10 Tips for Effective Email Marketing

10 Tips for Effective Email Marketing

In the first post of this series on email marketing, I shared that your email’s content has a direct impact on conversions. Even with a great offer and compelling subject line, you won’t get very far if your copy isn’t well written. Here’s 10 tips to consider when creating a marketing email.

  1. They are personalized. Personalization can increase click through rates by up to 96%. When you send your emails from a company-branded domain name or use the recipient’s name within the copy, you’re going to see better results.
  2. They are mobile friendly. Since 85% of us check emails on a smartphone or tablet, it’s important that our email is formatted for easy reading on these devices. This includes short paragraphs, read more links, and sub-headers for skimming through.
  3. They include an enticing offer. Subscribers want to know WIIFM: what’s in it for me. So make it about them! Create a juicy offer they can’t refuse. And bonus: reward repeat customers by offering referral rewards or other bonuses.
  4. They have unique and interesting subject lines. One of the most critical components of a successful email campaign is the subject line. The inbox is a busy place and you want your email to stand out from the noise. A well-crafted subject line can help get your email opened.
  5. They include promotional codes or exclusive offers. If you’re offering an incentive, provide information on how to redeem it (offer codes, discount links). 
  6. They are timely. Watch your analytics to see what days and times you get higher open rates and schedule your future emails accordingly. Try A/B testing if you don’t already know your best days/times to send.
  7. They have an inviting design. I’ve touched on this in previous blog posts (like here and here) and we all know that the more visually appealing your email is, the more clicks you will get – especially when it comes to click throughs for mobile users. 
  8. They include images and videos. Including images and videos are proven ways to get more clicks because they appeal to the sense of sight, not just words. Research shows that including a video in an email campaign can increase CTRs by up to 60%!
  9. They have a compelling call-to-action. A call-to-action is what you want your reader to do when they’ve finished reading the content within your email – whether it’s to visit a website, download an app or make a purchase. If you can communicate that to them right away, you’ll get better results. 
  10. They are targeted to the right audience. Segmenting your audience and creating content just for them can increase your conversion rate by 760%. Segmentation is basically grouping your list based on specific criteria. You can segment your email list based on demographics, location, level of email engagement, previous purchases, and more.  

Takeaway: When designing your marketing emails, follow best practices for design and copy you’ve learned in this article. Be consistent with your style and ensure every email sent by your company looks professional.

 

What are your email marketing objectives?

What are your email marketing objectives?

There is no single answer to this question that works for every business. Objectives should be crafted according to the nature of your products and services, the ideal customer profile that you are targeting, and your business goals. Consider these examples of email marketing objectives and how to achieve them:

Increase traffic – Build brand awareness via email promotion of your website. Conduct surveys and research on what is most of interest to your customers and craft email content around this, with links to your landing page.

Increase conversion rates – Make a direct offer in the subject line and use follow up emails to provide additional information or convince customers that you are offering a product or service that is right for them.

Generate repeat business – Offer existing clients incentives to buy more of your products in order to increase the volume of sales and revenue.

Increase average order value – Offer existing clients incentives to place larger orders, or offer new customers an incentive to purchase higher-priced/bigger packages of items instead of lower-priced/entry level ones. (Think Kindle Fire vs. Amazon.com)

Improve customer service – Survey your customers about their ordering experience and offer feedback or special offers to improve your services.

Increase customer loyalty – Invest in surveys, contests, and social media interactions to understand what customers like about you and how you can improve your business.

Increase brand awareness – Use email marketing to promote your products and services via fun games, contests, and entertaining stories (i.e. Warby Parker’s blog posts).

Offer exclusive offers and discounts – Use email marketing to offer customers special exclusive offers and promotions. You can also promote the sale of products that are about to expire, or send messages directly after your holiday promotions to entice those last minute buyers (i.e. Amazon and Apple).

Promote your company culture – Share news and events with employees, clients, and customers. They will see that your company is an exciting place to work, and they are likely to want to be a part of this.

