Shannon Fuldauer

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    Email Personalization: Pushing it Beyond Hello {First Name}

    Posted by Shannon Fuldauer on Sep 15, 2013 6:10:00 AM

    personalize email

    Late last week, I found myself with 114 new emails in my inbox. Not unusual, but not wonderful to wake up to. But there was one that really caught my eye. The email was from J.Crew, and the subject line read, “Easiest wedding ever – two steps to the perfect bridal party.” As a recently engaged bride-to-be, knee deep in wedding planning mode, my curiosity took over and I opened the email.

    This was the only email of the bunch I opened. And I am sure I don’t need to tell you what happened to the remaining 113 (insert evil laugh here).

    So what made that email so unique it avoided the dreaded trash folder? Well it just so happens that earlier this week I was perusing the bridal gowns and bridesmaid’s dresses on Unlike the other 113 emails that were offering free shipping, half off pants, BOGO sweaters and gosh knows what else, J.Crew used behavioral intelligence to develop a message that really resonated with me. Sure it's much easier to create one-size-fits-all emails, but easier does not always equate to the best results.

    While most marketers agree email personalization is important, not many companies today are leveraging the power of personalization. In fact, according to the 2013 Experian Digital Marketer Report, 70 percent of brands are not personalizing emails sent to their subscribers.

    For those companies that take the extra step of creating personalized campaigns, the results speak for themselves. Here are a few more interesting statistics from the report.

    • Personalized promotional emails had a 29 percent higher unique open rate and 41 percent higher unique click rate compared to non-personalized emails
    • Personalized triggered emails had a 25 percent higher unique open rate and a 51 percent higher click rate
    • Personalized emails generate transaction rates and revenue per email that is more than six times higher than non-personalized emails

    With the tools available to marketers today, creating a personalized experience for your audience in well within your reach. Personalization is much more than including the person’s first name in the subject line or body copy. A truly personal email speaks to the subscriber’s pain points, preferences, fears and stage within the buying cycle.

    Developing buyer personas is a great way to uncover a potential buyer’s preferences, pain points, fears, etc. Targeting smaller subsets rather than blasting your entire audience with a generic offer often increases engagement rate and, in turn, conversions.

    Remember simpler is not always better. Is your company part of the 70 percent underutilizing the power personalization?

    Shannon Fuldauer has a B2B and B2C eCommerce Marketing background including roles as Vice President of Marketing & Sales Support, and subsequently Vice President of Public Relations & SEO Services, for She has expertise in digital marketing and advanced email communications.

    photo credit: m-c
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    Topics: email personalization, email best practices, kuno creative

    Measuring Marketing Return on Investment (ROI) in 5 Easy Steps

    Posted by Shannon Fuldauer on May 14, 2013 7:13:00 AM

    In the early days of website analytics, businesses measured page hits, site visits and unique visitors. And while most companies still do, these basic metrics fail to show how inbound marketing contributes to the organization’s bottom line. Because marketers are now being held accountable for proving return on investment (ROI) for their efforts, new ways to reach data-driven decisions must be developed. However, significant gaps between desire and execution still exist.

    The 2012 BRITE-NYAMA Marketing in Transition Study revealed several common challenges marketers face in the collection of and reporting on the data necessary to effectively prove ROI within their organizations. According to the study, 51 percent of survey participants stated a lack of sharing customer data within their organizations as a barrier to effectively measuring their marketing ROI. About 65 percent of respondents said comparing the effectiveness of marketing across different digital media is a “major challenge" for their businesses. To help you get started measuring your marketing efforts, here are five tips:

    Step 1: Define What Marketing ROI Means for Your Organization

    Before you can effectively measure success, you must define what your key performance metrics will be, and agree upon the definition of “success.” The definition of success is not only unique to an organization, but often to each stakeholder, as well. For example, content marketing managers will be interested in the number of blog posts and downloads published, while your CMO will be interested in cost-per-lead and number of new leads at each phase of the sales funnel. For examples of additional digital marketing KPIs, check out John McTigue’s blog post, Top 10 Inbound Marketing KPIs – The View From the Top.

