All-Star Emailing

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Creating an All-Star relationship with your subscribers requires making a good first impression, living up to expectations, and staying relevant.

The first impression sets the tone for the relationship that follows – don’t strike out!

  • Be TransparentNot only provide clear notice to users at the email address collection, but make it easily understood and readily available.  Be specific in defining the subscriptions and setting expectations (i.e. list name, frequency, etc.)
  • Follow ThroughSend a confirmation message to further establish informed consent and validate the email address.
  • DevelopmentNow that expectations are set, personalize your messages and start introducing the subscriber to your campaigns.  The power of personalization is very important to your success!
  • TargetTo sustain a working relationship with your audience, send relevant information.
  • Stay away from the “Hidden Ball Trick“:  Making the unsubscribe link hard to find only makes the “This is Spam” button easier to click! 

Play ball emailers!

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Industry Spotlight: Hotel Email Marketing

With the summer season fast approaching, many people are gearing up to make their yearly summer vacations to far away places. This post is aimed at helping your hotel capitalize on the influx of travel during the summer months. (Note: the strategies outlined below can be useful for any business, they were just written with hotels in mind.)

Dive In

As any working person will tell you, the two major barriers to travel are expense and time. Your email campaigns should be geared at eliminating these barriers so that your hotel is the one chosen when a potential customer decides to get away. If you master the art of building and maintaining relationships with your subscriber base, email marketing is a cost effective tool and will help drive revenue. Here are several quick tips for managing and benefiting from the relationship you can build with subscribers:

Build your list – We have written before about building your list, and to reiterate its importance: the first step in carrying out any campaign is to have a quality email list. Ask people for their email address when they make a reservation or at the front desk. During this stage, it’s important to set expectations so that they realize what you are sending and how often to expect the emails.

When to send- Put a lot of thought into how often you want to send. Most people aren’t constantly traveling all year round. As a result, they do not need or want a weekly email from your hotel with a deal, discount or news. Oversending can result in subscribers being pushed away and undervaluing your content. Send sparingly but make the campaigns count.

Promotional deals and discounts- This takes aim at the expense barrier mentioned above. Send offers and special promotional deals to your subscribers. These deals don’t have to be limited to X percent off a one night stay at your hotel. Get creative. Think about how you can make their complete travel experience easier and more fun. Maybe partnering with local restaurants or entertainment will give your prospects a reason to choose you. Don’t just limit your efforts to time spent inside of your hotel.

Guest Feedback- This may be one of the more overlooked possibilities that email marketing provides. The direct and convenient line of communication that email opens up for you can be used to gather feedback from customers. Make sure you understand your customer’s wants and needs and address them accordingly. Making changes your customers suggest through feedback also demonstrates your dedication to them and can create a more loyal customer base. Email communication makes this convenient and inexpensive to do.

These are just several examples of how to use email marketing. The possibilities are limitless. Email is such a cost effective tool that it’s easy to experiment and get creative with your solutions. Use the tracking that ESPs provide to measure the results of your campaigns so that you know what works for your hotel.

Happy Emailing,

Lindsay

Using Email to Expand Your Content Marketing Reach

Did you know that 91% of B2B marketers are using content marketing, and more than two-thirds of CMOs plan to increase their content marketing budget in 2013? (These facts and more: The State of B2B Content Marketing) Content marketing has definitely taken a rise this year and its no wonder with its easy to use tactics and sharing across all mediums, especially email marketing. Read on for how you can implement content marketing strategies into your email marketing.

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1.) Use auto responders to send the right message at the right time. No where else is it more important to deliver the right message to your subscribers as during the sales cycle process. Create a dedicated list in your email marketing account just for sales leads, and make sure they are added as soon as they show interest in your company. Use a series of auto responders to keep following up with important information, and check out this handy info graphic from Eloqua and JESS3 on what content to send at what time during the sales cycle: The Content Grid v2

2.) Sending regular newsletter content to subscribers. Keep up with your normal newsletter sending and practices to ensure your subscribers are recognizing your brand and looking forward to your information. Make sure you are sending the content that you promised in your sign up process and are sending at the same time every day/week/month to create expectations for your newsletter content.

3.) Sharing newly created content across your opted-in network. Videos, white papers, blog posts, infographics, press releases, case studies, customer testimonials- the sources of new content are endless! Be proud of your hard work and share your content with your email subscriber base. Encourage them to share your content as well, with forward to a friend links in your emails or an easy way to post to social network.

4.) Announce upcoming events or new features. Your subscribers are interested in your business- use email to spread the word of what’s new! Invite them to any webinars you are hosting, trade shows you will be attending/sponsoring or any other in person events. Email is also a great way to announce new features, products or changes to your website that can increase your value to them. News is content!

5.) Ask for feedback. Get more information about your subscribers and what kind of content they would like to see more of. Create a series of email campaigns linked to update profile or survey forms and be sure to offer an incentive for filling out the form. Discounts or free products work great! Use the information collected to create the content that your subscribers want and use better segmentation to make sure the right message is being sent to the right subscribers.

Are you using email to enhance the content marketing for your business? Let us know how in the comments below!

Happy Emailing,

Lindsay

Announcing Topica SkyDesktop!

Need help managing your business, office or simply getting things done? Sign up for a FREE Topica SkyDesktop account today! SkyDesktop, powered by our partner InfoStreet, is a Cloud desktop that you can log into from any computer or device with a web browser and automatically connect to all the Cloud apps you have selected, including Topica! All your apps are right where you left them, just like on your home desktop.

Hear what other business owners are saying about SkyDesktop:

“SkyDesktop allows us to control what employees can access while making sure they have what they need.” -Vanessa Wakeman, Wakeman Agency

“With SkyDesktop, we know we have a reliable system for delivering important customer information.” -Fernando da Rosa, Oriental Motor USA Corp.

