A BIG HELLO TO ALL OF YOU! My name is Preeya Prasad, and as some of you might have heard, I am the new social media manager here at SparkPost! I am very excited to start this role! I have some great ideas that I cannot wait to share!

A Little About Myself

I am based out of San Francisco; I am originally from Fiji and moved to the Bay Area when I was a toddler and have lived here since. The Bay Area has been a very special place for me; growing up here has been an absolute privilege. For those who have not visited the Bay Area, it is an amazing place to visit. We have everything from great food, music, art, sports teams (GO WARRIORS!) and lastly and most importantly, some great weather!

Why Social Media?

My passion for social media stems from my background in Psychology. I have a degree in experimental psychology from Saint Mary’s College of California.  While I was there, I spent time researching human behavior, learning about people of different backgrounds and how we connect with one another. So a career in social media seemed only natural!

My Journey To Becoming a Social Media Manager

Right around the time I graduated from college was when Facebook was just starting out (back in the day when it was just for college students). Soon after, Twitter came along and Instagram followed. I was completely fascinated with how I could connect with friends and family from around the world. Geography was no longer a boundary – we were all one post or tweet away. I loved how social media allowed us to share our opinions, thoughts, and views about everything from politics to entertainment. It connected us during major events from eclipses to elections to the premiere of Game of Thrones. For a moment in time, we were all connected; no matter what part of the world we were in. Social media helped break all communication boundaries and created a powerful human connection from each corner of the world.

What Have I Been Up To In Social Media

Over the last couple of years, my focus has been creating social media strategies and campaigns for employer branding initiatives. I leveraged Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram to communicate the company’s mission, vision, and the value of the platform we were building in a positive and authentic way. It helped to attract thought leaders and potential candidates to engage with us and to connect with a broader range of audiences outside of our normal demographics. My role essentially was that of a storyteller. Each day I got to tell a story not only about the company itself, but also of the people who worked there and the difference we were making in the world with our products.

Now When I am Not On Social Media…

When I am not posting, Tweeting or Instagramming, I am either at yoga, hanging out with friends, going to the movies or out exploring.  When I am not out exploring or hanging out with friends, I am giving back to my community which is something I am very passionate about.

I am a volunteer with Taproot which allows me to work with non-profits all over the Bay Area. I help them with any marketing needs they may have. I also volunteer with Glide Memorial here in San Francisco for a number of things: from serving lunch and holiday meals to helping with toy and clothing drives. Another non-profit that I have partnered with in the past is Project Open Hand.  They do amazing work here in San Francisco ensuring that everyone gets three hot meals a day. Volunteering is something very important to me. It is not only my way of giving back, but also helps make where I live a better place. If you are ever interested in working with any of these of non-profits or have questions in general about volunteering, please feel free to reach out to me.

I look forward to connecting! I would love to hear from all of you as well – feel free to email me or connect via Twitter.

— Preeya Prasad

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Weekly Email Marketing News Digest

It seems almost cliche to be discussing the value of email versus search, as it seems long established that email and social media both occupy a unique position in the marketing ecosystem. Each individual channel has its role to play in customer engagement. I’ve definitely been driven to buy more from emails than social media, but that doesn’t mean businesses should scrap social completely when it comes to a cross-channel strategy. When social media and email marketing are integrated into a seamless campaign, they drive results, engagement and ROI that far outweighs the benefits of using each channel in silos.

It Should Never Have Been Social Vs. Email

Chad White makes a valid point that the intention of customers when they follow businesses on social channels is different from when they subscribe to email lists. Social media is a mid-funnel channel and works best for awareness-building and customer interactions. On the other hand, email is a low funnel channel. Customers who subscribe have buying intent and the overwhelming reason for signing up is receiving discounts and promotions. Basically? Social media and email are sequential elements of the sales funnel, that do not compete, but instead complement.

How To Integrate Email And Social Media To Increase Engagement

I confess that I’m not immune to an email with the subject line “50% off – 48 hour sale” as it not only offers an incentive, but creates a sense of urgency. Here are other ways to drive engagement through social media integration, aside from the subject line.

  1. Generate interaction with emails – ask questions and solicit feedback.
  2. Use email to inspire social interaction through like and share buttons.
  3. Use social media to boost email subscriptions such as a link to subscribe to an email list.

