in bulk. However, based on that, when any company sends an email to all of the contacts in its database (for whom typically it does not have explicit permission to email), that is spam. Spam email was named after Spam — the luncheon meat — which is considered ubiquitous, unavoidable and (to many) undesirable.

Because of the widespread deployment of spam email, Internet Service Providers have been and continue to be focused on developing ways to identify and eliminate spam (or at least reduce the volume of it) without preventing ‘permissioned’ email activity. It is a challenge. New strategies and metrics are being developed to decrease spam email deliverability. The focus is a one-two punch. First, ISPs are punishing unprincipled email senders who deploy unsolicited, bulk emails. Second, ISPs are rewarding compliant email senders that are sending ‘permissioned’ emails. For companies that want to not only behave respectfully and ethically but , it is important to use legitimate, proven email marketing strategies. As an added bonus, email compliant senders also enjoy improved email deliverability and therefore get better results. Thus, employing email marketing best practices is a win-win. Continue reading

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Effective Email Marketing in 2014 – Part 1

Many marketers feel that email marketing has a better return on investment than pay-per-click advertising, content marketing, social media, offline direct marketing, affiliate marketing, online display advertising, and even mobile marketing. Perhaps that’s because 91% of consumers check their email at least once a day. It would explain why about two-thirds of in-house corporate marketers rate emails as having “excellent” or “good” ROI.. In fact, it is estimated that email marketing has an ROI of 4,300%. Even if that percentage is grossly exaggerated, it is hard to deny that emails are an invaluable and cost-effective marketing vehicle for most businesses.

However, recent research also shows that average inbox placement rates stand at about 76.5% globally. On average, one out of every four emails does not get delivered to its inbox. That applies just to emails where the email address used by the sender is complete, current and correct, and does not even factor in email addresses that aren’t delivered because the email address used by the sender is incorrect, outdated or incomplete. That is because there are approximately 1.5 trillion spam email messages being broadcast every day. The challenge for ISPs has been and continues to be how to identify (and eliminate) that volume without preventing ‘permissioned’ email activity. Therefore, most major Internet Service Providers are using new strategies and metrics to guide email deliverability. The focus on email deliverability is no longer just about punishing ‘bad’ emails and unprincipled email senders (a/k/a Spammers). ISPs are now considering also how to reward ‘good’ emails and compliant email senders. Given the potential value of email marketing and the problems with email deliverability, it is important for every business and manager to be aware of the major factors impacting email deliverability today and understand legitimate, proven ways to improve that deliverability. Continue reading

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Clean Data is the First Step to Effective Sales and Marketing

What is the biggest source of waste for many businesses? Few would guess that at many companies it is ineffectual sales and marketing efforts resulting from poor database management. If the contact information for prospects and customers in a company’s database or CRM system is muddy, missing or just plain wrong, it cannot be used effectively for sales or marketing. Bad contact data also makes it impossible to effectively service existing clients. Data quality is crucial to operational and transactional processes within every enterprise and to the reliability of business intelligence and reporting.

Yet, maintenance of contact information for both prospects and customers is one of the most neglected, mishandled and inconsistent processes at many companies… and for good reason. Managing such ever-changing information is a tedious, difficult, thankless and never-ending job. Database managers are seldom praised or promoted for maintaining impeccably accurate records. Yet, if neglected or even ignored completely, dirty data can be the biggest source of waste at any company. Think of the wads of money and time that go down the drain by sending emails, letters, mailers, catalogs, promotions or newsletters to bad addresses… year after year. An unmaintained database will significantly reduce the impact of most marketing efforts and waste the time of every salesperson and leader. It is a shame to implement sound business development strategies for cultivating relationships with people who are ‘unreachable.’ The question is: how can a company achieve consistently clean customer data?
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How Are Smartphones Revolutionizing Business? – 2

It is a bit hard to believe that the first mobile phone was invented only four decades ago and smartphones have been around for only 22 years. Considering that nearly 80% of all adults in the U.S. are expected to have a smartphone by the end of 2015, practically no other technology in the history of the world can boast such lightning-speed adoption. For that reason, the future of every business today resides squarely in the palm of the leadership’s hands – figuratively and literally — in how well they embrace and adapt to the world of smartphone users.

Smartphones are quickly and deeply influencing and changing people’s shopping and buying behavior. However, the high-speed advancement of smartphone technology has understandably left many companies scrambling to keep up with the new opportunities and realities that smartphones present. Companies that aren’t on the mobile bandwagon already need to jump on or risk being left behind. But how exactly does a business become not just more mobile-friendly, but specifically more smartphone-friendly? This can be a challenge, especially for companies that are not selling widgits. How can businesses make information, services and support accessible on a computer screen that is typically about 2” x 4” wide? More importantly, how can businesses leverage smartphone use to reach customers in a more timely and personal way? Continue reading

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How Are SmartPhones Revolutionizing Business? – Part 1

Chances are that a large portion of the people viewing and reading this eblast are doing so using a smartphone. Just how many? The global smartphone audience surpassed the 1 billion mark in 2012. It’s estimated that, by the end of 2014, the global smartphone audience will total about 1.75 billion, which is nearly 40% of all mobile phone users and close to one-quarter of the world’s population. In fact, smartphone adoption is expected to continue on a fast-paced trajectory through 2017. It is projected that nearly 70% of the global population – 5.13 billion people — will have a mobile phone by 2017, over 50% of those will be smartphones.

In the U.S., those numbers are dramatically higher. Already 271 million people in the U.S. — 80% of the population — have a mobile phone. Also, according to the 2013 Pew Internet and American Life Project, 56% of those mobile phone users specifically have smartphones. A Goldman Sachs study predicts that smartphone use will increase to 81% of all mobile phone users by 2015! In other words, nearly every American will have a mobile phone and four out of every five of those mobile devices will be smartphones. Using a myriad of apps, smartphones are being deployed in creative ways to solve problems, change behavior, and — in the process — generate business opportunities. Every entrepreneur, business leader and manager should be thinking how a smartphone app might streamline business processes, cut costs, simplify customer service or solve problems. Continue reading

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