Fospha’s Insights to Unlock eCommerce Growth in 2024

In the ever-evolving landscape of eCommerce, staying ahead requires constant adaptation and strategic insights. The Fospha State of eCommerce Report for Q1 2024 brings valuable data to the forefront, guiding marketers, advertisers, business owners, and agencies in the eCommerce industry on where to channel their efforts for maximum return.  

The report reveals a significant underinvestment in paid social channels, with advertisers reaching only 59% of their potential, suggesting an opportunity to nearly double spend for profitable returns.  

Here are some key takeaways from the report: 

Meta and TikTok emerge as leaders in paid social success, with Meta boasting the highest relative Return On Ad Spend (ROAS). Notably, TikTok stands out for new customer acquisition, outpacing other channels in driving new conversions.  
Snapchat’s major update has catapulted it as a growth channel worth watching, with a remarkable 504% increase in ROAS year-over-year.  
The report highlights a widespread issue in the industry: the underrepresentation of impressions-led channels by Google Analytics and ad platforms’ own attribution models. This discrepancy emphasizes the need for standardized measurement methods to accurately report performance.  

Now is the time to reassess your investment in paid social, explore the potential of emerging channels like Snapchat, and adopt reliable measurement methods to navigate the complex digital marketing landscape effectively. 

For a deep dive into these insights and to leverage them for your digital strategy, download the full Fospha State of eCommerce Report Q1 2024. Embrace the data-driven insights to refine your approach, optimize spend across platforms, and drive your eCommerce brand towards profitable growth.  

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Snap Selects Fospha as Measurement Partner for Retail eCommerce

Fospha and Snap announced a partnership that will further enable eCommerce advertisers to measure their Snapchat campaigns.

What’s the problem this partnership is solving?

Measuring the true impact of impressions-led advertising has long been a tough task, especially with new privacy measures, which have made getting the right data even harder.

Fospha has found that basic click-tracking methods (like last-click and MTA) don’t fully recognize the value of upper-funnel activity, with a 2023 study finding that these methods miss about 74% of the sales that come from impression-based media. Across their client base, Fospha also found that brands that aren’t investing in higher-funnel activity like Snapchat have significantly higher acquisition cost and lower return on advertising spend.

Fospha’s latest report reveals Snapchat to be a key growth channel amongst their brands, with ROAS increasing by 504% from 2022 to 2023, even while spend grew 76% YoY. Fospha states that this demonstrates an opportunity to capitalize on strong performance at higher spend levels.

On Snap’s Q4 2023 earnings call, co-founder and CEO Evan Spiegel highlighted the importance of continuing to drive improved performance for advertising partners as a focus for Snap in 2024. Fospha data supports this, showing Snap ROAS has been rising since the company began updating its performance products in late 2022 and early 2023. The Fospha partnership highlights the importance for both companies of empowering brands to improve their attribution capabilities, identify growth opportunities, and maximize returns on their advertising investment.

Why Fospha?

Fospha is pioneering a transformational new approach to cross-channel digital marketing measurement. A no-code implementation means clients are live in 2 to 3 weeks with a year of full funnel performance (impressions, clicks, zero-party data) modelled and it’s completely privacy-safe (no user-level personal data is used).

Sam Carter, Fospha CEO, said, “We’re delighted that Snap is certifying Fospha as a key partner, further validating our mission to help eCommerce brands spend with confidence. Our product allows us to clearly see the massive unrealized opportunity that brands have in paid social media. We’re also particularly bullish on Snap based on the data we see coming in from advertisers. Working with the Snap team to help retailers realize the potential here is really exciting.”

To find out more, reach out to Fospha or your Snapchat account manager for more details.

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Fospha as TikTok’s New Measurement Partner

Understanding media performance in digital marketing is like navigating a maze that constantly changes. The emergence of platforms like TikTok has revolutionized how brands connect with their audience, adding layers of complexity and opportunity. However, with regulatory changes such as GDPR and iOS 14.5 updates, eCommerce brands are now facing a growing challenge: gaining clear visibility into the performance of their media mix channels. 

