Feature Friday: The ON24 CTA Tool, Webinars and You

As part of our effort to extend audience content journeys, ON24 has built a Call to Action (CTA) engagement tool to drive ongoing engagement after a live or simulive webinar ends. This new CTA tool invites your live audience to continue their content journey with you.

For example, live webinar viewers can choose to register for upcoming events, automatically driving registration to upcoming events or send attendees directly to an ON24 Engagement Hub or other web destination to view more content. Finally, they can also open an email to engage directly with your sales team.

All audience interactions with the CTA tool are captured within the event report so you can track conversion and better understand your audience’s interest and intent.

How To Use The CTA tool

The CTA tool comes in two flavors, “always on” and “end of the webcast.” Both are useful in different situations. Let’s take a look at them now.

CTA, Always On

Available for live, simulive and on-demand webcasts.

With this method, the tool appears as a window in your webinar console. The colors, text, background image and CTA(s) are all fully customizable. It’s a great way to call attention to more of your awesome content and further engage visitors.

End of the Webcast

Available for live and simulive webcasts only.

At the end of the webcast, the other tools and windows will disappear, and the CTA(s) will take over the audience console. Think of it like the suggested videos you see on Netflix or YouTube. Similar to the always-on version of the tool, the colors, text, background image and CTA are all fully customizable. If you want to foster a bingeable experience, this is a great way to do it. No more dead ends!

So go ahead, jump into your ON24 engagement tool options and give the CTA tool a try. Be sure to let us know what you think!

How Marketers Can Break Through The Automation Noise

Today’s marketers are all about automation. And why wouldn’t they be? It empowers marketers to do more with less, helps campaigns reach a global scale and provides us with the time we need to come up with The Next Big Thing. But the problem with marketing automation today is that everyone is doing it — and almost everyone is doing it poorly.

For example, how many times have you seen an email in your inbox address you with the good old fashioned “Hi [ENTER NAME],”? Or how many times did you get a follow-up email explaining that, oops, the previous email wasn’t meant for you? Automation can make marketing so easy that we literally forget about the human at the other end.

Buyers Want Personal

Let me throw some numbers at you to ensure this point hits home. According to an ON24-sponsored report from Harvard Business Review, four out of five marketers say they value human and personalized interactions over automated interactions. But those same marketers say the digital tools they use make it difficult to build genuine human interactions. In essence, we love personalization, but the everyday tools we rely on get in the way of building genuine connections.

And there are other reasons why marketers need to prioritize personalization. One great reason: personalization pays. According to a 2018 MarketingProfs study, marketers found a 19 percent increase in sales when businesses personalized web experience for a target account. In addition, a 2016 McKinsey study found personalization actually helped to cut acquisition costs in half.

So where does automation fit into all of this? Digital marketers are starting to understand how to make the most out of the marketing automation technologies they have and use them for a singular purpose. That purpose, from what I’ve seen at countless conferences and have discussed in just about as many conversations, is a better overall marketing experience. When used in service of a higher purpose, and combined with the right digital tools, automation can become the engine behind great, engaging, and genuine, experiences.

Marketing Automation Where It Counts

Take, for example, landing pages, the beating heart of many digital events. Under the right conditions, marketers can use automation to eliminate form-fills, one of the most tedious and registrant-repealing parts of signing up for digital events. We did this recently at ON24 and by getting rid of that small tedium — putting in names, numbers and email addresses — we crafted a better experience for return attendees and collected more accurate data in the process. This little experiment-in-automation was so successful, in fact, that we managed to see a significant jump in the number of registrants for a webinar series than we normally see.

The real way to harness the power of marketing automation is to pair it with interactive marketing tools, like webinars, that help you to build experiences and give you the ability to capture every action a prospect takes, assess that activity and share it with the sales team. There are two main reasons why recording and assessing activity is so great. First, it helps marketers hone in on their best leads and better understand audience behavior — creating the foundation for better deals and better content. Second, and best of all, feeding these qualified leads straight to sales provides a seamless conversation.

From Noise to Engagement

Webinar platforms can capture every click, question, download and more. This type of behavioral data will give you a much better picture of who your best leads and what their primary interests are. But that’s not all! By combining this webinar data with marketing automation and CRM systems, we can place these leads with this powerful conversational context into the hands of salespeople. Instead of following up on a webinar, salespeople are following up on a question, a download – even a theme if a prospect is watching a series of particular webinars — they’re continuing a conversation instead of trying to start one.

