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Step aside, expensive marketing tactics. There’s an affordable way to invest in your audience that pays off for your company — and your customers. Join us as we delve into email nurturing.

What is email nurturing?

Email nurturing engages potential customers with the hope of turning them into loyal customers. When a visitor performs a specific behavior on your website, it triggers an email with targeted information to nurture that relationship with your brand. Data, personas and demographics come together to segment email lists; these allow you to send relevant content that helps customers on their journeys — whether they want to learn, research or purchase — while leaving an impression. 

You can send a series of these targeted emails in a nurture stream to guide the potential customer through the buying process. Rather than just generating leads, the focus is on the follow-up with those leads. 

Like anything worthwhile, it takes time to see results with email nurturing. Show customers you’re not wasting their time by offering useful information or extras like an eBook or case study. Based on their behavior with your content, you can interact with your audience in a natural way that leads them to take further action with your business. 

The difference between email nurture and drip campaigns

Confusion is common around email nurturing and drip campaigns. To clear this up, here are some quick facts about drip campaigns:

  • A series of emails sent to a general audience at a set schedule
  • Risk coming off as salesy or annoying if the frequency is too high
  • Often sent as a series to consistently put your business name in readers’ inboxes

Email nurturing campaigns aren’t based on a set schedule.

  • Based on behavior (i.e. downloading an eBook, visiting a specific page multiple times or attending a webinar)
  • Provides educational content while encouraging engagement
  • Continually triggers emails based on past actions
The importance of email nurturing 

According to Erica Adams, Integrated Marketing Principal at VerticalResponse’s partner company Deluxe, lead nurturing is important because “it meets a prospect where they’re at in their journey and offers relevant, timely resources to help them make thoughtful decisions.” Adams goes on to say, “Today’s buyers are independent in their research and decision-making, and lead nurturing gives you the opportunity to help them and position yourself as an expert.”  

How to run effective email nurture campaigns

Creating your first, or fiftieth, email nurture campaign can feel overwhelming. We’ll break it down in six steps: 

  1. Identify how you help customers or what solutions you have to offer. Divide them into different categories. For example, a salon may separate hair color kits from products for different hair types. If a lead completes a quiz about their hair type, the salon would place them in a category that makes sense for them. The salon could empathize with its customers’ problems by sending out an email asking what they’re looking for, such as products for frizzy hair, tips to increase volume or ways to grow out hair. 
  2. Dig into your customer’s journey. Think about their behaviors, thoughts and feelings at every interaction with your company. Understanding potential pain points and roadblocks will help you nurture leads at each stage. Better yet, if you’ve got a team in sales or research, have them survey users or dig through customer reviews to see where problems arise.
  3. Gather information about your leads to help you tailor your communications. Items like forms on your website, email interactions and customer research can help. Here are some ways to divide your focus: 
  • Demographics such as job title, experience or location
  • Level of authority a lead has
  • Needs or wants
  • Engagement on social and with emails as a gauge of interest (clickthroughs, comments, shares and downloads are good ways to measure email and social engagement)
  • How likely they are to buy, based off of their behaviors, so you can get them what they need when they need it
  • Work on the emails. Users coming to you for the first time will likely enjoy videos or blog posts. Sharing helpful information and being a resource at this stage builds a trusting relationship between you and your potential customer. As they interact with your company more, use follow-up emails with products or services that can help with whatever they’ve been looking at on your site or things you think could help them. Case studies and webinars are great for this. As they move closer to a purchase decision, try product demos, free consultations or customer testimonials. Since they’ve trusted you this far, take it home by including a strong call to action (CTA) so readers know what to do next. 
  • Consider how Email Automation can help. Knowing your audience is hugely important, but you don’t have to personally write to each and every lead individually. VerticalResponse’s  helps send the right campaigns to your defined leads once they complete a certain action. You can also see who opened and clicked through your emails.
  • Measure and adjust as needed. A strong nurture campaign requires reflection and evolution as time goes on and customer needs change. 
  • Email nurture best practices

    Adams provides additional advice for your nurture streams:

    • Personalize: Make the experience unique just for them. The idea is to send the right content to the right people at the right time to build trust and provide value. Ideally, they’ll see you as a resource and continue opening your emails once you’ve proved yourself. Personalizing to their interests helps reach this objective.
    • Value customers’ time: Don’t make the mistake of emailing leads every day. They won’t have time to digest your information. They may even feel annoyed and unsubscribe.
    • Engage leads: Ask for their feedback or offer something you think they’d find value in. Try a bonus eBook for someone who has downloaded multiple eBooks or a sneak peek into a product they’ve preordered.
    Examples

    See nurturing emails in action. Use these examples as inspiration you can transfer to your business.  

