Tag email marketing

HubSpot Training Teaches That There’s More to Email Marketing Than Just Clicking Send

Photo credit: Kyle James on Flickr.If you are like me, your email inbox is filled with so many emails that every once in a while you need to set aside some time to the hit the delete button without even bothering to read most of them.

Given all the competition for a person’s attention, it would be easy to think that email marketing is a waste of time.

However, that couldn’t be further from the truth.

As I pointed out in a post last October, a study from Econsultancy found that email marketing was rated as providing good or excellent ROI by agency marketers more often than any other channel, and only organic search was rated as providing good or excellent ROI by more client-side marketers.

However, when Econsultancy asked companies to rate the overall performance of their email marketing campaigns, most said they performed good (37%) or average (44%). In fact, only 4% rated the performance of their email marketing campaigns as excellent.

Clearly there is room for improvement.

HubSpot’s Email Marketing Certification

Although I have been involved in email marketing campaigns in the past, email marketing wasn’t really my specialty.

However, given the fact that 2.6 billion consumers worldwide use email, I understand its importance, particularly for those businesses that are trying to reach consumers on their smartphones.

Therefore, when HubSpot created their Email Marketing Certification, I jumped at the chance to take advantage of the free training that they were offering.

And, I am glad that I did.

According to the HubSpot website, “This advanced email marketing training course will teach you how lifecycle marketing, segmentation, email design, deliverability, analytics and optimization come together to create an email marketing strategy that grows your business, and your career.”

Throughout the training, I was constantly reminded of the fact that marketers today have access to a lot of data that can be used to improve the way that they communicate with customers and prospects.

However, data without the training to know what it is telling you is pretty much worthless.

This certification helps you gain valuable insight from the data and provides you with the background to start creating email marketing campaigns that your current and potential customers will actually open.

Final Thoughts

If done correctly, email marketing can be a very valuable way to communicate with consumers.

In fact, many companies report that email marketing is one of the most effective tools that they have.

However, many companies also think that there is room for improvement.

This is why I jumped at the chance to complete the email marketing certification training that HubSpot offers via the HubSpot Academy.

Overall, I found the email marketing training to be well worth my time and effort.

I should point out that I wasn’t paid to write this and I am not a HubSpot employee or customer.

However, I am a fan of the company and the free information, advice, and training that they offer.

I also believe that when a company does something good for others, people should be made aware of it.

I also want to point out that this wasn’t the first HubSpot certification that I have earned and it definitely won’t be the last.

For more information about the free marketing and sales training that they provide, visit academy.hubspot.com.

Photo credit: Kyle James on Flickr.

Chad Thiele

Marketing analyst and strategist, content curator, applied sociologist, proud UW-Madison alumnus, and an Auburn-trained mobile marketer. My goal is to help businesses identify trends that will help them achieve their marketing objectives and business goals. I'm currently looking for my next career challenge. Please feel free to contact me anytime at: chadjthiele@gmail.com.

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Customers Love Coupons, but Hate the Fine Print

Photo credit: torbakhopper on Flickr.There is a lot of evidence out there that coupons help drive sales.

This is partially due to the fact that customers like coupons.

In fact, I’d even go as far as to say that customers love coupons. They love to receive them and the love to use them.

This is supported by a 2014 study that was conducted by Forrester Research on behalf of RetailMeNot.

According to an article on marketingcharts.com that cites this study, “Some 68% of respondents agreed (top-2 on a 5-point scale) that they are likely to tell a friend about a company that uses online coupons or promotion codes, and an equal 68% agreed that they are more likely to be loyal to a brand that offers online coupons or promotion codes. Lest that loyalty be to price rather than brand, the survey also indicates that half are more likely to buy a product or service at full price later from a company that offers online coupons or promotion codes.”

And, while the percentages vary, most sources indicate that nearly all consumers will use coupons at least once in a while.

Furthermore, according to a press release found on Quotient.com, research conducted by GfK on behalf of Coupons.com found that, “heavy digital coupon users shop 47 percent more often than the average shopper, spending $6,081 annually on groceries and household goods alone — an incredible 114 percent more than the national average.”

Research has even found that coupons make customers happier.