If you take a look from a 30,000-foot perspective you can see the big picture: that marketers and salespeople are starting to shift away from technology just for the sake of scale and towards technology for the sake of building an experience that converts. That’s something great. That’s something tangible. And that’s something that has to happen if we’re to get the most out of automation today.

5 Common Webinar Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

There are a lot of opportunities to make webinar mistakes during production. The wrong link gets shared to an audience, a power outage takes place, a speaker has to drop out for some unforeseen reason or — and this does happen — the host locks themselves out of their studio or office.

Whatever the reason, webinar mistakes happen. Knowing how to respond to them when they transpire is important. That’s why, last week, our own Chief Webinerd, Mark Bornstein, took to the studio to lay out 2019’s top 10 webinar mistakes and how to avoid them.

We’ve collected five of those common mistakes — in no particular order — for you to review. Let’s take a look now:

1. Repeating Yourself, Repeating Yourself, Repeating Yourself

Webinars need promoting and that means emails — a lot of emails. Unfortunately, a lot of organizations believe email copy is an exercise in repetition and will send you the same email several times while expecting a different result. Einstein had something to say about that.

Instead of sending the same email over and over again, vary its message and vary where the reader is in the sign-up cycle. For example, you can give a high-level overview of an upcoming webinar during your first email send and a personal message from your presenter for the second send. Your third and fourth emails should address audiences who are “on the fence” — those who’ve clicked through an email but haven’t registered yet — shortly before a webinar takes place.

2. Plain Consoles

It’s not the 1990s anymore, so basic grey backgrounds and dated-looking webinar consoles aren’t going to cut it. Plain webinar consoles are just that: dull looking, basic and about as interesting to interact with as a damp cloth. Change it up and make your consoles something your audience looks forward to.

Designing a good console isn’t as hard as it sounds. If your organization has brand guidelines (and it should) a simple solution would be to grab your brand logo, grab your brand colors and create a console based on those two elements. Another simple technique would be to grab any company imagery — so long as it’s not distracting — and use that as your webinar console. Whatever you do, just don’t make it boring.

3. Toxic Slides

Speaking of design. If you’re using slides during your webinar — and the vast majority of you are — make sure they, like your console, aren’t boring or toxic. What do we mean? Well, we mean slides that have too much text, slides that have fonts that are far too small and slides that more design elements in it than a reasonable person can process.

What’s the secret to detoxifying your webinar slides? Simple. Use fewer. In fact, the main element of any webinar should be the presenter and what they have to say — not the slides. If you use slides, they should be easy to read or contain a single image for the presenter to talk to. Remember: attendees want to hear what you have to say — not interpret your slides.

4. No Strategy for On-Demand Webinars

Okay, so you’ve run your webinar and you’re sharing your results with sales. It’s over now right? Wrong. Webinars don’t end after a live production. If anything, on-demand webinars are just as important element in your program as the live event.

With on-demand webinars you can broaden your audience (up to a third, according to the ON24 Webinar Benchmarks Report 2019) and cement your company as a proactive thought leader. How? Well, you can build out a webinar series, organize on-demand events by topic and even use them to provide a continuing education course. Really, it’s up to you.

5. Panic

Tripping over a few words in front a crowd isn’t great. But not being able to recenter yourself and move on is worse.  You get a shot of adrenaline and things spiral out of control from there. Panic is a common mistake when it comes to presenting a webinar and, really, any type of public speaking. It’s so common it even has a name: cognitive tunneling.

Cognitive tunneling is a common phenomenon where our attention, as a speaker or presenter, is funneled away from where it should be and towards whatever our brain fixates on. As Charles Duhigg describes it in his 2016 book, “Better Faster Smarter: The Transformative Power of Real Productivity,” cognitive tunneling is “a mental glitch that sometimes occurs when our brains are forced to transition abruptly from relaxed automation to panicked attention.”

The key to avoiding a panic-induced breakdown is simple: recognizing it when it happens, taking a breath and moving on. But that’s not always easy to do. Don’t try to hide it if you find yourself in a moment of panic or get locked up during a presentation. Instead, address the issue and move on. Your audience will understand. After all, they’re human too.