Gain Subscriptions Through Facebook

Brand Advocates Choose Email Over Social For Referrals

A SocialTwist study shows that 55.4% of brand advocates chose email as their sharing channel, 41.8% chose Facebook and 2.6% chose Twitter. Social followers who referred brands used email as their primary sharing channel. 85% of brand advocates’ reach came from Facebook, versus 12% from email. New customers were primarily through obtained through email. Here’s a breakdown of  new customers by referring channels:

  • Email – 50.8%
  • Twitter – 26.8%
  • Facebook – 22%
  • Pinterest and LinkedIn – 0.4%

Distribution of Email vs Social Influence

Perhaps the key takeaway from the researchers?

“Marketers should avoid falling into perception traps – like email marketing is somehow vastly different from social marketing. Anything that connects consumers is social.”

Email and Search Deliver More Customers Than Social Media

A report by Custora states that 15.8% of online e-commerce customers is acquired through organic search, followed by 9.8% for cost per click. Since 2009, customer acquisition through email has quadrupled to 6.8%. Facebook accounted for 0.17% and Twitter less than 0.01%.

Customer Acquisition Through Email

Email Isn’t Dead

The Value of Email

Want to learn how to extend your reach through email? Download our free Email Best Practices 101 eBook to increase the chances of getting into your customer’s inbox!

Email Best Practices eBook

What is multi-channel? How about cross-channel? Marketers themselves seem confused according to this article by Mediapost. It’s been defined as “data-enabled targeting”, linked to “behavior” and “customer lifecycle”. We’re going to throw our hat in the ring, with CEO George Schlossnagle’s detailed definitions on multi-channel and cross-channel, in articles featured on Mashable.

Email marketers looking to go cross-channel: Start by listening

Experian provides some advice for marketers nervous about dipping their toe into cross-channel marketing. Begin cross-channel listening first, then use that data to optimize email campaigns based on how customers choose to engage with the brand.

Got Questions For Brands on Twitter? Expect A Response 38% of the Time

If you are providing customer service through multi-channels, what do customers expect in terms of response time? This study by Steven Van Belleghem, in association with SSI and No Problem has the answer.

VanBelleghem-Customer-Service-Response-Times-by-Channel-June2013

Compare this with an earlier Socialbakers study and we see the disconnect.

  • Brands only answered 38% of questions posed to their Twitter account after an average lag time of 6.5 hours.
  • Brands were more responsive on Facebook, answering 60% of question posted there, but took almost an entire day.

Email Should Not Be a Lost Channel: Messaging To The Purse

In the rush to adopt cross-channel marketing, email should not be forgotten. Here are a few tips to optimize your email campaigns.

  • Use data to drive testing
  • Use a control group and segment customers when testing new strategies
  • Make sure you are using marketing automation effectively
  • Ensure a seamless transition from email to website by ensuring that the landing page content corresponds to the email offer

Four key cross-channel marketing challenges from Digital Cream

Here are four key challenges marketers face in cross-channel marketing:

  • Data analysis and attribution is a challenge in integrated cross-channel marketing
  • Disparate systems are major technological barriers
  • Diverse customer databases means that customer segmentation is a problem
  • Organisational hierarchies can prove a barrier to cross-channel marketing

And here are some stats from Google on how multichannel journeys begin and progress.

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Infographic: How Email Integrates Multi-Channel Marketing

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Find out more about The New Communications Standard – drive engagement by combining email with mobile messaging!

The New Communications Standard

Weekly Email Marketing News Digest

In social media world, G+ now has the second most number of active users (343 million) after Facebook (693 million) demonstrating the power of product integration in driving adoption. Third place goes to YouTube at 300 million active users. Which brings us to the week old question. What about email marketing? What’s new in the email space?

Courting Trouble: Big Retailers Don’t Use DMARC

It’s been a year since the DMARC scheme was implemented and only three out of the top 100 American retailers are using it: Amazon, Apple and Netflix. The adoption rate is a problem as incidences of phishers capturing financial data using phony receipts is rising.

While some companies may have adopted some form of email authentication, they might not have applied it to all their outbound messages. A marketing message inviting people to a sale could be authenticated, but transactional and customer service emails may not.

The Anatomy of an Awful Marketing Email

How many of us have been guilty of sending out an awful marketing email? Show of hands? No one’s perfect and I’m sure plenty of marketers have made such mistakes in the early days of email marketing. HubSpot has put together a truly awful email that breaks all the rules of email design optimization.

email-marketing-bad-ex

  • Write a Generic Subject Line
  • Don’t Let Recipients Send a Reply Email
  • Use Unsophisticated Design
  • Don’t Check for Broken Dynamic Content
  • Write Disingenuously
  • Include Your Least Remarkable Content
  • Use Generic Images
  • Use Images That Don’t Display Correctly
  • Don’t Include a Call-to-Action
  • Don’t Permit Recipients to Unsubscribe

Though Multi-Channel Users, Consumers Still Prefer Email Marketing

We’ve said it again and again – marketing today is all about providing customers with a multi-channel experience. It’s about allowing the customer to interact with brands on their terms and their choice of channels. A study has shown that email is preferred by consumers (33%) over the website (24%) and Facebook (22%), when it comes to a choice of investing marketing dollars.

