Month: January 2015

How to Segment Your Mailing List for More Effective Email Marketing


Email marketing is one of the best tools in your digital marketing arsenal, and it should be used as a tool – carefully and with precise aim. Too many businesses still use email as a sort of spray-and-pray campaign, trusting in a big mailing list to bring in at least a few sales, even if the great majority of recipients trash the email immediately. After all, once you’ve put together an email campaign, it doesn’t cost you any more whether you send it to 20 or 2,000 people, right?

email marketing

Wrong. Unfocused content and untargeted marketing can irritate your subscribers, resulting in unsubscribes, abuse reports, negative brand image, and lost sales. And it dilutes the impact your email marketing could otherwise have – so when you do finally have a great bit of content or a huge offer, subscribers won’t bother reading. Your mailing list is chock full of qualified leads, and it deserves more than general batch and blast emails.

Divide and Conquer Your List

In a recent post, CEO Susan Baroncini-Moe discussed the importance of honing your digital marketing efforts to your target markets, no matter the medium. The good news is that email marketing is one of the easiest to segment and target, and at a low cost as well. As long as you’ve kept good records and know how to sort through them, you can segment your mailing list and target all your messages.

Related Class: How to Use Email for Demand Generation

Email marketing service provider MailChimp used results from 11,000 segmented campaigns, sent to over 9 million recipients, to research the benefits of segmenting your mailing list. Their results confirm what you’d generally expect – segmented campaigns had 19% higher open rates, and 22% higher click through rates, performing better across the board.

Experiment with Your Targets

If you’ve never segmented your mailing list before, start small and think carefully about divisions in your customer base. If, for example, your product sells well with grandparents and young parents, there are similarities there. But there are also differences that you can use to tailor your content and marketing pitch. Come up with a few strategies to test, and run a campaign based on these, keeping a careful eye on your analytics. Use data like CTRs, open rates, and sales to determine which approaches were successful and which performed poorly. Three ideas to get you started:

Time Triggered Emails

Run a list of every customer who purchased in the last month, 6 months, or year. They’re obviously interested in what you’re selling, or they wouldn’t be in this group – so hit them with helpful content to remind them what great services or products you offer, and, if you’re feeling generous, a discount voucher code to tempt them back to your sales funnel.

New Subscribers and Buyers

You wouldn’t want your sales team using the same pitch on first time perspective buyers that they use on loyal returning customers, would you? Hitting brand new subscribers to your mailing list with the same content you send everyone else isn’t the best way to nurture them into the fold.

Related Class: Email Campaign Fundamentals

Introduce yourself with thoughtful, quality content that really reflects your brand and voice, so that these new readers will get a sense of your business. Let them know how excited you are to have them on board, and ease them into the relevant sales messaging based on demographic data like age, gender, and location. These recipients haven’t seen your previous campaigns, so if you have older content or messaging that you’re particularly proud of, send it their way!

Subscribers Who Have Never Purchased

Ah, the possibilities! Recipients on your mailing list who have never actually completed a purchase represent a lot of opportunity. Whether they once downloaded your eBook or abandoned a shopping cart, these folks are interested but not yet eager. Do they really know what you have to offer, or how you can solve a problem they have? Are they aware of your free shipping and easy return policy? Let them know why customers choose you, and be specific. I’m a big believer in freebies and samples to coax in customers that could be loyal for life – read my blog on the subject here.

email marketing

There are a million ways to segment your list, and you should try as many as are relevant to your marketing strategy and customer base – zip code, gender, age, interests, purchase history, cart history, etc. Track the data and determine which lists were most effective, and incorporate them into a strategic long-term plan. As long as your content is tailored to each list, and germane to their needs, you’ll find more success than with general eBlasts. Who on Earth wants to receive something called a blast?

Want to learn more about strategic email marketing? Watch this class, Demand Generation: Email Marketing Messaging Best Practices, to find out about segmentation, strategic testing, and other best practices from Kim Albee, one of OMI's Top 20 Digital Marketing Strategists for 2015.


Does Your Digital Marketing Strategy Cater to Your Target Market?