We all make mistakes. Even experts. But being aware of the most common mistakes and how to combat them is crucial to running a program of any kind. If you’d like to learn more about the most common webinar mistakes in  2019, check out our Webinar Best Practices Series episode, “The 10 Common Webinar Mistakes in 2019…And How To Avoid Them.” And remember: relax and practice, practice, practice.

GDPR: One Year Later, How Has It Changed How We Market?

Last week, ON24 ran its latest Insight50 session on how GDPR has made us better marketers – where we provide fellow Webinerds with 50 minutes of expert insight and answer the questions that are important to you.

Below is just a brief wrap up of insight from Hellen Beveridge at Data Oversight, Sean Donnelly at Econsultancy, James McLeod at Leadscale – and of course, you the viewers! If you didn’t manage to see it, watch it on-demand here.

Last year, at this time, GDPR was on everybody’s lips with companies wondering if their practices were compliant with these stricter regulations and marketers wondering what stricter data would mean to how they did their jobs.

It has now been a full year since GDPR came into force. What impact has it had on the way we do marketing? Below are a few insights from the webinar.

Have data regulations made us better marketers?

While more than half (58%) of webinar attendees said that GDPR has somewhat improved their organisation’s marketing performance and practices, another one-quarter (25%) say that there hasn’t been a change at all. Luckily, only 17% report that their marketing performance has suffered a decline since GDPR went into effect.

Although the jury is still out for James McLeod as to whether GDPR has made us better marketers, he does think it has made marketers more cautious. On the other hand, Hellen Beveridge, who consults on data protection practices, has a positive view of what stricter data has done for marketers.

“I actually think that data protection has made marketers clever and more thoughtful because they have to look at everything they do through the lens of lawfulness, fairness and transparency. So, I’m firmly on the side of yes, this has been a really good thing.”

Sean Donnelly has also seen indications that GDPR has had a positive effect on businesses in general:

“Of the companies that we surveyed (about 12,000), all those marketers that identify their companies as being mature with regards to customer centricity indicated that GDPR has been more of an opportunity for them than anything else.”

What Best Practices Can Marketers Put Into Place?

The majority (60%) of webinar attendees reported that one of the benefits to stricter data regulations has been a shift from quantity to quality. However, 43% also said that their lack of knowledge of how to market in a GDPR world has proven to be a challenge for them.

So, what practices can marketers put into place to ease this challenge? James shared several best practice tips:

“I think [when it comes to acquiring new data] number one is transparency. You need to know where your data is coming from and what it is. Number two is to maintain brand safety… Then be on the lookout for any of those fraudulent activities that unfortunately do mire the B2B landscape… Everyone is talking about compliance, but I think it’s also very important that we talk about accuracy when we’re talking about best practice.”

Hellen is in agreement with the importance of data accuracy and elaborates on the fact that part of what causes data inaccuracy is that marketers are asking for too much information at one time and the data is unstructured. To alleviate this problem, she strongly advises investing in a single customer view.

“If you have a single customer view, where all your marketing is going after one fact, as a living piece of data, and constantly adding more and more information to this single customer view, it’s accurate, and it’s alive, and it’s useful. Then, by default, it will become compliant.”

What Are Some Top Tips For Marketing With Stricter Data?

As a closing to the webinar, the panel was asked to give one top tip as a takeaway.

First off, Hellen advises that having a good relationship with your data protection officer (DPO) has its advantages:

“Do involve them at an early stage. A knowledgeable data protection officer will save you from the really boring bits. You don’t have to know about all the article compliance; we can do that. We can summarize it and make it look pretty. Remember that at the end of the day, what you want is fit data and not fat data and the DPO can make your data fit.”

While Sean agrees with Hellen’s advice, he also adds that knowing the language of data protection can be beneficial:

“Equip yourself with some of the vocabulary around the operational aspects of data. Because, if you can do that, then you can understand some of the different use cases and you will be better able to collaborate with your DPO.”

And lastly, James reiterated the importance of data accuracy:

“Make sure that all the data you’ve got coming into your business and your funnel through all of your different channels is accurate and usable.”

