Best Email Marketing Practices for Lead Generation

Isn’t email outmoded? It is a running curiosity of many on what email marketing can do. In fact, competitive advertising mediums have appeared over the years, and many others had headed off to other advertising alternatives, such as Facebook and Twitter. While email marketing may not be grabbing as much attention compared to the newer advertising platforms, its potential to generate leads and convert more prospects for your business is not to be disparaged.

With that in mind, we would like to share some email marketing practices that can be used to generate leads for your business.

1.    Include Incentives in Subject Lines to Increase Open Rates
The inclusion of incentives in a subject line can act as a good attention grabber for your email campaigns and this can bring in an increase of as much as 50% for open rates. “Free shipping when you spend $25 or more” and “Receive a free iPod with demo” are examples of good, incentive-focused subject lines.

2.    Build Urgency in Subject Lines
By increasing the level of urgency in your subject lines, it can help to potentially increase your open rates. The idea behind this is to capture the hearts of recipients who are unwilling to miss out on this promotion race and give them some indication of what to expect once they open the email.

However, this practice can only be effective when it is used properly and at the same time, providing real value to it.

3.    Keep the Main Message and Call-to-Action Buttons at a Visible Location
it is important to flash your call-to-action buttons at a visible location so that we’ll not miss the 70% of the recipients who may potentially click on that button. On top of that, any call-to-action should be repeated at least 3 times throughout the email so as to get the attention we needed from our recipients.

4.    Keep Your Email 500-650 Pixels Wide
Avoid going wider than 650 pixels as this is quite a turn-off for the recipients then to scroll horizontally just to read the entire email.

5.    Place Your Brand Logo at the Top Left-Hand Corner of the Email
Eye tracking studies have found that people instinctively look for logos in the upper left-hand side of emails. It is advisable to place your logo at the recommended location so as to attain high visibility for your brand name.

6.    Write Concise and Compelling Subject Lines
A good subject line should be short and sweet with no more than 30 to 50 characters in it. Go straight to the point by highlighting the incentives and deadlines for promotion to increase the level of urgency in your email campaign.

7.    Create Email Campaigns Close to Landing Pages
Your email campaign and landing page should match in terms of headline, copy, and content. The design or appearance of your landing page should also look similar to the email campaign.

At the same time, it is important to avoid mistakes such as linking to the wrong landing page as this will incurred higher bounce rates for your email campaign.

8.     Conduct Test Blast
Send a test blast copy to yourself using different email clients such as Outlook, Mozilla Thunderbird, Gmail, Yahoo! Mail and Windows Live Hotmail. This helps you to reconfirm if the design, fonts and links are correctly incorporated before doing the blasts to your subscribers.

Email Marketing may be considered as one of the most traditional online advertising tool, yet it is without a doubt reliable in meeting your marketing goals. Eventually these efforts will be translated into loyalty from your subscribers and even conversions as it goes.

So do not hesitate to email us your queries or any suggestions that you might have on Email Marketing. Clickr will be most obliged to help!

Image courtesy of Nethzah

Image Courtesy of Nethzah

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Google AdWords – Video Ads on Google Display Network (GDN) & YouTube

It has been awhile since we touched on Online Display Advertising, with the previous topic on the Display Ad Network – How to target by Topic Targeting. Today, let’s retain our focus on yet another area of display advertising, Video Ads. Our discussion would be specific to Google Video Ads, and its latest innovations.

We all know that online viewership is growing. It was reported on YouTube that “over 3 billion videos are viewed every day by over 800 million visitors every month” and “more than 48 hours of video is uploaded every minute”.  This leads us to the question – So how can we then effectively target and engage these online users?

The answer? Google Adwords Video Advertising. The platform not only enables you to reach out to your customers via the Google Display Network, but also on YouTube, as well as on TV with Google TV Ads.

Click-to-Play Video Ads (via Google Display Network)

Unlike pop-ups or video ads that play immediately upon mouseovers, Click-to-Play ads are non-intrusive as users are able to choose whether or not they would like to view the ad by clicking on them.