With digital marketing budgets projected to increase to 35% of total budgets over the course of the next year, mobile growing ever stronger, and wearables actually on the horizon, digital marketing is more important in 2015 than ever before. And knowing what to prioritize in digital is essential for every business, entrepreneur, and marketer.

The biggest challenge in digital marketing for many businesses is that most marketers think of digital as “the thing,” rather than “a part of the thing.”

Certainly, digital marketing provides enormous benefits and value, often for a fraction of the cost of traditional marketing strategies and mechanisms. However, the challenge of marketers is to see digital marketing for what it is: just one tool in the toolbox, or, more accurately, a bunch of tools within the marketing toolbox.

How to Develop a Digital Marketing Plan That Caters to Your Target Audience

The priority for 2015 for digital marketers and business owners should be in determining just how to leverage digital marketing tools in the right configuration for each individual business, with just the right mix of paid and organic media. That means looking at retargeting, remarketing, paid advertising and video marketing, content marketing, social, and search engine optimization and marketing.

Related Class: How to Create a Digital Marketing Strategy & Framework

Determining the “recipe” of just which digital marketing strategies and tools are useful for an individual brand is not an easy task, but should be the priority for results-oriented, metrics-driven brands that want to maximize their investment in digital marketing as a part of an overall marketing strategy, and should be guided by the target market and their behavior in the digital world.

This idea should not be news to marketers—designing marketing strategy to reach the target market has always been best practice—but because there are so many “everybody has to have X” messages in digital marketing, even the best marketers can get sucked into the next “shiny object” and forget the fundamentals.

Does Your Digital Marketing Strategy Cater To Your Target Market

Don’t get me wrong, it’s fine to experiment. In fact, I actually recommend to most of my clients that they allot a percentage of their budgets to experimenting with new strategies to see what tools yield the strongest results. Experimentation is critical for successful marketing campaigns in a world where the one constant is change.

Related Class: Demand Generation - Defining Your Target Market

So in 2015, with more digital marketing opportunities available than ever, the top priority for entrepreneurs, marketers, and businesses will be to remember that every one of these digital marketing strategies is just one more tool in the toolbox, and to assess whether each new tool fits well into the existing marketing campaign and will actually reach the target market.


How to Refine Your Content Marketing Strategy with Buyer Personas


Smart content marketing is a very cost-effective way of reaching new leads, particularly when compared to traditional advertising and outbound marketing. And the best part about using content is that you can cast a very wide net for a relatively low cost, since you’re not paying per impression or direct mailer. But beware how wide that net gets – aiming for too large an audience can often dilute what could otherwise be a very effective content strategy.

content marketing

The antidote to broad, watered down content is simple: buyer personas. Creating a specific profile for the type of customer you’re looking for (whether it’s B2C or B2B) will help you tailor your content to speak directly to those likely candidates, and trim the fat so you’re not wasting thousands of words on an audience that will never convert.

Research has shown that refining and targeting your content to specific personas can dramatically improve the efficacy of marketing efforts – we’re talking about 14% higher CTRs on email campaigns, contributing 18 times more revenue than untargeted broadcast emails. Think it’s too good to be true? Check out this infographic from Single Grain.

B2B Buying Profiles & Process

In the world of B2B marketing, buyer personas are twofold: you’ll need to identify the types of businesses you hope to engage with, and then the people at those businesses who you’ll be selling to. It’s likely you already have a general sense of who you do business with most, but take the time to go through your sales figures and CRM records to identify similarities across your best buyers, and to track which types of buyers you see most often.

Related Class: How To Create a Content Segmentation Plan

The next step is thinking of the specific people at those companies you hope to reach, and really fleshing out their profile. It’s not enough to say, “I’m targeting middle-management at tech companies.” What types of managers are most interested in what your company offers? What pressures are they under at work? What concerns do they have about the work they do? And most importantly, what role do they play in the buying process?