Top of Funnel Marketing 

Top-of-funnel marketing is about more than just creating buzz; it’s about laying a sustainable foundation for growth. Imagine it as the first chapter of an engaging novel, where the story begins, intrigue is created, and the relationship with the reader—or in this case, the customer—starts to form.  

Historically, due to the difficulty in tracking and measuring the impact of these top-of-funnel activities, brands have gravitated towards bottom-of-funnel advertising, where results are more tangible, like direct sales and conversions. However, this approach often overlooks a critical aspect of customer acquisition and brand building.  

According to a Fospha report, brands that consistently invest in top-of-funnel activities for a minimum of 10 months are likely to see reduced customer acquisition costs and a more robust Return on Ad Spend (ROAS). Specifically, the report reveals that brands prioritizing long-term brand awareness strategies can improve their ROAS by 42% and decrease acquisition costs by 35%, in comparison to brands that concentrate exclusively on conversion-focused activities. 

The Challenges of Current Measurement Practices 

The digital advertising landscape has evolved significantly over the past five years, growing more complex and demanding advanced measurement techniques.  

Traditional pixel- and cookie-based methods, which have been the mainstay of most brands, are losing their effectiveness due to regulatory changes like GDPR, CCPA, and iOS 14.5, which prioritise consumer privacy over technological efficacy. This has led to a significant reduction in visibility, especially in the early stages of the customer journey. Consequently, marketing attribution models that do not account for top-of-funnel activities may overestimate the effectiveness of lower-funnel activities. 

Fospha x TikTok 

On Monday 8 Jan 2024, TikTok introduced Fospha as one of the measurement partners. This partnership represents a significant development in the intricate world of digital marketing, highlighting the importance of not solely relying on bottom-of-funnel metrics for brands aiming to achieve sustainable growth and broad market reach. 

Fospha’s solution empowers brands to measure their paid media spend across platforms like TikTok in a data-driven way that aligns with profitability. This means that brands can now gain insights into the impact of their top-of-funnel activities, optimize their strategies accordingly, and scale their efforts without sacrificing their bottom line. 

Case Study 

Let’s take a closer look at The Essence Vault, a fragrance brand that faced the common dilemma of digital expansion. By embracing TikTok’s dynamic platform and partnering with Fospha, they saw a 20% increase in revenue and a 7% improvement in ROAS, illustrating the power of a data-driven, top-of-funnel approach. 

Conclusion 

TikTok has exploded in popularity, emerging as a significant alternative ad channel. The platform has shown strong returns, outperforming other growing platforms like YouTube. Top-of-funnel marketing is more than just an initial handshake with potential customers; it’s an indispensable part of a brand’s growth strategy in today’s complex advertising ecosystem. With strategic tools and partnerships like Fospha and TikTok, brands can confidently navigate this landscape, ensuring that every stage of the marketing funnel is optimised for success. As we look towards the future of digital advertising, it’s clear that understanding and leveraging top-of-funnel marketing is not just a strategy, but a necessity for sustainable growth and success. 

For further information on this partnership, visit Fospha’s blog and TikTok for Business Blog. 

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Establishing niche authority: leveraging strategic content as a key differentiator

Whether you are new to SEO or an experienced SEO junkie, one cannot deny the importance of content to rank well on search engines such as Google and Bing.

Google has often referred to the notion that ‘content is king’ and have made the use of content very key to their algorithms over the years. Such as E-E-A-T update (expertise, experience, authority, and trustworthiness) and last month’s Google Helpful Content Update which either rewarded or downgraded websites based on the quality and helpfulness of their content.

With this in mind, we speak to some industry experts and growing businesses to understand how they use content to build authority in their industry.

Create guides with statistics

“For a new or existing brand, it is always helpful to add blog posts and guides to their website,” explains Richard Allan, co-founder of energy startup, Warmable.

“Having lots of content shows that you have substance and a website with 50 pages and posts is likely to outrank a site with just 5 or 10.”

However, making this content statistic driven and honing in on real things that people are looking for is a very good way to gain authority.

