Target Corp. inadvertently drew an early line in the sand between good data use and data use that was too personal for customer comfort. In 2012, Charles Duhigg reported in The New York Times that Target addressed a mailer, which featured coupons for cribs and baby clothes, to a high school girl. When her father complained to the company, yelling that his daughter was not pregnant, the company apologized; when the father called back a few days later, he was contrite. “It turns out there’s been some activities in my house I haven’t been completely aware of,” the father said, according to Duhigg. “She’s due in August. I owe you an apology.”
With so many of the us depending on the internet to stay tuned into what's going on in our lives and in the world, it's no wonder that direct mail, or "direct classic" as the industry sometimes refers to it, has become an afterthought for small business marketing strategies. Postage is getting more and more expensive. Plus, email delivery and online communications are near immediate compared to the time it takes to go through the production, proofing, printing, and mailing process.
What is email marketing? Basically the use of email to promote products and/or services. But a better email marketing definition is the use of email to develop relationships with potential customers and/or clients. Email marketing is one segment of internet marketing, which encompasses online marketing via websites, social media, blogs, etc. It is essentially the same as direct mail except that instead of sending mail through the postal service, messages are sent electronically via email.
When writing this guide, we reached out to the marketer community to collect case studies and learnings about creative marketing strategies. Most of these examples are included throughout the guide, but some didn’t quite fit. So we included those loose ends here, from the perspective of four awesome marketers. What better way to wrap up this guide than with you, our community?

Does the difference in these terms and their definitions matter? No, of course not, it's semantics! But it is interesting to see how the scope of Internet marketing vs Digital marketing has changed over time. In my books, when discussing alternative definitions, I explain that, no it doesn't really matter, but the scope and responsibility is important to make the most of managing the opportunities. So the scope of digital marketing activities should be agreed within a business and/or between a company and its agencies. The biggest difference is whether digital marketing is simply seen as about communications (online marketing) or whether it is broader, looking at underpinning marketing technology and options for new online business and revenue models.
A lead magnet (a.k.a. an optin bribe) is something amazing that you give away for free in exchange for an email address. This doesn’t have to cost you anything to create– most lead magnets are digital materials like PDFs, MP3 audio files, or videos that you can create yourself at minimal or no cost. It can be absolutely anything you want, so long as it provides value for free.
By placing links back to Foundr’s website, it means that we’re able to piggyback on high-profile influencers and expose our brand to an already interested audience. Similar to how the content upgrades work, placing these backlinks throughout these guest articles encourages readers to click on them and get even more value with our much more in-depth article.
The primary purpose of a transactional email is to convey information regarding the action that triggered it. But, due to their high open rates (51.3% compared to 36.6% for email newsletters), transactional emails are an opportunity to introduce or extend the email relationship with customers or subscribers; to anticipate and answer questions; or to cross-sell or up-sell products or services.[3]
Understanding Mobiles: Understanding mobile devices is a significant aspect of digital marketing because smartphones and tablets are now responsible for 64% of the time US consumers are online (Whiteside, 2016).[42] Apps provide a big opportunity as well as challenge for the marketers because firstly the app needs to be downloaded and secondly the person needs to actually use it. This may be difficult as ‘half the time spent on smartphone apps occurs on the individuals single most used app, and almost 85% of their time on the top four rated apps’ (Whiteside, 2016).[42] Mobile advertising can assist in achieving a variety of commercial objectives and it is effective due to taking over the entire screen, and voice or status is likely to be considered highly; although the message must not be seen or thought of as intrusive (Whiteside, 2016).[42] Disadvantages of digital media used on mobile devices also include limited creative capabilities, and reach. Although there are many positive aspects including the users entitlement to select product information, digital media creating a flexible message platform and there is potential for direct selling (Belch & Belch, 2012).[44]
Use it to make sales on autopilot. Creating a sales funnel out of an email autoresponder sequence is a widely adopted strategy used by information marketers, but it can also be used by software companies, eCommerce businesses and service providers. For example, it could consist of a series of educational videos, a sales video and follow-ups to sell your information products. Or, you could create a sequence of free educational emails, and then invite them to a live or recorded webinar where you make an offer. For eCommerce businesses, your sales sequence could include promo offers for products your subscriber has just viewed on your website.
Email marketing is one of the most cost-effective ways to promote your business, whether your goal is to build your brand or sell more stuff. Our field guide provides everything you need to know to make the most of this platform. Learn how to create an email marketing plan, design effective emails, and test them. Then discover the power of automation and how to measure the success of your emails.
Unsubscribe rate. Unsubscribes are always going to happen no matter what, and that’s usually OK because those people probably would never have bought from you anyway. However, a high unsubscribe rate can indicate that you are losing potential customers. Check the following: Why did people subscribe to your list in the first place, and are you delivering on that promise? Is the content of your autoresponder highly relevant to the segment it is being sent to? Are you sending too many sales emails with too little value emails?
Maggie Aland is a staff writer for Fit Small Business and editor of the Marketing and Reviews sections. She writes on a variety of marketing topics, ranging from newspaper ads to how to market your business on Facebook. Before joining Fit Small Business, Maggie worked as a marketing associate at a niche publishing company. There she was responsible for determining the marketing plan and keeping up with the budget of 10+ B2B products. Her experience includes email, direct mail, social media, events, and more. When not editing or writing, you can find Maggie looking for the best brunch spots in NYC.
The best time to send an email blast depends a little on the best time you think your recipients would like to receive it. Most business contacts receive an average of 75 emails per day. To make sure they have the time to review (and hopefully, read) your email, try to have your email blast arrive on Tuesday Mornings between 8am and 11am. Mondays (especially after holidays) is typically a day where most contacts are catching up on email from the weekend. Fridays are difficult, as most contacts are wrapping up work from the week and may not have the time to look at your message. Even if they do find time to read it, they may have forgotten about you, and your message, by the next Monday. If Monday is a holiday, time your email blast to arrive on a Wednesday Morning after the holiday. Mornings are best as most people are planning or finalizing their day in the mornings. This gives them more time to react to your email message that same day. Afternoons and evenings are typically too late in the workday to encourage immediate action.
I won’t lie to you, it does take a fair amount of preparation and time to build your authority up to this point. But I guarantee you that if you start implementing the exact same tactics that I’ve listed here, you’ll immediately be able to increase your conversion rate and start building one of the most important resources you’ll need as an entrepreneur.
Just one subscriber and something to say, that’s it! Don’t wait to have a “large list”. Email Marketing has no limits in size, BIG or small. When it comes to using a tool like Benchmark, the last thing you want is to have to learn something new. That’s why Benchmark Email was created with familiar tools in mind. Here is how and what you will need to get started
If your campaign includes emails to a large number of accounts that are either no longer active or have not been used for a long time, alarm bells start to ring. Email services want to see senders of bulk email campaigns make an effort to send only emails that will be seen by their recipients, since this is something spammers are unlikely to care about.
Digital marketing methods such as search engine optimization (SEO), search engine marketing (SEM), content marketing, influencer marketing, content automation, campaign marketing, data-driven marketing,[6] e-commerce marketing, social media marketing, social media optimization, e-mail direct marketing, display advertising, e–books, and optical disks and games are becoming more common in our advancing technology. In fact, digital marketing now extends to non-Internet channels that provide digital media, such as mobile phones (SMS and MMS), callback, and on-hold mobile ring tones.[7] In essence, this extension to non-Internet channels helps to differentiate digital marketing from online marketing, another catch-all term for the marketing methods mentioned above, which strictly occur online.
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