Category Archives: Database Marketing

Thurs. Trends: 3 Email Marketing Trends for Your 2015 Marketing Plan

As email marketing continues to grow in popularity as a powerful tool to nurture your target audience through the marketing funnel and buyer’s cycle, there are some factors to take into consideration when forming your 2015 marketing plan:

Image-based Emails vs. Text-based Emails
Do consumers prefer that emails from companies contain mostly images or mostly text? According to research from HubSpot’s 2014 Science of Email Report, there is a significant disconnect between the self-reported data vs. the observational data that was received from the testing that they conducted. In both the 2011 and 2014 surveys that HubSpot conducted, it received nearly 2/3 respondents saying they preferred mostly image-based emails vs. mostly text-based emails.

HubSpot's Science of Email 2014 Email Preference Self-Reported Survey Results

Source: HubSpot’s Science of Email 2014 Email Preference Self-Reported Survey Results

As you can see below, however, HubSpot’s observational data shows that the CTR (click-through rate) actually decreases as the number of images within an email increases.

HubSpot's Science of Email 2014 Email Preference Observational Data Survey Results

Source: HubSpot’s Science of Email 2014 Email Preference Observational Data Survey Results

With email marketing, it’s always important to weigh the pros with the cons of using images vs text.  Experiment with various types of images and text content within your open- and click-through- rates and structure your strategy accordingly.

In general, a even mix of images and text covers all your bases. As well, don’t forget to create your emails in both HTML and text-based code so those email providers that have strict image settings still receive a reader-friendly email.

Timing Your Emails
When deciding on the best time to send out emails, it’s critical that you’re sending emails to your recipients based on their schedules. Unfortunately for email marketing, there isn’t a set time that everyone checks his or her inbox, so a bit of testing will be required. To decide on the best time to reach your audience, attempt a simple A/B test experiment.

A/B Testing

Divide your email distribution list and send your email to the two-segmented lists at different times. Review your open rate results and make changes to your distribution time if it is needed. Continue this type of testing for your email marketing regularly to ensure that your emails are being sent at the best time based on the schedules of your recipients.

Email Formats – Don’t forget Mobile!
The pendulum is swinging toward mobile devices as a primary source of email views compared to desktop devices.  Due to this evolution, proper templates and changes in the formatting of your emails need to be taken into consideration in order for your email marketing strategy to be successful.

Litmus Email Open Rate for Mobile Devices

According to Litmus, the majority of emails being opened are occurring on iPhones, Androids, and iPads. In 2013 alone, the mobile open rate increased 21% to now represent 51% of emails being viewed on a mobile device.

HubSpot's Science of Email 2014 Self-Reported Data Results: "How do you read email?"

HubSpot’s Science of Email 2014 Self-Reported Data Results: “How do you read email?”

Similarly, self-reported data results within HubSpot’s Science of Email Report show that 57% of survey takers reported reading emails on their phones and 33% of the survey takers reported reading it on their tablet devices.

This graph also points out that people are opening their emails on both their mobile and their desktop devices, so the key is to send responsive emails (emails that are ambiguous to both types) rather than picking one format in which to create your emails.

In conclusion
When it comes to planning your email marketing strategy it is important to take all factors into consideration. You must remember to test and evaluate your results in order to see continued success – and don’t forget to keep up with technology trends, as these play a huge role in the evolution of email marketing.

 

For more information on marketing trends to consider in your 2015 planning check out, Top 3 B2B Marketing Trends to Prioritize in 2015.

Thursday Trends: When Can I Expect Traffic and Leads?

You have decided to implement marketing automation software. You have a plan in place to write a white paper or record a webinar, and you’re anxious to start getting traffic and leads. But how long should it take – what is realistic to expect in terms of seeing results?

HubSpot asked just that in a recent survey to their customers and the results remind us we have to be patient. In their survey, over 92% of respondents reported an increase in traffic after implementing the software. But how long did it take for that traffic increase to come? Here is what they reported:

HubSpot Marketing Automation

Source: HubSpot Academy – Delivering Inbound Services Class http://academy.hubspot.com/Partner-Classes/var-training-overview/delivering-inbound-services/delivering-inbound-services-archive-page/

 

As you can see in the chart, over 80% report that seeing an increase in traffic takes 2-4 months or more. For the majority of that 80%, it takes 2-7 months to really get some traction. So, if you want to increase your traffic 100% in the first month, you likely want to consider stats like these and to reset your expectations.

Similary, HubSpot asked about leads and again, nearly 93% of respondents reported an increase in web leads after implementing the software. As far as when they saw this increase in leads, here is what respondents said:

chart2

Again, as with web traffic, you are looking at 2-7 months for most businesses to see a real increase in leads. This is not a coincidence since, for most sites, traffic and leads go hand in hand.

It’s important to set realistic expectations. And of course, little to no traffic or leads will come if you don’t have anything to share.

