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Interactive Email Marketing Trends

With increasing competition in the online marketing world, it is becoming essential for businesses to innovate creative ways to appeal to customers via email. Learn some of the newest interactive email marketing trends to take advantage of.

As opposed to traditional emails that would only contain plain text and occasional attachments, interactive emails are packed with exciting add-ons to appeal to their customers. Below are characteristics as well as advantages of using interactive emails for your business.

Increased Compatibility with Google

Google announced compatibility with the media query for their email clients across all devices. This compatibility now allows email developers to include complex email designs without having to sacrifice certain components in order to ensure compatibility.

With the all-new support for media query, developers are now unlimited in their ability to incorporate complex media into emails. Google has also optimized email layouts for viewing between mobile devices and desktop computers.

Animated GIFs

An animated GIF is a combination of static images, containing multiple frames in succession, to create an animated image. It achieves video effect while occupying only slightly more space than a regular image.

These interesting animations can be designed to convey information such as sales discounts, the launch of a new product, important information about your business, among others.

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Providing a framework for menu options within emails can allow your customers to quickly navigate through various products or service categories right within the email. This allows you to present your customers with several options to choose from before they can begin to load new web pages to get to your site.

If you are providing news, customers can quickly scroll through various news categories and see what interests them before they can read further. Travel companies can also offer various packages right within the email for their customers to sieve through.

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Integrated Forms

Integrated forms are perfect for companies that seek to collect information from their customers (in the form of surveys, questionnaires, etc). Rather than having the reader link to a new page, the form can simply be embedded within the email.

Customers can, therefore, answer questions or make their selections right within the body of the email. There are templates that integrate check-boxes, text boxes for open-ended questions and radio buttons for closed-ended questions.

Learn more about Why People Unsubscribe From Your Emails, And What To Do About It.

Rotational Banners

Emails that contain a lot of information can present it in a clean and catchy manner by using rotational banners. These interactive elements allow consumers to flip through multiple images, each with a separate message embedded within.

Rotating banners are perfect for tour and travel companies that are showcasing various packages. Financial institutions like banks that are advertising credit card options or different types of bank accounts can also use this feature. News snippets of various trending stories can also be laid out in rotating banners by news and media outlets.

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Sliders

Sliders can be used to display multiple products within the email at the same time. This allows for customers to make comparisons and to access information on multiple products without having to click on their inbox.

Sliders are perfect for companies that launch different variations of the same product and would like information on the various versions to be readily available to the customer. They are also helpful for those sellers who would wish to include a combination of pictures, product specifications and product reviews right within the email.

There are also brand new interactive email designs that are slowly growing in popularity but still pretty new to most email users. These include key frame animation (smoother animations and frame changes than GIFS, with effects such as linear and parallel movement, and hover effects), cinemagraph (using GIFS to create cinematic video-like effects), and compatibility with 2k and 4k resolutions (which includes lack of width limitation and a resolution of higher than 600 pixels).

In conclusion, interactive emails are the future of email marketing, and it is important for businesses to stay up to speed with new email marketing trends that they can incorporate into their future marketing strategies. The numerous advantages of interactive emails, as discussed here, continue to make them an online marketing necessity.

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visual storytelling

Visual Storytelling Trends That Will Shape The Future For Marketers

Storytelling has existed for centuries and is a great way to not only market your brand, but also connect with your audience on a deeper level. Storytelling can be done in a variety of ways, and today, visual storytelling is one of the most impactful forms of persuading and communicating your message with audiences. Thanks to technological advances, we now have the power to captivate people by immersing them in stories, while blending fiction and reality. Here are some visual storytelling trends that will shape the future for marketers and everyone alike:

Never-Ending Stories

Have you ever had an experience that you didn’t want to end? Ever wonder why movie studios continue to reboot classic TV shows and movies? Well, never-ending stories are becoming increasingly in demand as people expect content, specifically stories in real-time 24 hours a day, 7 times a week. This trend has slowly taken shape on social media platforms where characters like Homer Simpson are tweeting to their millions of followers. This also explains why live-streaming apps that allow users to interact with personalities in real time like Meerkat and Periscope, are becoming more popular.

Mini-Ads

Let’s face it—given the current digital landscape, traditional advertising does not hold the same appeal it did a decade ago. Because of this, it’s no surprise that companies have considered new, innovative ways like mini-ads to connect with customers. Facebook plans to launch six-second ads that will give businesses and brands the opportunity to show a condensed version of their story to their target audience. This interesting format is a smart way to capture the audience’s attention given our short attention spans, which will drive a higher level of engagement.

Connective Storytelling/ Immersive Experience

Even though it seems like most people would prefer technology to human interaction given the amount of time we spend on our devices, they also want to connect and interact with others online, fictitious or real. The future of storytelling will go beyond solely connecting emotionally with characters—we now can put ourselves in their shoes. Different virtual reality experiences, like “Nerve” now allow people to experience what the movie character does in a movie like climb a high-rise or ride a skateboard.

Augmented Reality

AR is present everywhere whether its Facebook or Instagram and is fairly easy to program thanks to software like AR Kit for iOS 11. Given Pokémon Go’s success, this is no longer a trend we can put aside. Since people are constantly on their phones and are interested in experiences that go beyond 2D, the implementation of AR visual storytelling will increase and go beyond gaming, entering the magazine and news space.

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What is CPM Advertising and Should You Use It?

