Exterior Insulation for an Ugly Brick Building

first_imgHow do you insulate an old building with exterior walls made of structural brick? The best approach, according to building science professor John Straube, is to install a continuous layer of exterior insulation. Straube told me, “It’s a great solution for ugly buildings.”This approach was used a few years ago in a rehabilitation project in Brandon, Vermont, by a nonprofit developer of affordable housing, the Housing Trust of Rutland County. The developers converted a remarkably ugly three-story brick office building into attractive, energy-efficient apartments for low-income Vermonters. To insulate the walls, the project team decided to install 4 inches of polyisocyanurate on the exterior side of the existing brick walls. They also transformed the existing flat roof by installing new roof trusses with generous roof overhangs. The building had been abandoned The building acquired by the Housing Trust was the former administration building at the long-closed Brandon Training School, which operated for years as an institution for developmentally disabled Vermonters. When the rehab project began, the administration building had been empty and unused for over ten years.Using a variety of funding sources — including funds from the federal low-income housing tax credit program, the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board, Vermont Housing Finance Agency, Department of Housing and Urban Development, and USDA Rural Development — the Housing Trust converted the building in 2013 to 18 apartments.The project architect, Laz Scangas of Arnold and Scangas Architects in St. Albans, Vermont, shared details of the rehab project at a presentation he gave at the Better Buildings By Design conference in Burlington, Vermont, on February 8, 2018. The existing building was nothing special The existing 24,393-square-foot brick building was built in 1956. “It was a a basic box with a flat membrane roof,” Scangas told attendees at the Burlington conference. “It was… Start Free Trial Already a member? Log in This article is only available to GBA Prime Memberscenter_img Sign up for a free trial and get instant access to this article as well as GBA’s complete library of premium articles and construction details.last_img read more

Explaining AleX NetLit: Fictional Personas & Online Learning

first_imgThe Network Literacy Community of Practice (NetLit CoP) has received some questions about AleX NetLit, the fictional persona we created to help military family service professionals, Cooperative Extension professionals and others learn more about using online networks in their work.We thought it might be helpful to explain how and why we came up with AleX NetLit.Background on fictional personasFictional personas are representations of a major user group of a particular device, system or product. They can also be representations of a major group within an audience. The purpose of a persona is to get away from generalizations about a group of users and focus on the needs of a specific representative user.Personas typically have names, pictures, and demographic details based on the larger audience’s demographics such as age, education, ethnicity, and family status. Usability.gov, a guide to developing usable websites, says personas can also include “the goals and tasks they are trying to complete using the site and their environment (i.e., physical, social, and technological).”Using personas in website design and in other areas of user experience design (architecture, software development and product design) has become accepted practice. Personas are also used in marketing to consider “the goals, desires, and limitations of brand buyers.” (Wikipedia, Personas (marketing))Inventing AleX NetLitThe NetLit CoP has three target audiences: service providers who work with military families, Cooperative Extension professionals, and the general public. As Extension professionals ourselves, we felt we had a pretty good understanding of the extension audience, and we have experience reaching out to the general public through our extension work.However, most of us involved in the NetLit CoP had little or no understanding of the work of professionals who work with military families. We wanted to learn more about this audience and its needs. We also wanted to find a way to connect extension professionals with military family service professionals and these professionals with one another.As we learned more about the demographics of military family service providers, AleX NetLit began to take form. AleX’s gender, age, and education were all taken from what we learned about military family service professionals. AleX isn’t every military family service professional, nor is she an “average” of them. She is a representative of the audience designed to reflect characteristics of the audience that allows the NetLit CoP to connect with them.AleX is a 30-year-old divorced mother of two who works as a federal agency professional, providing educational information and other types of self-help to her clients. She uses, but has been wary of, social media tools like Facebook and Twitter. She is skeptical about using social media in her work, but she is starting to see their potential for helping her clients.That brief profile helped the NetLit CoP begin to develop a plan for helping military family service professionals understand and use social media tools and online networks. Instead of finding ways to help a faceless group of varying demographics, experiences, and abilities, we could focus on finding ways to help AleX, a busy single parent looking for ways she can grow in her profession. That’s the purpose of a persona.Making AleX PublicMost personas for user-experience design and marketing serve as internal tools that guide development of products and messages, but never see the light of day. (e.g., Matthew Johnson Program Staff Director, USDA, is a fictional persona created by the  U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Economic Research Service (ERS). You can read a portion of this persona at the bottom on the “Develop Personas” page on Usability.gov.)We decided to take AleX public. We created a Twitter account for her and began writing blog posts addressed directly to her. Knowing how helpful AleX had been to us, we wondered how she might be able to help others.AleX was made public in the hope that she would provide a persona military families service professionals and others could relate to. Let’s face it. Most of us in Cooperative Extension are used to being the expert, the educator. Try as we might, it’s difficult to avoid playing that role. AleX is intended to give people someone to connect with whose goal is not to teach them, but to learn with them.The DebateTrust, transparency and authenticity are important in building relationships in online networks. We debated whether launching AleX NetLit undermined those principles. The thought that AleX might be seen as an effort to trick people or a facade to hide behind definitely made us uncomfortable, but, at the risk of sounding like a self-help book, change doesn’t happen in your comfort zone.We are making every effort to be sure people know AleX is a fictional persona. We intentionally gave her a name that was not typical. AleX’s Twitter bio clearly states she is a fictional creation of the NetLit CoP and links to our blog page explaining AleX and her purpose.That’s not to say we have done everything right. We planned to send periodic tweets letting AleX’s Twitter followers know she is fictional, but we have not held to that plan. We also have not been clear about exactly who is tweeting on Alex’s behalf.AleX’s Twitter followers will start seeing occasional reminders that she is a fictional persona. There will be information about who is tweeting for AleX in occasional tweets and in AleX’s Twitter bio.AleX NetLit is an experiment. She is a new tool for learning in the changing knowledge and communication landscape. Will she make an impact? We’re not sure, but we will keep trying to use new and innovative tools to help people understand and harness the power of online networks.What do you think?Do you think that a persona like AleX NetLit could be an effective tool to help others learn as she learns?Please share any feedback with us via the comments below, your social network of choice, or email.Authors: The AleX NetLit Team – Anne Adrian (@aafromaa), Bob Bertsch (@ndbob),  Peg Boyles (@ethnobot), John Dorner (@jdorner), Molly Herndon, Stephen Judd (@sjudd), and Jim Langcusterlast_img read more

