Timing Your Email Campaign Launches

Infographic credit: AdWeek Infographic based on Experian study

What are the best days and times to send your email marketing campaigns?

According to research from an Experian email marketing benchmark study, the best open rates tend to be in the evenings Tuesday though Thursday, but these are only general guidelines. When working with our client’s specific email lists we test different times and compare open rates. But if there is a call to action including a phone number to make an appointment we won’t send an email after closing time. For example, one of our clients best open and interaction rates comes with launch at 8pm, but the campaigns generate phone calls, and they are closed at 8pm, and so they can’t launch most campaigns at the peek time. So as with so many things in life, there’s no clear-cut answer–“It depends!”

From the study: “…recipients are surprisingly active late at night. Unique open rates averaged 21.7 percent from 8 pm to 11:59 pm and 17.6 percent for 12 am to 4 am. Moreover, this late-night group was more likely to click through, with open rates of 4.2 percent and 3.2 percent, respectively. These night owls also had the highest click-through rates for all times of the day. Revenue per email was also the highest in the 8 pm to 11:59 pm group. Additionally, more than 54 percent of emails are now opened on a mobile device.

Green Dahlia Wall Clock available in Rachel’s Society6 shop
dahlia scallops green and white wall clocks



GOOGLE MY BUSINESS LISTINGS

+ Free ad from Google!*

Google My Business Listings are free and an essential component of any modern company’s online marketing.

  • Being listed gives you a boost in organic (un-paid-for) search results and therefore leads to more traffic.
  • You can set up multiple service areas if you have more than one location so your customer sees the closest location when they look for you.
  • Connects directly to Google Maps so your customers can easily find your location on their mobile devices.
  • Makes it easy for your customers to leave reviews for your business.
  • Adds credibility to your business when your business is properly listed, with hours, photos, videos, service descriptions, etc.

Google My Business Listings show on the right side of a Google search engine page.  Please see the sample listing For Halo Blow Dry Bars.

*Now, Google is offering a free ad posts which shows within your listing.  Please see the Keratin ad on the sample listing.

Ads can be up to 300 words, include a graphic, and a call to action: “Learn more,” “Reserve,” “Sign up,” “Buy” or “Get offer.”

Ads are designed to be dropped from the listing after one week, but if you want an ad to run continually, we’ve got a work-around to do so.

We manage the Google My Business Listings for several clients and are contacting them about adding a promotion.

Please contact John to set up your business listing – or to add one of these new promotional resources to your existing listing.

 

OUT TO PASTURE!

Our Non-responsive Websites

We love the websites we have worked on and maintained through the years.  And we are grateful for all our clients who trust us with their website projects.  But, there’s no more need  for a portfolio to contain non-responsive sites.  So, even although these sites are still working for our clients, we are moving non-responsive sites from our website portfolio to this post for posterity.  So even though these websites are still working for our clients (some for over a decade, wow!), we need our portfolio to show sites which work on mobile devices.

Here they are, likely our final non-responsive website projects:

hubbardgodfrey.com

Built in 2007.  We love that when we visit AT&T Park, we see their work.

brandaubrandau.com

Built in 2007.  George and Kerrie are the best cut and color team out there!

donnadesmond.com

We started working with Donna in 2013.  We still love the look of this site.

Homeowner Association Websites

These sites follow the same template so the property management company can offer their HOA clients sites at a lower cost, have site samples to demo as a sales pitch, and simplify the development process.  Each site has a password-protected area for HOA members with an events calendar, group e-mail and messengering, work-order forms, HOA policies, board meeting information and more.

HOA Websites

earnosethroat-sanramon.com

Made in 2011.

menloville.com

Another ten year old site going strong!

hpdpublicrelations.com

Running since 2012.

3state.net

Built in 2008.

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A MOST DELICIOUS PROJECT

Artisan Macarons

Thank you, HPD Public Relations, for introducing us to Chef Alex and Artisan Macaron.  It’s been a fun project, and a tasty one because you gave us samples too!