Here are some tips provided by Google, and we do strongly advocate as well, that you can follow when creating an effective Video Ad:

  1. Similar to text ads, it is important to attract users first with a clear and strong call-to-action. As these are click-to-play ads, the ad will display a static opening image before it starts playing upon being clicked on. It is important to impress and entice your audience with a clear and high-quality image accompanied with a simple and strong message.
  2. Draggy and long-winded messages tend to put viewers to sleep after 45 seconds. Hence, it is vital to capture their attention within the first 30-45 seconds with an interesting storyline/message.
  3. Use colours, animations and images that are pleasing to the eye. In other words, using bright colours may attract (or distract) your audience, but it may also cause them to find the ad blinding or annoying. Thus, choose them appropriately and ensure that these points are taken into consideration while creating the video ad.

Above is an example of a Click-to-Play Video Ad being targeted on the Google Display Network for a 2010 City Chain Singapore campaign that Clickr had previously managed.

 

For DIY/self-serve purposes, Google Adwords has a “Display Ad Builder” tool, which allows marketers to create professional-looking image and video ads to showcase their businesses online. View the following video on an Introduction to the Display Ad Builder tool:

YouTube Preview Image

You can also follow the Online Tutorial on how to create ads within minutes:

YouTube Preview Image

Promoted Video Ads (via YouTube)

Apart from being able to target on the Google Display Network, you can also choose to target YouTube by leveraging on the pool of users and viewers that stream in to view videos every day.

Google’s new YouTube Video Advertising enables marketers to grab customer’s attention with Promoted Video Ads and this can be done in 3 simple steps:

  1. Upload a video, choose a thumbnail picture and write a clear description/message.
  2. Target your specified audience by keywords and categories. Similar to Google Search campaigns, set a budget and bid for your targeting options.
  3. View results and optimize the campaign.
YouTube Preview Image

To better target your video ads on YouTube, Google also has a YouTube Video Targeting Tool to help find the right channels, videos and categories for your campaign. Only 2 steps are required:

1. Select the geographic region to target and format of the ads

Image courtesy of Google AdWords

2. View the various categories, videos and channels available on YouTube or filter your search by Audience/Keywords and choose the placements to target. Save these placements to your AdWords campaign.

Image courtesy of Google AdWords

Full length video tutorial as follows:

YouTube Preview Image

The benefits of Promoted Video ads are that they are well targeted, relevant to what users are searching for and that you only have to pay when someone clicks on your promoted video link, not by impressions. By setting a comfortable budget and bid, you are not only in control of where your ads will be seen on YouTube, but also how often they can be displayed daily.

To find out more about how Clickr Media would be able to help create and manage your Google Video Campaigns, contact us now!

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Facebook Pages & Applications: HTTPS Update, OAuth 2.0 & How It All Affects Your Business

Facebook officially enforced the change for Pages and Applications to provide a secure connection and environment (HTTPS and OAuth 2.0) for their users to interact with customized content on the Facebook Platform. Were you ready for the change? Is your application still locked in Sandbox mode today? What is HTTPS and why do you need to switch? What is going on?

In May 2011, Facebook announced on their Developer’s Roadmap the intention to complete the migration of all Facebook pages and applications towards a more secure platform using HTTPS and OAuth 2.0 by 1st October 2010. Given the open nature of the internet and the sensitivity of the data users put online these days, this move has been seen as long overdue by many in the Tech industry. So, how does browsing Facebook over HTTPS help you secure your information? If you are unsure of what HTTPS does, it simply means that there are additional layers of verification and encryption to who is receiving your data and how your data is being transmitted and received. To find out exactly how does HTTPS work, simply google “HTTPS”.

If you have yet to enable HTTPS for your Facebook Page and/or Application, you will notice that Facebook has put your page and/or application into a “Sandbox” mode. Users can see that your page/application exists, but they will not be able to access your page/application. During this transition period, users can still access your sand-boxed page/application though by disabling secure browsing.

So what does this update really bring for us everyday users like you and me?

You as a User

On the surface as a user, the visible effect of the changes are not much, compared to the launch of Timeline on Facebook this week. You probably did not even feel the change before reading this. You will notice that there is an extra S in the http you see in the address bar, your favourite applications are no longer working (fix this application!) and you get lots of pop up messages from Facebook asking you to disable secure browsing only to realize that you need to restart Facebook to be back on secure mode.