Approach to NRC is weak, says Cong. MP

first_imgThe Congress on Tuesday alleged that the government’s approach to the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam was “weak, casual and ineffective” as it didn’t have any data on the actual number of illegal immigrants in the State. In an intervention during Zero Hour, Congress MP Gaurav Gogoi said that not all the 40 lakh people, who have not found a place in the draft NRC, were foreigners. Over 40 lakh people in Assam have been left out from the NRC, which is being prepared to identify illegal migrants in Assam. The second draft was published on Monday.“Despite spending around ₹1,200 crore and lot of efforts by officials, both the Centre and the State governments do not know the number of illegal immigrants in Assam,” said Mr. Gogoi. “The BJP’s approach to NRC has been weak, casual and ineffective,” he said.last_img read more

Using Website Grader for Public Relations (PR)

first_img Topics: Public Relations Blog NameWebsite GradeBlog RankTraffic RankTechCrunch9911,784Read/Write Web991118,933Scobleizer95365,90767,943Chris Brogan991,453190,029HubSpot Blog9830,92352,927Above are a couple key stats that I took from Website Grader Reports for a sample of four popular technology-centric blogs – TechCrunch, Read/Write Web, Scobleizer and Chris Brogan.  I also put in the stats for the HubSpot Blog for comparison.  Clearly TechCrunch and Read/Write Web will get you a lot more exposure than any of the others.Traffic Rank – This stat comes from Alexa, and a lower number is better, since a ranking of 1 means you have the most popular site on the entire Internet.Blog Rank – This stat comes from Technorati, and a lower number is better, since a ranking of 1 means you have the most popular blog on the entire Internet.  One note about this, Technorati relies mostly on links for the ranking, and from my experience they are not very good at finding links, and are also not smart enough to know when you have moved your blog to a new URL even if you use accepted practices and use a redirect.  But, this is the best data we have. I was talking to a couple folks who were asking my opinion of something today.  Let’s pretend that your company had some reasonably interesting news to announce in a few weeks and you were working with your PR firms to see what blog to target for getting coverage of the event.How would you decide?  Clearly you need to look at what blog you think you have the best shot at actually getting them to cover your story.  And then you also need to estimate the amount of exposure each blog would give you.Well, I’ll tell you how I would decide which blog would give me the biggest return for my PR dollar/effort – at least in terms of comparing the possible exposure.  You have to make your own estimate about your probability of actually getting each to cover you.  But, to measure the exposure, I would use the Website Grader free SEO / Marketing tool and run a report for all of the blogs that I was considering, and look at a couple key stats to give me a sense of the relative exposure.center_img Originally published Apr 22, 2008 10:53:00 AM, updated March 21 2013 Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlacklast_img read more