The B2B buying process gives us a clear example of when personas are needed – the marketing message you use for your first contact at a new company (typically called the ‘initiator’ in personas) should be very different from the one you use to convince C-level executives to okay the order. Just because they work at the same company doesn’t mean they have the same pain points and concerns. Your content should be tailored to touch the right nerves for the right people, whether it’s budgetary concerns for the CEO or efficiency issues for the team manager.

B2C Buyer Profiles

For B2C businesses, buyer personas are relatively straightforward – although that definitely doesn’t mean they’re easy to create and get right. After all, selling directly to customers can often mean you have a much more diverse audience than B2B marketers have.

But even if you think your products or services could be perfect for everyone under the sun, you shouldn’t keep your content marketing general to reach them all – or you’ll just lose them all! At the arts organization I work for, we mainly count on baby-boomers and retirees for our audiences, but we’re also nurturing students and young adult audiences as well. We certainly don’t use one-size-fits-all content to hit both demographics!

Related Class: Blueprint for Content Marketing Strategy

You have a wealth of information at your fingertips to help you create accurate buyer personas: website analytics, social media, CRM data, and more. Insights on Facebook will tell you a lot about your followers, like age, gender, location, etc., and you can do your own research to discover more about their interests, hobbies and family situation.

buyer persona

Once you have the general outline of a persona (young mothers in the New York area, 40-something golfers, etc.), fill it in with as many details as possible. Poll your customer service team for ideas and anecdotes if you’re uncertain. Give that persona a name and a photo, so it will be easy to write content just for them (and all your other personas too, of course).

I’ve just scratched the surface here – if you’re interested in learning more about creating and using buyer personas in your content marketing, there are many resources available to you. Your next step should be to check out this OMI class: Building a Digital Persona to Drive Strategy.


The Top 20 Digital Marketing Strategists for 2015


The Online Marketing Institute is proud to recognize the Top 20 Digital Marketing Strategists for 2015, chosen for their innovative contributions in the digital marketing community and dedication to creating online education opportunities for business owners, marketers, and students around the world. 

The list is comprised of distinguished OMI educators, authors, business owners, digital marketing professionals, contributors, and speakers, known for:

  • Creating and leading the adoption of the newest, most effective digital marketing strategies
  • Presenting incredible education opportunities through speaking engagements, blogging, and teaching
  • Delivering high-impact, positive results for their clients and organizations

With new technologies and trends the likes of retargeting, content marketing, mobile adoption, and video content all moving into the forefront of digital marketing for 2015, the landscape continues to evolve at a rapid pace. It's crucial that marketers around the world embrace changes, stay current with proven best practices, seek new opportunities, and take calculated risks to stay ahead of the competition. Through their involvement in the professional community, whether speaking, blogging, or teaching, these leaders are empowering marketers to do exactly that. 

In conjunction with this announcement, we asked these top online marketers to share the #1 area of digital marketing that all businesses need to be focusing on for 2015. We'll be releasing their insights in a series of upcoming blog posts over the next few weeks. Several of these experts are also participating in our Free Virtual Event, the First Annual Get Better @ Week starting on Jan 19, 2015!

Here is our annual list of Top 20 Digital Marketing Strategists for 2015 in alphabetical order:


1. Kim AlbeeKim Albee, Top Digital Marketing Strategist 2015 Online Marketing Institute

President and Founder, Genoo Marketing Automation | @kimalbee

Among many other contributions to the digital marketing space over the past 23 years, Kim Albee is the President and Founder of Genoo, LLC, a software-as-a-service suite of tools that allow marketers to generate messaging, drive traffic, create demand and pass intelligent lead information on to their sales departments to build relationships. Kim has also been a longtime proponent of creating eLearning opportunities and sharing her experience in the digital marketing industry with aspiring marketers, through her Digital Marketing Certification curriculum.


2. John Baker John Baker, Top Digital Marketing Strategist 2015 Online Marketing Institute

President at dotJWT Worldwide | @jmbak

As the President of dotJWT for J. Walter Thomas, one of the world's best known marketing communication brands with over 150 years in the business, John drives strategy in digital technology adoption for the company. Pulling from over 25 years of international marketing experience and consulting, John is a regular blogger and educator on industry trends and analysis.


