Published by: Erica Sanford | Category: "How To" Articles, Blog, Marketing
On the Email Answers blog, we’ve written quite a few articles that cover some of the core components of online marketing. We’ve covered email marketing, email validation, business reputation as well as really bad marketing ideas and the list goes on. I thought it was important to compile a list of the most commonly used marketing terms, so I put together a short list of terms that are imperative to anyone learning about online marketing.
Marketing Terms and Abbreviations
- A/B Testing – a method in marketing research where variables in a control scenario are changed and the ensuing alternate strategies tested, in order to improve the effectiveness of the final marketing strategy. (Testing 2 versions)
- Above The Fold – the section of a Web page that is visible without scrolling.
- Affiliate Marketing – revenue sharing between online advertisers/merchants and online publishers/salespeople, whereby compensation is based on performance measures, typically in the form of sales, clicks, registrations, or a hybrid model.
- ALT Text – HTML attribute that provides alternative text when non-textual elements, typically images, cannot be displayed.
- B2B – business that sells products or provides services to other businesses.
- B2C – business that sells products or provides services to end-user consumers.
- Bounce Rate (web) – In web analytics, the percentage of visitors who leave after viewing a single page.
- Bounce Rate (email) – In email marketing, the percentage of emails in a campaign that are returned as undeliverable.
- Call To Action (CTA) – the part of a marketing message that attempts to persuade a person to perform a desired action.
- Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) – a data format used to separate style from structure on Web pages.
- CDN (content delivery network) – a network of computer servers geographically distributed and designed to accelerate the delivery of web pages, images and files by routing user requests to the server that’s in the best or closest proximity or position to serve them.
- Click-Through – the process of clicking through an online advertisement or email advertisement to the advertiser’s destination.
- Click-Through Rate (CTR) – The average number of click-through per hundred ad impressions, expressed as a percentage.
- Conversion Rate (CR) – the percentage of visitors who take a desired action.
- Cost Per Lead (CPL) – online advertising payment model in which payment is based on the number of qualifying leads generated.
- Cost-Per-Action (CPA) – online advertising payment model in which payment is based solely on qualifying actions such as sales or registrations.
- Cost-Per-Click (CPC) – the cost or cost-equivalent paid per click-through.
- CPM – cost per thousand impressions.
- Customer Acquisition Cost – the cost associated with acquiring a new customer.
- Customer Relationship Management (CRM) – a system for managing a company’s interactions with current and future customers. It often involves using technology to organize, automate, and synchronize sales, marketing, customer service, and technical support.
- Dedicated Hosting – hosting option whereby the host provides and is responsible for the equipment, dedicating an entire server to the client’s websites.
- Dedicated IP – an IP address dedicated to a single website or customer.
- Email List Cleaning – a comparative process to remove bad or known undeliverable email addresses from a list. See details of Email List Cleaning.
- Email Marketing – directly marketing a commercial message to a group of people using email. See details of Email Marketing.
- Email Marketing Agency – a company that manages your email marketing campaigns, creative designs, data quality, opt-outs and deployments. See details of Email Marketing Agency.
- Email Validation – testing the validity and deliverability of an email address. See details of Email Validation.
- Geo-Targeting – a method of detecting a website visitor’s location to serve location-based content or advertisements.
- HTML Email – email that is formatted using Hypertext Markup Language, as opposed to plain text email. See examples of email designs.
- Inbound Link – a link from a website outside of your website.
- Inbound Marketing – a marketing model whose sales performance relies on the initiative of its client base to find and purchase a product.
- Key Performance Indicator (KPI) – a measurable value that demonstrates how effectively a company is achieving key business objectives.
- Landing Page – sometimes referred to as a “lead capture page” is a single web page that appears in response to clicking on a search result or an online advertisement. The landing page will usually display directed sales copy that is a logical extension of the advertisement, search result or link.
- Link Building – the process of increasing the number of inbound links to a website or web page in a way that will increase search engine rankings.
- List Segmentation-The ability to group contacts based on similarities. For example, you can group people based on similar contact or companies properties, form submissions, email actions, pages views, and more.
- Log File – file that records the activity on a web server.
- Marketing Automation – the use of software to automate repetitive tasks related to marketing activities and connect different parts of the marketing funnel.
- Opt-In Email – email that is explicitly requested by the recipient.
- Organic Search– When a visitor originates from a search engine from a non-paid ad or link.
- Outbound Link – a link to a website outside of your website.
- Pay Per Click (PPC) – online advertising payment model in which payment is based solely on qualifying click-throughs.
- Pay Per Lead (PPL) – online advertising payment model in which payment is based solely on qualifying leads.
