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Tim Peter Thinks

Tim Peter

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July 16, 2015

Three Quick Business-Building Tips That Don’t Involve Google

July 16, 2015 | By | No Comments

Three tips to grow your business that don't involve GoogleWhat do email, social, and channel partner apps all have in common? They’re among the best ways you can grow your traffic—and your business— without Google, as I point out in my latest Biznology post. Here’s a quick excerpt:

“I debated whether to include channel partners in this list at all. For one thing, you use search, social, and email specifically to avoid using channel partners. And, let’s be fair, not all “partners” always actively work in your best interest.

That said, many channel partners have had great success in driving app adoption amongst customers, and may prove a valuable way to drive revenues and sales for your business. Just be sure that the ones you’re choosing work as a true partner and not in competition with your own direct efforts.

The best way to distribute your products or services via a channel partners’ app is an exceedingly complicated topic, well beyond the scope of this simple post. However, there are a few questions you should consider to help select appropriate partners to work with. Ask yourself:

  1. Can this partner reach a customer I can’t?
  2. Can they do that at a reasonable cost?
  3. Do they provide access to the end-consumer’s data? (So you can continue to build your list and decrease your dependence on partners overall)”

I think you’ll really enjoy the whole post, including entries on email and social—as well as a special bonus tip, too—so be sure to check it out on Biznology today.

And if you want learn even more about how your customers’ changing behavior shapes e-commerce and marketing, be sure an register to receive a special report I’ve produced in conjunction with hotel marketing firm Vizergy, “Digital Hotel Marketing in a Multiscreen World.” While it’s targeted specifically at hotel and resort marketers, the lessons apply to just about any business. You can get your free copy of the report here.

You can also check out these slides and video from my recent webinar, “Digital Marketing Directions: Three Key Trends Driving Your Marketing Next Year”:

And, finally, you might want to take a look at some of our past coverage of the e-commerce, mobile commerce, and digital marketing overall, including:

Tim Peter

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March 23, 2015

Why Mobile Email Matters

March 23, 2015 | By | No Comments

Mobile email matters: man reading email on mobileMarketing Profs recently rounded up the details of what consumers dislike about mobile email and found that — in addition to too many, poorly targeted emails:

“Messages are too small to read and interact with (32% don’t like); difficulty seeing full websites on devices after clicking through (26%); and messages are often jumbled/not well-formatted for phones (21%).”

I’ve noted before:

“While the numbers for the US weren’t quite as strong — with “only” 48% of opens coming on mobile — they’re still mighty impressive. Data I’ve looked at in the past puts those numbers a bit above 50% and other data suggests that 50% of email users only read email on mobile. But why quibble over a couple of percentage points? If your customers can’t easily read your message on mobile, you’re still making a major email marketing mistake. As eMarketer rightly notes, “…mobile should now be considered a central part of any email marketing strategy.” [Emphasis mine.]”

The lesson is clear: Mobile email matters and it’s long past time to get on-board. Seriously.

Not sure what to do? Here’s a list of ways articles that can help:

Looking to learn still more about how your customers’ changing behavior shapes e-commerce and marketing? Be sure an register to receive a special report I’ve produced in conjunction with hotel marketing firm Vizergy, “Digital Hotel Marketing in a Multiscreen World.” While it’s targeted specifically at hotel and resort marketers, the lessons apply to just about any business. You can get your free copy of the report here.

You can also check out these slides I had the pleasure of presenting recently about how to lead mobile-focused digital transformation within large organizations (a topic we’ve been talking about a fair bit lately). Here are the slides for your reference:

And, finally, you might want to take a look at some of our past coverage of the e-commerce, mobile commerce, and digital marketing overall, including:

Tim Peter

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March 18, 2015

Digital Marketing: The Money Is In The List – Thinks Out Loud Episode 115

March 18, 2015 | By | No Comments

The money is in the list

Digital Marketing: The Money Is In The List – Headlines and Show Notes

And, as promised, you can also check out these slides I had the pleasure of presenting recently about how to lead mobile-focused digital transformation within large organizations (a topic we’ve been talking about a fair bit lately). Here are the slides for your reference:

Contact information for the podcast: podcast@timpeter.com

Technical details: Recorded using an Audio-Technica AT2035 studio condenser microphone through a Mackie Onyx Blackjack USB recording interface into Logic Express 9 for the Mac.