    Step 2: Set Realistic and Measurable Goals

    Once your KPIs are defined and agreed upon, the next step is to establish appropriate metrics. This may be a bit tricky, especially when you are first starting out. Chances are good you will need to make adjustments to your goals as you dig deeper into the data over time. Whether your goals were too aggressive or too conservative, be willing to adjust accordingly. At this point, you may also consider establishing guidelines for how the data will be presented. As a general rule, keep things simple. At a quick glance, your C-level executives should be able to tell if the goal was met or not. If using a spreadsheet, consider a simple color coding system—perhaps green if the goal was met and red if it was missed.

    Step 3: Gather the Right Data Needed

    As previously mentioned, one of the primary concerns of marketers who participated in the study was the lack of sharing customer data within their organizations. If you are like most organizations and data is collected and managed in multiple databases, establish a system for collecting the data needed from each department. First and foremost, work with your sales and IT departments to create a closed-loop process through your marketing automation platform. This integration will provide you with timely feedback from sales on the impact of your various activities in driving revenue.  

    Step 4: Monitor Your Goals Frequently

    Don’t wait until the end of the month to evaluate your performance. Rather, monitor your KPIs on a weekly, if not daily, basis. For example, at Kuno, if we notice our number of new leads is below target at any point during the month, we have a plan in place to publish and promote new content (among other tactics).

    Step 5: Use Your Data to Make Better Decisions

    The days of “this just feels right” are long gone and collecting simple data just doesn’t cut it. Successful marketers understand the importance of using data to make decisions and justify budget requests to their bosses.

    Please share your tips for showing marketing success in the comments section below!

    Shannon Fuldauer, a senior consultant at Kuno Creative, has a B2B and B2C eCommerce Marketing background including roles as Vice President of Marketing & Sales Support, and subsequently Vice President of Public Relations & SEO Services, for She has expertise in digital marketing and advanced email communications.

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    Topics: shannon fuldauer, roi, return on investment, analytics, kuno creative

    Building A Winning Lead Nurturing Team with Clients

    Posted by Shannon Fuldauer on Mar 12, 2013 7:48:00 AM

    Lead nurturing has probably become a major part of the services you offer your clients. Lead nurturing allows marketers to maintain communication with leads who are not yet ready to buy, and your clients understand that. What they may not understand, though, is executing a successful lead nurturing strategy often requires the involvement of several departments within an organization, not just marketing. 

    Before embarking on your lead nurturing journey with your clients, here are a few people you may want to consider including on the lead nurturing team.

    Sales Managers

    Don’t wait until you have a list of leads to engage sales managers in the process — aligning sales and marketing early on is essential. Never assume marketing and sales define qualified leads in the same way—in fact, their definitions are often very different. It is also important to agree at what point a lead will be handed off to sales and the process for getting the leads into the hands of the right sales representatives. Many marketing automation systems, such as HubSpot and Marketo, have built-in lead scoring functionality. Points are assigned to a lead based on a variety of factors, like pages visited, content consumed, job title, company size, etc. Once a lead’s score reaches a defined threshold, it is sent sales.

    Sales Representatives

    Lead nurturing will most likely be a new concept for your sales team. In my experience, most sales reps are accustomed to cold calling leads from a purchased list or following up on leads that have completed a sample request or sweepstakes form. Prior to launching a lead nurturing program, educate the reps on the process and how better qualified leads will benefit them: according to DemandGen Report, on average, nurtured leads produce a 20 percent increase in sales opportunities versus nonnurtured leads. It is also important to talk with the reps about the information they need to qualify a lead. Marketing can use this information to build better lead capturing forms.

    Legal/Regulatory Team

    In working with clients, I have found those that have included the legal/regulatory department early on in the process often face fewer barriers when submitting content for approval. You may find that not all copy may need to go through the same rigorous review process. For example, copy extracted from previously approved documents for use in emails or blogs may be able to bypass some stages of the approval process. But you will only know this if you ask the right people up front!


