Digital Marketing News: Content Is Still King, Purchases from Email, B2B Tech Influencer Marketing

Here Are 7 Reasons Why Content is Still King in 2017 [Infographic] The way content marketing draws attention and helps build genuine relationships with the audience is what sets it apart from other marketing tactics. Smart marketers are using content marketing to approach their target audience in a more subtle way to ensure the customer needs are met while building brand credibility and trust. (Social Media Today) What Influences Consumers to Purchase From Marketing Emails? A recent survey conducted of 1,004 consumers who have received marketing emails in the past year reports how the different generations are influenced in their purchase decisions. Consumers are most influenced to make purchases from marketing emails by sales/discounts and brand reputation. (MarketingProfs) The Rise of Influencer Marketing in B2B Technology B2B marketing has definitely shifted with new challenges when it comes to influencer marketing in enterprise technology. To better understand these shifts and get actionable solutions, 10 industry experts have weighed in about implementing and scaling influencer marketing. (Traackr) Click here for the Influence 2.0 study from today’s video! See How You Stack Up With Inline Competitive Metrics Six new metrics are available at the campaign, ad group and keyword levels in the main UI and Reports tab in Bing Ads. You can also access these reports via the Bing Ads API. Advertisers can now see how their campaigns, Ad groups and keywords stack up against the competition. (Bing Ads Blog) Google to Stop Using Information in Gmail to Target Personalized Ads Google announced that the enterprise version of Gmail and the consumer version will more closely align later this year. Both enterprise and consumer versions of Gmail will not be used to target personalized ads. The ads shown will be based on a user’s settings, including the option to disable personalized ads altogether. (Search Engine Journal) New Ways to Protect Your Pinterest Account Pinterest is rolling out a two-factor authentication to everyone in the next few weeks to add security by requiring a verification code every time you log in. You can receive the code via text message, or for added security, download Twilio’s Authy app. If the two-factor authentication is enabled, it works across your entire account on all devices. (Pinterest Blog) Adobe Is Launching AI-Powered Voice Analytics Adobe is adding voice analytics to the Adobe Analytics Cloud which will help people better understand how media is consumed via voice-enabled devices. You can track voice usage by intent and add specific parameters and a brand can measure top-of-funnel metrics, as well as trends and patterns at scale over time. (AdWeek) Messenger Just Added More Fun to Your Video Chats Facebook Messenger has added new features to video chats. You can now use animated reactions, filters, masks and effects. You can also take pictures of your one-on-one and group video chats and share them with your friends. (Facebook Newsroom) What were your top digital marketing news stories this week? We’ll be back next week with more top digital marketing news. For more news and expert insights, follow @toprank on Twitter!

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Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®

What’s Your Open Rate? How to Write Compelling Intros for Mobile Email Marketing

How many of your current marketing tactics are over five years old? Marketing is a fast-paced profession; even if you’re still using the same channels, odds are your strategy has changed. How about ten years old? Twenty? Thirty?

It’s surprising, then, that a marketing channel nearly forty years old is still one of the most relevant for digital marketing. Email marketing has been a steadily effective channel for decades, and advances in technology only make it easier to track, personalize, and optimize your campaigns.

Ever-increasing mobile device use has helped keep email marketing relevant, too. One study suggests 20-75% of your email opens will be on mobile. The younger your target audience, the more likely they are to use their phone as a primary email-reading device. Combine a self-selected audience with new ways to deliver the content they opted into, and it’s easy to see why email remains popular. How popular? A recent study from Salesforce found that email marketing has grown 83% in the last two years, across B2B and B2C.

However, the more valuable a marketing channel is, the more crowded it will become. More brands sending emails means more competition for your audience’s limited attention span.

Your email has to do more than provide value—it has to compel a click within a very limited character count. Here’s how to write subject lines and preview text that make your email more likely to get read.

Subject Lines – Every Character Counts

Counting up characters for email subject lines wouldn’t have made sense in a desktop-only world. There’s a virtual acre of screen real estate for your beautiful subject line to sprawl across. On mobile, though, there’s precious little space to make your case.

The exact character count varies by device, and whether it’s held in portrait or landscape mode. You could have as little as 33 characters – or about a quarter of a tweet.

