Email Marketing for Noobs Part 2 blog header

Email Marketing for Noobs – Part 2

In Part 1 of the Email Marketing for Noobs series, I explained the benefit of permission-based email marketing, and how to stay within your recipient’s circle of trust.

The Circle of Trust

Part 2 goes one-step further and helps you get the most out of your email campaigns and efforts.

 

Be a Trusted Email Sender

Pinky-Promise-Blake-Shelton-Gif

There’s no better way to be successful with email marketing than to send emails recipients actually want to open, read and share. The best way to do this is to only send messages that provide some sort of value.

If you’re a small business without much to say or offer, sending an email once a month, or quarter, is enough. If you’re a business that regularly generates valuable content, or consistently provides exclusive offers or discounts, multiple emails a week or month may still be effective.

Don’t send emails just because it seems like it’s been a while since the last one was sent out. Instead, only send emails when there’s something significant to offer.

The recipient doesn’t care how often they receive an email from a brand. Their only concern is the value of each and every email.

Otherwise, you’re just sending something that will end up in their trash.


 

Personalize the Email Address

Hello my name is noreply

When someone views their inbox the first thing they’re looking for is names they recognize. These names can be friends and family, colleagues or brands. People know which people and businesses they enjoy communicating with (or receiving communications from), and open these emails first.

Names that recipients recognize stand out and prompt them to open the message. Names they don’t recognize are left unopened until later, or even ignored completely.

Email addresses like:

Don’t look personal. These are email addresses which often send out mass-messages. There’s nothing personal about these names and people are rarely persuaded to believe they are.

Recipients don’t have the time or desire to open these types of emails. If they don’t instantly recognize the email address they probably won’t open it at all.

When choosing the email address that’ll be used to send out marketing messages, pick one that looks like it’s from a real person; not some faceless, automated robot.

Consider:

 

 

Write an Honest and Clear Subject Line

The most important part of every single email is the subject line. This single line often decides whether an email will be opened, ignored, deleted or marked as spam.

no spam

In 50 characters or less, a subject line must explain the purpose and intent of an email, invoke a reaction, stand out or detail its value; sometimes all four. A subject line is responsible for getting the recipient to open.

Don’t be too clever when writing subject lines; it’s often better to be straightforward than write something so witty it’s misunderstood. Five – ten words aren’t enough to explain context and it’s easy for a subject line to be misinterpreted if it isn’t direct.

Don’t attempt to hide the emails purpose or trick the recipient into opening the message based on a few words.

Homer Simpsons opening can of snakes

If the email is asking the recipient to take a specific action, requesting information, or attempting to sell something, make this clear. This is the difference between trying to capture leads by quantity over quality.

If the email is only for a small group of people interested in a very specific topic, use the subject line to be transparent. If only a handful of people open the email, but all are interested in whatever the email’s topic, this is far better than 1000 opens and only 5 interested recipients.

Effective subject line writing involves a practice that makes many marketers uncomfortable; honesty and transparency. Tell recipients what the email is about, briefly, and make sure to live up to that promise.

 

Write a Less-Formal Email

When people send and receive emails they typically don’t expect perfectly worded, eloquent and professional messages. Email is a quick-form of communication that is generally used for close friends, family and colleagues. Even inter-office email has a casual feel to it.

Don’t write emails that sound like they should appear below a company’s letter head.

Effective online marketing requires understanding how people communicate on different platforms, and adapting. A message on Facebook shouldn’t look the same as a brochure, and an email shouldn’t look like a sales-pitch.

Email is often quick, more relaxed and less rigid than other forms of business communication. As a brand, it’s important to recognize this difference and adapt.

Write emails like they’re to a close friend. Speak casually, without the need to sound so buttoned-up and professional.

This doesn’t mean a brand should always use emoticons or social media abbreviations, but it does mean they don’t always need to be avoided. What’s more important is that each message is written for the intended recipient.

The key is to learn, and then speak, their language.

 

Each Email Must Provide Actual Value

Don’t just send an email for the purpose of sending an email.