Hear more on our Insight50 session

The quotes above are just a small sample of what was discussed and answered on May’s Insight50 session. Make sure to register to watch on-demand and find out how stricter data can work in your favour.

Market Trend Webinars and Accelerating Thought Leadership — WBPS Quick Bites

Everyone wants to be a thought leader in their respective space. But what sets the real leaders apart from the want-to-be-leaders isn’t a volume of content, but the quality of the insights they provide. Market trend webinars give companies the opportunity to establish expertise, build trust and craft an influential program that captures attention.

But why use webinars and not, say, a blog update? Well, according to Demand Generation Report, 48 percent of buyers say they prefer webinars to other content formats and are willing to spend more time and provide more information for webinar content. If you’re going to start a market trend program, webinars can help.

Starting a webinar program around marketing trends can seem intimidating, but they’re not that difficult. To show you how it’s done, we’re sending our very own Chief Webinerd, Mark Bornstein, to the studio to give you a quick bite on market trend webinar basics.

It’s the very first episode in our new series, WBPS Quick Bites, and it takes place on June 20 at 11 a.m. PDT (2 p.m. EDT). What can you expect to learn? Well, the fundamentals of market trend webinars — from presentation to engagement tools you should use — in fewer than 20 minutes. Here are a few tips you can use right now:

Market Trend Types: Annual, Quarterly, Monthly or Quick Response

Market trends webinars come about in a variety of ways, but marketers and their peers should establish the criteria for a webinar early. For example, should an organization publish a market trend event once a year, quarterly, monthly or as breaking news develops?

Consider the audience you’re trying to target with your webinars to determine cadence. Big ticket updates can take place every quarter. But fast-paced industries should look towards monthly — or weekly — updates to keep audiences informed.

Establish Market Trend Experts

Right. So you have a cadence down. Now what? Now you need to get your subject matter experts front and center to discuss the trends and, if appropriate, provide an opinion. SMEs are your way to put a face to your organization’s expertise.

Talk with your SMEs to figure out what format is most appropriate for them as they start their webinar journey. Practice with them they’re willing but nervous, about getting in front of a camera. Finally, walk your experts through how the webinar platform works and set up a dry run a day or two before the event — and take some time to review any slides.

Provide a Multimedia Experience

In the B2B world, a PowerPoint deck hardly registers as an engaging experience. As you design your market trend webinar series, set up some time to think through a variety of webinar types that’ll boost engagement and provide your audience with the information they need.

For example, you could intertwine polls and surveys throughout a slide presentation to measure attentiveness and audience opinion on the subject. You could also bring together a panel of experts and have them respond to audience questions. Really, it’s up to you.

Professionals use market trends for a variety of reasons. They influence business decisions, improve professional knowledge and prove thought leadership. After all, industry professionals are hungry for a variety of opinions — and your company’s perspective can prove to be invaluable for everyone involved.

If you’re unsure about how to get started with your market trend webinars, attend “Trending Up: How to Use Webinars to Share Market Trends” on June 20 at 11 a.m. PDT (2 p.m. EDT).

The Everything Experience Comes to Marketing

Prospects, leads and customers want everything. They want all the relevant information you can provide them. They want your attention. They want the best deals possible. They want your commitment. They want this every time they interact with your organization. What they want, what they expect, is the everything experience.  

Like Amazon’s claim to be “the everything store,” B2B marketers need to provide “the everything experience,” to audiences at every stage of the buying cycle. Marketers need to develop, consolidate, personalize and publish a comprehensive experience encapsulating all the relevant content from first-touch and close-won to retention and upsell.  And marketers need to do it at scale for nearly every customer.

To their credit, marketing teams are organizing to provide “everything” experiences. But there are a few problems they need to tackle first. They need to know what goes into an everything experience, how an experience works and, finally, how to scale that experience to the variety of markets it needs to address.

The Elements of Everything

First, organizations need to start with the basics. This includes personas, a map to your buyer’s journey and a keen understanding of what content you have. Marketers should also know what resonates with audiences and where within the buyer’s journey that content is most relevant.

Once these elements are mapped out, marketers ought to fill in any content gaps in their buyer’s journey. Prioritize material that scale easily, like case studies, ebooks and blog posts. After that, look for opportunities to craft intimate messages, like videos and podcasts, that address a company’s specific pain point or stage of the buyer’s journey.  

