Personalization: The Key To Increasing Email Engagement

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Over the past decade, we’ve seen an enormous growth in the overall usage of e-communication for, well, pretty much every industry possible. In fact, popular eblast management tool Mailchimp reports that they have over 8 million clients who collectively send billions of eblasts monthly – and they are just one of the many services out there. The question is – are your eblasts working for you? Here’s a great starting point: Mailchimp reports a benchmark for real estate of 22.11% as an open rate, and 2.22% as a click through rate. If you’re not achieving results as good as this, you’re likely off the mark and will want to rethink your strategy; however, if these numbers seem to be in your ballpark, you may be wondering how you can take your campaign to the next level. The answer may simply be to get more personal with your audience.

Personalization is more than just using a tag to add a name to an email, it’s about building a relationship with your audience, and delivering customized content that generates engagement, clicks and – best of all – more qualified leads. There are a few ways you can do this. One is to understand the current status of your recipient. Are they a new recipient? Are they a long time registrant? Using a great database management system will help you to properly organize your registrants and build customized content around that. Another option is to track their experience on your website, and then use that data to help build personalized profiles. Having registrants fill out a survey during their initial sign-up can also allow you to further segment your emails. Ideally, based on the information you collect, you’ll send emails that contain content and messaging that speaks to their interests, which is more likely to keep them engaged than a standard email that you send to your whole list.

While it can be a bit more work to develop the variations of your campaign’s messaging and content for different groups, it definitely pays off. A recent personalized campaign we ran, which had only 4 different personalized groups, had an open rate of over 70%. The proof is in the pudding, personalization reigns supreme.

Metrics: Understanding The Habits Of Your Consumers

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There aren’t many things that you would generally do without any research or insight. Can you imagine buying a car, building an addition to your home or doing an archaeological dig without doing ample planning and/or necessary surveying? Well, when it comes to marketing online, the mindset should be absolutely no different. How can you accurately strategize or make decisions around your online marketing – whether it be your website or social campaign – without understanding your audience and how they interact with your brand/product? For this reason, metrics are essential to not only gather, but also analyze.

Sounds like common sense, right? Not quite. In fact, a report by Grovo suggests that 90% of all (annual) digital advertising dollars across the board are spent without knowing whether or not they were effective. That sounds like a red flag if I’ve ever heard one!

Metrics, if planned into your overall strategy, can do a few things: tell you where, when and how your audience is interacting with your site/brand, and highlight where you’re losing them. It’s important to understand the habits, hotspots, pitfalls and potential dead zones. It will help to further shape, modify and optimize your messaging and content to better satisfy your audience, their needs and their concerns. This is true of not only your website, but your social networks. Listening to feedback, measuring engagement with your content, and understanding demographics and consumption patterns will help you to properly use the networks for optimal results.

What is the result of data analysis? More engagement, more leads and fewer complaints/questions. To top it off, you’re guaranteed to save advertising dollars. Being able to understand your audience and their lifestyles will help you to deliver more relevant marketing, which will inevitably give better bottom line results – it’s a no brainer. This type of information is readily available, and gathering it in-house, or by 3rd party, should be a priority when it comes to evaluating the effectiveness of your digital efforts.

BAM at the Brookfield Residential Charity Golf Classic

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This week, BAM was proudly supporting our client Brookfield Residential at their Charity Golf Classic tournament that took place at the Deer Creek Golf course in Ajax. The tournament, which had roughly two hundred golfers, raised $24,000 for 3 wonderful charities: Habitat for Humanity, WindReach Farm and Precious Minds Support Services.

Habitat for Humanity is a non-profit that advocates access to decent and affordable shelter and offers a variety of housing support services that enable families with limited means to make needed improvements on their homes as their time and resources allow. Precious Minds provides support to families with children and youth who have barriers to learning. This includes the full spectrum of learning, physical, developmental and behavioural disabilities. Lastly, WindReach Farm provides an inclusive, safe and welcoming environment for people of all ages and disabilities by providing opportunities to enjoy experiences in a farm and natural environment.

BAM ran a blindfolded putting competition, and with the support of many of the tournament’s golfers, we matched $275, for a total donation of $550 towards the three charities. Thank you to everyone who gave our challenge a shot!

You can see our full photo album here.

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Mid-Rise: The Future Of Urban Development

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As Ontario’s population continues to balloon, the province – along with developers – need to address the increased demand for housing, while also developing strategies to protect our greenbelt and farmland. The key is to work towards increasing population density in urban areas, with a creative blend of mixed use residential. This is something I’ve written about in the past. This need to intensify along major transit routes, and in pivotal areas of the city, is beginning to inevitably make way for an increase in the development of mid-rise buildings.

Mid-rise buildings offer an amazing number of benefits. For starters, they bring a neighbourhood to life by offering new retail and culinary options/opportunities on the street level. Offering shops and necessary amenities allows residents to become much less dependent upon vehicles, as does door-front access to transit. In contrast to many high-rises in the city, mid-rise buildings have family-sized living spaces, which make them attractive to families who may not be able to afford a detached, multi-room home in the city. Then there’s the sheer benefit of human scaled buildings that allow the sun to shine on the sidewalk – and the height of the buildings to comfortably complement the width of the street; however, the widespread embrace of mid-rise by builders in the GTA is not without challenges.

Key obstacles include: the cost of land, the lengthy – and expensive – development approval that closely mirrors that of high rises, and concerns from single-family residential homeowners. Some homeowners feel that the future of small local shops will be jeopardized, and that there may be a potential loss of privacy and sunlight as mid-rise buildings spring up next to their homes.

It is clear though, something needs to be done in order for the GTA to meet the goals set-out in the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe, which sets intensification targets for urban growth centres and requires a minimum density to be achieved by 2031. Mid-rise buildings offer a viable solution to the population growth, while adding economic benefits and maintaining the charm of Toronto’s urban aesthetic.

Net Zero Homes in Canada

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As the population in Canada increases, so do the demands for energy. For this reason, Canada (provincially and nationwide) has invested a lot of money in green, renewable energy. Unfortunately, this investment has yet to positively affect the wallets of Ontarians, who continue to experience rising hydro rates. Amidst the most recent increase, consumers are more concerned than ever with how much energy their homes consume; however, not as many people are concerned with the amount of energy their homes actually generate. Over the last decade, a number of products have made it possible to make our homes more efficient by lowering the amount of energy it takes to complete tasks such as lighting, cooking and laundry. The question is: how do we take that to the next level? That’s where Net-Zero building comes into play.

Net Zero is a building practice that uses a multitude of renewable technologies to build homes that consume either less or an equal amount of energy than they produce on an annual basis. Net Zero’s history in Canada dates back to 2004’s Riverdale Net-Zero project in Edmonton. To date, it’s not exactly a “market friendly” practice due to issues around cost, feasibility and the lack of a community-sized demonstration necessary to gain widespread acceptance by builders and buyers.

One project is aiming to increase the amount Net-Zero housing nationwide. The ecoENERGY Innovation Initiative is working with five homebuilders across the country to build at least 25 Net Zero homes. Mattamy Homes, Minto, Provident, Reid’s Heritage Homes and Construction Voyer, along with a number of partners and consultants, are aiming to complete construction by 2016, according to the initiative’s website. The project’s aim is to double the number of Net-Zero homes in Canada. But could it become a standard? As I’ve mentioned before, consumers generally aren’t willing to pay more for green features – regardless of the long-term savings potential they offer. If builders can find a way to address the issues around affordability, Net Zero will become a no-brainer.

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