Each day, professionals of all seniority levels go online to ask their most urgent queries. The SmartBrief Marketing Team has aggregated some of this year’s most frequently asked digital marketing questions from across the internet and compiled the answers here for you.
Jump to an answer:
- How do you create a great email marketing campaign?
- What are the most effective digital marketing trends?
- What are the best email marketing subject lines?
- How useful is Google Trends for digital marketing?
- What are the benefits of automation in digital marketing?
How do you create a great email marketing campaign?
The point of a great email marketing campaign is to reach and engage your audience while also gathering essential data and ultimately helping to boost marketing ROI. Here are the six steps for creating a great and effective email marketing campaign.
1. Identify your audience
Identify your buyer persona to better understand your customer and to customize your email campaign to their needs.
2. Set up campaign objectives
Begin by aligning your campaign objectives with your customers’ needs. The best way to create meaningful email content is to be empathetic to the needs and concerns of your audience. Then, determine a sending frequency or schedule according to your industry and type of content that you will be sharing.
Finally, define a SMART Goal (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely) for every campaign. Here’s an example: “In 5 weeks, we’ll increase the lead score of 3% of the list by at least 5 points.”
3. List cleanliness and segmentation
As a marketer, you are only as good as your data. For this reason, maintaining data cleanliness and working closely with your sales team is fundamental.
List segmentation is also absolutely necessary to send targeted emails that convert. Filter your overall email list into smaller lists to properly align audiences with your email campaign objectives. Some examples of segmentation characteristics include lead score, industry and job title.
4. Focus on the message
Focus on matching your message to your audience’s needs. If you are able to make your message resonate with your audience, then you can drive them to take action. Use actionable language, personalize where possible, determine the appropriate call to action and automate where necessary. Check out some examples here.
If you think you have tested enough, test again. This will ensure that your email is complete and not missing any important formatting or design elements.
Send test emails and get feedback from your team. A second pair of eyes is always helpful to check for typos and to get feedback on the layout. Here are 13 things to look out for in your email test sends.
6. Analyze your results
Email campaigns are living and breathing things; they should always be evolving. They evolve through consistently monitoring, measuring, analyzing and adjusting. Doing these things will help you to see what is working and what is not in order to optimize your strategy.
-- Gabriela Skura - Marketing Manager, Demand Generation
What are the most effective digital marketing trends?
Personalization has come a long way in B2B marketing, and marketers no longer can avoid the trend. Forty-one percent of B2B marketers say they are most likely to adopt personalized content in the next 12 months over any other website feature or functionality. Episerver data indicates that 92% of B2B marketers think a brand cares about their experience or are getting a better experience when a company personalizes content on its website based on online behavior.
Adding in tokens is a great way to personalize messages going out to clients in your CRM, but as marketers we cannot stop there! We need to dig into a deeper level of personalizing customer relationships from start to finish. A tailored content journey must be used to talk to your different buyer personas in every stage of the buying process.
The urgency for personalization is increasing as B2B marketers themselves understand the value of receiving messages and content with information pertinent to them. Personalization can mean a lot of different things to different marketers, but I think we all can agree that it comes back to relevancy. We need to make sure we are sending relevant messages to relevant audiences at relevant times.
-- Emily Snyder - Marketing Manager, Demand Generation
What are the best email marketing subject lines?
First and foremost, as email marketers, we need to recognize that increasing opens doesn’t necessarily lead to a higher conversion rate. It’s easy to write a subject line that might grab attention, but it’s time to think beyond the open rate.
Rather than tracking open rates and click-through rates to measure subject line performance, it’s more useful to prioritize a click to open rate. This way, you receive direct insight into how many people on your list are engaging with your content once they do open.
Finding the best subject line for your email can be difficult. To kick things off, ask yourself these three basic questions:
- Who is my audience?
- What type of content am I providing?
- What action do I want the recipient to take?
Once you answer these questions, you will be able to identify the type of language that will trigger the behavior you’re trying to influence. Then, when you implement your new subject line you should test, test and test again.
Subject lines in email marketing aren’t meant to get your entire list to open; they’re meant to get the right people to open. Whether you’re working on subscriber growth, lead generation or e-commerce, the most successful subject lines will revolve around providing real, tangible value to the audience.
-- Mitch Gaylord - Email Marketing Associate, Audience Development
How useful is Google Trends for digital marketing?
For the unfamiliar, Google Trends is a service that makes it easy to track aggregate changes in Google Search behavior for different topics and keywords. Because the data displayed is “a largely unfiltered sample of actual search requests made to Google,” it’s easy to compare data sets about any “particular topic from around the globe,” within any geographic location.
