The News Chair
  1. Email Marketing Metrics That Matter

    June 15, 2015 by Christopher Lloyd

    Email metrics

    Christopher Lloyd

    Christopher Lloyd

    If you’re reading this, then you hopefully appreciate the value of email marketing.

    Many companies understand the importance of communicating directly with their audience — both current customers and potential ones. Beyond blogs, advertising and social media, the storied tradition of the newsletter still lives on, only now in e-form. Newsletters like this one, along with direct pitches about sales events or company news, arrive in a subscriber’s email inbox loaded with information pertinent to them.

     

    Standing out and being read

    The challenge, of course, is making sure your e-communications are being delivered to the right people — and being read.

    Metrics are analytical tools available through Google, or email services like MailChimp or Constant Contact, that allow you to see exactly how your messages are faring. You can use this feedback to adapt your e-marketing for maximum effect: changing the look, topics, length, frequency, time of distribution and so forth.

    But which metrics matter the most, and why?

     

    The meaning behind the metrics

    • Kevin Moore

      Kevin Moore

      Delivery rate: This indicates what percentage of your database actually received your email. People change email addresses, leave their company, etc. You should aim for as close to 100% as possible. “Monitoring this helps you keep your list up to date,” said Coles Web Designer Kevin Moore. “If the percentage rate is low, then it’s time to get rid of old or bad email addresses from your database.”

    • Bounces: These emails are returned as undeliverable, and this metric is helpful in culling your email lists. Some bounces are “soft” and usually temporary, such as an “out of office” reply. “Hard” bounces generally indicate an email address is no longer valid.
    • Open rate: This refers to how many people opened your email. This metric can be somewhat murky, since some email clients (Yahoo, iPhone) automatically open emails, skewing measurement. Other clients use a preview pane, and if an impression pixel (a 1×1 pixel image included in the email) is not tracked, it won’t count as an open. In general, an open rate above 20% is considered good.
    • Click-through rate: Whenever a reader clicks on a hyperlinked item in your email, that’s a click. The most common click-throughs are on “read more” links that take the clicker to read the rest of an article after a teaser paragraph or two. “This gives you a sense of the kind of content that users like to read,” Moore said. Anything above 10% is stellar.
    • Brian Coles

      Brian Coles

      Unsubscribe: These are people who received your email and have indicated they no longer wish to be included on your database of receivers. You should do them the courtesy of removing them ASAP. If you consistently get many unsubscribes, it may mean your content isn’t properly tailored to your audience, said Vice President Marketing Brian Coles.

    • Campaign codes: Tracking codes within the email. “These allow you to integrate your email links into Google Analytics, so you can further track or attribute emails to action that happens on your website like purchases and contact signup,” Coles said.

     

    Navigation of email traffic

    If you’re unfamiliar with how email metrics work, Coles Marketing can give you a primer and walk you through your recent results. We can also shoulder the entire burden of e-marketing for you!

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  2. Preparing a Social Media Plan

    May 20, 2015 by Tiffany Whisner

    Social Media Calendar

    Tiffany Whisner

    Tiffany Whisner

    Those of us who manage social media platforms and content — and those who don’t — know the news cycle never ends. Habitual phone-checking has become the norm, whether you’re browsing your social network feeds for the latest on Twitter or just because you’re bored.

    Therefore, there is a constant need for fresh, timely content on your brand’s social profiles. How can this be accomplished without being completely overwhelmed?

    Planning.

     

    Make time to manage social media

    I’m always a big proponent of planning — and having a social media editorial calendar as part of your social media strategy can save you valuable time and effort.

    Chris Mercier

    Chris Mercier

    “A social media editorial calendar includes promotional and helpful content that is both seasonal and timely for your company or organization,” said Coles VP Public Relations Chris Mercier. “It helps you organize your thoughts and writing projects into concise messages that support your brand and appeal to your audience.”

    Sure, creating a calendar can be time consuming on the front end, but then you’ve got a plan in place to guide you in your daily social media activities. You’ve already done research into appropriate topics and articles and when you want certain posts scheduled.

    “It basically gives your brand a blueprint of your outreach goals for the next month or so,” said Coles Senior Copywriter Christopher Lloyd.

    And it keeps your brand on track with your online strategy.

     

    Calendar contents and creation

    Christopher Lloyd

    Christopher Lloyd

    “Most social media editorial calendars include specific messaging topics, verbiage and links,” Lloyd said. “This allows for posts that feel spontaneous and fresh but can be vetted beforehand by all parties with a stake.”

    Here are some items to include in a social media calendar:

    • Topic to highlight along with copy
    • Appropriate links and Web addresses
    • Headline for post
    • Related hashtags
    • Photos, videos or other visual content
    • Publish date and time

    Think through what events and initiatives your brand might be involved in, and make sure to develop content to promote them.

    Also, research national holidays and observances, and wrap some related social media content around those dates.

    “Editorial calendars are worth the planning time,” Mercier said. “They help you get organized and deliver valuable content to your customers.”

     

    Allow room for adjustment

    “Planning ahead helps avoid panic and can serve as a roadmap to determining the best fit for your content and help you organize your writing projects,” Mercier said.

    But just as planning and preparation saves time, leave a little breathing room for some social media flexibility.

    Lloyd mentioned a great example: Oreo’s social media messaging when a blackout shut down the 2013 Super Bowl. With some quick thinking and a bit of a shift from their social media strategy, Oreo’s brilliant tweet made major headlines.

    In addition, if you schedule posts too far in advance, you could get into some trouble. If breaking news happens or a tragedy occurs, your brand could look insensitive by running a scheduled post during a crisis.

    When produced and used the right way though, a social media editorial calendar saves you time and energy and helps you consistently publish high-quality content.

    “By putting in a little thought and strategy, it will help you stay true to your brand goals and audience,” Mercier said.

    And we’ll develop and distribute the content to get you noticed. Contact us today!

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  3. Access to Sports for One and All

    May 1, 2015 by Tiffany Whisner

    WindsurfingThrough our work with the INDATA Project at Easter Seals Crossroads, I recently had the privilege to interview the program director of an organization called AccesSportAmerica.

    Founded in 1995, AccesSport is a unique organization promoting the physical and athletic potential of children and adults with disabilities through high-challenge sports and training.

    Tiffany Whisner

    Tiffany Whisner

    It really was eye-opening to learn about all the ways this organization is making sports accessible — more than 2,000 children and adults join the programs offered each year, taking part in everything from adaptive windsurfing and canoeing to soccer, cycling and tennis.

    Here are some statistics:

    • Only 12% of adults with a disability meet the minimum physical activity recommendations of 30 minutes of moderate physical activity five or more days/week or 20 minutes of rigorous activity at least three days/week.
    • Physical inactivity among people with disabilities has been linked to an increase in the severity of disability and decreased involvement in the community.
    • Presently, there are approximately one billion persons with disabilities in the world, or 15% of the global population.
    • People with disabilities are less likely to engage in regular moderate physical activity than people without disabilities yet they have similar needs to promote their health and prevent unnecessary diseases.

    Read the full article written for INDATA here!

    And consider supporting this organization, which makes all the difference to their programs and staff.

    Cycling“My favorite part of working for AccesSport is the lifelong friendships I make with the athletes,” said Program Director Nate Berry. “It’s extremely rewarding to see them gain function, not only physically, but mentally and emotionally as well. There is no greater feeling than seeing the confidence our athletes gain when they realize they are able to do something, either for the first time or that they haven’t accomplished in years. This feeling is contagious and is constantly spread throughout the AccesSport community, and I get just as much, if not more, out of being a part of it all as they do.”

     

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