eMail Marketing 101

email marketing

It’s a good idea to regularly check how your current marketing activities are performing for you. In this blog we want to show you how to get the most out of your email marketing campaigns.

Content is currently king so what better way to get people engaged in your content than email marketing! (If you think social beats email, Kissmetrics reported that Facebook and Twitter combined make up 0.2% of all emails sent on a daily basis) Here in Dara Creative, we use Campaign Monitor for our email campaigns.

Subject Lines – Short & snappy wins the open rates

According to a report by Adestra, emails that had a subject line with fewer than 10 characters had an open rate of 58%. While that’s a whopper of a statistic, it can be hard to keep subject lines that short and snappy. We would recommend a maximum of 50 characters for your subject line, but you’ll have to experiment to see what works for your campaigns.

Content – Entice them with snippets

People love free stuff but instead of giving everything away just give a taster. While you may have an amazing blog post or want people to download a whitepaper give a short blurb about it in your email and direct people towards your website. By doing this you can keep their attention for longer and get them more interested in your brand.

Testing – The more you test, the better!

Testing is a must. In Dara Creative, we A/B test the subject line in every email campaign. As subject lines can be tricky to get right, it’s a good idea to test. By testing you’ll start to get an idea about what people respond to. In Campaign Monitor you can test the subject line, the entire email content or the sender field. A nifty thing Campaign Monitor does, for the subject line at least, is it tells you how many extra opens and clicks you got because of your A/B testing.

Link Your Google Analytics – Data is your friend

One of the most important things to do before you set up your first campaign is to link your account with Google Analytics. By doing this you can attribute site traffic to your campaign instead of just speculating that it may have driven X number of visitors.

  • In Campaign Monitor, click on your client settings on the right-hand side of the page and select Google Analytics Integration.
  • Tick ‘Enable Google Analytics Integration’
  • Insert the domain you want to track (yourwebsite.com)
  • Name the campaign source – this what will show up in Google Analytics when you search your campaigns

 

Reports – Sure who doesn’t love reports!

While you may be rolling your eyes, you should always do a report roughly 4 – 7 days after you send out an email campaign. It’s good to keep an eye on who’s opening and clicking on your emails but did you know there’s more reports?

In Campaign Monitor there’s lots of nifty reports such as email link overlay, worldview and email client usage:

  • Email Link Overlay is quite a cool report as it shows you the email you sent but adds in the percentage of unique clicks for each link whether it was a text link, button link or image link.
  • Worldview, well, you can see where exactly in the world people opened, clicked and shared your email from.
  • Email Client Usage tells you what email client people use (gmail, outlook, apple mail) and which had the most opens. Why is this useful? It can help you gauge a few things such as how many people are reading my email on the go, should I invest in a mobile friendly email template or is there a reason why certain email clients perform better than others. As noted in our Responsive Web Design blog, 75% of the Irish population will have a smartphone by the end of 2013 so these reports can help you decide if a mobile or responsive template is for you.

 

Get in touch with Dara Creative at hello@daracreative.ie if you have any questions about email marketing, email template design or any of their services.

This guest blog post was written by Eleanor Tallon, Digital Marketing Assistant.

 

Compare the leading ERP systems at the ERP HEADtoHEAD™

The 4th ERP HEADtoHEAD™ is taking place on 4th/5th March 2015 at the Carlton Hotel, Dublin Airport. The event is a one-of-a-kind opportunity to see the top ERP software vendors, all under one roof. The ERP HEADtoHEAD™ is ideal for organisations that are currently evaluating ERP systems or that plan to do so in 2015.

Each product will be demonstrated by the top ERP vendors using a single script, allowing for a true like-for-like comparison. It is an ideal opportunity for senior finance or IT executives and members of their ERP selection teams to efficiently review the leading ERP products and to learn how to manage their selection process so that risk is reduced and benefits are maximised. Attendees will gain knowledge over the two days of the event that might otherwise take months of planning and meetings to achieve.

“If you are budgeting for or about to start an ERP software replacement or upgrade project this event should not be missed. It is a unique opportunity to compare some of the leading ERP products based on a defined script, not a series of generic sales presentations. Selecting the right ERP software can radically increase the efficiency of your business. However implementing the wrong system can have serious consequences, commented Sean Jackson, Managing Director of Lumenia, leading ERP consultants.

