How to Create an Effective Email Marketing Strategy

How to Create an Effective Email Marketing Strategy

Did you know that there are over 144 billion emails sent every day? That means that your target consumer’s inbox is filled with hundreds, if not thousands, of creative subject lines, limited offer discounts and well-researched content. How you differentiate yourself is the difference between conversion and drowning among the unopened emails.

 Effective Email Marketing Starts With The Right Strategy

To help you create an effective email marketing strategy, here are some tips that will help you consistently stand out and build a strong relationship with your customers.

Customization is key.

Despite knowing deep down that these emails are sent to a lot of people, no one wants to be reminded that they’re just a part of a list. Make it as personal as possible to establish rapport and really hook the reader. Send them birthday emails with special discounts or thank them after a year of subscribing to your mailing list. Whatever it is, make them feel special because that is what makes a brand’s email strategy memorable.

Think about the subject line.

Too many companies focus solely on an email’s content because the enclosed landing page is what converts a subscriber to a customer. However, before they even get to that point, they need to be interested enough to open the email. Your subject line is what prompts them to check the email it, so spend the time to research what grabs your audience’s interest and what resonates with them.

Email marketing experts agree that you can only go two ways with a strategic subject line. Either you keep it short to boost your open rate or you come up with something longer and more specific to increase the response rate. Make sure you stay away from 60 to 70 characters because this is what experts call a dead zone — too long to be interesting and too short to be specific.

Cater to the mobile audience.

Did you know that nearly half of the total emails sent in a day are opened on a mobile phone? That means if you have text or graphics that are only aesthetically pleasing on a desktop, you might be losing half of the subscribers you could convert.

There are a lot of easy fixes you can do to make sure that your emails are mobile phone-friendly, like switching to a one column template, check the pixels of the images you’re using, enlarge the font size or make the call to action easier to spot.

With these tips, you’ll be on your way to expert email marketing in no time!  What’s your favorite email marketing tip?  Let us know in the comments below!

Sources:

[PDF Download] DigitalMarketer’s 101 Best Email Subject Lines of 2016 (…and 5 free tools you can use to amplify your email marketing!)

Tools from Google You’ll Want to Know About

Tools from Google You’ll Want to Know About

Google has taken great leaps since it first started in someone’s garage. Now, it’s a multibillion-dollar business that has taken over the internet. As a brand, Google’s goal is to organize the information available globally, allowing the average Joe easy access to it.

These Useful Google Tools Are a Must-Try for Everyone

To do that, the company has developed multiple programs to cater to a person’s every need, from emails and search engines to calendars and maps. It’s a powerhouse. Google has even kept a close eye on innovative tech start-ups that have created applications they can further integrate with the system. To give you an insight on just diverse Google has become, here are some of its most widely used and most useful Google tools.

Gmail

Perhaps it’s most popular tool is its email service. It was first introduced in 2004. Since then, it has become the email of choice for the global majority. This product was initially tested within the company, then a few small populations.  Years later, it was made accessible to the public.

What was distinct about Gmail when it was released was the multiple options that you can arrange your email by. Now, it seems like a no brainer, but that was Google’s innovation. If you’d notice, Gmail constantly makes changes that allow the user to customize the organization of his emails.

Google Calendar

A lifesaver for busy people, the Google Calendar was first released in 2006. This tool is free and very handy if you manage multiple projects. It syncs to any device you use, allows you to share schedules with your team, your partner or your friends. It makes planning so much easier and faster to monitor. You can open a few calendars, compare schedules and avoid conflicts.

Think with Google 

Think with Google is a tool where Google provides data insights into digital marketing.  It provides an “inside look” at the latest Google data.  They market this tool as “a resource for everything from high-level insights to compelling stats and useful tips.” 

 Test My Site 

Google allows you to test your website with their test tools!  This is a part of Think with Google, and allows you to test the mobile speed of your website-   Simply visit https://testmysite.thinkwithgoogle.com, and enter your website.  Google will analyze your site, then test it on an average mobile connection to see how fast it loads.  This is a valuable tool since mobile use is swiftly rising.  You can also get a report with all of the information you need to speed up your site.

What’s your favorite Google tool?  Let us know in the comments below! 

