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 “Hard” bounces generally indicate an email address is no longer valid.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. Every Brand Needs a Guide

    April 24, 2015 by Christopher Lloyd

    Brand Guide

    Christopher Lloyd

    Christopher Lloyd

    One of the things I most often turned to in my journalism career was a stylebook. These stylebooks act as a guide for writers and editors so their usage of language is consistent from story to story. The Associated Press guide is generally considered the standard.

    They cover everything from what job titles get capitalized — sorry, realtors, you’re not one of them! — to how to abbreviate Montana.

    Branding guidelines are their counterpart in the marketing sphere, but they cover so much more than just language. Also referred to as brand rules or style guides, branding guidelines are most critical in determining how a company’s image is represented visually and graphically.

     

    Consistency is key

    Tim Coulon

    Tim Coulon

    Coles Marketing Vice President, Creative Tim Coulon said branding guidelines act as safeguards so best practices are always followed when a company’s logo, imagery or other visual element is shared with the public.

    “Branding guidelines ensure a brand’s image is protected and portrayed consistently across all platforms — Web, brochures, print advertising, e-communications, billboards and other collateral,” he said.

    A brand style guide gives clear directions for how things should look and how they should be created.

     

    Guideline ingredients

    Branding guidelines can vary from just a page or two showing the company’s logo and acceptable palette of colors, to entire books laying out what language can be used in any sort of outreach to the marketplace and target audiences.

    Here are a few essential components for a brand style guide:

    • Logo – size and placement
    • Fonts
    • Colors
    • Web-specific elements

    Other items commonly addressed include the company boilerplate, how to label subsidiary entities, typography to be used in additional circumstances, letterhead, PowerPoint presentations, social media guidelines and even how to compose a voicemail message.

     

    Creating a new guideline

    When a new company is born, or an existing one is undergoing a rebranding effort, it’s a good policy to draft a new branding guideline with input from all key levels of leadership. That way everyone is on the same page regarding messaging and imagery. It’s a way to be proactive and not rely on fixing mistakes after the fact.

    “For a small business, it may be as simple as making sure the colors of your logo always come out right,” Coulon said. “Larger companies tend to have more involved branding guidelines, since they often use outside vendors and agencies for their outreach efforts. This way they can ensure brand continuity without having to reinvent the wheel each time.”

    And branding guidelines should evolve as the brand does, giving space and freedom for new colors to be established, websites to be redesigned and print materials to be updated.

    Need a branding guideline for your company? Coles Marketing has plenty of experience in creating a style guide to fit all your needs.

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  3. Assistive Technology Gets an Upgrade

    March 5, 2015 by Tiffany Whisner

    March is Disability Awareness Month — increasing awareness and promoting independence, integration and inclusion of all people with disabilities.

    INDATA4

    According to the Indiana Governor’s Council for People with Disabilities, adults and children with disabilities represent slightly more than 19 percent of Indiana’s population. This is the 25th year for Disability Awareness Month, and Hoosiers who want to make a difference can get involved in activities and events throughout the month.

     

    I have the privilege of working with the INDATA Project at Easter Seals Crossroads as one of our clients. And they just recently opened a new technology lab for people with disabilities. From home automation devices and wearable gadgets to robotics, the INDATA Project is making assistive technology accessible and user-friendly for everyone, particularly to those people with disabilities.

    INDATA2

     

    “The big challenge is getting people to realize every device someone without a disability can use for convenience can also be used by someone with a disability to enhance that person’s quality of life and independence,” said Brian Norton, the manager of clinical assistive technology at Easter Seals Crossroads. “Assistive technology can have a profound impact on how a person with a disability interacts with people and their environment, excels in school, and performs in the workplace.”

     

    INDATA1It was amazing to watch the robots and high-tech devices capture the attention of people who came to the open house as well as the media, who highlighted the new lab on air and through social media. And this technology is available to all — the INDATA Project offers loan-interest loans, funding options and an equipment lending library to Hoosiers with disabilities.

     

    “We want people to understand assistive technology doesn’t have to be super expensive,” said INDATA Director Wade Wingler. “This technology lab is a great way to show off the best AT in the most approachable and user-friendly way possible.”

     

    For more information about INDATA, visit www.eastersealstech.com.

     

     

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