3. Susan Baroncini-Moe

Executive Coach, Marketing Strategist, Author, Business in Blue Jeans | @suebmoe

Susan Baroncini-Moe is the author of the bestselling, Business in Blue Jeans: How to Have a Successful Business on Your Own Terms, in Your Own Style. She is an executive coach and a marketing consultant for B2B and the wellness and hospitality industries. She regularly speaks to audiences of all sizes and has shared the stage with business giants like Michael E. Gerber, Bob Burg, and Larry Winget, among others. Susan and her businesses have been featured in Redbook Magazine, USA Today, MSN Living, Investor’s Business Daily, Yahoo Finance, and American Express Open Forum, and she is a Guinness World Records® titleholder.

4. Rohit Bhargava Rohit Bhargava, Top Digital Marketing Strategist 2015 Online Marketing Institute

CEO & Founder, Influential Marketing Group | @rohitbhargava 

Rohit is an author of five best selling books on digital marketing, including Personality Not Included: Why Companies Lose Their Authenticity and How Great Brands Get it Back, featuring contributions from Guy Kawasaki. As the founder of the Influential Marketing Group and over 10 years of experience at digital agencies, Rohit has advised global brands the likes of Intel, Lenovo, Unilever, Novartis, Pfizer, and Marriott on communications strategy, storytelling, and how to build an authentic image. Rohit is also a professor at Georgetown University, where he's renowned for his signature course on Global Marketing in the Age of Social Media.


5. Bernie Borges Bernie Borges, Top Digital Marketing Strategist 2015 Online Marketing Institute

CEO and Founder, Find and Convert | @bernieborges

Bernie is a longtime speaker, blogger, and educator in the online marketing space. As the CEO and Founder of Find and Convert, a digital marketing agency and HubSpot partner of over 12 years, he has become well known in the industry for his digital tv show and podcast, The Social Business Engine which showcases practitioners and thoughts leaders succeeding on their social business journey. Bernie also participates in regular speaking engagements and presentations around the US, and is a former faculty member of the American Marketing Association.


6. Lisa Buyer

CEO, The Buyer Group@lisabuyer

Social PR author, evangelist, journalist and publicist. Author of Social PR Secrets and named one of the top 40 Digital Strategists for 2013, Lisa Buyer is passionate and ambitious about how public relations, social media and online marketing influence each other. She is president and CEO of The Buyer Group, an interactive public relations and social agency located in Celebration, Florida and editor for Social #PR Chat covering trends in social PR, mobile PR, brand PR and SEO PR. Lisa writes for several industry publications covering how public relations influences search and social and is a regular speaker with PubCon, SMX, ClickZLive (formerly SES) and OMI. She is also an instructor of the University of San Francisco’s online Advanced Social Media certificate program. Lisa graduated from the University of Florida’s College of Journalism. Go Gators! Her favorite hashtags are #yoga, #sunsets and #surfing. 


7. Thom Craver Thom Craver, Top Digital Marketing Strategist 2015 Online Marketing Institute

Vice President of Development & IT, Internet Marketing Ninjas | @thomcraver

Thom is a technology innovator at Internet Marketing Ninjas, one of the world's best quality link building companies. He currently leads a team of 16, including web designers, developers, programmers, and system engineers in driving strategy and creating more efficient processes. Thom is a regular contributor to Search Engine Watch, speaker at ClickZ Live Conferences around North America, and was the keynote speaker at a Tedx Event in 2013. Thom also has over 20 years of classroom experience and creating curriculum for the Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, NY.

8. Courtney Herda Courtney Herda, Top Digital Marketing Strategist 2015 Online Marketing Institute

President, Smarter Searches | @courtneyherda

What are you doing to improve the value of your website? If you have the opportunity to chat with Courtney about your business, you're definitely going to hear that question. Courtney has more than seven years of experience in content creation, optimization, sales, and retention of successful PPC, SEO and social media campaigns for companies of all sizes. After running search engine marketing for TV personality and financial speaker Dave Ramsey, Courtney launched Smarter Searches, her digital marketing consultancy. She has rapidly become an authority on search engine strategies and landing page optimization. Courtney was also recently interviewed in Forbes on how to get started with Google+ for Beginners and Businesses Alike.