However, while customers do love coupons and even expect retailers to offer them, there is one aspect of a coupon that can provoke ire in even the most loyal customer.

It’s in the Fine Print

If you ask any retail employee, they could no doubt list a countless number of times when customers were happy with the savings that coupons provide.

On the other hand, they could also point out the many times when customers left dissatisfied with the store because they found out that the items that they intended to purchase were excluded. And, the only way to find that out was to read the fine print. Which, by the way, they probably didn’t do, so they brought the items to the register and were forced to pay full price or abandon the purchase.

Matt Brownell, consumer and retail reporter for DailyFinance.com, summarized the frustrations that many consumers have in a 2013 post.

In the post, he states, “When retailers run sales and coupons, they include fine print that limits what the deal actually applies to. In most cases, it’s relatively harmless — it defines the effective dates of the promotion, and may exclude select items like gift cards and jewelry.”

“But problems arise when retailers go totally overboard and try to exclude half the store,” he continues. “Department stores like Sears (SHLD) and Macy’s (M) tend to hold sales that exclude dozens of brands from the discount, and earlier this year Guitar Center took some heat for a coupon that excluded more than 300 brands.”

He goes on to say, “Sure, in a perfect world everyone would read and understand the fine print. But it’s not unreasonable for someone to see ‘20 percent off everything’ and assume that it applies to most of the merchandise in the store.”

And, he’s not the only one to point this out.

Here are some of the tweets that I found posted on Twitter in the last few months.

If these people got mad enough to vent their frustration on Twitter, it is more than likely that there are countless others who just walk away feeling a little less satisfied with the store.

Some businesses have acknowledged the frustration that customers have with the fine print by adding a little humor.

It’s Not Always the Retailer that Is to Blame

A 2015 article by John Matarese for WCPO in Cincinnati also highlights the frustrations that consumers can experience when trying to use coupons.

As he points out in the article, “Perhaps it would be easiest if the coupons simply listed the brands where you can use them.”

However, he also lets retailers, in this case Dick’s Sporting Goods, defend themselves.

According the article, Dicks explained that “manufacturers, not the store, make the rules, and typically do not allow markdowns on current season merchandise.”

Nevertheless, most customers don’t know this and it is the retailer, not the brand, that often takes the hit in customer satisfaction, trust, and brand loyalty.

Final Thoughts

Customers love coupons.

Research has shown that not only do they drive sales and lead to increased brand loyalty, but they could also lead to future sales for full-price items. Researchers have also found that customers who are heavy digital coupon users shop more than the average shopper does.

Therefore, there is no question that coupons are good for business.

However, retailers need to keep in mind that when they offer a coupon that excludes too many of the brands that shoppers really want, it can backfire and actually harm the store’s reputation.

Photo credit: torbakhopper on Flickr.

Chad Thiele

Marketing analyst and strategist, content curator, applied sociologist, proud UW-Madison alumnus, and an Auburn-trained mobile marketer. My goal is to help businesses identify trends that will help them achieve their marketing objectives and business goals. I'm currently looking for my next career challenge. Please feel free to contact me anytime at: chadjthiele@gmail.com.

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Why Sales and Customer Service Staff Should Be Trained in Marketing

Wonderlane on Flickr.Marketers and management know the effect that marketing has on the bottom line.

However, if the sales and customer service staff are not trained in marketing, the business could be missing out on opportunities to increase sales, now and in the future.

The Importance of a Strong Email List

A strong email list is very important to the bottom line.

Marketers know this.

In fact, as a recent eMarketer article points out, a study conducted by Ascend2 in January of 2015 found that email list growth remains a top focus for many marketers.

However, the same study found that 43% of the surveyed marketers said that list growth expertise was an obstacle to email list growth. A similar percentage (39%) said that problems forming an effective strategy hindered the growth of their email marketing list.

The study also examined which tactics marketers thought were most effective and which ones were most difficult for marketers who are looking to grow their email marketing lists.

It is interesting to note that only 11% said that getting customers to opt-in to receive emails while talking to the call center or via in-store capture was the most effective tactic for list growth.

Furthermore, about one in five surveyed marketers said that getting customers to opt-in while talking to the call-center or via in-store capture was the most difficult email list growth tactic.