Products from leading ERP vendors, including SAP, Oracle, Microsoft, Sage, Epicor, IFS, Access and Infor will be demonstrated. In addition, each vendor will have an individual demonstration stand, where specific project requirements can be discussed in between presentations. The event will also provide opportunities to network and compare experiences with other organisations also planning to implement ERP.

Each product will be presented once each day, with presentations taking place in three parallel streams. Attendees have the option to attend for one or two days. Special discounts apply for early bird bookings and for more than two attendees registering per company. Attendees that register for two days and attend the Wrap-up session will automatically be entered into a draw for a chance to win an Apple iPad Air.

This event will be facilitated by Lumenia, Europe’s leading independent ERP consulting organisation. Lumenia has managed over 100 ERP projects and will share project experiences and ERP selection and implementation knowledge during the event.

For further information and to register please contact Linda Davey on 091 746940 or by e-mail info@erpheadtohead.com or check out the event website www.erpheadtohead.com

Trends for Driving your Business in 2015

Trends for driving your business in 2015

It’s always hard to predict what will drive and have an impact on online behavior but we have dug around the corners of the internet to uncover, what we believe to be, the main digital trends that will impact businesses in 2015.

Privacy & Data

Data has become a valuable commodity in the digital sphere. In 2014, data, and the method of gathering data, has received a bad rep due to security breaches in major applications and websites such as eBay, Snapchat and Apple’s infamous iCloud leak. In 2015, people will be more aware of the information they’re sharing and who they’re sharing it with.

There are simple measures you can put in place to give your users peace of mind:

  • let people know you’re using cookies
  • have an up to date privacy and cookie policy
  • if there’s a user login, make sure it’s a secure connection using https instead of http

Seamless web experience 

According to GSMA Intelligence, there are now 7.3 billion devices (smartphones, “dumb” phones, tablets, etc) in the world; the number of which are increasing 5 times faster than the human population. We’re interacting with a greater range of screens and sizes so it will be even more important that the experience across these devices is seamless.

By having a responsive website design, you’re creating a unified web presence. If you want to find out more about why responsive design is so important, we’ve written blogs about both responsive web design and responsive email templates.

Personalisation

As there’s so much content and noise on the internet, it can be hard for your content to break through. A study by EConsultancy and Monetate found that 94% of companies believe that personalisation ‘is critical to current and future success’. Personalisation is simple to implement: use first names in your email marketing, SMS and you can even personalise your landing pages. It’s an easy thing to do that will instantly make your customer feel more connected to your content and brand.

Content Marketing

Creating interesting, helpful and relevant content is going to be even more important for any business in 2015. It’s estimated that the amount of information available on the internet will grow by 600% by 2020; a phenomenal figure!

Content marketing and social media marketing have become synonymous with each other. It’s regularly said that organic reach on social networks is decreasing and it’s true. Not only will content have to be super targeted to your audience but will most likely need advertising spend put behind it to push it out further to your audience.

 

This guest blog was written by Paula Connor, Dara Creative.  Get in touch with her at hello@daracreative.ie (01-6725222) if you’re interested in a responsive website or just need some advice on achieving your targets for 2015.

 

How to tell if you need a new website

new website

So your website is more than 3 years old. Is it still up to scratch?
Maybe you think it’s looking a bit sad and tired or it’s just not doing what you need it to any more, others in your company might think it’s just fine. So here’s some pointers to help you figure out why it could be time for a shiny new site.

First impressions count! A dated design can deter visitors

You probably won’t get a second chance to make a good first impression on your website visitors. The internet and it’s technologies have moved on leaps and bounds in the last 5 years.

Please consider:

  • Overall is the design is outdated, is your homepage static with little information? Does it properly explain your business offering? If there isn’t anything to engage and entice users they are unlikely to explore further. A site that’s informative, visually engaging and easy to navigate will lead to better conversions and a return on your investment.
  • Is the design clean, attractive and modern or does it say “Hello 1990’s”? A dated looking site can give the impression that your company is behind the times and you may lose out to a competitor whose website looks more professional. Newer designed websites are making better use of the larger width of screens and tend not to have as many boxed elements.