HubSpot TV – Forget the Numbers with Surprise Guest MC Hammer

first_img B2Bwebsite overall, a 2-4% site conversion rate is about average. UsingHubSpot software and methodology, you should strive for more thanthis.  For landing pages, it varies greatly by the source of traffic. Intro Thank you to HubSpot TV Episode #28 – February 20, 2009 for tips and tricks to drive inbound marketing using Twitter. Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack www.novosolutions.com Overview coverage of the whole event and PR nightmare – http://itunes.hubspot.tv More than 20% of Hulu’s traffic came from newspaper Web sites. Consumerist breaks the news and says the new privacy policy is bad – Display Ad Rates Falling – Permanent or Cyclical?  Marketing Tip of the Week  (Show Legnth: 32 minutes 41 seconds) http://daveibsen.typepad.com/5_blogs_before_lunch/2009/02/hulu-marketing-aimed-at-the-greatest-generation.html Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook founder) responds – Marketing Takeaway: http://www.allfacebook.com/2009/02/facebook-terms-of-service-change-rapidly-turns-into-a-pr-nightmare/ Leave a 5 star review!!!! http://www.hubspot.com/blog/bid/4581/Good-Times-for-all-at-HubSpot-1K-Customers-Party of all site visits, while traditionally younger early adoptersaccounted for only 17% of traffic.” (19 minutes 17 seconds) “Forget the numbers! Just stay interesting.” Permission TV Social Media Hulu’s Not For 20-Somethings Anne from Paul Gillin coming next week! “What is a good bounce rate?”  “What is an average B2B lead conversion rate?” http://consumerist.com/5150175/facebooks-new-terms-of-service-we-can-do-anything-we-want-with-your-content-forever Creating your own content and leveraging inbound marketing is more effective than buying ads next to someone else’s content.  HubSpot 1K Customers Party last night “At YouTube’s launch in late 2005, more than 50% of its site visitors were 18- to 24-year-olds.center_img Originally published Feb 21, 2009 3:23:00 PM, updated October 01 2013 “Indeed, the Web is likely heading for a shakeout on a scale unseen since the dot.com bust.” launched its public site last March, the largest age group visiting thesite were those Internet visitors over 55 years old, accounting for 47% http://www.pcworld.com/article/159703/ Remember to subscribe in iTunes – MC Hammer shows up during HubSpot TV due to the power of Twitter! Facebook changes terms of use, can keep data even if youcancel your account.  (this related to the FTC and their stance onbehavioral ad tracking from last week) for helping us improve our livestream and offering great support! http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123483323444195983.html Want to learn more about using Twitter for Marketing and PR? Download the free webinar Webinar: Twitter for Marketing and PR Bouncerate and conversion rate depend a lot not only on the content of thepage or website but also on the type of traffic going to the website. http://blog.facebook.com/blog.php?post=54746167130 MC Hammer Makes a Surprise Appearance! What is bounce rate?  What is conversion rate for a landing page? Marketing Takeaway How to interact on Twitter – @karenrubin @mvolpe When : More traditional demographics are online consuming media. http://www.hubspot.com/blog/bid/4583/MC-Hammer-Drops-by-for-Camera-Time-on-HubSpot-tv PC Magazine reports that there will be a formal complaint filed with the FTC – CPM rates fell 54% in the 4th quarter Closing Forum Fodder   – Partially due to recession and partially due to an explosion in content and therefore inventory of ads Hulu Topics: Facebook Privacy Scandal / PR Disaster asks:last_img read more

Picking a Twitter Username? Don’t Use Numbers or Underscores.

