One Size Never Fits All: Integrating Your Technology Wisely


The below piece was written by Rob Amos, the Global Strategic Partnerships Manager for Adestra. Adestra will be exhibiting at next February’s Marketing Show North.


What does a truly connected Martech stack look like?

With increasing pressure for marketers to incorporate best-of-breed automation, personalization, and machine learning tools into their everyday strategy, the sheer volume of integration options out there can feel overwhelming.

In many ways, this presents an exciting opportunity. Rather than retrofitting your existing processes to map against the off-the-shelf MarTech provider you’ve bundled yourself into, this home-grown mass of marketing technology empowers you to integrate and interweave the closest fit to your circumstances and brand.

That’s the idea, at least. But how can you make these seemingly disparate elements work seamlessly for you?

Drawing on his 20 years’ experience in the industry, Rob will guide you through the process of integrating wisely, looking at example stacks and flows and identifying the questions you should be asking when aligning your goals to a new provider. Rob will also look at the very real risk of ‘MarTech FOMO’ (do you really need that particular integration, or are you being lured by the latest shiny penny?), and why we at Adestra believe so strongly in the value of starting with data when integrating for our clients’ needs.

Access the Adestra Webinar archive by visiting their website.

 

SPRING CLEAN YOUR DATABASE… THROUGHOUT THE YEAR

Organisation is only achieved when things in your life are tidy and maintained. Imagine an untidy car, an untidy house with all paper work and bills mixed in a draw, a mixture of children toys, money and house keys. Surely, before long things will get out of hand, bills will be overdue, things of value will get lost and you may end up having long conversation to the bank to order new bank cards. So, where does having a clean database come in and how does this benefit you?
springclean
Marketers understand the benefit of having clean and accurate data, data that is easily accessible and standardized to be used in successful marketing campaigns. With information firstly being captured incorrectly and entered with no order in a CRM system can prove costly when coming to use it. Questions will be asked “do the people still exist, are they still at the same address, how many times have they enquired and been added into the system?” A marketing campaign will just not work effectively if data isn’t clean and organised.
Direct mail campaigns, one of the most proven and successful ways to engage with your client base effectively, that is of course assuming the message will reach the targeted audience? Sending out thousands of pieces of direct mail to contacts without cleansing the data prior to a direct mail campaign, is a sure way to say good bye to any possible return on investment.
Data screening allows you to view the quality of your data but also highlight the areas where it needs to be improved. For a direct mail campaign to be effective, efforts need to be made to eliminate persons who are deceased or goneaway out of the database and ensure the addresses are standardised into a correct format. If this is not the case, your brand image is at stake by knowingly sending out mail to a party that is deceased, or paying the price for the mail to be return to you. By having a duplicate amount of records within the database will only mean the same piece of mail will be sent twice to the one person it was intended for, doubling your costs.
springclean1
Email validation is an essential tool to ensure your companies servers are protected and you’re not known as a ‘spammer’. If to many hard bounces are recorded, large email platforms will refuse to deal with your data, leaving you to take a massive risk by sending the data out yourselves. By using a live address validation tool will accurately test the email mailboxes to give a view whether the email address is live or not. By doing so will save both time and money by protecting yourself and keeping your brand image intact.
Not only direct mail and email campaigns can benefit from data cleansing, imagine a call centre calling incorrect numbers and deadlines all day? Not only would this be a waste of time but it would also lead to complaints if the number was not registered to the intended party. Telephone validation allows all numbers to be validated live that ensures a higher contact rate, saves operator time, more effective calling campaigns, this increases return on investment.

TOP TIPS TO IMPROVE YOUR EMAIL MARKETING CAMPAIGNS

Email Marketing is a great method of communication to keep in touch with customers, get back in touch with lapsed customers, and reach out to potential new prospects.
There are some good habits and bad habits to be aware of when planning any email campaign; here’s a top 6 checklist which might help you with your next campaign.

