The Engenius Blog

Ideas & tips on business, marketing, and using the Internet effectively.

Top 10 Email Marketing Tips

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Email is one of the most powerful digital marketing tools at your disposal. It has a proven ROI and relatively low cost; however, that does not mean it is easy to master. Too often we see businesses sending out subpar emails that could be great if they just made a few simple changes. On top of that, there are countless emails we never see because they are sent directly to spam, a serious problem that can be solved if you plan ahead. If you want to ensure your emails follow best practices, or if you’re just starting to pursue email marketing, these 10 tips will help you land in inboxes and drive engagement.

1. Choose a reliable email provider.

Having a reliable email provider is vital for email marketing for a variety of reasons. A few important aspects include: user friendly interface for building/designing emails, emails which are automatically responsive, accessible technical support, and metrics reporting. We highly recommend using MailChimp because it can accommodate anyone from beginners to experts.

2. Design an email template that will match your brand.

Email template designs are important for building brand recognition with your audience. A few important elements that will create brand consistency are: brand voice, logo, fonts, colors, and professional photography. Click here to get more guidance for choosing your style.

3. Set up an editorial calendar.

Consistency is key in email marketing. However, you don’t want to annoy your audience with an email every week. Find a balance — keep your audience interested but don’t drive them away. Setting up an editorial calendar allows you to flesh out those content ideas while staying on track. Pro tip: open rates are highest when you send two emails a month.

4. Make it easy for your users to subscribe.

Whether it is a popup lightbox or a simple signup form on the bottom of your website, make it easy for your user to subscribe to your emails! Most importantly, let the user know the value of subscribing to your email list! They should know what they are getting into.

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Whether a popup box or simple signup form, have a place for users to submit their email addresses

5. Have a catchy subject line.

Don’t have the same boring subject line every month. Spice it up and give your audience something to be eager about. Subject line is one of the two most important factors influencing open rates, so it’s reasonable to say that your subject line can make or break an email.

6. Send people what they want.

Rich content can vary depending on what industry you’re in and the kind of work you do. If it is retail, the audience obviously wants to know what sales are coming up or what promocode is available that week. If your business is trying to sell professional services, educate the user on what your services are and why they are valuable, providing proof that they will receive a return on their investment. Take some time to think about what your audience wants, and then give it to them!

7. Use good photography.

Every user is attracted to pretty visuals, so make sure to include professional photography in your emails, whether custom or stock. Poor quality photos can devalue your business and make it seem less reliable, credible, and interesting.

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While you can use your phone for photography, you’ll want to use a professional camera to get the best quality.

8. Don’t forget about spam rules.

The internet is tricky. Encourage your audience to subscribe to your mailing list and add you to their contacts; even though you received someone’s email at lunch or a networking event doesn’t mean you can successfully send them marketing emails. Also make sure to include more than just images in your email — many email providers will interpret image-only emails as spam.

9. Test, Test, Test!

66% of emails are read on a mobile device or tablet. Do you test your emails to make sure they are compatible for every device? Do you click through all the links and calls-to-action to make sure they go to the right places? Send test emails to your colleagues to make sure they are receiving them in their mailbox and, most importantly, that they are easy to read!

10. Analyze previous emails to see what worked and what didn’t.

After sending out your email, wait a week to see the results. You should be able to see open rates, how many clicks there are, how many users opt-out, at what times your emails perform optimally, what calls-to-action work best, and much more.

Want to learn more?

You stand to gain a lot by incorporating email into your digital strategy, so start learning the best ways to use it now! These tips are a great place to start, but it’s important to know how email works in correlation with your website and other digital marketing practices. To learn more, download our free eBook “25 Website Must-Haves”

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A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words, so What’s a Video Worth?

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According to Dr. James McQuivey, a one minute video is equal to 1.8 million words. Whether or not you believe that, this is an important question to ponder as video continues its rise as one of the most highly consumed forms of content on the web. You may have noticed this trend — if you scroll through your Facebook newsfeed, you’re bound to pass a number of videos, each automatically playing and vying for your attention. And it’s not just social media.

Video is an effective means of communicating with your audience, regardless of where you use it. Whether you’re sharing a video through your email newsletter, placing one at the top of your website’s homepage, or hosting a webinar, video is an indispensable addition to your digital marketing arsenal.

But how do you use video effectively? How do you determine what kind of content your audience wants to see in these moving pictures? And where do you even start?

1. Determine what is most difficult to communicate to your audience.

Whether or not you agree with Dr. McQuivey, it is indisputable that video makes the most of the real estate it is offered. No other form of content allows you to communicate so much in such a limited space, so it’s important to ask yourself what gets lost in translation when talking with your customers.

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Are any of your messages being lost in translation?

  • Find yourself repeatedly explaining how your product works, despite the fact that it is explained in-depth on your website? Replace those lines of text with a product demo.
  • Do your testimonials lack impact when they aren’t delivered in-person? Record your elated clients as they praise you and your services.
  • Struggling to get your audience to connect with your brand? Create a comedic video that highlights your staff, city, or personal interests.

While video has a proven ROI, it can be costly, so you’ll want to identify what your audience doesn’t understand to make the most of your investment.

2. Educate your audience with a webinar

A webinar isn’t the most traditional form of video, but it represents one of the best ways to engage your audience online. Best of all, it can satisfy a number of different needs. Anonymous users will sign up and become leads, offering a great tool for attracting and identifying potential customers. Current clients will sign up to learn something new, further building your relationship and establishing your company as a thought leader. Industry leaders will attend, allowing you to connect with others or learn something new. You can use recordings of the webinar and repurpose the content you cover into other forms, such as a blog or whitepaper.