For more information about driving traffic, leads and setting realistic content and marketing goals, check out these other blog posts:

Marketing to Human Engineers – Big Ideas from INBOUND ’13

Build a Lead Nurturing Campaign in 10 Easy Steps

15 Inbound Activities to Include in Your B2B Content Marketing Plan

Build a Lead Nurturing Campaign in 10 Easy Steps

Are you looking to generate more sales-ready leads while lowering the costs per lead? Consider implementing a lead nurturing strategy.

Lead nurturing is the process of further educating and building relationships with non-sales ready leads in order to move them further down the marketing funnel and closer towards becoming an opportunity. A new lead generated from a white paper or other premium content isn’t necessarily ready to speak with sales or make a purchase from you. You need to nurture them over time, building trust and credibility between your company and the lead as they grow their knowledge of your products and services.

Let’s put it this way, consider the process of dating. You wouldn’t take a girl out on a first date and have her meet your parents. Instead, you would ask for a second, third, fourth date, get to know her over time, and when ready, make the introduction to your parents. By the time you know she’s ready to meet the parents; you’ve built a relationship and trust that she and your parents will get along well.

Like dating, nurturing leads over time and building a relationship produces mutually beneficial results. On average, companies that work this process produce 20% more sales opportunities than companies that don’t nurture their leads.

lead nurturing campaign

A cost-effective marketing tactic to nurture your leads and help keep your business top of mind is email automation. Once a visitor completes a form on your website and becomes a lead, they should hear from you immediately. This is hard to implement and sustain manually, but with automation, you set it up once, and never think about it again. In these automated emails, content offered educates your prospects and entices them with further calls-to-action and reasons to engage further with your company. These content offers should map to different stages of your sales cycle so they match where they are in the buying cycle. It’s important to have content for the lead that is just starting their search as well as other content for those leads that are ready to talk to an engineer.

So you know you want to produce more demand from the leads you are generating, but where do you start? Here are 10 simple steps to build an automated lead nurturing campaign for your company. Follow each step to not only see an increase in sales-ready leads, but lower costs simultaneously.

Step #1:  Set yourself up for success. Take your time to review several marketing and email automation tools in order to choose the one best suited for your needs. We have found that HubSpot provides the best value and efficiency for small to medium sized businesses who may be using disparate tools for inbound activities such as email, social media, and website analytics.

Step #2: Timing is critical. When someone becomes a lead, send him or her a follow-up email as soon as possible, and no later than 24 hours. Studies show that email response rates decline over the age of the lead.

Step #3: It will take several interactions. Lead nurturing is not a one and done deal. It will take several emails and interactions to guide a lead down the marketing funnel to become a sales qualified lead. Determine the timeframe of your typical sales cycle by looking at past data and talking to your sales team. Then mirror the length of your lead nurturing campaign after this cycle, consistently emailing the lead throughout. Monitor your email performance metrics to find the right number of emails that will not overwhelm or alternatively turn your lead cold.

Step #4: Relevant content draws customers in. In your follow-up email, highlight relevant content that acts as a next step for the reader. For example, if the lead downloaded a white paper titled “Evaluate Your Website,” offer additional content related to website best practices. This is not the time to introduce a new unrelated product or service.

Step #5: Map offers to the buying cycle. The type of content offered is just as important as the timing and relevancy. When a lead is in the stage of initial research, they are looking for educational material like blog posts and white papers; alternatively, when a prospect is evaluating vendors, case studies of past work, a free trial or consultation will be more effective.

lead nurturing sales cycle

Step #6: Keep it short and sweet. If you stay focused on one topic in the email, it should not be difficult to keep the email brief. Now is not the time to add in custom HTML, cool fonts, or multiple images. The lead should be able to glance at your email and within a few seconds know the value it provides them and the next actions they can take.

Step #7: Subject lines matter. Just like the body content of the email, it’s important to keep subject lines short and to the point. Keep it under 50 characters and avoid using salesy, promotional terms with all caps and exclamations points that the reader might mistake for SPAM.

Step #8: Measure progress. Tracking key metrics in your email campaign, such as open rate, click-through-rate (percentage of people who clicked a link in your email), and unsubscribe rate are key to ensuring that your marketing tactics are helping you reach your business goals. If your metrics are getting worse, it’s time to re-evaluate your campaign and try testing stronger subject lines, adjusting the timing or calls-to-action, or changing your email copy.

Step #9: Inform Sales. Make the sales process more efficient and effective by informing your sales team of all the content offers the lead has received. No need for a sale rep to revisit information the lead has already seen, or rattle off benefits the lead is already aware of. This will only waste time and likely frustrate the potential customer.