    To capture attention, mattress company Casper uses witty wording and a customer testimonial to draw shoppers who’ve abandoned their carts back to the Casper website:

    Below is an example of celebrating your customer. Airbnb’s email puts itself in customers’ minds without asking readers to buy anything:

    As a bonus, here are firsthand recounts of the benefits of email nurtures:

    “It’s helped us to grow our business over the last year. I have been able to add my new customers easily, and it’s simple to create email campaigns. This is great for me because I don’t enjoy computer work. But I have my emails out to customers in no time. We have a great turn around in customers responding to what we are offering through our emails.” — Elaine Meade, Cheerful Dreams

    “The simplicity and speed of being able to create a professional looking email was much appreciated. The feedback results such as opens, clickthroughs etc. is very helpful to improve content and segmentation opportunities.” — Geoff Walker, Wycliffe

    “The big advantage to me is the ability to have sub-lists that group my members in geographic and other ways. I can easily create lead pages, email campaigns and Facebook posts. VerticalResponse has made it easy for me, a small business entrepreneur, to create professional programs, sign-up pages and email follow-ups!” — Meghan Nunes, Total Body & Lifestyle Coaching 

    Nurturing your customers doesn’t have to feel salesy, and following leads doesn’t mean you have to just “market” at customers. Find ways to connect with your customers when they need you, and you’ll be rewarded with loyal, long-term fans. 

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    © 2019, Lindsey Bakken. All rights reserved.

    The post The complete guide to running effective email nurture campaigns appeared first on VerticalResponse Blog.

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    Now you can check email stats anytime, anywhere with VerticalResponse. Our newest feature makes it easy to view campaign insights right from your smartphone, so you don’t need to be tethered to a desk or laptop to know exactly how your emails are performing. Here’s what you get with VerticalResponse’s mobile version:

    Real-time email campaign statistics on your smartphone

    Log in to VerticalResponse on your mobile browser to get a bird’s eye view of your email performance, including email opens, clicks and unsubscribes for every email you’ve sent. Understand what’s working and what isn’t, so you can improve your marketing over time and act on current trends for email marketing success.

    Past and upcoming emails

    View a list of all past emails, plus the dates and times they were sent, and see what’s coming next in your Drafts and Scheduled lists. Verify that scheduled emails were sent and keep your finger on the pulse of your email marketing campaigns.

    Quick, easy smartphone access (no downloads)

    VerticalResponse can now be accessed directly from your mobile device. It’s not an app, so there are no downloads to hassle with. Simply visit the VerticalResponse login page on your smartphone to access your email stats from home, the park, your child’s school or any other remote location.

    Value-added service and excellent support

    Mobile access is available to most VerticalResponse subscribers at no extra charge. You only need a smartphone and an active subscription to view your email campaign stats on the go! 

    Busy entrepreneurs need tools that make it easy to run their businesses. Take advantage of VerticalResponse’s mobile functionality to check email campaign stats from your smartphone, so you can gain valuable marketing insights on the go!

    Build, send and track emails that look great on any device
    VerticalResponse gives you the tools to build powerful campaigns in minutes, leaving you more time to spend with customers.

    Editor’s note: Users with VerticalResponse Classic accounts or Deluxe Marketing Suite-branded accounts will not be able to use the mobile version of VerticalResponse at this time. 

    © 2019, Brian Morris. All rights reserved.

    The post Get your email campaign stats on the go appeared first on VerticalResponse Blog.

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    Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat — the list of social media networking sites continues to grow. And once you’ve created your account on the latest social network, how do you get people to find it? Email marketing, of course! Sending an email invitation asking readers to follow your business on a social network may not seem intuitive, but it can be an effective and easy way to grow your following. Your email list is full of people interested in your business, and getting them to interact with you on social media can help build your relationship with them and keep your business top of mind.

    Crafting the perfect invite

    Before we jump into some excellent social media email invite examples, here are a few tips for creating an effective invite. Make sure the email is:

    • Informative: Let your readers know what they’re going to get or find if they do start following your business on social.
    • Easy to read: Include clickable social icons and a straightforward call to action, such as “follow us on social media,” to make it as easy as possible for your readers to connect with you. Remember to add links to all of the accounts that you use.
    • Short: Just like any invitation, you should share important information, make the copy fun and personable, and stick to the topic at hand — your social accounts. You want to keep readers focused.
    • Attention-grabbing: Include bold colors, clever copy or striking images you’ve shared on your social accounts to get your readers to take notice.
    How to increase followers with social media invite emails

    Although you’ll want to include the elements listed above in your email, there is still a lot of room to customize your invite. For inspiration, take a look at how these companies reached out to their subscribers in order to build their social following.

    EyeBuyDirect — EyeBuyDirect opens their email with “Come socialize with us” — a headline that clearly and cleverly states what the message is about. They also incentivize “the follow.” People who use their hashtags on social have a chance to win a free pair of glasses. What’s more, the email design works with the copy to encourage readers to check out their social accounts. All of their social icons are front and center. It also looks like the business is sharing user-submitted photos in the message, to showcase the types of images new followers can expect to see.

    The Class of 23 — This simple email from The Class of 23 is sent to new email subscribers, and it functions as both a welcome email and a social media invite. They have a link to their Instagram profile in the body of the email, as well as a link in the footer of the message. The email also briefly touches on the benefits of following them (followers receive daily updates on merchandise.)