You don’t have to completely limit your subject line to that short, of course. Just put your most persuasive language at the beginning. Which of the following truncated subject lines is more enticing?

  • Happy 4th of July! Enjoy the weath…
  • We miss you! Are you ready to get…
  • Free shipping today only + disco…

Personally, I’m only clicking on the last one. Even if only to find out if it’s “discounts” or an actual disco.

Basically, skip the pleasantries, the cutesiness, and the bizarre assertion that your brand “misses” someone. You can include all that in your preview text (more on that later). Instead, get down to:

  1. The Offer: “50% off sock puppets this Friday!”
  2. The Mystery: “Why do CEOs hate sock puppets?”
  3. The Thought Provoker: “How do you feel about sock puppets?”
  4. The Joke: “Every sock can be a sock puppet.”

Keep it all about the reader, and you’re far more likely to get an open.

Preview Text – Undervalued Real Estate

A great deal of marketing emails start with “housekeeping” stuff – a standard header that doesn’t have much to do with the subject at hand. That means the preview text displayed on a mobile device won’t give the reader more reasons to read it.

For example:

“How do you feel about sock puppets? Download this message as a pdf. Check out our sock puppet YouTube Channel.


How do you feel about sock puppets? Senator Kelly wants to outlaw sock puppets.”

If your email starts with “click here to view on the website,” “view plain text version,” or a set of hyperlinks to navigate your site, you’re missing an opportunity for engagement.

Generally, you have about 90 characters for your preview text. So make your first couple of sentence irresistible. If you’re personalizing your emails (and you should be), make sure the preview text will demonstrate that personalization.

A Personal Email Marketing Success Story

I have an email subscription that sends daily emails. It’s pretty much the only one left that I still allow that frequency of access. And I open every single one and click through.

The email comes from online store They have a different deal every day, and the email is just to let me know what’s on sale. But they don’t just say “Hi Josh, we have sock puppets today. Click to buy one.”

Here’s a screenshot of the email in my Gmail app:

I didn’t censor the subject line—meh are masters at introducing mystery in their subject line. They don’t tell me what’s for sale. They invite me to guess. The email body includes a few similarly redacted comments, inviting me to play along before clicking the link to see if I guessed right.

Mysterious subject line, compelling preview text, and an interactive element, delivered to my inbox daily. For me, that earns a 100% open rate (and several purchases).

Keep Them in the Know on the Go

It’s possible (though unlikely) that you have been sending marketing emails for forty years now. But you likely have a few years of experience. While email is more relevant than ever, it’s time for us to refresh our approach to grab the attention of mobile users. Keep your subject lines short and hyper-relevant, make your case in the preview text, and you can earn a tap on your message.

Just make sure that email leads to a mobile-optimized website, too.

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© Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®, 2017. | What’s Your Open Rate? How to Write Compelling Intros for Mobile Email Marketing |

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Strategic Automation: Using automatic email series to nurture leads and re-engage readers [WHITE PAPER]

We often talk about the effectiveness of email marketing, and for good reason. After all, no other tool available to the small business owner boasts a 4,300% return on investment, according to the Direct Marketing Association.

That’s why email automation is so exciting. Our free white paper, Strategic Email Automation, shows why email automation is such an effective strategy for small businesses, and it illustrates how to set up automation in your own email marketing. Here are some highlights:

What is email automation?

Email automation is the practice of automatically sending a specific group of subscribers one email or a series of emails. Automated email campaigns are different from one-off campaigns or newsletters in that the email or series of emails are predicated on an action the subscriber takes, or an interval of time that has passed since the previous email. 

Automation allows you to build trust and credibility with your subscribers (just like with individual emails) but with the added benefit of saving you time because you don’t need to create and send each campaign manually.

Common types of email automation

You may want to automate different kinds of email campaigns depending on your goals. Here are the most common types:

  • Promotional: Keep customers in the loop on upcoming events, sales and limited-time promotions, building interest and reminding them to shop.
  • Educational: Teach customers to use your products or services, and educate them on tips or tricks by highlighting one or two features per email.
  • Top-of-mind: Send emails nurturing repeat business, regularly reminding customers you stand ready to serve.
  • Re-engagement: Keep in contact with older, inactive or less frequent customers to win back their business or bring them in more often. Or remind customers about abandoned online shopping carts.
  • Onboarding: Share information relevant to new customers, and upsell them to upgrades or additional products.
  • Product launch: Update customers on new items or product enhancements, or build anticipation to new releases.