Step #10: Have an exit strategy. Once the lead becomes sales qualified (this is a whole other topic that we’ll dive into in another post), remove them from the lead nurturing campaign. They do not need to keep receiving content offers once a sales rep has contacted them. Likewise, if you continue to email them but they do not interact or unsubscribe, do not delete them – you never know when a lead will re-engage, so it’s important to stay top of mind. But consider reducing the frequency of emails you send to them, and simply keep them on your e-newsletter list with the rest of your database.

Ultimately, the end goal of lead nurturing is to efficiently move a lead methodically down the marketing funnel so they have the opportunity to raise their hand when they’re ready for contact from sales. Take these steps into consideration when implementing your next lead nurturing strategy and generate more sales-ready leads and opportunities for your business.

Need help getting stated? TREW Marketing is a HubSpot Certified Partner, utilizing their marketing automation software on behalf of our clients to implement programs such as email automation. Read more about our marketing automation services here.

Related Blog Posts:

6 Ways HubSpot Marketing Automation Helped TREW Grow Web Traffic 130%, Leads 150%

15 Inbound Activities to Include in Your B2B Content Marketing Plan

Silex Technology Selects TREW Marketing for Branding and Marketing Strategy

New Portal of B2B Marketing Resources Provides Other Case Studies, Free Guides to Assist Science, Engineering, and Technology Companies in Integrated Marketing

Silex TechnologyAUSTIN, Texas – March 26, 2013 – Silex Technology America, Inc., a leading embedded technology company specializing in network and wireless technology, today announced it selected TREW Marketing as its marketing partner for brand positioning, messaging and marketing communications activity planning. Silex Technology provides hardware, software, embedded modules, and turnkey connectivity products to device manufacturers and partners with leading suppliers including Green Hills Software, Freescale, QNX, and Qualcomm Atheros. The company chose TREW Marketing because of the agency’s distinct experience in marketing to engineers and proven success leading a co-marketing campaign that drove a 320 percent increase in new leads for Silex Technology.

Building on Proven Results

TREW Marketing led the efforts for Silex Technology’s 2012 co-marketing campaign with Freescale, promoting Silex Technology as the exclusive provider of Wi-Fi connectivity technology for Freescale’s i.MX 6 platform. Through this launch, Silex Technology sought to:

  • Build awareness of its Wi-Fi solutions among i.MX 6 customers
  • Drive traffic to the website
  • Generate leads and create new opportunities for its embedded Wi-Fi sales team

To achieve these goals, TREW Marketing developed a product launch and co-marketing plan centered on web and content marketing. A new campaign on the Silex Technology website educated design engineers about the company’s wireless connectivity solutions for Freescale’s i.MX 6 platform. TREW Marketing led the creation of product collateral, a news release, videos, and an online co-marketing event that all drove traffic to this dedicated web portal. A white paper download and multi-touch e-mail campaign also engaged visitors to learn more. And, Freescale featured the Wi-Fi solutions in its Design News customer e-newsletter and Product News sales e-newsletter to build awareness with design engineers and the Freescale sales force.

In the first two months of the launch, web traffic grew by 30 percent, and monthly leads grew by 320 percent with a nearly 25 percent lead-conversion rate. This in turn created new opportunities for the Silex Technology embedded Wi-Fi dedicated sales team.

“TREW Marketing’s integrated approach and diligent execution of the co-marketing campaign with Freescale delivered record results for Silex Technology,” said Keith Sugawara, vice president of business development at Silex Technology America. “The agency’s further insight on our company positioning and marketing activity planning will set us up for even more success as a leading network technology company.”

TREW Marketing Resources: Free B2B Marketing Guides for Scientists and Engineers

TREW Marketing also released TREW Marketing Resources, a portal of B2B marketing resources that can help science, engineering, and technology companies begin to see success like Silex Technology realized with an integrated marketing approach.

The new portal houses a compilation of free case studies, videos, and marketing guides that contain best practices, industry data, and practical how-to’s on a variety of topics specifically for marketing to technical audiences. TREW Marketing Resources includes guides like Smart Marketing for Engineers, an e-book that helps technical business leaders build and execute an efficient and effective marketing program.

About Silex Technology America

Silex Technology America, Inc. is a subsidiary of Silex Technology Inc., a 35-year developer and leading network technology company specializing in network and wireless technology, providing hardware, software, embedded modules and turnkey connectivity products. Silex Technology has regional offices for sales, marketing and development in Japan, United States and Germany. Silex Technology is integrated vertically to support customers from design to production, maintaining the highest quality standards. For more information, please visit www.silexamerica.com.

About TREW Marketing

TREW Marketing, headquartered in Austin, Texas, is a full-service marketing firm uniquely serving leading companies and organizations in the engineering and science markets. TREW Marketing uses decades of specialized technical marketing experience to create strategies and plans, and execute services such as research, positioning and messaging, product launch planning, media outreach, website strategy and design, and search marketing for clients. To learn more about TREW Marketing, readers can visit http://www.trewmarketing.com.

