Weekly Roundup #60 is here and if you missed us chatting about WhatsApp Statuses, how website structure effects your SEO and how AI might affect email marketing, then head on over to Weekly Roundup #59. If you have your life together and didn’t miss it, then this week we’ll be debunking all those irritating email marketing myths, discussing how social media marketers need to be taken more seriously, eCommerce packaging sustainability and more.
#AlternativeEmailFacts: The Email Myths Debunked
The entire world is side-eyeing the American media at the moment. But columnist Chad White decided he would debunk 5 commonly accepted claims about the best email marketing practices with the hashtag #AlternativeEmailFacts. The reason a lot of marketers still seem to abide by these is because they’re constantly republished across various articles, blog posts and social media. So we’re going to repost the 3 truths we thought were important to you.
“The best time to send all your emails is at 10am on a Tuesday morning”
Marketers have wanted to know the best and most responsive time to send out emails since day one but there’s absolutely no one size fits all solution to the query. The best times to send an email depend on a few different factors, like the call to action and the actual message you’re trying to send. For example “tweet this” might be more convenient in the morning whereas “buy this” might be better in the evening. At the end of the day your best ‘send email’ time depends on your audience more than anything else.
“You need subscribers to move you to Gmail’s Primary tab”
Gmail introduced ‘Tabs’ 4 years ago, and some brands are pretty bummed out still that their emails are ending up in other places and not the Primary Tab so they’re attempting to manipulate Google into changing the placement. Chad said back in 2013,
“By asking subscribers to move your email from the Promotional to the Primary tab, you’re essentially closing your store at the mall and deploying door-to-door salesmen that interrupt your subscribers’ conversations with their friends and loved ones. You’ll surely be more visible, but also probably more intrusive and ultimately less welcome.”
“Emails need to look the same across all email clients”
Brands need consistency but when it comes to email this is no longer the biggest concern. The smarter strategy to take with email is to provide an enhanced experience in email clients where they’re supported and use fall-backs to provide a consistent, minimally acceptable subscriber experience. Responsive design is a good example of that, with desktop and mobile users being given different experiences.
5 Steps to Start Converting Opt In Email Lists into Customers
So you’ve got your email lists and now you’re wondering how you can turn those interested subscribers into paying customers. Well dont’ fear because Chanelle Smith has written up 5 steps that are a pretty good start. As she says, “there’s no point in building an email list to let it gather dust”, and she recommends that you start using your list for marketing as soon as you’ve hit your subscriber goal. Incidentally, hitting the goal is the first step.
Chanelle recommends setting a goal for a certain date to keep you on track. She reiterates the ever important case of your subscriber goals being SMART:
Specific: Your goal could be to reach X email subscribers or to increase your current subscriber number by Y%. Either way works as long as you’re specific.
Measurable: Since we’re talking numbers here, measuring your goal is simple. (Less concrete goals like “reach financial freedom” are where this step is especially important to suss out.)
Actionable: Lay out concrete steps you will take to reach your goal. Will you add an opt-in popup to your website? Take out a Facebook ad? Spend one hour a day on advertising?
Realistic: Use current analytics from your website and social media to set your goal subscriber number. For example, if your web traffic is along the lines of 40K pageviews per month, a goal of 100K email subscribers isn’t very realistic.
Time-based: Whether it’s to add a specific number of subscribers per week for the next year, or to reach your big subscriber goal in six months, ensure your goal has a time frame associated with it.
She adds that setting small milestones along the way to your bigger goal will make the task more manageable and will bring a sense of satisfaction, giving you the productivity you need. She then goes onto steps 2-5 (which we won’t give away too much of.) Smith talks about developing lead magnets, tips on crafting engaging welcome emails, planning and scheduling drip campaigns, and even sending newsletters. It’s an informative, actionable piece so check out ‘5 Steps to Start Converting Opt In Email Lists’ when you next get the chance.
Digital Marketing News
AdBlocking Levels Have “Stabilised”
It’s nice to have some good news when it comes to ad blockers, right? According to the Internet Advertising Bureau UK’s Ad Blocking Report by YouGov, the proportion of British adults online that are currently using ad blocking software has remained steady (at about 22%) for the last year.
The IAB UK’s CEO Jon Mew had a few things to say:
“The continued rise in ad blocking that some predicted simply hasn’t materialised…A key reason is publishers denying access to content to ad blockers which, in effect, has created that ‘lightbulb’ moment for people who realise that they cannot access free content without seeing the advertising that funds it. The industry has worked hard on promoting this ‘value exchange’ and it’s paying off.”
The publisher Piers North who is the strategy director at Trinity Mirror said,
“Like all publishers, we’ll continue our attempts to balance the often competing requirements of what brands and agencies value, with the experience that we would want to deliver for our users in order to invest in professional content. This is especially important in an era where advertisers are increasingly demanding quality inventory and society is more and more concerned with the provenance of content and news.”
Twenty-one percent of people who originally downloaded ad blockers don’t currently use them. The biggest reason that people switch them off (apart from 24% of them switching to another device) is because some websites tell them they can’t access the content unless they turn the ad blocker off. Forbes is an example of this. Some websites depend on advertiser revenue and they’re mostly transparent about asking you to switch off the ad blocker. Twenty-four percent of people have disabled the ad blocker for this reason.
Mew also suggests that “Despite the stall in ad blocking, it’s vital the industry doesn’t take its foot off the pedal in working to provide people with a better, lighter and more considerate online advertising experience which will discourage them from blocking ads altogether.”