Emails should be sent every week, or month, ONLY if there is something new and unique to say every week or month. Emails should never be sent out for the sole purpose of reminding recipients the business exists.

The best time to send an email is when there’s something interesting or value to provide to recipients, and only if it’s unique and exclusive.

If a business has a coupon to give to recipients, this is an example of good value. However, sending the same exact email the next week is an example of a non-unique or non-exclusive message. The better strategy is to send out a different coupon, with a different offer.

While it is true that recipients occasionally overlook emails and may not have seen one the first time around, it’s more likely they did see it and just didn’t feel it was relevant.

If a brand created an amazing eBook and wants to send it to all of the email addresses they have, the brand shouldn’t send an email every week with the same wording, images and links. Instead, switch it up and make it appear like different messages.

Consider this strategy:

  1. First Email – Alert recipients to the creation of a new eBook and include an exclusive link only they can access (with the input of their email address).
  2. Second Email – Remind them about the eBook and let them know that if they Tweet the link and @mention the brand, they’ll be signed up for a special contest.
  3. Third Email – Update recipients about the value and success of the eBook and let them know other people are talking about it online and social media. Embed some reviews, social shares or testimonials.
  4. Fourth Email – Let them know the link will expire on a set date, but tell them they can request a PDF version of the eBook by sending an email to: eBook@BrandName.com

 

Only send messages when there’s something interesting to say, or don’t send anything at all.

 

Blog originally posted on “A Working Progress” @ BecauseYouGoogledMe.com

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Email Marketing for Noobs Blog Header

Email Marketing for Noobs – Part 1

Email Marketing for Noobs Blog Header

 

 

Congratulations, you have access to a potential consumer’s email address.

Shia LaBeouf Clapping

Now what?

Email addresses are like phone numbers, sacred pieces of personal information, and people don’t like giving out either to just anyone. When you’re granted access to someone’s email address, or phone number, you’re being invited into their circle of trust.

Don’t let this happen:

The Circle of Trust

Don’t Send Emails Selfishly

This generous person is letting you know they trust you won’t abuse or misuse the information, and they trust you won’t annoy them. Your job is to hold on to the info closely, secure it from others, and only use it when you have something valuable to say.

Unfortunately too many businesses don’t agree.

Email marketing campaigns often overlook the level of trust they’ve been granted. When an email address is obtained, too often the first thought is to start sending messages asking for something.

This isn’t what trusted connections to and it shouldn’t be what your company does either.

Value People’s Emails

When you send emails to people that don’t offer any value, they get the impression you don’t actually value their personal information. They’re not happy you have their email, they just feel boo-urned.

Mr. Burns Saying Excellent from The Simpsons

People hold their inbox on a pedestal. It’s a special place that delivers messages from friends and family, sends important work-related communication, and keeps people up-to-date on their interests, hobbies and special events.

It’s not a place to be “sold.”

Permission Email Marketing

Seth Godin introduced the idea of Permission Marketing in his book by the same name.

Permission Marketing Book Cover by Seth Godin

 

Seth argued that the days of interruption marketing (such as advertising, TV commercials and other forms that interrupt an activity with brand messages) no longer work in the modern world. Instead brands must engage in permission marketing, which only delivers brand messages when a potential consumer grants a brand permission (such as Liking a Facebook page or signing up for newsletters).

To market effectively with email, permission marketing is the best strategy to use.

Email Marketing Without Permission

Buying email lists doesn’t work, and it’s also a waste of money and time. If you don’t know about the potential harm these lists can cause, consider these consequences:

  • Most email marketing vendors don’t allow the use of non-opt-in lists, instructing companies to only use lists that were obtained from people that agreed to receive emails.
  • The emails purchased aren’t of high quality, and are often completely dead. If you’re able to purchase an email, it’s likely others have done so as well, meaning these emails have already been bombarded with marketing messages.
  • The people behind these email addresses usually have no idea who you are, know nothing of your company, and don’t know how you obtained their email address. People are not often receptive to messages from people or brands they don’t know.
  • If too many recipients mark your message as “spam,” your brand can be damaged. In the best-case scenario, an email marketing vendor can refuse to work with you and drop you from their platform. In the worst-case scenario, your email address can be blacklisted and cause all of your emails to be caught by spam filters (even harmless ones).
  • It’s downright annoying. No one likes receiving emails from people and brands they don’t know. These types of unsolicited communication can lead to bad brand images and negative word-of-mouth referrals.

