Marketing Email Year-Over-Year Benchmarks and Trends

The number of emails arriving in subscribers’ inboxes increased by 9% between 2Q13 and 2Q14, according to a recent report from Yesmail.

The overall email open rate declined 3% during the same period, most likely because of the added volume of messages. Yet the number of opens for each active subscriber actually increased 6% year-over-year (YOY).

Put another way: Consumers are now getting more marketing emails than a year ago, and a higher percentage of those emails remain unopened; however, the subscribers who are engaged are opening more emails than ever.

Nevertheless, open rates only tell part of the story, Yesmail found. Unique clicks decreased 14% over in the same period, indicating that although active subscribers may still be consistently opening, they are clicking through less frequently.


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Below, additional key findings from the report, which was based on email data collected by Yesmail between 2Q13 and 2Q14.

Mobile

  • Email opens on mobile devices accounted for 64.5% of opens in 2Q14, compared with just 35.5% on desktops.
  • However, mobile devices accounted for just 35% of all email clicks—a 9% increase YOY but still much less than the overall share of opens.
  • Similarly, though the average mobile click-to-open rate increased YOY, reaching 9.3% in 2Q14, it still significantly lags the desktop average click-to-open rate of 22.6%.

Conversion and Order Value

  • Mobile transactions accounted for 22% of all purchases driven by email in 2Q14, a 40% YOY increase.
  • However, though the the number of mobile orders jumped year-over-year, the revenue associated with these purchases only increased by 10%.
  • One explanation for this discrepancy could be the decline of average order value (AOV) on mobile. In 3Q13, the mobile AOV was only $9 lower than desktop—$79 vs. $88. In 2Q14, the AOV for mobile was $28 lower than that of desktop, $55 vs. $83.

Triggered Messages

  • Triggered messages—such as abandoned shopping cart and welcome emails—had a 2.5x higher average open rate in 2Q14 compared with general campaigns (38.9% vs. 15.1%).
  • Triggered messages also had a 2x higher average unique click rate compared with general campaigns (3.4% vs. 1.7%).

About the research: The report was based on email data collected by Yesmail between 2Q13 and 2Q14.

Why You Should Use In-Person Events to Foster Customer Relationships

Why do people buy from you? It boils down to two things: they found you, and they picked you.

Let’s talk about “they found you.”

To get people to find you, you’ve got to tell them about yourself or someone else has to tell other people about you. If you’re the only grocery store in your town, you don’t have a problem with people finding you. You stick a sign outside and reach 100% of your target market.

Most of us, however, spend a lot of brain cycles trying to figure out how to tell the world about our thing. We use ads, content, social media, and so on to try to spread the word.

Moreover, getting someone’s attention is becoming increasingly difficult. The amount of stuff being created today—such as photos, tweets, blog posts, Facebook posts, YouTube videos, and emails—is making it hard for our message to squeeze its way into people’s limited attention span

But all of that attention-seeking stuff does have one major thing going for it: Most of it represents communication between people.

As a result, people are more connected to one another, at least loosely, than ever. The effect of that reaching out is really important: The same factors that are making it harder for you to tell other people about your thing are making it easier for people to hear about your thing from someone else.For that reason, it’s crucial to have customers who love what you’re doing and who actively spread the word. Some businesses, like the previously mentioned grocery store, can bear the full burden of getting the word out, but, for the large majority of us, we have to acknowledge and embrace that we simply can’t do it on our own.

We need brand ambassadors—customers who are motivated to share our story with others simply because they like us.

That is where the lines start to blur between “they found you” and “they picked you.” They pick you because of your product, your price, your brand, what you stand for, your personality, and your content. They pick you because they like you. They spread the word—help people find you—because they like you. The goal is clear: Be likable. Form relationships with your customers.

What’s Your Company’s Personality Like?

Marketing has always been about building relationships with people. So, the first step in building a relationship with someone is having a personality—something for him or her to relate to.

Personality is cultivated through the values and culture of the company. The goal of an ad, a piece of content, a video, the copy on your homepage, or the image you choose for your billboard ad are all designed to convey your personality, to build a relationship with that potential customer, employee, or advocate.

But we’re aiming for people to love us! We want them to want to spread the word. We’ve got to do a little better than interrupt them with an advertisement—we need to build a relationship with them, and that is best done in person.

A bond forms when you’re at the same place at the same time with someone else. The bond is even deeper if you’re sharing a unique experience with someone. There’s a term we use a lot at Ticketleap called “communitas.”

Communitas is the sense of connectedness two people feel when they share a unique experience together. If you’re able foster communitas with your community, you’re forming a bond that you simply can’t replicate by favoriting a tweet or having them click on an ad.