Related blog posts

Crank Software Selects TREW Marketing for Embedded Industry Outreach

ERP Integrator Selects TREW Marketing for Brand and Marketing Communications

TREW News: National Defense Solutions Provider Selects TREW Marketing

 

10 Keys to Success as a Technical Marketing Manager

Looking for additional insight? Check out our guide: Smart Marketing for Engineers™

Last month, we gave insight on how to hire a technical marketing manager who can propel your marketing efforts forward and add value to your organization. In Part 1, we focused on prioritizing candidates’ talent, culture fit, and experience, and in Part 2, we gave the practicals for actually hiring your technical marketing manager, based on proven experience.

If you’ve now hired your technical marketing manager, pass along this information to help them understand the breadth and depth of technical marketing. Or, if you’ve just been hired as a new technical marketing manager, congratulations! These 10 keys – which focus on brand, positioning and website plans, content marketing strategy, and awareness and loyalty campaigns – will strengthen the skills and knowledge you need to be a successful technical marketing manager:

 

Technical Positioning, Brand, and Website Development

1. Create a Successful Marketing Plan

Having an effective marketing plan and following it will be critical to your success as a technical marketing manager. Without a plan, how do you know what you need to do, in priority order, to get there? In busy times, the tendency is to rush and complete any marketing tactic that looks promising at the moment, without taking into consideration your marketing strategy and goals. So, take the time to truly define your marketing goals and measureable objectives.

B2B Marketing Plan

A well-defined marketing plan will set the course for your company’s marketing efforts.

 

2. Position and Brand Your Company Creatively and Carefully

Your brand is of utmost importance to your company, as it conveys who your company is and your unique value proposition. Positioning your brand well will be critical to the long-term success of the business. In marketing terms, your brand is personified both visually – through your company logo and branding style guide – and contextually – through words, such as your mission, vision, and positioning statements; core company and product-level messaging; and company and campaign taglines.

 

3. Holistically Evaluate Your Website to Maximize Your Future Time and Spend

Evaluate your Website

Your website will be at the core of your marketing efforts, so before you make any major changes to it, audit your web site so that you can prioritize how to go about making changes and additions to it in the future.

Evaluating your site holistically will help you create a better web experience for all visitors to your website no matter where they are in the buying cycle – those researching your business, learning more about your products and services, preparing to buy, or returning for another purchase.

 

 

 

 

Content Marketing Strategy

4. Show Your Products or Services in Practice with Compelling Case Studies

Customer case studies are a great marketing and sales tool. By reading about how customers have benefitted from using your products and services, prospective clients know they are not the first to choose your company, and can hear from real customers to supplement what they’ve learned from reading your marketing brochure or website. To succeed as a technical marketer, you’ll need to know how to prioritize the most important applications for case studies, tell your customer’s story clearly, ask for permissions from the customer’s company and streamline and leverage your work.

 

Case Study Template

Learn all of the elements that make up a compelling case study.

 

5. Offer the Technical Data Your Customers Are Searching For

Because your company is trying to generate leads, create opportunities that engage customers, and ultimately close sales, it’s imperative that you offer the data, insight, and information that your prospects need and want. Offering quality content will cause your customers to see your company as an expert in the industry or technology area in which you work, and direct them to your products and services as solutions to their challenges. In addition to case studies, targeted presentations and white papers that cover relevant topics will build credibility, show your company’s experience, and convey a memorable message.

 

6. Engage with Your Prospects by Making an Investment in Video

Here’s a statistic that will make your head spin: according to Pingdom, a website monitoring firm, more than 800 million web visitors watch online videos per month. And, YouTube is now the second most popular search engine on the planet, just behind Google. Web visitors are drawn to video, so you should be creating videos as a technical marketing manager to add a dimension to the web that text and imagery alone cannot achieve.


7. Optimize your Content Marketing with Content Re-Use and SEO

One piece of well-written, well-placed content can have multiple uses. You can blog about it, amplify it as a call-to-action on social media sites, and repackage it in the form of a video, webinar, or white paper with tags and meta data that search engines will see. Just think about how that one piece of content used in multiple ways and channels can drive your search marketing efforts. And, search engine optimization (SEO) is all about tweaking your website to make it more search-engine friendly and earning inbound links through stellar content that others want to reference. Driving inbound marketing will help you widen the funnel of awareness, gain more leads, and convert leads to sales.

 

 

Loyalty and Awareness Campaigns

8. Increase Customer Engagement Regularly with E-Newsletters

Staying top-of-mind with prospects and customers is a challenge you’ll probably always face. E-newsletters are a great way to maintain a conversation with your target audience, promote valuable content, and help nurture your lead base to increase customer loyalty and move prospects closer to the sale. A corporate e-newsletter, done right, can be one of the most effective and strategic marketing activities a company undertakes. You need to understand all aspects of e-newsletters, from design to content to mailing lists, in order to create ones that build your brand and bring new leads to your company.

