The Marketing Boutique

8 ideas to make your virtual event stand out

If the value and ROI of going to a face-to-face trade show were equivalent to a virtual event more companies would have done it a long time ago. But, we both know we love face-to-face interaction with others.

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ESSENTIAL Elements for Email Marketing Campaigns

Why bother knowing the essential elements for your email marketing campaigns? Here are some basic facts:

  • More than 50 percent of U.S. respondents check their personal email account more than 10 times a day, and it is by far their preferred way to receive updates from brands. -Hubspot
  • For every $1 you spend on email marketing, you can expect an average return of $32. -DMA, 2018
  • B2C marketers who leverage automation have seen conversion rates as high as 50%. – eMarketer

What these facts don’t highlight is the content. There are too many companies that use email technology to send out the usual message. Here’s a price promotion, buy now image, hey we’re at a trade show. Boring!

Email marketing is about the connection

Focusing on customer retention and business relationships are substantial investments for your business. Long-term business relationships help to keep your company stable during slow times, and one way is with your newsletter. Think of it as a compliment to your sales team activities and less expensive!

Focus on Customer Retention

It’s not always about price when it comes to creating loyalty. Open communications, customer support, and making a quality product are just some of the elements that help your customer to choose you over your competitor.

A newsletter or email marketing, however you want to call it, also helps in customer retention. Email marketing has been around for over ten years, and it still offers you the best dollar ROI and the most direct line of communication for turning leads into sales. So, don’t get lazy.

Facts About Email Marketing

  • Email marketing is used all around the world
  • Email marketing is personal, ability to tailor your message to the right audience
  • Everyone checks their emails
  • Gen Z likes newsletters & 73% of millennials identify email as their preferred means of business communication.
  • Social media and email marketing are best friends
  • 86% of business professionals prefer to use email when communicating for business purposes (Hubspot)
  • Welcome emails are incredibly effective: on average, 320% more revenue is attributed to them on a per email basis than other promotional emails.

Provide value in every email campaign by investing in leadership thought articles, case studies and client testimonials. Create engaging headlines, and make it personal if the objective is to retain your customers. While email marketing is a business tactic, the content, headlines and calls-to-action need to sound – personal. Like, we’re talking one-on-one.

Learn Email Laws

Unfortunately, with all the spam emails we’re getting today, Canada and perhaps other counties too, have implemented email laws. Some Canadian businesses claim this law is anti-business and anti-competitive. I’ll leave that up to you to decide – just know one thing – if you are a Canadian business, you need to know this law. To start with, ensure your newsletter includes the following:

  • Easy to unsubscribe, the unsubscribe feature should be visible in your newsletter
  • Brief description of your company
  • Proof of their consent they did subscribe to your newsletter
  • Your subscribers do not need to tell you why they unsubscribing to unsubscribe.

Also, use email marketing technology wisely. Don’t buy lists. Instead, create high-value opt-ins, digital marketing campaigns, invest in social media and improve the SEO on your site to build your email list.

Creating Good Opt-Ins

Now that you’re going to build your list organically, you’ll need to create engaging opt-ins. If you’re starting your email marketing program, there’s no better time to create an Opt-In, combined with Facebook Ad to help build your list fast.

Other ideas to get your target audience to subscribe to your are:

  • Welcome gates: Personally hate these, I mean buy me drink first. You don’t need to listen to me after all these welcome gates are popular and they work! A full-screen, call-to-action appears when you visit a site. Usually, you can’t get to the content until to respond or click to subscribe or click on the no.
  • Facebook Ads: Do test different formats and offers. Case studies, cheat sheets, and other lead magnets do well to get people to subscribe to your newsletter. Before you begin, create a list for each value add and create a campaign around this segmented list.
  • Landing Pages: Invest in landing pages, and if you have the budget, invest in Facebook ads to promote the content offered on those landing pages. Hubspot recently highlighted that companies do better when they increase the number of landing pages to 15. That’s quite high, and it shows how competitive online has become. You’ll need content or an offer for each landing page. The point here is, each landing page needs to respond to a particular demographic, and thus, dedicated content and offer. Call it a niche strategy, digital marketing style!
  • About Us: Add a pop-up or a call-to-action on your About Us page. Abut us is a critical page, as it is the second more viewed page on any website.


Now that you’ve decided on what sales channel you’re going to develop, you’ll need to create a welcome message. There is nothing like being welcomed with more gifts, surprises and freebies. Impress your new subscriber with lots of value.

Make it Personal

Email as a communication channel is personal.

The Marketing Boutique

Because our guard is down when we are reading our emails, we tend to be more receptive as consumers.  As a result, email marketing is an intimate medium of communication. We as businesses, we should be more natural and warmer in our writing and tone in our newsletters and emails.


In the end, providing value is essential. Creating a definite benefit as to why your target audience needs to subscribe and delivering value in every email marketing campaign will build your email list. More importantly, taking all these steps will help with creating customer loyalty.

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How can we write relevant content that sells your product or service?

It’s been written that we have about 3 minutes to make a good impression when a visitor comes to our website. Our content needs to either engage, provoke or sell in three minutes.

Marketing versus sales content

But how do we get there? How do we create content that sells?

We first need to start by understanding the difference between marketing content and sales relevant content. Well, when we do a marketing piece, the goal is to establish awareness and interest, however, for sales writing, the goal is to sell the product or service.

What is the one trusted piece of content buyers like to read?

Time and time again, buyers like case studies. Buyers, especially in the B2B industries, they need to know who is buying from you. Case studies showcase how productivity was improved, facilities became profit centres and processes reduce staff overtime.

Forget sweeping, forceful statements like “disruption” or “truly innovative”, your buyer wants to know how other organisations used your product or service.

