29 January – ‘Testing, Testing 1, 2, 3’- Email A/B Testing Best Practices

Have you recently seen your email open rates going down? Are you wondering where to go next?
It’s all about A/B split testing.

Read on to learn all you need to know and start being proud of your email campaigns.

To perform A/B split testing, you must:
1) Assess engagement levels from your emails
2) Make just one change to your email e.g. the subject title, the day you send your emails

Once you have judged whether one version works better than the other, hey presto you can move on to testing something else. If not, try another variation until you reach a level of engagement you are happy with.

Yes, it really is that easy!

So what tests can you conduct?
Day to send: Generally speaking Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday appear to be the preferred days to send emails, generating the best open rates. This is because, the Monday blues have disappeared and people tend to be more focussed, getting on with their weeks tasks.

Time: This is a funny one. If you are sending emails on a Thursday, send between 8-9am, however on a Tuesday and Wednesday, whatever you do, do not send between 8-10am as they appear to only have a 5% click through rate. But why listen to me, test first and see what time works well for you.

Subject line: For the best results, ensure this is not too long and that it is clear. Misleading subject lines are a no-no as they will annoy your subscribers, affecting future engagement. Variations could include; positive subject lines, rhetorical questions, amusing phrasing, varying lengths of subject title, brand in the subject title, localised phrasing and word order of content.

The design: Font, background colour and images used may also be worth testing, encouraging an aesthetically appealing template to be created. If content is displayed attractively, you may find this will increase engagement for your business.

Tone of voice: Ensure your message is direct, clear and perceived in a way that suits your business. You could try being friendly, formal, localised, factual or funny.

Length of email: Test the length of your emails. Too long and you risk boring your subscribers, too short and they may wonder why they bothered opening your email in the first place.

Personalised emails: 94% of companies agree that personalisation is king, but what is the best way to achieve this? Do you write ‘Dear Mrs Smith’ or do your send generic emails to everyone? This may make a huge difference, try it.

Call to action: Try varying the text in which you apply a link to, known as an ‘Anchor Text’, by using different keywords. See how this affects subscribers clicking on the link.

The trick here is to evaluate what you normally do, starting with making one of your better email templates even better! The good news is A/B testing will not cost you anything. Most email campaign software allows you to generate these reports so they will be readily accessible for you.

REMEMBER, what works for one company does not necessarily work for another. You need to carefully consider what works for your target market. Platforms such as newsondemand allow you to target your messages to your audience, be they your customers, channel partners or employees. With newsondemand, your audience will receive just the specific news they want, when they want it… not more spamming!!!

Yes it can be time consuming to create the perfect email, but once you have you will wreak the benefits. Well worth a test I’d say.

22 January – “I’m a local; I speak your language.”- Why localisation is key to your 2015 Market Strategy

Localisation is a term that has always been relevant to marketers. Brands are constantly looking to stand out from the crowd and stay ahead of the game.

But with a renewed focus on content strategy and the dominance of social media, localisation is becoming even more important for those brands trying to reach out to a wide social audience. Adapting your product/ service /marketing depending on the language, cultural, and demands needing to be met, is pivotal in order to reach higher engagement levels.

This brings me onto 2015. Why should your marketing strategy this year include localisation?

I don’t have the time…
2015 is all about change. It’s time for a brand new idea that will benefit your company. If you carry on adopting the same old strategy, it is unlikely much will alter from the previous year. Localisation does not need to be complex, it could involve simply translating your content into different languages; it is really up to you how localised you want to become. Obviously cost has a lot to do with it.
The aim of the game is for your target market to believe that your content has been created solely for them. Does your content do this? No? Well now is the time to change.

Am I offending anyone?
Due to the cultural differences around the world, localisation may be your only option when expanding into other markets. Consider McDonald’s and the huge milestones they had to overcome when they expanded into other countries. Serving beef to Hindus in India for example would not have gone down well, and neither would the American prices. Adaptation is essential when appealing to consumers outside of your local market.

