Do you run your own business and want to set yourself apart from your competitors? Do you want your future clients to see you as leading the way? Then it’s time to consider positioning your business, yourself and your services as industry leaders.
Have you always fancied yourself to be a thought leader or subject matter expert but not quite ready to do that TED talk? Then here is a way to make that happen. This, by no means, may be easy and you will need to invest in professional support but the rewards will be endless, particularly if you are enthusiastic to grow your business.
‘Thought leaders are the informed opinion leaders and the go-to people in their field of expertise. They are trusted sources who move and inspire people with innovative ideas; turn ideas into reality, and know and show how to replicate their success,' Thought Leadership Lab.
Below I’ve outlined a three phase plan for your marketing to ensure you are positioning yourself as either a thought leader, subject matter expert or your company is the “go to” in your industry.
Phase one: client case studies
I have broken this phase down into four simple steps.
Collate and collect the data to write up some impressive client case studies. You can use my case study template here.
Write and edit the case studies so they read well and contain the right storytelling element. My recommendation is to start with three to six. Make sure they feature on a dedicated page on your website, where people can find them. If you work with clients in various sectors, be sure to capture a range of ways you have successfully helped clients.
Pluck out testimonials from the case studies to splash across your website and design graphics to use across your social media channels. Remember: people love social proof.
Share your case studies far and wide. Include them in any tender material, quote and award submissions, digital marketing strategies and talk about them when you meet people.
Phase two: annual content strategy
Devise a complete annual or six month content strategy, tailored specifically for the needs and goals of your business.
Your twelve month content marketing strategy will provide overarching content goals, themes, ways to implement marketing activities to support the reach and promotion of the content and the content will be in alignment with SEO research and other analytical research to meet business goals and objectives in align with your overall strategic business plan.
A great content marketing strategy will undertake an audit and look at and review the existing and potential challenges and provide practical recommendations to overcome them. Try using this content strategy template.
Don’t forget to include your target demographic in your strategy. Find out how to keep your content fresh here.
If you have a book or an ebook or are planning to write one this is the perfect phase to include it in and start promoting it. Here’s why you should write (or get someone to ghost write) a book if you are an entrepreneur.
Phase three: public relations campaign
The third phase focusses on spreading your message far and wide via the media. Having a third party confirm your leadership, especially the media, boosts your credibility and encourages people to believe that you are as you say you are.
A traditional statewide and national public relations campaign to position the business owner or senior executives as thought leaders and industry experts, whilst concurrently positioning your organisation as the “go to” business for the core services that you offer. If you service overseas clients, you might like to consider an international public relations campaign too.
So that’s your three phase plan to position your business as experts in your field and make sure that when people think of your industry, your brand name is at the forefront of your mind. Drop any questions in the comments below!
This year has been a terrific whirlwind for Jones the Writer. More than sixty per cent of small business cease operating in their first three years, so the mere fact that I have replaced my income (from employment) has exceeded my expectations.
Other goals that I have met, include blogging quality content regularly, with the aim to knowledge share as much as possible. To make your life easier I have curated my top ten most viewed blog posts, according to my Google Analytics. Some of these were posted years ago but have had a resurgence in 2017.
My content articles are specifically written with practical advice in mind and the aim is that you should get at least one genuine takeaway (minimum) that you can implement straight away and improve your marketing. So, if you read all ten below, that’s AT LEAST TEN practical things you can do to uplevel your marketing immediately.
1. Social media day
Adelaide's infamous Social Media Day had a host of information to impart. From legal ramifications of social media to tracking who visits your website, this recap has it all. Read here.
2. Easy SEO actions you can do over a weekend
3. How is your business writing?
Writing well to promote your business is crucial to its success. In a digital era of fast paced communications, you need to get your message "bang on" immediately or clients will drift elsewhere. Fix here.
4. Case study template
I'm not surprised that this free downloadable was a popular one! If you haven't already done so, download your template here.
5. Social media mistakes you need to stop
To be upfront, half of the reason this post performed well was due to the Facebook advertising I did in October as part of a campaign for my website. It's still one of my favourite posts, however. Stop these mistakes now.
6. Facebook's algorithm and how it works
If you're unclear how Facebook algorithm works, have a brief read here.
7. What you don't know about freelancers
I bet you didn't know that freelancers actually care about our clients and really want them to succeed and we'll probably go above and beyond to help make that happen. This was a surprise wildcard post and gives you an insight into how freelancers really think.
8. Facebook marketing mistakes
Easy to make (and yet easier to avoid) Facebook marketing mistakes. Find out what they are here.