    Forever 21 — You don’t have to create a formal invite to get your subscribers to engage with you on social. Rather than simply asking readers to follow them, Forever 21 sent out a promotional email that integrates their social media accounts into the offer. In the message, readers are asked to post a selfie of themselves in a Forever 21 outfit, and tag the company. When they show the post at the register, they receive 21 percent off their purchase. Not only does this email encourage readers to visit the company’s social profiles, but it also extends their reach and builds brand awareness. When customers share their Forever 21 selfies on their personal accounts, there’s a good chance that their followers will visit Forever 21’s account, and some of those people might even follow them.

    The most important thing to keep in mind when creating a social media invite is to answer the following questions: “How can I provide value to my readers and followers?” and “What’s in it for them?” Then, keep followers coming back for more with engaging posts and conversations.

    Join 140,000 small business owners
    Get expert tips and email inspiration delivered to your inbox every two weeks.

    Editor’s note: This article was originally published in 2013 and has been rewritten for accuracy and relevance.

    © 2019, Contributing Author. All rights reserved.

    The post Gain more followers with social media invite emails appeared first on VerticalResponse Blog.

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    Email marketing is one of the most effective ways to grow your business. In fact, on every dollar invested — and it’s one of the most affordable weapons in your marketing arsenal. Successful marketers know it takes careful planning to stand out in a sea of spam and convert customers. Here’s how to develop an email marketing strategy that works.

    What is an email marketing strategy?

    Your email marketing strategy is a defined process you’ll follow to leverage email for business growth. Its steps include:

    1. How you’ll earn email subscribers
    2. How subscribers will be segmented
    3. The types of emails you’ll send
    4. How you’ll weave emails into campaigns
    5. How you will produce email content
    6. How you’ll measure responses as well as test and analyze results
    7. Which software you’ll use to manage your email lists and campaigns

    Your email marketing strategy details every aspect of the process, so you can develop a winning system that reliably attracts subscribers and converts them into customers.

    How to develop an email marketing strategy

    We’ll walk through each step of the process to develop an email marketing strategy that works for your business. 

    1. Earn email subscribers

    Determine how you will convince your audience to subscribe to your email list. Ideas include:

    • Sign-up forms on your website (headers, footers, sidebars and pop-ups)
    • Gated content (you offer an informative white paper, tool, coupon or other incentive in return for an email address)
    • Social media links and forms
    • Contests and sweepstakes (both online and off)
    • Existing customers (add customers to your email list when they make a purchase, online or off)
    • Loyalty/rewards card members
    2. Segment subscribers

    You also need to consider segmenting subscribers into different lists. This makes it easy to send highly targeted emails relevant to specific customers, which in turn yields better response rates.

    For example, you might send one email to existing customers and another to subscribers who have not yet bought from you. That way you can promote complementary products to existing customers and continue to market your primary products to your other subscribers.

    ACTION STEP: Make a list of different ways you can attract subscribers. What benefit can you offer in return for their email addresses? What will motivate your target audience to subscribe and trust you? Then, make a list of different subscriber segments you might have. To segment your list, consider where customers are in the buying cycle as well as different customer interests.

    3. Types of emails

    There are many different types of emails, and it’s a good idea to send multiple types for well-rounded branding that lends a sense of community to your communications. This will also help you identify which types of emails work best with different customer segments.

    Types of emails you can send include:

    • Promotional emails. These emails market a product or service, seasonal sales, up-sells, cross-sells, discount coupons and other advertising initiatives
    • Newsletters. Not every email should be promotional. If you truly want to engage subscribers, send regular newsletters that offer useful information, helpful tips and tricks, how-to guides and problem-solving solutions
    • Thank-you emails, order confirmations and receipts. These are sent after customers make a purchase. They typically recap what was purchased, the final price and delivery information. Don’t miss this opportunity to deliver an attractive offer — customers who have just bought from you are likely to buy again
    • Shipping updates. These are sent out with tracking information for shipped packages. You can also use them to deliver a special offer to recent customers
    • Abandoned cart emails. Send these to people who have added items to their shopping carts but have not yet purchased. Deliver a discount coupon or other incentive that nudges them to complete their purchases
    • Event announcements and confirmations. If you host events such as webinars, seminars, trade shows or conferences, email is a fantastic way to boost attendance. You can also use email to promote your podcasts, videos, blogs and social media channels
    • Interactive emails. Send emails that link to interesting infographics and videos to maintain interest in your brand. Another idea: send surveys with a chance to win a prize. Surveys can help you glean valuable insight into your customers’ wants, needs and purchasing behavior
    • Referral emails. Offer subscribers an incentive to refer your business. For example, they might get a freebie or gift card for every new customer they refer
    • Contact form and support ticket responses. Automated emails let customers know you have received their requests. Add a promo in the footer or sidebar, especially once you’ve successfully resolved issues or otherwise helped your prospects and customers
    • Account and subscription confirmations. Once subscribers have opted in, follow up with a “welcome to the team” email that delivers an attractive incentive to buy
    • Unsubscribe confirmations. No matter how great your emails are, some people will unsubscribe. Respect their decision, but be sure to follow up with an unsubscribe confirmation that invites them to subscribe again any time, subscribe to a different or more relevant list, adjust the frequency of emails or take advantage of a “going away” gift

    ACTION STEP: Make a list of all the types of emails you’ll send. Jot down a goal or desired outcome for each type of email. Then, brainstorm ways to craft emails that influence those outcomes, such as strategically placed calls to action.