Email marketing can be a powerful tool. You may have several business objectives for launching an email marketing campaign. To be effective with email marketing, it’s important to think about why you are sending each specific email  and what is the objective you are trying to achieve. The type of email you are sending will depend on what your objective is for that occasion or audience.

If you’re struggling with reaching prospects and clients through email, feel free to reach out and we can work together to establish your email marketing objectives. Schedule a free 30-minute discovery call today: melaniediehl.as.me

7 Strategies to Optimize Your Email Marketing Campaign

7 Strategies to Optimize Your Email Marketing Campaign

Email is still one of the most effective marketing strategies. It helps you drive sales, generate leads, and boost your reputation as an industry expert. When it’s done right, email has a higher ROI than many other online marketing tactics.

Whether you’re sending out an email newsletter to your subscribers or promoting a new product on your website, these seven tips will help ensure that you get the most out of every campaign.

  1. Personalize Your Subject Lines

Yes, I want my free report!  No thanks, I’ve already read it!  Beauty tips!  The next big thing in tech!

Which email would you rather open? The one with a personalized subject line or the one that makes it seem like every other email you get? Your readers are much more likely to take an interest if they feel special. Whether you’re sending emails to your subscribers or developing a segmented list for your next email marketing campaign, personalizing your subject line can make a world of difference.

You can do this in a couple different ways:

  • Use the recipient’s first name and last initial (John P.)  or include their job title (Customer Service Representative).
  • Ask questions that are directly related to something they’ve already done on your website.
  • Refer back to something that was mentioned previously or a question they may have asked.

 

  1. Write Persuasive Subject Lines

When you look at the previews in Gmail, what do you click on? The no-brainer offers with big discounts? Or the funny headlines and pictures? Personalized subject lines get you to open your emails, but persuasive headlines ensure that you actually read them. Here are a few tips for writing perfect subject lines:

  • Keep it short and sweet.  Short paragraphs with no more than five sentences will grab your reader’s attention and keep them from getting bored.
  • Pique their interest.   A/B test headlines to see what kind of results you get. In one email campaign with a segmented list, I was able to increase conversion rates from 3% to over 20% just by adding one additional line of text that hinted at the promotion. “Want more leads? Try our new lead generation tool” was much more appealing than “Get your own lead generation tool”.
  • Tell them exactly what they’ll get for taking action.  Does your email include an ebook? Give it a title that lets people know exactly what they’re getting and include the word “free” or “download” in the description if you want to drive extra traffic. If you’re giving away a sample of your product, make sure you mention that. Use dynamic text to change the price depending on whether they’re a paid subscriber or not.
  • Include an image.  Visual content is much more appealing than plain text and it’s proven to cut your bounce rate in half. When people see a picture, their eyes are instantly drawn to it and they try to guess what you might be trying to get them to click on. This can have the added benefit of persuading people who are reluctant about buying, especially if there’s a problem or concern that they’re trying to work out in their mind before they make a decision.

 

  1. Make it Easy to Share Email Campaigns

If you’ve done a good job of providing valuable content that your subscribers will enjoy and want to share with their friends, then you can significantly increase the number of people who see your email by adding social media buttons to the email. This way, if someone does like what they receive, it’s very easy for them to share it with their friends.

There are a couple different ways you can do this:

  • Embedding social bookmarks lets you add in icons that people can click on to like, tweet, and share your content. This is my favorite option because it’s easy to do (a lot of email marketing companies can provide this as an add-on) but you have limited room for text so you may not be able to fit everything that you want if your email has a long subject line or lots of images.
  • Adding social sharing buttons to the email is another great option.  You can add these buttons directly into your email template or you can put them as a link at the end of your campaign.

 

  1. Use High Value Images

Don’t send out an email that’s text heavy and make sure you offer some sort of visual content. The average email is at least 1/3 images so if you want to stand out from the crowd, make sure they’re high quality and relevant.