- Pay Per Sale (PPS) – online advertising payment model in which payment is based solely on qualifying sales.
- Permission Marketing – marketing centered on obtaining customer consent to receive information from a company. Usually related to email marketing.
- Return On Investment (ROI) – the ratio of profits (or losses) to the amount invested in your advertising.
Published by: Meredith Thornton | Category: Blog, Business, Managed Email Marketing, Marketing
When you hear the term, “Online Marketing Guru”, what do you picture?
I bet you are like the majority of us who see a man in his boxer shorts eating Little Debbie’s oatmeal cream pies as he catches the season premier of Duck Dynasty on his TiVo. While he’s laughing with a mouth full of savory goodness, money made from his online business is steadily flowing into his personal bank account.
And you think to yourself, this could be you…
Sure, this could happen. You can make a killing online – quietly pruning your own private money tree nestled in your 50 acre back yard. You could be making money while you’re eating Bon Bons on the couch, or better yet, as you’re sipping a fruity alcoholic cocktail, with an umbrella sticking out of it, while kicking back at an all-inclusive resort on the French Riviera.
If the first thought and question that crosses your mind and quickly stems from this vision is, “Sign me up – How do I get started?”, I’d suggest taking a minute to recompile your thoughts and come back to join the rest of us in reality.
Not to burst your bubble, but you may be surprised to find out that the majority of new online businesses fail within their first year. Why? The answer lies in the title of this article.
There’s a lot of work involved in successfully starting, advertising, and managing your online business. If you’re willing to put in the blood, sweat, and tears into building a successful website and managing the day-to-day tasks associated with it, you will reap the rewards far beyond what any flavorful treat could do to your taste buds. Before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s recap why most online businesses take a nose dive before they can even get off the ground.
Most common pitfalls that lead to online business failure:
- Taking action too quickly. When your mind is wrapped around the dollar signs, it is only natural to make hasty decisions without taking the unintended consequences into consideration. Try taking a step back and giving your business the opportunity to reach its full potential. This means investing the initial working capital necessary to make this business venture worthwhile.
- Lack of experience or Internet knowledge. Do you, like many people over the age of 65, think that “Firefox” is a type of animal? Do you often confuse “MySpace” with your own private space bubble that nobody can invade? To your knowledge, is “twitter” what your heart does when it beats more rapidly than normal? If your answer was “yes” to any of the above questions, you have some research to do. In an effort to maximize your potential for online success, you must know how web tools work (SEO, SEM, social media and email marketing, etc.) and what your competitors are doing to cut through the Internet clutter and generate website traffic. If you don’t know the Internet frontwards, backwards, sideways, and inside out in this business, you’re equivalent to the ugly kid in a beauty pageant. You just won’t win.
- Poorly designed website. When you see an unattractive, overweight, single lady sitting alone at a bar, is your first thought, “I bet she has a great personality”? I didn’t think so. Human beings are extremely judgmental in nature and generate first impressions of others within the first 7 seconds upon meeting them. What does this mean for your online business? When your website is the face of your business and the first consumer touch point to your brand, a positive first impression is a no-brainer. If you want those who browse your website to disregard their ADD tendencies and concentrate on your website for an extended period of time, you better believe it has to be aesthetically pleasing and easily navigable.
- Lack of focus. I know you are trying to be the best. We all do. However, being the best doesn’t involve selling anything and everything under the sun. When you claim to be an expert auto mechanic, don’t try and sell tools used exclusively for the home. Anything you can do, Home Depot can do it better. To add salt to the wound, you put your credibility on the line when you lose focus and stray too far from your primary business objectives. Exploit your own unique industry strengths to appeal to a select target market of those who value and benefit from your specific products and services. As the saying goes, “If you’re not first, you’re last.”
- Putting too much on your plate. When you load your Thanksgiving plate to the point where it reaches eye level when you are sitting upright, chances are you won’t finish it. Even if you force the last bite down your throat like you’re competing at the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Competition, you will most likely suffer the effects of a food coma that your husband or wife will NOT thank you for later. Building an online business is a heavily involved process that comes with a laundry list of different skills and “to-dos.” When the load gets a bit too heavy to take everything on yourself, consider outsourcing items that you are not quite familiar with or simply don’t have the time to successfully implement in its entirety. To outsource or not to outsource? That is the question.
Once you have built the infrastructure of your business, researched the inner workings of the Internet, created a killer website, and mapped out a cohesive business plan, you may be antsy to set a launch date and get the show on the road.
However, just when you think it’s time to go live is when you must go back to the drawing board. You aren’t going to experience success and online recognition without developing a database of future users and loyal customers. This is where email marketing comes into play. With potential to reach hundreds of thousands of avid Internet users that fit your demographic targeting criteria, your message will circulate among the masses and generate a “buzz” to bring new traffic to your website.
