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The Part-Time Nihilist’s Guide to Marketing Terms You Hate, But Need

shutterstock_548874589
It’s about time that we take a step back and have a little chuckle at ourselves. Image via Shutterstock.

Plenty of products and services help people, making them healthier and happier. For those things, marketing is great — but sometimes, the way we talk about ourselves is absurd. Yeah, I said it, it’s absurd, but it’s all right because this post has a happy ending (stay tuned).

If you work in any sort of marketing role, you might have noticed that as a collective, we’ve done something incredible:

We’ve turned buzzwords into real, salaried jobs.  

You can be a Growth Hacker these days, or a Content Marketer. If you work somewhere really cool, you might even be a Conversion Ninja. Plenty of people do these jobs (myself included) and one day we’ll have the awkward pleasure of explaining to our grandchildren what it was like being paid to be a Solutions Architect, or a Dev Mogul.

“Neat, grandpa! Did you invent a new form of calculus?”

“No, son. But I had over 25,000 Twitter followers. I was an influencer.”

This is the part-time nihilist’s guide to all those marketing terms you hate (but need). It might also clarify why your parents will never understand what the heck your job is.

Homer gets back to basics with marketing. Video: Fox.
Disclaimer: This post tears down marketing terms and the idea of becoming an influencer. We hope that it is popular and that you share it. We see the irony, and we’re disgusted by it, so just move on, okay?

Being considered an “expert” or a “genius”

To be considered an expert in most other professions, you need to have studied and practiced for years and years and years. You study, you’re tested, you pass, you advance. After what feels like a lifetime of this, people trust you as a voice of authority, as an expert.

Pro tip: Inclusion in a listicle or roundup guarantees automatic employment — should you want it — with some of the most prestigious companies in Silicon Valley.

There are expert marketers, of course: people who have been to school, who dedicate their lives to the craft of combining insight and communication into the most irresistible calls to action. But if you’ve got a profile photo, maybe a Linkedin Premium account, and a byline on somewhere like Unbounce (Hey, that’s me!), you might be considered an expert.

This will do one of two things to you:

  1. It’ll make you lazy, because you’ll think that you’ve reached the top of the mountain. (By the way, there’s no top. There’s no mountain either.)
  2. It’ll scare the crap out of you, and you’ll work your ass off to become a genuine expert, or at least, someone with useful insights.

I hope for everyone’s sake that it’s the second one.

Bonus option: You’ll develop a nasty case of Imposter Syndrome, where you’ll live in constant fear of being called out. It’ll make you triple your efforts, but it’ll never be enough.

Pursuing “thought leadership”

As a marketer, when you have a good idea, you call it a thought leadership piece and you milk it until it’s red and sore. Never mind the idea that “thought leadership” sounds like some sort of mind control, it’s just damned impressive that we managed to turn the act of having ideas into a tool for marketing.

In a way, being considered a thought leader is a lot like being considered an expert. Not so long ago there were real thought leaders, people like Albert Einstein and Martin Luther King Jr.. Now, all you need to do is tip that scale from 9,999 followers to 10,000 and praise, be! You’re a thought leader.

“One of us, one of us, one of us.” Video: Fox

Free infographics and ebooks

The only real way to tell whether a post is legitimate — whether the author’s really serious about the information they’re giving you — is to check for an associated infographic or ebook. At Unbounce, they call these in-post giveaways Conversion Carrots. Some other places call them Lead Magnets. I call them necessary evil.

nihilist-marketer-graph

“Can we make it go viral?”

I once worked at a place where a department, armed with five grand, asked us if we could make them a viral video. In their defense, they didn’t understand the process of how something becomes viral (another gross marketing term), so points at least for the thought. But directly asking for a viral video, or setting out with the intention of making a viral video, is like marrying a stranger for the tax benefits, and not because you love them.

Influencer marketing

Hey bud, if you RT me, I’ll RT you.

As a marketer, you want eyeballs. You’re hungry for eyeballs, you want to pour them all over your website. Some people have lots of eyeballs looking at them; those people are called influencers, and if you’re kind to them, sometimes they’ll let you borrow their eyeball collections.

People with a lot of eyeballs in their collection tend to be good at making things go viral. They often make infographics and eBooks, as well. They are the Aaron Orendorffs of the world (Hey, man!), and they are all-powerful.

“We simply could not function without his tireless efforts.” Video: Fox

“Epic,” “unicorn,” “guru,” etc.