“We needed an intranet and SkyDesktop delivered.” -Syreeta Saunders Keys, Keys2Day Real Estate

Along with Topica, included in your SkyDesktop account are these FREE apps:

StreetSmart Address Book Whether you’re on the move, working from home or in the office StreetSmart’s Address Book can help keep your contacts organized.

StreetSmart Conference Calling StreetSmart’s conference calling app is perfect for keeping clients, co-workers, partners, anyone you need, in the loop.

StreetSmart Calendar StreetSmart offers an intuitive, easy to use, and extremely feature-rich Calendar App for to keep you and your company right on schedule.

StreetSmart Employee Directory StreetSmart’s Employee Directory provides your company with the ability to securely store, access, and maintain important employee information online.

Meeting Burner Instantly share your screen, record a meeting, or host a video conference from anywhere you have an internet connection. It’s easy, it’s fast, and you’ll never have to use your conference room again.

SignInBlue With SignInBlue, you can have all of your important documents signed and cut down on wait time and paperwork when you use an online digital signature.

Toast Invoice Easily eliminate hectic, invoice-losing hassles with Toast, an online invoicing tool that keeps your invoices secure and easy to access with the Cloud.

Kashoo No software, download, or bookkeeper required! Kashoo offers double-entry accounting that follows all the rules of GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting Principles).

Please let us know if you have any questions about this new service, and thank you for being a loyal Topica follower!

-Topica Team

Maximize Your Open Rate with Personalization Tokens and Autoresponders

Wow- according a recent study by Experian Marketing Services and MarketingCharts promotional emails with personalized subject lines received a whopping 29% higher open rate than those without. Alternatively, autoresponder and triggered email with personalized subject lines received a 25% higher open rate than their counter parts, with personalized autoresponder emails reigning king with a 29.2% open rate. Check out the full chart below, and keep reading for more tips on personalization and autoresponders…

Getting Personal
Isn’t it great when someone you’ve met only once remembers your name the next time you see them (except for the following awkward silence if you can’t remember theirs)? The same goes for your email marketing techniques. In this blog post we look at why its important to “get personal” with your email marketing subscribers and how to start collecting more data.

How to Personalize Your Emails
Now that you know the importance of personalization in your email marketing, its time to apply the data you already have for your subscribers using Topica’s personalization tokens. Follow our example for using a subscriber’s first name in the subject line to ahcieve awesome open rates.

What is an Autoresponder?
Confused about how to use autoresponders or what triggered emails are all about? In this blog post we break down the logistics of autoresponders and how you can use these triggered emails to greatly complement your email marketing- and not to mention boost open/click rates.

The Crucial First Impression
Welcome messages are a great way to tie in what you know about personalization and using autoresponders- and also receive some of the highest open rates! Don’t skip this important step when setting up your email marketing strategy to personaly thank your new subscribers for signing up for your list and gather more profile information. Read more here.

How are you using personalization and autoresponders in your email strategy? Let us know!

Happy Emaling,

Lindsay

Why Should I Sign Up for Your Emails?

The new year is in full swing and hopefully so are those 2013 marketing plans. We hope one of your goals is to build your email database in 2013- as any smart email marketer would want! But before you set a goal of increasing you list size by 50% you need to have a valid reason for why potential subscribers should be added to your list so you can convey your benefit clearly. Here are our top 5 reasons someone should want to be on your list along with tips on creating content:

1.) Receive Tips and Tricks of the Trade. If you are an expert in your field then of course you should be sharing your knowledge with your subscriber base! Keep your emails fresh and relevant by being on top of your specific industry to retain your leader reputation and be sure to include links back to important articles.

2.) Get Discounts and Promotions. Whether for your own company or sourced from throughout the web, your subscribers are expecting the latest and greatest deals from your emails. Make sure you are following up after the first announcement of a promotion with a “Last chance!” email to really drive the sale.

3.) Entertainment Value. I’ll admit that I have stayed on an email list just for the hilarious tone in their company’s emails. If this is what your subscribers are expecting keep it coming! Need inspiration for making your witty emails zing? Subscribe to other companies whose tone you enjoy and write how you talk to keep it real.

4.) Hear of New Products or Upcoming Events. If your email campaigns are promotional in nature do your homework when presenting the best products to buy or events to attend. It can also be beneficial to group similar promotions into one email- for example, an email about the newest jeans or technology webinars taking place.

5. ) Keep Up to Date on Company News. Think of this as the kitchen sink of the emails- your subscribers are looking to stay up to date with your company so be sure to give them news, pictures and any new product offerings that you have. Include personal touches to give your subscribers a glimpse into your company’s daily life as well.

After you have established what benefit you are offering to your subscribers, state this clearly in your sign up process along with how often you will be sending- and repeat this in the welcome email. Sending too frequently and irrelevant content are 2 of the top reasons people unsubscribe from email newsletters- don’t mislead your future subscribers! Have other reasons for sending your newsletters? Let us know in the comments below!

Happy Emailing,

Lindsay

Happy Holidays + New Year Discount from Topica!

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Hello Marketers!

We are happy to announce this special Topica Promotion for the New Year: Sign-up for a new Topica account before January 1, 2013 and receive 50% off your 2nd and 3rd months of Topica service! (All new accounts must be approved by Topica Policy & Standards team and first billing must happen before January 1, 2013.)

There are only 5 days left to take advantage of this incredible offer for new Topica accounts! Click below to fill out a short form to be contacted by a Topica Representative today:

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As always, you can reach out to us via email or phone (415-344-0800) and be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter (@topicainc).

Happy Emailing + Holidays!

The Topica Team

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