Technology Fail!

If your site is so old it’s practically in hieroglyphics then it’s highly likely that it’s failing fast on keeping up with the latest technological developments. Here’s some things to think about:

  • Does your site work well on mobile or tablet devices? Having a responsive website is absolutely vital today with over 65% of Irish users changing devices while researching online – read our blog article about Responsive Design
  • Do you have a flash element on the website – Flash is an outdated web technology and it can’t be used on most tablets and phones, losing you a huge audience
  • Your website is slooooow! It takes a long time to load, possibly due to old website software. Nobody likes a slow site and your visitors will bounce off your site for sure rather than wait for it. Test your site in the the Google Speed Check tool
  • Do you have an easy way to edit content yourself or are you relying on your web developer? Having a good content management system means you can keep your content up to date and relevant for your visitors without any techie know-how.
  • Is your Content Management System (CMS) up to date? Making sure that your CMS is up to date, for example installing the latest version, ensures that hackers can’t find weaknesses or a gap in the security of your software. Thus preventing your content being deleted, passwords changed or obscene content being posted on your website.

Write captivating content & Optimise for Search

The content on your site is as important as the design and build. Ensure that you’ve got engaging and informative text on your site, a few scant words won’t really do anymore – give the search engines something to crawl! Update and add to your content on a regular basis.

Your content should be proactive and include ‘Calls to action’ (eg ‘Get in touch’, ‘Book now’, etc). Way back when it was ok to have fairly passive content that had a little info about who you were – a simple online brochure as such. But now the best practice is to call out to your website visitor – be clear on your business goals and get your website working to help achieve them.

As well as the above, an up to date website will include the following:

  • A sitemap, legal and cookie policy, all of which are required
  • Google analytics – make sure you have tracking code on the site. Google analytics is an essential tool for every website owner who wishes to track the performance of your website – track visitors, goals/conversions, measure your advertising return on investment, track social networking sites. Google Webmaster tools provides you with extensive reports about your visibility online. The great thing about these tools is that they are FREE!
  • Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) – implemented on the site. This will help get your website found in search engines for keyword phrases links to your business’ products and services. It is something that every website should have.

After reading this you may realise your old site isn’t up to scratch. Dara Creative provide expert advice to help transform your online presence – you’ll be facing the future with your best foot forward in no time! If you would like to find out more about their services, you can contact them at hello@daracreative.ie.

This guest blog post was written by Paula Connor, Digital Marketing Manager, Dara Creative. You can contact her at pconnor@daracreative.ie

 

Responsive Email Design

responsive email design

We already talked about why a responsive website design is important so it seems natural to discuss responsive emails.

In case you didn’t read our responsive design blog, responsive design is a type of design style that responds to the size of the screen you’re using. The plus side of using responsive design over a mobile / separate version of a site is that Google doesn’t view it as duplication.

Responsive design for email is becoming equally as important. We’ve all had the experience of zooming in and out, swiping and getting frustrated when our fingers are too big for the buttons when going through our inboxes. According to research carried out by Facebook Ireland, approximately 75% of the Irish population have a smartphone. According to Litmus, 51% of emails are being opened on mobile devices worldwide. From these two statistics it appears we can’t ignore responsive design for emails any longer – and even more so if your business is targeting international audiences where mobile usage stats are higher than here in Ireland.

Is a Responsive Email Design for me?

This should be your first question. Our answer is to see what devices are the most popular with your email subscribers. This can be easily checked in your email tool. In Dara Creative we use Campaign Monitor for our campaigns.

responsive email design2

This will tell you exactly how many subscribers use each device and which version of a particular email client.

While email client usage is a strong indicator you must also consider the user experience. Hopefully our responsive blog inspired you to think about a responsive website and why a good user experience is a must. Both your website and your emails should be optimised to complement each other. If your email is responsive why wouldn’t your website be too and vice versa?

 

I’ve decided I need a responsive email template, what do I do?