“So rather than adding the top 10 tips for this or how to save money on that, consider phrases such as these below and be sure to add key statistics high up the page and in the meta-data to make it stand out in the SERPs.”

What percentage of people use ….
What is the number of people that …
How many people do / do not ….
How much money can be saved by …
How many people in the US/UK are …
How much is this (name) industry worth?
How many people in the US use …

“A lot of users and indeed journalists are looking for that killer statistic, so you need to be able to show it very early and clearly and have it backed up by a strong source.”

“You will also find that this helps with natural link building because if you rank top for a good phrase or statistical-based question, a journalist will naturally link to you and very often they just take one of the first sources that they see on Google as fact. You would be surprised how many simple and quality links you could generate.”

The layout of the content is key

“How you present your content is very important,” explains Justine Gray of content platform, Trending Impact. 

To be truly educational, authoritative and informative, you have to make the content very palatable and easy to digest. This can be as simple as adding key bullet points in the beginning of the piece of content to give an overview, using short paragraphs to make clear points and using graphs or images with data to make it stand out. Importantly, you need to get into the information early on and avoid waffling for the sake of increasing the word count.

“A nice feature to organise your text includes using accordion tabs for FAQs, dropdown menus and clickable tabs at the top of the page that take you straight to the desired section,” says Gray.

Use people and use authority figures

Google has added more weighting to the use of authors, guest writers and real expertise behind any guides or blog posts.

With reference to the recent Google Helpful Content Update, webmasters will gain greater authority from having a real face or team member clearly stated as the author on a piece of content, including landing pages and blog posts. 

Saying things such as ‘reviewed by’ and ‘edited by’ will add a lot of credibility, especially if it has a bio which includes relevant qualifications or suggests years of experience – and this is perfect for medical and financial industries. 

Additionally, authors can add their Linkedin and Twitter profile to their bio for added effect.

“We have found that using guest writers who are experts in their fields adds great value,” explains Dr Max Linden, founder of The Hawker Online. “Finding people who run companies, have followers or like putting themselves out there is a good place to start.

“Not only is guest and expertly contributed content more insightful and personable, but you can share it on your social network and theirs too to maximize reach.”

Don’t just use text, use video

“As we all know today, content is not just textual but highly visual,” informs Dean Benzaken, co-founder of Techvolutionary.

“With the help of AI, there are a lot of ways to take your existing content and quickly turn it into voice notes that people can click and hear on the page.”

In addition, videos add great value to any piece of content, and you have some superb tools to help you facilitate this today. So, if you have a long video, you can use Opus to break it down into 10 smaller videos with captions included, or you can use Synthesia to create an AI avatar to auto-generate the text. The opportunities are vast to make your content standout and to create authority in your space.

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The incredible ways to get SEO traffic without ever ranking

Let’s face it, when it comes to generating traffic online, the quality of SEO traffic is unbeatable.

When you compare it to other online traffic sources including PPC, affiliates, emails and SMS, you typically find that when it comes to average time on site, low bounce rates and conversion rates,  SEO reigns supreme. Those navigating through SEO organic search are typically taking their time and making informed and more careful decisions – this is what leads to higher converting and more qualified customers.

The barrier though with SEO is that it can take several months, or even years, and incredible expertise to gain positions in the top search results on Google. However, just because you do not rank at the top of Google, doesn’t mean that you cannot have access to the best quality SEO traffic and even take up multiple positions – without even ranking your own website.

In this piece, we speak to some industry experts and startups to understand how you can access SEO traffic whether your site ranks or not.

Check who is on page 1 already

You might think that doing SEO for your company means optimizing your own website and getting it to rank, but why not consider who is already on page 1 and if you can partner with them in some way. From price comparison sites, news sites or just individual brands, there may be a way to help them monetize their traffic or collaborate in some way.

“As a broker, we are a lot freer to do SEO than other big brands and institutions,” explains Justine Gray, founder of online mortgage broker, Deedle.

“Big companies and banks are very nervous and bound by compliance to throw lots of content on their site and make regular updates. But for a small team like us, this is very easy.”