Making The Everything Experience Work

Okay, so let’s say you have most, if not all, of the content you need to address your buyer’s journey. First: congrats — you have everything it takes to create an everything experience. All you have to do now is put the parts in the right order and present them with the help of content hubs. Here, digital tools — like ON24 Target or ON24 Engagement Hub — can help simplify the creation of an experience through standardization and scale.    

Assuming you’re using a digital tool, you’ll want to create different content hubs — the centerpieces of each experience. For example, you can create several content hubs that map to a typical buyer’s journey — top, middle, bottom (or awareness, consideration and decision) as well as a hub that helps new customers to onboard, or make use of, your solution. Combined, these hubs provide the everything experience.  

Once these hubs are outlined, it’s time to map your content to them. However. There are three elements you’ll want to emphasize: interactivity, two-way communication and personalization. Don’t worry, these aren’t complicated concepts.  

Interactivity simply means providing opportunities for visitors to click, download and otherwise interact with content. This can be as simple as providing a report to download or as complex as providing an on-demand webinar with additional content to interact with.

Two-way communication is any dialogue where you ask a question and the audience provides feedback — or vice versa. Polls, surveys, feedback prompts, on-demand webinars and “contact us” buttons are some great examples where you can dialogue with your audience.

Finally, personalize it. Hubs targeting a specific account, for example, should have personalized welcomes and content addressed to the account (even if it’s only in the title). Introduction videos, ones showing visitors how to interact with the hub, where relevant items are and how they can reach your team, are a great way to add a personal touch to your hubs as well.

Providing Everything at Scale

Alright. So you have your content, you have your hubs. You have, in essence, the everything experience in place. There’s just one thing left to do: scale it up to address a growing roster of accounts and industries.

Once you’ve got one in place, duplicate content experiences for different audiences is easy. Tweak your messaging, adjust your content and suddenly you’ve created an account-based marketing campaign.

And as you iterate, you can also assess. Specialized digital content hubs — like ON24 Target and ON24 Engagement Hub — are useful tools for content creators. Here’s why: they show who interacted with what content and how often. With this data, you can identify what connects, what doesn’t, who’s most interested in your services.

The best part is that you can continue to make this assessment over time. Depending on how you deploy your everything experiences, you can even A/B test titles, headlines and additional content to learn what you need more of, how you can make your hubs more interactive and provide the perfect everything experience every time.  

Consumers have enjoyed the everything experience for a long time. B2B buyers, consumers themselves, are starting to expect the same treatment. Being able to adapt to these demands means taking the content you have and serving it up differently. It means thinking just as much about the delivery of your content as the creation of it. The everything experience is everything marketing should be — providing audiences a seamless, unlimited way to engage with your brand. The leads will follow.

Insight50: How to Make International Marketing Less Complex

Each month, the team at ON24 puts together Insight50 – where we provide fellow Webinerds with 50 minutes of expert insight and answer the questions that are important to you.

This time, the theme was taking your marketing global. Thanks to innovations in technology, our world has shrunk making it possible and necessary to think globally in marketing but how do marketers go about making the seemingly complex task of marketing to other countries simpler?

The below is just a brief wrap up of insights from Paula Morris at Pi Marketing Solutions, Michael Meinhardt at Cloudwords and Peter Bell at Marketo – and of course, you the viewers! If you didn’t manage to see it, view it on-demand here.

Marketing internationally can sometimes be complex and challenging. In fact, when webinar attendees were asked what level of complexity they are finding with their international marketing campaigns, the majority (65.6%) said they were finding it ‘somewhat complex.’

While we live in an era where the world seems much smaller and technology has made us more connected, there are still cultural differences to consider, along with obstacles such as language that only adds to the complexity. So, how do we go about addressing these differences and overcoming the obstacles in order to see success?

Here are a few insights from the webinar that can help those companies already engaging in international marketing and those who are getting ready to go global:

Why Make the Effort?

For many organisations, whether to go international isn’t really an option. As Paula Morris explained, with the growing use of marketing channels like social media, there isn’t much of a choice.