No, it’s not. No, they’re not. No, you’re not.

“That’s hilaaaaaarious.”

“We need more user-generated content.”

The idea behind user-generated content is sound; it’s word-of-mouth for a digital age. Having a strategy to develop user-generated content, though?

Do you ever watch those videos publications like Gothamist do on some donut shop in Brooklyn that’s been around for 140 years? You think, “Wow, they must have a lot of user-generated content!” No, they just make great donuts. If you want your users to generate more content, just make stuff they like.

“Can’t get enough of that Sugar Crisp!” Video: Fox

Time to follow in mommy and daddy’s footsteps?

For over 20 years my dad spent most of his days with his hands plunged into ice water, gutting and slicing one fish at a time. I spend my days trying to get prospects to type their names into a CTA form field. In those final years before the sun explodes and we’re all plunged into an every-man-for-himself scenario, who’s going to be more useful? My money’s on the old man.

I told you that there was a happy ending, and in a way, the sun exploding and annihilating everything from Mercury out past Pluto is a happy ending. It’s a reminder that we’re all in this together, from your parents and their grinding manual labor jobs, to us word-pickers and graph-checkers who moan when we can’t find the right long-tail keywords to optimize conversion rates. One day everyone that’s left will go together, burning up with all the finest email lists, and all the leads. It’s all going to be fine.

People make some great stuff, and for the short time we’re here, it’s up to us to help get it in front of as many of the right people as possible. That’s your job, and it’s a fun one.

What are some of the marketing terms you hate to need? Drop them in the comments below, then download this free infographic. Jokes, there’s no infographic.

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The Part-Time Nihilist’s Guide to Marketing Terms You Hate, But Need

Wow Your Clients, Grow Your Agency – Register for Digital Agency Day 2017

If you could get in a room with digital marketing experts from Google, AdRoll and LinkedIn, what would you ask them? Better yet, what if you could rub shoulders with them without having to leave your desk?

We’re not trying to torture you with hypotheticals. For the second year in a row, Unbounce and HubSpot have teamed up to cregisurate Digital Agency Day: a full day of virtual and in-person events dedicated to the digital agency professional.

And it’s happening very soon: on March 16th, 2017. Completely free.

Register for Digital Agency Day here.

Join expert speakers from the world’s top agencies and agency partners as they share actionable, agency-tailored advice on analytics, reporting, growing retainers, new business strategy, content marketing, conversion rate optimization and much more.

Here’s just a taste of some of the presentations you can expect:

  • Rethinking Retainers & Other Pricing Issues
  • What Your Agency Needs to Execute Content Marketing the Right Way
  • Grow Your Agency With LinkedIn Sponsored Content
  • Extreme Growth with Google AdWords: For Agencies
  • Unifying your Customer Journey: Unlocking the Power of Cross-Device Marketing

Here’s what some of our attendees from last year had to say:

See you then? Click here to register.

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Wow Your Clients, Grow Your Agency – Register for Digital Agency Day 2017

Why a Killer UX Doesn’t Always Translate into Conversions

killer ux does not translate into conversions

One person’s killer UX is another’s UX killer. Why not copy the killer user experience of a famous site in your industry? The short answer? You’re not them. The longer answer is that unless you’re copying a fully optimized site with all the same variables, targets, and exact same audience, you’re likely setting yourself up for failure. Take Target for example. Following the success of Amazon’s review software, Target purchased it and sought to implement it on their own site. Even after copying the software and interface, the engagement with their reviews suffered. In fact, in the first month after…

The post Why a Killer UX Doesn’t Always Translate into Conversions appeared first on The Daily Egg.

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Why a Killer UX Doesn’t Always Translate into Conversions

How Mail.Ru Reduced Email Storage From 50 To 32 PB

When the Russian ruble’s exchange rate slumped two years ago, it drove us to think of cutting hardware and hosting costs for the Mail.Ru email service. First, we had to take a look at what email consists of. Indexes and bodies account for only 15% of the storage size, whereas 85% is taken up by files. So, optimization of files (that is, attachments) is worth exploring in more detail.

How We Reduced Email Storage At Mail.Ru From 50 To 32 PB

At the time, we didn’t have file deduplication in place, but we estimated that it could shrink the total storage size by 36%, because many users receive the same messages, such as price lists from online stores and newsletters from social networks that contain images and so on. In this article, I’ll describe how we implemented a deduplication system under the guidance of PSIAlt.