“In some ways, we have a better shot at getting to page 1 than a big corporate company – and as a result, we get companies of all sizes trying to partner with us. They may find that there are too many internal barriers to do good SEO for themselves, but we are open to collaboration.”

Using top 10 lists

“Top 10 lists have a very powerful ranking edge on Google,” explains Sithara Ranasinghe, co-founder of health insurance site, MediCompare.

“There are certain industries where Google really favours top 10 lists over a traditional site. If you were to search for anything related to casinos or something techie like email marketing or best softwares, you won’t typically find individual sites on page 1, but rather review sites or accumulator sites that list 10 different options.”

“I think Google likes this more impartial offering to a customer and the ability to see and compare different products. So, if you are a new entry to the market or looking to get SEO traffic, you should simply approach someone who already ranks on page 1 with a top 10 list or try to create one through a high domain authority site.”

“There are sites that are very good at this like CNet and Forbes who leverage their authority and strong domain – and there is no reason why you cannot have multiple listings on page 1 and clean up on the SEO traffic, regardless of where you rank.”

Using price comparison sites

Price comparison sites for products like mortgages, credit cards, hotel bookings, travel insurance and even tech have become huge in the last decade.

“Being a price comparison site can be an advantage with Google,” explains Mark Gomer of Proper Finance. “You target so many products and can gain backlinks across multiple industries and also benefit from people shopping around which increases your overall user time on the site.”

“When implemented well, you may rank really well for some products, but not others, but ultimately you can focus your energy on where you do.”

“If we have a strong position on Google for something like mortgages or secured loans, we could potentially work with 50 or 100 companies to help customers to compare the best rates – who all get access to SEO traffic, even if they don’t rank anywhere.”

Leveraging news sites with high domains

There are so many SEO factors to contend with, such as good technical optimization, site speed and quality content. But sometimes having a good backlog of backlinks and high domain authority is the fastest and simplest way to rank on Google and get to page 1 for key terms.

“When you look at major news sites, these are typically link magnets because of their authority – and they often scoop up lots of links from other authorities such as schools, universities, councils and governments,” explains Richard Allan, founder of funding platform, Capital Bean.

“So, when you create a landing page on your own site, you may have to wait months or years to build up authority – or you may never rank at all. But if you took this landing page, with all the right keywords and intent-driven content and placed this article on a major news site like SF Gate or Forbes, you can sometimes rank for this very quickly by leveraging their domain authority.”

“If you take some less competitive industries or more bespoke long tail keywords, they may not be used to having a site with a domain authority of 60 or 70 on page 1 and when you come in with a fresh article, you get the quick indexability of being a news site and can often get to page 1 within one day simply because it is on Google News.”

Concluding thoughts

SEO traffic is incredibly good quality and sought after, but as any SEO professional will tell you: it takes a long time to achieve and does not always last forever.

But as discussed by our experts, ranking on Google does not necessarily just have to be your own website. By seeing who is on page 1 and using sites with high domain authorities to include your company, you can take up multiple positions. And given the fluctuations of Google, you can use these techniques to always have some kind of presence on page 1 at any given time.

We leave you with one final question: Why take one position on page 1 when you can have several?

 

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How Chat GPT is changing SEO

The launch of ChatGPT in November 2022 has been a real game changer for digital marketers across the world. SEO professionals are still trying to navigate the potential benefits and power of this technology.

The ability to type in search queries through live chat and get perfectly and uniquely written content hosts several advantages for those looking to create more content rapidly and scale their online businesses. Webmasters can also create codes faster than they can manually and this can be used to compliment or replace developers.

However, this may also present more challenges with increased competition across the digital marketing landscape and questions on how Google’s search results are going to react with increased marketing intelligence.

We speak to some industry experts and startup marketers to get more insight into how ChatGPT is changing SEO.

Content creation

For consumers, the ability to create unique content and do it almost instantly is probably the biggest advantage of ChatGPT.

“Many SEO professionals may have been dubious at first,” explains Andrew Baker of finance startup, Doddler.

