The From Line

Sending, Managing & Monetizing Email

Native Variables For An Email Home

Native Variables For An Email Home

As published in MediaPost

Native ads are hot! This controversial yet ultra-effective tactic of blending content, advertisement, and placement is heading straight for consumers' inboxes. With a firm hold on the social channel, native ads are quickly making their way to the email channel where they are a natural fit for mobile newsletter formats. Despite the initial success of native ads, many email publishers are fumbling with their implementation and optimization. Here's some help.

Eye Movement

The successful implementation of native ads in email starts with the format of the email message itself. Email formats are now highly influenced by the success of social media on mobile devices. For example, Facebook made a fairly smooth transition from desktop to mobile, as it was able to scale the value of its social stream to a smaller format. The same challenge for email is achieved via adaptive design, compacting all of an email's content into one narrow column. This one -olumn format significantly increases an email's legibility and engagement, especially on mobile devices, by allowing a subscriber's eye to effortlessly scan from left to right while scrolling.

Native Art

Ideally, all aspects of a native ad's format should be identical to the main content, with the exception of disclosures and labeling. This includes headlines, colors, fonts, image sizes and any other characteristics of the email's native design and format. While some might consider the prior suggestion controversial and even counterintuitive to traditional journalism ethics, others argue that when publishers adopt native ad formats, they send subscribers a message that this content is advertising -- and that their editorial is equally important to their business. After all, you can't have quality content without a solid revenue base to support it. Regardless of your stance, there should be no argument on proper and visible advertising disclosures.

Placement Science

To maximize return on native ads, placement becomes just as critical as format. When using a one-column format, native ad placement in email is easy, yet should be tested extensively while ignoring intuition. An example of letting intuition trump science is not placing a native ad at the top of an email's news stream because an advertisement as a top story goes against the norm. Despite whether this is true or not, publishers who rely on science for placement always fare better then the ones who rely on old-school intuition.

Contextual vs. Personal

Contextual and personal native ads are the two types publishers are currently experimenting with in email. Contextual is easier to implement, as there are fewer targeting and content variables to consider. Personalized content, on the other hand, is much more difficult, since publishers need to be armed with both a deep and diverse ad inventory, as well as with individual targeting capabilities. Unless you are a publisher of a micro-niche subject, it's been proven that personalized native ads mostly outperform contextual ones.

As always, email eventually finds a comfortable role whenever there's a digital media transformation. For now, email is successfully providing extended reach for native ads, while facilitating targeting and testing, resulting in additional publisher revenue.

 

Elie Ashery is the CEO of Gold Lasso and an adjunct professor at the Robert H. Smith School of Business.

 

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Back to Basics: Email Composition “No-Brainers”


Business email in the corporate setting is generally formal, where million dollar words are common and industry jargon is a must. Marketing messages however, are most effective when they are kept simple. To avoid alienating your audience with useless “fluff”, follow these tips.

1. Get Rid of the Big Words
You’re composing a marketing message, not playing a game of scrabble. Longer, more obscure words will not win you extra points. Avoid using words that are more than two syllables. This rule of thumb helps ground the writer to basic speaking rules and establishes a smooth cadence. The goal is to compose a message that is effortless for the recipient to read and understand. Certainly the recipient is capable of understanding bigger words, but simplifying the message makes it both universally accessible and faster to digest.

2. Omit Technical Terms and Jargon
Read the email after it is written. Are there industry specific terms? Drill them down to more generalized terms. Consider the recipient and their knowledge base. A great amount of time will be saved if industry terms and jargon are avoided. The recipient will understand the message and valuable marketing dollars will not have been wasted on a missed meaning.

3. Get a Second Set of Eyes
Is there someone in the office who does not know as much about the industry jargon as the author? Perhaps there is an intern or someone from a different department who can read the email. The idea is for the author to step away from the document before it is sent and to have an unbiased reader give it a once over. The author is invested in the words and will likely skip over terms that are possibly confusing. A separate set of eyes can point out terms that need clarification and can give input and suggestions to make the message as inviting and easy to understand as possible. An unfarmiliar reader will bring a fresh interpretation that can predict how the message will be received by subscribers.