The post How Mail.Ru Reduced Email Storage From 50 To 32 PB appeared first on Smashing Magazine.

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How Mail.Ru Reduced Email Storage From 50 To 32 PB

Infographic: How Reducing Webpage Options Can Increase Conversions

reducing form fields

Website owners and executive teams have a tendency to want to add more “stuff” to websites. “I think we should add a contact form to the sidebar.” “Let’s add a slider to the home page that slides through each of our main features!” For the people in charge of conversion optimization, adding “stuff” to a home page or any webpage becomes a living nightmare. They know that the second you add something new to a webpage, the conversion rate is going to change. That’s why Google has a home page gatekeeper. For years it was Marissa Mayer (now the CEO…

The post Infographic: How Reducing Webpage Options Can Increase Conversions appeared first on The Daily Egg.

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Infographic: How Reducing Webpage Options Can Increase Conversions

PPC Landing Page Magic: Secrets Revealed [GIFOGRAPHIC]

This marketing infographic is part of KlientBoost’s 25-part Marketing Advent Calendar. Sign up here to receive a new gifographic once a day in your inbox.

As a kid who was fascinated with the magic store, it’s kind of surprising that I still don’t know how magicians do certain tricks. But it’s probably because as an adult, I’ve spent most of my time trying to master one magic trick:

Making more money appear — both for my PPC agency and for our clients.

How do we do it?

A large part of the magic comes from the landing pages our CRO team designs and tests. And today I want to reveal all the tricks that go into a high-converting landing page to make you the David Copperfield of PPC landing page testing.

(Keep reading below the gifographic for more explanation.)

ezgif-com-878a1ae317

Geographic specificity: Get more local love

When your PPC campaigns and landing page work together on a geographic level, you unleash serious conversion potential.

To help illustrate, imagine these two scenarios:

  1. A nationwide PPC campaign that goes to a nationwide landing page
  2. A city-specific PPC campaign that goes to a city-specific landing page

Which one do you think will perform better?

I think the second would — and we have 100+ clients that would agree. By becoming more granular with your PPC campaigns, you’re able to make the visitor believe that you’re local (even if you’re not).

Take this example of using geographic-specific area code phone numbers on landing pages versus a generic 800 number:

conversion-rate-for-generic-vs-local-numbers
This table shows conversion rates for landing pages displaying generic 800 phone number versus landing pages with a local number. Image source.

And phone numbers are only a start. Test geographically-specific PPC ad copy, landing page headlines and even visuals.

We use Unbounce’s Dynamic Text Replacement (DTR) to help us easily launch dynamic landing pages and prevent traffic dilution that slows down statistical significance.

Which brings us to our next trick…

Dynamic text replacement: Less work, more fun

Dynamic text replacement allows you to swap out the text on your landing page with keywords from your PPC campaigns.

By making small adjustments to your PPC campaign URLs, you can make one landing page specific to hundreds of keywords you’re bidding on, resulting in a landing page that show exactly what visitors searched for:

dynamic-text-replacement-example-url
With DTR, you can turn one landing page into 100 landing pages.

Here’s an example of an outdoors company using DTR to “magically” create super-relevant landing pages.

If the user searched for “hiking backpack,” this is the landing page they’ll see:

dtr-examlpe-hiking-backpack

And if they searched for “trekking backpack”?

dtr-example-trekking-backpack

Boom.

Notice how nothing changed but the text on those two pages?

Read a full explanation of this “magic trick” here.

Multi-step landing pages

You’ve heard how reducing the amount of form fields will help improve your conversion rates, right?

few-form-fields-quotes

But what if I told you that there’s a way to add more fields (thereby better qualifying prospects) while still improving conversion rates?

That’s some true David Copperfield s*** right there.

giphy
I know that’s not David Copperfield. Just trying to see if you’re awake. GIF source.

Multi-step landing pages can help you achieve just this by asking for a little information upfront, then progressively asking for more and more. Dr. Robert Cialdini, author of Influence: The Power of Persuasasion, explains that this technique works because of a principle he calls Commitment and Consistency:

ciadini-quote-commitment-consistency

On our own landing pages, we start by asking questions that are easy to answer, and then progressively get more personal.

We’ve found that these “micro conversions” make it more likely for the prospect to then later fill out more personal details such as their name and contact information:

multi-step-landing-page-threat
We’ve built all our lead gen efforts around multi-step landing pages. Image source.