    In this promotional email from MeUndies, the company promotes its T-shirt benefits and ties them in with its brand image.

    4. Weaving emails into campaigns

    Some emails are triggered by one-time events. For example, order confirmation emails. Other emails are part of a series intended to motivate a specific response. For example, you might attract subscribers with an eBook. When a subscriber opts in, it triggers a series of emails delivered at a predefined frequency.

    Known as drip campaigns, these emails are created in advance and nurture leads through the buying cycle until they ultimately make a purchase. Drip campaigns are easy to set up with email autoresponder tools and offer advanced marketing automation that forks subscribers’ paths depending on their behavior.

    For example, let’s say you sell fitness equipment. You attract subscribers by offering a free workout plan eBook. These leads are entered into a sales funnel: Your software sends regular emails that feature fitness news, events, new workout ideas and products.

    Now, let’s say one of your emails includes a link to a new yoga mat you sell. People who click to learn more can automatically be sent emails that focus on the benefits of yoga mats, and specifically, what makes your yoga mat so great. Instead of getting your general email, they can now receive an email that says you noticed they were interested in your yoga mat and offer them a discount if they buy it now.

    By using marketing automation to segment subscribers in this manner, you’re able to send personalized and relevant email campaigns that yield the best conversion rates. Not only that, you can keep customers coming back and even foster long-term relationships that lead to advocacy and ambassadorship.

    ACTION STEP: Map out an email campaign funnel from start to finish. Begin with how you will attract subscribers, the types of emails you’ll send and how frequently you will send them. If you’re going to employ marketing automation, include forks to different email paths (buyer journeys) based on triggers (subscriber behavior).

    This promotional email from LuLu’s Fashion Lounge promotes a summer sale and adds a sense of urgency with its call to action.

    5. How to produce email content

    Email production will be a core component of your overall email marketing strategy. Determine your production process, so you can maintain consistency that drives results.

    Consider the tone of your emails: Will you be an authority voice, a friendly adviser, a humorous columnist or a boisterous carnival barker? Your voice is part of your branding and should persist throughout your emails.

    You also need to consider email design. Develop a style guide for email fonts, headlines, images and colors. It’s a good idea to create an email template for each type of email you send. That way it will be easy to deploy new emails quickly.

    Decide who will create your email content. You can write and design emails yourself, have your in-house staff do it or hire an agency or freelancer to create it. No matter how you create your emails, give yourself plenty of lead time so you can plan campaigns in advance. That will give you ample time to make revisions and take advantage of last-minute email marketing opportunities.

    ACTION STEP: Identify the tone, or voice, your emails will adopt. Create a style guide and email design templates. Then, identify who will produce your emails and develop a production process and timeline.

    This welcome email from Handy offers helpful information about how to get the most from its service: It promotes an app download, tells customers how to edit their bookings and promotes cross-sells to additional services.

    6. Measure email responses and analyze results

    Track email opens and clicks to determine how effective your emails are. Use software, like VerticalResponse, to create A/B tests to identify which version of a given email achieves the best results. For example, you can test two subject lines against one another to see which gets more opens. Analyze the results and apply what you learn; over time, you can optimize emails for predictable success.

    You can also track which devices subscribers use, identify which geographic areas yield the best response rates and view heat maps that show where customers click in your emails. This information will help you develop stronger emails that deliver results.

    ACTION STEP: List everything you want to track in your emails: opens, clicks, geography, subscriber devices and heat maps.

    7. Choose email marketing software

    Email marketing is a powerful strategy, but manually managing subscribers, email lists and segments is tedious, time-consuming and error prone. Manual management makes email automation impossible and tracking difficult. That’s why it’s best to use an email marketing tool that simplifies the entire process.

    For example, VerticalResponse makes it easy to create subscribe forms, add gated content, build email templates, manage and segment subscriber lists and automate marketing with autoresponder triggers. It also offers a full suite of email tracking and analysis tools, including the ability to compare metrics between multiple email lists.

    ACTION STEP: Choose email marketing software that enables you to execute your email marketing strategy efficiently.

    Examples

    You know how to develop an email marketing strategy. Now, let’s examine a few examples of email marketing in practice.

    Ecommerce examples

    Example 1: Patio furniture

    A patio furniture company wants to sell table and chair sets to its audience. The company knows its target audience likes to entertain guests, so it develops a guide to hosting the perfect patio party. It markets the guide to people who meet its audience demographics via Facebook advertising.

    Subscribers receive two emails per week: The first is a newsletter packed with outdoor entertaining and décor tips. It links to expanded articles on the company’s website. The second email is promotional: invitations to review its online catalog, plus special discounts on featured table and chair sets.

    Some subscribers buy table and chair sets and are automatically placed in a new segmented list: table and chair buyers. They continue to receive the weekly newsletters, but the promotional emails they receive are centered around complementary products, including fire pits, outdoor swings, serving trays and décor.

    Non-buyers stay in the first list until they buy or the company decides they’re not going to purchase table and chair sets and begins serving them different offers.

    This email from West Elm showcases top products to create desire, then sweetens the deal with a discount coupon.