“Marketing has to be global now. The world is a lot smaller as people become more connected. So, I think if a company isn’t looking at international marketing, then they won’t drive consistency. I think more and more, you have to think globally and then look at those local nuances for different markets, rather than the other way around. It should be global first, and then start to tailor your campaigns thereafter with a local feel. Then you’ll see the impact of what global campaigns can drive for an organisation.”

Michael Meinhart agrees with Paula about organisations adopting a ‘think globally and act locally’ mentality and believes many organisations have already started. At the same time, Peter Bell believes that marketing globally isn’t so much an option as just how things are now and, because of that, performance needs to be addressed accordingly.

“Once you’re in that world, then you really start to focus on the things that matter. ‘Why is that campaign not performing as it should in France? What is it?’ Dig into it to find out what it is because otherwise, quite simply, you’re going to be called to account. And it’s not like any of us have the option to elect which countries we market into. For the most part, markets are global and therefore performance is expected to be global, too.”

Why is international marketing so complex?

None of the webinar speakers were at all surprised by the audience’s response to how complex they are finding marketing internationally, but they did offer some insight as to why that is and where marketers needed to focus to alleviate some of the complications.

First off, Peter brought up the point that there is a difference between translation and localisation. Marketing to a different country doesn’t just involve getting the language right. Although that can be an obstacle, it goes beyond that.

“You need not just to have that the local market knowledge, but to listen to it. And listening to it makes life harder. It means you have to change things. That means you don’t have one size fits all. And fundamentally, that means it does create complexity but it’s a good complexity – because if you can master it and overcome it, then you’re going to see the results.”

Acknowledging the importance of localisation versus translation, Michael noted that organisations often overlook the strategy behind entering global markets. He believes that what organisations struggle with is having a business process behind going to market in specific regions. What kind of strategies has he seen?

“We see really two different ends of the spectrum, one in which there is a centralised model, where you have a team that is responsible for the content and for pushing content forward out to the different markets. And then you have a decentralised model, where the markets themselves are responsible for developing that material, and ultimately, the overall strategy. It really depends on the kind of the organisation, the kind of the maturity of those organisations and how they’ve kind of been structured historically.”

What are some quick wins for going global?

The panellists offered some quick wins and parting words of advice to help going global progress smoothly.

Michael, again, emphasised the need for a strategy and finding out which regions are most important to you. Also, he suggested that when it comes to language, it may not be as overwhelming as you think.

“You really don’t need to address all that many languages to capture 90% of the business speaking market. You’re really looking at 10 languages…those languages are English, French, Italian, German, Spanish, simplified Chinese, traditional Chinese, Korean, Japanese, and Portuguese.”

One of Paula’s main wins was regional enablement and giving your regional team the tools they need to be successful.

“Whether it’s local marketing resource or sales resource in a country, you should be enabling them, whether that’s from a marketing perspective or a sales perspective. You need to be giving them the tools to go out and market.”

Peter expanded on this by suggesting organisations hire locally. Not only that, he advises being open to what those local colleagues have to say.

“If you won’t listen to your colleagues who are foreign or different from you, do listen to the campaign results because they will speak for themselves. They will probably tell you to listen to your colleagues who have been telling you this for some time.”

Hear more on our Insight50 session

The quotes above are just a small sample of what was discussed and answered on this Insight50 session. Make sure to register to watch on-demand to learn more about simplifying international marketing.

Build Better Email Marketing Campaigns (With Tips From Webinar World!)

At ON24, we’re all about webinar marketing. But webinars are more than just the event — they require a full suite of marketing expertise. That’s why we’re thrilled to share this article by Betty Kaufman, Senior Director of Content Marketing for Position² . In it, Betty lays out the email marketing rules — inspired by Webinar World 2019 — you need to abide by. This article originally appeared on Position².com. Shared with the author’s permission. 

Email continues to be a critical piece of most demand-gen marketing campaigns. But sadly, email doesn’t always perform the way you need it. Often leaving you to wonder if the email was opened, was it just deleted, or even worse, was it seen at all?

You know how it is, we have all done it. We skim through the long list of emails we receive daily and delete the ones that do not grab our attention. We are busy, in a hurry and usually on a different mission.

I recently attended Webinar World and took away a lot of great ideas that apply not only to webinars but also to email marketing.

Many of these ideas you will probably know, but do you use them on every email? Do your emails grab your email recipients’ attention and hold it long enough for them actually to open the email, and click through?