Call to action temperature testing

A common mistake a lot of our clients make prior to working with us is that they use the same call to action for all their PPC traffic: search, social, video and display.

This is problematic because different types of PPC traffic have different levels of intent.

For example, people seeing your ads through the Search Network can be people really close to converting (depending on keyword intent), but the Display Network typically has visitors who are a few steps behind. (I wrote about this on the Unbounce blog before.)

klientboost-ppc-thermometer
We have found that display leads are typically colder than leads acquired through the search network.

If a certain PPC channel isn’t converting for you, sometimes switching up the offer — and the call to action — can make all the difference.

We’ve found that the offers on the left work well for cold leads, whereas the offers on the right work better for warm leads:

klientboost-match-ppc-channel-temperature
We made this to use internally at KlientBoost.

As with most PPC tactics, this requires a bit of testing. And don’t forget to have a means of nurturing cold leads down the funnel.

Local visuals: Make ‘em feel at home

Remember how you can improve conversion rates by changing phone numbers and headlines to appear more local to the visitor’s location?

You can also do that with your hero shot and other visuals you’re using on your landing page.

We ran a test for a roofing company who advertised in several states. Because we were able to split up the PPC traffic based on geography, we were able to funnel all visitors to a dedicated landing with visuals that matched the local feel:

local-visuals-a-b-test

The result?

Conversion rates increased by 22%.

It seems so simple, yet it’s a bit of work to set up.

But the payoff is immense.

Hidden fields sales tracking

This very moment, you’re likely bidding on multi intent keywords that may bring you conversions (leads, demos, or trials), but will never turn into sales.

But with hidden fields sales tracking like Google’s ValueTrack parameters, you’re able to create hidden fields on your landing page to capture lead information, along with other nifty data, like:

  • The keyword they typed in
  • The device they were using
  • The landing page URL they converted on
  • The geographic location they were in

With your CRM lead entry that now has all that additional bulleted info, you’re able to go back to your PPC accounts and learn not just what keyword gave you the lead, but what keyword gave you the sale in other words, which of your keywords have the highest closing rate.

With that information, you’ll find that you’re able to afford higher CPAs for certain conversions compared to others, and this will ultimately help you get higher volumes of the right type of conversions.

How’d you do that?

PPC landing page testing can be complex, but these few tricks above are what help us double the performance for our clients.

These tips will help you customize your landing pages, resulting in better marketing experiences that convert better.

So you can pull more rabbits conversions out of your hat PPC campaigns.

Embed this gifographic on your site (copy and paste the code).

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PPC Landing Page Magic: Secrets Revealed [GIFOGRAPHIC]

How Unbounce Used Overlays to Get 3,000+ Leads [Case Studies]

You’re a marketer, and a dang good one at that. You follow best practices. You always send campaign traffic to a dedicated landing page. You make data-driven decisions. You do post-mortems on all your campaigns and record your learnings.

But still, your visitors are dropping off your website without converting, leaving you with no way to nurture or convert them at a later date. And it sucks.

abandoning-visitors
No, wait, don’t go! Image via Giphy.

Things are no different for us at Unbounce. Despite our best efforts, we still miss out on a ton of conversions. Whether folks aren’t ready to hand over their information, or they simply aren’t finding what they’re looking for, they just. Don’t. Convert.

We knew there had to be a solution…

Overlays allow you to show relevant offers to specific users at the perfect time, making them less likely to leave your website without converting.

It’s a win-win really. You want the sale, they want the bargain. You want the email, they want the ebook.

But just like with any marketing tool (landing pages, emails, etc.), overlays need to be relevant, timely and valuable in order for them to be effective.

As you may have heard, Unbounce recently launched Convertables, a suite of easy-to-install overlays which can be triggered on-arrival, after delay, on scroll and on-exit. But before releasing Convertables to the masses, we were diligently testing overlays on our own web pages.

Two experiments in particular stand out, in which we used overlays to collect leads for online partnership events. In total, we were able to collect 3,200 leads and signups. We also learned a thing or two about how to maximize conversions, while at the same time respecting the goals of the user. We’d like to share our results and learnings with you.

Digital Agency Day: Sign up to get the recordings

On January 28, 2016, Unbounce and HubSpot co-hosted a brand new online event just for digital agencies. We called it Digital Agency Day (and sometimes, internally, “DAD,” because we’re goofs).

