July 25, 2013

5 New Strategies to Supercharge your eMail Marketing

If you've been publishing a regular monthly newsletter, you already know the benefits of reaching out to your contacts. You've invested time and money to build your readership and your reputation. You've provided value consistently and people have come to look forward to your newsletters.

It’s time to crank it up a notch and send more emails. You've earned it.

The 5 strategies listed below weren't invented by me but some of them may be new to you. Or perhaps you've rejected them in the past and it’s time to think again. The goal of implementing these ideas is to ‘touch’ your contacts more frequently than you are now. There are other advantages built into each one as well.

1. Create and promote a new free resource.

Make it amazing. Make it better than any other resource you've ever created. Make it something people would pay for. Give it away with no strings attached. Am I suggesting you give it away without getting an email address in return? Yes, I sure am. Make it absolutely free.

If you don’t want to just give it out willy-nilly to everyone, consider giving it to your newsletter subscribers only. Make it exclusive to them and they’ll feel special. I think that putting it on your website for everyone to download is a great idea. That’s what giving freely really means.

2. Promote a free resource that you already have available online.

You would be surprised if you knew how many of your regular subscribers don’t know about all the great stuff you already offer. Grab their attention. Even if you have promoted the resource in the past, reminding your contacts will attract people who didn't take the time to look the first time. You can also group resources together or present them in a different way than you have in the past.

This is an excellent strategy to drive more traffic to your website. Make sure you’re prepared to receive visitors there. Have you done a website audit recently?

3. Start a drip campaign.

This is about creating all the content up front, preparing the emails, and scheduling them. When someone subscribes to this list, the ‘drips’ are triggered and delivered on a pre-set frequency.

This is an awesome freebie if you have information that can be doled out sequentially. Examples of this type of campaign are everywhere. You could do daily or weekly motivational messages, quick tips, recommendations, reviews and summaries. You could also use a drip campaign to deliver a learning experience or step-by-step instructions over a time frame. A client of ours is sending her past workshop participants a 14-week follow-up program by email every Friday morning.

4. Start a mini-newsletter or ‘brief’.

Consider sending a regular short communication in between regular issues. This might include a particularly good blog article, photos of new products, event promotion, timely industry information, or draw attention to a resource.

Change up your usual format and include a video, a diagram, or an infographic instead of an article. Provide value, not just promotion. Use this as an opportunity to also share an updated blog post list and a call to action to connect on Twitter or Facebook.

5. Reciprocate promotion.

Promote someone else and, in return, they do likewise. This could include giveaways of some sort. Make sure that both your subscribers and the other’s subscribers will get real, no-strings-attached value that is appropriate.

Be strategic about this... and be careful. Enter this kind of arrangement with someone you know and trust. Someone who has the same target market as you or who has complementary services/products. Aside from offering new/different value to your subscribers, you should also gain subscribers from your colleague’s promotion. Be sure to include a ‘sign up’ call to action.

For all of these ideas, consider the following during your implementation:
  • Create a new template that reflects your brand but looks a bit different than your regular newsletter.
  • Use a subject line that is different than your usual style. Don’t be afraid to use ‘new’ and ‘free’ if it makes sense. Ensure that the value within is evident. This might be an opportunity to try ALL CAPS for some words. It does work sometimes.
  • Depending on the strategy, you may want to set up a new campaign and list to manage your multiple content streams.
Don’t be afraid to give away even more value than you already are. This is about reaching out and growing the relationships you've already started with your newsletter. “But I don’t want to bother anyone” should not even cross your mind if you’re confident in your offering.

If you want help supercharging your email marketing, contact us.

photo by Horia Varlan

July 21, 2013

Keeping in Touch

Photo: Wim Mulder

One of the most common reasons for starting a newsletter is to keep in touch with clients, past clients, prospects, colleagues, suppliers and other contacts with the purpose of staying top of mind. I have said that this shouldn't be your only reason for having a newsletter but, in fact, sometimes that’s just what it is.

"I'm just writing to say hello..."