Did You Buy an Email List?

All is not lost, and there’s no need to overreact.

Ron Swanson Throws Out Computer on Parks and Recreation Gif

 

But you can probably throw away the list. If it works, you’re likely the outlier, not the norm.

How to Grow Your Email List

The best way to manage email marketing is to grow your list slowly, and send emails to potential consumers that actually want to hear about your brand. The best way to grow your list is organically.

Signups can be added to your website and social media pages. Calls-to-action can be added to other forms of communication (receipts, invoices, confirmations, business cards, and direct marketing collateral) to drive new sign ups.

Any time a customer makes a purchase there’s an opportunity to request an email address. This type of interaction works exceptionally well because the customer has already shown an interest in your brand, and is likely already interested in the things you have to say.

These methods are part of a permission email marketing strategy, and work because they give the power to the consumer, allowing them to make the choice about whether or not to invite you into their circle of trust (or inbox). When a customer is interested in what you have to say, they’re more likely to respond and engage when they receive it.

But once you’re granted access to their inbox, the job isn’t complete. The trust they’ve granted can be taken away with just a single poorly constructed, pushy or irrelevant email.

This is where the concept of email personalization becomes vital.

But that’s a topic for another blog.

Check back soon for Part 2 of the Email Marketing for Noobs series.

 

Blog originally posted on “A Working Progress” @ BecauseYouGoogledMe

 

 

Say it First and Make it Wicked

It’s those people, and brands, willing to be the first to say today, what we’re all thinking, that will win tomorrow. 

Have you experienced live-tweeting? You know, the digital version of note-passing in class. The act of telling ‘Yo Mama” jokes to strangers watching the same show. A cultural phenomenon which involves being the first to troll the entertainment you choose to watch.

The concept is unique. Unlike anything we’ve seen throughout communication history. Real-time discussions about the topics we care about. No other medium allows people to share their thoughts, opinions or jokes to mass audiences, instantly. Unfiltered. It’s theoretically and technically revolutionary.

So of course businesses see dollar signs. Wherever people go, and whatever they see or hear, will attract advertising. Live-tweeting is today’s untapped advertising resource. Brands are joining the discussions; getting involved and trying to attract and engage. But just because brands are learning to show up to the party, doesn’t mean their invited inside.

The 2014 Billboard Music Awards aired this past weekend. ABC was smart enough to know they need to be part of the discussion. #Billboards2014 and #BillboardAwards were trending hashtags all night. And ABC made sure to stamp the entire broadcast with their hashtag of choice; encouraging viewers to join the conversation and live-tweet. Viewers listened. Topics, thoughts and jokes streamed throughout the Twitterverse. On paper, it worked.

But what ABC missed, or more specifically, couldn’t have predicted, was an even bigger trend.

Lorde-Performing-at-Billboard-Music-Awards-2014

When Lorde performed, Twitter went crazy.

 

Was everyone making the same exact correlation simultaneously? Was Lorde so obviously a Wicked Witch of the West clone that the analogy created itself? Or did one person make the joke and everyone followed? Probably a bit of both.

Neither ABC nor the Billboard Music Awards could have predicted this trend. No marketer could. It was fluid. Organic. Original. Memorable. Obvious. People saw the joke and understood, immediately, there was truth behind the punchline.

Live-tweeting, and social media as a whole, is filled with these examples. Brands spend money trying to get people talking. And then some random person, with no real influence one-ups the pros and finds success.

For the digital marketing and advertising industry to find success on social media, pre-packaged and planned messages will never work. They’re too safe. Too scripted. Too perfect. And in business, the safe way almost always gets chosen.