What is important, however, are the changes that is not so visible.

Being on secure mode means that the data we send and receive goes through an additional layer of encryption and decryption. On normal broadband speeds, this is hardly noticeable. However if you are surfing on a 3G network or on a slow connection, you will notice that ALL pages on Facebook will take a longer time to load.

What you are trading all these inconveniences for, is essentially a peace of mind. Given the recent incidents on the security loopholes in many companies on the internet, this added security means it is harder for your account and information to be hijacked by malicious software and hackers. This change also opens up more options in terms of services which companies can offer on Facebook with a secure platform. E-Commerce, access to Banks and Government services are just some of the few possibilities on the horizon.

As a user, you might not be getting much except for security at the moment, but once things starts to get integrated together, that is when things starts to get fun and exciting!

You as a Developer

The first and foremost concern which most developers have when they heard about the move to HTTPS was the cost. In order to provide a HTTPS connection for Facebook to connect to their content, developers now need to ensure that the site they are hosting on has a valid SSL certificate. And this certificate is not free. Some hosts provide add-on services which you can opt-in for SSL certificate at an additional monthly premium, some hosts do not provide the certificate and require you to secure your own.

For developers working in a corporate environment, this is not an issue as the cost is borne by the company. The hardest hit will be the casual or freelance developers who have to now either pay from their own pocket or transfer the costs to the clients. This change will effectively cause a shift in the freelance / casual developers community in time to come. Will we see a collaboration in the community to create a shared SSL service to defray the costs? How will they work around this issue?

Delivering secure content over the web using HTTPS involves verification of the host and encryption/decryption of the transmitted data. These additional steps will introduce overheads in processing time for web pages. Web page optimization will become even more important when it comes to delivering content with high user experience satisfaction. For browsing HTTPS over broadband, the difference will not be noticeable. However more and more users are surfing the web on tablets and mobile phones using 3G and public WIFI connections. Is your application today well optimized to deliver content over slower networks with HTTPS?

With this step taken towards a more secure platform, Facebook is opening up doors for developers to create applications that was considered unsuitable due to security concerns. What will be the next application you’ll be working on? Let us know!

You as a Business Owner

If today you have yet to update your pages and applications to work on the secure platform, the good news is, users can still access them for the time being.

However, each time they access your page/application, Facebook will prompt them to disable secure browsing first. Not exactly a good way to encourage users to interact and engage your brand. And you know that once the User un-like your page, it can create a domino effect and it will be difficult to get them back.

This change in secure browsing is essentially the first step towards opening up users, corporations and governments to be more receptive to the idea of performing secure transactions on Facebook. Once the momentum catches on, you will be able to integrate your pages and applications with services from all sectors, from entertainment, education, e-commerce, work related applications, government services and so on.

Are you in the right position in this change to come? Getting out of the Sandbox is fast, easy and does not need to be costly. Feel free to ask Clickr today!

On the Near Horizon

Now let’s look ahead. The next change will begin in January 1st 2012, when Facebook stops supporting all pages previously done using FBML, and finally pulling the plug on FBML pages on the 1st of June, 2012. So if you have yet to begin updating your current Facebook pages and applications, do not procrastinate any longer, or you will be more than just 2 steps behind the world. For a free consultation, ask Clickr today!

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Facebook Timeline and Social Media Marketing

A week ago, Facebook announced a revamp of the Facebook profile at the annual F8 conference. Among the multiple updates announced, Facebook introduced “Facebook Timeline”, A revamped profile that let’s you share the events, highlights, places, photos happening in your life with your friends on Facebook. One interesting point about timeline is that it allows users to go back in time, and update important events and photos that happened in their lives.

Here’s an introduction video of Timeline to get an idea of how your Facebook page is going to look like!

YouTube Preview Image

Besides allowing you to have a chronological order to the events updated on your Facebook page, one new addition featured in the updated timeline is the introduction of updated Facebook apps, which will alert you to the online games, apps, which your friends are using. This new capability will change the experience of using Facebook in a very fundamental way. It will have the more immediate, real-time feel of Twitter–when you merely “like” something, your friends might see that sometime later. But if you click on a stream to tune in, your friend will know that immediately.

This all looks great, but what does it mean in terms of social media marketing?