 

  1. Provide a Compelling CTA (Call-To-Action)

If you’ve done everything right up until this point, your call-to-action should be obvious.  If you’re sending an email to announce a new product, promote a webinar or give away freebies, there should be no doubt in your subscriber’s mind about what they’re going to click on.

But how do you get your subscribers to convert? Studies have shown that emotional words like “guarantee” and “free” are more likely to persuade people to take action. One study found that including the word “free” in your CTA button increased clickthrough rates by 410%.

 

  1. Send it at the Right Time

In order to increase open and click-thru rates, you need to send emails when most of your subscribers will be looking at their inbox.

Timing also plays an important role in determining how your email is received. The average CTR for emails sent between 4-5 PM is around 9%, but the number jumps to over 17% in the evening.

According to MailChimp, Fridays and Saturdays are the worst days to send out emails so that’s when you should make sure not to send yours.  Tuesday and Wednesday morning is prime time with a 20% increase in open rates for the first two hours of business, then things really pick up after lunch (when most people check their email one last time before leaving for the day) and more than double around 3 PM.

 

  1. Find Out If Your Email Got Opened

You can use your email marketing provider to see when someone opened the email, how many times it was forwarded or clicked on a link within, who actually clicked through from social media and even what time of day they opened it. Use this data to better understand your subscribers and increase the effectiveness of future campaigns.

 

So there you have it, 7 strategies to optimize your email marketing campaigns.   If you keep these points in mind, you’ll be able to write better emails and get more subscribers.

Content Topic Generation

Content Topic Generation

Ways to Come up with New Content Ideas for your Blog

One of the biggest problems many bloggers face when it comes to new content is figuring out what kind of posts to write. After you’ve written a batch of quality articles, you can’t just continue creating variations on the same topics. You need to regularly come up with new and interesting ideas. As I detail in my post about blogging tips to generate traffic, a big part of what determines whether your post is successful or not is how much unique content you’re providing.

So it’s important that you come up with new ideas for topics for every blog post. Here are some things I’ve found that are helpful in coming up with fresh ideas:

  1. Visit other blogs in your niche.

One of the easiest ways to find new ideas is to look at other blogs that address similar subjects in your same area of expertise. What kinds of topics do they write about? Which ones get a lot of traffic? Do they all have something in common? If one post does really well how can you spin it in a different direction?

  1. Take a trip to your local library or bookstore.

Every time I head over to the bookstore, I’m always checking out other blogs and books on writing so that I can come up with new ideas for my own blog. It’s easy to do this now that they’ve gone digital – just load up your E-reader or iPad and you can browse the shelves at your leisure.

A great book I picked up recently is The Ultimate Blog Post: 50 Ways to Increase Your Traffic by Emily Martha Sorensen, which has a lot of great information about writing posts that people want to read as well as fresh ideas for coming up with different content.

  1. Make a list of all the topics you’ve ever written about on your blog and think about different ways to present them.

Go back through some of the posts you’ve already published and think about how you can redo them or add what you’ve learned since it was written. Often you will have new information or a change in perspective if some time has passed since you’ve written a piece.

 

  1. Brainstorming

I have a notepad that’s just for blog post ideas, and when I get an idea in my head I’ll write it down so that it doesn’t go anywhere (and because I’m forgetful). From there, if the idea seems like something worth pursuing, I’ll further flesh it out and work on developing a full post.

My process is that I’ll fill up the notebook with lots of ideas, then cull through them periodically. Once I have 5-10 good ones (not all are gold), I’ll pick one to develop into a full blog post. The other ones get revisited at another time.

In my case, I think of myself as a general blogger, so I’ll work on topics that are relevant to a wide range of bloggers or online businesses. However, you may find that some are more applicable to your niche than others. If you’re not  there yet though, try and figure out why it’s not working for you and how you can apply it to the core of your content. You never know when a seemingly random idea that comes up might just be exactly what your audience is looking for!