Which works out for the few people and brands willing to cross the line. To make the insight, joke or observation we’re all thinking, but not quick enough (or brave enough) to post.

Let’s hypothetical:

If the first person to post the “Wicked Witch of the West,” comment was secretly a marketing advocate for the release of a new, re-mastered version of the Wizard of Oz, how many extra DVDs would they have helped sell?

Or, what if this person was actually the social media marketer in charge of promoting WICKED the musical? And the day after starting the “Wicked Witch of the West” trend, you saw a commercial for the musical. Would you be more inclined to buy because it was fresh in your mind?

Business and brands can’t plan for these unscripted life moments. But when they happen, and people are willing to listen, an unrivaled marketing channel opens. It’s those people, and brands, willing to be the first to say today, what we’re all thinking, that will win tomorrow.

 

 

How-I-Met-Your-Mother-Pie-Chart-Favorite-Bars-BecauseYouGoogledMe

1st World Digital Marketing Problems

 

In essence, we must fail to succeed. – Daniel M. Christensen

What can you learn from reading LinkedIn updates? That everyone is an expert. Regardless of their field, every professional is convinced they must prove they have all the answers. Because of the inherent self-promotional attitude necessary, marketing professionals suffer from this “guru-mentality” at much higher percentages. Every marketer, especially in the digital realm, is convinced their methods will lead to success. They’ve tested, perfected and out-performed all of their peers.

The truth is, however, most digital marketers simply pick-and-choose segments of data, test results and insights to “Frankenstein” their own personal creed. No marketer likes to admit they’re still learning.

Luckily this method works. Too many executives, bosses and decision-makers know too little about the industry. They hear their business must exist online, but don’t know how truly make it grow. They understand social media is culture’s latest “fad,” and believe simply existing on Facebook will grow their business.

They want success, but don’t always believe in investing in true talent. True success comes from true talent. Talent’s the offspring of competition. To compete is to fail. And to fail is to learn. In essence, we must fail to succeed.

But before one can succeed, it is necessary to teach the inexperienced. In today’s corporate environment, all people, regardless of title, must keep social media in their mind. Today, no business-related action lives in isolation. It is crucial to include marketing teams in most business decisions, since each decision affects customers. And marketing teams are often the first point-of-contact for many customers. Whether through social media, email, or online review, customer’s opinions are often first heard by marketing teams.

Unfortunately, too many people are still unsure what digital marketing entails. It’s time we discussed today’s most common misconceptions.

1st World Digital Marketing Problems:

What my Boss thinks I do…

How-I-Met-Your-Mother-Pie-Chart-Favorite-Bars-BecauseYouGoogledMe

 

What my Co-Workers think I do…

Hamster-on-a-Piano-Derek-BecauseYouGoogledMe

 

What the Accounting Department thinks I do…

The-Joker-Burns-Money-Stack-BecauseYouGoogledMe

 

What the Web Designer thinks I do…

Zoolander-Files-in-Computer-BecauseYouGoogledMe

 

What the I.T. Guy thinks I do…

Hackers-I-Want-a-Cookie-BecauseYouGoogledMe

 

What Google Search thinks I do…

Cats-and-Kitties-BecauseYouGoogledMe

 

What my Customer’s Inbox thinks I do…

Hoarding-Burried-Alive-Newspapers-BecauseYouGoogledMe

 

What my Grandmother thinks I do…

Iron-Man-2-Touch-Screen-Scene-BecauseYouGoogledMe

 

What my Friends think I do…

South-Park-World-of-Warcraft-BecauseYouGoogledMe

 

What my Optometrist thinks I do…

Clockwork-Orange-Treatment-Scene-BecauseYouGoogledMe

 

What Teenagers think I do…

A-Night-at-the-Roxbury-BecauseYouGoogledMe

Mayweather-vs-Maidana-The-Moment-Mike-Tyson's-Punchout

Recruit Redditors for Your Marketing Needs

The next-great marketer is more likely to come
from Reddit than Harvard.