    Example 2: Athletic apparel

    A company that sells athletic apparel wants to make a big fall push for its basketball shoes. It creates a video course to help players improve their games. They must subscribe to gain access to the course. The company already gets a lot of traffic to its blog, so that’s where it promotes the course.

    The company delivers a new instructional video via email every other day over the course of three weeks. Each email also contains a promotion for a popular basketball shoe and links to a product detail page. A time-limited coupon code is added to motivate purchases.

    Buyers and those who have completed the course are moved to a new segment that receives regular newsletters, plus promotions for other basketball-related products. One of the emails includes a survey that asks which sports they play: basketball, baseball, football, soccer, etc. Subscribers are then segmented into new lists according to their preferred sports.

    This email from Nike leads with the primary benefits of its Dri-FIT apparel and illustrates how it aids in running and training to add relevance to its audience.

    Example 3: Landscaping company

    A local landscaping company wants to earn new clients. The company creates an eBook packed with lawn beautification tips. It promotes the eBook on its Facebook page, which has a large local following, to attract subscribers.

    The company sends regular newsletters that feature more outdoor improvement tips, before-and-after photos, plus customer testimonials to promote its landscaping services. Each newsletter features a time-limited offer.

    Buyers are segmented into a referral list that encourages them to refer their friends and family members. The landscaping customer offers an annual freshen up to the referring customers plus a discount to the referred customers to sweeten the deal.

    B2B examples

    Example 1: Accounting firm

    An accounting firm wants to earn new clients. The company creates a sweepstakes in which the winner gets free tax preparation. It markets the deal on its website, social media and through partnerships with business bloggers. To enter, companies must submit their email addresses.

    The company sends subscribers tips such as which business expenses are tax-deductible and how to track mileage. The newsletters are valuable and likely to be read by subscribers, and so they work by reinforcing the idea that the accounting firm is a trusted expert that can help them.

    Their branding efforts pay off: When customers need them, the accounting firm is top-of-mind and gets the call.

    Example 2: Office supply company

    An office supply company wants to increase its weekly delivery client base. It creates a case study that details how it saves companies an average of 25 percent on its office expenses. The company promotes the case study to office managers via LinkedIn ads and articles, Facebook and on its own website. Office managers must subscribe to a newsletter to access the case study.

    The newsletter builds upon the original case study with money-saving tips for office managers. Each week, a second email is sent with discounts on top office supplies.

    Customers are segmented according to what they buy. For example, those that buy a large volume of copier paper are sent promotions for paper and complementary products such as toner.

    Conclusion

    In these examples, you can see how your business can leverage the power of email marketing to boost brand recognition, deliver relevant messages to targeted customers and ultimately yield high conversion rates. Email is one of the most affordable marketing channels, which makes it a perfect platform for every business no matter its budget. It’s easy, too, when you use automated email marketing software. Follow the tips in this guide to develop a profitable email marketing strategy that grows your business fast.

    Join 140,000 small business owners
    Get expert tips and email inspiration delivered to your inbox every two weeks.

    © 2019, Brian Morris. All rights reserved.

    The post Developing an email marketing strategy that works appeared first on VerticalResponse Blog.

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    One of the most important tools in your  toolbox is an automated welcome email. When new contacts subscribe to your list, you want to welcome them to the group with an inviting email.

    What is a welcome email?

    A welcome email is the first friendly exchange between your business and a new subscriber. It sets the tone for future communications and encourages new members to engage with your business.

    Benefits of welcome emails

    The first message you send to a new subscriber is also the first step to forming a relationship. When that initial interaction is a positive one, subscribers will be more receptive to future emails. In fact, subscribers who read welcome emails will read 40 percent more content from the sender in the next 180 days.

    A welcome message is also an excellent opportunity to make a sale. Research has shown that welcome emails have higher open rates and click-through rates than standard marketing emails.

    How to write welcome emails — with 10 great examples

    To help you create an effective welcome email, we’ve highlighted 10 effective examples. For each example, we’ll point out elements that will help you create your own killer welcome email.

    1. Write a welcoming note

    Welcome emails should begin with a warm introduction that reflects your company’s personality.

    The David’s Bridal email above features a great introductory message that thanks new subscribers for making the company part of their wedding day. You can write something straightforward and formal like, “Welcome to our email list,” or “Thanks for signing up to get our emails.” Online fashion company ASOS starts their message with a casual “Oh, hey girl! Welcome to ASOS. It’s great to meet you!” Keep in mind, there’s no right or wrong way to welcome new guests; just make sure it’s conversational and fits your company’s voice.

    2. Get to know your customers

    Consumers are more likely to respond to emails that contain offers and content that is relevant to them. You can use this first message to learn more about your customers, so you can tailor future emails to suit their needs.

    In this email from The Container Store, new subscribers are offered a 15 percent discount for filling out a customer profile.

    3. Reinforce the perks of your email list

    It’s always a good idea to reinforce a subscriber’s decision to sign up for your emails. One easy way to do that is to offer a quick “perks list,” which tells subscribers why joining your email list was a great idea. World Wildlife Fund does a great job of explaining the benefits of signing up for their emails, displaying the sign-up perks in digestible bullet points.

