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Pinstripe Answers: Do email newsletters still work?

by Michael Premo, Senior Content Manager

Remember when email was all we had for direct-to-consumer digital marketing? Today, marketers have so much more at their disposal, such as PPC, chatbots and influencers, that these seem to have pulled away from email’s effectiveness. In some cases, it’s absolutely true. But, for the most part, these newer marketing activities are simply diversifying how we can interact with our clients.

Email’s Effectiveness

Yes, email is probably the oldest digital marketing tool in the shed. It was there at the dawn of the internet and continues to be one of the primary ways businesses communicate. That’s probably why we question its effectiveness. It’s not new, and it certainly isn’t cutting-edge technology. So, the best way to answer this month’s question is through our misconceptions about email.

  • People already get too much email. I don’t want to SPAM them.

Statistics that say the average worker gets 121 emails per day is based on the number of emails sent each day. Only a handful of people get more than that, while most of us get far fewer. Statistics based on averages can be misleading. As a matter of fact, a majority of people get about six or fewer. Plus, we read the email we want to get. So, the key is to send a newsletter that your audience wants to read.

  • I already use social media.

Yes, social media is an effective tool. When you post on social media, you are essentially sending a message directly to your followers, but not all of them, since the algorithm is controlled by Facebook or LinkedIn. Only some of your followers will see it. With email, your messages go directly to their inbox.

  • Emails need to be highly designed.

Actually, the simpler, the better. Email with video or lots of graphical elements may experience more hiccups. Default settings may prevent viewing these, so it’s best to send your message with a few images that are small and quick to download on a mobile phone.

  • Unsubscribes are bad.

Don’t think of unsubscribes as narrowing down your list of subscribers. It’s cleaning it up, updating it, making it more healthy and less obtrusive to those that don’t want to be on it. Remember, a negative impression is hard to turn into a positive one.

  • Some keywords will send it into a junk folder.

The words you use have little or no effect on whether or not an email ends up in the SPAM folder. Internet service providers decide where these messages go, and they are typically guided by who or what sent them and your default settings.

  • It’s too expensive for what it does.

With a good list, the return on your investment is one of the best out there—38:1. For B2B, there’s not always a direct correlation between email and sales, but it does support your sales in a variety of ways. Can your other marketing activities do the same?

Successful email marketing is a combination of many factors. It all begins with your list of clients. Then, you need to understand what they want to read. At Pinstripe, we specialize in communicating the right message with the right audience. We make every email look professional, clean, and easy to read. Our creative team knows what it takes to effectively convey your messaging via email, so contact us to learn more about how we can help you design an email campaign today.

What is Pay Per Click or PPC Marketing?

ppc marketing google ads

by Nikki Devereux, Director of Account Management

In short, if you own a business, it’s something you should be doing! Pay Per Click (PPC) marketing is digital advertising, usually using Google Ads (formerly Google Adwords). Google Ads are the internet’s form of the paid advertisements you find in printed newspapers and magazines.

 

Why Google Ads?

Google search commands the online search market. What did you use the last time you did an internet search? The answer is likely, Google. Therefore, if you’re going to spend your money on PPC advertising, stick with Google Ads for now. It’s the mainstay of pay per click advertising. It’s also made vast improvements to the interface over the years, and as usual, Google is constantly looking for ways to improve the end user’s experience.

 

Who Needs Google Ads?

Everyone who sells a product or service should consider Google Ads as part of their marketing efforts. They can be very inexpensive if executed properly, and the ability to use data to target your audience is priceless. Combined with solid search engine optimization (SEO), Google Ads can increase traffic to your website, at a fraction of the cost of traditional print advertising.

 

What Are Google Ads?

Google Ads can use video content, or they can be text ads. They are brief and to the point, and will contain keywords relevant to the users’ search. They appear on search results pages at the top, the right hand of the page, or the bottom of the search results. They may also appear on other websites, depending on the type of campaign you are creating.

You create a series of text ads using keywords that apply to the product or service you’re offering. Those ads direct your audience to specific pages on your website, called landing pages, designed for the ad. The call to action (CTA) is to the point and achieves the goal of your ad, and the pages are usually quite headfirst.

 

Where Are Google Ads?

First, if you want to set up a Google Ads account, you most likely won’t have a hard time. Anyone with a Gmail account is already halfway there. Google Ads are one of many applications offered in the Google suite – a full list is located in the top right of your Gmail account. Click on the grid of mini white squares.