Types of localisation
Here are a few localisation techniques you could adopt:

The language-Translation is the easy option here, with platforms such as socialondemand allowing you to amplify your message on social media or similarly newsondemand for amplified, translatable emails. However some organisations have decided to go one step further, changing the context and phrasing of their content, to appeal to certain regions, languages and cultural values. This could include using phrases such as ‘gooday’ for your Australian customer base, just as an example. There are readily available agencies out there that can offer this service, but you need to decide the effectiveness of this strategy for your business and industry first. Ask yourself; are my competitors doing this? Will this help me stand out? From my marketing results are there some regions that I am not engaging with and what platforms could I use this localised content for? You can then analyse the benefits of pursuing this more complex localisation technique.

Graphical alterations – This may entail creating a different webpage to suit a particular region. Northern European and Scandinavian countries prefer a minimalist look, whereas Asian cultures favour bright colours. Careful consideration is needed to appeal to these different geographical areas.

Currency- This may be an obvious one but do ensure the products/ service you are selling are in the right currency for your customers, making their buying decision easier, increasing your revenue potential.

Phone numbers and date- By formatting these, a barrier is taken down, and consumers will be more willing to engage with you, due to the perceived accessibility of your business. Convenience is often essential.
The key here is RESEARCH! Identify the trends of a particular area or region, and your budgetary constraints, then highlight what personalisation strategies you could introduce for your localised marketing strategy to be a success.

Cost is a large factor you need to consider when adopting a localisation strategy; it can be very expensive so you need to way up its real benefit to your company. However 94% of companies agree that personalisation is crucial, so why not see if this can work for you.

15 January – “Don’t talk to me in that tone of voice!” Consider tone of voice when attracting subscribers

Tone of voice in day to day life is pivotal in ensuring our message is broadcasted correctly. Consider the consistency in our writing style or even our facial expressions and the body language we use to give off a friendlier, approachable image.

With written content however this is often ignored. Firms send swathes of generic emails to their subscribers which undoubtedly affect their engagement and click through rates. True, generic emails can be more acceptable for companies appealing to a smaller target market, however for companies working on a national, multinational or even global scale, this can be completely different. Picture the numerous potential cultural and/or language barriers.
So if you have been wondering how you can simply and quickly increase your subscribers and improve your click through rates, here are my five tone of voice points that will transform your business.

1.Test your audience
It is first of all important to determine who it is you’re sending your content to; their location, age, interests, why they have subscribed, what products they have purchased. Plus you need to know the tone of voice they have responded to in the past, perhaps by conducting AB testing. To gather all this knowledge I recommend you send test emails to your subscribers, maybe a variety of different emails such as localised, informal and formal, to identify exactly which subscribers respond better to a particular category.

2.Segment your subscribers
Testing done, you can then segment the audience into particular groups, depending on their responses. and voila… you are now able to send more personalised, relatable emails that readers will actually want to open. This may require adapting your emails, potentially writing a few copies which will be more time consuming but I assure you, it is well worth the effort.

3.What do your subscribers want to receive?
If you are trying to attract new subscribers, having an icon on your website encouraging individuals to sign up would be a starting point. Within this sign up option you should try and find out even more information about your customers, such as their job role, location, and even hobbies. You can obviously tailor the information you want to receive to suit your industry, however do not make the rookie mistake and ask too much as this could prevent users from completing the fields. You basically want to try and discover what floats your subscribers boat.

If you are a global company and send newsletters to all parts of the world, you will need to consider the language your subscribers want to receive the content in, as English may not be their first choice. There are agencies out there that specifically deal with the translation of content, but try a pilot with a segment of your subscribers first, and evaluate its effectiveness. If you notice a difference, look into rolling this out to another language.

5.Using the local lingo
Forbes states that 37% of how users interpret a message is based upon the contents tone of voice, which can have a huge impact on the readers overall engagement. Localised content is a term that is becoming more and more prominent today. Using popular phrases, words or symbols that are commonly used in particular areas, such as ‘Suttin’ (used in New York) instead of something, or ‘IKR’ (used in Detroit) for I know right, means consumers can relate and are more likely to engage with the message, increasing its effectiveness.

Another point worth mentioning is considering the time in which you are sending your content. If you have a global following, you may decide to, for example alter the spelling of some words, adopting American spelling to posts after 5pm, making them more accessible for this time zone.

Considering these five points will make a huge difference to your social media posts and communications, BUT be warned, they do require a substantial effort on your part. If time is something that you do not have much of then using platforms such as socialondemand and newsondemand will make life so much easier. They allow you to select a language, schedule posts and send targeted content to consumers in less than three clicks, being a very worthy investment to consider.