    4. Offer a deal

    By offering a discount or some sort of gift, you create goodwill between your business and your new subscribers. It may even entice them to make a purchase. Camp Collection offers a 15 percent discount off of your first purchase as a welcome gift. It’s a small incentive that can benefit both the company and the new customer.

    5. Create a clear call to action

    Every welcome email should have a clear call to action.

    This email is effective not only because of its clean look and promotional offer, but also because of the call to action. Notice how it stands out? The button, rather than hyperlinked text, makes it prominent. Plus, it’s urgent. The words “Book a stylist” inspire recipients to act immediately.

    6. Shine the spotlight on your product or service with eye-catching images

    As you welcome your new contacts, it’s okay to put your product or service front and center. After all, your new subscriber asked to learn more about your business or product by subscribing. Give them what they want. Use images to showcase your products like Crocs does here:

    If you’re a service-based business or nonprofit, try using compelling or emotion-evoking images that relate to your business. Spotlight a successful and happy customer, include a picture of your team or volunteers, display before and after pictures, or use clean, flat, simple graphics and complementary colors.

    7. Be mobile-friendly

    An effective welcome email has to look good — and work well — on mobile devices. According to Adobe’s Digital Publishing Report, 79 percent of smartphone owners use their device for email. The report also says smartphone users are more likely to use their device for email than for making calls. Clearly, creating a mobile-friendly version of your welcome email is important. (If you’re using VerticalResponse, all our emails are responsive, so they look great no matter what device they’re viewed on.) Check out VerticalResponse’s own welcome email below, as it appears on a tablet. The text is clear and easy to read, and the CTAs are still easy to find and click on, even on a smaller screen.

    8. Be helpful

    In your opening message, you have an excellent opportunity to link people back to pages on your site that can be helpful, like FAQs, or your blog to give them more information about your company, product or service. This information is especially crucial in the early days of your customers or prospects getting to learn more. The header in this email from Fun.com includes links back to the company’s product page, labeled by category to make it easier for subscribers to find exactly what they’re looking for.

    9. Ditch the “do not reply” receipt

    A welcome email should not be a text-based receipt that says, “Do not reply” somewhere in the message. Your message can incorporate a receipt or account information, but it should also encourage the customer to interact with the company.

    A “do not reply” email tells customers that you don’t want them to contact you. Because customer interaction can improve customer satisfaction, it doesn’t make sense to close the lines of communication.

    This email from Papier goes the extra mile and includes a support email and phone number for new customers who might have questions.

    10. Add social media buttons

    Including links to your social media sites is another key component in an effective welcome email. New contacts are curious about your business; otherwise, they wouldn’t have signed up. Fuel their engagement by sharing the social media sites your business is on. Take a look at this email below from EyeBuyDirect. Notice in the footer there are links to the company Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest pages.

    It’s always a good idea to give subscribers additional ways to get in touch with you and interact with your business.

    With these 10 examples, you’ll be able to create an effective welcome email. Check out our feature, which makes introducing yourself to new customers easier than ever.

    Join 140,000 small business owners
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    Editor’s note: This article was originally published in April 2017 and has been updated and revised.

    © 2019, Contributing Author. All rights reserved.

    The post 10 examples of highly effective welcome emails appeared first on VerticalResponse Blog.

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    Got a great business idea but not sure what to do next? Want to shore up the foundation of a business that you’ve recently launched? Have an unincorporated business that you want to formalize? Learn how to turn your idea, or your startup, into a thriving business with Startup Fundamentals.

    Entrepreneurship is rewarding, but it takes a lot of determination, planning and business knowledge to reach your dream. That’s why we packed this free eBook with expert advice, actionable tips, and real-life business stories you can identify with and learn from.

    In addition to showing how to differentiate your products or services from competitors, how to create a strong business plan and how to launch your company the smart way, you’ll learn everything you need to know about incorporating your business. There are real financial and operational risks associated with not forming an LLC or other business entity. We’ll show you how to avoid those risks, whether you’re already open for business, trying to turn your side hustle into your day job or taking the very first steps toward establishing your startup.

    Go from great idea to growing business
    • Ditch the guesswork and find out whether your big idea has legs
    • Lay the groundwork with market research and a business plan
    • Hit the ground running with funding
    • Find out which business entity is right for you
    • Get best practices and insider tips from entrepreneurs who’ve been there

    Download this free and insightful eBook today.

    Join 140,000 small business owners
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    © 2019, John Habib. All rights reserved.

    The post Startup Fundamentals: Turn your dream into a successful business appeared first on VerticalResponse Blog.

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    Life may slow down in the summertime, but that doesn’t mean your sales have to come to a screeching halt. Automating your emails is an easy, breezy way to battle the summer slump, stay connected to your customers and still have time to hit the beach.

    How Email Automation works

    With VerticalResponse’s Email Automation, you can set up an email or email series now, and then schedule the campaign to be sent out at a later date. Emails can be triggered according to criteria, such as whether or not contacts have opened or clicked a link in an email. What’s more, automated email series generate 80 percent greater sales at 33 percent less cost because they essentially run on autopilot. But before you can set it and forget it, you’ll need to decide what types of automated emails to send. What will be compelling enough to catch the attention of customers who are on vacation, enjoying warm-weather activities or entertaining out-of-school children? Read on for some inspiration.

