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.
To help explain the scope and approaches used for digital marketing working with the IDM in 2005 I developed a more (too?) detailed definition than the simple one at the start of this post to better scope it and show how digital marketing needs to be closely aligned to broader marketing objectives and activities and involves much more than SEO and inbound marketing. So this is the original definition from 2005 - how should it change now?

Even in this age of social media, emails remain one of the most efficient and effective ways to reach your contacts. So whether you’re looking to improve, restart, or begin email marketing for your business, you’re making a great decision. Do email blasts work? The answer is yes, but getting great results is not magic. Here are 10 rules for email blasts that will ensure customers open your emails and engage with your small business:
Targeted mailing is when the advertiser mails to a segmented list of addresses using geographic, demographic, and psychographic filters, among others. While a targeted mailing is often more relevant to the audience and can result in greater engagement and response, it tends to be expensive, especially as you add more refined filter criteria (also known as selects).
The books I've written have actually had three different titles, updated to move with the times. My first text book was titled: Internet Marketing: Strategy, Implementation and Practice. I then created E-business E-commerce Management and, with PR Smith, E-marketing Excellence, for professionals a couple of years later. Then, much later, the names switched and in 2012 we renamed the Internet Marketing book to Digital Marketing with the others becoming Digital Business and Digital Marketing Excellence.  About time too, since I was involved in developing the syllabus as an examiner for the first IDM Diploma in Digital Marketing back in 2004-5 when the term was hardly used at all - so it's been great to see 'Digital Marketing' adopted as the 'de facto' term, when I was first involved in defining it with the IDM students in 2004!

Historically, it has been difficult to measure the effectiveness of marketing campaigns because target markets cannot be adequately defined. Email marketing carries the benefit of allowing marketers to identify returns on investment and measure and improve efficiency.[citation needed] Email marketing allows marketers to see feedback from users in real time, and to monitor how effective their campaign is in achieving market penetration, revealing a communication channel's scope. At the same time, however, it also means that the more personal nature of certain advertising methods, such as television advertisements, cannot be captured.


…email blasts are, frankly, inconsiderate from a recipient’s standpoint. We define spam as any unwanted email, and most of the time irrelevant emails are unwanted. Email blasts by definition are irrelevant since you can’t possibly send the same exact message to hundreds of thousands (or even millions!) of subscribers and expect it to resonate personally with each one.
Once your list is targeted, you need to spend an equally large portion of time coming up with a great deal – even if it means you might lose a bit of money on it. The underlying goal of any marketing campaign is to gain new customers, and it’s worth it to significantly reduce your profit margins to gain said customers. Once you have a surgically-honed list and an amazing offer, then you can spend some time on the design, copy, delivery methods, postage rates, date of delivery, size of the mailer…there are a lot of other options to consider, but following the 40/40/20 rule you can see how important audience and offer truly are.
E-marketers must operate their businesses in compliance with numerous laws. For example, e-marketers are responsible for protecting customers' privacy; without customers' permission, they are not legally allowed to share or sell customers' information to a third party. Copying other businesses' Web information for commercial use is also in violation of copyright law.
Your social media strategy is more than just a Facebook profile or Twitter feed. When executed correctly, social media is a powerful customer engagement engine and web traffic driver. It’s easy to get sucked into the hype and create profiles on every single social site. This is the wrong approach. What you should do instead is to focus on a few key channels where your brand is most likely to reach key customers and prospects. This chapter will teach you how to make that judgment call.
As we wrote in an earlier post, 7 Email List Hygiene Best Practices for a Fresh & Clean List, it’s far better to let people unsubscribe – to make it really easy for them to unsubscribe – than to keep them on your list. Don’t blast people – force people – into getting your email messages. Email marketing at its best is not mass advertising. It is tailored, persona-driven, relationship-building, inbound marketing.
Ideally, email marketing should go hand-in-hand with social media. Adding social media "Like" or "Share" buttons to your marketing emails gives an additional way for customers to connect with your brand. Snippets of positive reviews from social media fans can be included in emails, and conversely, social media postings can be used to encourage fans to subscribe to your email newsletters.