    As marketers, if we could simply measure our success by the number of leads sent to sales, our job would be easy, right? Wishful thinking, I know. Our success is often measured on the revenue generated from the leads. However, without having a complete picture of what happens to the leads once they are handed over to sales, it is difficult to report ROI. In an ideal situation there is a constant flow of data between your CRM and marketing software through the use of an API—this is where your IT team can help. Be sure to include them early in the process rather than frustrating everyone half way through.

    Customer/Technical Support

    Who knows the common questions and challenges customers face better than your front-line support teams? Your customer service and technical support departments can provide you with valuable insight. For example, in talking with technical support you may learn the three most common questions received. Why not interview a technical service rep to get answers to these questions and use this information to create a download or blog post? 

    Final Thought: Remember a successful lead nurturing program often requires the assistance of multiple departments within your company. Before jumping in head first, take the time to meet with and educate key players.

    Have you recently embarked on the lead nurturing journey? Share your tips for success or tell us about the challenges you encountered in the comment section below.

    Shannon Fuldauer has a B2B and B2C eCommerce Marketing background including roles as Vice President of Marketing & Sales Support, and subsequently Vice President of Public Relations & SEO Services, for She has expertise in digital marketing and advanced email communications.

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    Topics: shannon fuldauer, enterprise inbound marketing, content marketing

    Why Content Matters: Tips for Effective CTA Copy

    Posted by Shannon Fuldauer on Jan 15, 2013 8:50:00 AM

    Let's face it—without strong copy, your calls to action and landing pages will not succeed. Within seconds of seeing your call to action (CTA), a visitor should be able to determine exactly why he or she should take action and what they will get in return for their information or money. If your CTA copy is ineffective or confusing, you have already lost the lead. 

    The most effective CTAs contain action verbs. Excluding these powerful words from your copy leaves the reader with little to no direction and often hurts your click rate—ultimately affecting your conversion rate.

    Think of action verbs as a CTA's best friend—they convey emotion and appeal to the reader’s senses.

    A call to action—whether on your website, email or print material—is meant to prompt a person to perform a specific action. There are several factors that contribute to an effective call to action, including copy, design, and placement. Today we will focus specifically on copy.

    Here are a few examples of powerful action verbs:

    • Discover
    • Explore
    • Click
    • Learn
    • Examine
    • Download
    • Find
    • Uncover

    Why Less is More

    You've heard the statement less is more. In the case of most calls to action, this holds true. Fewer words with more robust meaning (that your audience can easily understand) should be the goal when creating your copy. Don't get too wordy that your message gets lost among the vocabulary. Adverbs and adjectives will weigh down your copy. On the other hand, a visitor should not have to dust off the thesaurus or search Google to understand the meaning of a word in your CTA. Additionally, avoid technical terms or internal acronyms that often bore or confuse your audience.

    Use relevant statistics when possible to back up your statements. Most people are intrigued by statistics, and, in a world of vague claims, actual numbers help validate your offer. For example, HubSpot’s call to action for joining its email list is, “Get the world’s best marketing resources right in your inbox! Join more than 817,000 inbound marketers!”

    What We Have Learned So Far

    At Kuno Creative, we are constantly A/B testing our own CTAs. Our visitors tend to respond best to phrases such as Free Ebook or Free Cheat Sheet. On the flip side, the phrase Learn More, often coverts lower.

    The Takeaway?

    It is important to know your audience and be willing to test copy. Rarely will the first CTA you create generate the most conversions. While we can offer best practices in developing strong copy, it is really up to you to constantly test and readjust your CTA's based on the data you gather. Some action verbs will convert better than others depending on your industry, and it is your job to discover what works best. 

    Do you have great CTA copy tips you would like to share?  What success have you experienced? Leave us a comment. 

    shannon fuldauerAbout the author: Shannon Fuldauer has a B2B and B2C eCommerce Marketing background including roles as Vice President of Marketing & Sales Support, and subsequently Vice President of Public Relations & SEO Services, for She has expertise in digital marketing and advanced email communications and is a senior consultant with Kuno Creative.


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    Topics: landing pages, calls to action, content marketing

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