Here’s an example. One of our first events at Ticketleap was called the Flower Potluck. We sold 20 tickets to what was supposed to be an outdoor event on the grassy banks of the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia. It rained torrentially that day. We had to move the event inside, but nine people managed to brave the storm to show up. Everyone brought and exchanged flowers, and we provided wine and wraps. It was a lot of fun, and everyone had a good time. Nine people got an experience in our brand in its best possible light in person. But did it really make a difference?

Those nine people shared something about the event 18 times on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. Those 18 shares got 93 likes or favorites, and along with the likes from the event page itself, the event resulted in a total of 173 online engagements!

When we do blog post or craft a witty tweet, we would be thrilled to get this much engagement. That’s 173 people who heard about Ticketleap from their friends and nine people we engaged in person.

Those stats get us excited about events. Events that are fun. Events that let our personality shine through. Events that foster communitas. We’re excited about events because they’re the best way to build relationships with our customers and the best chance we have to get them to spread the word and help people find us, like us, and pick us.
Read more: http://www.marketingprofs.com/opinions/2014/26004/why-you-should-use-in-person-events-to-foster-customer-relationships#ixzz3DUJOPbIY

September 16, 2014

25 of the Best Newsletters and Tools to Discover Shareable Content

1. Daily by Buffer

First off, let’s start with one of the places where our suggestions end up: our new iOS app, Daily by Buffer. You can think of the Daily app as Tinder for content. We’ll show you a pile of suggestions, and you swipe each story left or right to discard it or to share it via your Buffer queue. The app has built-in abilities to read the stories you want and to sort suggestions via topic.

2. SmartBrief

SmartBrief boasts more than 225 unique newsletters, broken down into 40+ topics. Whatever your specific industry or niche, chances are that SmartBrief will have a newsletter for you—chock full of curated news and information. If you’re into marketing and social media (like we are), I’d suggest browsing their marketing newsletters to begin with.

3. LinkedIn Pulse

LinkedIn has expanded rapidly as a content platform, encouraging its influencers and members to share and publish content directly on the network. As such, there are enough good stories on LinkedIn to make their Pulse page a fantastic source of solid content.

Pulse includes customized stories according to those whom you follow on LinkedIn (following is different than connecting; you can follow folks to see their stories without having them in your LinkedIn network.) You can also receive Pulse via email: weekly, daily, or as soon as new content is posted. To turn on the LinkedIn Pulse email, visit your Email Frequency settings, and change the settings for Updates and News.

4. News.me

This daily newsletter collects the stories that have been shared most often by those you follow on Facebook and Twitter. Your digest then becomes a reflection of the content that is most important to your audience—a pretty good indicator that you’re onto something good to share. You can edit the News.me settings to receive five, 10, or 15 stories each day.

5. Swayy

Another content source that taps into your audience, Swayy connects to Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to discover the topics and stories that are trending among your circles or being shared by your community. You can access this content directly from the Swayy dashboard (as well as view analytics on what you’ve shared via Swayy), or you can see stories via the Swayy daily email.

6. Sharebloc

You can follow topics and influencers on Sharebloc to receive a customized flow of stories, which you can then vote up or share directly from Sharebloc. If you’re feeling particularly helpful, you can submit articles, too.

7. NY Times: What We’re Reading

New York Times editors and reporters would probably have good taste in content, right? It’s likely so, which is why their twice weekly email, What We’re Reading, has such value. The email is available for home delivery and digital subscribers. If you aren’t a subscriber, you can find some of this same NYT-curated content via the free NYT Now app. The app highlights the best content from the New York Times and around the web, delivered in easy-to-read briefings.

8. MediaREDEF

Jason Hirschhorn of MediaREDEF curates a daily newsletter described as “a mix of media + tech + pop content.” The interesting mix leads to some interesting discoveries, and Jason’s tastes (as a former executive at MTV and MySpace) make for some unique content that you’re not likely to get in other newsletters.

9. Inbound.org Digest

A collaboration between the heads of Hubspot and Moz, Inbound.org is a type of Hacker News for inbound marketing. Stories on SEO, social media, case studies, strategies, and more are submitted and voted upon by users. Five of the best stories get emailed out every day (or weekly, if you so choose) via the Inbound Digest email.

10. Digg

Since its relaunch, Digg seems to be doing everything right in terms of content. They’ve built an incredibly useful and entertaining main page of noteworthy stories. They provide an RSS reader for those of us who still like to surf our content that way. And their most recent addition, Digg Deeper, places the top stories from those you follow on social right onto your Digg homepage (the guts behind this service is none other than the News.me app mentioned above).

11. Medium

Stories on Medium pop up at least weekly inside our Buffer content suggestions. How do we find them? Browsing the collections and the trending lists straight from Medium is one way. Following our favorite writers is another. Based on whom you follow, Medium sends emails with content it thinks you might like.