What are the advantages of email automation?

Research shows that email automation is one of the most effective forms of marketing. Open rates are 80 percent higher with an automated series than with emails sent on a single basis, according to MarTech Zone, while average click-through rates are three times higher. Similarly, companies that excel at email automation generate 80 percent more sales at 33 percent lower costs than other firms.

Moreover, this level of automation provides greater insight, more quickly, into which email topics perform better with particular segments than tracking the results of solitary emails does.

Additional benefits of email automation

  • Automated series have a defined beginning and end, such that every new prospect is welcomed and nurtured using the same cycle of messages, instead of random addresses jumping in during the middle of your strategy.
  • Automated series nurture relationships, credibility and trust without the need for direct human intervention.
  • They keep your brand, product or goal at the top of people’s minds until they’re ready to commit.
  • They’re versatile and can be used for various purposes, depending on your goals as a small business or nonprofit. Some campaigns are geared primarily toward promotion. Others focus almost entirely on education, training, re-engagement, following up on abandoned carts or promoting an event.
  • Automated email content can include copy, graphics, photos, animation, videos and audio footage. Topics might include brand or product features, surveys, survey results, information on using products, industry news, FAQs and interviews with people relevant to the business.
  • When combined with the latest analytics tools, automated series can gather customer insight that provides further guidance for future campaigns.

To learn more about email automation and how to set it up for your own email marketing, download our free white paper, Strategic Email Automation. Our helpful email automation infographic also offers a useful, albeit whimsical, example of email automation in action. 

Automate your email marketing

Use email automation to nurture leads, generate sales and save time. Learn how with our FREE white paper.

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© 2017, John Habib. All rights reserved.

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Guide to email list management — now en español [EBOOK]

Read in English | Leer en español

From your favorite name brands to local mom and pop shops, these days, email is an essential part of any successful marketing strategy. To get the most out of your email marketing program and start seeing the impressive return on investment that the channel is known for, you have to develop a strategy that revolves around building and managing your contact list.

Recently, we released the Spanish language version of our service. Our eBook, Guide to Email List Management was designed to help you increase the impact of your campaigns. And now we’re excited to announce the release of the Spanish-language version of this comprehensive guide. Now even more small business owners will have access to this vital information. 

As you start preparing to launch your email marketing program or begin to fine-tune your strategy, you might ask yourself:

  • How do I build an email list from scratch?
  • What tools do I need to get started?
  • What is list segmentation, and is it something that I should be doing?
  • Once I have subscribers, how can I get them to engage with my content?
  • How do I handle unsubscribes and bouncebacks?

Spanish speakers can now find the answers to these questions and more in our Guide to Email List Management. Download it today, and take your email marketing to a whole new level.

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Subscribe to our newsletter and download our FREE Guide to Email List Management eBook en español.

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Editor’s Note: Download the English version of our Guide to Email List Management here.

© 2017, Amber Humphrey. All rights reserved.

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Oops! What to do when email mistakes happen

Everyone makes mistakes every now and then. When it comes to email marketing, everyone’s done it; even the big guys make gaffes sometimes. When this happens, the important thing is to take a breath and not panic. Most people think they need to send out an apology right away, but depending on the error and your audience, you may want to wait. Sending too many emails at once, even for a mistake, can send your unsubscribe rate skyrocketing.

Here are four steps to take if you’ve made a mistake in an email:

1. Assess: Before you do anything, take a moment to see what the impact is of the mistake. Here are a few questions to ask yourself before you act:

  • What is the email list size?
  • What is the open and click-through rate?

It’s possible that you caught the error early and can send out a follow-up with minimal impact. Then, ask:

  • How big is the mistake?
  • How will it affect your business?
  • Did you make a spelling error or a pricing mistake, or did you promote the wrong date for an event?

A minor typo, misspelling or coding error probably won’t have much impact, other than some embarrassment or people pointing out the mistake. In this case, sending out a follow-up could be an annoyance for your recipients – save the correction for the next email or newsletter that you send out.