Here are some questions to consider:
  • Do you still have to give value to succeed at keeping in touch? Do you even need your readers to open your email to achieve that?
  • If you’re not giving value, what reason do you have for emailing?
  • How often do you need to email your contacts to stay top of mind? This might be a factor of how often your readers would need/want your product or service.

Remember, if you want someone to know you're thinking about them, a card by snail mail is more appropriate.

July 17, 2013

It's Easy to Market to Yourself

"People tell us who they are, but we ignore it because we want them to be who we want them to be.”
- Donald Draper
If my target market consisted of 1000 of me, my marketing efforts would be so much easier. After all, I know what I like and don’t like. I know what makes me glad, sad or mad. I know my favourite colours and the best time to get me on the phone. I know when my payday is and when I read my mail. I know when I need new shoes or my roof shingled.

I’m not my ideal client but business would sure be easier if I was.

My ideal clients make decisions differently than I do. They prefer different communication methods and spend their money on different things. Their personalities and styles are different than mine. They probably make more money than I do. But they don’t know how to create a newsletter campaign like I do.

When things don’t go as I expect them to, it’s usually because a client didn't act, say or think the way I would have. (Darn them!) It's not a bad thing, just unexpected.

My ideal client will never be exactly like me – or they wouldn't need me. My best opportunities are found in those differences, not our similarities.

photo by Royce Bair 
Originally published in Work Better, Not Harder July 16, 2013

July 13, 2013

To Auto-respond... or Not?

photo by Andrew Pescod

Unless being used for a drip campaign, I typically don't recommend the use of welcome auto-responders at all. Not even for event registrations or other uses of sign-up forms.

The goal is to not send any emails that aren't necessary and aren't what subscribers signed up for.

What I do recommend is using a redirect web page, also called a landing page. You can typically put more types of content on a web page, such as maps, video, files for download, and PayPal buttons. I really do think it's a much better way to deliver important follow-up information. And you don't have to be concerned with delivery issues like a full mailbox or spam filters either. The redirect page will pop right up for them as soon as they click the sign up button.

To see the value in a redirect page, click here, enter your email and hit submit. (You'll also be signing up for our newsletter!)

July 9, 2013

Call it What it is

I screamed (in my head) when I read this lead to an article recently:
Do you have the phrase “sign up for my newsletter” anywhere on your website? Whatever you do, do not put “sign up for my newsletter” on your website. The last thing people want to do is sign up for another newsletter.
The article was about building your contact list and I don't disagree with some of the tactics. I really disagree with this premise above. That last line is so NOT TRUE.

I bet that you are subscribed to several newsletters that you remain subscribed to because you get some kind of value. And you'll end your subscription when you stop getting value.

How do you feel when you sign up for one thing and get another?

If it's a newsletter, call it a newsletter. Tell them what they will get and how often. If you try to disguise it, people may be suspicious - and perhaps imagine something worse than what you're offering.

Think about it. Why would someone require my email address in order to give me a free download? We all get that, right? That they plan to do something with our email addresses?

You're not publishing a newsletter for the open rate. You're doing a newsletter because you want people to read it and connect with you. You want subscribers who are likely to do just that. I think that in this increasingly suspicious online world, being straightforward and authentic will stand out.

July 5, 2013

‘Welcome’ Emails aren’t Welcome Here

photo by alborzshawn

Marketers encourage you to use welcome emails as an opportunity to market. Those same marketers are the ones writing all the articles about how integrity and relationship-building are so important to your content strategy.

If you've succeeded in getting someone to sign up for your newsletter, don’t muck it up! I’m pretty sure they didn't sign up for a welcome email.

Several times now I have signed up for a newsletter and then immediately unsubscribed when I received a welcome email that:
  • had no value whatsoever for me
  • contained (a lot of!) advertising
  • was long, boring and ugly
  • made me think, “If this is an indication of what is to come...?” and then hunt for the unsubscribe link
There is another, much better, way to communicate to your new subscriber – use a landing page, also called a redirect page, in your sign up process. I can think of some situations where a welcome email might be desirable but, in most cases, a landing page can accomplish the same thing - just better.