The idea isn't to "dumb down" the email, but rather to compose a message that is readable by a person who does not understand all the jargon of the industry. The email needs to be written for an intelligent audience who is interested in being educated about the industry. Keep it simple but don't talk down to your recipient.

 

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Back to Basics: Get Results with Your Email Marketing Campaign

Email marketing is a primary factor in generating leads and initiating a call to action. But how can you make your campaign the best it can be?

Start with a Solid Email-Marketing List

A well cultivated and relevant list is the most valuable tool any email marketer can have. This means a list that has been carefully compiled, consisting of contacts of a true opted-in nature (not one that has been purchased) and genuinely want to hear from you. It is also important to keep your list up to date. Proper list cleansing and maintenance will ensure the best deliverability possible.

According to the September 2012 Business2Business post, “Get to Know Your Email Marketing List a Little Better,” the size of your marketing list is not nearly as important as the quality.

If you don’t take time to get to know the people in your list, you stand the risk of sending irrelevant, untimely, and potentially boring emails to the majority of your subscribers. This will result in poor engagement—sometimes referred to as email fatigue—and will lead to declining open rates and click-throughs, and ultimately poor sales.

Give Your Message the Creativity it Deserves

In order to produce a truly creative and targeted email, marketers must take into account several key components. The message’s subject line, body content and graphics all come into play.

The subject line should be engaging and include a strong call to action. After all, the first thing viewers will want to know is “what’s in it for me”. The first impression is invaluable. Marketers should make sure to tell subscribers what they want up front, what they will get in return, and then reinforce it several times throughout the email. By grabbing the subscriber’s attention from the start and layering their call to action several times, marketers will increase the strength of the first impression.

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Is Your eMail Marketing Campaign Sending the Right Message?

It seems like using email to market your products and services would be easy and straightforward. You prepare a standard marketing letter, drop it into an email, hit the send button, and off it goesright into your customers’ trash.

Putting together a creative and winning email marketing campaign takes more than just throwing together the same old marketing letter. Your email should include a clear message with a call to action.

Create a Clear Message with a Call to Action
Your email marketing campaign may look good. It may even read well. However, if your message isn’t clear, customers may be overwhelmed and become frustrated.

An unclear message may occur when your email:

Contains too much information. That old saying, “less is more,” applies here. You may want to extend multiple offers to your customers. However, according to an August 2012 article at Huffington Post “office workers spend an average of 2.6 hours per day reading and answering emails.” That means many people have very little patience by the end of the day. Smaller email marketing campaigns are a better option.

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Trend: Marketing Masters: They’re Publishing Content. Are You?

If you’re not creating content, start! If you are, create more!

These days marketing success goes beyond banners, email and search engine marketing. With the proliferation of digital channels and the screens that support them, marketers need to invest more in content development that entertains, delights, educates and moves their customers to buy. In the past decade, the quants overtook marketing departments at the cost of creativity, resulting in a sea of mediocre content.

Since the demand for content is growing to a louder beat, balance is gradually being restored as companies rush to strengthen their customer bonds through videos, blogs, social media and games. Contrary to the trend, effective content development doesn’t require big budgets. In fact, small to medium sized businesses in particular can master content marketing without blowing their creative budgets and in a way that adds value to their brand.

Almost a year ago, we wrote about the value of a strong content marketing campaign in our post “Giving Content Development High Priority”. Back then we stressed its importance as a foundation for marketing automation. However, today the value of quality content goes far beyond that. Tony Quin, CEO of IQ, a full service agency said in a recent post for Marketing Daily that “compelling content is the currency that buys your customer’s attention and affection long before they reach the stage of comparing features and benefits.” Knowing this, its obvious that every business CAN and SHOULD be a publisher. There is an immense amount of marketing clutter out there for businesses to compete with. Creating content that adds value to your brand will be what separates you from the competition.

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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!