email marketing

In the Know - May 15-22

This week we look back at the following articles:

  • The A/B Testing Checklist You'll Want to Bookmark
  • Brand Personification: The Ultimate Way to Get to Know Your Brand
  • 5 Steps to Improve Your Customer Service Using Twitter
  • 7 Helpful Resources Every Email Marketer Should Bookmark
  • The Most Important Mobile E-Commerce Features

The A/B Testing Checklist You'll Want to Bookmark

May 17, 2016 by Lindsay Kolowich

When marketers like us create landing pages, write email copy, or design call-to-action buttons, it can be tempting to use our intuition to predict what will make people click and convert.

But basing marketing decisions off of a "feeling" can be pretty detrimental to results. Rather than relying on guesses or assumptions to make these decisions, you're much better off running conversion rate optimization (CRO) tests.

One of the easier (and most common) types of CRO tests is called an A/B test. An A/B test simply tests one variable in a piece of marketing content against another, like a green call-to-action button versus a red one, to see which performs better. 

So, what does it take to run an A/B test, exactly? Keep reading to learn what an A/B test is in a little more detail, followed by a full checklist for what marketers should do before, during, and after these tests. You'll want to bookmark this for your next one.

How A/B Tests Work

To run an A/B test, you need to create two different versions of one piece of content with changes to a single variable. Then, you'll show these two versions to two similarly sized audiences, and analyze which one performed better.

For example, let's say you want to see if moving a certain call-to-action button to the top of your homepage instead of keeping it in the sidebar will improve its conversion rate.

To A/B test this change, you'd create another, alternative web page that reflected that CTA placement change. The existing design -- or the "control" -- is Version A. Version B is the "challenger."

Checklist for Running an A/B Test

Before the A/B Test

1) Pick one variable to test.

2) Choose your goal.

3) Set up your "control" and your "challenger."

Set up your unaltered version of whatever you're testing as your "control." 

From there, build a variation, or a "challenger" -- the website, landing page, or email you’ll test against your control. 

4) Split your sample groups equally and randomly.

5) Determine your sample size (if applicable).

6) Decide how significant your results need to be.

7) Make sure you're only running one test at a time on any campaign.

During the A/B Test

8) Use an A/B testing tool.

 Google Analytics' Experiments, which lets you A/B test up to 10 full versions of a single web page and compare their performance using a random sample of users.

9) Test both variations simultaneously.

10) Run the test long enough to get substantial results.

11) Ask for feedback from real users.

After the A/B Test

12) Focus on your goal metric.

Again, although you'll be measuring multiple metrics, keep your focus on that primary goal metric when you do your analysis.

13) Measure the significance of your results using a tool like HubSpot's A/B testing calculator.

14) Take action based on your results.

15) Plan your next test.

You can even try conducting an A/B test on another feature of the same web page or email you just did a test on. For example, if you just tested a headline on a landing page, why not do a new test on body copy? Or color scheme? Or images? Always keep an eye out for opportunities to increase conversion rates and leads.

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Brand Personification: The Ultimate Way to Get to Know Your Brand

May 18, 2016 by Coralyn Loomis

brand personification

What if your company were a person—someone you can sit down with, take out to lunch, and let babysit your kids?

Would you like them as you would a best friend, or would you screen their calls?

Often we think of our brands as a foreign identity, a corporate brick-and-mortar presence, without recognizing that its external reputation is like that of a person's.

People by nature humanize things. From "I CAN HAZ CHEEZBURGER?" to creepy mops with faces, we give personality to things that likely have none, because doing so makes them relatable.

But when attempting to define, understand, and promote our brands, we often have an orthodox, impersonal way of doing things. We define our brands through the colors we use, our value proposition statements, and target market. Yet, in the end, we market to humans—and humans, by nature, do not care about what you are... they care about who you are.


By building our brands from the inside out, we can connect with our values, goals, and customers even more. A brand (as many of us know) is more than just a mission statement. It's an overall reputation.

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5 Steps to Improve Your Customer Service Using Twitter

May 18, 2016 by Beth Gladstone

improve customer service using twitter

1: Create Internal and External Policies

Create two policies: one to clarify what’s expected from internal staff, and the other to address customer expectations and how to ensure their concerns are being heard.

#2: Assign Role Responsibility

Whose job is it to manage your customer service online? If the responsibility lies with just one person, it’s fairly easy. However, if there are multiple customer service advocates for your brand, or the number changes on weekends and holidays, then you need a structure for areas of responsibility.

#3: Create a Flowchart for Inbound Attention

A PR crisis is the last thing you want on Twitter. At the same time, though, you shouldn’t be afraid to converse and interact with your customers and followers. Many Twitter users with large followings cite conversing and interacting with their followers as a way to grow and gain attention.

Inbound attention can be great for exposure and opportunity, but only when handled right. This means you need to set the tone for how you want your inbound attention to be handled and ensure that everyone is on the same page.

#4: Set Up Response Templates

Just like email customer service, your Twitter responses may be repetitive. To save minutes (and possibly hours) over time, collect the most commonly needed information, answers, or associated feedback to quickly batch your customer service responses.

You can create this template within a Google spreadsheet or similar tool. This gives your team fast access to responses that can be copied and pasted into Twitter or your social media monitoring tool.

#5: Reach Out to Customers and Prospects Alike

Part of great customer service is making your customers feel great! Use Twitter to publicly support your customers and make them feel special.

Make a Twitter list of customers who are on Twitter. If you need help finding their handles, you can use a tool such as Clearbit to help track them down. Next, scan through the list to find questions, articles, or conversations that you can join with your audience. Where you can, share your customers’ articles or services to show you’re as loyal to them as they are to you.


Providing great customer service on Twitter (or any other social media channel) isn’t always easy, but it remains essential for your brand arsenal when it comes to keeping your customers and clients happy. Being successful means creating a clear internal and external policy for your company, providing clear guidance to customers, and using the channel as a way to monitor and respond to inbound attention. All within 140 characters, of course!

With the right strategy in place, your Twitter feed can become a powerful means of gaining new customers and impressing existing ones.

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7 Helpful Resources Every Email Marketer Should Bookmark

May 19, 2016 by Erik Devaney

Email Marketing Resources


1) HTML Email Gallery

Here's another great resource for finding email inspiration. But in contrast to the Really Good Emails website, which showcases emails of all kinds, the HTML Email Gallery exclusively showcases examples of design-heavy, HTML emails. It's a great site to bookmark if you're looking to take the design of your emails up a notch.


2) Touchstone Subject Line Analyzer

Touchstone Subject Line Analyzer tool will show you projected open rates, click rates, and other helpful stats based on Touchstone's database. It's like taking your subject line for a test drive before making the decision to use it.

The tool also lets you upload your own email data, so you can see how your actual subscribers are responding to your subject lines. While using Touchstone's full database for analyzing subject lines is great for identifying trends, using your own data can give you insight into what's working (and what's not working) with your specific audience.


3) IsValid

After running an email experiment (e.g., testing which subject line receives more opens) and collecting all the data, there's one question that email marketers are often left with: "Are my findings statistically significant?"

With the free IsValid web tool, you don't need to be a statistician in order to answer that question. Just enter the sample size and conversions/metrics from your original data set, then do the same for your experimental data set, and voilà: IsValid will automatically analyze the results and show you the degree of statistical significance. No math required.


4) The HubSpot'S Email Marketing Topic Page

This post you're reading right now ... we've got a ton more like it. In fact, we have a whole subset of our blog dedicated to email marketing content. 


5) The Best of Email's Inspiration Gallery

As its name implies, The Best of Email is a website dedicated to highlighting top-notch emails that you can use as inspiration for your own email marketing campaigns. From examples of 'welcome' emails to killer email newsletter designs, The Best of Email has something for everyone. 


6) SendForensics Email Deliverability Test

Want to make sure your emails will reach their intended destinations? SendForensics has got you covered with their free Email Deliverability Test.

After you sign up for an account, SendForensics will provide you with an email address that you can add to your contacts list and use for testing. When you send an email to that address, the Email Deliverability Test will provide you with a deliverability percentage (see screenshot below for example).


7) HubSpot Research

Hubspot's research site -- HubSpot Research -- offers a ton of data across all facets of marketing. But if you go to the site's chart-building tool, and filter the data by the "Email" category, you'll be able to get your hands on our latest email marketing insights.


From exploring email open rates by company size, to checking out clickthrough rates by annual revenue, there's a lot of great email marketing data available. And best of all, we're always updating HubSpot Research with fresh findings.

- Read More at:

The Most Important Mobile E-Commerce Features

May 20, 2016 by Ayaz Nanji

Consumers who use their smartphones to shop say the most important feature of a mobile e-commerce offering is the ability to allow shoppers to easily see product photos, according to a recent report from Nielsen.

The report was based on data from a survey of 3,734 adults age 18 and older in the United States who have used their smartphone or tablet for mobile shopping, paying, or banking in the past 30 days.

Some 62% of respondents say being able to see product photos is an important feature when using their smartphone to shop.

Less than half, 48%, say having a mobile-friendly site is important.

Other highly-desired e-commerce features are clear product descriptions (44%), product reviews (44%), and pricing (44%).

Mobile E-Commerce Features

In the Know - April 17-23

I have decided to start a weekly content curated post called "In the Know." Each week I will put together some of the best articles I have found and put them in one place so that you can spend your time doing more important things than searching for what's being talked about each week in digital marketing and social media.

This week we will look at the following articles:

  • How Facebook's News Feed Works - As Explained by Facebook

  • 21 Video Marketing Ideas for Small-Business Budgets

  • 5 Reasons Why Users Unsubscribe to Email Newsletters

  • Organic SEO v Local SEO: What's the Difference?

How Facebook’s News Feed Works
– As Explained by Facebook

April 23, 2016 by Andrew Hutchinson

Facebook’s recent F8 conference was a huge event, with a heap of information on new products, projects and the future ambitions of Zuckerberg's ever-expanding social behemoth.

But there was one session of particular interest that many might not have noticed, one that looked at a crucial element of the Facebook infrastructure which is particularly relevant for for all brands and users. In a session entitled “News Feed: Getting Your Content to the Right People”, Adam Mosseri, Facebook’s VP of Product for News Feed, went through exactly how Facebook's infamous News Feed works, providing an overview which included a heap of helpful insights to help people better understand the driving force that decides what users see on the platform.

Here are the key details of the session, outlining...


In the final segment of Mosseri’s presentation, he discusses how publishers can maximize attention and traction within the Facebook News Feed. Mosseri highlights four key measures to consider.

    Mosseri notes that publishers should seek to write compelling headlines – "Not 'clickbaity' headlines, but headlines that give people a real sense of the content that’s behind that click.” Mosseri says Facebok know that users enjoy this type of content and the News Feed team do what they can to ensure such posts perform well within the system.
    Posting too much promotional content can cause your audience to get less interested in your posts over time, which can lead to reduced reach.
    Mosseri says that this is the most important thing – “if I could leave you with one thing, it would be to experiment and try things.” The key point that Mosseri emphasizes here is that what works for one publisher won’t necessarily work for another – you need to experiment and test different methods to determine what resonates most with your audience, whether that’s long-form content, short-form, video, image posts. The only way to know for sure what’s of most interest to your audience and what they want from you is to try things and see what generates the best response.
    Your publisher tools, like Facebook Insights, are your key guide point as to how your content is performing and your audience response. It’s crucial that you spend time analyzing the data and comparing what works in order to understand what you should be posting and what your audience wants to see. Audience Insights is another tool that can be hugely beneficial in assessing what’s of most relevance to your target market.

- See more at:

21 Video Marketing Ideas for Small-Business Budgets

April 23, 2016 by Barry Feldman  

5 Reasons Why Users Unsubscribe to Email Newsletters

April 14th, 2016 By Chris London

Email is arguably one of the most effective platforms on which to promote a product, service and/or brand. According to an Experian study, email is 20x more cost-effective than traditional forms of advertising. That alone should be reason enough to make email part of your business’s overall marketing strategy. But email marketing only works if recipients follow your newsletter.

Unrecognizable From Address

If the recipient doesn’t recognize who you are, there’s a good chance that they will unsubscribe to your newsletter. Far too many emails today now contain viruses and other malicious software or code, making recipients hesitant to open messages from unknown senders. To prevent this from happening, use a clear “from address” that reflects your business or brand.

Emails are Too Long

Don’t make the mistake of creating long, drawn-out emails. Studies have shown that recipients are less likely to read long emails, which may subsequently cause them to unsubscribe. So, what’s the best length for a marketing email? If you asked ten different digital marketing experts, you would probably get ten different answers. However, maintaining a word count of no more than 750 seems to work well for most messages.

Emails aren’t Personalized

Personalizing your marketing emails can prove invaluable in creating a stronger connection with the recipient and ultimately increasing your chance of scoring a sale or conversion. Assuming you know the recipient’s name, you can use “tokens” to automatically include his or her name in your emails. Personalized emails have been shown to generate six times more transactions than generic emails, according to a study cited by MarketingLand.

Irrelevant Content

You have to think of your target audience and what they are expecting to read when creating your marketing emails. If you send irrelevant content that doesn’t pertain to their likes or interest, some recipients may click the unsubscribe button, never to be seen or heard from again.

Recipients Didn’t Sign Up for Your Newsletter

One of the most common reasons why users unsubscribe to newsletters is because they never signed up for them in the first place. Some business owners may purchase lists of email addresses instead of collecting the addresses by hand. Unfortunately, you really don’t know how these addresses were collected. They could have been collected using automated software, in which case the recipient didn’t sign up for them. The bottom line is that you should avoid paying for email lists and instead build your own list.

-Read More Here:

Organic SEO v Local SEO: What's the Difference?

April 18, 2016 By Isabella Andersen

Who should rank in local vs. organic search?

Brick and mortar businesses with a physical office in a specific location will want to rank high in a local search. The searcher is likely looking for a place to go for a specific product or service, so local businesses need to show up in local searches for their industry.

On the other hand, if you want your business to show up for certain search terms but not for a specific location, you want to try to rank higher in organic search. 

For example, if you sell kitchen supplies online but your business has no physical location and doesn’t serve a specific area, you want to show up in organic searches. Targeting a specific location would mean losing potential customers in this case. 

Can/should local businesses rank high in organic search?

If you have a business with one or more physical locations as well as an online store, you want to be found locally as well as organically. You might also want to be found both locally and organically if your local business has a blog.

That’s where organic SEO comes into play. Search engine optimization is the process of trying to make sure search engines know which searches your business or website is relevant for. 

To rank higher in search results, both organically and locally, your business has to be relevant to a specific search. And to show search engines your business is the right answer for a particular query, you have to state the obvious.

Local SEO

It’s important for your business to show up in relevant local searches because 50 percent of searchers visit businesses within 24 hours of a local search.

Naturally, optimizing a business for local search has more to do with location than with other factors. Search engines need to know exactly where your business is located so that when someone searches for a location, the search engine can find the businesses that are located there. 

To state the obvious for local search, you want to make sure your business’s name, address and phone number (NAP) is consistent across local listing directories as well as your website. That is the bare minimum you’ll need for local SEO, though. For more information on being found online, check out this post about why your business isn’t being found online

Organic SEO

This has less to do with location and more to do with whether or not your website is relevant for certain searches. That’s why “pizza” and “pizza recipe” are in bold in the “pizza recipe” Google search. I search for pizza recipes, and the search engine wants to give me pizza recipes.

When optimizing a website for organic search, the intention is to get the website to show up for certain searches. This could be a short term (pizza recipe) or a question spoken into voice search on a smartphone. (What’s the best pizza crust recipe?)

To state the obvious for organic SEO, you need to use specific keywords in headings and paragraphs (Don’t stuff the paragraphs full of keywords, but if you post a pizza crust recipe, you might want to use the words “pizza crust” a couple of times.)

How do they affect each other?

There are also certain SEO practices that help both local and organic search rankings. For instance, when claiming your business page on local listing directories like Google, Bing, Yelp and TripAdvisor, you are also adding a link back to your website.

These local listing citations (your business’s name, address and phone number) help local SEO by telling search engines where you’re located. They create links back to your website, which counts as a link building strategy that helps your organic SEO efforts, since search engines take the number of backlinks into account when they rank websites in search results.  

And on-site local SEO (such as writing a locally focused blog post or updating a page by adding your business’s address) can also help your organic SEO. Search engines like fresh content, so while local SEO helps send out signals of local relevance, it can also help boost your organic SEO efforts.

When they’re done correctly, both local and organic SEO efforts will help improve your website rankings, but when done incorrectly, both can have a hugely detrimental effect on your digital marketing efforts.

Remember that even though SEO is optimization for search engines, it is what helps consumers find your business. While you want to make sure search engines know what your business and your website are about, it's important to think of those potential customers who are searching for your business. Don't just optimize so that Google knows what you do. Make sure searchers can find all the information they'll need about your business, such as exact location, hours, services or products, etc.

-Read More Here:

Marketing for Small Businesses that Work

Infusionsoft recently released a small business market research report about sales and marketing. It is quite informative and I highly recommend reading it. I will only focus on a section of it since it would be to lengthy to discuss all of it here.

First a little background so that you know this is a decent report. It was conducted in August 2014, and was focused on small business owners. Over 800 entrepreneurs participated.

I have rarely met a small business that wasn't working with a shoe-string budget. Heck, I still work with a shoe-string budget and I'm always looking for ways for my strategies to do more than one thing. This creates problems like a house built on sand that often falls apart or even worse, does all tasks mediocre. But that is a different story for a different time. The bottom line is that small business owners need every dollar they put into a strategy to yield tangible results. 

The chart above is incredibly telling about what is the most bang for your buck that a small business can do to get results. The first is a no brainer. We all know that customer referrals and word of mouth are always the most effective strategy, but email marketing is number two and many people don't utilize this. Of over 800 respondents, 34% say that this is the most effective way to market for their business. Then 24% say that Social Media is the most effective way to market.

This means that if you as a small business owner will start an email list and email out updates, sales, etc... twice a month and maintain a presence on some sort of social media platform, then you can guarantee an increase in tangible results. This should be music to your ears. Another beautiful thing is that the costs are minimal.

It is worth finding the time to invest into these digital channels. To get you started into email marketing take a look at MailChimp or Constant Contact. These are inexpensive or free depending on the size of your email list and the number of emails per month you want to send. You can even copy and paste code into your website that will allow you to have email signups that will automatically import them into your respected account. One step closer to making it easier to communicate with your customers.

If you have any questions or comments please let me know. I'm always here to help.

David Doughty
Multi-Media Storyteller