“Writing unique content is something that is drilled into you from day one and anything that is automated or too good to be true can only be negative for SEO.”

“But the early evidence shows that ChatGPT is consistent and the content it produces is unique and can rank well if done correctly,” says Richard Allan of Divorce Bob.

“When it might have typically taken us 6 to 8 weeks to produce 50 pages of quality guides and blog posts, ChatGPT can do this in something like 3 hours.”

“We have been able to add pages for more than 1600 area codes across the US using ChatGPT – and this would have been a mountain to climb without AI or not something we would have considered doing.”

“It still needs a proper SEO person to interpret the right number of keywords, content length and other SEO bits like internal links and headings – but it certainly presents a very scalable way to push out content.

“It presents endless possibilities for targeting area codes, times, amounts and other long tail keywords both domestically and if you were to launch into different countries.”

Staffing and outsourcing

Outsourcing your content and code has been popular for many years, with startups and companies using the likes of Fiverr and outsourcing to India and Philippines for their marketing teams.

“But with ChatGPT, it questions whether you need to hire content staff at all,” argues Matthew Sullivan of consumer finance site, Harpsey.

“For years, there has been a question of whether you even need content writers or developers in-house and why pay local rates when it is cheaper abroad? But today, it is a question of whether you need to hire writers and developers at all.”

“This could mean that thousands of content writers could go out of work overnight. However, in practice, the early signs show that although millions are using ChatGPT, it is a small number to create an economic shock and that traditional businesses are still preferring the manual approach. But who knows if paid writers are using ChatGPT to do their work?”

Rapid prototyping and testing

“With the opportunity to create content so fast, this has given us an exciting way to test and try things out,” explains Gavin Cooper, the founder of Claims Bible. “And this is what a huge part of SEO really is.”

“We have been able to throw content together quickly and test out different site layouts and designs or even compare platforms such as Wix, Webflow or WordPress and determine which ranks the best in the SERPs. From there, we have been able to scale up and build out our business.”

“For us, we have been able to replicate hundreds of pages for different types of claims, whether it is for injuries, banks, car manufacturers and many more – and by having consistent meta-data and good backlinks, we have been able to secure positions on Google and generate quality leads.”

Changes in Google SERPs

If we imagine millions of websites using ChatGPT to put out new content and develop new sites, are we going to see huge fluctuations in rankings across all industries?

This does not appear to be the case yet, with ChatGPT operating now for more than 6 months. But it certainly will not be surprising if some industries which are very tech savvy such as consumer finance, casinos or crypto make huge strides in this area.

Hence, one might expect for some new brands to emerge on page 1 for some very competitive keywords, almost out of thin air, or for there to be some early wins for some sites and some even harder crashes if they get penalized.

Still need experience and SEO knowledge

SEO is always changing and no doubt, ChatGPT has created a paradigm shift and an exciting way to put out fast content and replicate code, allowing new and established businesses to scale up quicker than ever before.

Whilst the Google rule of thumb that ‘content is king’ still applies, one cannot deny it is how SEO professionals use this content that is truly important and will notably change the SEO landscape.

Whilst you can have content written quickly and to a high standard, it is not valuable unless it has smart and experienced SEO to back it up.

It is key to understand the right content to create, the right keyword research, user intent, meta-data and semantics – and if you can pair this with ChatGPT, this could be the recipe for true SEO success.

 

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Optimize Google’s new Interaction to Next Paint metric

30-second summary:

Good page speed and user experience help your site stand out in search results
The Interaction to Next Paint metric is replacing First Input Delay
You can improve make your site respond faster to user input by reducing CPU processing times

The Core Web Vitals are a set of metrics that Google has defined to measure how good a website’s user experience is. They first became a ranking signal in 2021.

While the metric definitions have been tweaked over time, the introduction of the Interaction to Next Paint metric is the biggest change since the launch of the Core Web Vitals initiative.

What is Interaction to Next Paint (INP)?

Interaction to Next Paint is a metric that evaluates how quickly your website responds to user interaction. It measures how much time elapses between the user input, like a button click, and the next time the page content refreshes (the “next paint”).