Running time: 15m 13s

You can subscribe to Thinks Out Loud in iTunes [iTunes link], subscribe via our dedicated podcast RSS feed (or better yet, given that Google has now killed Reader, sign up for our free newsletter). You can also download/listen to the podcast here on Thinks using the player below:

Tim Peter

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January 8, 2015

Are You Still Making This Major Email Marketing Mistake?

January 8, 2015 | By | No Comments

How to avoid this major email marketing mistakeInteresting research highlighted by eMarketer this week, stating the email open rate on mobile impresses in the UK. Key quote:

“…the percentage share of email opens in the country across mobile, desktop and webmail platforms was heavily weighted in favor of mobile, with 62% of Return Path UK client emails opened that way.”

While the numbers for the US weren’t quite as strong — with “only” 48% of opens coming on mobile — they’re still mighty impressive. Data I’ve looked at in the past puts those numbers a bit above 50% and other data suggests that 50% of email users only read email on mobile. But why quibble over a couple of percentage points? If your customers can’t easily read your message on mobile, you’re still making a major email marketing mistake. As eMarketer rightly notes, “…mobile should now be considered a central part of any email marketing strategy.” [Emphasis mine.]

Need more proof? Well, for starters, consider millennials. According to Aweber’s Generation Media Explorer, more than 40% of millennials use email to stay connected with their favorite stores. Those are better numbers than Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat — or any other channel.

Now, it’s not all sunny news. Unfortunately, while opens on mobile are huge, and growing, click-through rates could be better. According to Marketing Charts, most clicks occur on PC’s and tablets, well above mobile rates. I suspect that’s related to the mobile email experience more than any specific limitation of the medium.

My advice? Develop a responsive email template for your brand or business. Test it against your existing template and see what it does for your results. And while you’re at it, check out these past posts about email marketing for more tips on improving your business’s email marketing results:

Email has long been many brands’ “forgotten” social network, less shiny and sexy than the Pinterests, Facebooks, Instagrams, and whatever other marketing flavors of the month come down the pike. But it shouldn’t be forgotten. Email remains a key component of a healthy, effective marketing plan. And ignoring mobile remains a major email marketing mistake. Not that you shouldn’t also seek new opportunities when they make sense. But pay attention to making email work on mobile and enjoy sexy, shiny results too.

If you want to learn even more about how customers changing behavior shapes e-commerce and marketing, be sure an register to receive a special report I’ve produced in conjunction with hotel marketing firm Vizergy, “Digital Hotel Marketing in a Multiscreen World.” While it’s targeted specifically at hotel and resort marketers, the lessons apply to just about any business. You can get your free copy of the report here.

You can also check out these slides and video from my recent webinar, “Digital Marketing Directions: Three Key Trends Driving Your Marketing Next Year”:

And, finally, you might want to take a look at some of our past coverage of the e-commerce, mobile commerce, and digital marketing overall, including:

Tim Peter

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October 9, 2014

Want Better Email Marketing Results? Think Mobile

October 9, 2014 | By | No Comments

Consider this a quick follow-up to my look at improving email marketing effectiveness from earlier this week. Litmus Email Analytics has a cool set of information rounding up the email clients used in September, 2014. Check this out:

Email client use

According to Litmus’s data, the iPhone was the most used email client in September, with more than 1 in 4 emails opened (out of 927 million opens), in September. The iPad contributed another 12%. While Android was at #6, with “only” 6% of opens, it’s not clear to me how many of the Gmail opens at #2 with 15% were on mobile devices. I suspect at least some.

I’ve referenced data showing that using responsive design — i.e., designs that work well regardless of the device used — boosts open rates by 20% a few times now. This Litmus data helps explain why. If 45% or more (27% iPhone + 12% iPad + 6% Android) of all opens happen on mobile devices, your customers need responsive emails to even begin to interact with your brand and your business.

Email marketing remains a key contributor to connecting with customers. It’s often among the first sources of information your customers engage every day. According to Yesmail, 50% of users only read email on mobile and tablet devices. Yet, somehow, many marketers have moved away from email, leading to its status as a forgotten social network. Put simply, email marketing works for reaching qualified customers, and for driving meaningful business results.

Or, at least it will, if you help customers use it on the devices they care about most.

Want more? Then you might want to check out these slides called, “Email Marketing: Keys to List Growth,” from a recent talk I gave to a private industry group:


(And, yes… you can hire me to speak at your next event, too).

And if you’re interested in learning even more about how customers changing behavior shapes e-commerce and marketing, register to receive a special report I’ve produced in conjunction with hotel marketing firm Vizergy, “Digital Hotel Marketing in a Multiscreen World.” While it’s targeted specifically at hotel and resort marketers, the lessons apply to just about any business. You can get your free copy of the report here.