There are many reasons why call center or in-store capture might be a difficult way to get many customers to opt-in to receive marketing emails.

However, part of the problem here might be the fact that while marketers and management know the value of the email list, sales and customer service staff are not always trained to know the positive effect that each email opt-in has on the business’s bottom line.

Mobile Marketing

Mobile marketing is already very important to the success of many businesses today. And, it will only play a larger role in the future.

Therefore, it is important that marketers and management continually look for ways to meet the needs of customers who are using mobile devices in many different settings.

Keep in mind, there are a lot of ways that customers can interact with your business via a mobile phone, including SMS, MMS, QR Codes, the mobile web, and proprietary mobile apps. The business might also partner with third party apps to help drive sales.

If customer service and sales staff are not trained on the latest ways mobile phones are being used to increase sales, the business will be missing out on an opportunity to educate the customer and possibly get an opt-in.

Furthermore, as I pointed out in a post last year, having sales and customer service employees who are not trained properly in the different ways that customers are interacting with the business via a mobile device can lead to frustration and delays in transaction time, which can lead to decreased customer satisfaction and fewer sales.

Some Possible Remedies

The most important thing is to provide proper training to your sales and customer service employees.

This will allow them to provide knowledgeable answers to questions about your mobile and email marketing campaigns. It will also give them the knowledge needed to “sell” customers on the value of downloading your mobile app or opting in to your email or SMS marketing campaigns.

Keep in mind, the hard sell is not needed and may end up backfiring.

More subtle techniques such as educating and showing customers all the ways that they can save money might be better.

For example, if the business offers discounts or coupons on their proprietary mobile app, have staff mention it to customers and educate them about how to use the app, if needed. If the brand is partnering with third-party apps, suggesting that customers use them might also be a good idea.

Furthermore, some stores offer discounts when customers opt-in to receive marketing emails at the cash register. This is something that your business might want to consider.

Final Thoughts

Marketers are trying to reach their customers in some very innovative ways in order to provide them with value that will lead to a sale.

Sales and customer service staff have a great opportunity to educate customers about the value that these marketing campaigns can provide.

However, this is only possible if sales and customer service staff are properly trained on the different ways that your business is marketing its products and services to customers and prospects.

Photo credit: Wonderlane on Flickr.

Chad Thiele

Marketing analyst and strategist, content curator, applied sociologist, proud UW-Madison alumnus, and an Auburn-trained mobile marketer. My goal is to help businesses identify trends that will help them achieve their marketing objectives and business goals. I'm currently looking for my next career challenge. Please feel free to contact me anytime at: chadjthiele@gmail.com.

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Your Email Marketing Campaigns Could Cost More Than You Think

Internet email.Email marketing can be an effective way to reach your target audience.

However, sending too many email messages to the wrong audience or even the right audience at the wrong time might not only be a waste of time and money, but it might also hurt future sales.

Furthermore, if you don’t comply with the current laws and regulations, your business could face penalties that can have a huge impact on your bottom line.

If Done Correctly, Email Marketing Is Very Effective

As a recent eMarketer article points out, email marketing is a very valuable way to reach your customers and prospects.

The article points out that a recent study conducted by The Relevancy Group found that US marketing executives believe that email alone accounts for nearly the same amount of revenues as all other types of digital advertising combined.

The same eMarketer article cites an Econsultancy study that found that email marketing was thought to provide excellent or good ROI by more agency marketers than any other channel. And, only organic search was thought to have excellent or good ROI by more client-side marketers.

These stats definitely suggest that email marketing works.

Spam Is in the Eye of the Beholder

As I pointed out in a post back in 2011, sending email to the wrong person or even the right person at the wrong time can have a negative impact on a customer’s perception of your business.

Also keep in mind, what you think is relevant and what your customers and prospects think is relevant can often be two very different things.

That is why measuring and testing the effectiveness of your email marketing efforts is so important.

CAN-SPAM Law

If your business is just starting to explore using email marketing, there are rules and regulations that you need to be aware of.