What can you do to send an effective email and to improve that email’s performance and get better click-through rates? If you follow these seven tips to improve emails, you’re likely to see much better open rates and marketing ROI from your email marketing strategy.

Email Tip #1: Enhance your Emails

Start with your email subject line. This is where you will grab or lose your email recipient’s attention. Spend a little extra time on your subject line. Treat this as if you were creating a thought-provoking, engaging blog headline. However, keep the length in mind. The optimal range should be between six and ten words. Keeping subject lines short and sweet will ensure that they look and read great for both PC and mobile users. Subject lines that are too long are often cut off on mobile devices. Thus, your reader will not get the best view of your email and may delete it or send it to the spam folder.

Your subject line should include action verbs that help direct the reader before they even open the email, and:

  • Be disruptive
  • Address a specific pain point
  • Promise change
  • Build curiosity
  • Create a sense of urgency

Try titles like these:

  • Top 10…
  • How to…
  • Insider’s Guide to…
  • 2018/2019 report…
  • Solving…

If you really want your email to have personality, consider adding an image, an icon, a dynamic gif or an emoji to the subject line or header. This will help use fewer words but get more information in a fun, engaging way.

Make sure to optimize images using alt text to help give a context for your email images. This helps if your images get blocked by the spam filters or email clients. Also, if you can, make the whole email clickable. If not, at least make the entire header clickable.

Try to alternate between HTML and plain text. Include images and colors along with plain text with no graphics or formatting.

Email Tip #2: Prepare Preview Text

The preview or preheader text is a quick snippet of text that follows the email subject line. Many email programs show a preview to help you decide whether to open the email or not, especially on mobile devices. If you use the preview text in the right way, it presents an extra shot at picking up the reader’s interest and sway them to read past the subject line. However, you only have a few characters to do so.

Remember to:

  • Keep preview text short and engaging
  • Keep the keyword or buzzwords to the beginning of the preview
  • Keep your headline promise the same through your preview text
  • Include a sense of urgency

Email Tip #3: target your Target Audience

Writing email copy that meets the needs of your audience can improve conversion rates tremendously. When you know your audience, you can better target their need and provide solutions. Build out a persona list before drafting your email copy. Use a segment list and sort it by demographic, gender, age, and type of industry. One piece of advice is to target the subscribers who interact with your emails the most.

There are times when people will look, but not download an asset. Send these people an email saying something like “We know this is very important to you. Here is one last reason why you should look at…” Make these on-the-fence emails look different from other marketing emails. Build those loyal customers and clients, one email at a time.

Email Tip #4: Personalize

Forget those email templates. Address the reader by their name and make them feel like a friend. Personalized emails can improve open rates tremendously and keep your email from being sent to the spam folder. Let’s face it; when we see our name, we feel a sense of belonging and feel that the email is created especially for us. Stay away from templatizing your emails and create them on a more personalized level by signing off with your own name instead of a generic company name. By keeping your email personal, you are instilling a sense of trust.

Improving Emails Tip #5: Use more you and less we – write in the second person

Keep your email targeting towards the reader. Try to refrain from the “me, our, we,” syndrome. Create your emails by using the pronouns “you,” “your,” “yours,” keeping the focus on the brand of the customer. Remember to give them answers that explain what is in it for them, how you can help them or their company.

Improving Emails Tip #6: Short, Sweet and Scannable

Recognize that the earlier somebody is in the sales cycle, the less time you have to talk to them. Get to your enticing point or value proposition quickly. Be respectful of their time. Do not use technical or sales talk. Keep it jargon-free and in layperson’s terms. Steer clear of overly promotional claims. Overall, create your email for those that scan read with subheads, bullet and numbered lists and small bite-sized information that is quick to digest.

Don’t forget those images!

No one said it better than Elliott Erwitt. “The whole point of taking pictures is so that you don’t have to explain things with words.” Images help support your marketing email message and tell your story.

Email Tip #7: Make those Calls to Action Shine

Never send an email that doesn’t have a follow-up call to action. If you want to increase your conversion rate, you need to think of your email campaigns as a customer journey. Each email should be an experience for your email recipients. Remember, when you’re on a journey, you’re always looking for the next step. So, figure out what path or following action you want the email recipient to take as a result of reading each email. Use your calls to action to make that step crystal clear.

