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Email Marketing pt. 2: How to Design your Campaign

Here we are going to talk about some different programs that we use to design our email marketing campaigns.

When designing a campaign, we love Mailchimp. There is a reason. We have experimented with other platforms, and we do love some that we recently found, which we will talk about later, but Mailchimp is a great first start.

The reason why we like it is it’s clarity of design, ease of use, and the reports it provides are good. It’s not the best, there are better platforms that provide more detailed reports, or have better ability to segment lists etc. However when you compare them all, and the price, the most easy to use, the one that covers most of the required functions, one of the better ones in our opinion is Mailchimp.

When you are designing your campaign, it’s important to pick an end goal. Are you trying to push your readers to click a link to your website to see more information, or do you want them to see a new product that you have just launched. Do you want to remind them of a specific event? . Pick an end goal and work towards that.

Build your email towards encouraging a specific action that can make a direct impact on your business and can be trackable. For example, using the email to explain a new product, then having a button to click for more information, that sends the user to a landing page with an order form. This way you can look at the total amount of people that received the email, how many clicked on the link, and how many actually went through with the purchase. These statistics are valuable when you are comparing how one campaign worked compared to another.

You can go further, offer a deal only available to your email subscribers. These are the customers that are willing to hear your message, so make it a valuable one, preferably something that puts money directly back into the customers pockets, or gives them something unique that only subscribers receive.

This covers the basics. We will keep delving deeper and deeper into email marketing and how to connect it to your social media marketing efforts in future posts. For now, feel free to leave us comments or get in touch!

 

Best of Luck,

HMS Communications Team.

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Email Marketing pt.1: How to Easily Plan your campaign

First of all, it is easy to get carried away with an Email marketing campaign. They have been around since the birth of the internet, and there are numerous examples of email marketing campaigns that achieve their goal without alienating their audience, and there are probably even more examples of poorly executed campaigns that failed miserably at their goals and quite literally destroyed their relationships with their customers. I can speak from experience. There are numerous companies that I have felt ruined their relationship with me by annoying me over email. Here are some ideas on how not to do that.

In this blog, we are going to try to break down in very basic terms how we like to design email campaigns here at our agency, what tools we like to use, and how we like to analyze how we are achieving our goals.

We want to share this information with you in the hopes that it may help you in your quest to better engage with your audience. We are going to break this blog into several parts so that we can concentrate on different aspects of the email marketing campaign from goal setting, to collecting your audience information, to designing your campaign, and finally analyzing the statistics and follow up adjustments.

This blog post represents part 1:

Collecting your audience information

So let’s start with the basics, how are you collecting the email addresses that you plan to send this campaign to? Are you targeting consumers directly or other businesses? Where are you interacting with your customers? Where can you target the most engaged customers, and how can you provide value to them through this email?

These are important questions to not just ask yourself, but answer. You, the business owner, and your whole team. Ask everyone, get everyone’s ideas. If you don’t have a team yet, ask your wife, kids, parents, friends. You get the idea.

This is the most crucial step. If you fail at this, your campaign is doomed. You want to target your most engaged customers and provide them real value. Find out how to get their email addresses, the customers that want to give you their emails because they want to be more connected to your organization, they want the discounts that you can give, be creative.

If you have a retail store, this may involve setting up a loyalty points program, give some sort of a discount and take in their name, phone, and email. In the email campaign, you can remind them of your Customer Appreciation days or offer a coupon only available from the email.

Make your email have real value by placing actual dollars back in the pockets of your most engaged customers. Use the email to drive traffic to specific new products, to make specific purchases, and to have a special discount that is only available to customers that are willing to offer you their email address in return.

Remember, it is a real privilege to have a customer be willing to receive messages from your organization, do not abuse this privilege. We like to set a monthly limit to the number of emails that the organization agrees to send out, and stick to it. It can be easy to want to blast out a message every time some new product or promotion is being launched, don’t do that.

There are other mediums that can be used for more frequent communications, like social media.  Use this form of messaging sparingly, only to inform your users of the most important updates to your organization.

Collect emails through a loyalty points program, through a form on your website, and through other offline methods to connect the physical world with the virtual world. Once that connection has been made, make sure to update your lists every month. It is important to be continuously collecting new subscribers each month.

Once you have implemented the business processes to start collecting a good high-quality list of subscribers, it is time to design your campaign.

 

Stay tuned for Part 2 – Designing your email marketing campaign.

 

Best of Luck,

 HMS Communications Team.

