Back 2 basics – how to do email marketing that converts

Back 2 basics – how to do email marketing that converts

I’m a big fan of email marketing! Everyone should find out how to do email marketing!

Email marketing is a great way to keep in touch with existing customers and contacts as well as targeting new ones.

It’s a great medium to quickly and cost effectively communicate your key messages to a large audience.

Probably the most powerful benefit of email marketing is the available data and statistics – it’s very easy to monitor, test and measure the impact of your campaigns.

In the next few months changes to legislation will effect the way that we manage subscribers. Maybe you need to modify the way you store and manage data, but the new GDPR law shouldn’t stop you from doing email marketing.

These are my back 2 basic steps to learn how to do email marketing –

1. Build Your Email Marketing Mailing List
2. Define Your Audience and Set Goals
3. Choose Your Email Marketing Provider
4. Create and Send Email Marketing Campaigns
5. Understand The Results

Here are some reasons why you should learn how to do email marketing –

Cost Effective with High ROI

Email Marketing is very cost effective. Not surprisingly, recent reports suggest that it currently generates more return on investment than any other marketing activity.

Repeat Purchase, Cross Sell and Target New                                          

It can be used to communicate and engage with existing customers, as well as to target new customers from different market sectors.

Flexible Content

Your content can be flexible and varied. A mix of new product/service details, industry comment and case studies can be mixed with lighter, more fun content.

Increase Traffic   

By using links or ‘click throughs’ in your campaigns, website and social media channel traffic can be generated and increased.

Generate Leads

A strong and appropriately placed ‘call to action’ can often generate enquiries and sales.

Grow a Subscriber List

A key part of email marketing is growing and managing your subscriber list. Your list is a great asset! The earlier you start to think about it, the bigger (and better) it will become over time.

Easy To Monitor the Effectiveness

Providers such as Constant Contact and Mail Chimp enable you to closely monitor important statistics including open and bounce rates, click throughs, shares etc.

I think having the functionality to easily monitor the effectiveness of campaigns is the most powerful benefit of email marketing. With the variety of data and statistics that are available – it’s almost impossible to not obsessively ‘test and measure’ the progress of your campaigns.

Step 1. Build Your Email Marketing Mailing List

If email marketing features in your marketing plan (as I think it probably should), then you need to have an ongoing plan to grow and review your subscriber list.

Statistics suggest that your subscriber list will shrink by around 20% every year as people change email addresses, move to new jobs or abandon old email accounts.

If you’re just starting out in email marketing, then your subscriber list should be your first priority. Creating a list can take some time. I advise dedicating your time and energy to creating a list before selecting your email marketing provider and designing your first template.

Unless there’s a really good reason to do so, I usually suggest that you don’t purchase email address lists. The contacts on the list haven’t actually ‘signed up’ to receive emails from you, so in effect they’ll be ‘cold contacts’. Data on these lists is also often out of date and unreliable.

Here are some tips for growing and maintaining your subscriber list organically

From your existing contacts and close networks –

Start with people you already know – clients, suppliers, contacts, friends. Ask them if you can add them to your list. This is so simple – but often overlooked.

From customers –

This doesn’t necessarily have to be a computerised process. Simply asking customers at a till point or giving them a slip or card to fill in while they’re waiting is a great idea.

Through your email marketing campaigns –

Make sure your content is as original and relevant as possible. This will not only encourage existing subscribers to remain as subscribers, but also encourage them to share your content with their contacts.

Include ‘social media sharing’ and ‘email to’ icons on your campaigns.

Also include a ‘sign up’ CTA on your emails. When your audience shares your emails, the recipients will be encouraged to subscribe.

Run competitions or give something away – your audience would need to provide their email address to enter the competition.

On your website –

Include an email sign up box on you website.

You could also create a landing page purely for email sign up. This page should then be promoted and shared across social media channels.

Give something of value away in exchange for an email address.

On your blog –

Include an email sign up box on the home page of your blog.

As with your website, you could also include a specific landing page for email sign ups.

Your individual blog posts can also include email sign up boxes.

Through your regular emails –

Include a link to your sign up page in your email signature.

Through social media –

Popular social media channels have apps or widgets that can be used to capture people’s email addresses.

Use social media pages to promote offers or competitions that requires an email address to enter.

Include a ‘sign up’ CTA on the header images of your social media accounts.

Add links to your sign up pages throughout your social media content.

On your existing marketing material –

Promote email sign ups on any existing marketing material such as leaflets, adverts and direct mail.

Consider using QR Codes to link to sign up pages on your website.