In particular, you need to comply with the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003, which was signed into law on December 16, 2003 by President George W. Bush. This law established the United States’ national standards for sending commercial email and is enforced by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

A YouTube video released by the FTC provides examples of the guidelines email marketers need to follow in order to comply with the CAN-SPAM Act.

These guidelines include requiring that you not use false or misleading header information or deceptive subject lines in your marketing emails. You must also clearly and conspicuously disclose that the email is an advertisement and the email must include your physical address.

The FTC video also points out that you must provide a way for recipients to opt-out of receiving future emails from your business. When someone contacts you to opt-out of your emails, you must delete them from your email database within 10 business days. Furthermore, once they unsubscribe, you can’t share their email address with any other marketers.

Finally, maybe the most important thing that they point out in the video is that you are responsible for complying with the law even if you hire a vendor to handle your email marketing efforts for you. Businesses that don’t comply with the law can face fines of up to $16,000 per violation.

Final Thoughts

Email is a very effective marketing tool if used correctly.

However, sending too many emails to the wrong people or to the right people at the wrong time can potentially have a negative impact on long-term sales.

Furthermore, it is absolutely necessary that you make sure that you are complying with the CAN-SPAM Act before you send out your marketing emails to customers and prospects.

If you use a vendor, be sure they are up-to-date on the current laws.

It is also in your best interest to check with a lawyer even if you are using a vendor to handle your email marketing. This will help ensure that your next email marketing campaign doesn’t cost you more than it’s worth.

Note: The information in the blog post is not legal advice. As just mentioned, it is recommended that you contact a lawyer to ensure that all your email marketing efforts comply with current laws and regulations, including the CAN-SPAM Act.

Photo credit: twitter.com/mattwi1s0n on Flickr.

Video credit: Federal Trade Commission on YouTube.

Chad Thiele

Marketing analyst and strategist, content curator, applied sociologist, proud UW-Madison alumnus, and an Auburn-trained mobile marketer. My goal is to help businesses identify trends that will help them achieve their marketing objectives and business goals. I'm currently looking for my next career challenge. Please feel free to contact me anytime at: chadjthiele@gmail.com.

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An Excellent Resource for Internet Marketing Advice – HubSpot

HubSpot Inbound Marketing UniversityIf you are looking to leverage the power of the Internet to help grow your business, one of the first places I’d suggest that you look is HubSpot.

According to the “Company Fact Sheet” on hubspot.com, “HubSpot is an Internet marketing startup whose software helps businesses get found online, generate more inbound leads and convert a higher percentage of those leads into paying customers. HubSpot’s software platform includes tools that allow professional marketers and small business owners to manage search engine optimization, blogging and social media, as well as landing pages, lead intelligence and marketing analytics.”

However, you don’t need to be a paying customer to benefit from HubSpot’s expertise.

HubSpot provides many free resources that your business can use to keep up with the latest inbound marketing trends and best practices.

I have been a fan of HubSpot ever since I first tuned in to the Marketing Update (formerly HubSpot TV) back in the summer of 2009. This is a great resource if you want keep up with the latest inbound marketing news. (You can watch HubSpot’s Marketing Update live at 4 p.m. EST every Friday.)

Since then, I have learned a lot from HubSpot’s many white papers, webinars and blog posts.

HubSpot also speaks at, sponsors and participates in various industry conferences and events, including OMMA Global, PubCon, Business of Software, Online Market World, Search Engine Strategies, SMX, Venture Summit, Inbound Marketing Summit,  etc.

In fact, earlier this year I attended an AMA Tampa Bay event that featured HubSpot’s Ellie Mirman. As you would expect, it was a very informative event.

Inbound Marketing University

Recently, I earned my Inbound Marketing Certification from the Inbound Marketing University after completing its comprehensive Internet marketing training program.

The training program currently includes 18 in-depth classes covering each facet of inbound marketing.

The courses are taught by some of the most respected names in Internet marketing today, including New York Times’ best-selling author Chris Brogan, Google Analytics Evangelist Avinash Kaushik, best-selling author and international speaker David Meerman Scott, best-selling author and co-founder of Alltop.com Guy Kawasaki, and more.

Inbound Marketing Certification from HubSpot's Inbound Marketing UniversityTo earn the Inbound Marketing Certification, students must pass the comprehensive certification exam that includes 50 multiple choice and true & false questions.