first_img Twitter Profile Topics: Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Originally published Apr 16, 2009 8:36:00 AM, updated February 01 2017 Many geeks remember the days of AOL and AIM when all the good usernames were taken so everyone had to get creative with their screen names. Long strings of numbers and underscores were the norm.A different standard has emerged on Twitter. Many successful users use their first and last names concatenated into one long string. Unfortunately, some people find their first and last name taken (especially people with common names), and resort to a name with underscores and numbers.So, while my Twitter handle is @danzarrella, the next Dan Zarrella to join Twitter might pick @dan_zarrella.This is a bad idea, particularly if you’re trying to build an account with lots of followers.Using data from Twitter Grader (a database with close to 2 million Twitter users), I took a look at the relationship between the presence of underscores and numbers in usernames and average follower numbers.The results are pretty much what you’d expect, if only surprising in how clear-cut they are.The takeaway is obvious: Don’t use numbers or underscores in your username. last_img read more

Interview with Todd Defren, Principal at SHIFT Communications

first_imgTodd Defren is a principal at SHIFT Communications, author of the blog PR-Squared, and co-founder of the Social Media Club. He has been a major player in the PR industry’s transition into the PR 2.0 era and will be giving a live webinar tomorrow at 1PM ET as part of Inbound Marketing University. 1. As social media has evolved in the past five years, how has SHIFT adapted its PR strategy to the new applications and media outlets?  The entire industry has changed in the past five years.  Whereas the Social Media News Release felt like it was an innovation a few years ago, now it is just one of many tools and technologies.  I’d like to think we have gone further than most in trying to adapt our policies and practices.  It’s a constant challenge to stay ahead of the curve.  2. What have been the biggest challenges with PR 2.0?   While the technologies have largely been free (for the most part), the level of noise has gotten exponentially louder and the number of people that we need to potentially reach out to has gotten exponentially larger.  The amount of work has gotten much larger. You used to have a list of the top 50 mainstream reporters and analysts for the industry your client was in.  Now you have to add to that 50 Facebook group administrators and the 5,000 people on Twitter who might be appropriate for any given client.  It’s just as much about the edgework with end users as it is with those top 50 mainstream reporters.  3.  What is the best way to increase your visibility if you are a small business and do not already have an established brand on the internet? Provide relevant content to the right people in the right channels and do it everyday, as often as possible.  4.  At HubSpot, we teach readers that creating remarkable content to market their products and services will draw people into their websites.  What are ways to reach different audiences with this content once it is out there?     It’s not rocket science.  It takes not just the daily focus on content creation and promotion, but a daily focus on engagement in the right communities.  You can’t look at this as a marketer who is all about broadcasting content.  You have got to look at it as a marketer who is all about adding value.  While some of that value is going to come from your own content, it can’t exclusively come from your content or you’ll be pretty quickly sussed out as somebody who is only in this for themselves.  The in it for yourself mentality may be what you think is going to help pay the mortgage this month, but it’s not going to create long-term relationships that you can count on for longer term revenue potential. 5.  A lot of businesses struggle with the decision of charging for resources or giving them away for free.  You recently launched a new feature for Twitter, clickablenow, and decided to change from charging for it to giving it away for free. What factors influenced your decision to offer the application for free?  What did you learn from this and how has it performed since you made the change?  We had some internal debate over whether or not we should charge for clickablenow.  From the beginning, we agreed that we would listen to the community.  If we found feedback that free was the better way to go, we wouldn’t be surprised by it and we would react quickly. There was a lot of enthusiasm for the idea but everyone balked at the 20 bucks.  We dropped the 20 bucks and the overall usage went way up.      6. Can you describe a PR campaign in social media that has done surprisingly well in the past year?  Why and how did it become so successful? One of the things we are proud of at SHIFT was our work with H&R Block.  We worked with them for the 2009 tax season.  We were proud to help a big, established brand like H&R Block refine its approach to social media.  Whereas before they had gotten a lot of credit for experimenting across many different social media channels.  We did some hardcore research to find out which were the most appropriate and impactful social media channels.  We encouraged them to get out of SecondLife and, for the first time, to respond directly to users who are looking for free tax advice on Amazon.com and Yahoo! Answers.  This combination resulted in their tax-cut product becoming #1 in the market segment for tax-cut software over TurboTax for the first time, which was a big milestone for them.  It proved to us that a smart approach to social media that is relevant, responsive and diplomatic can absolutely help your business.   If you want to learn more about PR 2.0, register for Defren’s live webinar tomorrow, Tuesday, August 11 at 1 PM ET.     Free Inbound Marketing University Online Training ProgramDownload HubSpot’s Inbound Marketing University online training programIMU includes 11 free webinar classes and notesheets. The program drills into each component of inbound marketing and prepares you for the Inbound Marketing certification exam. Originally published Aug 10, 2009 12:49:00 PM, updated October 01 2019 Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Public Relations Topics:last_img read more