9. Victoria Ipri Victoria Ipri, Top Digital Marketing Strategist 2015 Online Marketing Institute

Founder, Learn LinkedIn Fast | @victoriaipri

Victoria is an independent marketing consultant, focusing on teaching LinkedIn strategy and works largely with small B2B businesses to improve online marketing and lead generation results on LinkedIn. She is the founder of many successful LinkedIn groups, representing thousands of active members, and is regularly cited as a Top Influencer on Linkedin. Victoria is a sought-after speaker and author of the popular ebooks “Social Media for the Clueless,” "LinkedIn For The Clueless," and “How to Sell Your Book Using LinkedIn.” She holds a masters certificate in Advanced Internet Marketing from the University of San Francisco, and lives in Philadelphia, PA.


10. Thad Kahlow 

Thad Kahlow, Top Digital Marketing Strategist 2015 Online Marketing Institute

CEO, BusinessOnline

Thad has been in the internet marketing industry for over 16 years and has developed a wealth of experience in Search Engine Optimization, Web Analytics, and Interactive Marketing. Since being featured on the Inc 5000 list in 2011 and 2012 with his digital marketing agency, BusinessOnline, Thad has become a regular contributor to iMedia, ERA and B2B Magazine. He has also presented on how to drive meaningful and highly targeted web traffic at industry and executive conferences including the DMA, HTMA, AMT and Online Marketing Summit.


11. Kent Lewis Kent Lewis, Top Digital Marketing Strategist 2015 Online Marketing Institute

President and Founder, Anvil Media | @kentlewis

Kent founded Anvil Media, an integrated marketing agency specializing in analytics, search engine & social media marketing 19 years ago. Under his leadership, Anvil has received recognition from Portland Business Journal & Inc. Magazine as a Fastest Growing & Most Philanthropic Company. Kent regularly speaks at digital marketing industry events and has been published in several books and publications including Business2Community, iMedia Connection, Online Marketing Summit, and Portland Business Journal. Kent was also recently recognized as a Top 25 Most Influential Pay-per-Click Expert and the Marketer of the Year by the American Marketing Association, Oregon chapter.


12. Phil Pallen Phil Pallen, Top Digital Marketing Strategist 2015 Online Marketing Institute

Brand Strategist, Phil Pallen Collective | @philpallen

Author of the acclaimed, Shut Up and Tweet, Phil Pallen represents a new breed of digital brand strategists. In a world of interconnectivity, Phil's approach is that social media and visual identity are now truly co-dependent, essential pieces of a brand. Phil builds brands for TV personalities, public figures, and entrepreneurs around the world. As an avid writer, podcast publisher, and twitter aficionado, Phil keeps a pulse on the latest technologies and trends that determine what success looks like online. Join his new e-series and change the way you think about branding today.


13. Chad Pollitt Chad Pollitt, Top Digital Marketing Strategist 2015 Online Marketing Institute

VP of Audience, Co-Founder, | @chadpollitt

Chad co-founded, the world's first online publication dedicated solely to highlighting the content marketing industry. A member of the Forbes Top 100 list for global ad agencies in social content, Chad also authored "51 Things Your Mother Taught You About Inbound Marketing." He has contributed to industry media outlets, including the Guardian, Huffington Post, Social Media Today, Business2Community, and LinkedIn. In his free eBook, The Content Promotion Manifesto, Chad lays a foundation for content marketers to have successful and profitable campaigns in a short amount of time, while simultaneously building a lasting audience.

14. Kevin Popović 

Founder & CEO, Ideahaus | @kevinpopovic

As the founder of Ideahaus, Kevin drives strategy for one of the world's leading creative communications agencies, serving B2B, B2C and Non-Profit organizations that want to build their brands and increase sales. In 2010, Kevin was ranked #43 in Fast Company's The Influence Project measuring the "most influential people online." His latest book, 20YEARS Communications is looked to as an authority on the evolution of communications, and provides insight as to where communications was, is, and will go in the future.