How to effectively use Email Marketing to kick start your website.
If you are a novice in the field of email marketing, research how managed email marketing services can help jump start your business. With this service, you receive one-on-one guidance in all stages of the email marketing process, from the design and development of your email creative to the execution, evaluation and deployment of your email campaign.
If you have already gotten your feet off the ground but just need to streamline your offer toward a specific subset of the population, consider how targeted email marketing services can take your business to the next level.
Lastly, if you have a general B2B or B2C offer and are looking to get the most bang for your buck, unleash the power of the Guaranteed Opens Program to generate mass exposure, all while being assured that your emails are being delivered to the inbox and opened. With access to a live tracking link monitoring your results in real-time, you are able to set a benchmark for constant improvement.
The opportunity is out there. The majority of entrepreneurs are misguided into thinking it’s an easy business venture, and this accounts for the exponential rate of business failure. If you educate yourself on what to avoid and are able to overcome the hurdles in the process, you could be sitting on a remote beach right about now. Think about it.
Rememeber, You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. –Wayne Gretzky
Published by: Meredith Thornton | Category: Blog, Marketing, Sales
Enter yourself in a time capsule and take yourself back to that time you sat in front of your 1st grade elementary school teacher, completely and utterly entrenched by your favorite children’s novel. “Story-time” is what made life worth living – it’s what you looked forward to day after day, and was just about the only excuse to get out of the dreaded nap time.
Fast forward 20, 30, or even 50+ years, and we find that we are still trapped by our own inner child. We experience the same feeling when we get lost in a good book, an Internet article, or a hit television show that we tune in to watch alongside our morning bagel and Starbucks coffee.
What does this mean for marketers? Does it mean we should plaster excerpts of The Three Little Pigs on our landing page to get our website to “stick”? Does it mean we should we gather all of our loyal customers into a huddle and read aloud our blogs and press releases about our products so that maybe, just maybe, they will start hearing you? Not exactly…
Our job as marketers is not to convince our audience that our product is bigger, faster, and stronger than our leading competitors. We are slightly misguided into thinking that outperforming others on one leading performance metric will guarantee success in the marketing race. Not so fast.
Think about what entices you to buy a house. Is it because it has 4 bedrooms, an updated kitchen, and that 2-car garage you’ve always dreamed of? Or is it because when you walked in, you could immediately picture yourself cooking on those granite counter tops for your family, or pulling into that 2-car garage after a sunny Sunday afternoon drive?
As a visual and emotionally-driven race, humans are sold on the story behind a product or service rather than a bullet-point list of its specs and/or features. We want to know how and why it will make our personal or business life that much easier on a day-to-day basis.
There is always a back story, some more interesting than others. Read how it all began in this (not-so-brief ) article: Email Marketing – Looking Back Over the Past 15 Years – (Part 1)
As a primary example of how we apply “storytelling” to our business, take one of our services that we sell daily to small businesses and large corporations alike – the email list cleaning and validation service. The reason we own a large market share in this particular industry is not because we tell our customers that we have a large amount of whitelisted servers running simultaneously that enable us to validate every single email address on a list without ever sending an email to the actual recipient. While this useful tidbit of information might hold the attention of avid email marketers who know the business frontward and backwards, this technical jargon means nothing to the general public. Rather, the typical buyer of this service is simply frustrated with getting blocked or shut down by their ESP because of a high bounce rate from their send and want an easy and cost-effective solution to their problems. As opposed to spurting out details of the intricate email validation process, we sell them on our 95% guarantee that all hard bounces will be removed from their list to give them the peace of mind and a sense of confidence that their future mailing will proceed in a seamless, trouble-free fashion. That’s the whole purpose of even offering this service in the first place, so why beat around the bush with nonsense that gets lost in translation?
It may sound obvious to sell a “feeling,” an “experience,” or a “story” rather than a product or service, but it’s rarely implemented in sales and marketing departments across the globe. As consumers, we’ve become accustomed to and in some cases, immune to salespeople who like to chew our ears off with reasons to buy their product. Why not tweak your marketing strategy just a tad and give your customers what they need to make an informed buying decision?
Post your story online through a series of business blogs, customer testimonials, or even an interactive video on your home page.
The more you know your audience and their buying patters, the more likely you are going to convert them into a sale and eventually into a referral. The added bonus that comes with telling a story about your brand is that stories spread and have the potential to go viral. Next time you get sucked into a heart-wrenching, tear-dropping, action-packed novel, movie, or documentary, remember the power of storytelling and how it could fuel your business in a positive direction.