Build Customer Loyalty

Use E-newsletter campaigns to stay top-of-mind with customers.

 

9. Get more Blog Traffic and Grow Your Potential Customer Base

Blogging is a great way to bring more visitors to your website, so you’ll want to constantly be seeking to get more blog traffic (and in turn, get more prospective customers to your site). It takes consistent investment of time, creativity, and ideas to develop a successful blog and reach an increasing percentage of your target audience, but the payoff can be worth it in the long run. Maximize that investment by understanding the potential of your blog, getting discovered, converting readers into subscribers, and finding advocates for your blog.

Looking for additional insight? Check out our guide: Smart Marketing for Engineers™

10. Grow Awareness and Traffic With Media Coverage

News coverage generates awareness about your company and its products and services, boosts organic search for your company, and drives traffic to your company web site. Quality news coverage starts with strong, longstanding relationships with journalists, so you’ll want to begin building those contacts. Overall, your interactions with the press should be productive if you’re willing to consistently contribute strong and relevant information that they can use to better inform their readers. They’ll come to appreciate your insight and value your relationship as an industry expert as much as you value their ability to widely publicize your company or product name.

 

Want deeper insight?

Based on our decades of experience building hundreds of customized marketing programs targeted to engineers and scientists, we have written this guide to help you get started in your technical marketing career.

Download Smart Marketing for Engineers™ – an e-book that helps technical business leaders build and execute an efficient and effective marketing program where every dollar and every hour spent drives results.

 

6 Smart Trade Show Tactics Seen at Design West

Last week, TREW attended the Design West Conference in San Jose. Here, exhibitors demonstrated products and services with the common purpose of helping design engineers be innovative, efficient, and produce reliable, secure solutions. While walking the trade show floor, I spotted several effective marketing tactics for attracting booth traffic, conveying key messages, and sticking in my memory well after flying home to Austin.

1. Impactful, attractive, low-cost booth graphics.


Crank Software used a set of three lightweight, retractable graphics placed closely together to act as one image for a 10×10 booth. My eye was drawn to the lime green swoosh, which contrasted nicely against the gray and black elements. With a quick scan, I could tell that Crank offers HMI software – evident by colorful software screens and graphics that take the design engineer through the design phases of prototype, develop, and deploy. While there are some slight improvements I’d make to the design, such as de-cluttering some of the repetitious phrases, I think this booth graphic is a nice model for a small booth presence.

2. Direct mail – still alive and kicking

As a pre-registered attendee, I received several pre-show promotional emails, none of which I found very compelling. On the other hand, I received one (and only one) physical postcard, sent by Datakey Electronics. Attached to the postcard was a key with an embedded chip that contained data of which prize awaited me at the booth. It spoke to me on two levels –  I was guaranteed a prize, but more importantly it was an interesting way for Datakey to quickly demo their rugged, portable memory products. The Datakey staff measured their direct mail effectiveness over multiple years, sharing interesting results: 10-13% of mailed postcards are redeemed at the booth, and the mailer boosted their traffic by close to 50%.

3. Hands-on lab

Rohde & Schwarz, one of the larger Design West exhibitors, dedicated over half of their booth real estate for an in-depth, 30-minute hands-on lab. Each of the ~10 session attendees used demo equipment and prescribed exercises to explore Rohde & Schwarz’s instrumentation. A knowledgeable engineer guided their audience through the exercises, and answered questions. Attendees also enjoyed refreshments, a nice enticement for attendees during the long conference day.

4. Happy, dancing mascot

Ok, now I admit that not every engineer enjoys a happy, dancing mascot, but I will say that this little dude drew lots of attention to his booth, VIA Embedded. VIA extended the mascot’s presence with small stuffed versions of him that trade show attendees can take home to their kids. (Full disclosure: some bias might be involved, due to my year stint as a high school Tiger mascot).

As a contrast to the happy lime green mascot, another company hired scantily-clad women for their booth (sorry, I somehow neglected to snap a photo). One was even wearing wings, which as much as I could tell had nothing to do with the company’s key messages for the show. They did draw attention, but from afar – I think the booths directly across from the models saw a boost in traffic, as the show attendees were not keen to walk through the “interaction path” of these women. After a barrage of negative tweets (and emails, I imagine), the company wisely pulled the women from their booth after the first day of the show.

5. Interesting demo incorporating a product partnership

Cyth Systems had a demo stand within the National Instruments booth, where they showed off a bioreactor using NI’s embedded SBRIO technology. The demo was eye-catching and easy to quickly understand. It also did a very good job showcasing both companies’ products clearly and effectively, which is often not an easy feat in a partnership demo. And finally, because of this demo, I now know how Botox is made (yuck!).