9. Your marketing demographics
This is definitely one of the most useful content posts I have written. Identifying your target demographic audience is really important and the initial investment can end up saving time and costs. Identify your own demographics here.
10. Content marketing planning
Creating content with purpose can be challenging but incredibly rewarding, both emotionally and financially. Read more about content marketing here.
Even if you implement one new practical tip per day, you could have your marketing flourishing and well on track by Christmas time. I'm always interested to see how businesses are thriving, so be sure to let me know via commenting below or sending me an email on how these posts have helped you.
It's a Jones-iversary!
The 31 October was exactly a year since I took the plunge and made my copywriting business, Jones the Writer, fulltime (after playing with it on the side for more than six years). Happy Jones day (and Halloween) to me!
I was working in a job that was near perfect for me. I was surrounded by writers all day, I worked in marketing in a role that I partially created to suit my strengths, it was a fun role, a relaxed and flexible working environment and everyone supported my writing because that was the aim of the organisation. o leaving was not only a huge risk but a confusing time.
I didn't really know if it was the right decision for me but I felt so compelled to and my client load just kept increasing, so a lot of it made sense. One evening I encouraged myself to make a firm decision and I asked the beach I was walking on to tell me what I should do and a dolphin literally shot up out of the water and tumbled forward. So that was a sign enough for me!
And here I am a year later, working with some of the most impressive brands including Alisa and Lysandra, Australian Institute of Business, Southern Cross Care, Rivergum Homes, Flinders University and so many more!
I want my next twelve months to be similar and I want my clients to have a lot of success. I also want to finish writing my second novel. Here... we... go!
In other exciting news, I have launched another creative project about my one true love: TELEVISION. Take a look at She Watched here.
Putting a case study on your website is such a valuable thing to do. As we've looked at, social proof is a powerful technique to help get new clients and customers over the line.
Case studies help potential clients put themselves in the place of your existing clients and visualise how you can successfully help them overcome similar challenges with your product or service. Here are five reasons why case studies should be on your website.
To make your life easier, I have created a useful case study template which you can download and fill in to help you write the perfect case study to tell the story of client success!
Don't forget to include a glowing testimonial. Here's an example of a case study that I have written for a client.
You may also like... How to make the most of your LinkedIn profile
Hiring a copywriter— what you need to know
There are many great reasons for hiring a specialist and outsourcing project work, particularly when it comes to copywriting. Here's the first few (stay tuned as they get updated):
1. It is a specialised skill
A copywriter is a specialist and copywriting isn’t journalism. It’s not an unbiased piece of content that provides you with direct news. It’s a marketing tool to help you widen your customers and sell the services and products that you bring to the world.
Sure, a lot of people may be able to write. They can even sound incredibly professional or quirky. But copywriting is a very specific skill in that it combines high level professional writing to speak directly to your target audience, for the medium intended.
Copywriting is a persuasive art, often disguised as being so subtle that readers don’t even know they are being sold to! This takes the mind of a magician.
Good copywriters know to how capture exactly what you want (or should be) saying and how to position your business almost instantly (well, okay… maybe after you have filled out the brief). This is one of their honed skills in their magic bag of tricks.
2. It saves you time
The time it takes for your staff members to write something, say a blog post or a media release or even to rewrite a whole new website, is time taken away from their core duties.
It can take around five hours to write one blog post, longer if your staff are not experienced. That’s essentially a day’s work on a blog post. Can any of your team afford to lose a day with their current work load?
Most people are already stretched thin in their job as it is, if you throw an extra task or project into the mix, something (either the employee’s wellbeing and/or other facets of their job responsibilities) will be negatively impacted.
Being overworked and over extended is an epidemic in this day and age. In fact, it can lead to costly mistakes at work and serious health issues. Nearly thirty per cent of workers feel that they are overworked.
‘Poor work–life outcomes are associated with poorer health, more use of prescription medications, more stress and more dissatisfaction with close personal relationships.’
You can start to alleviate some of this strain simply by outsourcing your copywriting and improving your bottom line. You may even find your employees’ performance improve.
‘In the 19th century, when organized [sic] labor first compelled factory owners to limit workdays to 10 (and then eight) hours, management was surprised to discover that output actually increased – and that expensive mistakes and accidents decreased.
3. It will be well written
Since '45% of marketers say blogging is the #1 most important piece of their content strategy,' (source) it's crucial that your blogging content well exceeds mediocre.
Not only will a professional copywriter make sure the copy is expertly written to sound intriguing enough to keep reading, whilst pushing a soft sell or direct sales techniques, but will incorporate fundamental writing practices.