At trade shows, exhibitions or events –

Ask people that you meet at networking or similar events. It would be great to carry a mobile or tablet device so that other attendees can enter their own details.

If you’re exhibiting, run competitions or give aways, where people need to provide their email address to enter.

Some final thoughts –

Make it as easy as possible for people to ‘sign up’. Think about what data you actually need – if you only need an email address and the contacts name, then don’t complicate the process by asking for more information.

It’s also worth communicating ‘why’ you are asking someone to sign up. What are you going to do with their email address? People are more likely to give their email address away when they know what they’re going to receive.

The biggest reason why someone won’t give you their email address is probably the fear of being spammed.

Along with what you are planning to send, you need to communicate that you won’t be spamming them or passing their email address onto third parties.

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Check out my blog – how to do email marketing.

Here’s what you need to know about the new GDPR legislation

The biggest challenge of email marketing is often attracting subscribers. The GDPR legislation will make this task even more challenging.

The GDPR doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t consider, or should stop email marketing. It just means that you might need to make some changes to the way you process data.

To help with your email marketing campaigns, here’s what you need to know about the GDPR –

What is the GDPR?

The GDPR is the General Data Protection Regulation. It’s a new law that was approved by the European Commission in 2016. It will replace the previous 95/46/EC European Union directive which has been around since 1995.

What is the purpose of the GDPR?

GDPR is being implemented to give EU citizens more control of their own personal data, as well as ensuring data privacy laws are consistent throughout Europe.

GDPR will regulate how organisations obtain, use, store and delete personal data.

When does the GDPR start?

It will become enforceable on 25th May 2018.

Who does the GDPR effect?

It effects every EU based organisation that is involved in processing personal data of EU citizens.

What happens if I don’t comply?

Non-compliance with the GDPR could result in financial penalties. A 2 tier system is in place to manage this.
The most serious non compliance fines can be as high as 20 million euros or 4% of global annual turnover – depending which is higher.

Before financial penalties are activated, a series of warnings and reprimands are expected.

How will the GDPR impact upon email marketers?

The GDPR will effect you if you’re running email marketing campaigns and storing names and email addresses of your subscribers.

These are the main things to consider –

When collecting subscriber data consent must be given and not just assumed –
Consent is a crucial part of the GDPR. In email marketing the subscriber has to explicitly ‘opt-in’. This means they have to tick a box to ‘opt-in’ instead of ticking a box to ‘opt-out’.
You also need to be clear on what the potential subscriber is opting in to.

The collection of data needs to be relevant for the purpose –
This means that if personal data is collected through a particular campaign or method, then it should only be used for that instance. Using the data for another purpose would mean acquiring additional consent.

The holder of the data has the right to withdraw consent at any time –
In email marketing, the holder has the right to un subscribe. If you are using their data for purposes other than email marketing, then you should also allow holders to withdraw their consent from these systems.

Step 2. Define Your Audience and Set Goals

If you understand the concerns, issues and problems that your audience need solving, then it’s easier to generate content that they will fully engage with.

It’s important to be specific! If you try to communicate with everyone, then you’ll end up communicating with no-one.

My Market, Message, Medium Workbook has a great section to help you to define your target audience. If you haven’t already done so, download it here.

I recommend having a clear list of aims and objectives. What are you trying to achieve from your email marketing campaigns?

Common objectives are usually driving more traffic to your website, keeping in touch with existing contacts or attracting additional social media followers.

Your aims and objectives should include some targets around how often you want to send campaigns. There’s no right or wrong answer here! However, I would aim to send ‘regular’ campaigns.

successfulemailmarketing

Mini Guide – Discover how to run successful email marketing campaigns.

Step 3. Choose Your Email Marketing Provider

It’s not a good idea to send large batch emails from your personal or business account. You need to create an account with an email marketing provider.

Most providers offer some kind of free account usually based on either your number of subscribers or the number of emails sent each month.

Some popular options are Constant Contact, Mailchimp and Mad Mimi.

I personally use Mailchimp. It’s easy to use and cost effective. The reporting is fantastic and it syncs nicely with other apps that I use.

Here’s 10 reasons why you should use MailChimp

I’m a huge fan of MailChimp! More than 15 million users send over 1 billion emails a day through MailChimp.

If you’re wondering how to do email marketing, then MailChimp is the tool for you!

Here’s why –

1. MailChimp is free (or almost free)
Most users start using MailChimp for free. It depends on how big your mailing list is and how many emails you plan to send per month. If you’re a small business or just about to launch, then you’re likely to be eligible for a free account. When your list and activity grows, the paid for options are priced competitively.