10 Opportunities You’re Missing on Thank You Pages

first_img Lead Generation You’ve gotten the hard part done, getting your website visitor to convert into a lead. – Depending on the initial conversion, you can use the thank you page as a place to bring them further down your funnel and become more sales ready. Talk to them about your free trial, demos, or even how they can connect with a sales rep. Based on the offer the lead converted on, you should have a good idea of what content is right for them. Provide links and explanations to blog articles and other web pages that relate to the offer. 2. Subscribe to Your Blog 7. Get Feedback Now what? Don’t just treat your thank you page, the page that a new lead is presented with once they have submitted a form, as an afterthought. Use it as another opportunity to provide further value to potential customers. Here’s 10 ways to take advantage of those thank you pages that are normally your visitors exit point. with your new leads. Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack 9. Reconvert Landing Pages A good landing page should only give one option to the visitor, which means removing the site’s navigation from that page. However, once you’ve gotten that visitor to convert you’ll want to give them every opportunity to continue digging through your site by placing the navigation on the thank you page. 5. Direct Visitors to Other Relevant Content – 6. Promote Your Webinar or Event 8. Set Expectations 3. Connect in Social Media – – Give your new leads the chance to subscribe to your blog by email or through RSS from your thank you page. Don’t just say “Subscribe to our blog!”, but tell them why they should subscribe and what type of valuable information they’ll gain on a regular basis.center_img – If you haven’t already on the landing page, a thank you page is a great place where you can set expectations as to how and when they’ll receive your offer. Give the visitor a clear message of their next step or what you’ll be doing shortly. 1.  Bring Back the Navigation – – The thank you page is a great place to get more people to sign up for your live events. Once again, explain the value of the webinar or event and how it will help them and their business. – The visitor clearly found your offer worthwhile and they most likely have friends who will feel the same way. Make it easy for them to tweet, post, and email the landing page to their network by adding share buttons. 10. Really Thank Them! Just like giving people the option to subscribe to your blog, give them insight and reason into why they should connect with you on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn 4. Encourage Sharing of the Offer – Saying “thank you” just isn’t enough. Explain why you’re so grateful that they found your offer and took action. Even though they’re not a customer yet you can begin treating them like one. There’s nothing like a great first impression. . What are you going provide that is worth paying attention to? – Provide your new leads with a place where they can give feedback on the offer they received. This feedback will be valuable in planning future offers and Originally published Oct 6, 2010 10:10:00 AM, updated July 11 2013 How do you use thank you pages to improve communications with your new leads? Topics: builds credibilitylast_img read more

25% of Twitter Users Say Promoted Tweets Are Relevant [Data]

first_img Twitter Marketing Data Things look promising for Promoted Tweets, Twitter’s advertising platform. New data from market research firm Lab42, as reported by eMarketer, shows that 24.8% of Twitter users say they have seen Promoted Tweets from brands that are relevant to them. More than 1/5 of users said they have gotten a discount or have found out about a new brand through a Promoted Tweet, and 14% of respondents said they have retweeted a Promoted Tweet.Interestingly, only about 11% of those surveyed said following brands was a reason they joined the site, with about half saying they followed just 10 brands on Twitter.Marketing Takeaway If you’re sharing something relevant, people will be receptive to your marketing.This applies not only to your Promoted Tweets, but also to things like your Facebook Ads, Google Ads, and even your blog content and email campaigns. While those surveyed weren’t necessarily interested in following a ton of brands on Twitter, when they found content that was interesting and relevant in a promoted Tweet, they were receptive to it. If what you are offering is targeted and relevant to your audience, it may be well-received, even if it’s a promoted campaign or not something they were initially seeking.Are you considering a Promoted Tweets campaign? Let us know in the comments! Originally published Sep 6, 2011 1:01:00 PM, updated October 20 2016 Topics: Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlacklast_img read more