A Couple Email Marketing Tips Beyond Email Content

Share your Information First

Forget about getting names as a priority strategy. This was the hardest takeaway for me. However, I am going to try to abide by it. The moment you ask people to fill out a form, you get pushback. How many people do not download your asset because they are not ready to tell you who they are? Therefore, you do not get their name or information. However, if your information is so valuable that everybody should see it, let everybody see it. Share it instead of hiding behind it. Wait until the bewitching hour – perhaps when somebody’s ready to request a demo – to get their information. This will also help with your subscriber list.

A/B Test Everything and Learn from Every Drop

Remember your email marketing strategy does not stop after sending the email. Don’t write all of your emails in advance. Learn from each email drop. Build a stronger marketing strategy by A/B testing everything – from the titles to the headers to the text to the images. Use what you learn to create subsequent emails to make them more effective.

Remember, your email copy and subject lines are only a part of a larger email marketing strategy. Get the strategy right and follow through with compelling email messages to get better open rates, conversion rates, and marketing ROI.

I hope these email tips have a positive impact on the performance of your next email campaign.

ON24 Products: How ON24 Target Helps You Hit the Personalization Bullseye

Put your buyer hat on and ask yourself one question: what influences you to buy today? Likely, the content experience you have with a brand guide you more than anything else. Think of consumer-focused companies like Amazon, Netflix, Nike and ClassPass; brands who win by delivering personalized and captivating experiences.

Consumers feel connected because these brands cater to them at every turn, from showing “what you might also like” to quick and attentive customer support and opportunities to engage with the brand. B2B clients and prospects deserve the same experience.

According to Salesforce Research’s second annual State of the Connected Customer, 82 percent of business buyers want a consumer-esque experience when buying for business. When targeting prospects or connecting with current customers, you can’t forget about what drives their decisions.

Let’s take a look at the numbers and see what buyers demand.

B2B Buying By The Numbers

Seventy-three percent of business-to-business buyers expect more personalized experiences and want the same level of hyper-personalized service as they receive in business-to-consumer mediums (Accenture, 2017). Even further, nearly half of buyers are looking for personalized content portals (Showpad, 2018).

Content portals combine personalization with accessibility, simplifying the buying process and making the purchase decision quicker and easier. What’s clear is that hyper-personalization, where brands deploy content and campaigns tailored for each customer based on interest and behavioral data, drives successful audience engagement.

Consumer-focused brands are known for their ability to serve campaigns and content based on buyer interest and previous interaction. That same thinking and methodology can be applied when targeting business buyers. Understanding what your audience cares about can better inform the content you produce and provide them along their buyer journey.

The Personalization Problem

While marketers agree that personalized experiences are important and necessary, they also say personalization is one of their biggest challenges. Factors such as time to produce and difficulties with design prevents marketers from delivering the experience that they know their buyers expect. Understanding what your audience cares about can better inform the content you produce and provide to them along their buyer journey.

Building Better Experiences

To help marketers scale personalized experiences for their audiences, ON24 created ON24 Target. ON24 Target offers tools and capabilities that make it easy to create personalized experiences in a few simple steps:

  • Design/Layout: Build personalized content experiences within minutes. Select and customize content layouts and easily drag and drop content to get the experience page exactly how you want it.
  • Select the Right Content: ON24 Target offers Content Performance Metrics such as viewing time, unique visitors and top viewer job titles. These insights are brought directly into the experience builder so marketers choose the right pieces of content for their target audience, enabling them to effectively deliver the personalization that buyers expect.
  • Engage Audiences: Once a page is built, your target accounts and prospects can easily engage with you content by rating it, commenting, or clicking on customized CTAs, allowing them to seamlessly connect with your brand or sales teams.
  • Track Interactivity: Similar to how consumer-focused brands serve content based on interactions, ON24 Target enables you to see how audiences engage with your content experiences and use that data to continually improve and optimize the content and experiences you build.

ON24 Target not only delivers a customized and highly-personalized content experience, but also makes the entire process incredibly easy—enabling marketers to scale their personalization efforts, shorten sales cycles and generate better leads.

Want to learn more about how you can create and deliver personalized experiences? Watch the ON24 Target product demo now!