2. You’ll have access to powerful, easy to understand reporting
One of the key benefits of email marketing is having access to wide ranging data and statistics. MailChimp presents key metrics in easy to understand, nicely designed tables and charts. You can also access and compare key metrics against other users from your industry sector.

3. It’s really, really, really easy to use
The overall look and feel is clean, simple and very slick. Navigation throughout the platform is very smooth and easy to follow. The user interface includes a monkey icon on every page. If you click on this icon, there’s advice and tips on how to use the platform. If you do get stuck, there’s loads of help and support throughout the internet.

4. Campaigns can easily be scheduled and automated
A useful feature is being able to schedule campaigns to send at a future time and date. MailChimp also allows you to create and schedule automated emails that follow up on purchases, nurture leads, and provide product recommendations to customers. For more advanced customisation MailChimp provides a custom API to trigger specific workflows. This API currently processes more than 10 million requests per day from 250,000 users.

5. Use sophisticated A/B testing to optimise your email marketing
MailChimp’s powerful A/B testing feature allows you to test up to 3 variants of your campaign. Campaigns can be tested on things like content and send times. The system will tell you which campaign was most successful and automatically send the best option.

6. It’s easy to connect your shopping cart to your MailChimp account
Connecting your shopping cart to your MailChimp account enables you to track online orders and set up automated messaging. Using MailChimp’s e-commerce features can help you to generate more revenue from your email marketing campaigns.

7. MailChimp integrates with the tools and apps that you use
MailChimp integrations include Wufoo, Salesforce, Eventbrite and Survey Monkey. This makes it easier to sync data and import data from other sources. Zapier can be used with MailChimp to connect apps and remove the need for manual data management. The Twitter integration on MailChimp allows your audience to share your emails with their Twitter followers via one click.

8. MailChimp works nicely on mobile
Using mobile to check the progress of recently sent campaigns is a useful tool. MailChimp also works on Apple Watch.

9. Your audience can easily sign up to receive your email marketing campaigns
To assist with sign up, MailChimp provides a WordPress plug in. When users subscribe to receive your emails through this plug in, they’re automatically added to a specified list within your account.

10. Your audience can also easily unsubscribe from your email marketing campaigns
MailChimp uses an easy click to unsubscribe method. If your audience mark your email as spam, then they’ll automatically be unsubscribed from your list.

Step 4. Create and Send Email Marketing Campaigns

When sending ‘regular’ campaigns you need to build up a strong bank of content. Using an app like Evernote or Trello is a great way to record your ideas for content.

Your content should be tailored to your audience – giving them information on topics that they want or need to know about.

The language, tone and style should also appeal to your audience.

To send a new campaign from your email marketing provider, you usually have to set up a new template. There’s often a selection of templates that you can choose from, then adapt and modify as required.

Most systems use a ‘drag and drop’ process where you simply upload graphics, then ‘drag and drop’ them into your campaign.

Headings, sub headings and body text should be copied and pasted into the campaign template.

I think it’s important that your chosen template is fully mobile responsive.

Step 5. Understand The Results

It’s important to ‘test and measure’ the impact of your email marketing campaigns.

Understanding the data that your email marketing provider reports on, can help you to monitor impact and make adjustments to improve future campaigns.

The main metrics to initially focus on are –

Recipients
The number of subscribers the campaign was sent to.

Delivered
The number of emails that actually arrived in your subscribers inboxes.

Open Rate
The percentage of successfully delivered campaigns that were opened.

Click Rate
The percentage of successfully delivered campaigns that were clicked on.

Bounced
The number of recipients that registered as a hard or soft bounce.

Unsubscribed
The number of subscribers that opted out of your list using the unsubscribe link.

Forwarded
The number of times the campaign was forwarded to the recipients contacts.

Top links clicked
The URLs that were clicked the most in your campaign.

Understanding the data and statistics that your email marketing provider reports on can help you to make adjustments to improve future campaigns.

Having the ability to easily ‘test and measure’ your email marketing campaigns gives you the knowledge to make powerful decisions!

Find out more about email marketing in my mini guide – Discover How To Run Successful Email Marketing Campaigns.

Lets get connected! You can find me on Twitter at Perro_Andy. #freemarketingtips

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2 approaches to help you to produce fast and efficient content

2 approaches to help you to produce fast and efficient content

Content is a crucial part of marketing strategy! Without great content, you’ll struggle to captivate and engage anyone.

