The From Line

Sending, Managing & Monetizing Email

Weekly Trends & Takeaways: Subscription Model

Bacon of the Month Club for Valentine's Day? Or Panties of the Month?

Regardless of what you sell, your company may just have a big opportunity gift right under your noses. Continue reading for more on what the publishing industry did right and what we can learn from subscription-based business models...

Trend: The Return of Subscription-Based Business Models

Established by the publishing industry with magazines and Book of the Month Club, many retailers looking to break into an already-competitive market are turning to the subscription model. Rather than selling a single product and hoping for the customer to return for more, ecommerce sites such as Panty by Post, Men are Useless and Blue Bottle Coffee Company are hoping larger single receipts through subscription packages are the answer to bigger returns.

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Weekly Marketing Trend: Start a Group Buying Email Program

A Lesson in Group Buying Programs
Marketing Pros in Niche Markets Warming up to the Craze

 
TREND:
Groupon, a leader in the group buying craze, recently rebuffed a $6 billion buyout offer from Google. This speaks to the relevance and growth potential of an integrated marketing tactic that incorporates email, local advertising and social media. And Groupon is just one of over 500 group-buying sites worldwide. Most of these sites offer easy-to-share discounts and reward subscribers whose friends make a purchase. The deals are almost always announced via daily emails and come with a small window of opportunity. This frequent sense of urgency no doubt feeds into the frenzy. Now Wal-Mart is even testing this model with their email program.

TAKEAWAY:
Deal of the Day emails are nothing new, and neither is buying in bulk. So what is it about the trend that has garnered so much attention lately? Group buying sites are popular because deals are either locally-based or fill a niche such as singles nightlife, organic baby products, home décor and travel deals. But despite the popularity, the increase in coupon sites is beginning to water down advertiser messages. Deals are either too generic or not well targeted. The increase in competing Groupon-like services highlights a need for relevancy, smart targeting and customer service best practices. They also mean that businesses need to be more savvy when evaluating the right strategy -- sometimes the service's commission limit potential profits.

What Works:
Some of these sites have variable pricing models while others have minimum purchase thresholds for a deal to “activate.” Some provide paper coupons while others provide mobile bar codes. But regardless of the niche or region, every group buying site utilizes:

   1. Consistent email schedules and
       
   2. Social media sharing widgets
               

HOW-TO:

To join the group buying phenomenon, businesses should look first at their existing email databases. Subscribers who already interact with communications are likely to remain loyal.

Start by creating a “daily deal” email campaign that integrates with social media sharing widgets such as AddThis. Target the most loyal subscribers – those who regularly click links and share messages.

They key is to then execute campaigns at the same time each day. Businesses should also highlight their customer service such as refunds, reliability, response time and transaction confirmations. Customer service offered by group-buying sites has taken a few hits in the media lately, so this can be a competitive edge for many businesses looking to start an email-based group coupon program.

We look forward to seeing yours!

We'd love to help any business looking to implement or test this kind of strategy. If you need assistance or just want to brainstorm we'd be happy to talk.

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My Predictions for a Multichannel Marketing Evolution (re: Facebook)

Today’s Facebook universal messaging system announcement sheds light on a growing industry with an increase in opportunities for marketers.

Facebook messaging, which adds email to their system for the first time, will focus on four channels of communication: SMS, Facebook messaging, IM and email. Facebook users will have the ability to obtain @facebook.com email addresses as part of the new system.

Three Predictions for 2011 and Beyond:
#1: The Like Button Will Become a Universal Multichannel Opt-In
Rather than requiring individuals complete forms, the Facebook Like button will become a universal opt-in method. This will prove to be beneficial to marketers. Because Facebook’s system will automatically detect where the user is located (either at a computer, on their mobile device or completely offline), only one method of communication will be required to reach subscribers.

#2: Facebook Messaging Will Force a 2-Way Dialogue
With today’s announcement, businesses reaching out to Facebook users must be aware of the differences between current email clients and the modern messaging system. From now on, messaging experiences of users will gradually morph from formal, lengthy messages to shorter and more personal communications.

#3: A Decreased Need for Multichannel Solutions
Once Facebook messaging adopts traditional email protocols such as IMAP, marketers will no longer need to create separate messages for each channel. With a universal messaging system, the need for single-channel technologies (such as SMS-only or email-only messaging vendors) will fall by the wayside and only a single system will be necessary.

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How Ad Agencies Can Get Social Marketing Project Publicity a'la The Old Spice Guy

A letter to ad agencies:
All of your agency’s clients are hearing social media campaign pitches right now from your
biggest competitors. Okay, so while that might not be totally true, it’s possible that your
clients are wondering if another agency would be a better choice to raise their social presence.
Your website lists it as a capability, but perhaps still can’t point to the success of completely
viral campaigns such as
the Old Spice Guy
.
 
Well, I’m here to tell you this: that could be you featured on Mashable just like the Old
Spice Guy
and I’m going to tell you how to get a leg up on the competition.
 
I'm not going to tell you how to be creative -- that is clearly what agencies have always been
good at. But once you have your concept in place, the most important part of going viral?
Get that first burst of activity within the first hour or two of campaign execution. To fuel an
important exponential response early, you should immediately execute an email campaign.
Email is the only direct form of viral marketing (versus passive mediums like twitter, facebook
and youtube
which require fans to “catch” your news feed…when they get around to it).

This is one reason why email is never going to be replaced by social media. Social sharing sites

are still destinations while email is targeted, lists can be segmented, and ROI can be clearly
measured and analyzed. Plus, you are able to control timing and measure when someone
received a message and if they opened it.

     -- Lauren

PS: Nobody has created the ability to do A/B split campaigns for social sites. If you hear of it,
let me know because given the technology behind how social media sites work, I am willing to bet
it’s not the real thing. Trust me on this.
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Social Media Insight: Encouraging Two-Way Dialogue in Email Marketing Programs

Recently Gold Lasso rolled out a social media feature for eLoop clients. A powerful tool, social media is a popular topic in interactive marketing. It offers unique opportunities for increasing the reach of an ordinary email campaign, exposing it to a much larger scale than other marketing methods. The potential for social media's impact on campaigns is exponential.

In order to ensure social media exposure from your email campaigns, it is important to incentivize the reader.  Create a compelling promotion; two for one, half price, new products or any other incentives that will influence online word of mouth via social media sharing. This will increase your exposure to new customers and reinforce messages with existing clients.

By integrating social media with messages in eLoop, you can measure the number of reposts, who shared information with their networks and how many times the information was shared.

One feel-good approach is to use cause marketing to encourage posting to social media. Being associated with a cause and supporting one such as cancer research fundraising, holiday food drive or simply tweeting about social issues can be the differentiator for getting additional exposure. Using the cause marketing approach is not only rewarding but could potentially keep your messages alive on the web even longer.

To share more ideas on leveraging the social media tools that we offer, contact Gold Lasso on Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook. And remember to stay tuned for GL Jive, our online client community - perfect for information exchange and brainstorming!

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The Email Monetization Playbook
Email Monetization Playbook
69 Must Scan Pages For Publishers!

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Email Monetization Playbook
69 Must Scan Pages For Publishers!