Second, if you are curious where exactly these Google Ads show up on search pages, chances are you’ve seen them many times. They appear on the first page of search results, either at the top, right, or bottom of the page, depending on their ranking, which is determined by one of Google’s famous algorithms. They have the word “Ad” in a box next to them.

 

How Do I Create a Campaign?

Even though I made all this sound very easy, it’s important to have a strategy in place when you are creating Google Ads. There is no better way to waste money (in any advertising campaign) than to dive in headfirst without a plan. Planning includes competitive and keyword research, building a keyword list, setting goals, and designing landing pages.

Google Ads should be considered an integral part of your marketing strategy. If you are ready to add Google Ads to your digital marketing strategy, get in touch – this is one of the many services Pinstripe Marketing offers.

Zodiac Marketer: Virgo

virgo zodiac marketer_featured

by Nikki Devereux, Director of Account Management

Virgo is our next sign for zodiac marketing: birthdays between August 23 – September 22.

One of the earth signs, Virgo’s strengths are loyal, analytical, and practical. Virgo’s weaknesses are a tendency toward shyness and being overly critical of others and self. We’ll explore ways these positive and negative traits can be applied or avoided in marketing and business practices.

 

Loyalty to Your Brand

The first thing that comes to mind when considering loyalty in marketing is brand loyalty. Consumers stick with a brand for a variety of reasons: great customer service, consistency in taste and feel, sturdiness, reliability, and price. Loyalty to a brand is often seen from a consumer goods perspective, but it can certainly apply to services as well, as in the case of Pinstripe Marketing. When thinking about Pinstripe, our clients choose us, again and again, for marketing services because of some of the best characteristics of our brand:

  • Tailored
  • Experienced
  • Leaders
  • Expertise
  • Quality
  • Strategic
  • Holistic

If taken a step further, loyalty in marketing can also be viewed as loyalty to your brand. What does that mean? Well, loyalty to your own brand means that you would buy your product and stick with your brand. If that’s not the case, then you need to bring your brand up to your own standards. After all, if you wouldn’t consistently use your own product or service, why should you expect anyone else to?

Consider performing a brand audit with a team within your company to determine areas of improvement and places where you can increase value so that company employees, and YOU, will be loyal to your own brand.

 

Analytics and Metrics

These days, marketing uses a lot of data, especially with digital marketing. As a primary way to reach potential and repeat clients, we collect a myriad of data to analyze and maximize every campaign we create.

Measurable data means more predictable sales, more accurate advertising, and more refined solutions and products, all delivered to the correct target audiences. Marketing is now, more than ever, a blend of creativity and metrics—a perfect storm of the two.

The ability to create more targeted campaigns, plus the low price tag on digital ads, means you can spend more time and money on the right strategy. Take advantage of this fact!

Fifteen years ago, your best option was a print ad and postcard mailers. You can spend thousands of dollars on printing, and thousands more publishing the ad in a magazine or newspaper, plus hundreds to thousands on a list of addresses.*

Today, you can define your audience , choose keywords and create ads, then measure your reach within a week. Rather than toss paper to the wind and hope that someone pays attention, you can make adjustments to your campaign, fine tune the target audience in order to spend your budget effectively. Engagement with your ads may cost as little as pennies. That’s the efficiency of digital marketing. As a Virgo, you should not pass up the opportunity to stretch your analytical skills and we all know you love efficiency.

 

Being Practical

Practicality is useful in any business, and it can be a big time and money saver for marketing projects. Project management for marketing involves a lot of moving parts and stakeholders.

Being practical means occasionally making decisions based on time and money, rather than creativity.** Being practical means prioritizing tasks, timelines, and adjusting when necessary. Being practical also means communicating frequently and clearly in order to set expectations, learning from your mistakes and those of others, and applying that knowledge to the next project. There are so many aspects to being practical; without practicality, nothing would ever get done!

 

Avoid: Being Shy

Shyness will get you nowhere with the creative work of marketing and certainly in business in general. If you’re a shy artist, no one will ever see your art. Creative work takes guts because you have to put your ego away and allow criticism to flow without flinching. Well meaning critique leads to growth and innovation; some artists actually seek it out!

If you’re a shy project manager, your project deadlines will extend and your budgets will be blown every time. I understand that some people may be naturally shy and introverted. Try challenging yourself to step outside your norm and be more assertive.

If you’re a shy business development person you won’t be able to build a relationship with the next biggest prospect. People may walk all over you. Business is competitive and you have to put yourself in the spotlight on occasion. Practice in personal relationships and with colleagues, and see how rewarding it can be to operate outside your comfort zone.