6. …and a few final observations

  • Social media: Several exhibitors, including Texas Instruments, did a fantastic job of tweeting specific, compelling content about their presentations and demos. A few others did not quite fare as well, with banal posts, such as “come by our booth and win an iPad.”
  • QR codes: A surprising lack of QR codes were utilized by exhibitors. I can’t help thinking that this is a huge missed opportunity. Or is the adoption rate really that slow for people to use QR readers? However, I did see MANY QR codes used in the airport – TSA had them on practically ever sign as I went through security.
  • Eye-popping shirts: Kudos to the LVDT folks, who I nicknamed “the purple people” for their memorable (but professional) booth attire.
  • Big monitors for “mini-theaters” in smallish booths: this is a great solution when you don’t have the space for a large theater presentation. And theater presentations were a big hit at this show in all booth sizes.

Are you looking to marketing strategies for your next trade show? TREW Marketing has deep expertise in events. Contact us today to find out how we can help you improve your trade show program and increase your return on investment with every event.

TREW Marketing Wins National Award for Promotional Campaign

This week, the Association of Marketing and Communication Professionals (AMCP) awarded TREW Marketing a MarCom Award. With more than 6,000 entries from around the world, the 2011 MarCom Awards were given to organizations including Burson-Marsteller, Northrop Grumman, Princeton University, Seimens, US Airforce, United Healthcare, Vistaprint, Weber Shandwick, Wells Fargo, and TREW Marketing.

TREW Marketing won its Gold Marcom Award for a promotional campaign around our downloadable e-book, Smart Marketing for Engineers. We stood out for our resourceful and creative approach to marketing a professional, well-branded publication.

To promote the book, the TREW crew used a variety of channels including web marketingpublic relationssocial mediaemail marketing, and a video, all timed around a global, technical industry conference.

“We pride ourselves in creating custom marketing plans and activities for our customers that support their business goals,” said Rebecca Geier, Principal of TREW Marketing. “It was only natural for us to create a successful campaign to promote our own product using the marketing strategies, channels, and activities that we recommend and implement for our customers.”

Results of the award-winning promotional campaign included:

  • 600% in web lead growth during the book launch
  • 217 news release postings in the first two hours
  • 47 media views of the news release by journalists within the first two hours
  • 4505 Twitter users reached with news of the book and a link to download
  • Average visitors to trewmarketing.com from Twitter during the launch spent more than 15 minutes viewing more than 10 pages on the agency’s site
  • 60% of traffic from LinkedIn to trewmarketing.com during the launch came from first-time visitors to the agency’s site
  • 35% higher email open rate from email marketing than the industry average
  • TREW email marketing for the book achieved double the industry average for clicks through email
  • 10 engineering firms interviewed at industry conference to personally promote the book and TREW’s services to potential clients
  • 65 YouTube views of the video
For information on TREW services, visit http://trewmarketing.com/services/ or contact us.
To read the well-promoted and well-received downloadable e-book, Smart Marketing for Engineers, visit http://trewmarketing.com/smartmarketing.

Direct Marketing: 3 Tips to Improve the Reach of Your Blog

There are many benefits to blogging. From a database marketing perspective, blogging provides a streamlined platform for you to reach a targeted audience – those visiting your website – about relevant topics such as common technical challenges and technology trends. This content can build credibility and interest in your company and products. A lesser-known fact, however, is that you can use your blog as an email marketing tool by pushing it directly to subscribers’ email.

Here are 3 tips to improve the reach and quality of your blog:

  1. The Feedburner widget
  2. Creating quality content
  3. Reaching your target audience

1. The Feedburner widget – You can use tools such as Feedburner, a free service that provides email subscriptions to your readers. Simply create a Feedburner account and then follow their instructions to set up a “subscribe to posts via email” widget for your blog (see top right of page for example). Readers who subscribe will receive each new blog post that you publish as an email, allowing them to engage with your company via their inbox and giving them the opportunity with each new post to click through to your site.

2. Creating quality content – A blog shouldn’t be a sales pitch. It should be a way to show your customers and prospects that you are knowledgeable, you understand the challenges and solutions of specific applications, and you provide effective results.

3. Reaching your target audience – Your blog should be hosted on your site as a culmination of your company’s content. As you establish the foundational marketing outlined in this white paper, and you expand into areas such as social media, your blog can also be a hub where other online outreach vehicles (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and so on) point. This not only drives traffic to your blog, but also gets prospects to your website where they can interact with other information including your products, case studies, and white papers.

For more helpful tips on direct marketing, you can download our free guide, Smart Marketing for Engineers.