Answers to Your Top 11 Questions About Email Marketing #EmailSci

first_img Originally published Jun 15, 2012 12:30:00 PM, updated October 30 2019 Topics: The first two links called out in orange both lead to the same landing page, but they are accompanied further down the email with a second call-to-action that encourages the recipient to reconvert on more bottom-of-the-funnel offer — a free trial of our marketing software. Both of these links work together to help us meet our reconversion goals, so however our recipients choose to interact with this content, we’re happy campers! 9) What is the difference between a paid and organic email contact? Is one better than the other? An “organic” email contact is someone who chose to subscribe to emails from your company by clicking on a subscribe button on your website, filling out a form on one of your landing pages, or otherwise indicating their willingness to receive your emails. A paid email contact is someone who didn’t indicate they wanted to receive email from you, but whose contact information you purchased.As for whether one is better than the other … yes, organic email contacts are way better than those you pay for. We’ve written an entire blog post on this subject , but in a nutshell, those who opt in to receive your email communications are more interested in your company than those you pay for, are less likely to mark you as SPAM, will unsubscribe at a far lower rate, and as such, your email deliverability rates and sender reputation won’t get totally annihilated. 10) Any tips on how to comply with the CAN-SPAM Act? Definitely. There are four main points that are important for email marketers to remain compliant with CAN-SPAM:Don’t use misleading, deceptive, or falsified information in your ‘From,’ ‘To,’ or ‘Reply-to’ fields, email subject line, or routing information. Clearly identify who the email is coming from — be it your company or a specific employee within your organization — and make sure your subject line accurately describes the contents of the email.Include your company’s physical address in every single email you send out. These are typically placed in an email’s footer.Include an easy to find unsubscribe link in every single email, and make sure to honor unsubscribes promptly and completely. “Promptly” is defined as within ten business days (but try to be speedier than that), and “completely” means that you do not sell or transfer their email address to any other lists after the unsubscribe is complete.Make sure the Email Service Provider (ESP) you’re using is reputable. If something illegal does go down with your emails, both your ESP and your company can be held responsible.Check out our blog post on the laws marketers need to know to avoid legal backlash  if you want to learn more about CAN-SPAM. 11) What are marketing automation tools? Is there a particular marketing automation tool that HubSpot recommends? When referring to email marketing, marketing automation tools help marketing departments like yours carry out automated email campaigns efficiently. They can integrate with your CRM to track the actions and behaviors of your leads, and can launch email campaigns based on these behaviors or other triggers you set, such as download history or other forms of lead intelligence. Marketing automation tools are critical to carrying out your lead-nurturing campaigns, and they can also help you monitor the performance of your email campaigns so you can continue to make adjustments that improve your performance. As to whether we recommend any marketing automation tools, well, we’re obviously partial to our own marketing automation software 😉 What email marketing questions are still on your mind? Image credit: bilal-kamoon On Wednesday we hosted our latest webinar, The Science of Email Marketing where our very own Dan Zarrella presented some juicy new email marketing data and insights. So juicy, in fact, that some equally juicy follow-up questions came rolling in from those listening to the webinar.So we read through them all (yes, we actually read your questions!) and pulled out the 11 questions that were asked most frequently, and we thought everyone would benefit from hearing a little bit more about. So here they are, your top email marketing questions from Wednesday’s webinar, answered! 1) Should an email come from a person or a business for a better open rate?  This is an excellent question because it’s the subject of ongoing debate amongst email marketing — and that’s because there’s not one right answer that works for everyone. We performed an A/B test of our own, in fact, to see whether emails sent from the lovely Maggie (one of the people responsible for yesterday’s webinar, in fact!) performed better than emails sent from HubSpot:As you can see, the treatment’s 0.96% click-through rate beat out the control’s 0.73% click-through rate — which also yielded us 131 more leads than our control. So it seems that for us, emails sent from a real person’s name are more likely to get clicked than emails sent by a company’s name.Thing is, there’s a case to be made for the fact that your email recipients might know your company better than they know an individual within your company. We get that. That’s why it’s critical to perform an A/B test like this for yourself to determine which method is best for you. 2) How many characters do you suggest for the subject line of an email? While some email clients display a bit more subject line characters than others, shoot to keep it under 50 characters, especially because many recipients will be reading on mobile devices that display even less of the subject line — often 20 characters or less. To deal with this discrepancy, make sure the beginning of your email subject line gives the recipient enough information to understand the contents of your email, just in case your subject line is cut off a bit prematurely. 