 

  1. Brainstorming, Part 2: Creative exercises to help generate ideas.

Another exercise is to think about the 5 people that you most want to reach with your content. How can you help them? What do they need? Narrow your list down to one and then develop a post around it.

 

  1. Brainstorming, Part 3: Improve your brainstorming skills by observing how others come up with ideas.

I picked up this little gem of advice in an interview with Derek Halpern, Founder of Social Triggers. I think it’s really insightful although I’m not sure if he invented the concept or got it from somewhere else. Here’s what he had to say:

“I learned this trick recently that has worked very well for me. Each time I have a new idea — whether it’s for a blog post or an article or a book, whatever it is — instead of going straight to writing I’ll first just create a mind map. A mind map is basically just a diagram with all your thoughts connected by lines. You write down your ideas and the connections between them. What this does is it helps you flesh out your ideas and gives you a sense of structure. It makes it much faster to write later because you’re not trying to figure out the best way to say something – that part is already done.”

“When I’m doing this, I actually just use a blank sheet of paper and start writing down all my ideas, and then I just connect them with lines. It’s pretty quick for me to do a mind map, and it’s saved me a ton of time on my writing.”

 

  1. Think about how you can give value to your readers in the post.

I think this is one of the most important things that people forget about when they’re writing. When you think about your readers, what are their needs? What problems do they have? What’s the one thing that they’re looking for from you that will help them achieve something or make a process easier?

Solve a problem for them, offer inspiration, or perhaps just give them some motivation.

 

Online readers are looking for engaging content, but it can be a challenge to generate fresh, new ideas for blog articles. You can come up with new topics by checking out what is already out there, keeping a running list of ideas, or participating in creative writing exercises. If you keep your reader in mind you will be able to create highly trafficked blog posts.

September 2021 content planner is here

September 2021 content planner is here

Holiday Season Already?

With September being a week away, now is the time to start planning for the holiday season. Many of your biggest competitors have started generating buzz around the holidays. You have all of the tools you need to connect with your audience and deliver content and offers that will get them excited to shop with you. Check out these tips.

September content planner

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Content Marketing Outline

Content Marketing Outline

Why do I need a content marketing outline?

According to Content Marketing Institute, the term content marketing is defined as “a marketing technique of creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire, and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action.”  Simply put, it’s basically any form of online marketing that focuses on providing value in the form of content to an audience.

Like other forms of marketing, we need to create a marketing strategy and outline to achieve the desired results through our projects. For example, if you’re creating a blog post about how Uber’s new driver process is going to end the world as we know it, don’t just put your fingers on the keyboard and start typing.

Instead, create a content marketing plan to outline the purpose of your article, how you’re going to connect with your audience, where you’ll distribute it, who it’s aimed at and why they should care about what you’ve got to say (among other things). If you write content without a plan, you risk wasting time and money on projects that won’t do anything to move your business forward. 

Let’s get started outlining your Content Marketing Plan by defining your content marketing goals. The purpose of this outline is to help you focus on the outcome for each piece of content so that you can create meaningful and valuable pieces of content.

When you’re planning how to achieve your goals, ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Who is my primary target audience? 
  2. Why should they care about what I have to say? 
  3. How am I going to reach them and get their attention (i.e. through keyword research, SEO, social media or something else)? 
  4. What kind of content am I going to create (i.e. a blog post, an eBook, an infographic or something else)? 
  5. What do I want my readers to do at the end (i.e. buy something, request a call with our sales team etc.)?
  6. How am I going to track the success of my content marketing?

Let’s address each one of these questions in more detail…

Who is my primary target audience?

The first step when starting any content marketing plan is to find out who your target audience is. It’s very easy to assume that everyone wants what you have but in reality, that often isn’t the case unless you’re an established brand with plenty of name recognition and a solid reputation.