Nurture Your Leads: Harness the Power of E-Newsletters, Part 2

In Part I of this e-newsletter best practices blog post, we focused on how to get started developing an e-newsletter from the standpoint of design, content strategy and building readership. Now, we’ll focus on what happens after you hit “Send”: ongoing analysis and improving read rates.
In this post, we’ll cover:
  1. Which metrics are most meaningful for e-newsletter analysis
  2. Increasing e-news open rates with smart subject lines
  3. Improving click-through rates
  4. How frequency plays a role in your results

1. The key metrics for an e-newsletter include

  • Bounce rate: the percentage of recipients whose email addresses are invalid and did not receive your mailing.
  • Open rate: the percentage of recipients who opened your e-mail.
  • Click-through rate: the percentage of recipients who clicked-through on a link in the e-newsletter. NOTE: a high click-through rate is the ultimate measure of success.
  • Opt-out rate: The percentage of contacts who unsubscribed.
The average performance for an e-mail in the technology industry is listed below:

Tracking these key statistics gives you visibility into the success of your e-newsletter campaign and provides opportunities for ongoing improvement. Below, we’ll look at an analysis of open rates and click throughs for your e-newsletter, as these two metrics provide the clearest view of how your readership is using your e-news. Bounce rates and opt outs are much more influenced by the quality of your distribution list, which we discussed in part 1 of this blog post

2. Improve your open rate
According to a report produced by technology market research firm The Radicati Group, some 247 billion e-mails were sent each day in 2009. With the level of noise that we all deal with in our e-mail in-box, how do you get someone to open an e-newsletter that you’ve sent for the first time?

The quality of your recipient list plays a role – have they heard of you? How long ago? But there is another key factor that is critical to improving your open rate: the e-newsletter subject line.

An effective subject line will entice your audience, and motivate them to open your e-mail. A subject line that is too general, such as “XYZ Company E-Newsletter” will fall short – it doesn’t invite the user with an action, nor does it provide a window into the content inside your e-newsletter. Conversely, a very long subject line with too much detail can also fail you – not only because you are making your recipients work more as they skim their many emails, but also because many email programs will cut off your subject line if it’s more than about 60 characters.

Instead, focus on a subject line that is actionable, brief, and highlights key content in your e-newsletter.

In a recent e-newsletter, TREW Marketing worked with Wineman Technology to develop this successful headline focused on an exciting new product they just released:

Wineman Tech News – Test Cell Control Made Simpler with RAPID

The subject line not only mentioned the new product – RAPID – it also gave specifics on the product benefits that the target audience would be interested in – making test cell control simpler.

The open rate for Wineman’s e-newsletter was very strong, exceeding the industry average by almost 30%.  In addition, the article about RAPID was the most popular item in the e-newsletter, garnering more than 20 percent of all click-throughs even though it wasn’t situated at the top of the email. Clearly, recipients were highly motivated by the subject line, opened the email, skimmed it, and many continued to learn more about the RAPID product, all thanks to an effective subject line.

Another TREW Marketing client, data acquisition firm Bustec, also launched their first e-newsletter this spring. Bustec chose to focus on a specific, highly actionable benefit of a new product in their subject line which led to open rates exceeding the industry average for their first-ever e-newsletter. The subject line read:

Reduce Time Measuring Strain up to 350 KHz with the ProDAQ 5716

3. Improve your click-through rates

Getting your recipients to open your e-newsletter is only half the battle. The second piece of the puzzle is the click-through rate.

As outlined in part 1 of this blog series, great e-newsletter design and compelling content play a key role in improving your click-through rate. Here are some additional key points for improving this valuable metric:

  • Write brief, compelling headlines for each article
  • Provide a 1-2 sentence summary for each article with a prominent link to read more
  • Ensure your most valuable articles are placed near the top of your e-newsletter
  • Use your sidebar to highlight additional items from your website that your readers may not have seen
  • Finally, ensure that the content mentioned in your e-mail subject line is easy to locate and click on as soon as the e-newsletter is opened

In the case of TREW clients Wineman Technology and Bustec, both companies garnered click-through rates more than double the industry average – an exceptional number for their first e-newsletter.

4. A nod to frequency

It’s worth mentioning that your e-newsletter frequency rate can also affect these statistics. If your newsletter distribution is infrequent or sporadic, readers are less likely to engage with you. People crave predictability as much in the electronic world as in print. A monthly e-newsletter, for example, becomes something your readers can expect in their in-box at the same time each month. Quarterly e-newsletters are also a popular choice. The key is to select a frequency that you have the ability to consistently deliver on, and set expectations with your readership.

Overall, smart analysis of your e-newsletter, including openness to changes when results aren’t what you expected, are the key to continuous improvement and refinement of your e-mail program. Ultimately, this key communication vehicle can help you build a positive, ongoing dialog with your key prospects and customers.

Nurture your Leads: Harness the Power of E-Newsletters, Part I

Staying top-of-mind with prospects and customers is a challenge all companies face. E-newsletters are a great way to maintain a conversation with your target audience, promote valuable content, and help nurture your lead base to increase customer loyalty and move prospects closer to the sale. A corporate e-newsletter, done right, can be one of the most effective and strategic marketing activities a company undertakes.