    Inspiration for your automation 1. Tie campaigns to summer holidays 

    Father’s Day, Flag Day, July 4th, National Blueberry Day, National Relaxation Day, graduation and more can be the basis for your summer emails. Celebrate holidays with your customers by sending them festive email greetings. Connect with customers on a more personal level by sharing a meaningful story about your mom on Mother’s Day. Or, send customers a coupon for a cool treat on National Ice Cream Day to help them beat the heat.

    2. Catch attention with tips and promotions

    You can use automated emails to announce your business’s summer hours and new seasonal products, but if you really want to grab people’s attention, consider adding summer tips and promotions to the mix. Get started by putting yourself in your customers’ Espadrilles and thinking about what’s important to them in the summer months.

    Manage a pet shop? Send customers an e-newsletter full of tips on how pet owners can protect their furry friends from the high temps or choose the right pet boarding facility before their trip. Run an auto shop? Promote a pre-roadtrip brake inspection special. Own a hobby shop? Share tips on how to have a fun staycation with the family — with the help of your products of course.

    3. Give new subscribers a warm welcome

    Add some sunshine to subscribers’ lives by greeting them with an automated welcome email. Introduce your business and tell subscribers exactly what they can expect from your emails. Include a strong call to action that lets them know what to do next. Finally, consider giving them a small welcome gift, perhaps a hot summer discount on their first order.

    4. Show customers you care

    Customers prefer to do business with companies that care about them, so don’t miss the opportunity to wish them well on their special day. Fortunately, you don’t have to memorize every birthday, anniversary or personal milestone. With Email Automation, it’s a snap to send a heartfelt, custom birthday email to each and every customer. While you’re at it, why not thank customers for their business? Not only is it a nice gesture, it’s a good excuse to stay in touch and top-of-mind.

    5. Host a summer party

    If you’re planning on staying in town for the summer, why not host a summer party for your customers? People with upcoming trips on their minds might forget to RSVP, so send them at least three email reminders in the weeks leading up to your bash.

    Use Email Automation to set up your campaign. For example, you can send an invitation and then resend it to people who haven’t opened or clicked your email. Or, remind those who have opened your email but haven’t submitted their RSVP to do so before time runs out. Then all that’s left to do is fire up the grill, turn on the tunes and rock some sales at your summer party.

    Lose the summertime sales blues

    Email marketing can go a long way toward keeping your sales strong in the summertime, but that doesn’t mean you have to stay indoors, chained to your keyboard. With VerticalResponse’s Email Automation, you can send out emails to your customers while you’re taking that well-deserved vacation. So what are you waiting for? Find inspiration for sizzling summer campaigns in this article and automate your emails. Then pack your bags and prepare for some fun in the sun! 

    Join 140,000 small business owners
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    © 2019, Bella Girardi. All rights reserved.

    The post 5 ways to keep summer sales sizzling with Email Automation appeared first on VerticalResponse Blog.

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    Memorial Day is coming up May 27, and there’s no better way to grab your customers’ attention than with clever, seasonal subject lines. With the weather warming up and the long weekend ahead, now is the time to have fun, get festive and let your creative light shine. If you need inspiration, check out a few of our favorite subject lines below, along with some ideas to customize for your own promotions:

    • The Countdown to Memorial Day Sale starts now | J.Crew
    • Chill, Grill & SHOP! 50% Off ALL Dresses & Rompers! | Charlotte Russe
    • Salute-worthy savings in honor of Memorial Day | Wayfair
    • Sun’s out, sale’s (back) on | LOFT
    • Knock Knock. It’s Memorial Day Doorbusters | Michaels
    • Plan your staycation! Extra 15% off bed & bath at our Memorial Day Sale | Macy’s Home
    • We are OPEN Memorial Day Monday | Menlo Pilates & Yoga
    • Plans for Memorial Day? | Thousand Trails Campgrounds
    • Order Your Post Memorial Day Recovery Kit Now | Project Juice
    • Final Hours to Shop the Memorial Day Sale | Solid & Striped 
    • Memorial Day = Memorable Savings | Woodwind & Brasswind
    BONUS: 13 subject lines to customize for your Memorial Day email marketing campaigns
    1. A long sale for a long weekend
    2. Start saving on the unofficial start of summer
    3. Stars, stripes & savings
    4. Your 3-day weekend just got better
    5. Save and get in a summer state of mind
    6. It’s time for grillin’, chillin’ and fillin’ your shopping cart
    7. Our sale is worth relishing
    8. Big deals for your big 3-day weekend!
    9. Save 50% on these Memorial Day markdowns
    10. 3 HUGE sales for the 3-day weekend
    11. Remember the day with these sales
    12. Take an extra 27% off on May 27 
    13. Take your party outside: 30% off, this weekend only!
    Join 140,000 small business owners
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    Editor’s note: This article was originally published in May 2018 and has been updated for accuracy and relevance.

    © 2019, Contributing Author. All rights reserved.

