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

 

 

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