Moving beyond the Like

One aspect of Facebook timeline and the apps that are featured (e.g. social cooking, spotify, etc) is that our considerations for Facebook’s performance has to go beyond the number of Likes to a page or the number of interactions for an app. It is important to start looking at how your apps and your page are performing in terms of its usage among users, as well as its viral effect in influencing others to using your app.

Going forward, facebook apps would need to consider further on the sharing options of their application, to focus on more methods to allow users who want to share their usage of the application with their friends. As these application updates are automatic without users doing the sharing on their own, Application developers need to consider the right updates which users would like to share about.

More information from users

By encouraging users to go backwards to update their timeline, it is expected that such information would play a part to allow marketers to gain more information from users in Facebook. In addition, all data in timeline is kept stored on Facebook literally forever, which would give marketers even more data to use in their options to market to these users.

For example, besides targeting Facebook users based on those who have “jogging” listed in their interests, marketers can eventually know and target the users who have used a jogging application, or those who have participated in running or jogging events previously.

When it comes to changes on Facebook, the immediate response from users would be initial resistance to the change (as per all changes which occur to Facebook previously), followed by security issues of users unwittingly exposing their information to other users due to changes in page security settings. Eventually, users would get used to the new changes implemented.

Timeline is expected to be launched in the next few weeks. We are definitely looking forward to its official launch! In the meantime, if you have more questions on Facebook marketing, or would like to find out more about social media marketing, feel free to contact us!

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Keeping Your Business Facebook Page Alive

In this article, I will touch on the importance of social media marketing (especially Facebook in particular) for the business owner. I will also be sharing some tips that may help you in keeping your Facebook page alive.

Many business owners always find it a struggle to keep their Facebook page alive! There are many doubts that come to the owners’ minds when it comes to managing their business pages on Facebook. Some of these doubts and fears are, “What should I update?” “What should I include in my Facebook page?” “Why do I even need one, when I have a website?!”

The list goes on, but the main thing that business owners do not realize is the critical impact that social media marketing could have on their businesses.

Social media marketing (SMM) will soon be inevitable for all business in the next few years. It might even be a substitute to some form of  traditional advertising. The objective of SMM is to forge bonds with your fans, eventually convert them into your customers, and build up the loyalty of these customers towards your product/business.

But most owners do not know the best way to maintain their pages, and eventually these pages would die off due to lack of correspondence and updating. To prevent that from happening, here are some tips to keep your Facebook page alive!

Make Your Posts/Updates Interactive

Most of the time, we would know what to update in our Facebook page when we first started using it. However as times goes, we are uncertain of the things that we want to share on.

In order to connect with your fans, it is recommended to have updates that would allow your fans to share their views on the subject matter. For example, a simple post to share on your pages could be, “Share with us what do you like about (your product name)?”

Frequency of updates

It is especially important that you constantly update your Facebook page, so that your fans would not think that your page is inactive or dead. In particular, take the effort to update your page on every alternate day. The preferred time to update would be in the morning or in the evening during the day, as that is the time that most people are online and active on their Facebook page.

Variation of updates posting

Updates may not be just a sentence or two. It can take in the form of a video or picture or even an article. Fans tend to pay a lot more attention towards video and picture, so look out for interesting things that is happening in your business. Snap it and post it up!

There are definitely more ways to keep your facebook page up-to-date. If you are interested in finding out more how Facebook marketing can help, feel free to contact us!

 

 

 

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3 Ways Franchises Can Make Use Of Social Media

Many people join franchises is because they have a proven system, which allows individuals to take part in a proven business. Furthermore, it is less risky to join a franchise system as there are slightly lesser risks involved compared to a new business venture.

Not only will franchisees receive training from the franchisors on business operations, they would also gain marketing benefits when there are nationwide marketing campaigns provided by the franchisors. Marketing campaigns will include advertising, sales promotion, public relations and branding of the franchise business.

Besides traditional marketing campaigns, franchises can also leverage on social media as an additional platform for their A&P campaigns. Here are some ways to do so!

1) Decrease cost by substituting print coupons with e-coupons

This will seek to eliminate the cost of printing coupons and vouchers. Furthermore, when users use e-coupons, it can be spread virally to their friends and family members. This promotion can also be easily communicated through the use of smartphones. This will help businesses to gain more conversions which were spread by users, when they were to share it with their friends on social media. One good example is McDonald’s, where Facebook and other social media tools were used to spread their “one for one” promotions.