And, today with the growing popularity of platforms like Yelp, this is true for B2C companies as well. However, B2C companies don’t need to write up case studies, a testimonail, rating on a recent online purchase and a share on your favourite social meida platform will provide excellent results.

Write Well, Not Hype

Which brings me to my favorite topic, writing style. Writing well seems to have lost its way, in favour of sounding smart, witty or casual.

Writing well is transparent, helping the reader move along the from interest to a buyer. If your writing sounds like everyone else, change it. If it sounds too casual, with words like “gonna”, edit. Good writing is 20 % writing and 80% edit.

Sales becoming non-linear

As sales continue to become non-linear, content marketing will also evolve keeping pace with sales. It is important to track what is being read, and how people use your content.

When I meet clients to discuss their business blog, they are usually frustrated by the lack of interest and engagement their customers and audience have with their content.

I can certainly understand their disappointment. After all, with all the facts and positive reviews on the value of content marketing and how it can shorten the sales cycle and increase lead generation, why then it is more difficult for some companies to develop a successful content marketing program?

The number one reason is that their content is stingy.

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The good news about investing in relationship marketing is that you can measure the results and show these to Management. There’s bad news too! You can’t hide behind, “But the business would have declined even more without it,” excuse unless it’s actually true.

So, here are eight tips that improve the ROI of your Loyalty Program. These are some effective ways to make sure that you’re delivering the largest profit bang for every marketing buck:

8 Tips That Improve ROI Of Your Loyalty Programs

A) Start with your objectives and strategy. If you don’t know what you are trying to accomplish, you’ll never be able to determine whether you did it, and you’ll likely waste a LOT of money along the way. While you’re at it, make sure your objectives and strategies are consistent with those of your organisation and get senior management buy-in. Otherwise, your efforts may be doomed from the start.

  1. Examples of objectives: Increase sales by x% over the next 12 months; improve profitability by y% within the next 3 years, etc.
  2. Examples of strategies you can use to meet your objectives: Improve customer retention; increase # trips per customer; increase average purchase per customer; reduce costs of new customer acquisition, etc.

B) Clearly establish how you are going to evaluate your program and how you will define success. Get it in writing, and get sign-off from the relevant stakeholders. For an unbiased view of how the program is performing, evaluation should be done by a different group or department than the one actually running the program.

C) Segment your customers based on their current and probable future value to you and on their needs from you. You want to influence different customers to do very different things, e.g., get the best customers to stay with you longer and to refer their friends; get occasional customers to shop more often; encourage non-customers to try you.

D) Test, test, test! Make sure you have a control group (people who act just like the people you are targeting but don’t get your offer or message). The difference between control (what they would have done anyway) and target (what they did after they got your message/offer) is the actual benefit you delivered.

  1. Ideally, try different messages or offers before you commit yourself to the full promotion. Try everything from an offer you think is way too rich (the upside might surprise you) to just information, with no offer at all (just hearing from you – or finding out something new about your business – may be enough). See what gives you the best return, and roll it out to the rest of your targeted list.
  2. If your message is time-sensitive (like Valentine’s promotion), preventing you from doing pre-testing, divide your list and try a few different messages/offers. Make sure you track the learning from each and test different approaches over time.
  3. Remember, the list (whom you speak to), the offer (what you are willing to give them) and the creative (look, feel, copy) all affect redemption, in that order. Use learning from previous offers to do a better job choosing whom to contact, and more importantly, whom NOT to contact. This step is essential if you are using an expensive medium, like direct mail.

E) Focus your spending on incremental behaviour, i.e. getting customers to do more than they would have done otherwise. Note: this doesn’t always mean more than they are doing. For example, retention of best customers is a perfectly valid strategy if they are at risk of defecting.

  1. Don’t focus on rewarding PAST behaviour (which you can’t change), but on influencing FUTURE behaviour (which you can). Don’t reward someone for being the best customer this year – give her an incentive to continue to be the best customer next year. You can position the offer, however, as a reward for the previous behaviour, e.g. “Only our best customers qualify for this special offer.”
  2. Do the math. Determine what the customers in a particular segment are doing now and what you want them to do differently. Calculate how much you think you need to spend to change the behaviour (based on offer and distribution costs and probable redemption) and how much more margin the new behaviour will bring. What’s the return on your investment? If you were your CFO, would YOU fund the offer?

F) Optimize the balance between your base offer (e.g. 1 point for every dollar spent) and extra, targeted offers.

  1. Use your customer data to identify your greatest opportunities and threats. Hold back enough budget to send the right messages/offers to the right customers to get that incremental behaviour you want.
  2. Note: the base offer is NOT what generates loyalty; it is merely the bribe to get your customers to use the card and share information. If you spend too much on the base offer, you turn your program back into mass marketing.
  3. Get more out of less spending on your base offer by creating/using a currency that your customers value. For example, in one loyalty program, we found that a significant proportion of our members would rather have one of our points (which cost us just over 2%) than a 10% discount! Cash isn’t always the answer.

G) Leverage inexpensive electronic media, social media and vehicles you need to send anyway: your POS/cash register receipts, in-store messages, statements/bills, e-mail, etc.

  1. Save expensive direct for campaigns that are likely to have high redemption and drive a lot of incremental spends, or for valuable customers/prospects you can’t reach in other ways.
  2. Make sure you have customers’ permission to e-mail, and always include clear and easy directions for opting out.

H) Don’t waste your money giving incentives for e-mail addresses. You will end up with a lot of useless information from customers who only wanted the incentive.

  1. The only offer you need for a valuable e-mail address is “We’ll send you relevant offers and information by e-mail.” Now you have a permission-based list of customers who want to hear from you and tell you what they are interested in getting more information. Make sure you deliver value to them.