6 Email Marketing Myths

Any experienced marketer would know all the faux pas when it comes to email marketing… or do they? Here are 6 email marketing no-nos… that may just be untrue.

  • Myth 1: If you send a lot of emails, you’ll annoy your customers.
  • Myth 2: You shouldn’t send the same email twice.
  • Myth 3: Emails should be short and sweet.
  • Myth 4: You should always create fresh copy.
  • Myth 5: You need descriptive subject lines.
  • Myth 6: Companies should send email newsletters.

Email best practice: Evans Cycles shows value of collecting customer data in-store

Econsultancy’s David Moth highlights how Evans Cycles effectively uses email to engage the customer, after collecting that info at point of purchase, without being annoying.

  • Step 1: Prize draw for reviewing the sales process
  • Step 2: Prize draw for reviewing product purchased
  • Step 3: Welcome to the club email
  • Step 4: Offering a free service based on product purchase

Do you agree with these Dos and Don’ts for email optimization? Have you implemented DMARC? Tell us what you think! Or download the How DMARC Is Saving Email eBook for more DMARC insights!

How DMARC Is Saving Email

Weekly Email Marketing News Digest

End of the week and wasn’t it a long time coming? Time to kick back and wind down before the weekend. And we have the perfect way to do it with news to keep you entertained and in the know about what’s trending in the email world.

Six email predictions for the new year

As the year comes to a close, marketers across all industries and verticals are starting to speculate on what’s in and what’s out in 2013. BtoB magazine speaks to our very own Carrie Scott, Director of Product & Direct Marketing, and John Pinson, Senior Content Marketing Manager, on what their predictions are for email in the new year. Here’s what on the In list in a nut shell:

Cross-channel communication through social media with a focus on LinkedIn
• Continued emphasis on investment in email
• Control over data centers through on-premise technology solutions
Customer engagement based on their terms
Consolidated messaging across channels
• Communications centered around mobile

5 meaningful numbers that don’t lie

Numbers are both the bane and boon of businesses measuring their ROI on marketing efforts. Here are 5 numbers that govern whether your email sees the light of day or is relegated to the delete bin:

Time of Day – What works in the West, might not work in the East. Target to have everyone receive an email at the same time in their time zone.
Open Rate – Split test all elements that could impact open rate.
Click Rate – Ensure a clear CTA or Call To Action
Click to Open Ratio (Different from click rate!) – A low ratio could mean that your subject line is misleading & not aligned to the content people expect to get from the email
Conversion Rate – Aim for a clear CTA to get a conversion rate of between 20-35%

5 Charts That Could Change Your Email Marketing

Our friends in Eloqua have released 5 charts to help you optimize your email marketing efforts. Here’s one in particular that we’d like to highlight:

eloqua-email

Email Drives more Traffic than Social – This validates our Marketing Channel and Engagement Benchmark Survey which finds that email is still the top choice of a marketing channel at 90% where social comes in at 70%. Our recommendation is to leverage the reach of both channels by having them work in tandem to generate conversations – and ultimately, conversions.

Why is mobile important for B2B marketing?

We all know how mobile, and smartphones in particular, have radically transformed the landscape of marketing and how it’s THE way to get potential customers to convert. What’s key to using it effectively is understanding the ways in which your target audience use mobiles in their daily lives and this article highlight the four key pillars to a mobile strategy.

Don’t be a Petraeus: A Tutorial on Anonymous Email Accounts

Whether it’s exchanging love letters with a significant other, or preparing for your next top secret mission if you’re James Bond, there’s always a time when you’d like to communicate in privacy without feeling like Big Brother is watching. The Petraeus scandal and lawsuits filed citing violations of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act have both sparked off debate on privacy issues in a business world powered by electronic communications. Here’s a starter’s guide to ensuring the security of your email communications.

Find out why mobile is so important in the world of email with The New Communications Standard white paper!

The New Communications Standard

Some quick thoughts and impressions from the OMMA Global Show from last week in San Francisco…. (more…)