A pricing error or the wrong date could have a major impact on your business or organization, so sending out a follow-up email is a must.

2. Respond: Once you’ve assessed the situation, decide how to respond.

Keep these tips in mind if you need to send a follow-up email:

  • Be quick – A quick follow-up can catch people before they see the first email
  • Be clear – Subject and pre-header should be clear about the purpose
  • Apologize – Own up to the mistake and say you’re sorry for any misunderstanding
  • Send an offer – If you can’t give what was promised in the email, offer a back-up
  • Brand – Stay on brand in the apology, but humor is always good
  • Use social media – Consider acknowledging the error on social media to be transparent and help alleviate customer support issues

You can also try to correct the mistake, depending on where it was in your email. If you’ve made an error in the subject line, in a link or in the content, these tips can help you correct the mistake, even if you’ve already sent the email:

  • Subject line oops – This impacts your open rate, so one thing you never want to do, no matter how tempting, is to use a placeholder subject line like TBD or “test” while creating your email – just in case you launch the email without remembering to change the subject line. You may not know your subject line right away, but even if you use something like “August Newsletter” for the time being, it’ll support your email if it does get sent, and won’t be as detrimental as “test” might.
    • In follow-ups:
      • Use the words “Correction,” “Oops” or “We Apologize” in the subject line, so your recipients know why they received another email.
      • Consider using the pre-header for the correction information.
  • Link oops – Links can be corrected in the reporting area of your account. If you have a URL spelled out incorrectly in the copy, i.e.,, it can’t be changed, but the underlying link can. At least those who click will go to the right page. Since your reporting will tell you how many clicks you have, and which links were clicked, consider mailing only to those who clicked the bad link, rather than your whole list.
  • Content oops – Images can be refreshed. If some of your recipients saw the wrong graphic in the email, contact our support team; they can help you refresh an image in your email. If you’ve made a typo, or the mistake is not business-impacting, address it later. If you’ve mailed to the wrong list segment or have the wrong offer in the email, send an apology email with the correct info.

3. Measure the impact: Once you’ve decided what your plan is and you’ve taken action, or not, look at how things went. The reporting from your emails will give you insight into how your recipients responded to the mistake:

  • Track your opens and clicks – Do you have a normal open rate for your emails? Did it change due to the error?
  • Watch the conversions – Are they where you expected them to be? Or are they higher or lower?
  • Check the unsubscribe rate – Hopefully everything you’ve done has kept it low, but keep an eye on it.
  • Compare original and follow-up emails and see how the stats compare.

4. How to avoid an “Oops!” in the future: Proofread, proofread, proofread. If you’re the only person looking at your emails, enlist someone else. Just one other set of eyes can prevent a mistake from happening again. Also, always send a test email and look at it! Make sure the copy makes sense, that you see the right images and they’re rendering correctly, and that all your links work.

Try some of these content tactics:

  • Use auto-correct and spell check, or use Microsoft Word to discover grammar problems.
  • Print out your emails and check for errors.
  • Read each word out loud to catch anything wrong.

Everyone makes mistakes; the important thing is to learn from them.

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Editor’s Note: This blog post was originally published in August 2012 and has been revamped and updated for accuracy and relevance.

© 2017, Contributing Author. All rights reserved.

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75 email newsletter content topics you can use ASAP

Wouldn’t it be nice if you had a relationship with every one of your subscribers? If you’re sending an email newsletter, you already do.

According to the Nielsen Norman Group’s Email Newsletter Usability Report (based on 270 email newsletters across six countries), email newsletters create bonds.

“Newsletters feel personal because they arrive in users’ inboxes, and users have an ongoing relationship with them…The positive aspect of this emotional relationship is that newsletters can create much more of a bond between users and company than a website can,” says the report.

Did you know that 72 percent of U.S. adults prefer that companies communicate with them through email? It’s clear that when someone signs up for your email newsletter, they like you and want to know more about you.