Finally, you might also want to check out some of our past coverage of the mobile, local, social web and how to make it work for your business, including:

Tim Peter

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October 6, 2014

7 Key Tips for More Effective Email Marketing

October 6, 2014 | By | No Comments

7 key tips for more effective email marketingI got an email from Geoff in the UK the other day, who asked,

“You’ve written in the past about how to grow my business’s email list and that Millennials still use email. You’ve sold me. I want to grow my list and reach more customers. But, even with a large list, I don’t know that the results we’re seeing are as effective as they can be. How can I make my email marketing more effective?”

Good question, Geoff. And, happily, I’ve got an answer for you. Well, seven, actually. Here are 7 key tips for more effective email marketing:

  1. Address your email message to your key customer segments. It’s almost impossible to write an email that works for the entire world (or your entire list). It simply doesn’t work as well as targeting a key customer segment and speaking to that group’s needs. Think about who you’re addressing your email to, then build the message around the needs of that customer segment. Personas help, too (see slides 137-141 in my presentation “The Truth: How the Social, Local, Mobile Web Affects Sales Online and Offline” for more on personas). While you can craft a single email message that uses different sections to address different customer needs, work to segment your email list into its component groups over time. A more focused message will perform better, and improve your customers’ experience, too.
  2. Write a clear subject line. Once you know who you’re sending your email message to, draft several subject lines until you find one that resonates for your target customer segment. As these 6 simple subject line tips to boost email open rates suggest, sometimes less is more. A subject that says “Offers and updates from [INSERT YOUR COMPANY NAME HERE]” often works better than “Super Deals! Free Stuff! Amazing Opportunities!” For one thing, you’re setting a more realistic expectation of what’s inside. For another, you’re more likely to get past your customer’s spam filter.
  3. Present a simple, strong call-to-action. You’d be amazed how often I see email messages with multiple, competing calls-to-action, or, worse yet, no call-to-action at all. Make sure that each separate message in your email provides a single, clear call-to-action. Try terms like “Learn more,” “Read on,” or “Browse offers” to clearly indicate what you expect your customers to do. And, if you’re talking about a few different offers in a single email blast, vary the size and placement of those calls-to-action, to make it clear for customers what’s most important, what’s secondary, and what’s less important. You’ll reduce your customer’s confusion, while still providing everything she needs to make a decision.
  4. Images, images, images. Images sell. Period. Give your copywriters a rest, and increase the size, quality, and frequency of images within your email messages. Do you think your customers keep buying high-def screen mobile phones and tablets just to read more text? ‘Fraid not, folks. Customers love images. So put those high-res screens to use. And make your images clickable, too. There’s no reason a well-designed image can’t serve to reinforce your call-to-action — and make it easier for customers to click once they’re ready.
  5. Use responsive design for your emails. As this look at how to improve your email in just 5 minutes mentioned, emails with responsive design enjoyed a 21% higher click-to-open rate than emails using a non-responsive design. So, assuming you’ve got a 20%(-ish) open rate, responsive design will buy you 42 more opens for every 1,000 people on your list (or 420 for every 10,000, or 4,200 for every 100,000…). And, if you provide the right images and calls-to-action, those extra opens will drive increased clicks and increased conversions, too.
  6. Benchmark your results. Where’d I get that “20%(isn) open rate” number? From benchmark data. Most major email providers offer decent benchmarks you can use to measure your effectiveness against others in your segment. Think in terms of your key email marketing metrics — total opens/open rate, unique clicks/effective rate, conversion, unsubscribes — and use those numbers to see when you’ve got room to improve, and when you might be fighting a period of diminishing returns. Develop internal benchmarks, as well, to evaluate your progress over time.
  7. A/B test everything. Finally, making your email marketing more effective depends on conducting regular tests to see what’s working for your customers, then applying those learnings to your ongoing efforts. While I’ve covered A/B testing in detail over the years, email marketing introduces a few wrinkles of its own. For instance, to test subject lines, consider a holdback test. In this test, you test two competing subject lines by sending each to 10%-15% of your total list (split the two different subject lines evenly between the group), measuring which subject line drives the greatest open rate. Once you have a winner, you send the remaining 85%-90% of your list (the holdback group), the winning subject. You can conduct similar tests within your message body, splitting your list to see which headlines, images, copy, and calls-to-action drive greater results before sending the final version to the majority of your list. The more tests you conduct, the more you’ll learn what works for your audience, and what drives the greatest results for your business.