Whoever created the first The Most Interesting Man in the World meme deserves a cushy job from Dos Equis. Sure, the commercials, created by Euro RSCG Worldwide  went viral themselves. Similar to Chuck Norris, The Most Interesting Man in the World is known for achieving unachievable greatness. With enviable swagger, and perfect poise, The Most Interesting Man in the World is exactly as his name implies.

 

But in recent years, the commercials have trended second to the popular meme. You can’t visit a 9GagCheezburger, or Tickld , without seeing a The Most Interesting Man in the World meme. The setup and punchline are so easy to understand, replicate and share. The meme is likely selling as many Dos Equis beers as any commercial advertising.

Most-Interesting-Man-in-the-World-Best-Example-Paradoxes

Viral marketing is the next evolution of marketing. And similar to other forms of evolution, it occurs gradually, without anyone truly noticing. You may know it better as content marketing. Or social media marketing. But the goal is the same; create memorable content that is shared across the web. In effect, creating brand advocates who actively and openly endorse your message. All the great companies are participating.

From GoDaddy

 

to Old Spice

 

and Taco Bell

 

even Sprint.

 

Their approach is simple. “See our content. Like our content. Share our content.” It’s (relatively) cheap marketing. Turning viewers/users into brand advocates. When a consumer shares a brand’s content with a friend, the brand is receiving a word-of-mouth endorsement, along with forging an additional advertising channel.

Every marketing firm and advertising agency is looking to become the next viral thing. To create the next internet sensation. Unfortunately for them, it usually comes organically.

Like from some sinister looking cat,

 

or an innocent kid on drugs.

 

But sometimes brands have success. Gangnam Style wasn’t an accident. The record label perfectly calculated their marketing strategy. By first building a Korean audience, then gradually promoting Psy on American media networks, they were able to turn Gangnam Style into the most viral video of all-time

 

Devil’s Due, a horror movie, which by all accounts, bombed in the theaters, succeeded in their viral marketing. Unfortunately the movie couldn’t hold up to the “scares,” of their prank video. But the buzz for the opening weekend was huge.

 

In the very near future, it will be the creators of viral content that will become the most successful marketers. These creators understand what the internet is looking for. How to develop it. Promote it. Optimize and share it.

You won’t hear me claiming to be on the level of any of the content creators above, but I do understand the importance of honing the craft. Experimenting. Practicing. Testing. Failing. Learning.

Today I created some content, a gif, to promote an event. SHARE if You LIKE.

Mayweather-vs-Maidana-The-Moment-Mike-Tyson's-Punchout

A Professional Introduction

Remember when marketing and advertising was simpler? Buy a commercial during primetime, or in the Sunday paper, and rest assure you’ll have eyes on your message. Try that today and risk your target audience fast-forwarding through your commercial, or asking, “what’s a newspaper?” The options were not only narrower, but more popular. Netflix, Pandora and RSS Feeds have essentially killed the market-saturation approach. The internet has created a segmented market, and having all eyes on your message is, if not impossible, at least improbable. There are simply too many entertainment options competing for attention. How can Mr. or Mrs. Business tell the world they exist?

Every day the industry shifts closer to inbound, and away from outbound marketing. The consumer, if not actually smarter, is at least more clever about filtering messages. People, in general, spend much of their day trying to avoid advertisements. The shift is leading to companies utilizing a “branding” approach. Pushing the “brand,” rather than the “product or service,” prevents the consumer from instinctively tuning-out. A beneficial result of this shift is how creative possibilities expand. Focusing on “brand” broadens the businesses’ message. The objective shifts from, “buy our product,” to, “like us.”

Diversification has long been the safety net of investing. Even marketing strategies have incorporated the concept. Rather than focus a budget on a handful of media formats, spread the dollars across several. Not only does this allow for better market testing, but increases the likelihood of reaching your target audience. This isn’t a groundbreaking concept. Traditional marketing has prospered with this strategy for years. What is new, however, is the depth at which this concept is no longer a suggestion. Diversify or perish.