To keep these relationships going strong, plan to provide readers with consistent and engaging newsletter content. Short on topics? We totally understand. Below, we’ve brainstormed 75 email newsletter content topics you can use now or in the near future:

  1. An upcoming event, trade show, workshop or festival you’re hosting, participating in, attending or sponsoring
  2. An educational blog post you’ve written, chock-full of advice
  3. An interesting and relevant blog post written by a third party
  4. A survey or poll
  5. Your survey or poll’s results
  6. Frequently asked questions and answers (FAQs)
  7. A product/service demo or how-to video you’ve created
  8. A bulleted list of helpful, insider tips or DIY instructions related to your products, service or industry
  9. A milestone or anniversary for your company
  10. An industry-related podcast (by you or someone else) that you recommend
  11. A summary of donations, funding or a small business grant your organization may have received recently
  12. Customer testimonials or spotlights
  13. A company recap of the year or an annual report (How many pizzas did your business sell? How many cups of coffee did your employees drink? How many lives did you impact? Warby Parker did a fantastic job with theirs a few years ago.)
  14. A roundup of your most popular products (fan favorites), blog posts, infographics videos or services from the week/month/year
  15. An interesting, industry-related infographic you came across
  16. An infographic you created (even better!)
  17. A gift guide
  18. A mention of an upcoming sale or offer, or an early bird coupon for that sale
  19. Pictures and mini-bios of new employees and team members
  20. Behind-the-scenes photos of your business and customers
  21. Your company’s story
  22. An award you’ve won, or an award you’re attempting to win
  23. A spotlight of a neighboring small business
  24. Small Business Saturday details, and how you’re participating
  25. Apps or tools you find useful
  26. A recipe (this doesn’t just apply to food)
  27. Fan or customer photos — Include pictures of customers enjoying, using or purchasing your products or services, or an event of yours they attended
  28. Signup information for your customer loyalty or rewards program(s)
  29. A contest or giveaway
  30. Winner announcement for your contest or giveaway
  31. Press mentions your business may have received
  32. Sneak peeks of upcoming products or services
  33. A livestream or webinar you’re hosting
  34. A nonprofit or cause you’re supporting
  35. An announcement and information about a new class, product or service you’re now offering
  36. Recent and exciting statistics, studies or surveys related to your business or directly from your business
  37. A new Pinterest board you’ve created
  38. Breaking, industry-related trends or news
  39. An announcement of your newly redesigned blog or website
  40. A list of faux pas or do’s and don’ts related to your industry
  41. Company volunteer projects you’re participating in or supporting
  42. Save-the-dates for upcoming deadlines, registration dates, etc.
  43. Fun holidays (like National Puppy Day)
  44. Reviews you’ve written
  45. Reviews written about your business
  46. Local news that affects your neighborhood or business
  47. A Boomerang or Hyperlapse video you’ve created
  48. Your latest or most popular Instagram pictures from the month
  49. Free resources, like a downloadable guide
  50. A request to follow your business on various social sites, like Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn and Pinterest
  51. A notice about a refill on a popular product or service, or additional classes or dates added
  52. A book, art exhibit, painting, movie, song, TV show or play your business recommends (or has created or participated in)
  53. A speech or talk you’re giving or attending
  54. Motivational or funny quote(s)
  55. A crowdfunded campaign you’re running or supporting
  56. Information about a new partnership or merchant you’re working with
  57. A meme you’ve made
  58. A joke (but don’t be offensive)
  59. Career information or a list of open positions at your company
  60. A challenge you’re participating in (like the Ice Bucket Challenge) or would like to encourage readers to participate in
  61. Staff or employee picks of products or services
  62. A spotlight of your mobile app or new features added to your app
  63. A sponsorship you’re participating in, or just received
  64. An interview with a customer, employee, merchant, industry-related expert or yourself, of course
  65. A request for readers to review your business or products on various local listing sites
  66. Pictures of business merchandise you may have available
  67. A photo essay or collage (of products, employees, behind-the-scenes pictures, the neighborhood, your company story, etc.)
  68. Business updates or changes, such as new hours of operation, privacy settings, holiday closures or shipping guidelines
  69. Season’s greetings
  70. Customer support and service information
  71. Pictures of employees’ pets
  72. Updates about where your product(s) or services can be found, such as a participating website or brick and mortar
  73. A guest blog post you’ve written for another company or brand
  74. A spotlight or description of your YouTube Channel, and a link to your most recent video
  75. A “Thank You!” to donors, event attendees or customers, just because

When creating your email newsletter, remember, your readers are your friends. They want (and should) hear from you on a regular basis. They also want to know what’s new in your business and they appreciate advice — and if you can hook them up with an occasional deal, even better!