SEM Competitive Analysis Tools

SEM Competitive Analysis Tools

If you are going to properly take advantage of paid search advertising, you first need to know where you stand in comparison with your competition.  Knowing what your competition is doing can help you create your full ad campaign and utilize methods that will help you become a top competitor.  In order to get the best information, here are some SEM competitive analysis tools.

Use These Tools for SEM Competitive Analysis

Semrush

semrush

Semrush has a number of competitive analysis tools that can help you understand where you stand among your competitors.  The Keyword Magic tool will show you the SERP for each keyword, how your competitor is ranking for that keyword, and even let you group keywords into niches.  Domain Overview will give you more of a general analysis of a specific domain, and the Backlinks Comparison tool will allow you to compare backlinks of up to five different domains.  From here, you can begin to develop your SEO strategy. 

Semrush is a professional tool and ranges from $99.95-$399.95 monthly.

SpyFu Adwords Advisor Report

spyfu

SpyFu has a number of tools, but for these purposes, we’re focusing on the Spyfu Adwords Advisor Report.  This PPC report will give you recommendations on what keywords you should be buying and suggestions on what ad copy is working for your competitors.  They’ll even give you a recommendation on how strongly they advise certain campaigns.  This report is a great start if you’re looking to invest in paid search ads, and just one of the many tools SpyFu has to offer.  

SpyFu offers a number of monthly plans, ranging from $39-$299/month, with additional discounts for paying annually.

Cognitive SEO

cognitiveseo

Reports in CognitiveSEO make comparative analysis quick and easy.  You enter the URL, specify if you want to limit sitewide links, and click “Start”.  You can compare metrics, anchor text, deep link ratio, and link data.  The site has tools to compare backlinks, penalties, and other necessary information to start your SEO strategy. 

Pricing ranges from $99 per month to $999 per month.

Screaming Frog SEO Spider

screaming frog

This tool is a website crawler.  It basically allows you to crawl websites and find different elements of the site, therefore allowing you to conduct an analysis. 

This tool offers a free version and an annual version for a reasonable annual fee.

If you’re ready to start delving into the logistics of what makes your competition rank above or comparatively to you, these tools will help you get there.  Which tool will you try first?  Let us know in the comments below!

Mobile Website Testing Tools

Mobile Website Testing Tools

Around the world, there are approximately 1.2 billion people who spend more time on their phone than any other device. In the US alone, 25% of people who access the internet only do so from their mobile phones. What that means for brands that wish to reach out to this consumer base is that they have to make their mobile website design functional and aesthetically pleasing for the small screens on mobile phones.

Use These Tools to Test Your Mobile Website Design

As easy as that sounds, streamlining your website design can pose a lot of challenges. To help you better assess whether your site is mobile phone-friendly or not, here are a few testing tools you can try.

  • Gomez

Gomez is a comprehensive way to test your website for mobile readiness. It uses 30 different criteria, all of which are established and foolproof, to test your site. After that, Gomez will rate your app from 1 to 5, depending on how it fared on those standards. Not only are the results itself helpful and accurate, the site also offers tips and strategies on how you can make your website more mobile phone friendly.

  • MobiReady

If you think Gomez is comprehensive, this is even more extensive in its rating process. All you have to do to use this online testing tool is to provide the address of your site, and it will perform different tests on it. These include page, markup and site tests. Once that’s done, MobiReady will show you an elaborate assessment of your site. 

  • Responsinator

If you want a straightforward way to check your site on a mobile device, you should try Responsinator. All you have to do is go to their site, type your site’s URL, and wait for the live previews. The site will quickly resize your site and show you how it would appear on a variety of different screens. It doesn’t have fancy rubrics to test the other parts of your site, like the features or speed, but it’s great when you want to adjust the resolution and general aesthetic of the site for mobile users.

  • W3C mobileOK Checker

Like the previous two, W3C mobileOK Checker also tests the efficiency of your website on a mobile device using a set of standards. It uses the results to gauge the level of compatibility of your site in terms function, aesthetics and so on.

  • BrowserStack

Unlike the other mobile website testing tools available, BrowserStack doesn’t just provide you with screenshots of how your site would look on a mobile phone. Instead, it offers you the opportunity to fully interact with the web pages on different test devices. This is a great tool to fill in any gaps you may not have seen when you tested your site on other tools because you get the full experience actually accessing and using your site.