The great thing about these tips is they apply equally well in both B2C and B2B contexts (especially important given that email represents a key way to reach top decision-makers in B2B environments). While the specific messages, headlines, copy, and images, will certainly vary, the general approach works just as well to both types of customer.

Despite sometimes representing a forgotten social network, there’s no doubt that email marketing still works for reaching qualified customers, and driving meaningful business results. Follow the 7 key tips for more effective email marketing just outlined, and you can expect to see those results for your business too.

Want more? Then you might want to check out these slides called, “Email Marketing: Keys to List Growth,” from a recent talk I gave to a private industry group:


(And, yes… you can hire me to speak at your next event, too).

And if you’re interested in learning even more about how customers changing behavior shapes e-commerce and marketing, register to receive a special report I’ve produced in conjunction with hotel marketing firm Vizergy, “Digital Hotel Marketing in a Multiscreen World.” While it’s targeted specifically at hotel and resort marketers, the lessons apply to just about any business. You can get your free copy of the report here.

Finally, you might also want to check out some of our past coverage of the mobile, local, social web and how to make it work for your business, including:

Tim Peter

By

August 18, 2014

Will Millennials Use Email?

August 18, 2014 | By | No Comments

Millennials use email coupleEver since my post about how to grow your email list, last week’s podcast exploring why email marketing still works, and this e-commerce digest featuring millennials and mobile, you’ve all been sending me loads of emails (ironically enough), asking whether email use applies to millennials. Given all the media channels available to millennials, including mobile, social, search, and apps, will millennials use email as preceding generational cohorts have?

To put it simply, yes, your millennial customers use email too, and I see no reason to assume that will change right away.

Here’s why.

First, we know that 7 out of 10 customers in the United States have a smartphone now, with those numbers greater among millennials than any other generation. We also have data that shows more than half of all emails were opened on mobile in 2013, bypassing desktop email clients for the first time ever. Right there, the data suggests that millennials are likely to use email at least as much as Boomers and Gen X.

However, even better data exists. Aweber’s Generation Media Explorer shows that 40% of millennials use email to stay connected with their favorite stores, more than Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, or any other channel for that matter.

Millennials use email

The graphic above shows email vs. Facebook (the second most popular channel), but you can check out the other channels for yourself.

Here’s why you should care. The Direct Marketing Association said last year that email averages a 4,300% return on investment. If you think about the costs associated with email marketing, that number shouldn’t come as a big surprise. Even a few sales from email can often justify the expense. And when used as part of a comprehensive digital strategy, encompassing search, social, and mobile channels, email can prove even more effective still.

Email marketing remains a valuable tool in any digital marketer’s toolkit. Mobile customers read email at increasingly high rates. And because millennials use email, particularly on mobile, it appears likely email will remain a valuable channel for some time to come.

If you’re interested in learning more, you can view the slides from my talk about growing your email list below:


(And, yes… you can hire me to keynote your next event, too).

And you can learn even more about how customers’ changing behavior shapes e-commerce and marketing by registering to receive a special report I’ve produced in conjunction with hotel marketing firm Vizergy, “Digital Hotel Marketing in a Multiscreen World.” While it’s targeted specifically at hotel and resort marketers, the lessons apply to just about any business. You can get your free copy of the report here.

You may also want to attend a webinar called Digital Marketing Directions: Key Trends Driving Your Marketing Next Year on Tuesday, September 16. You can read all the details here.

Finally, whether you work with Millennials, Boomers, Gen X, or the Silent Generation, you might also enjoy some of our past coverage of the mobile, local, social web and how to make it work for your business, including:

Tim Peter

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August 13, 2014

Why Email Marketing Still Works – Thinks Out Loud Episode 85

August 13, 2014 | By | No Comments

Email marketing works

Why Email Marketing Still Works Headlines and Show Notes

And, as promised, here are the slides from my recent talk:


(And, yes… you can hire me to keynote your next event, too).

Contact information for the podcast: podcast@timpeter.com

Technical details: Recorded using an Audio-Technica AT2035 studio condenser microphone through a Mackie Onyx Blackjack USB recording interface into Logic Express 9 for the Mac.

