Patience, planning, and time are crucial elements of building an effective digital display ad campaign. According to data compiled by Invesp, the average person is served over 1,700 banner ads per month. Can you guess how many we view? Only half of them! With that many banner ads served, how can we know if ours ads are in the half that gets viewed? While there is no way of knowing for sure, we can take actions to optimize our campaigns to reach our intended audience. Let’s look at 5 important questions to guide you through planning a winning display ad campaign:
1. What is the main objective of your campaign?
Getting real clear on what you want to achieve through your campaign will help you to build a solid foundation for it. This is essential for creating a winning campaign. You want to create and set SMART campaign objectives. SMART objectives are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely to keep your goals quantitative and on track.
2. Who is your target customer and what resonates with them?
Reports show we reach our intended audience 44% of the time overall. Considering this is less than 50%, understanding who your audience is and their behaviors and habits is crucial to your campaign. We need to know not only who they are, but where they live, age and gender. The more we know about our target customer, the better we’ll be able to communicate with them. Are you trying to reach the C-suite in the northeast or homeowners in the northwest? Honing in on your audience and determining your personas will help you make intelligent choices in your messaging and understand how your service or product can benefit them.
3. What are your target placements?
Defining your overall goal and target audience will, in large, determine your traffic sources. For example, if you want to make a cardiologist’s lives easier, your banner ads would probably do well on medical association websites and an forums specific to physicians in the field of cardiology. You may also want to consider reaching the broader and more general population of your audience by utilizing Google, Bing or Yahoo. And then let’s not forget the social channels like Facebook, that reaches groups amid its one billion users.
4. What makes you stand out from the competition?
Understanding who your competitors are and what they are doing in the market will take you one step ahead in the sea of online campaigns. First, determine who they are. Then, consider what types of online marketing they are engaged in, look at campaigns they’ve done in the past and whether they were successful or not. Look at their customers and determine how you can differentiate yourself from your competitors - what benefits can you provide that competitors can’t, where do you add value and allow the customer to see solutions they didn’t know were possible?
5. What is your budget?
With most of your planning process complete at this point, you may already have a number in your head before you think about the specifics of your digital ad campaign. Once you have the details of your campaign, your budget will be based on your overall goals (i.e. target audience, target sites, etc.). Go back through to allot and prioritize your budget based on where you’ll get the most exposure of your target audience.
Ask yourself these questions and you’ll be well on your way to producing an online campaign that will benefit your customers and your bottom line. What will your winning campaign be?
In the game of email marketing, quantity and quality are often at odds. Advertisers want to grow email reach and affiliates want to grow commissions—so deliverable addresses are at a premium. At the same time, brands don’t want to be seen as “that company” (the one sending unwanted messages). And affiliates don’t want to risk their partnerships or their paychecks by generating massive amounts of email opt outs every month—so connecting with the right people is also crucial.
The following tips will help your brand and your affiliates promote quantity and quality within email lists. Here’s the scoop:
Be Honest with Opt In Mechanisms
What’s the best way to minimize email opt outs? Start by being supremely honest in how you attract and compel new subscribers to join your mailing lists. Prospects should know exactly what they can expect to receive after offering up their email address.
Here are two examples from the super-sleek cleaning brand, method (methodhome.com). Instead of just baiting visitors with a purchase discount, method clearly explains that entering an email address will also be a sign-up for the brand newsletter. They go on to list some typical content features in the newsletter, so visitors can decide if the exchange is worthwhile. In the second example, the email sign-up field offers even more newsletter content information: limited edition products, special coupons, green news, and more.
Without these descriptors, subscribers might think they were signing up for discount codes only. Receiving a newsletter about product information or environmental news might frustrate them, lead to an immediate opt out, or even a SPAM complaint.
Provide Proven Content
Sharing high-quality, highly relevant content with your subscribers isn’t hard. But it does take practice, and a willingness to listen (i.e. test). Every company—from Bloomingdales to Bill’s Dog Grooming—has access to email management tools that can conduct split-test emails and segment lists, while monitoring open rates and click-throughs, etc. (And if you don’t, we know a great email service provider you should check out.) There’s no reason to guess anymore.
You can take note of what has worked in the past based on recipients’ post-email behaviors or purchase histories. You can test different content formats, lengths, components, CTAs, etc. Stay tuned for a future blog post on all the various ways to test and optimize your email content…
Offer Email Preference Options
“It’s not you; it’s your constant interruptions,” said 90 percent of email opt outs…
These are your customers, and they’re telling you something important. More often than not, unsubscribes are the result of too frequent emails, or content that isn’t targeted enough. You can help them (and keep them on your mailing lists) with some simple list management.