    The post 13 subject lines to celebrate Memorial Day appeared first on VerticalResponse Blog.

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    Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and graduations can yield serious sales with the right email marketing strategy. Here’s how you can celebrate moms, dads and grads with smart emails that give your business a boost.

    Why email marketing is perfect for Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and graduation

    Email marketing is a proven way to generate more leads and increase sales. Personalized emails perform best, which is why reaching relevant audiences ahead of Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and graduation is a winning strategy. This trio of events are as personal as it gets and customers are ready to open their wallets for their moms, dads and grads. All three make the National Retail Federation’s list of top ten consumer spending events: the average American spends nearly $180 on Mother’s Day, $133 on Father’s Day and $103 on graduation.

    Whether you sell gifts, operate a restaurant or provide party supplies, you don’t need to convince customers to buy for these events — you just need to convince them to buy from you. Email marketing is one of the most effective and affordable ways to do it.

    Smart email marketing ideas for Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and graduation

    A keen understanding of your customers and their motivations is the best way to convince them to buy from you through email marketing. Consider these promotions for Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and graduation.

    • Promote the perfect gift ideas and link to online gift guides.
    • Launch mother/daughter, father/son and graduate photo contests on social media and promote them via email.
    • Create a sweepstakes or giveaway email campaign where the prize is relevant to moms, dads and grads.
    • Offer an experience: create a special “treat mom/dad/grad” package; for example, a spa day or a round of golf. Or, partner with non-competing businesses to offer a package deal.
    • Offer conveniences such as free gift-wrapping and free shipping.
    • Email daily deals in the weeks leading up to Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and graduation.
    • Email mom, dad and grad spotlight stories to inspire customers to buy for their loved ones.
    • Email reminders so they don’t miss important dates; add a time-limited discount or buy-one-get-one code to motivate instant sales.
    • Focus on graduate needs: freshman survival kits, graduation gift ideas, dorm room sales and items needed to cover the first year of college expenses (food, entertainment and clothing gift cards, etc.).
    • Target shoppers and who they’re buying for. For example, on Mother’s Day people don’t just buy for their moms. They also buy for their grandparents, wives, mothers-in-law, aunts and sisters.
    • Host special restaurant events such as discounts for dads, craft beer and wine tastings, art and wine events, ladies’ nights for mothers and daughters, trivia nights, guest servers for charity, father/son or mother/daughter bar Olympics and more.

    Craft smart email subject lines to motivate opens

    Of course, your audience needs to open your emails to take advantage of your offers. Here are some compelling email subject line ideas you can emulate.

    • Show Mom/Dad/grad some love
    • Celebrate Mom/Dad/grad
    • Did you forget Father’s Day?
    • The best gifts for mom/dad/grad
    • Last-minute graduation gift ideas
    • Gifts your dad will love
    • Free shipping on Father’s Day
    • Free gift-wrapping for Mother’s Day
    • Treat Mom (and yourself)
    • What dad really wants
    • Celebrate dad and save 25%
    • Save $15 on the perfect graduation gift
    • Time is running out! Last-minute gift ideas
    • Last day for guaranteed Mother’s Day delivery
    • 10% off site-wide for Father’s Day
    • Give thanks to your mom with the perfect gift
    • 1-day Mother’s Day sale
    • Graduation gift inspiration
    • The ultimate Father’s Day gift guide
    • Gifts for stay-at-home dads
    • Gifts for techie moms
    • Gifts for every type of mom
    • Father’s Day gifts for every budget: $10, $25, $50
    • Win a mother/daughter spa experience
    • Hand-picked graduation gift ideas
    • You owe it to mom
    • Top 10 gifts for dad
    • College dorm gift guide
    • College freshman survival kit
    • Graduation? The best styles for students
    • Grown-up gifts for new grads
    • Mother’s Day deals you don’t want to miss
    • Snap a photo with dad and win
    • Share your best mom photo and win
    • Father’s Day is June 16
    • Take your dad golfing and save
    • Here’s what your mom really wants
    • Make dad king for a day
    • Be the good child/son/daughter this year

    Increase your reach with social media (and make it easy with email automation)

    Increase your reach by promoting your Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and graduation offers and events on social media. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest can boost exposure exponentially and put your business in front of new people who aren’t on your email marketing lists.

    Of course, you probably have a lot of great ideas for celebrating moms, dads and grads; but every small business owner struggles to find the time to execute every idea. That’s where comes in. It makes it easy to:

    • Create all your mom, dad and grad emails at once, then send at scheduled intervals
    • Develop drip campaigns that automatically send ultra-targeted emails based on user activity (for example, if they open email A, they get email B; if they click link C, they get email D)
    • Analyze results so you can optimize future campaigns for success

    You can also take advantage of social post scheduling to plan your social media campaigns and publish posts at optimal times — simply set it and forget it, so you can focus on other business growth activities.

    Use social and email automation tools to make marketing a breeze and follow the tips in this article to craft smart emails that increase sales on Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and graduation.

    Join 140,000 small business owners
    Get expert tips and email inspiration delivered to your inbox every two weeks.

    © 2019, Brian Morris. All rights reserved.

    The post Celebrate moms, dads & grads with smart emails appeared first on VerticalResponse Blog.

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