Artisan Macaron needed some brand standards, so we started with new fonts, and finalized colors for print and web.  Moving forward, they have a brand package, so all designers and employees have access to the same branding elements for cohesive marketing collateral.

New Fonts

 

We made new business cards, special offer folded mini-tent cards, a tri-fold brochure, and two large banners.  My favorite part of this project was combining photos of individual macaron vignettes into collages making them look like they were all photographed together.  The collage for the tent cards is in the header above, and this is the inside of their new tri-fold brochure:

Macaron MenuIs your mouth watering yet?  (The salted caramel is to die for! This from someone tiring of this food trend, but Chef Alex knows how to get that perfect caramel bittersweet taste.  Naturally [wink!], I had to sample many macarons during the design process.)

All brand ingredients came together last weekend at a trade show in Long Beach (under the professional eye of Hope Daly, PR Queen.)  We heard all the new items looked great.

Trade Show Display

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CUSTOM PHOTOGRAPHY

Custom Food Photography

Love it when I am able to create my own photo to fit with a design.  So much nicer than searching for stock photos and then trying to customize them.

For these food still-life shots, I knew what colours, what layout, and what vibe I wanted for the brand and shot it with food found in the house and garden.

Here’s the final rack card:

The image on the front is a mix of photos taken at events catered by Palace Cafe Catering.  It’s the same image you can see in a magazine ad in this post, “Catering Company Re-Brand.”  Photographers: Michelle Walker Photography and Michael James Buchanan.

And here’s the gift certificate:

Thank you, Palace Cafe Catering, for working with us on your new branding.  It’s been a special experience.

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CATERING COMPANY RE-BRAND

Re-Brand

Last year our client, Palace Cafe Catering, decided to close their Sunnyvale cafe and focus entirely on the catering side of their business.  They have begun construction on a huge and fabulous new kitchen with offices in Belmont.  We are looking forward to participating in moving their business forward.  Thank you, Palace, for including us in your exciting new business plans.

Along with this move, they are updating their branding.  They’ve new colors, style, design, and fonts.  New print collateral is in the works and their new web site is almost ready for launch.

PREVIOUS AND NEW LOGO

blog-palace-logoNEW MAGAZINE ADS

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E-MAIL CAMPAIGN

Yesterday, we finalized their new e-mail campaign template and launched their Mardi Gras Menu.  As always, our mouths watered while we work – we know how delicious the food is.

MANGIA!

If you would like to try them yourself (we could not recommend them more), call 408.774.6100.

On the web at palacecafe.catering.  If you see a site with a cream background, this is the site we made for them in 2004.  But with the new site just about done, hopefully, you’ll be looking at their new one.

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AN ADWORDS CAMPAIGN DONE WELL

Our client wanted to attract new customers for a high-value treatment they provide, and to help pay off the high-end equipment they just purchased.

If only one method of online advertising to get new clients is possible due to budget constraints, we always recommend Google AdWords campaigns, which reaches the largest audience in a targeted area, such as within a ten mile radius of your location.

We set up the campaign and wrote the ad copy, made a landing page, chose quality keywords and a specific method of keyword matching to maximize their daily budget.

We measure whether the ad is performing well in a few ways. (Please refer to the graphic below for the numbers in parentheses.)

  • Placement on the results page: Ideal positioning is either the first, second or third place on the page (6).
  • “Click Through Rate”: The percentage of time someone clicks on the ad (3) compared to the total number of times the ad is displayed. Above 0.5% is considered very good. It means the keywords we selected are a good match to what the user is seeing in the ad copy and is responding well to it.
  • “Conversions”: This is a big one. There are a number of ways to measure this, but it always refers to a way of tracking when the user takes a desired action. In this case a conversion is counted when the appointment form is submitted (7). The cost per conversion (8), is the total number of conversions divided into the total amount spent. In this case the cost per conversion is currently $89. Considering that the treatment being marketed typically brings in a few thousand dollars in revenue, paying ninety bucks for a likely new high-value client is money well spent.

adwords-screenshot

It should be noted that conversions don’t measure all of the success. Visitors who click on your ad may also call your business for an appointment from your phone number on the landing page (the page we create specifically for the ad offer), and even if they don’t call or make an appointment right away, they have seen your company name and your offer. Repeated exposure to your business is one of the keys to brand layering and attracting new business, so every click to your site furthers your efforts.