To rank better in Google this interaction delay should be less than 200 milliseconds. This ensures that the website feels responsive to users.

How are the Core Web Vitals changing?

Google has announced that Interaction to Next Paint will become one of the three Core Web Vitals metrics in March 2024. At that point a website that responds to user input too slowly could do worse in search result rankings.

INP will replace the current First Input Delay (FID) metric. While FID also measures responsiveness, it is more limited as it only looks at the first user interaction. It also only measures the delay until the input event starts being handled, rather than waiting until the user can see the result.

Currently only 64.9% of mobile websites do well on the Interaction to Next Paint metric and it will be harder to get a good INP score than a good First Input Delay score.

How can I measure the Interaction to Next Paint metric on my website?

Run a website speed test to see how fast your website loads and how quickly it responds to user input.

Open the “Web Vitals” tab once your test is complete. You can see the Interaction to Next Paint metric at the bottom of the page.

In this case only 38% of users have a good INP experience.

How can I optimize Interaction to Next Paint?

Interaction delays happen when the browser needs to perform a lot of CPU processing before it can update the page. This can happen for two reasons:

Ongoing background tasks prevent the user input from being handled
Handling the user input itself is taking a lot of time

Background tasks often happen during the initial page load, but can happen later on as well. They are often caused by third party code embedded on the website.

Responding to a user interaction can require a lot of processing. If that can’t be optimized you can consider showing a spinner to provide visual feedback until the processing task is complete.

Running JavaScript code is the most common type of processing, but complex visual updates can also take a long time.

Use Chrome DevTools to analyze performance

The Chrome DevTools performance profiler shows what tasks are taking a long time and should be optimized. Start a recording, click on an element on the page, and then click on the longest bars in the visualization.

This allows you to identify whether the code comes from a third party or from your own website. You can also dive deeper to see how the task can be sped up.

Check the Total Blocking Time metric to identify background tasks

The Total Blocking Time metric tracks how often there are background CPU tasks that could block other code from running. If the user interacts with the page while a task is already in progress then the browser first completes that task before handling the input event.

You can use tools like Google Lighthouse to see how this metric can be optimized.

If processing-heavy tasks on your website are part of your core website code you’ll need to work with your development team to optimize these. For third parties you can review whether the script is still needed, or contact customer support of the vendor to see if it’s possible to optimize the code.

Monitor Interaction to Next Paint

Want to keep track of how you’re doing on INP and other Core Web Vitals? DebugBear can keep track of your website speed and help you optimize it.

Start a free 14-day trial today and deliver a better user experience.

Conclusion

The Interaction to Next Paint metric represents the biggest change to Google’s Core Web Vitals since they were originally announced. INP addresses the deficiencies of the previous First Input Delay metric and provides a better representation of how users experience a website.

Check how your website does on the Interaction to Next Paint metric before the ranking change is rolled out in 2024. That way you’ll have plenty of time to identify optimizations and make your website faster.

Try DebugBear with a free 14-day trial.

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Keeping up with the fluidity of the modern consumer

Humanity’s relationship with digital media is changing at an extraordinary pace. In 2021, adults in the United States were already spending an average of 485 minutes a day with digital media. That is over eight hours every day. 31% of U.S. adults claimed they go online “almost constantly” based on a survey from the Pew Research Center.

Because of the uptick in digital usage, we’re also exposed to thousands of ads daily. This represents a dramatic increase over the last decade thanks in large part to social media, among other apps, serving up heavy doses of targeted advertising.

Consumers are fully accustomed to the onslaught of ads, but expectations for relevancy are high. 71% expect companies to deliver personalized interactions, and 76% get frustrated when this does not happen. So, while they spend more time engaged with digital media and online activities and want the abundance of engagements personalized and meaningful, they also aren’t eager to give up personal information to make that possible.

All of this makes building a unified digital identity, built around email addresses, even more important.  Utilizing the email address as the key identifier is the most effective way for businesses to ensure they’re reaching the intended consumer with consistent, personalized messaging across multiple channels.