2) Nationwide Advertising
This form of advertisement through the social media offers a great value. This is because it is an inexpensive way of advertising instead of the traditional advertising channels such as newspaper and magazine advertising. This will be especially effective when your fans share the information that was posted. This will certainly benefit franchisees in their business, as they are part of the same franchise brand.

3) Increase public relations
Using social media will allow the franchise business to strengthen the image of the company as they are able to highlight on reviews and articles by independent organizations as well as individual users. This will benefit not just the franchise business but also the franchisees, as they will be able to increase more sales through the wider spread of benefits from the A&P.

Therefore, through social media, it would not only increase the overall franchise’s brand name, it would also have a larger impact on the franchisee’s individual businesses.

If you would like to find out more about how social media can help your business, feel free to speak to us to find out how we would be able to help :)

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Weekly Favorites – 9 September 2011

Hi, Clickr friends, welcome to another exciting Friday, where we await the weekend to start. One interesting thing to share about the Clickr team – every friday is casual friday. Granted, we are a casual bunch (jeans everyday!), but on Fridays, we welcome in the weekend by wearing any attire that makes us comfortable – shorts and sandals are a big favorite!

In the meantime, here’s a list of some interesting links and stories we have encountered over this week.

The Top Five Social Media Mistakes

These top five social media mistakes are evidently true, especially for those whom are started out doing social media marketing for your company. Learnt to avoid them and it will keep you going in the long run.

6 Tips to Keep Blog Visitors On Your Site

Have you ever find it hard to get readers to frequently visit your blog? These 6 tips not only will enhance and increase your blog’s readership, it would also improve on your blog’s image too. Check it out!

Screen and Street Appeal: Building a Business to Thrive Online and Offline

This article serves as a guide while crafting a storyboard for your website. This is especially important when you would like to communicate consistency to your client about what products and services you are offering.

Who Does Facebook Think You Are Searching For?

Have you wondered if facebook is able to come out with a list of your friends whom you’ve been constantly searching for? This concise article will show you how Facebook does it. Try out the experiment on the page, the results may surprise you!

Facebook Search Listing

 

 

Have a good day ahead :)

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Google Adwords Express for Business

In July 2011, Google created Google Adwords Express which allowed small business owners to create basic text ads to run on Google’s search engine. This simplified adwords system would allow small time business owners to be able to advertise online and compete with their larger competitors, with less trouble and hassle for these business to manage their online advertising. Curious to find out more about this, I did a quick test to run through on the Adwords Express interface.

To start with, the adwords express ties in closely with your business location, so it allows you to create your business listing on Google places at the same time. In addition, the setup process is kept as simple as possible.

Looks not too bad so far. However, upon further exploration, there appears to be some really major issues using this as an advertising platform:

1) No selection of keywords

According to Adwords Express – “When you sign up for AdWords Express, we suggest category options for your AdWords Express ad. These categories are selected for your listing based on the categories that you chose when you signed up for your free Places listing.

Once you select a category, a list of keywords associated with that category is added to your account.”

In layman terms, Google would determine on the keywords that your ad would appear in, depending on which category your business fits into. However, these keyword categories remain broadly targeted. For example, for Clickr Media’s online marketing business, we can only select topics relating to “Marketing Services” within Google’s topics for selection. We would not be able to target specifically on Internet marketing or online marketing related keywords, but only on marketing services related terms as a whole. There is no option available to select which type of keywords you would be appearing in.

2) No Bidding Management

Besides no selection of keywords, Adwords Express provides users with the “convenience” of no bidding needed for their keywords and ads. In this case, there is no control for users to choose the cost which they would be paying for each click incurred. This makes the campaign setup vague and not transparent in terms of how much clicks you would be targeting to achieve for your campaign, as well as the cost which you are spending for clicks to your ads.

3) No Landing Page Targeting

Another major disadvantage of Adwords Express is that there is no option to select specific landing pages within your website to target your keywords to. For example, if you business is selling on digital cameras, you should sell your ads on digital cameras to the specific page on your website which features on these products. However, this would not be possible for Adwords Express, which only targets your ads to the main page of your website.