We realize most of our clients aren’t seeking such high-value clients where $90/conversion is a reasonable number. This is just one example. A reasonable cost for a new customer or sale depends on your business. And it is not always possible to track just how much new business you are getting from any sales promotion, but a well-executed AdWords campaign should be high on your online marketing agenda.

There are many more important aspects of Google AdWords, enough to fill books, but the info presented here is the very core of how to measure the success of such marketing campaigns.



WHY WE DON’T CURRENTLY LOVE ANY E-MAIL CAMPAIGN SERVICE PROVIDER

blog-email-providers-compared

For years we have produced exclusively custom html e-mail campaigns for our clients and, if we had control over the selection of the service provider, we used Vertical Response.  When responsive e-mails became essential, we looked at what was available in pre-made templates and decided they look and perform badly, so offered our clients custom html responsive e-mail campaign, or what we called mobile-friendly campaigns.  Most of our clients opted for mobile-friendly as they were attractive, fast for us to produce, and functioned well in all devices and views, although not technically responsive.  (See a sample here.)

The two of us have developed and launched thousands of e-mail campaigns since 2003.  We have many clients on Vertical Response Classic which we loved and recommended for years before responsive took over.  We have one client on Constant Contact Old and one on Constant Contact New.  Sadly, we also have a few clients on MailChimp, but are not including this in this post as it’s not at the level of our two leaders.

Vertical Response Classic is no longer an option as the form design and processing features have not been upgraded since launch of New VR.  But most of our existing clients have their accounts here simply because there’s no better option available to which to upgrade them.

Vertical Response New is not ready.  Currently, if we have a new e-mail campaign client, we are going with Constant Contact New.

Constant Contact New made us angry as they launched far too soon and used us as beta testers.  Back in June we opened a new account for a new client and CC still has not fixed the issues they said they were working on.

Constant Contact Old is no longer available.  We mention it, however, as they had some great features that we wish CC New would develop – in fact, in our comparison below, this now obsolete platform got the highest score.

We know we expect a lot from an e-mail campaign provider, but in this high-competition field, we don’t think that too unreasonable.  Here are some of the features we look for and how the available options respond:


BILLING

Pay as you go pricing option (not just subscription.)  This is so crucial for clients who do not have monthly e-mail campaigns in their marketing plan.

Vertical Response Classic – Yes

Vertical Response New – Yes

Constant Contact Old – No

Constant Contact New – No

Address list billing on the account level, not individual list level, meaning that each e-mail address – even if it’s on multiple individual mail lists – is billed just once.

VR Classic – Yes

VR New – Yes

CC Old – Yes

CC New – Yes


CUSTOMER SUPPORT

Same time-zone, phone customer support from reps who know the product and care.

VR Classic – Yes

VR New – Yes

CC Old – Very much – Yes

CC New – Very much – Yes

Short hold time for customer support and no horrible phone tree.

VR Classic – Mostly

VR New – Mostly

CC Old – Sometimes

CC New – Sometimes

The entire e-mail stream gets included in customer support e-mails, rather than just the last one from the rep.  (Incredibly frustrating and un-helpful.)

VR Classic – No

VR New – No

CC Old – No

CC New – No


DESIGN INTERFACE

Has two views: html and design.

VR Classic – Not applicable as we only used this for custom html e-mail campaigns

VR New – No

CC Old – Yes

CC New – No

Intuitive campaign development.

VR Classic – Not applicable as we only used this for custom html e-mail campaign

VR New – Yes

CC Old – Yes

CC New – Yes – this one is the best


FORMS

Embed-able, modern, easy to use, responsive sign-up forms.