Creating content for your digital marketing strategy can be a time consuming task. Most small businesses that I work with are pressed for time and need to work smarter to implement their digital marketing strategy.

It’s well worth setting aside time for content. You’ll benefit from better results and a higher return on investment if you produce great content regularly.

I recommend that most of your content should start on your blog. Your blog is an important digital marketing tool because it’s likely that this space is ‘owned’ by you. When you ‘own’ a digital marketing space, you have full control over what happens in this space. You don’t ‘own’ your social media accounts. All of the major social networks could make significant changes to the channels tomorrow or shut your page down completely.

Obviously your content can be appropriately repurposed for your social media channels and email marketing campaigns, but I think taking the approach of creating content initially for a blog is the best option.

It makes sense to put most effort into ‘owned’ digital marketing space!

Here are 2 approaches to help you to consistently produce great content –

Have a blogging day (or half day) –

Simply set a day, or a half day aside at regular intervals throughout the year. This could be monthly, bi-monthly or quarterly – depending on how much content you need to produce.

This day or half day should be set in your diary in advance.

Any mobile devices (or anything else that will distract you) should be switched off.

Having time set aside where you can work with no distractions will encourage maximum productivity.

I’ve worked with clients who’ve taken this approach and then chosen to schedule all of the content that they created in these sessions.

Having content scheduled in advance is a great place to start from. This allows you to check into digital channels for a short space of time throughout your working week just to engage with people.

blogginghowtoblog

Discover how to blog like an expert. Check out these other blog posts.

Set yourself the 1 hour blog post challenge –

Procrastination and the constant search for perfection can often hinder content generation strategy.

This approach is more appropriate if you don’t feel able to set aside longer time slots. It relies on more frequent 1 hour slots. These slots would probably need to be set weekly or fortnightly.

Essentially you have 1 hour to write, publish your blog post, then share on social media.

howtoblog blogging

Discover how to blog. Check out my mini guide – Who else wants to blog like an expert?

I’ve recently worked with clients who’ve benefitted from both of these approaches. Which one would work for you?

Adopting one of these approaches will help your content! But producing great content will always be easier if you have a content strategy and plan.

You can find me on Twitter at Perro_Andy. #freemarketingtips

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Major changes to Facebook news feeds – how will this effect your social media marketing strategy?

Major changes to Facebook news feeds – how will this effect your social media marketing strategy?

In the world of social media marketing strategy, Facebook is the giant!

Facebook currently has over 1 billion daily users and over 70% of online adults use Facebook. Facebook spans the full age demographic and has a fairly even split of male and female users.

With statistics like these, it’s not surprising that Facebook is often a key part of a business’s social media marketing strategy.

In 2017 the business community took notice when Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg announced that he would “fix Facebook in 2018”. He also said that he wanted to ensure that users were protected from abuse and that time on Facebook would be time well spent.

More recently Zuckerberg announced that Facebook will change the way its news feed works. These changes will ensure that posts from businesses and brands appear less frequently and prominent on news feeds.

Here’s what the Facebook news feed changes mean for your social media marketing strategy –

Zuckerberg explained that content that creates conversation among family and friends will be favoured over content from business and brands.

Social Media Strategy - things that you should be doing on Twitter

Help with marketing – Things that you should be doing on Twitter

Businesses and brands who rely heavily on Facebook for social media marketing strategy might struggle with this new approach from Facebook? These organisations are expected to see a drop in post popularity over the next few weeks.

Zuckerberg explains – “We’ve gotten feedback from our community that public content – posts from businesses, brands and media – is crowding out the personal moments that lead us to connect more with each other,”

If content created from businesses is to be promoted, then it needs to engage and encourage community interaction.

Zuckerberg commented –

“By making these changes, I expect the time people spend on Facebook and some measures of engagement will go down.”

“But I also expect the time you do spend on Facebook will be more valuable.”

The Secrets of Social Media Marketing Strategy

Help with marketing – The Secrets of Social Media Marketing Strategy. Click here to find out more.

It appears that Facebook are giving it’s users more of what they want by making the news feeds more about friends and family.

It’s going to be an interesting start to 2018 for businesses and brands on Facebook. It appears that it will be more difficult than ever to get organic news feed coverage. Will this encourage more businesses to consider Facebook advertising?

Social media marketing strategy will always favour great content! To stop the popularity of your posts from decreasing, you need to generate powerful content that communities will want to engage and interact with.

What does your social media marketing strategy look like for 2018? Is Facebook a key social media marketing channel for you?

How to do great marketing and win more customers

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