‘A word after a word after a word is power,’ Margaret Atwood.
4. It will master your tone of voice
The art of copywriting comprises of absolutely “nailing” the voice of a company. Voice is a powerful way to give your brand a personality and once your brand is personalised, people will automatically and subconsciously connect to it. Words are often the first step or level of establishing a relationship with someone or something. And as your sales team will tell you, selling is all about relationships!
'47% of buyers viewed three to five pieces of content before engaging with a sales rep,' (Demand Gen Report, 2016).
5. It will improve your SEO
Sterling copywriting will ensure you are super discoverable online by enhancing your copy with SEO best practices. SEO specialist copywriters will conscientiously keep abreast of Google’s ever changing algorithms and know how to write well and optimise your content.
Good grammar, clear formatting and the way the writing is structured (as well as internal and external links) will all enhance your SEO.
6. It will help with your content strategy
You know that you should be blog posting regularly to improve your SEO but you have no idea what to write about and what would make great content that will increase your search results. A decent SEO copywriter will be able to guide you in your content plan by suggesting blog topics and content ideas in alignment with your keyword research and marketing plan. Some may even have the skills necessary to do the SEO research necessary.
'Websites with a blog have tend to have 434% more indexed pages,' (source).
They’ll also guide you in the right direction in terms of which assets work for which purpose. Not sure whether you need a flyer or some email marketing? A copywriter will help you determine which medium will suit your purpose and audience.
7. It will save you money
‘I have been working on this for weeks but I just can’t get it to sound right,’ is one of the most frequent comments I get when new clients hire me. And just like above where I have outlined how hiring a writer can save you copious amounts of time, saving time always equals saving money.
Having a copywriter on staff can be costly process, especially if you only need them for project work.
8. It will give you a whole lot more than you expect
This may not be the case with every copywriter but often they can have a generous skillset. For example, I have been a publicist, project coordinator and marketing manager so I can bring a lot more than “just” words to the table. I know how the media thinks and responds, so I can write really effective media releases and I have a deep understanding of concepts like sales funnel, lead gen and customer journey map, when clients throw those terms my way.
Additionally, I am a trained yoga teacher, have studied creative writing, psychology and philosophy at university and professional writing psychology at TAFE. Besides meaning that I’m an education junkie, this suggests that I am fascinated by the human mind and have a profound understanding of how people work, making it easier to communicate directly with them. I appreciate the personal and emotional facets of where people want their money to go, even at a corporate and government level.
I’ve also written a marketing book, a novel, a book of short stories and a book of poetry (and another two books on the way) and everything I learn in the process of writing those mammoth projects are brought into my client work.
You may also like... What to expect when you're expecting copywriting.
Facebook is unique to mаnу оf thе other соmmunісаtіоn сhаnnеlѕ уоu uѕе. And thаt mеаnѕ a lot оf оnlіnе marketers or business owners mаkе the fоllоwіng thrее mіѕtаkеѕ оnсе thеу start engaging their marketing оn ѕосіаl media. Arе уоu mаkіng thеѕе mistakes tоо?
Mistake one: tаlkіng at your fans, not to them.
Sосіаl media іѕ, аѕ thе nаmе suggests, an іnteraсtіvе ѕосіаl platform. If you’re just blasting оut promotional material and advertising copy, уоur аudіеnсе іѕ gоіng to instinctively be turned off if there is nothing in it for them or no opportunity for them to interact in a meaningful way. People inherently seek ways to contribute and conversation via social media platforms are an “easy fix” way for them to do that, throughout the day and from the convenience of their couch, desk or bed.
As Jeff Bullas notes: 'It is okay to share your achievements with your loyal followers but you should never overdo it. If you are not offering value to your visitors or are not providing them with the information they are looking for, you’re missing out a lot.'
Intеrасt. Engаgе. Crеаtе a dіаlоguе.
An effective way tо do this is to post creative content or share content that invites conversation and where you can directly ask your audience for their opinion or feedback.
TIP: this doesn’t have to be negatively controversial or outlandish themes. It can be benign themes such as ‘are you a cat or a dog person’?
Make sure you keep it relevant to your audience (by now, you should know their needs, wants and pain points, check out the target demographic post if you haven’t) and in line with your brand and businesses’s messages.
Here are some placeholder sentences/conversation encouragers that you might like to use:
• What do you think about this? Share your thoughts below.
• How would you do this differently?
• Do you have a favourite (insert topic) trick or tip? What has worked for you that you would encourage others to try?