Test, test and more testing – As not all email clients accept responsive email templates, testing is essential. Test the emails on as many devices as possible. It’s mostly the native email clients (pre-installed apps on your phone / tablet) that will show the media queries needed for your responsive email, whereas third party apps such as Gmail or Yahoo don’t work. Style Campaign put together a handy list of which email clients do and don’t work with media queries – check it out here.

Change how you approach content – With responsive email you don’t want your readers to be infinitely scrolling. The way you approach content has to be adapted to suit a content light layout. Write short intro blurbs with a clear, strong call to action and keep it visual.

Get Creative – In Dara Creative we’re big fans of GIFs. If you have the resources, these could make your campaigns really stand out. Our eyes are drawn to movement so what better way to capture your reader’s attention than putting a relevant and eye-catching gif in your email. They’re particularly useful if you’re demonstrating how to use something, a new product or just want to focus in on your main call-to-action. If a picture says 1,000 words then we can only guess how many a GIF says!

Personalisation – While this should be done even if you don’t have a responsive email it’s no harm to mention it. Newsweaver reported that at 26% of respondents personalise more than just the name and 32% personalising name only. With so much noise in our inboxes you have to go the extra mile to grab your subscriber’s attention. Make sure your database is set up so that you can personalise the first name in your email campaigns to really make them more targeted.

 

Are you convinced? We hope so!

If you would like to find out more about responsive design email templates, please get in touch with Dara Creative at hello@daracreative.ie to see how they can help.

This guest blog post was written by Eleanor Tallon, Digital Marketing Assistant.

Are Your Call to Actions Above or Below the Fold?

Are Your Call to Actions Above or Below the Fold?

As blogs, videos and infographics light up the internet, we debate whether your call to action still needs to be above the fold?

The Fold

What is this fold I speak of? When you visit a website the content you see first, the first 600 pixels, is “above the fold”. Once you scroll down you’re “below the fold”. Any news website is a perfect example of this; above the fold is the online version of a newspaper front page.

Above the Fold

Placing your call to action above the fold is common practice as it’s what people see first. Take a look around at some good websites of the top brands in your industry and you’ll start to notice this more and more.

Websites are becoming more and more visual with a minimalistic responsive design layout. Have a look at our homepage and you’ll notice the big image with a call to action in the centre.

Below the Fold

Once you begin to scroll the rest of the page is “below the fold”. It still has call-to-actions but they’re more subtle as we’re focusing your attention on the main call to action.

Below the fold gets a bad rep because of a website user’s lack of patience and, dare we say it, refusal to scroll. Conversion Optimisation Expert Peep Laja spoke at the Search London event and reported that only 20% of our attention is below the fold so it’s a less valuable area on your website.

Pay Attention!

Attention span is a big issue with websites and content. As the internet grows our attention span seems to do the opposite. We want information but we want it immediately and if it’s too hard to find we give up. Infographics, videos, gifs and visual content are becoming more popular and this is exactly why. As they say an image says a thousand words so it suits our busy lifestyles.

As noted above Peep Laja said that 80% of our attention stays above the fold. While we don’t need to have our CTAs slap bang above the fold, we do need to create the beginnings of a good and easy-to-follow user journey.

Is there a problem below the fold?

Kissmetrics wrote an interesting article on why the fold is a myth and pointed out that:

“The issue isn’t whether the call to action is visible when your prospect first arrives. The issue is whether your call to action is visible at the point where your prospect has become convinced to take action.”

Grab your visitor’s attention within their first few seconds on your site and point them to relevant content. Once they’re engaged, you can then introduce your call to action, when they’re more likely to carry out your desired action.

User Experience is what wins over your customers

One of the most important things when getting your website visitor to complete a call-to-action is creating an experience where they’ll become invested in your brand. The above or below the fold debate is becoming less and less relevant; people want to find out information whether they have to scroll or not. If your website is user friendly, clear and conversion focused then your customers and prospective customers will keep coming back to it (and you!).

We don’t just rely on best practice when deciding on where a CTA will convert most for you, we A/B test the pages and let the data decide. If you’re interested in finding out where a call to action would get the most conversions for you, contact Dara Creative at hello@daracreative.ie and they can find the best solution for you.

This guest blog post was written by Eleanor Tallon, Digital Marketing Assistant at Dara Creative.

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