Regarding digital marketing, Google Trends can be useful for search engine optimization (SEO), topic research and keyword research during the early stages of the content marketing process. For example, if one wanted to determine whether an article about Twitter Ads or influencer marketing would be a more effective driver of traffic, Google Trends would be a great place to start.
From this quick look at search terms, it’s clear that searches about Twitter Ads have slightly decreased over the past five years (apart from this spike in November of 2019), while searches about influencer marketing have steadily increased. While this does not provide definitive proof that a content marketing article about influencer marketing would perform better, it does broadly show that interest in influencer marketing is growing.
One could conclude that there are increasing numbers of people looking for information about influencer marketing on Google. However, it is important to remember that other content marketers also have access to this top-level information, so it’s critical to use relevant supporting keywords and provide a truly original perspective with any piece of content you create. A defined content distribution strategy is also key.
In general, the higher the search volume for a certain topic, the more difficult it is to achieve a high organic search ranking. Finding a balance between keyword interest volume and the ease of getting content to rank highly for that keyword is integral to your success. Finding that balance is called KEI, short for Keyword Effectiveness Index or Keyword Efficiency Index.
Doing preliminary research with Google Trends in this way can help narrow your content marketing and SEO focus, before moving to a more robust tool like SEMrush.
-- Evan Lauterborn - Audience & Content Development Manager
What are the benefits of automation in digital marketing?
Marketing automation technology is critical to digital marketing success. With automation comes optimization, along with many other advantages to using a marketing automation system.
To take a step back, I like this definition of automation by eMarketer: “Marketing automation is a solution that makes use of technology to perform some of the heavy lifting associated with communicating to prospects and existing customers across multiple channels such as email, social media and a company’s website. Automation can also be used to score leads, segment audiences and nurture those audiences throughout their customer life cycle.”
Here are four key benefits to using automation for digital marketing.
1. Increased efficiency
Most marketers will probably tell you that the greatest benefit of marketing automation is that it is a timesaver. Automation provides marketers and their teams the ability to eliminate the mundane and manual marketing tasks, freeing up their time to focus on other aspects of their role, such as creating great content, analyzing reporting and communicating with other departments to better generate business for the company.
2. Audience persona and list segmentation insights
Establishing your audience personas is the most important first step in creating a great marketing campaign, especially one utilizing automation. With properly implemented marketing automation tools, your team can deliver highly personalized messages and digital experiences to your customers and prospects.
Through tactics such as lead nurturing and drip campaigns, marketers can continue the conversation with clients and prospects while offering the right content at the right time. Ascend2 reported that “51% of email marketers say email list segmentation is the most effective way to personalize lead nurturing.”
Your list segmentation stems from the audience personas built out by your organization. Those audience personas are typically determined by a combination of digital behaviors and demographic information. This information is then sorted and organized by your automation system and then used to create metrics to better understand where a prospect is on their sales journey.
3. Concrete reporting and analysis
Automation platforms offer an abundance of readily available data, and in real time, right at the marketer’s fingertips. With this data, marketers can make informed decisions about where to focus their energy for the next campaign.
Automation takes out the guesswork, providing more concrete insights for creating reports, justifying marketing influence and ROI, and revealing what was successful vs. unsuccessful. In addition, automation allows for robust A/B testing, contributing even more details to your reporting.
Aside from just automated emails, multichannel marketing automation platforms give even more insight into prospects across different mediums. The insights on data benefit everyone involved: the marketer, the sales team and the prospect.
The marketer delivers better reporting and analysis, allowing them to understand their next move. The sales team has concrete transparency into the marketing world and their customers’ behavior. Lastly, the prospect has a more personalized experience delivered to them with even more relevant information.
4. Building Sales-Marketing relationships
Automation can promote a stronger relationship between marketing and sales. Both teams must understand each other’s roles through the buyer cycle to increase conversions and revenue.
Building trust between the teams is much easier with an automation platform, as it provides transparency into the customer journey. As Marketo puts it, marketing automation “will help sales teams to use their time wisely: spending less time on cold calling dead leads and more time getting in contact with those leads who are ready to sign on the dotted line.”
Automation should empower the marketer by saving more time on tasks to understand audience personas, analyze reporting and connect with their sales team. However, automation systems are not a one-size-fits-all.
To select the right automation system, and get the most out of it, you’ll need to weigh the different options based on your business’ needs and goals. With the right automation platform, marketers work more efficiently and generate greater ROI.
-- Gabriella Clark - Marketing Manager, Demand Generation
Do you have any digital marketing questions that are top of mind this year? Send us a tweet @SmartBrief or message us on LinkedIn and we’ll answer them. For more essential digital marketing insights, sign up for our daily digital marketing news briefing today, free. For even more great news content, you can sign up for any of SmartBrief’s 275+ free email newsletters.
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