1. Data
So there are two things to think about concerning data. Quality and segmentation.
The quality of the data is paramount to the success of the campaign. If your message is reaching the wrong person, then you’ve just wasted a whole bunch of time and effort as no sooner does your email pop up in an inbox, than it is promptly transferred to ‘Trash’.
It is therefore extremely important to spend time on making sure your database is accurate – which includes ensuring you are targeting the right person (by demographics, interests/hobbies, are they the decision maker, and so on), the address is spelt correctly (so often we see data with ‘.co.u’ instead of ‘.co.uk’ etc), and that it is valid. Consumers may change their personal email address and staff move on within businesses. So make sure your data is clean before you do anything.

Segmenting your data is equally as important. How embarrassing would it be to send an ‘introductory’ email message to an existing customer? Or thanking a customer for their loyalty if they’ve never actually bought anything from you?

Get your data in order and increase the success of your campaign.

2. Design
It’s very tempting to ask your graphic designer to create something that will look amazing. But it’s also very easy to over-design an email. That’s not to say that you can’t or shouldn’t make an effort in producing an eye-catching and memorable email, but keep things simple. An email should comprise a clear headline/s, images and links. That’s it. Don’t try and over-complicate the layout by introducing icons, background graphics, and certainly don’t use lots of different point sizes and fonts.

Just a point on fonts actually, Arial may be boring, but it’s the safest option when building an email.

Remember, the more images used, the less a recipient on a windows computer will see before having to ‘download images’.

Email build is fiddly enough and each email client has a mind of its own, so be careful with your design and layout to avoid wasting your hard work, time and effort on them just being binned on arrival!

3. Remain Single-Minded
It’s easy to get carried away with including lots of information in one email – about you, about the industry, recent trends, staff profiles, case studies and so on. But it’s always best to be concise and not to complicate matters with lots of information for the recipient to read. Because they just won’t.

Keep the content of your email short but descriptive enough to leave the recipient wanting to know more. Remember to include links!

4. Subject Line
Another very important consideration. This your opportunity to ‘sell’ the contents of your email. You must provide a compelling reason for your recipient to spend their valuable time on opening your email.

Subject lines are also the first barrier for spam filters to ascertain whether your email is worthy of landing in an inbox, or being relegated to the Junk folder. Avoid lots of exclamation marks and the ALL CAPS key. Your subject line should be short, descriptive, relevant to your audience and relevant to the content of the email.

5. Trust the experts
There are several online email marketing platforms with tried and tested technologies to help produce successful email campaigns. They have been developed for the sole purpose of sending emails and getting through many spam filters.

Many also provide a selection of pre-built templates with a drag-and-drop type of format for a very user-friendly interface. Some offer a free package, some charge a small fortune, but most are good value depending on your own requirements.

My point here is there is no need to reinvent the wheel with bespoke systems, when there are perfectly good tools available online, produced by experts who know what they’re doing.

6. Measure – and learn!
By setting a clear objective of the email communication, you can measure more effectively and gauge your ROI.

A common mistake is to only take the open rate into consideration to monitor success. The problem with this is that you can’t tell from that figure whether the content has been read. If a recipient has a preview pane on their inbox, then the email is marked as ‘opened’ anyway.

Click throughs are really the only way to measure success of the actual email itself – because it means the content was compelling enough to require an action.

And remember remember to learn from each email send. What worked, what didn’t and incorporate that into your next send. If you received too many unsubscribes, then your data is wrong or your subject line needs work. If you are getting a good open rate but no click throughs, then that would imply the content or tone of voice needs addressing. If you got the click throughs but lots of subsequent bounces, then look at your landing page.

In summary…
Email marketing is not a fine art, but there are, like most things, good practices and bad practices. Done well, it can be a cost effective method of communication and a valuable marketing channel; done badly, and it’s a waste of time, effort and resource.
If you would like to find out more about our email marketing services, then drop us a line, getintouch@phoenixdigital.agency