 When MarTech and data explode

The pandemic brought about a wave of behavioral changes in consumers. From increased eCommerce sales and digitally purchased groceries and household goods, to reduced loyalty as consumers sampled new brands. Many of these changes seem to have staying power.

Managing digital identities becomes necessary, but more challenging, when you consider the expanding universe of data, devices, platforms, and channels comprising the digital world.

The MarTech ecosystem is bulging at the seams with companies trying to capitalize thanks to these new opportunities. As of 2022, there were nearly 10,000 MarTech vendors offering solutions, growing a staggering 6,521% from 2011 to 2022 (ChiefMartec).

The cause for concern runs high. With so many applications and solutions in play at any given time, it is easy to understand how organizations struggle to keep consumer data up to date and synced appropriately. It’s common to discover companies have conflicting or incorrect information.

Moreover, people may use different email addresses depending on how and with whom they interact. For example, online shopping. Retailers may have a customer’s email linked to their billing information, another tied to promotions and loyalty programs, and perhaps a third from contact with customer support. Finding that multiple email addresses link back to the same person is highly beneficial.

Not only do consumers use multiple email addresses, but when close to 30% of data decays annually, it’s likely some of them created or are using a different email address than what exists in a company’s system. Targeting can only reach the audience if based on up-to-date and preferred information.

Despite the growing number of apps in companies’ tech stacks, businesses are recognizing the importance of properly and actively managing digital identities by placing them in the hands of the marketers and data analysts that use these profiles every day. This renewed focus is the only way forward to meet customer’s expectations for personalization, keep retention high, and effectively improve digital marketing overall.  

Email data underpins digital identity

Centering around consumer email data provides marketers with the strongest foundation to keep pace with customers and prospects. That’s because email remains the center of digital transactions for a large number of industries. The most effective way marketers can make sure they have clean, valid email addresses and connect with actual customers is by utilizing a process for email validation.

Marketers need to verify that email addresses exist, are deliverable, and contain no risk. Running email addresses through a series of syntax, domain, and mailbox checks will meet the goals of pinpointing and deleting bad emails, correcting errors, and resolving discrepancies.

After all, messaging that doesn’t reach the recipient wastes resources with missed opportunities and poor campaign performance. When it comes to email marketing, for example, email service providers may direct senders with bad lists to the spam folder or worse, block emails entirely.

Email validation helps digital omnichannel campaigns reach their targets. And good email data can also help companies protect themselves against fraud as an estimated 40% of fraudsters use a newly created email, and 10% of fraud is attempted using invalid or fake addresses.

Keeping up to speed with the modern consumer as they engage brands across a plethora of touchpoints is not easy. Even the number of connections attributed to the average consumer is growing – over 13 for North America in 2023 (

The one common thread tying together all of these transactions and interactions? The email address.

Managing this data doesn’t need to be as daunting as it might seem. With proper validation you can be certain you’re using good information. Utilizing email intelligence will allow for the personalization consumers are expecting. Resolving digital identities will make their experience consistent. And the proper data will help reduce potential fraud. All of this revolves around strong email address data.

Learn how the right email-centric data drastically affects digital marketing

 

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Outreach: Make every email count

30-second summary:

Send emails manually to be able to build longer-lasting relationships with your recipients
Set up your email signature to make your emails look professional
Track email opens to be able to tell which emails were never seen
Create an effective follow-up strategy (which includes Twitter)
Organize your email campaigns using labels

Email fatigue is real: People get weary of opening yet another email pitch, especially people like bloggers and journalists who are bombarded by emails on a daily hourly basis.

Editors are skeptical of people looking for links, popular bloggers have more offers than they can handle and influencers are too busy to give your email a chance.

Fortunately, there are a few little email tricks you can use to help make things easier and help you get more responses.

Don’t email from an outreach tool

I know the overall industry’s standard is to always use some kind of email outreach platform in order to be able to send hundreds of emails a day. Most outreach managers will tell you that you cannot have a successful email outreach campaign without streamlining it with tools (and they actually told me that).

