Archive for August, 2013

4 Ways to Engage Your Email Marketing Subscribers

Thursday, August 8th, 2013

It’s great to have a substantial subscriber base for your email marketing campaigns, but how many of those people are actually reading and responding to your messages? List building is important, but it’s even more vital to engage your subscribers.

If your email marketing ROI isn’t meeting expectations, here are some ideas for getting more of your subscribers to bypass the delete button and connect with your messaging.

Deliver great content

While this seems like a given, there are many reasons your email marketing might not contain the best possible content. You may be focusing on quantity over quality to meet a schedule, or perhaps you’re pressed for time and rushing to put an email together.

To make the most of your marketing lists, you need to put out great content, every time. Your entire message, from the subject line to the closing statement, should be carefully considered for maximum impact.

If you always seem to run out of time to work on your content, consider scheduling a dedicated block each month to put together all of your email marketing materials, or hiring a freelance copywriter to write the content, so you can just plug it in and send it out.

Segment your list

There are quite a few benefits to segmenting your email lists. In addition to lower unsubscribe rates, you’ll usually see higher open and click-through rates, and more conversions, when you target your subscribers more precisely.

To segment your list, you can use existing customer data that you’ve already collected, or simply ask subscribers to provide demographic data at various points, such as during the subscription process or by sending a special “get to know you” mailing.

Make an offer they can’t refuse

This doesn’t mean you should threaten your subscribers. However, exclusive offers can generate a lot of interest—and dramatic exclusive offers will get your subscribers to sit up and take notice.

If your list response has been lagging, consider shaking things up by sending out an offer for subscribers only that beats out any discounts or deals you’ve offered previously. Make your 10 percent discount a one-time 50 percent discount. Give a great free gift with purchases, like an Amazon gift certificate or dinner-and-a-movie gift card. Surprise your subscribers by proving that their business is important to you.

Get interactive

Most people are happy to talk about themselves. Use that idea with your email marketing list—invite your subscribers to share personal stories, and create a way to showcase them for the rest of your list.

For example, a company in the pet industry might ask email subscribers to send in photos of their pets, and then post them on a dedicated website or social media page. If you ask for personal stories related to your business, you can start sharing one or two stories in each future mailing. There are endless interactive possibilities.

How will you engage your email subscribers?

Yahoo Trouble: Why This Search Engine Has Not Taken Off As Planned

Sunday, August 4th, 2013

For those who can remember the early days of the Internet, mainly the 1990s, there was a different class of leaders when it came to activity on the World Wide Web. Online enthusiasts were greeted in their email inbox by AOL’s iconic “You’ve Got Mail,” and television commercials touted search leader Yahoo! with men on mountain tops shouting “YAHOOOOO!.”

Those days seem like a distant memory for both of these companies, but Yahoo’s fall from grace has been much more staggering than that of AOL. There was a time and place when Yahoo was the most visited page on the web, an achievement made possible by the company’s vision and early adoption of the move from newspapers to online news. So what happened and why is the new CEO, Marissa Mayer, a constant topic of conversation?

Lack of Vision

As mentioned, Yahoo dominated the early days of the Internet in terms of traffic, because the company was at the forefront of the shift in news reporting and readership. As print newspaper began to decline, Yahoo was there with full online reporting and easy reading for millions. However, that same vision was not able to see or accept the next shift in web browsing.

While millions of web surfers still access the Internet from in-home providers like www.satelliteinternetdeal.com/, an ever-increasing percentage of the population is accessing content from across the web on smartphones and tablets. Mobile devices, and social media, are changing the way web browsers access, view, and interact across the web.

Rather than adapt again, embrace the mobile culture, and move toward greater integration with social media, Yahoo chose to dig in its heels and keep cranking out the same style of content it had for years. This lack of vision and an unwillingness to change led to a rapid downfall.

Turnaround Efforts

When it became apparent that Yahoo’s downfall couldn’t be reversed, much less leveled off, the company went through about 18 months of tumultuous transitions and overhauls. In late 2011, CEO Carol Bartz was fired and replaced by former PayPal CEO Scott Thompson. Board leadership was overhauled, attempts to embrace the mobile culture were made, but none of it seemed to make a difference.

At the heart of the problem was Yahoo’s inability to attract ever important online advertising dollars. Google’s AdWords machine is the epitome of success in today’s search world. AdWords generates billions of dollars in revenue for Google each year and attracts an equal number of visitors to its website.

The real turnaround may not have really begun until June 2012 when a young, savvy businesswoman was plucked from Google headquarters to lead the charge at Yahoo. Marissa Mayer, a former executive at Google, was hired as CEO of Yahoo—and after a year in charge, has had quite the impact on Yahoo. But her tenure has not been without controversy.

Enter Marissa Mayer

Mayer had been an instrumental player in the growth, expansion, and dominance of Google during the early 21st century and the expectation was that she’d be able to raise Yahoo from the dead. From the moment she arrived on the scene, however, she was embroiled in a controversy of a personal nature.

Upon her arrival at Yahoo, it was simultaneously announced that Mayer was pregnant. Almost immediately, critics and supporters lit up blogs across the web, either singing her praises or denouncing her. From that point on, her every move was subject to scrutiny, including:

  • Her decision to take two weeks of maternity leave and then return to work, leading many to question to her work/life priorities
  • She built a nursery next to her office at work, while also ending Yahoo’s telecommuting  policy for employees, bringing further scrutiny of her priorities
  • The expansion of maternity leave to 16 weeks and paternity leave to eight weeks brought mostly praise
  • An expansive acquisition program that many labeled as destructive to employee morale

Her personal life choices aside, Mayer has led a major overhaul of Yahoo’s business approach, with some 20 acquisitions during her one-year tenure. The latest and largest was Yahoo’s acquisition of Tumblr for $1.1 billion in June. While many of Yahoo’s acquisitions of have been mobile-oriented purchases, none have yet had the impact of reversing Yahoo’s fortunes.

In the end, Mayer’s moves have been the sort of aggressive approach Yahoo needs if it’s going to recover from a nearly decade-long free-fall. Most critics have had positive views of Yahoo’s acquisitions to date, but more needs to be done to reverse the company’s fortunes in full. At some point, in order to overcome or even make a dent in Google’s dominance, the company must address its woeful value in the eyes of advertisers.

This guest post is from Ryan Hugo, a business analyst. He frequently shares his insights about the tech industry on business blogs.