Digital Agency Day consisted of a combination of in-person and virtual events, bringing together expert speakers from the world’s top agencies and agency partners to share actionable advice on analytics, reporting, growing retainers, new business strategy, conversion rate optimization and much more.

In total there were 18 online events, with 6,500+ participants across 101 countries. Yep, you read that right — 6,500 participants. Many of which were captured via a hyper-relevant lead gen overlay.

The problem

The main goal of the Digital Agency Day microsite was to get people to register for the live event. But anyone who’s hosted a webinar or similar online event knows that getting attendees can be tricky. People just don’t want to commit, for fear they’ll be too busy to attend or have scheduling conflicts. Digital Agency Day was more than a single webinar, but the same perceived friction existed.

cro-day-microsite-cropped
The Digital Agency Day microsite. (Click for full image.)

We had to find a way to capture those visitors who just couldn’t commit to the live event before they left the site.

The solution

An overlay triggered on exit was the perfect solution. But rather than asking for visitors to sign up to attend the event, as was the goal of the microsite, the overlay prompted visitors to enter their contact info in exchange for the recordings.

dad-overlay

How it performed

We weren’t all that surprised that the overlay worked, due to its high level of relevance. That said, even we were a little surprised by the whopping 19.03% conversion rate.

dad-rooster-results

In the end, we chalked up its success to relevance, value and timeliness — the trifecta of effective overlays.

  • Relevance: The offer was similar yet complementary to the on-page offer.
  • Value: Rather than blocking a day off in their calendars, visitors could simply sign up for the recordings to watch at their leisure and cherry pick the ones that were relevant to them.
  • Timely: The offer was presented on exit, as visitors were about to abandon. Had it been triggered on arrival or after a delay, visitors who wanted to participate in the live event may have been confused.
Pro tip: While best practices indicate using no more than two form fields on your overlay to maximize conversions, you may opt for more should you require additional information to qualify or disqualify leads. At Unbounce, for example, we often qualify leads based on a four-field form. The trade-off here may be fewer conversions but with the benefit of qualifying or disqualifying leads right off the bat. Of course, this is something you’d want to test for yourself.

Want more overlay best practices?

Download Unbounce’s free guide: Best Practices for Creating High-Converting Overlays
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CRO Day: Click through to get the recordings

After the success of Digital Agency Day, we decided to adapt the format for CRO Day — a full day of webinars for conversion-driven digital marketers.

Featuring five webinars, two panel discussions, one AMA, one Slack workshop and one… Five-Second Landing Page Showdown, CRO Day was a smashing success — thanks to amazing participants, dedicated team members and one kick-ass overlay.

The problem

Like Digital Agency Day, the goal of the CRO Day microsite was to get people to register up for the live event. But not everyone can commit to a full day of events.

We included some fine print on the page indicating, “Can’t make it? No worries! Sign up anyway and we’ll send you the recordings.” but it would be easy to miss.

digitalagencyday-microsite-cropped
The CRO Day microsite. (Click for full image.)

Again, we needed a way to isolate the message that if you couldn’t make the online event, you could still get the recordings.

The solution

Overlays are so effective because they focus the visitor’s attention on a single offer… like getting free recordings.

cro-day-overlay

Unlike the overlay for Digital Agency Day, we experimented with a traffic shaping overlay, which directed visitors to a secondary signup page focused just on getting the recordings after the event.

Typically, traffic shaping overlays are used to move visitors from low-converting pages (like your blog homepage or ecommerce category pages) to high-converting pages, but in this case we used a traffic shaping overlay to entice abandoning visitors with an alternate offer.

The flow looked like this:

cro-day-traffic-shaping

How it performed

Pretty. Darn. Good.

Using the traffic shaping overlay, we directed 27.31% of abandoning visitors to a secondary sign up page.

cro-day-overlay-results

Once on the page, 67% of visitors converted, filling out a six-field form!

cro-day-overlay-lp-results

Again, this overlay was relevant (a similar yet complementary offer), valuable (forget blocking off your calendar — watch the recordings you want, when you want) and timely (visitors were shown the overlay on-exit after they had seen the initial offer).

However, there’s another key principle at play here: Specificity.

specificity-cro-day
When will I get the recordings? The very next day. Can’t get much more specific than that!

By specifying that the recordings would be emailed to visitors the day after the event, we were able to boost our credibility, presumably resulting in more signups.