When I am not a professional outreach manager, and when you do outreach for clients, that’s likely true. But when you reach out to people on behalf of your own business or about your own project, have your team do it manually.

Yes, it will take more time but the reward will be more niche relationships.

Somehow tools make it too quick and faceless. You automate pretty much anything and move on from contact to contact without paying much attention.

When you send manually, you get to know each contact better. You spend some time reading their site or their column. You may even click on their social media links and follow them. You take time to personalize your email with some nice details.

People respond to these emails better. It always feels like there’s a truly personal touch. You just cannot fake it.

Create a detailed email signature

Have your outreach people set up their email signatures which would mention your business, their position, and maybe your social media accounts.

This is a great way to show that you represent a trustworthy brand and can be worked with. It makes it easy for the editor you’re trying to reach to do a little bit of research on you beforehand and know that you’re not hiding anything.

Here’s how to add a signature in Outlook, and here’s how to do that in Gmail. Here’s also a guide for Mac Mail users.

It is also a good idea to include some kind of soft CTA into your email subject. For example, you can invite your prospects to subscribe to your newsletter. This way there will be an additional conversion funnel for those who didn’t feel like replying right away.

Experiment with your copy

This step can never be perfected because there are no limits to improving your response rate. Just try different subjects and copy ideas to try and get more people to notice your email.

Asking ChatGPT for some email subject and copy ideas is a good way to get inspired!

There are also quite a few templates to experiment with different layouts and wording.

Track your email opens

There are quite a few tools that track certain emails to see whether or not they’ve been opened. You are in control of which emails you want to track so you are not overloaded with information, and those tools work with Gmail, Outlook, and even a few specialty email platforms.

I am using one called Mailtrack, and here’s what it looks like when my email wasn’t read:

The icon changes once your email is opened:

If an email has been opened, you will get a notification at the top of your screen. You can also organize your sent messages to show only unopened emails you are tracking. You can “mute” a conversation whenever you’d like and there are plenty of customizable settings.

This is an excellent way to see where you should spend your time sending follow-up messages. If you know that someone opened your email and did not respond, it means they will likely recognize a second one and may have forgotten to respond. You don’t want to be overbearing, but this helps you see where your opportunities may lie.

Fine-tune your follow-up strategy

Life is busy, so your email may be unnoticed by those who would otherwise find it useful. Following-up is an integral part of any outreach.

Gmail comes with a few nice features helping you follow up manually. For example, it will remind you of unanswered emails automatically after a few days. You can also snooze your emails to be reminded of them once the time comes. To enable snoozing:

Select the email you want to Snooze.
Click the Snooze button on top of the list
Pick a date and time to bring that email back to the top of your inbox.

You can find your snoozed emails in the Snoozed tab in Gmail.

When it comes to follow-up, a little automation won’t hurt, so you can use one of the many follow-up solutions that work on Gmail or your email client.

It is always a good idea to ping that person on Twitter. This will make you look real and will likely help your lead remember you and find your email in the inbox. Obviously, you can only do that for those contacts that are very important to you.

Use labels to create folders for your pitches

There are certainly different ways you can craft your email pitch, but there are also methods you can use that are directly related to your email interface that can help you stay organized if you use them in the right way. Using labels is one of those methods.

This is another way to stay organized if you’re trying to find different opportunities. As you continue to pitch different editors, you can create a label to sort out all of your emails. You will already have System Labels, such as your Inbox, Starred, Sent, etc., as well as Categories, such as Social, Updates, etc., but you have the opportunity to create custom labels.

If you group your email pitches using campaign-based labels, you can help keep them away from your other work emails and have one specific place to see everyone you’ve tried to reach out to within every campaign; thus helping you know when it’s time for a follow-up email.

Conclusion

Email outreach is still the most effective way to generate backlinks, build niche contacts and create brand awareness. It is becoming harder year by year. Hopefully, the above tips will make yours easier and more productive!

Ann Smarty is the Founder of Viral Content Bee, Brand and Community manager at Internet Marketing Ninjas. She can be found on Twitter @seosmarty.

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