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How to get Started in Online Advertising in China

You have been winning the Online Marketing game for a while now. You know which platforms you shine on, what your target audience wants and when to get it to them.
Until one day you decide to expand your business. You are now looking to engage with Chinese consumers, but you can’t find them anywhere.

Welcome to China. Home of the “Great Firewall”
No Facebook. No Twitter. No Youtube.
All blocked.
Social Media is more of a phenomenon in the second largest economy in the world than anywhere else in the world. They follow a similar type of consumer behavior when it comes to social media strategy, but they live in a parallel network.

The platforms

Social Media Marketing:

Weibo
Twitter’s buddy. What you do on Twitter you can do here. Except it has 350 million active monthly users and is a very effective platform in terms of advertising. More so than Twitter in some aspects.

Douban
This is a tricky one.
It was initially launched as a review sharing platform for books, movies, and music. For that reason, some of the questions that show up on Quora are in comparison to GoodReads. But it has evolved since.
Now it can be described as a social networking platform that offers lifestyle and culture products and services for its users. It works more as a forum than Weibo, where users can create groups and discussions around one particular subject.
Douban’s main products include Douban FM, Douban Reading, and Douban Movie.

Youkou
When there isn’t youtube, there is Youkou. They have more movies and series than you can possibly imagine, but you can host your own content and share on social media.
Advertising options are a little different from Youtube, more versatile but just as simple to set up.

WeChat
This is your bread and butter, Chinese don’t exchange numbers or emails, they exchange WeChat’s usernames or QR codes. They don’t ask for your business’ website, they ask for your WeChat Subscription Page.
But it is so much more than that. It is a beast of an app, and you will rely on it if you want to create relationships in China.

Beyond your standard WhatsApp like features where you can message, call, share images and videos, one on one or in groups, there is also:

  • a Facebook-like feature called Moments, it’s basically your wall, use it wisely.
  • Subscription and Service public accounts: this is where you can follow all of your brands and public figures. So if you are the business, this is where you share articles, images, anything you like, and then send them on their way to your websites – or respective digital home.
  • Payment services: you have your digital wallet, your mobile payments and an option to send money to your friends. The best part though is the ability to have your customers purchase your product directly on the app. It’s a neat little feature help you speed up that consumer decision journey.
  • City services: only interesting if you are going to be offering local services. Otherwise, it’s not the most interesting feature for you.
  • Enterprise WeChat: good for those wanting to use WeChat for both professional and personal purposes. It was created to allow the internal management of a company’s operations. It was thought out with the same goal in mind as Facebook Workplace.

And many more small features you can discover as you use the app.

Meipai
60-sec video platform. Most popular video app in China, mostly due to its live-stream feature.

Search Engine Marketing:

Baidu
If you couldn’t live without google, you are gonna have a hard time in China. And you are gonna have to get to know Baidu, and know it well. Even though it serves a similar purpose as Google, optimizing a website for Baidu is not the same as optimizing a website for Google. Done well, it can be a great digital ally for anyone wanting to expand their business in China.

E-commerce:
In China, mobile shopping is more frequent than store visits. We know the name Alibaba from their b2b platform Alibaba.com. Their initial goal was to help Chinese companies sell their product overseas, but it has evolved. In no time, they developed different platforms with the Chinese consumer in mind. These are a couple of platforms worth researching if you are going to be targeting the online chinese consumer.

TaoBao
Huge online marketplace. Anyone can open a small online store and sell their products.

Tmall
“97% of Chinese online shoppers use Tmall”
Tmall is both a search and discovery engine and an e-commerce platform. It is also dedicated to business owners, more brand-driven.

In conclusion, nothing can be replicated.
You won’t find them on the same platforms. And replicating your strategy on Western platforms won’t go a long way.
Explore your options, find the right place to be and how you should represent yourself depending on what you want to do with your platform.

This is just a short guide. Trust me.

Best of Luck,

HMS Communications Team


Filipa Drummond Borges

Product Manager / Jedi
filipaborges@hmscommunications.net

How to analyze keyword tools effectively

Today we decided to show you some great tools that we use in the office. As with all tools, nothing beats checking yourself, but tools can help make the job faster.

Some of our favorites are add-ons for Firefox. These include ‘Rank Checker’ and ‘SEO Lookup’. If you don’t know already, the Google Keyword tool is a crucial tool to help you decide which keyphrases to target when developing your search engine optimization strategy.

Now, keep in mind that different platforms require different strategies. For search engines keyword tools are great. For social media, the targeting tools will help you target the exact demographic you want, you need to spend time to decide what exactly is your target market. Specifics help.

Take a look at our Search Engine Optimization page for more information.

Smile, life is beautiful 🙂