Tips, tricks and takeaways

Using the Unbounce overlay guiding principles, you can build overlays that convert like crazy… but not at the expense of visitor experience.

When planning your own overlay campaigns, keep in mind the following:

  • Make it relevant. If your visitor is reading a blog post about waterproof watch reviews, your overlay better not be about bikes. Rather, it should be complementary, like an overlay that directs the visitor to a features page about one of the watch models.
  • But don’t present the same offer. Presenting the exact same offer on the overlay as on page is annoying and needy. Don’t be that dude.
  • Make it valuable. Asking visitors for their personal info is a big deal. Make sure what you’re offering in exchange is of equal or greater value.

Make it timely. Choosing when to trigger your overlay depends upon the goal. (Psst: With Unbounce, you can trigger your overlays on-entrance, after delay, on-scroll and on-exit.)

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How Unbounce Used Overlays to Get 3,000+ Leads [Case Studies]

How to Make Local Mobile Landing Pages That Convert

The second you step away from your desk, or leave your home or office – what do you do when you need to find something to eat, purchase or get directions to? You pull out your phone and do a search. Unfortunately, local businesses aren’t making the best use of digital marketing. In fact, as many as 60% of small businesses don’t even have a website at all. Local businesses don’t see it as a priority. And even when they do have solid websites, in too many cases, mobile is an afterthought, and the landing pages are weak or absent….

The post How to Make Local Mobile Landing Pages That Convert appeared first on The Daily Egg.

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How to Make Local Mobile Landing Pages That Convert

Low Email CTR? Here’s Why You Should Delete Subscribers

saying goodbye to email subscribers
Saying goodbye to your unengaged subscribers is the hardest part. The second hardest is getting the greasy handprints off your window. Image via Shutterstock.

By 2018, you’ll get over 140 emails each day.

Billions are already sent daily, adding up to trillions annually (how many zeroes is that even?!).

Email service providers attempt to help, scanning and filtering the questionable stuff out before it even hits your inbox.

You thought Facebook’s declining organic reach is bad? Wait until all of your emails go unread, straight into the email abyss (also known as the Promotions tab).

Surprisingly, one solution to improve results is actually through deleting email subscribers.

Here’s why, and how to do it strategically to jumpstart your lacklustre email results.

Why your email performance is declining (and how to salvage it)

Email marketing generates $38 bucks for every $1 spent.

Not bad. And good enough to comfortably place it (still, in 2016) as one of the highest ROI channels available.

Here’s another doozy: Email outperforms Facebook and Twitter combined by 40X in acquiring new customers.

Amazing, right?

Decades after Hotmail’s ultimate distribution growth hack of giving away free email addresses, it’s still at the pinnacle of a marketer’s playbook.

Unfortunately, our primary task — specifically, getting emails into people’s inboxes — is getting exponentially more difficult on a daily basis.

The problem is twofold.

First, the number of emails being sent is at an all-time high. Over 205 billion last year according to one report; expected to grow 3% over the next four years as well.

And second, email service providers, with their savvy foresight, are combating this using techniques like machine learning to automatically sort or filter out most of the stuff being sent.

sort and filter
Gmail uses their tabbed inbox to automatically detect (and re-route) ‘Promotional’ emails. Image via Giphy.

Wait, it gets worse!

Email lists are depreciating by 25% each year as a result. So even if you’re getting the damned things into someone’s inbox, the responsiveness of subscribers is also falling (due to the overwhelming volume of crap they’re forced to process on a daily basis, no doubt).

This is where graymail comes in.

It ain’t quite spam, but peeps aren’t jumping for joy when they see it either. It’s the company newsletters that contain little value, with pathetic open rates and even more pathetic click rates. The obligatory stuff people didn’t really ask to receive and obviously don’t care to read.

Low engagement activity, coupled with a spike in (1) spam notices and (2) unsubscribe rate increases, result in lower deliverability according to this recent Wired article.

The biggest email service providers (think: Gmail, Outlook… and uh, um… do people still use Yahoo or Hotmail?!) use sophisticated algorithms for ‘reputation scoring’ that “ranks the likely spamminess of a server that’s sending an email”.

Therefore, getting your software to send the email is easy the easy part. Getting it successfully delivered, isn’t.

In response, Mailchimp will use a technique they call “taste-testing” to start with sending only a tiny fraction of your overall email blast, assessing performance in real-time to determine if they should continue sending or kill it immediately to avoid any further reputation damaging.