Today’s top marketing talent will be diverse. They will understand how to design quality content. How to create and curate. What it takes to build social engagement. How to turn a Like in to a Share. And a Follow in to a Customer. They will test and optimize as second-nature. Their ears and eyes will always be open to the latest trends, industry news and the competition. Most importantly, they will be capable of managing all of these concepts simultaneously. Top marketers will understand how to produce a commercial, upload it to YouTube, promote it on Facebook and Twitter, compose emails linking to it, edit blog entries about it, develop keywords for PPC advertising, and how to craft titles and alt-text for organic optimization. The segmentation of marketing disciplines, into specialties, is a diminishing necessity. Diversify or perish, in business, and professionally.

Internal corporate synergy is no longer an appealing business model, it’s an absolute mandate. The decisions of one department can no longer live in isolation. The consumer can now take their complaint directly to Twitter, for the entire world to see. Handling issues exclusively in-house can be detrimental in today’s culture. To succeed in marketing, all business divisions must communicate and collaborate. And the only way to truly foster this cooperation is to assure your marketer(s) understand the bottom-to-top concepts thoroughly. Today’s marketer(s) must understand the depth of systems, be they platforms, media formats or devices, because they all intersect. SEO, social media and advertising must all connect, and success depends on acquiring the talent that understands it all.

Today, more than ever, creativity is the key to marketing success. Digital marketing is such a new and evolving industry, that profit depends on equal parts “best practices” and “outside-the-box thinking.” The goal of every marketer should be: experiment, test, learn, and repeat. Follow the successes of industry leaders and expand upon their insights. However, as a wise man once said about obtaining knowledge:

“The more you know, the more you know you don’t know, you know?”

~ Daniel M. Christensen

The Voice of A Working Progress...

The Voice of A Working Progress…

I hate the sound of my voice. I still have no idea how my own voicemail sounds. I don’t want to hear it. The reality of my voice isworse than whatever it is I hear when I speak. To anyone that’s ever heard me, I apologize.

Regardless how it sounds, I’m glad I have one. My limited hand dexterity wouldn’t allow me to hold a full conversation in sign language (sorry ladies).

Hearing your voice is one thing. Finding your voice is something else altogether. What should your voice sound like? What will it say? How will it say it?

As I started my journey through the un-filtered landscape of digital marketing, At first, I simply wanted to be present. I hoped to experiment. Learn, Evolve. Improve. So I started creating and curating. Spreading content across as many platforms possible. I was a machine possessed. On a mission to spread like a virus.

But, as I look back at my work, I notice the mistakes. The gaps in optimization. The lack of quality engagement. I see all the content I marketed, and understand it had no voice. Not unifying message. My voice sounds terrible.

One post was a self-created gif. Another was a link for better SEO. I wrote about a trending sub-reddit one day. The next was about networking on LinkedIn. I’d gain a follower because of a meme I created, then lose them because my next curation had nothing to do with what interested them in the first place.

In the process, I’ve learned my content needs a voice. And it won’t involve speaking to anyone specifically.

My day-to-day responsibilities are overwhelming in scope. I’m a hybrid-marketer. I practice, research and implement a multitude of marketing components. Webmaster. SEO. Social media. Content creation. Content curation. Copywriting. Networking. Email marketing. Direct marketing. Digital marketing. Traditional marketing. Guerilla marketing. Promotions. Public relations. Google AdWords. Social media advertising. Print advertising. And so on. And so on.

As I compiled a list of articles I read, presentations I download, pages I shared, media I created, accounts I followed, etc., I heard my voice.

I’m A Working Progress…

I represent the evolution and growth of a digital marketer. A trial-by-fire experiment, from creation and curation, to implementation and optimization. My hat collection is expansive, and I wear all of them daily.

My guess is I’m not alone.

I can’t focus on any one of these aspects. Not for long, anyhow. My mind, like my to-do list, jumps from topic to topic. I’m the profile of a multitasker.

So follow me, as I experiment. Share the things I like. Curate the content of interest. And if the voice you hear today isn’t interesting, understand it’ll talk about something else tomorrow.