 

Overall, Adwords Express offers smaller businesses such as kiosks and traditional brick-and-mortar shops with the ability to feature their ads and their store location on Google’s search results.

However, Adwords Express remains unsuitable for businesses which need to feature on their products and services online, and does not provide businesses with the ability to monitor and improve on their campaigns. For such businesses, it is important to understand, track and improve on the performance of your campaign. For Clickr Media, we would be able to help you out on your pay-per-click search engine marketing campaigns, from campaign text and keyword setup, to managing its advertising performance and maximizing your ROI.

To find out more about how Clickr Media would be able to help your business, contact us now!

 

 

 

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Email Marketing – Recipe to Brand Building

Email marketing is a promotional activity that strategically promotes your products, services or promotions through electronic massages or emails. Usually people see email campaigns as a tool to sell a product or service. However, looking at it on a bigger picture, we don’t see it as a tool to sell, but a tool to build and attract – by building your brand and attracting your potential customers.

First of all, a simple email campaign is always equipped with social media elements, such as Facebook and twitter.

Such incorporation is intelligently installed for the convenience of our recipients for just 2 purposes:

  • Increasing the brand exposure to people who are unaware of it.
  • Increasing the conversation rate.

The incorporation of social media elements within the eDMs is brilliant to start with as its function is to bring your campaign out of the box and out of the your email. With the help of Facebook and Twitter, email marketing can just be as evolutionary with the help of social media platform.

Try playing around with your creativity. In fact email marketing is like a door-to-door salesman. Results produced with every knock he has made and every unit he has visited. In the process, they make a point to build relationships with their clients and that comes in a package of reputation and credibility earned.

This is the recipe to brand building. On the long run, they created an impression, and a presence, which will eventually be seen as cost-effective benefits. However, it might still be mystery to some if such efforts can be translated into results in real life.

Campaigns getting siphoned from inboxes into spam folders, blacklisted, or blocked for certain reasons. Ultimately, do we still see a point in putting faith on email marketing?

My answer is YES. Chances differ from time to time, but let’s say email marketing do have the proficiency to grow a brand into something big. Here is where the power of social media comes in.  One ‘Liked’ at YouTube or even one fan in Facebook can work just as well as bee pollination. One dispersed seed will eventually grow into a flower. Another bee came along for pollination and the cycle repeats. As we witness the flowers blooming in process, we will see smiles lighting up on the faces of our clients and marketers because we see this as an opportunity to higher conversation rate. Higher chances of exposing your campaigns to new faces are equivalent to higher probabilities of growing your brand bigger and louder.

Even without the ‘likes’ and the fans, we can still judge success through open rates and click-through rates. On a long run, will your name make an impression to your target audience? I wouldn’t say a ‘loud’ impression, but YES, they will remember you. That is the first step to embark when it comes to brand building.

Now that you know more about email marketing and how its done, why not try it out to see how it can work for you? Feel free to contact us if you wish to try it out!

 

 

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Weekly Favorites – 29 July 2011

Its the last friday to go for the week, and for the month of July as well! Hope everyone’s having a good time and ready to start their weekend!

At Clickr Media, this July has been a significant month, with 2 more new faces joining us. More help is still needed though, feel free to check out our career page for the latest job positions available. If you would like to apply for our positions available, drop us a email to contact us!

In the meantime, while working during the week, the following are some of the articles which caught our attention:

 

5 Tips for Selecting PPC Keywords

When creating a pay per click search campaign, its good to take note that keyword generation is not just about selecting keywords that “feel right”.

Macbook Air Review (Mid 2011)

If there’s one thing the folks in the Clickr team love, its Macs, in all shapes and sizes. Here’s a review of Apple’s refreshed Macbook Air.

Why Google+ Isn’t Competing With Facebook

Everyone assume’s that Google is bent to taking Facebook head-on with their Google+ social network. However, this article provides an interesting perspective to it.

10 Technologies That Would Change The World In The Next 10 Years

Technology is moving so fast, some tech which existed 10 years ago are close to obsolete today. What does the future hold?

That’s all for this week, have a good weekend ahead! :)

 

 

 

 

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