Running time: 17m 02s

You can subscribe to Thinks Out Loud in iTunes [iTunes link], subscribe via our dedicated podcast RSS feed (or better yet, given that Google has now killed Reader, sign up for our free newsletter). You can also download/listen to the podcast here on Thinks using the player below:

Tim Peter

By

August 7, 2014

E-commerce Best Practices: How to Grow Your Email List

August 7, 2014 | By | No Comments

grow your email listI gave a brief talk earlier this week called “E-commerce Best Practices: How to Grow Your Email List” to an amazing audience filled with savvy, experienced marketers from around North America. It was a fantastic group and a really great discussion followed. I wish I had video of the talk, because it was a fantastic day all around and really builds on what yesterday’s podcast is all about. Still, for those of you who are interested, here are the slides:


(And, yes… you can hire me to keynote your next event, too).

I bring all this up because Mark Jones of Thomson Reuters has a great piece about what’s driving the increased use of email marketing that’s well worth the read and underscores how important email marketing remains to effective e-commerce and digital marketing activities. Email really is the forgotten social network and a key part of building your business and your brand. Feel free to check out the slides and let me know if you’re interested in learning more about how you can apply these lessons in your business.

If you’re interested in learning even more about how customers changing behavior shapes e-commerce and marketing, register to receive a special report I’ve produced in conjunction with hotel marketing firm Vizergy, “Digital Hotel Marketing in a Multiscreen World.” While it’s targeted specifically at hotel and resort marketers, the lessons apply to just about any business. You can get your free copy of the report here.

You may also want to review the tips in another recent presentation Digital Marketing Directions: Three Trends Shaping 2014 Hospitality Internet Marketing. Again, it was built for a travel audience, but its lessons apply across industries. The full deck is here:

Finally, you might also enjoy some of our past coverage of the e-commerce and how to make it work for your business, including:

Tim Peter

By

June 9, 2014

How to Reach Top Decision Makers in 5 Minutes

June 9, 2014 | By | No Comments

Executive woman tablet carYou want to reach top decision makers? It’s easier than you think. Just as with any marketing or e-commerce initiative, the key is to reach customers where and when they want to hear from you. Easier said than done, you say? Not really. The one place that executives and senior management pay attention to more than anything else remains their email inbox.

Now, it’s probably no secret I’m a big fan of email marketing, long calling it the forgotten social network and including posts about improving its value in the top e-commerce and digital marketing posts for the last two months.

Don’t believe this? Check out this excellent Marketing Charts study that shows global executives rely on email to consume and share industry information:

“Email newsletters also significantly outpace social media accounts as news sources, with social platforms generally used more for sharing than sourcing content. Even so, results from the survey show that executives are far more likely to use email (80%) to share content than they are to turn to specific social platforms such as Twitter (43%) or LinkedIn (30%).”

This data underscores the importance of email for reaching key decision makers, particualrly if you’re a B2B enterprise looking to converse with managers and executives. Yes, social and search often represents best practice for reaching customers. But as I talked about last week, best practices only truly live up to the name when they work for your business.

Now, how can you make this work for you? Simple. Here are three key steps to keep in mind:

  1. Talk in their language. Think about who you’re talking to. Your customer has a set of needs. Talk in terms of benefits that matter to drive opens and click-throughs.
  2. Don’t waste their time. As I’ve talked about before, your customers don’t really have time to care about you. It’s not that they’re bad people; they’rebusy. Focus on addressing their needs immediately. Solve their problems first and that will help you solve yours, too.
  3. Keep the conversation going. Finally, don’t give up on email. Its value is in creating an ongoing dialogue. Your customer needs to see your message when they’re ready for it and if you’re only sending irregularly — or not at all — you won’t be found when they’re ready to hear from you.

Email is far from dead. And, as this data illustrates, it can be the very best channel for reaching key customers. Which, really, is what your digital marketing and e-commerce efforts are meant to do, isn’t it?

Interested in learning even more about the future of e-commerce and marketing via the social, local, mobile web? Register to receive a special report I’ve produced in conjunction with hotel marketing firm Vizergy, “Digital Hotel Marketing in a Multiscreen World.” While it’s targeted specifically at hotel and resort marketers, the lessons apply to just about any business. You can get your free copy of the report here.

You may also want to review the tips in my recent presentation Digital Marketing Directions: Three Trends Shaping 2014 Hospitality Internet Marketing:

Finally, if you’re interested in learning even more about the future of e-commerce and marketing via the social, local, mobile web, register to receive a special report I’ve produced in conjunction with hotel marketing firm Vizergy, “Digital Hotel Marketing in a Multiscreen World.” While it’s targeted specifically at hotel and resort marketers, the lessons apply to just about any business. You can get your free copy of the report here.

You might also enjoy some of our past coverage of the social, local, mobile web and what it means for your business, including: