/ Email

Email Preference Centers – Why You Shouldn’t Click Send Without One

Cari Rosenberger

I recently bought a coat from a popular outdoor lifestyle retailer that provides clothing items for men, women, and kids. Excited for my purchase, I elected to subscribe to their email list at checkout so I could learn more about products and specials in the future. But my delight to receive their emails was quickly dampened when I realized that every email I received was around men’s items—not women’s.

Now, had I bought an item for my husband, I could understand this discrepancy. But I had bought this coat for myself, from the women’s section. So why was I only getting information about items that weren’t for me?

After a few months of receiving their emails, I’ve just stopped opening them. Those emails now sit untouched in the Promotions tab of my Gmail Inbox, dragging down the company’s engagement rates. And I haven’t even thought about making another purchase. Why? All because they didn’t stop to ask the right questions.

Why It Never Hurts to Ask

There’s an old adage that says if you want to know something, it never hurts to ask. Customers want to receive emails that are relevant to their needs. In fact, marketers who use segmented email campaigns have seen increases in revenue of up to 760%.

Providing segmented email campaigns is simpler than you’d think. First, consider what you already know about each individual customer—this could be simple things you could derive from past purchase history, such as gender, type of product, or location. Just these three simple pieces of data can help you create a new audience segment.

Want to go beyond this? Good, you should, because the more targeted you can get, the higher the engagement rates you can expect. How do you get this information? All you have to do is ask…

Types of Email Preference Centers

There is no one-size-fits-all method for assembling an email preference center (also commonly referred to as a subscription center or profile center). The questions you ask should be relevant to your brand and your customers. And they should all have one goal in mind—providing you with actionable information about your customers.

For some brands, this can be achieved with a very basic preference center, while other brands may need to go a little more in-depth. Here’s the difference:

Basic Email Preference Center

Brands that provide a very niche product or service may benefit most from providing subscribers with a more basic email preference center. This would include asking for information such as…

• First & Last Name
• Email Address
• City/State/Zip
• Language Preference (if applicable)
• Gender
• Age Range

This is enough information to provide personalization to your messages, as well as a basic layer of segmentation, especially if it can be paired with past purchase or browsing history.

Advanced Email Preference Center

Brands that offer a broader range of products and services would benefit from moving beyond on the basics to something that is a bit more granular. This includes understanding things like…

• Specific interest in products or services
– For example: A retailer who offers everything from home goods to clothing to accessories could ask subscribers their interest in learning more about these various departments
• Specific interest in types of sends
– Promotional sends
– New product announcements
– Newsletters
– Etc.
• Frequency at which subscribers would like to receive emails from your brand

This type of profile center can also allow you to ask more in-depth questions such as where a consumer may be most likely to buy your products, how they use them, household information and more.

Whatever you ask, make sure it’s something you feel you could take action on in the future—meaning there’s a purpose for asking. And don’t overwhelm subscribers with too many questions; keep it to 5 or 6 questions outside of the basics.

Super Advanced Email Preference Center

Many businesses are a lot of things to a lot of different people who may be interested in your brands for a plethora of very distinct reasons. Because of this, you likely have a number of different email publications to reach these different consumers and you want to make sure that each subscriber has access to the right mailings (without having to be subscribed to every single one).

This is where a super advanced email preference center comes in to play. This would include all the information you might see in an advanced preference center as well as:

• The option to subscribe and unsubscribe to emails based on a wide range of interests
• The option to subscribe and unsubscribe to newsletters based on the type of information they provide

Keep in mind that while you may be asking more granular level information, that doesn’t mean your preference center should feel like a 10-minute survey. Whatever you ask should be relevant and useful to the subscriber.

Getting Your Questions Answered

One of the best ways to get information from your subscribers is to ask them right when they sign up. This can be done by directing new subscribers to their email preference center after hitting subscribe, or as part of the subscription confirmation process in which you email new subscribers to not only confirm their email address, but to confirm their preferences.

If this information isn’t provided at sign up, or if a preference center is being implemented after you’ve already got an established email list, create a dedicated campaign to direct subscribers to their email preference center. You’ll be surprise how many subscribers are willing to provide information in exchange for the promise of more relevant email communications.

In addition, a link to your email preference center should be included in the footer of every email communication, or as a part of the unsubscribe process. In many cases, subscribers who were looking to remove themselves from your list may opt to stay if they see they have the option to self-select the types or frequency of communication.

Remember, a preference center is not just a means of collecting data. It’s also about giving subscribers the option to tell you what they do and do not want. And no matter what type of preference center you elect to use, make sure the information you collect is always actionable—whether that means it’s informing your email marketing strategy or another element of your business—all in an effort to provide better customer experience.

/ Social Media

Channel Surfing: How to Evaluate Which Social Media Channels Are Right for Your Brand

Lauren Jacenty

For many of us, social media channels are so much a part of our daily lives, that we don’t really remember a time without them. In reality, social media as we know it today didn’t exist until 2002 with the introduction of Friendster, followed by MySpace. While those two may not have stood the test of time, other networks that were introduced in the early 2000s, notably LinkedIn and Facebook have, leading the way for more platforms like Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr, Instagram, Snapchat and others.

While all of these platforms are different, the one thing they all have in common is they allow brands to use their platforms to promote their products and services—which is good and bad news.

If social media has taught us anything it’s that just because you can post something, doesn’t mean you should. This is true for both those using social media as a way to stay in touch with family and friends, as well as for brands looking to stay connected to their customers.

Here are 5 questions to ask yourself before taking a deep dive into any social media channel:

1. Is my brand B2C or B2B?

As you already know, marketing to a consumer audience is much different than marketing to a business audience. And this rule is particularly true when it comes to marketing on social media.

Many B2C brands find success on channels like Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest, and Snapchat. B2B brands often find the most success on more professional networks such as LinkedIn. However, it’s not uncommon to also find B2B brands on YouTube, Twitter, or even Instagram.

The type of business you have will shape the channels you choose to be on. That’s not to say a B2B couldn’t create a Pinterest account and a B2C brand couldn’t create a LinkedIn page. Just ask yourself, would your audience expect or want to see you there? What benefits would you provide your customer by being on that channel?

2. What is the age range of my audience?

Each social media channel attracts a certain age range and thus should have an influence over which channels you choose to promote your brand. If your products appeal most to those who are 40+, would you want to invest in posting content to something like Snapchat? Probably not.

Percentage of Users by Age

18-29 88 59 34 36 36 56
30-49 84 33 33 23 34 13
50-64 72 18 24 21 28 9
65+ 62 8 20 10 16


Source: Pew Research Center
 

3. What types of content do I have the resources to create?

Certain types of content are better for some channels than others. For example, written content can be easily shared on platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest and LinkedIn. However, this type of content is more difficult to share on something like Instagram or Snapchat, which relies heavily on more visual content.

Before establishing your brand on a new channel, make sure you have the ability to regularly create content specifically for that channel. Your decision to market on that channel is simple: If you don’t have the resources to regularly create the appropriate content for a channel, don’t join it.

4. How often am I willing to post content to a social media channel?

No matter what social media channels your brand is on, you want to make sure you’re posting with some level of frequency. However, that level of frequency can vary, as the lifespan of content can vary from channel to channel.

For example, content posted on Twitter has an estimated shelf life of about 5 seconds. This means brands should post with a much higher frequency on this channel than they would on LinkedIn, where there is far less noise and posts have a shelf life ranging from days to weeks.

When considering a new channel, think about how much is appropriate to post each day, each week, or even each month. Then make sure you’re willing to invest the time needed to keep up with that cadence.

5. What is my goal for being on a particular channel and is it in line with my overall marketing and business objectives?

Every marketing initiative should have a goal and play a role in achieving a grander business objective. If you’re struggling to come up with a goal that fits into that larger strategy, that social media channel may not be right for your brand.

Make sure you are not only willing to formulate both a short-term and long-term strategy for any new channel, but that you feel you’ll be able to follow it and achieve some value from it.

When social media first came on to the scene, many marketers didn’t anticipate the impact it would have on both brands and consumers. Not wanting to be left behind, many brands have joined channels where they are unable to maintain a valuable presence. The early bird may catch the worm, but if it doesn’t do anything with it, being an early adopter won’t pay off; abandoned or neglected social accounts can degrade a brand’s credibility.

Social channels will continue to proliferate, so it’s important to always remember to determine the value of the channel to your target customers before you decide to dive in. While joining a social media channel is free, the time you need to create and post resources for it are not. Make sure any channel you join is worth the effort and provides real value to both your brand and your customers.

 

/ Digital Marketing

Digital Marketing 2017: Trends, Priorities, and Potential Pitfalls

Josh Pierry

Each year brings big changes to digital marketing and 2016 was no exception. Last year we saw a rise in the creation of programs that are truly focused on providing a 1:1 digital marketing experience, not just when it comes to email marketing, but also from an omni-channel experience, one that takes into account all the places online customers are interacting with your brand.

Geographically, we saw the gap between how brands in the U.S. and Asia utilize social mobile apps such as Viber, Line and WeChat widen. While the popularity of such apps in the U.S. has been slow to build, if you’re doing business in Asia, and you’re not communicating with consumers on social mobile apps, you’re likely missing out on 90% of your customers.
The biggest star, however, of 2016 was the introduction of AI (Artificial Intelligence) and the Automated Marketer which allows marketers to take a step back and allow technology to optimize campaigns based on what it learns about your customers and their engagement with marketing materials.

While we expect some of the trends we saw in 2016 to continue to expand, it’s clear that 2017 will see its own trends rise and fall, some of which could have big long-term payoffs if brands and digital marketers are prepared to embrace them.

 

Trends to Look out For in 2017

 

The Expansion of Automations and AI

Digital marketing technologies are getting smarter and easier to implement, meaning automation and artificial intelligence (AI) have a solid foundation for becoming more common place. In 2017, programs like Einstein by Salesforce or IBM Watson will allow marketers to set up their programs in a way that allows them to take a step back and let the technology tell them what should be done next.

Emails, social media ads, push notifications, etc. will be deployed based on the initial criteria set up by your marketing department, and further enhanced based on the real-time customer data the program collects. This means consumers will continue to see an increase in more personalized, relevant communications, and brands will see an improvement in customer satisfaction and revenue.

In the end, the goal is to bring consumers the information they need, when they need it, in order to feel confident in their purchasing decisions. Digital marketers and the power of AI will allow this to be a reality in 2017.

The Need for Comprehensive Dashboards and Data Analysis

We’re collecting so much data on customers that marketers are going to be looking for a way to better digest that data to make it actionable. This is where set-it-and-forget-it dashboards are going to become not just handy, but completely necessary.

Marketers don’t want to spend time every month sorting through data; they want to see it in a clear dashboard and analyze it. And CMOs are going to want to have a resource that allows them to quickly see the status of their various programs, as well as a big picture view of how they all fit together to help the bottom line.

For those who are new to providing more comprehensive reporting, gathering data into a free tool like Data Studio from Google may be a good starting point. However, to really get the most out of having your data all in one place, a more comprehensive data tool like Tableau or Domo will be well worth the investment.

The Rise of Complex Customer Journeys

Customer Journeys are still in their early stages and CMOs have a lot to learn about how to best use them for their different audience types. But as access to customer data improves, and the ability to automate digital marketing elements becomes easier to navigate, this will allow brands to create more complex customer journeys, those that take into account not just the “what” of the messaging they deliver, but the “where” of the messaging in as close to real-time as possible.

Take for example a retailer who already has an email program, an SMS program, several social media accounts and an app. In the past, many of these individual programs have been just that—individual. Here is an example of these programs working in concert to optimize the customer experience: Let’s say that retailer sends out an email prompting visitors to visit their nearest store for a special promotion. When they get to the store, a push notification could trigger with another promotion. When a sale is completed, an SMS notification could link them to something extra off their next visit. And finally, an email can be sent asking the customer to review their purchase online.

 

What to Prioritize

 

Know Your Customers Better

2017 should be the year that marketers get to know their customers better. Marketers need to move beyond just knowing basic demographic info and expand their parameters to include strategies for knowing what devices they’re using, what language resonates, and what mediums (email, social, search, mobile, etc.) they favor —and then formulate strategies around how each of these components can come into play for each of your audience segments.

Get IT and the C-Suite on the Same Page

We talk about this every year, but pulling all of the data your organization has into one place that a marketer is able to utilize it and organize campaigns around it key. This often means getting members from IT, the C-Suite, and everywhere in-between on the same page about when and how this data is available. Access to data will continue to be of vital importance, and without it, you could miss out on valuable information that is causing you to lose out on sales.

Communicate Where Your Customers Are

While email still has the highest ROI in digital marketing, it is starting to slowly decline. This isn’t because customers aren’t interested in your emails, rather, it’s because more and more customers are omni-channel, meaning each place you reach them can play a role in an eventual conversion or sale.

More than ever, marketers need a better understanding of where their customers are, and they need to create strategies that take into account these different modes of communication in a way that allows social, email, search, etc. to work together instead of existing in silos.

 

Potential Pitfalls

 

Resources

This is a classic problem every year for marketers, but as more brands move towards an increasingly data driven approach, they’re going to need someone not only understand their data, but help them structure it in a way that is actionable and can help them get the most out of any new technologies they’re using. This is where the use of partners to implement these technologies will be well worth the investment. Brands shouldn’t let a lack of resources in their marketing or IT departments hold them back as they move towards these more robust, technology dependent programs.

Incomplete and/or Disorganized Data

2016 was a big eye opener for many marketers in terms of how incomplete and unorganized their customer data was, and this caused some major delays in allowing them to move their programs forward. Everyone in the industry keeps saying “Personalize now!” and marketers were looking at their data and finding they knew nothing about their customers. They knew basic things like name and maybe location, but today’s personalization goes far beyond that. We’ve oversaturated consumers with content through a batch and blast approach and we need to move towards an approach that actually considers their individual preferences—an experience that is relevant and targeted. But this can only exist if the data is available and properly structured.

Lack of Patience

Many marketing teams are reactive. They see something and they react and they see something else, and they react again. The marketing landscape is changing. And marketer’s need to show some patience and take the time to set things up the right way. This means taking the time to understand their data, map out customer journeys, and give themselves the opportunity to test, test, and test again.

Complacency

On the other hand, as marketers set new programs up and allow things like automations and AI to take the reigns, they need to make sure they aren’t getting complacent. You should regularly be looking for new opportunities and making small adjustments to your programs as you learn more about your consumer base. Nothing at this point (or maybe any point) should be fully set-it-and-forget-it. Always take the time review, analyze, and test, test, and test again.

There’s still a great lack of knowledge when it comes to digital marketing technology, even in industries that are always striving to be current, like e-commerce and retail. At Pierry we’re constantly running into scenarios in which CMOs have paid large amounts for new technology, but once it’s implemented, they really have no idea how to fully utilize what they’ve bought.

Much of this stems from one of the biggest pain points in the industry—a lack of clear strategy. In 2017, it won’t be enough to just buy the latest and greatest technologies. You have to come into that purchase with a clear vision of what you want to do, that way you have the ability to make a purchase based on what you want the technology to do for you, not just based on the laundry list of possibilities a new technology could bring.

/ Creative/Design / Email

Email Design Best Practices: A Complete Guide to Modern Email Creative

Pierry Inc.

It may sound superficial, but let’s be honest—when it comes to email, looks matter. Think about the emails that engage you the most. Are they easily viewed on a mobile device? Do they include a healthy balance of visually appealing images to concise text? Is it easy to spot the “what’s in it for me” of the message?

If you answered yes to any of the above questions, then you already know what makes for a well designed email. So why aren’t you utilizing these best practices in your own email program?

A well-established element of digital marketing, email marketing is still known for delivering higher ROIs than any other digital channel. But if your email designs are stuck in the past, and don’t consider the multi-device nature of today’s consumers, you’re missing out on some major opportunities to maximize that return-on-investment.

email design best practices guide coverOur Email Design Best Practices Guide will show you…

• Why Email Design Matters

• The Top 10 Rules for Email Design

• Primary Principles of a Successful Email Program

• And More

The landscape of email design is changing. Make sure you’re keeping up. Complete the form below to download our Email Design Best Practice Guide for more information.

 

/ Digital Marketing

3 Digital Marketing Trends We Hope Are Going Out of Style in 2017

Cari Rosenberger

marketing meeting

For me, going home for the holidays often means three things: lots of laughter, lots of good food, and lots of time going through old photo albums filled with family memories and lots of questionable fashion choices.

For some reason, a good portion of my childhood was spent obsessed with wearing patterned vests, a high pony tail secured by not just one, but at least three scrunchies, and a fanny pack, which, while useful for holding my Bonnie Bell Lip Smacker® was terribly hideous.

But these crimes against fashion weren’t completely my fault. After all, that was the trend.

Every industry has fads that come and go. Marketing is no exception. There was a time when direct mail ruled all. There was another time when flash-based websites were all the rage. And then there was another time when inbound marketing had a big moment.

There’s no doubt that 2017 will bring its own set of new marketing fads, particularly when it comes to digital marketing. But until then, here’s some trends we hope end up the way of patterned vests, scrunchies, and fanny packs—gone for good.

Using Clickbait to Get More Traffic

It’s old news that brands are producing more content than ever. And with content production reported to increase 600% by 2020, many companies have resorted to using clickbait strategies with the purpose of getting more eyes on their content and increase traffic to their website.

While clickbait strategies started with publishers, it has since moved on to include major retail and consumer brands, as well as B2B brands. This type of content often includes clever headlines alongside eye-catching creative. However, upon viewing such articles, consumers are often left with content that lacks quality information, and many times, don’t live up to their headlines.

While these clickbait strategies do increase website traffic, the benefits pretty much stop there. An increase in traffic that can be credited back to the content you’re producing is only worthwhile if it’s working to increase engagement, and ultimately, conversions.

Instead of using a clickbait strategy, focus on creating content that is based on your audience needs and wants. Every piece of content should have value and help maintain, if not increase, your brand reputation. And most important of all, every piece of content should have a grander end goal behind it. You may get less views, but the quality of those views will be much higher.

Using Pop-Up Banners on Mobile to Gain Subscribers

You perform a search on Google using your smartphone. You find a website that seems to fit your need. You click on the result and begin reading. And just as you’re about to scroll down to find the information you wanted, the screen of your mobile device is suddenly blocked by a pop-up asking if you want to subscriber to that brand’s e-newsletter.

True, lightboxes and pop-ups have shown to be effective in helping brands gain new subscribers. For years, this has been the go-to method for many email marketers as a way to steadily increase their list size.

The downside to this method is that many website visitors enter their email addresses hastily, using it as a way to close the lightbox and return to what they were doing. In turn, this can lead to adding subscribers that aren’t necessarily going to engage with your emails in the future, driving down your ROI.

And soon, these types of pop-ups could have an impact on your mobile search rankings. Starting in 2017, the use of lightboxes or pop-ups that make content less accessible to visitors will be added to the long list of ranking factors Google uses when determining whether or not to show your website in search results. With a reported 60% of all searches being performed on a mobile device, that little pop-up could cause big problems.

Instead of blocking your content, opt for smaller banners that can be easily dismissed and don’t poorly impact the user experience. Here are some formats Google recommends in lieu of traditional pop-ups.

Creating Content for the Sole Purpose of Going Viral

Blog posts, news articles, photos, infographics, videos—these all have the potential to achieve that “gone viral” status that every marketer, whether they’ll admit it out loud or not, hopes to achieve.

There are a number of tips that experts put out there to help increase the chances of helping your content go viral. They include things like understanding your audiences needs and wants, creating content that creates an emotional connection, creating content that is useful, connecting with influencers to promote your content, etc.

Essentially, the tips for going viral are the same best practices you should be putting into every piece of content you put out there, not just those you are creating for the sole purpose of “going viral”.

Instead of thinking in terms of viral content, which, when achieved, result in short-term traffic spikes, think about how every piece of content can work to help you reach your audience in a slow and steady manner. In other words, focus your strategy on long-term, steady growth instead of temporary spikes that don’t have a long shelf-life.

Of course, when a digital marketing trends fades away, it is quickly replaced by something new. No matter what trends emerge in 2017, it’s important to remember that not every new fad is right for every brand. Always take the time to fully strategize and formulize a clear goal around any new marketing efforts, whether you’re exploring an established digital marketing best practice or just playing around with the latest trend.

/ News

Pierry Inc. Opens Innovation Hub at Louisiana Tech University

Pierry Inc.

New Pierry Office at the Tech Pointe Enterprise Campus Brings
Silicon Valley to North Louisiana;
~
Pierry will Host an Open House for Students, Faculty & Media
Thursday, January 19th, from 5pm-7pm in Tech Pointe, Room 219

Redwood City, Calif., January 12, 2017 – Pierry, an industry-leading marketing software and solutions company, today announced it has opened an office in Ruston, Louisiana, on the campus of Louisiana Tech University. The office, which is expected to employ a mix of students and full time employees, will serve as an innovation hub for the Company and the University, implementing state-of-the art digital software solutions for a variety of clients in the region and throughout the United States.

“Pierry is extremely pleased to open this office at my alma-mater, Louisiana Tech, as it provides us with on-the-ground implementation resources, establishes a foothold in the Southeastern region of the US, and gives us a first-look at some of the amazing talent coming out of the University,” said Ben Lee, Chief Marketing Officer of Pierry (LA Tech ’04). “Our LA Tech outpost is also an opportunity to bring a bit of Silicon Valley to North Louisiana, giving the students an opportunity to get real-world experience in the rapidly growing field of digital marketing, and get a taste of what working with a start-up tech company is like.”

Named the 538th fastest growing company by Inc. Magazine in their 2016 “Inc. 5000” list, and #6 Fastest Growing Company in the San Francisco Bay Area by the San Francisco Business Times, Pierry – which began as a team of 2 people in the emerging digital marketing space in 2008 – now has employees in offices throughout the United States and in Japan, and serves a wide range of clients, from start-ups to multi-billion dollar global brands. Pierry coined the term MaaS (Marketing as a Service) to describe the unique way it helps its clients design, develop and execute marketing solutions that dramatically improve efficiency and impact, and increase ROI.

“The partnership between Louisiana Tech University and Pierry Inc. brings together two innovative and entrepreneurial organizations. It’s great to see Ben Lee, a Tech grad, reaching back to his alma mater to connect Ruston and Silicon Valley,” said Dr. Dave Norris, Chief Innovation Officer, Louisiana Tech University. “We are excited about what a leading-edge company like Pierry can bring to our campus and to the community.”

About Pierry

Ranked #6 in the “2016 Fastest Growing Companies” by the San Francisco Business Times, and #538 in the 2016 Inc. 5000, Pierry helps companies optimize their digital marketing campaigns through Salesforce Marketing Cloud implementations, email campaign creation and management, creative services, and marketing strategy. Founded in 2008 by Josh Pierry, the company has grown into a global preferred digital marketing partner for companies in all sectors, and now has offices in Redwood City, CA, Boulder, CO, Cleveland, OH, Ruston, LA, Albany, NY and Kyoto, Japan. For more information about Pierry, visit www.pierryinc.com.

Media Inquiries:
Colby Zintl
czintl@pierryinc.com

Louisiana-Based Inquiries
William Dearmon
wdearmon@pierryinc.com

/ Digital Marketing

UTM Codes: Tracking Down Success

Michael Egan

Woman typing on keyboard

It’s marketing dogma that if at first you don’t succeed, test and test again. But if you’re not properly tracking the performance of each of your marketing efforts, what to test, and how, will be based on notions, not facts.

In order to properly surmise which of your marketing efforts are succeeding, as well as areas to test, test again, you need a way to easily identify each element of your website, social media campaigns, and e-mails. For that you’ll need a little something called UTM codes.

WHAT IS A UTM CODE?

UTM stands for Urchin Tracking Module and is named after the software company bought by Google in 2005. These codes are segments of text that are added to URLs and allow programs like Google Analytics and other analytics tools to track performance at a link level. They also allow you to pull additional data from your digital marketing campaigns across different reporting platforms.

For example, say you make a Twitter post that includes a link to content on your website. By adding a UTM code to the Twitter link, you can track how many people clicked the link to visit your website. This might sound like small potatoes on its own, but when you’re running multiple campaigns to attract traffic to your site across different platforms, it’s incredibly useful to know exactly what source or campaign is helping to drive traffic.

DECODING UTM

UTM codes are made up of bits of text called “parameters” that track particular data sets. The most commonly used parameters are:

• utm_campaign = (internal campaign name)
This code gathers the data pertaining to one of your campaigns.

• utm_source = (google, newsletter)
This code identifies which website is the source of incoming traffic.

• utm_medium = (cpc, social, email, display)
Social media? Guest post? E-Newsletter? This code identifies what medium directed the traffic towards your site.

Other commonly used parameters include:

• utm_content = (ad title, ad dimensions)
• utm_term = (cpc keyword)

It may not seem like it at first glance, but setting up UTM codes on each individual link can make it easy to sort through all your data later on.

CREATING A UTM CODE

What do you want to learn from your traffic? That’s the first question any marketer needs to ask themselves before creating any UTM Code. The answer to this question could range anywhere from wanting to know if a particular content marketing campaign leads to more conversions than another. Those with e-Commerce tracking could use UTM codes to better understand not only the individual source of revenue, but the campaign that drove it in.

UTM codes are also great for helping to better understand where your most engaged audience is hiding—be it social, email, organic, or paid.

Once you know what you’re hoping to learn, you can start building out your UTM parameters. Keep in mind, consistency is key in helping you get the most accurate metrics. For example, let’s say you want to track the performance of a whitepaper that you’re promoting across multiple mediums, including paid, social and email. Here’s how you might set that up for each channel:

Source = adwords or twitter or promo
Medium = PPC or Social or Email
Campaign = MyWhitepaper11.16

Because you are mainly concerned with understanding how each individual medium contributed to the success of your whitepaper campaign, only the “medium” parameter needs to be different in this scenario.

And as a result, you’ll produce 3 URLs that looks something like this:

https://www.sample.com/?utm_source=adwords&utm_medium=ppc&utm_campaign=MyWhitepaper11.16
https://www.sample.com/?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=MyWhitepaper11.16
https://www.sample.com/?utm_source=promoemail&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=MyWhitepaper11.16

For more granular results, you can adjust the source accordingly, so that, for example, you could see how social as a medium performed, as well as how each individual social channel you’re on performed as well.

Again, consistency is key – make sure that you’re using the same UTMs within each individual effort. Assigning distinct parameters will make them much easier to track. Once you know the various layers you want better insights to, all you have to do is plug them in to a tool like Google’s URL Builder or the Effin Amazing Plugin to quickly generate your links.

PUTTING UTM CODES TO WORK IN ANALYTICS

Once in place, you’ll be able to use tracking tools like Google Analytics to put in data based on the source, medium, and/or campaign parameters you’ve established. And from there, the amount and types of data you’ll be able to find are essentially endless.

And if you follow the golden rule of consistency, you’ll be able to create custom reports based on the parameters you’ve set that, in some cases, can be set up once, and will update automatically. And since UTM parameters can be used across essentially any available reporting tool, you’ll have the ability to easily import that data when and where you need it for analysis.

So, as you’re planning out your next campaign, remember to include a plan for utilizing UTM codes. over time you’ll be able to determine which of your campaigns is most effectively driving traffic to your site, and use that information to adjust your approach. After all, it’s not enough to know that people are visiting your site. To be really successful, you’ll need to know how and why they got there, so that you can keep them coming back.

/ Social Media

Social Listening During The Holidays: Your Customers’ Gift To You

Michael Egan

Group on Social MediaThe holidays are the time of year when people open up and share their joy and appreciation for each other with celebrations and, of course, gifts. With so much of our social lives now online, and e-Commerce steadily growing as the preferred form of purchase among consumers, the holidays provide an incredible opportunity for digital marketers to learn more about their customers. All it takes is a little bit of listening—social listening, that is.

Social listening involves monitoring mentions of your brand, your products, or your services across social media platforms, and using those conversations to learn more about your customers and how to connect with them. Good social listening is essential for a marketer, mainly because your customers tell you exactly what they like and dislike about your brand.

BEST PRACTICES FOR SOCIAL LISTENING

With the right social listening program in place, brands can harness the power of social listening to guide their marketing and sales efforts through the holidays and beyond. But it is essential to follow a few best practices:

Know where to look – While most discussion of brands happens on the major outlets like Facebook and Twitter, customers can mention your brand anywhere on the web. It’s important to do some legwork and find out where and how your customer base communicates. Something as simple as setting up a Google Alert for your brand keywords, or other terms that would be related to your products or services can help uncover mentions of your brand by up-and-coming bloggers, resellers, third-party review sites and more.

Stay organized – Your brand’s relationship with your customers will not always be straightforward. People can interact positively or negatively with your product, and it’s important to create categories to keep track of what kind of reactions your brand inspires.

Analyze – This is where your social listening efforts pay off. By pooling and analyzing mentions on social media you will get a clear picture of the impression you’ve made on your audience. Use this data to fine-tune your future social media efforts.

GETTING YOUR SOCIAL LISTENING PROGRAM READY FOR THE HOLIDAYS

Having a social listening program in place year round is great. But even the most established programs have to make adjustments during the building holiday season, particular in November and December when shopping is expected to increase by 3.6% this year. Here are a few key practices to keep in mind particularly during this busy retail season:

Ride the holiday schedule – You really need to ramp up your social listening efforts right at the peak of the holiday season, which is generally the last week of November to the first week of December. In other words, if you start hearing “Jingle Bells” on the radio, it’s time to start listening.

Monitor individual products – Social listening tools such as Social Studio from Salesforce Marketing Cloud can help you set up keywords and phrases around each of your products, allowing you to compare the frequency and type of mentions, as well as the sentiments behind them. Many people use social media to find recommendations for gifts or special deals, so pay attention to what products are being suggested.

Pay close attention to the language consumers are using to talk about your products as well, as it can give you insights into how you could better communicate the features and benefits of your offerings.

Follow up – Social listening isn’t just about listening. Sometimes when customers mention your brand online it’s because they’re often interested and trying to learn more. Capitalize on frequent product mentions by engaging them online and replying to their posts. And of course, any direct questions posed to your brand online should always be addressed, as social listening provides incredible customer service opportunities, allowing your representatives to directly interact with customers and create a relationship between customer and brand.

THINKING BEYOND THE HOLIDAY SEASON

The holiday season will be over before you know it, but that doesn’t mean you can tune out on what consumers are saying about you online. Keep your social listening program on high alert well into the new year as consumers are using, returning, or looking to exchange products they received from your brand.