 Sources:

https://www.browserstack.com/

 

Potential Issues with Mobile First Design

Potential Issues with Mobile First Design

Companies strive to design their content based on which medium their users view their site on the most. As the world shifted from personal computers to laptops, then mobile phones, a mobile first design strategy was born. That means that sites and apps are designed for the smallest screen first, then they work their way up.

Watch for These Limitations if you Opt for a Mobile-First Design Strategy

The premise for this design is straightforward. Design for the mobile device first because of the multiplicity of use and level of difficulty. See, the smaller the screen, the less people will work with a complicated navigation system, so you ne8ed to really streamline your design. That’s one of the biggest challenges of the mobile first design. You can only put th8e essential content and functions into your design, so it does not seem crowded and less user-friendly.

This can become an issue because, while a mobile friendly design is a search engine optimization plus, so is content.  Designing the mobile site first can limit your content, meaning you have to build up the content afterward on the website to stay relevant in search engines.

Contrary to graceful degradation, which means you design with all the complexities first then gradually strip it down until you reach the smallest screen, there’s too much focus on the stripped down version of the design. Sometimes, this can limit the design process by oversimplifying.

However, it’s important to admit that a lot of web users, 25% in total, only ever use their mobile device to access the internet. That means if you have your mobile design nailed then you’re seeing the direction of new trends and staying current and relevant. The pitfall to this, however, is when designers become too fixated with their mobile design. This means that their philosophy of how to design that particular software or site has already drastically changed. While eventually, the assumption is that consumers will catch up, this is still a forward movement and it’s not yet time to ignore laptop or PC design compatibility.

A lot of people saw this when Apple redesigned iWork in 2013. The features of their laptop design were greatly reduced and altered because of their design approach. It was the same for almost every other app that redesigned around the same time. The tools and features that were usually easy to find on the laptop version were now tucked away in the most obscure of places. It’s as if the moment these sites went with the mobile first design, they forgot that when they got to the bigger screen version, they didn’t have to streamline anymore, and were, in fact, creating limitations when it came to usability.

For the 75% of users who use their laptops or desktops, the user experience has become so much more difficult. That’s not to say that there is no upside to mobile first designs. There are a lot, but going the stark opposite direction can cause problems.  Instead of mobile users having issues, it’s less user-friendly for laptop users. Somewhere between pleasing both, there must be a happy medium and designers should be conscious of the necessity of dual development while trends are still in transition.

Sources:

Mobile Fact Sheet

 

Understanding Mobile First Design

Understanding Mobile First Design

In the web design industry, there are many techniques designers use to keep up with current trends. However, there has been a common timeline of a design that most designers follow. This has all changed now with the concept of mobile first design.

When a web designer designs a web page, usually they start with the web page itself and creating the website. They base the graphics, structure, and navigation on the concept of a PC or laptop user.  Then, they convert the website into a mobile-friendly platform for mobile devices. You’ll notice that if you are on a site design platform, such as Wix or GoDaddy, this is how you usually design your own site.

Mobile First Design Changes the Rules for Web Designers

The Mobile First concept, then, is exactly what it sounds like.  Instead of designing the website and then using that website to design the mobile platform, designers focus on the mobile site first.  They then build up from the mobile site to create the internet website. This creates more focus on the mobile site and allows for a particular design that is specifically created for mobile use.

In the case of Mobile First design, designers are able to specifically choose graphics that are compatible with mobile devices.  They can also base navigation and optimize the site for mobile users so that you can easily navigate the site right from their smartphones.

There are many reasons why the mobile-first design has emerged as a strong design strategy. The emphasis on mobile accessibility to your website is an important part of your online presence. In fact, this is one of the most important elements of local SEO, and has even become a measurement of legitimacy and ranking when it comes to Google algorithms.

25% of citizens in the United States access the internet solely from their mobile device. Unless used for work, the days of a desktop or laptop or quickly dwindling. In fact, most people will use their mobile device to look up a business or restaurant in the area before they visit.

With the emergence of mobile first design, the landscape of design technique is shifting.  Staying apprised of these developments will help those in the industry and business owners to optimize their site in new ways, and stay ahead of their competition.

Sources:

A Hands-On Guide to Mobile-First Responsive Design