3) Does using numbers or special characters in an email’s subject line impact its open rate? Yes, though not enormously so. As detailed on the webinar , ampersands, brackets, and parentheses showed slightly higher click-through rates when included in the subject line, while things like question marks and hashtags (pound signs, if you’re still living in the 20th century) did appear to have some negative impact. When it comes to symbols like these, it’s not something that’s going to make or break your open rate, but if you can avoid the overzealous exclamation point, do it — especially because exclamation points often trigger emails to go into SPAM folders. Your subscribers are likely already desensitized to the typical displays of feigned emotion, so exclamation points and excessive use of capitalization will probably have no positive impact on your email. 4) What is considered a decent click-through rate for an email? This is going to depend on what type of email you’re sending. As we’ve previously reported , transactional emails such as order receipts or confirmations have the highest click-through rate, followed by newsletters, with promotional emails having the lowest CTR of all. It makes sense — think of how much more engaged a brand new customer is with your brand (someone who might receive an order confirmation email), compared to someone who is just periodically staying up to date on your brand (someone who might receive a newsletter), compared to a lead (someone who might receive a promotional email). So a decent CTR for you is going to vary depending on what type of email you’re sending, and to which list.That being said, eMarketer published the average email click-through rate of emails in North America, and found it was at 5.5% in Q3 of 2011 , up slightly from the previous quarter. The thing is, this is across all industries and email types — so the data isn’t necessarily a proper benchmark for every marketer to measure their emails by. The key is to continue testing variables in your emails that will help improve your click-through rate, and I’d start with list segmentation . Segmenting your email lists is some seriously low-hanging fruit, and has shown to improve email relevance by 34% . And you know what more relevant content means — more clicks! 5) Is the click-through rate of business emails higher on mobile devices than on computers? MarketingSherpa  cites a case study in which click-through rates for a company’s email marketing increased a dramatic 53% after the company optimized their emails for mobile. Talk about results! While that might be on the dramatic end of the spectrum, the fact of the matter is that when your company optimizes its emails for mobile, your click-through rates will rise. Believe it or not, not every company has  optimized their email marketing for mobile . And mobile optimization is a critical component of your email marketing strategy — according to Comscore , 70 million Americans utilize mobile email, and 43% of those users are checking their email on their mobiles four or more times per day. If you were listening to the webinar, you remember Dan pointing out that 80% of users in his data indicated they utilize mobile email. If you want to increase your mobile click-through rate, make sure every email you’re sending out is optimized for mobile, because your audience IS there. 6) What is considered a decent unsubscribe rate? The short answer?  Under 1% . Aside from being generally trustworthy, you’ll be able to achieve this rate by only using opt-in email lists, properly segmenting your lists, only sending relevant content at an appropriate sending frequency, and religiously honoring unsubscribes. Not sure if your practices are considered trustworthy? There’s a free service by Return Path called Sender Score that will tell you.And remember, unsubscribes aren’t all bad! When recipients do unsubscribe, consider it a natural list cleanse — after all, for the health of your Sender Score, you don’t want to be sending emails to those who don’t want to receive them. If your unsubscribe rate stays under 1%, don’t let those disinterested few get you down! 7) When should I be sending my emails?  There are really three frequency measurements you should consider, backed up by data from HubSpot’s Dan Zarrella : Time of Day – Dan Zarrella’s data showed emails sent at 6 AM had the highest click-through rate. Emails sent from 10 AM-12 PM showed another small spike, and the later the time in the evening, the higher the click-through rate climbed. Day of the Week – Experimenting with weekend emails could benefit your business, perhaps due to the lack of other competing emails coming through on Saturday and Sunday. Zarrella’s data showed the lowest click-through rate (and highest unsubscribe rate!) occurred on Tuesday, with Wednesday and Friday coming in as the weekdays with the highest click-through rates. Number of Days Per Week – Zarrella’s data showed that click-through rates decrease the more emails you send in a given campaign, so our best practice here is to “chill” a bit. Space your emails out so your subscribers don’t feel bombarded. We’ve also written a blog post that outlines the steps you can take to perform your own email sending frequency test — check it out ! 8) If there are multiple links in your email copy, how do you balance the attention you give to each of them? It’s never a bad idea to include multiple links in an email, since each link is a call-to-action that could reconvert your email recipient. That said, you don’t want those calls-to-action to compete with one another, which is why it’s crucial that you decide exactly what it is you want your email recipient to do upon receiving your email. That way, none of the links are competing with one another for attention — they’re all contributing to the same goal! For example, when we send an email, we have multiple links contained therein, but they all help us reach our end goal of reconverting recipients and moving them further down the sales funnel:center_img Email Marketing Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlacklast_img read more