15. Neal Schaffer Neal Schaffer, Top Digital Marketing Strategist 2015 Online Marketing Institute

President, Maximize Your Social | @nealschaffer

Neal has been a Forbes Top 50 Social Media Power Influencer for two years in a row. Also recognized as a Forbes Top 5 Social Sales Influencer, he has made an incredible impact on social media education through eLearning opportunities online and through his consultancy, Maximize Your Social. Neal is a global social media speaker who has spoken at over 200 events across three continents since 2009, and is a regular contributor to leading online publications. Neal also teaches as part of the Rutgers University Business School Mini Social Media MBA Program and is soon launching his Social Media Center for Excellence to continue down the path of offering meaningful online learning opportunities in the digital marketing space.


16. Miriam SlozbergMiriam Slozberg,Top Digital Marketing Strategist 2015 Online Marketing Institute.png

Social Media & SEO Consultant, Gemini Rising | @msmir

Over the past 4 years through her digital marketing consultancy, Miriam has worked with Sears, Whirlpool, and Hero Burgers on social media management and modern SEO techniques, including blog writing and keyword-driven unique content. With a Klout score of 79, it's safe to say Miriam knows what works and what doesn't when it comes to social media engagement. She runs an online coaching course, Social Influence University, to help entrepreneurs harness the potential of social media. Miriam was also named one of AGBeat's Top 50 Influencers of 2014 for social media evangelism and expertise. She's a regular contributor in The Boston Globe, Fortune, Worth, on radio shows, podcasts and blogs as a social media expert.


17. Debra Smallman Debra Smallman,Top Digital Marketing Strategist 2015 Online Marketing Institute

CEO, Kaberg Consulting | @debras

Debra Smallman has over 20 years of media experience in both traditional and digital marketing. Debra has held several roles as Senior VP in major media agencies around the United States, and started her own consulting agency, Kaberg Consulting, 15 years ago. Through her consultancy, Debra leads strategy and focuses on providing consultation to numerous agencies and clients across a variety of industries and demographics.

18. Jamie Smith Jamie Smith,Top Digital Marketing Strategist 2015 Online Marketing Institute

VP of Growth, | @jamiesmithnow

Jamie founded Engine Ready Software, a strategic marketing service, and just recently successfully sold the business to another digital agency. Jamie has over 10 years of Internet Marketing experience, continually staying on top of the newest opportunities in the ever-changing Internet business landscape. He now also works with, a search marketing competitive intelligence provider. It's used by business owners, marketing managers, and agencies to quickly optimize SEO, AdWords and other PPC campaigns using information from what their top competitors are doing.


19. Brian Solis Brian Solis, Top Digital Marketing Strategist 2015 Online Marketing Institute

Principal Analyst, Altimeter Group | @briansolis

Brian is globally recognized as one of the most prominent thought leaders, speakers, and published authors in new technology and digital anthropology. He's the Principal Analyst at Altimeter Group, his research and consulting firm that helps companies understand and act on digital disruption. His new book, What's the Future of Business (WTF), explores the landscape of connected consumerism and how business and customer relationships unfold and flourish in four distinct moments of truth. His previous book, The End of Business as Usual, explores the emergence of Generation-C, a new generation of customers and employees and how businesses must adapt to reach them. One of his most popular books, Engage, is regarded as the industry reference guide for businesses to market, sell and service in the social web.


20. Jeannie Walters Jeannie Walters, Top Digital Marketing Strategist 2015 Online Marketing Institute

CEO & Chief Customer Experience Investigator, 360 Connext | @jeanniecw

Jeannie is a world renowned customer experience speaker, writer, and consultant with more than 15 years experience in assisting all types of companies, including Fortune 500 to better empower and satisfy their customers. Jeannie has spoken at TEDx conferences, and has been awarded the Businesswoman of the Year by the Business Ledger and as An Outstanding Woman of Achievement by the Girl Scouts of America for her active leadership in numerous women's organizations.


Know someone else who should be on this list? Share your pick for the top digital marketer by tagging them in the comments below.