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“Of the lead generation tactics available, webinars are the second most effective type of premium content for marketers” — Ascend 2

Afraid a webinar is too costly? Well, the average cost of conducting one is between $100 and $3000, depending on promotion and technology costs. You can bring costs down by using free web services and promoting your webinar through word of mouth.

3. Pay attention to analytics.

Most people know that one of the strengths of digital marketing is the ability to accurately track data in order to make informed decisions. Rather than broadcasting a message and hoping it speaks to your audience, you can test a number of different strategies and determine what is most effective.

Video takes this one step further. While you can track the number of impressions and clicks a Google ad achieves, you can delve much deeper with videos, tracking how long a user stays engaged, what parts of a video are watched repeatedly, at what point a conversion occurs, and more. The point of video isn’t to get millions of views (although that would be nice); it’s to gain leads, drive conversions, and engage your current clients. It’s about communicating in innovative ways, giving a new spin to a tired message.

What will your video be worth?

Understanding the best ways to use video is no easy task, but these guidelines should help you get started and allow you to focus on what matters. But remember, video doesn’t work in a vacuum. You need a great website, active social media accounts, informative blogs, and other staples of content marketing to make the most of your digital presence. If you’re interested in learning about how Engenius can help you take control of your online identity, give us a call! We’ll help you define your needs and explore ways to address them.

If Your Company Were a Person, What Would it Drink? (An Easy Approach to Fantastic Content Marketing)

It’s not easy to spot a company that excels at content marketing, because it often doesn’t feel like marketing at all. Instead of interrupting what you’re doing online, these companies attract you by providing information you’re already looking for. They create online content—“any information that builds trust and authority among your ideal customers.”—that allows you, the consumer, to form a partnership with the company, rather than a transactional relationship.

The following exercise will help you become better acquainted with your company’s personality so you can make your online content less disjointed and “salesy”, and more inviting and intriguing.

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Today’s marketers opt for the subtle, relational advertising approach of content marketing. A brewery might eschew a traditional “drink me” ad in favor of a blog post — on oak barrel brewing, for example — that generates traffic to their website.

Have a Drink Together

Whether you’re a business owner, director, or marketer, you can probably envision the type of person your company would be if it materialized on the bar stool next to you. You have, after all, made it your business to know your company’s image, work-style, best (and worst) attributes.

So here’s the prompt: you’re sitting down for a drink of something with your company somewhere. Play it out in your mind. Have a conversation. Don’t worry, your imagination doesn’t have to be unicorn-level “out there”. The main question you’ll want to answer is this: What highlights from that conversation will leave you knowing your company well—and wanting more from your relationship?

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The main question you’ll want to answer is this: What highlights from that conversation will leave you knowing your company well—and wanting more from your relationship?

Here are a few other helpful questions to guide you through this marketing meditation:

  1. What would it drink? Drip coffee? Whiskey? Lemonade? Beer? Coca cola in a glass bottle? Plain ‘ol water?
  2. Where (and when) would you meet? Does your work-hard, play-hard professional company invite you to meet at a downtown bar for happy hour, ties loosened and jackets slung onto barstool backs? Or perhaps your productive persona wants to meet in the early morning, the first two people at a locally-owned coffee shop?
  3. What are your first impressions? Looks matter for this meeting. Is your guest of honor gearing up for a day on the job site, with steel toe boots and hard hat? Or does it don trendy garb with the latest hairstyle to top it off?
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What kind of first impression does your business make?

  1. How does the conversation begin? Imagine your small talk, opening jokes, recounting of last night’s shenanigans, etc. Does your company’s personality immediately start to fill up the room, or is it more reserved, opting to ask you questions instead?
  2. What aspects of your company’s personality emerge? Does your company strive to entertain you? Educate you? Is it playful? Serious? Pushy? Altruistic? Feel the freedom to note characteristics normally perceived as negative.
  3. What is your company’s favorite subject? What does it go on and on about? Construction? Cooking? Cats? What is your company’s level of expertise in this area?
  4. What do you learn? What has your company shared that you didn’t know (you may need to feign ignorance) and that you find to be incredibly useful?
  5. …See? For example, what did your company pull out its smartphone to show you?
  6. …Do? Did your company eschew the coffee house in favor of a sports drink shared before a skydiving jump? Or perhaps you did meet in a coffee shop, but spent less time in casual conversation and more time planning your dream home.
  7. What does your company promote? If your company is in the fitness industry, it can’t stop talking about good eating and exercise practices. If it’s in the finance industry, you receive a snappy rundown on good investment practices.

Now, how are you a slightly better person after having a drink with your company?

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Invite your customers into a partnership by continually creating content that shows them how you can enrich their lives.

This question is the most important. This conversation will help you redefine the tone and style of the content you produce. Most importantly, though, it will help you invite your customers into a partnership by continually creating content that shows them how you can enrich their lives.

Create Content Based on Your Happy Hour Conversation

This is where you get creative and productive, crafting content for your website, blog, and social media channels based on what you just learned. We’ll cover specific ways to do this in Part 2.

We Want to Have a Drink with Your Company Too

If our company were a person, he would talk about Engenius clients, and how interesting, challenging, and ultimately satisfying it is to launch beautiful and effective websites and online marketing campaigns on their behalf. Getting to know our clients and their companies is not only essential to crafting an effective content marketing campaign, it’s one of our favorite things about working here. To have an *actual* drink with an Engenius team member and discuss your company and marketing goals, contact us!

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