12. Ed Yong

For something a little different—yet still entirely fascinating and shareable—try Ed Yong’s blog and email list. His blog, Not Exactly Rocket Science, covers all things science in an approachable, understandable way. His weekly newsletter, The Ed’s Up, covers science and more—journalism, writing, “heh/wow/huh,” and a list of top picks spanning a wide variety of topics.

13. Sidebar.io

One of our five content suggestion categories is design, and we’re grateful for tools like Sidebar.io that focus directly on the topic. Their daily list of top links is created by a handful of human editors who upvote submitted links to determine what reaches the Sidebar homepage on any given day. The results (up to five links) are posted on the site and sent out via email.

14. Panda

One of the most beautiful sites we’ve found for discovering new content is the collection at Panda. The site collects the top stories and top visuals from some of the best communities on the web and delivers the content in an easy-to-browse layout (or via email, if you’d prefer). You can cycle among a handful of different sites without ever leaving the Panda homepage.

15. Prismatic

One of the top reviews on the Prismatic iOS app calls it “a killer app for curious people.” Certainly, Prismatic helps sate a bit of curiosity by delivering a personalized, social news stream of interesting links based on those you follow on your favorite social networks and on your chosen categories and topics of interest. The content discovery carries over to the web, too, where you can browse stories and edit your interests and followers.

16. Contently

The content-focused team at Contently runs a couple of unique online magazines focused on the stories, resources, tips, and strategies for online creators. Our favorite is the Content Strategist, a collection of articles about storytelling and the future of content. You can browse directly from the main page or sign up for a daily email.

17. Nuzzel

Nuzzel is another one of the “news from your friends” apps, letting you connect your social profiles in order to surface the stories that your circles are sharing. A few neat features of Nuzzel include:

  • Not only news from friends but also news from friends of friends
  • A list of replies and tweets referring to the top content shared by friends
  • A boomerang feature: stories that might have slipped your attention

18. Quibb

Unique among these free and open content sources, Quibb is invite-only—and it’s a tough invite at that. Once you apply for membership, your application gets manually reviewed by the Quibb team; the current acceptance rate sits at 38 percent. Once you’re in, you can enjoy a platform that lets you share industry news and analysis and see what others are reading. The select nature of the service ensures that the content that gets shared and talked about is of the utmost quality.

19. BuzzSumo

Where can you find the most shared content on the web? Try BuzzSumo. Simply input a topic, keyword, or competitor, and BuzzSumo shows a list of posts ranked by the amount of social shares each receives. We’ve found this to be an ideal tool to not only evaluate blog post ideas but also to find new content. If you’ve got a particular topic in mind, BuzzSumo can be a handy resource to discover which articles might be most shareable.

20. The Moz Top 10

The semi-monthly email newsletter from Moz covers the best stories on inbound marketing, SEO, and social, as chosen by the Moz editorial team.

21. 99U newsletter

The weekly email from the 99U blog includes the top stories published on 99U over the past week as well as a handful of chosen links from outside the friendly confines of 99U. You can subscribe via any article page on the 99u website.

22. Brain Food – Farnam Street Weekly

The Farnam Street blog covers topics like personal improvement, discipline, learning, and growth, and the weekly newsletter is no different. Blogger Shane Parrish shares the best links from his blog over the past seven days as well as a lengthy section on the most interesting stories he’s read across the Internet.

23. NewsCred

Creators of content marketing sotware, NewsCred also runs a highly entertaining, informative blog made up of original content and syndicated stories from across the web (full disclosure: some Buffer articles have appeared there before). Their daily newsletter contains three or more of the best pieces of content that appear on the blog each day.

24. Digiday

Digiday’s daily newsletter is chock full of thought leadership and the latest trends on digital media, advertising, and marketing. With multiple new stories every day (and fun visuals to go alongside the stories), Digiday offers a little something different to share beyond the typical listicles and how-to posts.

25. The Verge

The daily newsletter from The Verge includes their latest stories on technology, science, art, and culture. The Verge likely gained its notoriety for its in-depth product reviews, but the site covers so much more than that: the latest from Apple and Google, experiments with new creations like Soylent, and unique takes on trending stories across social media.

26. http://summalist.com:

Instead of staying on top of multiple newsletters, you now only need to follow one: your SummaList. There’s no robots here. Real humans read the newsletters and produce clear & concise summaries for your handcrafted SummaList.

27. http://www.scoop.it/:

27.

Best Time to Post: Infographic

Best time to post, 9-2013

5 Ways to Create Engaging Facebook Contene

User Engagement with Facebook
  1. Map your content:
  2. Pick what resonates:
  3. Create a call to action:
  4. Test your creative to see what works:
  5. Stay engaged:

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Hazardous to Your Social Media Health – the eBook

Stop Hiring Interns

For those who are tired of reading “What to do…,” here’s a “What NOT to do.” Go to Sparks Media to download the eBook. (.pdf 3.5 megs) © 2014 Spark Media Solutions.

For more awesome info, visit Spark Media.