That’s why it’s a good idea to identify your target audience before you start writing and distributing content. It’ll help you create the right kind of content for your audience so that they’re more likely to listen to what you have to say and take action on it (i.e. buying your product or service).

If you’re unsure about who you’re targeting, do some basic market research to find out who your ideal customers are. Also, think about what they need and want so that you can create content that will help them in some way.

Get to know your primary target audience by performing an Avatar Study. Know what kind of content will resonate with them and why would it be beneficial to them to listen to you in the first place.

Learn more about Avatar Studies here.

Why should they care about what I have to say?

Think about how you want to communicate with your target audience and identify the marketing techniques that are most likely to resonate with them. For example, if you’re selling a product for consumers then it’s probably not going to be beneficial to write content geared towards small business owners.

However, if you’re selling a course related to running a small business, then it’s critical to target smaller businesses with your content in order to appeal to them and learn more about what they want. In other words, “how” you write or distribute content is as important as the topic itself.

How am I going to reach them and get their attention?

The type of content you create will depend on how you plan to communicate it. For example, if the main purpose is to drive site traffic, then an eBook might be more suitable than a blog post with a sales page attached (although they could still be useful). Alternatively, if you want to position yourself as an industry expert, then a useful blog post with great comments and links might be the better option.

Whatever content you create, it’s important to make sure that it’s going to reach your target audience. The best way is to identify how and where they hang out online so that you can share your content on the right social media platforms, blogs, and forums.

What kind of content am I going to create?

When deciding what type of content you’re going to create, think about how it will solve a problem or fill a need for your audience. This means that the goal of your content should be to provide value in some way rather than to just sell your product.

Also, don’t write something that has been created before and shared on a similar platform in the past. In other words, if you’ve seen an infographic about social media marketing then make sure there’s enough original content to set yours apart from the competition. If not, it’s probably best to brainstorm some other ideas.

You can’t go wrong with the following types of content:

  • Infographics 
  • EBooks
  • Videos 
  • Blogging 

How long should the content be? We usually recommend 500 words for a blog post. But there’s no hard and fast rule, so if you can only write 300 words, that’s ok too. The purpose is to share information with your audience and position yourself as an industry expert. 

What should I say in the content? Make sure that you’re not just sharing information but also providing great value. In other words, your audience needs to understand how they will benefit from what you have written. This means that you should include things like links to your own website and/or useful resources.

How often should I create new content? You should aim to share at least one piece of great quality content per week. The number will depend on how popular and active your target audience is online. 

How am I going to share the content? Before you even think about writing a single word, it’s important that you know how and where your audience is going to receive it. For example, if your main goal is to drive traffic to your website, then it’s best to share the content on social media platforms that will reach a wide audience. Depending on your audience, Facebook, Instagram, and Google My Business is a great place to start posting your content. Alternatively, if you want to position yourself as an industry expert then it might make more sense to guest post online (or even create your own blog).

The great thing about content marketing is that it’s a long-term strategy. This means that you don’t have to share everything at once. Instead, you can share it on an ongoing basis over time so that the information keeps coming up in search results and helps to build your reputation as an industry expert.

What do I want my readers to do at the end?

Sometimes you’ll want to create content simply for the purpose of educating your readers, and that’s perfectly fine. But more often than not you’ll want your readers to take some type of action. That may be something as simple as reading a related article or following you on social media. Perhaps you want your reader to schedule a call with your sales team, add an item to their cart, sign up for your emails, or write you a review. All of these items fall under the category of Call To Action (or CTA). Having a strong call to action is what takes your content from passive to active and does what marketing is meant to do: nurture and generate leads! 

How am I going to track the success of my content marketing? While most people think that the only way to see whether a piece of content has been successful is to look at the traffic or sales, this isn’t actually true. You also need to consider how many shares and comments your posts receive on social media. Keep an eye on your Google Analytics and email service providers. Watch the numbers and track the trends: you should see an uptick in visitors after a successful content marketing campaign.