B2B Content Marketers Struggling with SEO
80% of content marketers claims that increasing their company’s online visibility is their primary content marketing goal. A recent study has suggested that for the best results, B2B marketers should reconsider the overuse of infographics and focus more on quality over quantity. The study has suggested that to earn yourself a spot on the first page of Google, content needs to be ten times better than what you’ll find in search today.
The study was an exploration of the different types of content businesses produce in order to support brand awareness, lead generation and SEO. Companies that focus on brand awareness tend to create infographics (19%) and product reviews (18%) while those that focused on lead generation and SEO were more likely to produce original data and research (21%) and infographics (14%). Almost all of the content marketers questioned in the study want to improve their company’s content such as optimising the content across multiple devices (26%) and creating more original content (24%).
The justification behind the idea that content marketers should stop producing as many infographics as content comes from the concept that content which earns social shares is typically formatted for entertainment – quizzes, videos etc.. Whilst content that gets earned media and links is more informative – original research or opinion-forming journalism. Rand Fishkin, founder at Moz says “The age of infographics is dying, and most of them are quite bad,” he continues “The ones that have success do so in a slightly manipulative way. The embed gets linked back with very particular anchor texts that take advantage of search algorithms.”
Is eCommerce Packaging Sustainable?
eCommerce is booming, and with billions of online orders being fulfilled each and every day, we have to ask ourselves: is eCommerce packaging sustainable? A new whitepaper released by environmental and policy packaging group Ameripen brings clarity to the grey area of sustainability in eCommerce compared to traditional retail. The free “Optimising Packaging for an eCommerce World” paper outlines the unique sustainability challenges for packaging.
“[O]ptimizing packaging for ecommerce may very well look different than design for traditional retail, due to the different demands of the respective distribution chains… Opportunities to invest in further development of the packaging supply chain for e-commerce and subsequently omni-commerce scan the breadth of distribution channel and solutions will come only through industry collaboration and transparency.”
In an interview with Packaging Digest, the authors of the paper Kyla Fisher and Bob Lilienfeld were asked if they would say that direct-to-consumer distribution is more wasteful from an environmental perspective than typical retail distribution. Lilienfeld responded, “We found conflicting studies that pointed in either direction—depending on who did the research, where they stood in the value chain and/or distribution channel, what products were evaluated and what consumer behaviours were measured. There are simply too many variables to create an all-encompassing life-cycle analysis (LCA). And frankly, when the differences by product, application, distance, weight and cost are factored in, the answer is going to be, “it depends.”
When asked if it was brand owners or the fulfilment house who should be worrying about the sustainability of eCommerce packaging, Lilienfeld said,
“Both. Consumers don’t necessarily differentiate between the retailer or the brand. We know consumers believe that packaging is reflective of company’s sustainability commitment, so brands and retailers both need to ensure their packaging demonstrates this commitment.”
He makes a good point. Consumers don’t make the differentiation between a brand and a retailer at times, so it should well be a collective responsibility to reflect environmental consciousness within a retailer and the brands that it supplies.
So you might be wondering, if there are all these different variables in terms of sustainability in eCommerce packaging, how can brands or retailers come up with a ‘best practice’ to improve? According to Fisher, there’s still a way: “Multiple products in a shipment are referred to as “the basket.” Some suppliers use this approach to ensure that they minimise shipping costs by incentivising the purchase of multiple items — similar to “upselling.” Yet as it relates to addressing “basket” orders, a challenge that needs to be explored is how to work with the “hub-and-spoke” model. If I order a basket of three goods, but they’re stored in three different fulfilment centres, the ability to collectively ship is not available. This frustrates consumers who don’t see that logistical challenge. Evaluating better how companies that develop basket incentives are addressing this might uncover some best practices for further exploration.” This issue is definitely food for thought.
Social Media Marketing
“It’s Time to Take Social Media Seriously”
Melina Jacovou attended The Drum’s Predictions Breakfast and was interested to hear how 2017 is going to be the year that social media marketing finally gets taken seriously. She witnessed some ‘fantastic presentations’ on the use of social data and about how ‘a complex ecosystem of tools has evolved the discipline’.
She goes on to explain,
“The biggest area of growth seems to be around influencer marketing with the smart money moving from celebs to micro influencers as the centre of this world. And of course tech and agencies are growing up around this sector as well. We really are seeing a lot of growth in the requirement for staffing in this market already in 2017.”
Commenting on the dire state of organic reach, she noted that organic reach and its effectiveness will, “continue to diminish, and most brands are increasingly having to pay to deliver the strongest results.” Even the posts that do well organically need funding as well – after all, who is going to produce this on par content? It becomes clearer that brands need to start putting the social channels more at the heart of marketing, but it’s also more apparent that greater effort has to be made in its implementation, which requires the input of real experts. But you get what you pay for.
Social media salaries are below the average marketing salaries at all levels according to the 7th edition of the Propel Digital Salary and Industry Insights Report. This suggests that businesses just aren’t yet convinced of the effect social media marketing could have. The average mid-level social media salary comes in at £35,583 and if you compare that to the £40,296 salary general marketers are getting and with email marketers receiving £38,688 a year, social media marketers aren’t receiving a very good deal. If you’re wondering, the same pattern exists in junior level roles. The average social salary is £24,379 and a general marketing role is £27,376.
Brands will simply need to invest more in social if they want to see the desired results they’re expecting. Not everyone has the ability to navigate the constantly shifting social media environment so employing an experienced social media marketer could benefit brands greatly. If they’re not willing to invest in the channels with the most potential, how can they move forward with their campaign efforts?