However, e-newsletters that aren’t executed according to proven best practices often turn out to be a liability, causing valuable leads to dry up, or worse yet, anger potential customers. Some of the biggest e-newsletter mistakes a business should avoid include:

– Sporadic, inconsistent e-newsletter timing
– Mailing to a purchased list or unsolicited e-mail recipients
– Poorly-programmed e-newsletter design and layout that displays incorrectly in various email programs
– Too much content in the email
– Unappealing subject line
– Lack of subscriber management/opt out capabilities
– Lack of analysis of open rates, click-through rates

This 2-part blog post will help you avoid the e-newsletter missteps that result in unhappy customers and prospects, and use the power of e-mail for your lead nurturing efforts. In this first issue we will cover best practices for:

1. Design
2. Content
3. Mailing list

1. Lay a solid foundation
Your first step in starting an e-newsletter is design. After all, this is prime real estate for your company and brand and serves as a key tool to communicate who your company is and how your products and services can help readers. Here are several design best practices:

– The design should be consistent from issue to issue and have staying power for many issues to come

– Key to design is usability – making it is easy for readers to open, quickly skim and find articles and links that are compelling to them. The design example below, from TREW client Wineman Technology, includes large, easy-to-read headlines, a sidebar with compelling content, and a prominent feature story.

Ensuring the design is correctly programmed in email engine software is equally critical for display in numerous different email clients. Unfortunately, each popular email client in the market today – Outlook, Gmail, Yahoo, etc. – displays images, columns, and other design elements a little differently. Outlook, which has almost half of the email client market, is especially picky and requires specific programming techniques for your e-newsletter to display correctly to your recipients.

With poor design and/or programming, you may find that what was once a beautiful e-newsletter in the conceptual planning stage has turned into a mess of misaligned columns, images and text once your readers open it up. Here is what Outlook can do to an email that is not programmed properly:

Test your design at emailonacid.com – a web service that, for a small fee, will run the design code through a tool that mimics all popular email clients, ensuring that you discover any issues with your layout up front, so you can fix them before mailing out to your audience.

2. Develop compelling content
It’s tempting to focus your e-newsletter content on sales-driven topics such as new promotions. You will better attract and retain readers if you minimize the sales pitch, and focus instead on creating and offering content that helps readers do their job better.

Here are 5 types of content we have found to be the most valuable for a technical audience, driving click-throughs and keeping readers coming back for more:

1. Industry trends

2. Tutorials or “tips and tricks” that help readers use your products more effectively

3. Case studies from customers doing something unique and compelling with your products

4. A “Top 5” list – such as questions new customers ask, with answers, or new applications for your flagship product. It may sound gimmicky, but a Top 5 list blends valuable content packaged in an appealing format– people love lists!

5. Event news or snippets from presentations you’ve recently given at industry conferences

Two more content best practices:
– People have short attention spans, so consider how much content you put in and remember, the shorter the better.
– Provide a compelling headline, a brief summary of an article, an image, and a prominent link to read more.

These tips on content types and design will help your readers skim quickly and select what they want to read, and it helps you push visitors to your website, where you can offer even more valuable content to your audience.

The below e-newsletter is a great example of keeping content brief and compelling, while pushing readers to their website to learn more.

3. Build your readership

Once you’ve designed your e-newsletter and have a clear vision for succinct, compelling content, it’s time to build your readership. While it’s tempting to mail every contact in your database and more, there is a smarter approach that will gain you more loyalty and better results.

Focus on only your most relevant leads – those who have contacted you in the last 12 – 24 months. Older leads are less likely to remember you or be interested in and open your e-newsletter. In addition, older leads commonly include invalid or outdated email addresses, and your e-newsletter will bounce back when sent to them.

Also, to follow e-newsletter best practices and privacy laws, there are several key points you should adhere to when building your contact list:

a. Never use a purchased list. This is considered unsolicited email, and an e-newsletter should only be sent to contacts who know your company and have engaged with you in the past.

b. Only send to individuals, not a group inbox used my multiple people. For example, an email address such as info@msn.com or sales@ibm.com should be removed from your list of contacts.

c. Always offer an unsubscribe link at the bottom of your e-newsletter, and be sure that if someone clicks on it, they will be taken off your recipient list.

d. Don’t forget to offer a prominent “subscribe to our e-news” link on your website. People who have willingly subscribed are some of your most valuable readers, and they are highly motivated to receive your e-newsletter.

Following these rules isn’t just best practice; it also improves the chance that your e-newsletter is not flagged as spam. In addition, sending your e-newsletter to only your most relevant and valuable leads improves your ROI with higher open rates and click-through rates, and in the end these are the metrics that will provide visibility into its impact on your business and the goals of improving loyalty and nurturing an ongoing dialogue with your target audience.

In Part 2 of this blog post, we’ll share insight into e-newsletter analysis and discuss tips for improving your e-mail open rates and click-throughs. Also, look for details on recent successes from TREW clients who have recently embarked on their e-newsletter efforts.