CPA (Cost Per Action or Cost Per Acquisition) or PPP (Pay Per Performance) advertising means the advertiser pays for the number of users who perform a desired activity, such as completing a purchase or filling out a registration form. Performance-based compensation can also incorporate revenue sharing, where publishers earn a percentage of the advertiser's profits made as a result of the ad. Performance-based compensation shifts the risk of failed advertising onto publishers.[62]:4, 16


Social Media Marketing - The term 'Digital Marketing' has a number of marketing facets as it supports different channels used in and among these, comes the Social Media. When we use social media channels ( Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Google+, etc.) to market a product or service, the strategy is called Social Media Marketing. It is a procedure wherein strategies are made and executed to draw in traffic for a website or to gain attention of buyers over the web using different social media platforms.
If you sign up for something and the terms include words like "Sign up to receive updates from us and our partners that we think you'll like," your email address is likely being collected for a shared or sold list. A subset of this method is called co-registration. This is where you sign up at a website, but that website also automatically, or nearly automatically, signs you up for other sites. They try to legitimize this by informing you of the additional subscriptions, or providing boxes to uncheck. This is a situation where it's not the subscriber’s intention to sign up for the material they will be receiving.

Per the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, a bachelor's degree in marketing, statistics, business administration or a similar field is the common requirement to enter a career in marketing. If you'd like to specialize in e-marketing, you could complete a bachelor's program in this field. Certificate and master's degree programs in e-marketing are also available, if you have a different education background and now want to enter this field.
Perhaps you're a new company and don't have a customer base. Maybe you have a service you're sure that people will love... if only they heard about you. Whatever the reason, buying an email list seems like an easy, low cost way to grow your business. But, there are some serious consequences to purchasing. And there are real benefits to using an opt-in list!
Marketers try to measure customer response to direct mail through personalized URLs and coupon codes, but there’s no guarantee customers will visit websites from a specific URL or buy products using a specific code. O’Keefe says that consumers will often receive a piece of mail, get inspired and Google the product they want to buy. The difficulty of attributing conversions may be a reason why the pendulum has swung toward digital, O’Keefe says.
Because users have different operating systems, web browsers[84] and computer hardware (including mobile devices and different screen sizes), online ads may appear to users differently from how the advertiser intended, or the ads may not display properly at all. A 2012 comScore study revealed that, on average, 31% of ads were not "in-view" when rendered, meaning they never had an opportunity to be seen.[85] Rich media ads create even greater compatibility problems, as some developers may use competing (and exclusive) software to render the ads (see e.g. Comparison of HTML 5 and Flash).
Not only is InVision's newsletter a great mix of content, but I also love the nice balance between images and text, making it really easy to read and mobile-friendly -- which is especially important, because its newsletters are so long. (Below is just an excerpt, but you can read through the full email here.) We like the clever copy on the call-to-action (CTA) buttons, too.
Failures and successes in e-marketing have shown that when marketing goods online results in distribution, storing, or shipping and handling costs higher than the value of the goods, an exclusively online enterprise may be headed for a short life. In addition, e-marketers need to be aware of cultural pitfalls when designing e-commerce sites for foreign markets.
When planning a direct mail campaign, don’t forget that you still need to follow the basic direct mail rules. A good list, a good design and a strong call-to-action are a must in order for your direct mail to be a success. Provide information on how people can use the technology you are including and strong content for them to view. If the content is not well designed, then your effort will have been a waste of time.

Make the first three sentences of your blast catchy. The first couple of sentences within your email blast will determine whether the recipient decides to read the rest of it. The intro should draw people in with a sense of urgency or excitement. You can elaborate more on the subject line within your first sentence to give additional clarity to what the email is about, or you can create a sense of urgency and intrigue that compels them to open the email to learn more about the issue.[4]

One of a small business’s best marketing assets is a healthy email list. While proper management and use of your email file will drive revenue immensely, it is often a challenge to create the email list itself. With inbox clutter on the rise and customers becoming more sensitive toward any unwanted communication, marketers should develop their subscriber lists with relevance and care. 