In general, no matter what your position or type of work, choose to conquer shyness in order to grow in your career.

 

Avoid: Being Overly Critical in Marketing

Dear Virgo, we all know that you strive for perfection in yourself and sometimes expect it of others too (take it from a fellow Virgo!!). Recently, I read an article with the theme – “Sometimes good enough is good enough.” It discussed perfectionism as an obstacle to progress and success.  This article resonated with me because it points out that extending deadlines and budgets and personnel to achieve the “perfect” design or product is sometimes a simple waste of time. As a project manager, I try to avoid this as often as possible.

Don’t get hung up on minuscule details that no one else will notice. If it’s not a life or death situation (where someone may be physically hurt by a decision), feel out your team and be prepared to let go. Then, take a deep breath and let go. Nothing bad will happen because we know you’ve already covered all the bases!

Being overly critical of yourself and others can backfire in other ways. If you are a creative director or managing a team and you are constantly critical of your team or designers, you could end up offending people and creating an atmosphere of discontent. Learn how to properly and effectively critique any work, creative or otherwise, so that your team can grow rather than feel offended and attacked.

Have you ever experienced any of the above traits in your marketing campaigns or business? We’d love to hear your stories!

* This is not to say that print advertising is pointless and dead. This is to say that lean budgets are best spent in digital advertising so as to maximize the reach. Print advertising, if done correctly, is a perfect supplement to digital advertising and helps to increase brand awareness, among other benefits.

**Though this is never to say that design is sacrificed, but sometimes a creative process can go on and on indefinitely. There needs to be an end so we can close the project and get some results!

Build a Recession Proof Marketing Plan

recession proof marketing_featured

Marketing tends to be one of the first things to go during an economic slowdown, but it shouldn’t be. We all know that the ups and downs in business are inevitable, so we should set in place a marketing strategy that is recession proof.

 

Saving Money Is a Priority

When marketing budgets get slashed, the CFOs are essentially preparing for less cash flow. They are also pulling back their spending on new projects and taking the planning of them in house, if possible. This has been especially true for those in the construction industry. They have to cushion their bottom line during times of a depressed economy.

 

Marketing Opportunity

In 2005, a year before the great recession, I remember how spending was cut way back in the marketing department of the company I worked for. This happens every time. To make matters worse, pulling funds away from marketing will hurt sales. But it’s hard for CFOs to loosen the purse strings.

So, marketing has to be a priority. That’s why we need to be strategic and plan ahead, because it’s actually a time for more opportunities to outshine the competition.

 

Digital Marketing

The online world has brought people closer. It’s created stronger relationships between people and the brands they love. All things digital are no longer an option, they are the norm, and they are necessities.

You really need to have your digital marketing game in play prior to a recession. Every aspect of your digital presence should be established:

  • Mobile friendly website
  • Pay-per-click advertising (Google Ads)
  • Search engine optimization (SEO)
  • Video
  • Email and text-based marketing
  • Social media
  • Organic search (content marketing)

If you don’t have your plan in place now, there probably won’t be any money for it in the budget when the recession hits. The great thing about digital marketing channels is that they are relatively inexpensive. They tend to be much less expensive than traditional marketing and they are easier to measure, so you can take your great results back to your CFO and prove that every penny was worth it!

 

Be Innovative

To capture more attention and a little more share of the market, you’ll need to start doing a few things differently. Otherwise, you’ll end up getting the same results you’ve always had, which is typically not what you want during a downturn.

It’s time to get creative and step outside the box. Innovation often comes from shoestring budgets and lots of positive energy. That energy could be the differentiator in a prospective client’s decision.

Start thinking about what you can do that no one else is doing in your industry. Making yourself more available through new lines of communication is one way. Creating authentic client success stories with an original twist is another. Show them that you’re expert in your field. Start telling your story in new ways, on new channels.

 

Maintaining Contact

One of the biggest challenges for any business during a recession is to maintain in contact with their clients. You don’t want to fall off their radar just because you are doing more with less.

When you maintain a steady presence online and at conferences or events, you’ll stay in touch with your clients. They’ll know that you’re still there for them. Your marketing can do this and there are cost-effective ways of doing it.

Pinstripe has helped local and nationally-based businesses with every aspect of their marketing. We specialize in discovering their personal traits—their corporate character—and putting them on display. Our creative team consists of listeners and discoverers that have an innate ability to help you achieve your vision. Contact us to tell us more about your company and the marketing goals you envision.