And remember, the opportunity to learn more about how your brand is being perceived online never ends. You’ll gain valuable insights when you monitor how the conversation shifts month over month, year over year, and season over season.

/ Email

The “Pixel Perfect Email” and 5 Other Common Email Myths

Lauren Jacenty

office and business work elements

Much like Big Foot or the Loch Ness Monster, the ability to code the perfect email—one that renders perfectly and consistently across all platforms—is a complete myth. While some claim they’ve seen it in the wild, these tales are few and far between. And to email developers, these stories feel more than just a bit far-fetched.

Email marketing is known for generating $38 for every $1 you invest in your program. And this great ROI may be what keeps brands coming back to email year-after-year. It’s a proven way to keep in touch with your customers and prospects. And when done with the right strategy, you can see a great ROI for your program.

But just because something is effective, doesn’t mean it’s easy. Which is why we all need to stop believing in many of these common myths about email development, testing and deployment.

Myth: When My Email is Sent to Me for Testing It Should Look Perfect.

Fact: Not Necessarily. In some cases, your email will come to your inbox looking exactly as you expected it to. But in most cases, that’s not how it works.

The Q&A or testing process is meant to help uncover rendering issues on as many email platforms as possible. At Pierry, we often include clients in this process as they may be using a different email client, viewing on a different browser, etc., than we are.

During the testing process you should expect to find problems—and embrace the ones you have. The more that’s found during this testing period, the less issues you can expect post-deployment.

Myth: If My Email Looks Good on One Email Client, it’ll Look Good on Every Email Client.

Fact: Every email client renders email differently.

Your code will often look different from platform to platform. For example, when looking at your email using Gmail on a Chrome browser, a button that has been coded to have rounded edges will appear to have square edges in Outlook 2013.

Why? Because every email client has different standards for the types of code it supports.

Myth: I Can Design My Email so It Renders Perfectly Across All Email Clients.

Fact: Technically, maybe. But you would be very limited in your design.

Single column emails have the highest likelihood to render well across devices, but even the simplest designs have no guarantees. Many falsely believe that an entirely imaged based email will be their best bet; however, not only will this greatly limit your email designs, but having a fully image-based email can increase the chances your messages will be flagged as spam.

Instead of worrying about rendering perfectly across every email client, consider how it will render across top email clients’[ such as Gmail, Apple iPhone, and Outlook 2013 and 2016. And remember, there will be variances across how it looks across each of these clients.

Myth: Once My Email Looks Right on an Email Client, it will Always Look Good on that Email Client.

Fact: When Email Clients Release Updates, this Can Change How Your Email Renders.

Email clients often release updates that can affect how an email renders. Popular clients such as Gmail and Outlook, in particular, are famous for releasing updates that affect how the code is processed, which can throw the design of your email out of whack.

In some cases, though, these changes can be a positive. Recently, Gmail announced that their latest update would support responsive design.

And because changes can happen at any time (and many times without warning) it’s important to properly test your email using both an email preview tool, such as Litmus, and by sending to test email accounts across several clients including Gmail, Outlook, AOL, and Yahoo! when possible.

Myth: If it Looks Good in an Email Preview Tool, it’ll Look Good Live.

Fact: In 98% of Cases Email Preview Tools Are Accurate.

Okay, that 98% isn’t a scientific number, but if you’re running your email through an email preview tool, such as Litmus, you’re likely to get the most accurate view of your email across 35 different email clients.

But sometimes these tools don’t receive recent email client updates fast enough, which again, is another reason you want to test your email across test accounts on several email clients.

In rare cases, you can follow all proper testing procedures for an email, wait 24 hours to send, and still run into an issue you hadn’t anticipated due to an update that was released at some point between testing and deployment.

Myth: My Email Should Look Exactly Like the Mock, Down to the Pixel.

Fact: It’s Nearly Impossible to Have a Pixel Perfect Email Across all Email Clients and Devices.

Again, because of how different email clients render email code, you’ll never achieve this. And that’s okay! At the end of the day, you just want to make sure your email is visually appealing and renders in a way that doesn’t impact the user experience.

Until we have email coding standards, it’s best for every email developer, digital marketer, and CMO to stop mistaking the many myths surrounding email as facts. Instead, focus on designing and coding your email around providing the best user experience possible for the largest number of people.

And don’t be afraid to test new things just because it may not render properly across every single client or device. Interactive email components like gifs, live inventory updates, or loyalty point information may not always be supported across all email clients, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use them. Instead, make sure you put the proper media queries and contingencies in place to show users something that is supported by their email client of choice.