We all know the drill about offering email preference options, right? But are you using preferences to their full potential? See how Old Navy creates the perfect balance between an accessible opt-out mechanism and additional choices that make subscribing more palatable.
Survey Your Unsubscribes
Besides their frequency and irrelevance, your emails may be frustrating subscribers in other ways. You won’t know unless you ask. So try adding a brief question to your email opt-out page, something like this example from Ann Taylor:
For even more detailed insights, add an open field where opt outs can enter their own comments.
One quick word of warning: let recipients complete your opt-out survey (or choose not to complete it) on the same page as your unsubscribe mechanism. Do not email survey questions separately, or position your survey as an extra layer between requesting an opt out and submitting the request. This sounds like a no-brainer, but some brands are still getting it wrong.
Accept that Some Email Opt Outs Are Necessary
They say that if you love something, you should let it go… and see if it comes back again. It makes good business sense to treat email subscribers the same way. People who don’t want to be on your email list are dead weight, at best; they’re potential SPAM complaints, at worst.
You should always provide email preference options (alternatives to opting out, as per the advice above), but when subscribers actually say “no thanks,” let them go without a fight. Don’t require passwords to complete the opt-out process. Don’t send unsubscribe confirmation emails. Mainly, don’t be clingy. That way, you’ll preserve the overall relationship and improve your chances of engaging with them across other sales channels.
Most important: don’t forget to track and manage opt outs—from all email campaigns—as accurately and efficiently as possible. We’re always here to help if you have questions on that front. See how our opt-out management platform works.
This article was originally published on UnsubCentral.
In the grand list of email marketing KPIs, deliverability - or inbox placement - is one of the fundamentals. To improve any of your other metrics - sales, conversions, clicks, opens - your message first has to land inside the subscriber’s inbox. To improve your inbox placement, follow these five best practices for managing your database:
1. Use subaccounts for email list segmentation
I have yet to meet an email marketing professional who is served well by sending all subscribers the same message. We all segment email lists to a certain degree and keeping our email list clean is an art (and a science!) in and of itself. Many email marketers use subaccounts to manage different segments of their business. For example, an email marketing consultant may set up a subaccount for each client. A clientside email marketer may use subaccounts for transactional emails vs marketing messages. By using subaccounts for segmenting clients, business units, or mail streams, you can offer a different email marketing strategy to each subaccount. Personalizing your sending cadence, subject line and preview text strategy, sending domains, and other elements makes your messages more relevant to your subscribers and thus improves your reputation and deliverability.
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2. Use microsegmentation for higher placement in inboxes
There are many ways to slice your email database for better segmentation and improved deliverability. Consider segmenting by demographics (location, age, gender, education level), persona, or company information (for B2B email marketers). Or, you could segment by activity like past purchases, buying frequency, or content types that have interested your subscribers in the past. Doing so enables you to deliver the right message at the right time to the right person and leads to trust-building and loyal engagement.
3. Optimize ESP management
Often, inbox placement can be improved by optimizing IP routing. In other words, send messages to your most engaged users with the IPs with which you want to build credibility and create the best sender reputation. One surefire way to improve inbox placement overall is to match audience engagement with the chosen SMTP/ESP IP. You may find a need to switch ESPs or simply employ multiple ESP/SMTPs for maximum deliverability.
4. Learn by tracking unsubscribes
In a previous post, we explored how unsubscribes are not to be feared because they have value that email marketers sometimes neglect. One benefit to having a very clear unsubscribe option is that it limits spam reports. When users who do not want to receive your messages unsub instead of marking as spam, your reputation remains intact and deliverability is not affected. Moreover, it has recently been proven that having more active subscribers improves inbox placement. Keeping only engaged subscribers on the list means you will inbox more messages. Thinking of your unsubscribe funnel as a journey will help you optimize it to better serve your users and help them customize their options to best serve them so that they remain engaged with your mailings.
5. Implement DMARC Authentication
Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting & Conformance (DMARC) is an Internet standard authentication technology designed to ensure that senders are verified and authentic, thus diminishing inbox penetration for fraudsters. For example, using DMARC authentication, a receiving provider like Gmail can assure its users that that an email received from Ebay did indeed come from Ebay.com By implementing DMARC Authentication on your sending domain, you maintain a “gold standard” of authentic email marketing - in turn, the receiving ISP knows that your messages are protected by SPF (Sender Policy Framework) and/or DKIM (DomainKeys Identified Mail) standards. This gives them the assurance that your emails are authentic, thus greatly increasing their ranking and reputation for inbox placement.
The Steps Toward Deliverability
Recognizing the importance of improving inbox placement is an important first step. Following best practices like email list segmentation, DMARC authentication, and all those listed above is the journey you need to follow to ensure your messages are inboxed so that they can be opened, clicked, converted, and sold!