As stated on the site, “The Inbound Marketing Certification acknowledges the recipient’s proficiency in Inbound Marketing principles and best practices. These principles include: blogging, social media, lead conversion, lead nurturing, and closed-loop analysis.”

In order to earn the Inbound Marketing Certification, the student must receive a score of 75% or higher on the comprehensive certification exam.

The Honors Distinction is awarded to the top 15% of exam takers. To receive this honor, test takers must earn a score of 90% or higher.

The Inbound Marketing University training program is administered by HubSpot.

And, the best part… both the training and certification are completely free.

For more information, visit inboundmarketing.com.

Final Thoughts

As I mentioned earlier, I have been a fan of HubSpot since the summer of 2009.

They are a very respected company that definitely delivers value to their customers.

According to co-founder and CTO Dharmesh Shah, “The average HubSpot customer grows their lead generation by 32% monthly, and over 80% of customers report increased web traffic and lead generation when using HubSpot software. 85% of HubSpot customers recommend the software to their friends.”

However, as I mentioned before, you don’t need to be a paying customer to gain from HubSpot’s expertise.

Chances are that your business could benefit from the wide range of free resources that are available from HubSpot, including their many webinars, white papers, and blog posts.

Futhermore, even if you don’t take the certification exam, HubSpot’s Inbound Marketing University is definitely worth the time and effort. And, it’s free.

So what are you waiting for? Head over to hubspot.com to find out more information.

Photo credit: jameskm03 on Flickr.

Chad Thiele

Marketing analyst and strategist, content curator, applied sociologist, proud UW-Madison alumnus, and an Auburn-trained mobile marketer. My goal is to help businesses identify trends that will help them achieve their marketing objectives and business goals. I'm currently looking for my next career challenge. Please feel free to contact me anytime at: chadjthiele@gmail.com.

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Your Successful Marketing Campaigns Might Be Hurting Your Business

Photo credit: billibala on Flickr.When you measure the success of your marketing campaigns, are you looking at all the right metrics? And, are you defining success correctly?

Depending on what you are measuring and how success is defined, some of your most successful marketing campaigns could be hurting your business in the long run.

Need an example?

Okay, let’s focus on email marketing.

Specifically, let’s look at the most dreaded form of email marketing: Spam.

Spam Is in the Eye of the Beholder

Merriam-Webster defines spam as, “unsolicited usually commercial email sent to a large number of addresses.”

In his book, titled “The Big Red Fez: How to Make Any Web Site Better,” (affiliate link) Seth Godin says that he doesn’t have a definition of spam. Instead, he believes that unsolicited email is whatever the recipient defines as unsolicited.

He gives an example of an email that he felt was unsolicited.

As a result of receiving the email, he trusts the business less, is less likely to read their email, and is less likely to sign up for something new from them.

Godin goes on to say, “Did the brand manager get a 5 percent sign-up rate? Probably. Was it profitable, at least in the short run? Definitely. But some day, they’ll realize that it cost them something big with the other 95 percent of their customer base.”

Now, yes, I am aware that this is only Seth Godin’s opinion, and an n of 1 does not constitute a trend.

But, Seth Godin is a very intelligent guy. And, I think he was on to something.

In my opinion, this is a concept that businesses should think about more often.

Final Thoughts

As I have said before, businesses need to measure the success of their marketing campaigns in order to make adjustments and justify the expenses to senior management.

There are many ways that marketing campaigns can be measured. This is particularly true in the online world.

However, some of the marketing campaigns that businesses consider successful and profitable in the short term might actually be costing them more than they think when lost customers and future revenues are factored in.

This concept doesn’t only apply to email marketing.

The long-term effects of a marketing campaign should be considered when businesses do any kind of marketing.

This is just something to think about.

Photo credit: billibala on Flickr.

Chad Thiele

Marketing analyst and strategist, content curator, applied sociologist, proud UW-Madison alumnus, and an Auburn-trained mobile marketer. My goal is to help businesses identify trends that will help them achieve their marketing objectives and business goals. I'm currently looking for my next career challenge. Please feel free to contact me anytime at: chadjthiele@gmail.com.

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