“Marketing is the strategic act of creating demand and acquiring customers. Today, content is certainly a key component in this activity for many companies, so ‘content marketing’ is a legitimate and vital point for exploration.”
Content creation and marketing are certainly torn from the same cloth, but they aren’t the same thing. Take time to learn/practice tactical content strategies and implement those strategies with a clear understanding of your marketing goals to maximize your success.
“Don’t make new subscribers wait for your next newsletter. Instead, use your welcome email to recommend your very best content.”
Tell your subscribers what to do! Send clear instructions with your welcome email concerning your products or services. For example, if running an accounting firm and sending welcome emails to new subscribers, let them know that booking their initial consultation today equals 10% off the final bill.
“People like numerals, numbered lists and countdowns, so don’t be afraid to add in the number of days remaining in your sale or the percentage customers will save.”
Grab and keep your audience’s attention by crafting short, poignant subject lines that indicate what’s waiting inside the email. Get as creative as you like depending on your target demographic, and remember to avoid using all caps, as it generally sends a direct signal to spam filters. For best results, think of your subject line as your opening line.
“Social media is equivalent to one big fat focus group that never sleeps. There is not a time of day or night that you can’t crawl up in your cozy chair with your laptop and learn what people think of you and your brand. It’s there for the taking. Smart marketers know how to tap into the research and testing power of the social networks without becoming a spammer.”
Marketers don’t always have time to split test ideas before starting an email promotion. Luckily, social media can be a small, insightful focus group to test components of an email like headlines, images, topics and more. Use the quantitative data you receive on social media to help make smart content email choices.
“MailChimp suggests accompanying links with concise statements. In their study, they discovered that 8 – 12 words per link to be a sweet spot for CTR. That’s roughly how many words you should put around a link to make it stand out.”
In an article by Pawel Grabowski, he explains that email links with 8 – 12 words have the highest click through rates. That’s because compared to one word, or short phrases, these links visually pop in an email and foster a greater response. Try experimenting with different words and word lengths to see what works best for your audience.
“I usually don’t recommend single opt-in email captures. Double opt-in provides an extra measure of security, even if it means a slightly reduced mailing list size.”
If you use a single opt-in form for your email lists, you’ll want to make sure that you give your visitor a warm welcome message immediately after he or she gives you an email address. You can use a double opt-in form to garner a leaner, and much more interested, list by telling users to check their email to confirm subscription.
“In today’s digital world, personalization is paramount to successful email marketing campaigns. Marketers need to ask customers how, what and why they want businesses to send them emails, in addition to the types of content they want to receive. This way, you can set the expectations to their liking, and deliver what they are looking for — preferences are the key to longevity and ROI.”
People are inundated with emails every day, most of which are generic and searching. Stand out from the masses by personalizing your email marketing campaigns. Ask potential customers what they want and then deliver, but don’t over-personalize or you risk crossing boundaries.
“Keeping your audience in mind when creating content will help to construct an email that will be useful, and interesting to them, rather than an email whereby the soul goal is to increase open rates. If the reader finds your email interesting, they are more likely to visit your website, and perhaps even share it with others which will encourage natural linking and ultimately help your website climb the ranks in search engines.”
Before you write your email, you must know who your target audience is. Define who these people are and what will appeal to them. Keep them in mind as you create useful email content that will be opened because your audience can’t wait to receive your solution or idea.
“Is your message important? How important? Is it important enough that if you interrupt your readers in the middle of something else important, they will be glad? Time is a valuable resource and your audience would much prefer you email them only when something important comes up. Sending unnecessary emails will relegate all your emails to the spam folder.”
Maybe you like keeping a schedule—send a weekly newsletter every Tuesday morning—but you’ve run out of time and you don’t have any special promotions to offer your audience. What do you do? Skip the newsletter. If you don’t have anything worth saying, don’t email your audience out of principle or for the sake of keeping a schedule.
“Any and all data should be used to personalize your emails. When it comes to newsletters, it’s a good idea to ask a few simple questions even if you aren’t ready to use the data just yet.”
A great way to supply readers with highly targeted content is by asking them to sign up for specific areas of interest, categories or publications. You can do this on your site’s subscriber form, or ask current readers to supply the information in a follow up email.
“It’s never a bad idea to have multiple people look over your email before sending it out to hundreds or thousands of subscribers, so ask your business partner, trusted employee or even a family member to take a look at the newsletter before sending it out. Having an extra set of eyes take a look will likely help you catch any grammar, punctuation or spelling errors you may have accidentally looked over.”
Nothing is more devastating to an email marketer than catching a spelling or punctuation mistake just moments after pushing the send button. In addition to sending a test to yourself, send a few out to employees, contract workers or friends just to be sure everything is in good working order.
“It is import to determine when the best time to reach your audience is. [For example] how did your July 4th campaigns perform last year?”
Keep timing in mind when sending holiday theme-based emails. It’s recommended you review past results to determine the best strategy for current campaigns, for example, which days were highest in regards to revenue? Do your homework to enjoy even better results this year.
“Consider using a lightbox-style pop up form on your website. Lightbox forms don’t affect bounce rates, but they will exponentially increase your email sign ups.”
According to Christopher Lester, the average email list churns about 30% annually. This means that you should never be satisfied with your list, and growing your subscriber base is something you should be doing all the time. While pop up windows can seem obtrusive, they’ve proven largely successful at feeding your list regularly with new subscribers.
“It’s personal. If you can mimic the emotional and personal nature that is email’s greatest value, then you will be well on your way to creating a deep and meaningful relationship with your subscribers.”
The love affair between you and your subscriber begins with the first email, so write a love letter that is real, genuine, and worth the reader’s time. Write your personal email letter in first person, make it long if necessary, and pack it full of value.
“It’s an easy way to bolster your SEO ranking, and boost your company’s bottom line.”
Determine your company’s best SEO strategy, and then incorporate this strategy into your emails. You don’t have to send out keyword-rich emails every day, but shoot for sending them weekly or at least monthly.