Our Best Practices team doesn’t only catch bad actors using purchased lists — even well-intentioned businesses can fall into the trap of buying email lists. After all, a purchased list sounds like a great idea in theory: You can start marketing your product or service right away to a list of subscribers, instead of having to grow your list from scratch.
Prioritizing clicks refers to display click ads, although advantageous by being ‘simple, fast and inexpensive’ rates for display ads in 2016 is only 0.10 percent in the United States. This means one in a thousand click ads are relevant therefore having little effect. This displays that marketing companies should not just use click ads to evaluate the effectiveness of display advertisements (Whiteside, 2016).[42]
Email Newsletters are some of the most common and popular forms of email marketing. Use email newsletters to provide your subscribers with timely, expected, and helpful updates from your brand. Include thought leadership or how-tos, announcements about your product or service, insider-peeks into your business, or any other engaging content that adds value to your subscribers’ inboxes.
Shifting the focus to the time span, we may need to measure some "Interim Metrics", which give us some insight during the journey itself, as well as we need to measure some "Final Metrics" at the end of the journey to inform use if the overall initiative was successful or not. As an example, most of social media metrics and indicators such as likes, shares and engagement comments may be classified as interim metrics while the final increase/decrease in sales volume is clearly from the final category.
An email blast is a single email message that is sent to a large group of recipients. Email blasts are no longer an email marketing best practice. Email marketers should segment their lists and send targeted messages to their subscribers.  All email blasts need to follow the CAN-SPAM Act, include an unsubscribe link, and accurately identify the person or business that is deploying the email.
The ad exchange puts the offer out for bid to demand-side platforms. Demand side platforms act on behalf of ad agencies, who sell ads which advertise brands. Demand side platforms thus have ads ready to display, and are searching for users to view them. Bidders get the information about the user ready to view the ad, and decide, based on that information, how much to offer to buy the ad space. According to the Internet Advertising Bureau, a demand side platform has 10 milliseconds to respond to an offer. The ad exchange picks the winning bid and informs both parties.
With the GDPR now governing all email correspondence across Europe, adding an opt-out option to your email template no longer cuts it. Under this act, you must have explicit consent from your contacts to send them emails. Explicit, in this case, means the checkbox a person must click to opt in to an email subscription isn't pre-checked when they see it on your website. And when you buy your email lists, the people on it haven't been given this option -- making you non-compliant with GDPR before you send your first email. https://wp.lob.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/email-marketing-3.jpg
Focus on the reader first. You should always write your emails to address the needs of your subscribers, not yours. Offer ways to solve their problems, don’t simply talk about your products and how great they are. (This is a part that so many companies get wrong.) Ask yourself, what are the biggest pain points/struggles for my subscribers? How can I solve their current problem in this email?
Per the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, a bachelor's degree in marketing, statistics, business administration or a similar field is the common requirement to enter a career in marketing. If you'd like to specialize in e-marketing, you could complete a bachelor's program in this field. Certificate and master's degree programs in e-marketing are also available, if you have a different education background and now want to enter this field.

Not only is InVision's newsletter a great mix of content, but I also love the nice balance between images and text, making it really easy to read and mobile-friendly -- which is especially important, because its newsletters are so long. (Below is just an excerpt, but you can read through the full email here.) We like the clever copy on the call-to-action (CTA) buttons, too.
Not only was this initial email great, but his response to my answers was even better: Within a few days of responding to the questionnaire, I received a long and detailed personal email from Matt thanking me for filling out the questionnaire and offering a ton of helpful advice and links to resources specifically catered to my answers. I was very impressed by his business acumen, communication skills, and obvious dedication to his readers.
Best Practices Calls to Action Coding Content Marketing Copywriting Customer Journey Customer Spotlight Data-Driven Marketing Deliverability Digital Marketing Email Automation Email Design Email Development Email List Email Marketing Email Templates Event Marketing Marketing Automation Metrics Personalization Segmentation Social Media Strategy Subject Line Testing Transactional Email
Choose analytics software that works for your organization. While many email marketing applications have built-in analytics, you may consider getting a third party system to help you process the data or statistics on your campaigns. Some software can give you a more comprehensive or visual representation of your analytics, while others may track something that your current content management system does not. The size and scope of your e-blast campaign will dictate which kind of software you require.
The concept is simple. If someone is reading an in-depth blog post of yours, chances are they’re very interested in what you have to say on the topic. The key is to then offer them something that is directly related to the topic they’re reading about. You know they’re already interested, so by offering instantaneous extra value it’s not difficult to see why people would gladly sign up.
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