VR Classic – No

VR New – Sorta

CC Old – No

CC New – Yes

Option to allow us to select which address list a signed-up e-mail address is added to, rather than requiring one address list per sign up form.  We really need to have several forms that drop addresses into one list.

VR Classic – No

VR New – No

CC Old – No

CC New – No


FUNCTION

Choose the “to” address lists after the campaign is ready, not before.

VR Classic – Yes

VR New – Yes

CC Old – Yes

CC New – Yes

Seed lists for testing (pre-set testing lists so you can test with one click versus typing in each testing e-mail address one at a time for each test.)

VR Classic – Yes

VR New – No

CC Old – No

CC New – No

Can migrate account information and all lists from old version to new.

VR Classic – Not applicable

VR New – No

CC Old – Not applicable

CC New – Yes

Text and graphical links in e-mail campaigns can be coded to open in a new browser window (target=”_blank”) so the browser version functions as a well-coded web page should.

VR Classic – Not applicable

VR New – No

CC Old – Yes

CC New – No

Forward to a friend feature.

VR Classic – Yes

VR New – Yes

CC Old – Yes

CC New – No – ridiculous

Share to Facebook in launched e-mail puts a graphic into Facebook post.

VR Classic – Fantastic, but only because we custom coded it

VR New – Unknown

CC Old – Yes

CC New – No – fail! 8/1/16 they told me they were fixing this

Share to social media which allows us to select the graphic which is posted.

VR Classic – No

VR New – No

CC Old – No

CC New – No

Ability to set text styles so any new copy added to a template is consistent.  This is really important – who has time to set each section of text to font, size, colour, line height, etc, individually to typed in text, or pasted in text?

VR Classic – Not applicable

VR New – No

CC Old – Yes!!!!!!!!!!

CC New – No

Ability to create the landing page (browser version) of a campaign when it is scheduled, rather than after it launches (another benefit to custom html templates.)

VR Classic – Not applicable

VR New – Unknown

CC Old – No

CC New – No


LISTS

Allows for multiple address lists and the ability to mail to any number of address lists per campaign.

VR Classic – Yes

VR New – Yes

CC Old – Yes

CC New – Yes

Address list management on the account level, rather than list by list (so that if someone unsubscribes from one list, that unsubscribe is noted throughout the account no matter how many lists that address is on.)

VR Classic – Yes

VR New – Yes

CC Old – Yes

CC New – Yes

Recognition of duplicated addresses so that if an address is on many lists, and an e-mail is sent to all those list, the recipient will receive only one e-mail

VR Classic – Yes

VR New – Yes

CC Old – Yes

CC New – Yes

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GOOGLE ADWORDS EXPANDED TEXT

Here’s John, enjoying his clients’ AdWords reporting on a summer day in the garden.  He says this the new expanded text Google AdWords are a really big deal.

blog adwords

Expanded text AdWords ads are the next generation of text ads, designed for a mobile-first world.  They benefit users with more information before they click an ad and benefit advertisers by giving additional control over messaging.  This can mean higher quality clicks from users with keen interest in the subject while cutting down on lower quality clicks less likely to convert to a sale.  They are also better-designed for device responsiveness and display more clearly on devices from smartphone to desktop monitor.

More bang for your AdWords bucks!

This is all fairly new, but early reporting is showing expanded text ads are getting a 20% higher click through rate.  This is mostly because they are larger and stand out amongst the older, smaller ads.  Right now, we’re suggesting that we upgrade any old-style AdWords campaigns we have running for our clients.

There’s two main updates. The headline (purple text in the graphic below) can be 60 characters, rather than 25.  You can be more compelling and precise which leads to better quality clickers.  And, the ad display text (black text in the graphic below) has been expanded from two 35 character lines to a consolidated 80 character line.

This graphic shows how an expanded text ad will display on a smartphone vs. a monitor:

cs-ad-screenshot

 

Summary – better quality clickers = better quality conversions.

Google AdWords is a specialty of John’s.  Contact him at johnp@metapix.us or 408 252-8664 with any questions.

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