There is almost no better metaphor for this downward cycle of email neglect than sacrificing the golden goose. You’re taking something with amazing potential (re-read the stats above if you don’t believe me), and then completely sabotaging it with piss-poor execution.

(Anecdotally, I’ve even seen deliverability issues affect ALL emails coming from your domain name — even one-on-one sales follow-up attempts with a prospect.)

The first obvious step towards enlightenment is to send better stuff that people actually want to read. (Can you believe people actually pay for advice like that?!)

However, in an age of escalating barriers to inbox-entry, we also need to proactively prune email subscribers; removing the bad apples to make sure you’re still able to quickly and easily access the good ones when it’s time to hit “Send.

Here’s how.

How to prune your email subscribers on the daily

There is no better vanity metric than the email subscriber count. The thought of deleting those precious things, and lowering that number, causes a violent nausea in some people.

In the good old days, you’d see the little cheesy Feedburner box with glowing subscriber count that would undoubtedly make that blogger’s word Gospel.

feedburner
No greater example of social proof in action.

Today, we’ve come to our senses we do the same damn thing. ‘Cept now it’s fueled by Inbound-gamification, re-hashing the same influencer marketing crap over-and-over-and-over-and-over to hit the frontpage.

But here’s the thing.

HubSpot ditched 250,000 subscribers. That’s probably more than any of us will delete in our entire lifetimes. If you’re keeping score at home, that was nearly 45% of their total list! And yet they took solace in the fact that most of these people weren’t engaging anyway, so it’s not like they were going to lose tons of email traffic overnight.

Routinely ditching the bottom ~5-10% of our lists probably won’t kill us, either.

So here’s how to do it.

Tip #1: Get rid of the obviously bad stuff

Previously unsubscribed, but still hanging around? Routinely bouncing? Purchased contact lists?

Get rid of them all.

The first two are easy and obvious. Simply login, find and delete.

Personally, I like a clean email list free of pollution. What I mean is, if you must use purchased lists to perform outreach (this is a judgment-free zone), isolate those peeps in a different tool like PersistIQ.

PersistIQ
Add touches in PersistIQ for automation and scale.

Not only is it 1,000% more suited for scaling outbound outreach (yay increased productivity!), it will also keep your email database free from poor performers bringing down future results.

Then, you can always send these people a targeted campaign (like a webinar or similar) designed to get them to willingly opt back into your email database, turning a cold contact into a warm subscriber.

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Tip #2: Segment emails with the lowest engagement scores

Now let’s take care of the most inactive subscribers remaining.

Open rates are notoriously unreliable. So go with engagement instead.

If people haven’t clicked on any of your last five email campaigns, it’s a safe bet that they don’t care about what you’re sending them.

Many email tools will also let you sort based on some kind of activity or rating-metric as well (like the MailChimp example below).

Mailchimp
Mailchimp allows you to sort subscribers based on ratings and activity (or lack thereof).

So segment these people with a few different criteria to be safe, and then you can most likely just delete them straight away.

At the very least, get them off this list and into some kind of re-engagement campaign, where the objective is exactly that: send them something different or interesting to win back their attention and engagement.

Here’s how to do that.

Tip #3: Send re-engagement campaigns to subscribers with the lowest engagement

Subscriber recency says that the longer people have been a subscriber, the less active and engaged they’ll be.

The trick then, is to identify these people ahead of time, before they lapse into email obscurity, with some kind of re-engagement campaign.

You can (and should) pair this with marketing automation techniques to automatically begin filtering these people.

Here’s a real example to illustrate.

Off-screen, and prior to anyone seeing this example, somebody downloaded an ebook, guide, etc. that’s typically on the end of a blog post. Then like every good little marketer says, those people received a top o’ the funnel (TOFU) email workflow after getting their hands on the shiny new lead magnet.

Now here’s what’s about to happen in the image below:

  1. The first trigger you see in this example references “35 days”. Basically, we only want this workflow to kick in after people have already progressed through the original TOFU workflow.
  2. Our next step is to make sure these people haven’t filled out any other offers, which on this site includes two different middle of the funnel (MOFU) options (a Services Overview and Website Evaluation) and a bottom of the funnel (BOFU) one (Quote & Proposal) which are often located on your primary website pages like the About, Services, etc.
Re-engagement campaign
Example of a re-engagement TOFU campaign in HubSpot.