With these 75 content topics, you should be well on your way to creating a memorable email newsletter that keeps readers informed and intrigued. 

Editor’s Note: This blog post was originally published in April 2015 and has been revamped and updated for accuracy and relevance.

© 2017, Contributing Author. All rights reserved.

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Vertical Response Blog

Email automation 101 [INFOGRAPHIC]

One of the key reasons why email marketing is such a vital tool for your business’ success is because it provides you with a direct line to your customers. Launching a new product or service? Promoting an in-store event or sale? Send a quick message straight to all of your subscribers, and they’re immediately brought up to speed on the latest developments. But when you have to manage the day-to-day operations of a business, it can be a challenge to send out a steady stream of emails that keep customers engaged and ensure that your organization stays top-of-mind.

To save time and get the most of your email marketing program, try email automation — one of the most effective ways to encourage your contacts to interact with your brand. Sending timed, automated messages to your customers not only streamlines your workflow, but it has also been shown to increase leads and conversions. To learn more about how you can start using email automation, check out our infographic below.


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© 2017, Amber Humphrey. All rights reserved.

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Introducing Email Automation

In the most current update to VerticalResponse we’re pleased to release our newest feature: Email Automation.

What is Email Automation?

Before we get started on putting Email Automation to use, let’s do a quick review. Email Automation can be one email or a series of emails that are automatically sent based on a pre-defined time interval. The series of email campaigns are also known by a variety of other names, including:

  • Drip campaign
  • Onboarding campaign
  • Welcome series
  • Lifecycle emails
  • Autoresponders
  • Marketing automation

Why use Email Automation?

There are tremendous benefits to leveraging Email Automation versus sending individual emails. According to, open rates for drip campaigns are 80 percent higher than individual emails, with click-through rates 3x that of a stand alone email. Additionally, companies that utilize and maximize Email Automation generate 80 percent more sales at a reduced cost from sending individual campaigns.

Types of Email Automation campaigns:

Depending upon your business goals and marketing needs, there are a myriad of email series you can send with Email Automation. Some of the most popular campaigns are:

  • Welcome or onboarding – Share information that is specifically relevant to new customers. Convert prospects into customers.
  • Promotional – Let customers know about an upcoming event or limited time promotion. Maximize exposure for a special pricing offer or upcoming sales event by sending a series of emails to remind customers of the sale.
  • Educational – Create a series of emails to train customers about how to use your product or service. Educate new users on the tips and tricks of your offering and send a series that highlights one or two features per email.
  • Top of mind – Keep your company top of mind as you nurture leads and encourage repeat business.
  • Re-engagement – Keep in contact with older or inactive customers to win back their business.
  • Product launch – Share new products or product enhancement updates with your customers.

How it works

Set up a series:

  1. From the home page of the VerticalResponse app, navigate to Email Automation and select “Create One” to begin your campaign.VerticalResponse Email setup window
  2. Create a name for your campaign and select which email list will receive the series.
    VerticalResponse Email automation setup
  3. Next, select the frequency of when your emails will be sent. You may choose between days, weeks and hours for the cadence that will fit your needs best. VerticalResponse Email Automation frequency setup
  4. Create your email as normal with the VerticalResponse email editor (or HTML).
  5. Finally, you have the option to add another email to the series. Continue to follow the set up sequence until you’ve completed your autoresponder series. There is no limit to the number of emails that you can add to a series. VerticalResponse Email Automation Sequence setup


We’ve made it easy to view the results of your Email Automation campaigns. To check the progress of your autoresponders, simply follow these two steps:

  1. From the VerticalResponse app homepage, navigate to the Messages tab, and then select an active Email Automation campaign to view reporting (see screenshot above in set up step 5).
  2. Reports will show the total metrics for the entire series as well as individual break out per each email message. Each report summary will include number of emails sent, opens and clicks. For a more detailed reporting view, click, “View Report.”

Spend less time reaching more customers

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(It’s free!)

© 2017, Tori Tsu. All rights reserved.

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