There are many KPIs that you can track in order to judge the performance of your ads. One of these metrics is CPM, or cost per mille, which translates into cost per thousand impressions. CPM indicates how much you’re paying for every thousand impressions the ad is earning. However, there are other KPIs that you can use as well, such as CPC and CPA. These KPIs indicate how much you’re paying for your ads. When implementing a new ad campaign, you’ll have to choose which KPI to use, meaning you’ll have to bid in either CPM or CPC. The question is, when should you be using CPM advertising? CPM Advertising

CPM Advertising vs CPC Advertising

If you’re running an ad campaign with the intention of driving brand awareness and brand engagement, then CPM is a good option to go with when bidding on ad space. This means that you will set a specific amount that you’ll pay for every thousand impressions that your ad receives. If you’re running your ad on Facebook, then using CPM makes more sense because your goal is to get your ad shown to as many people as possible. Of course, you’ll want to make sure that you target a specific audience when you do this. You don’t want to pay to have your ad shown to people who are not a part of your target audience as this will result in a waste of money. It’s also worth noting that CPM provides value in that consumers may be shown your ad more than once. Multiple impressions can help keep your brand at the top of a consumer’s mind.

Similar Article: Inside Adwords: Exploring The Differences Between Smart Display Campaigns & Custom Intent Campaigns

If you’re running search ads with the intention of driving conversions, then CPC is the way to go. This is because a search ad, such as a Google AdWords ad, is going to be shown to potentially millions of people. Using CPM, this could end up costing you a significant amount. If you’re trying to drive conversions, impressions won’t matter nearly as much as clicks. You want people who see the ad to click it — only then do you get value out of your ad. It’s why you should use CPC for search ads instead of CPM.

Using CPM Advertising

When it comes down to it, CPC or even CPA is the better option if the goal of your ad campaign is to increase conversions or acquisitions. However, that doesn’t mean CPM doesn’t have its place. If your goal is to increase brand awareness, then clicks don’t necessarily matter as much as impressions. If this is the case, then you’ll want to consider using CPM advertising.

Inbound marketing will help you grow your business by attracting website visitors, converting them into leads and closing leads into customers

 

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How to Use Personal Selling During the Decision Making Stage

The final article in this series, focuses on the final stage of the buyer’s journey: the decision making stage. Previously our view of inbound marketing was from a marketing heavy stance. Here, we’ll shift to sales and how to use personal selling during the decision making stage. Your prospective buyers have finally made it to the bottom of the funnel. All of your hard work with content, landing pages, social media and marketing has paid off.  Your leads are now ready for sales.

At the decision making stage, your buyer is already 60% of the way towards their decision and you can attribute that virtually all to marketing. You’ve heard the adage, “You can bring a horse to the water, but you can’t make it drink,” and this couldn’t be any more true in inbound marketing. And in all likelihood, despite some cleverly crafted and personalized lead nurturing campaigns, the personal aspect of your buyer’s journey with your company’s sales team is just beginning.

Deliverable Content

A more traditional approach to getting buyers to make a decision was to draft bottom of the funnel content. This used a “Speak to Sales” or “Request a Consultation” button to get sales involved in the buying process. Many buyers roll their eyes at the prospect of speaking to a sales person, so the new approach deals more with deliverable, downloadable content.

While marketing does close to 60% of the work in getting your leads sales ready, content’s job isn’t quite done. Your buyers are looking for the final piece of your content puzzle to help them know that going with your brand is the best thing for them. Offering deliverable content with personal selling is an excellent way to optimize your brand’s efforts during the decision making stage.

Content at this stage of the buyer’s journey is generally geared towards giving the buyer added value. Offers can include case studies, free assessments, service comparison, or product literature. Of course, the content you tailor to your buyer all goes back to your buyer personas.

Personal Selling in the Decision Making Stage 

Once marketing has done their job, qualified their leads for sales, and your leads have shown the behaviors associated with sales readiness it’s time to bring in the sales team.

For your sales team, personal selling will deal  with getting inside your buyer’s head and asking questions they’re asking themselves. Some of the fundamental questions a buyer will likely be asking as they vet potential sellers are:

  1. What specifics of your product or service do the buyers typically evaluate?
  2. How do buyers evaluate those products or services?
  3. What sets your brand apart for buyers?
  4. Who is involved in the decision and how to their perspectives differ when making the decision?

By answering those basic questions for your buyer before a sales call is even made will make a huge difference for how well prepared your sales team is. Also, it’s critical for marketing to communicate with sales and pinpoint exactly what your buyer’s journey look like. This way, sales and marketing are on the same page and your buyer isn’t left with redundancy during their personal interactions.

How do you  drive website conversions throughout the buyer’s journey? Find out by clicking here. 

Tailoring Sales to the Buyer

Finally, let’s focus on tailoring a sales presentation to your buyer. Inbound salespeople are tasked with advising a prospective buyer on how your brand’s unique position fits the context of the buyer’s need, but that is the bottom of the four step inbound sales process. The four step inbound sales process includes identifying the buyers problem, connecting with prospective buyers, and exploring solutions. Smarketing helps align those stages of the buyer’s journey to the inbound sales processes.

The presentation your sales team give to a sales-ready lead should be 100% tailored to your buyer. Hopefully, you’re already leveraging every possible avenue to identify your buyer on a personal level and create a sales presentation that hits home. Those types of presentations may include consultations, demos, or guided case studies where sales takes a buyer through the information.

Just the Beginning of Smarketing

The decision making stage is only the beginning of your sales and marketing efforts for your brand and personal selling is the cornerstone to your sales-marketing marriage. Hopefully through this series of articles, you’ve been able to see with your own eyes the value of smarketing. Inbound is only the beginning of how your sales and marketing come together. The fruits sales and marketing produce will be immeasurable over time.

Download Our White Paper Guide To Learn How To Perfect Buyer Personas For Your Business