In other words, we’re saying: Give us all of the people who (a) have already received a workflow of drip emails for 30 days but (b) didn’t sign up for anything else.

There’s a high probability that these people will churn or that engagement will lapse because they haven’t taken us up on any other offer so far. So we want to preempt that by sending them timely reminders, incentives or breaking news; hopefully piquing their interesting enough to ‘win back’ their attention (and hearts and minds).

These messages can vary in style, ranging from sending over your most interesting blog posts to a more targeted promotion.

Discounts are a popular choice, as are surveys to get some feedback on how you can tailor messages more effectively for that individual.

You can even send a preemptive unsubscribe warning that lets them know you’re going to automatically un-enroll them if they don’t tell you otherwise.

Bonus tip: Combine with remarketing/retargeting

Just because you’re purposefully unsubscribing segments of people doesn’t mean you have to give up or throw away those email addresses entirely.

Instead, you can still attempt to win back these lapsed subscribers with offers in other channels, like using remarketing or retargeting with Facebook custom audiences.

Facebook custom audience
Win back lapsed subscribers using Facebook’s custom audience feature.

Again, the best approach might be to try targeted offers, promotions and discounts to cut through the noise and get their attention.

You can even pair these messages around key holidays (like those fast approaching) to rekindle that old flame; reigniting those warm and fuzzy feelings all over again.

Conclusion

It’s incredible to think that email marketing still outperforms almost every other digital channel.

However, that profitable future is showing signs of waning.

The exponentially increasing volume of emails people get on a daily basis has given rise to new advancements for filtering by email service providers.

This, coupled with increasing unsubscribe rates and decreasing engagement scores, means priority #1 for most marketers (and the email marketing software they use, as we saw from MailChimp) is to make sure our graymail emails aren’t just being sent, but delivered.

One of the best ways to keep deliverability on the up-and-up is to regularly remove unengaged subscribers, keeping your Opens and Clicks as high as humanly possible.

Routinely deleting subscribers might be panic-inducing, but it will help ensure that the people who actually want to read your stuff (and give you money) will continue receiving emails for years to come.

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Low Email CTR? Here’s Why You Should Delete Subscribers

Have You Registered for CRO Day 2016?

CRODay blog cover image

Remember when you were a teenager and you wanted to get your [insert body part here] pierced because, “literally everyone is doing it”? And your mom was all, “Oh come on, [insert your first name here], would you jump off a bridge because everyone was doing it?”

Well, in most cases Mom was right. Trends are called trends for a reason: they come, they go and they might leave you with an undesirable extra hole in your head.

There is an exception, though: conversion rate optimization (a.k.a. CRO).

CRO Google Trends graph
Google Trends report for Conversion Rate Optimization over the past 10 years.

Everyone’s doing it — even the presidential candidates. And if you’re not doing it — or you’re not doing enough of it — you could be letting conversions, and thus sales, slip through your fingers and into the hands of your competitors.

So what’s a savvy marketer to do but trawl the internet for posts on “How to Conversion Rate Optimization”? (Please don’t search for that, it’s not English.)

Enter CRO Day.

What is it? CRO Day is a full day of online events for conversion-driven digital marketers. Events include five webinars, two panels, one Slack workshop, one AMA… and a five-second Landing Page Showdown.

When is it? Thursday, September 29, 2016.

Where is it? Your couch, your office, wherever you are most comfortable learning all things CRO. All Unbounce-hosted CRO Day events are 100% online.

Who’s gonna be there? You. And me. But also: Andre Morys, Talia Wolf, David DarmaninPeep Laja and many, many more.

What are the highlights?

  • The Five-Second Showdown. Join 10 conversion experts and host Oli Gardner as they dissect and improve CRO Day attendees’ landing pages based on the ol’ five-second test.
  • An epic panel discussion featuring Joanna Wiebe, Joel Klettke and Kira Hug. The topic? How to Write Killer Copy Without Being Shady.
  • Some of your most burning CRO questions answered, like “I have all this data, but what do I do with it?” and “How can I get more conversions out of your traffic?”
  • Community events! If you’d like to host a webinar or in-person event to celebrate CRO Day or if you want to join in on an existing event, check out our Community Events Agenda on Inbound.Org

Don’t miss out on the online digital marketing event of the year. Register today!

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Have You Registered for CRO Day 2016?