• Do you prefer (item A) or (item B) and why?
• Have you ever been in a similar situation? What did you do?
TIP: pretend you’re meeting someone for the first time and you’re interested in getting to know what sort of person they are but are sick of the boring, basic questions. Cut right to the heart!
Mіѕtаkе two: nоt capturing emаіlѕ.
Hеrе'ѕ thе problem wіth Fасеbооk: they оnlу ѕhоw уоur соntеnt to a ѕmаll part of your audience, unlеѕѕ you рау tо boost уоur роѕt. This has long been the bug bear of us hard done by social media marketers and business owners who run their Facebook page.
Sо іf уоu'rе rеlуіng оn thіѕ рlаtfоrm tо communicate with уоur еntіrе аudіеnсе, you're going to be pretty dіѕарроіntеd.
Cарturе emails. Crеаtе a “ѕtісkу” post at thе tор оf your Facebook pаgе thаt оffеrѕ your audience something rеаllу dеѕіrаblе аnd valuable fоr free іf thеу join уоur lіѕt. If you need ideas, check out my posts on email marketing.
Communicating across platforms (Facebook to email marketing and back) can be really important to ensure you are front of mind and constantly feeding your audience (and potential/existing customers) quality information that will solidify your brand and make you their supplier of choice.
Mаnу оf the big еmаіl marketing platforms, such аѕ Awеbеr аnd GеtRеѕроnѕе, hаvе created apps specifically for Facebook. That mеаnѕ you can collect еmаіl аddrеѕѕеѕ dіrесtlу оff уоur Facebook Pаgе.
Mіѕtаkе three: posting dead end content
Fасеbооk іѕ buіlt specifically to mаkе соntеnt exceptionally еаѕу tо ѕhаrе wіth оthеrѕ (unlike Instagram which has no internal resharing capabilities… yet…)
But frankly, іf you're nоt creating ѕhаrеworthy content, thеn you're nоt going to gеt any trасtіоn.
As you can see from this article, high quality data driven content, meaningless pop quizzes and inspirational quotes are amongst the most shareable content. Honestly, will we ever get sick of inspirational quotes?
BuzzSumo took the liberty of identifying the top fifteen most shared posts of 2016. Honestly, number fourteen just really speaks to the depths of my soul.
Besides sharing other page’s content, crеаtе content that is wоrth sharing (and viewing).
Video is increasingly beneficial for Facebook reach with ‘51% of marketing professionals worldwide name video as the type of content with the best ROI and Marketers who use video grow revenue 49% faster than non-video users.’ Source.
Fасеbооk is a place tо interact, engage and build уоur аudіеnсе and the relationship with them. The amount of time and effort you put into cultivating your audience online will be rewarded over the long term.
And finally, my bonus tip is to utilise your great writing skills (or… ahem… hire a copywriter) to really craft excellent Facebook posts. Keep the wording flowing, audience specific and engage brevity where possible. Short, sharp and shiny is advice to write by!
You may also like... the history of the hashtag
You may be quick to disregard LinkedIn, especially if you don’t work in the corporate world or aren’t job seeking. But the professional business networking site, which has been around for fifteen years (yes, longer than Facebook!), has over 500 million users 4.2 monthly users in Australia alone—and shouldn’t be underestimated as a great marketing tool. In fact, Huffington Post suggests it may be the Most Powerful Marketing Tool of the 21st Century.
LinkedIn is important for a number of reasons. Not only is it an online resume, Facebook-adjacent, forum and a recruitment database all rolled into one but your peers, clients and coworkers can endorse your skills and write recommendations for you. And we know how great social proof is for your personal and professional branding.
'46% of online adults who have graduated from college are LinkedIn users, compared with just 9% of online adults with a high school diploma or less,' (Pew Research Center, 2015).
It’s also an easy way to let people know about your industry/work experience, knowledge and expertise. Rather than having to send people your complete resume, you can just share the URL to your LinkedIn profile with them this makes it much easier for sharing in other areas too, such as in your email signature, business card, other social media platforms, marketing collateral and so on.
Why is LinkedIn important for you?
How to maximise your profile:
‘You’re seven times more likely to have your profile viewed if you have [a headshot]. Like a house that’s on sale, the assumption is that if there’s no photo, something’s wrong.”
How to write a great Linkedin profile summary
How many times should you post on LinkedIn?
Studies suggest once per day is best, with ultimate posting time between 10am and 11am. Social media app, Buffer, suggests once per day at 8:14am and not on weekends. Experts say that posting less than twice a week is not advisable.
‘The goal is to be consistently visible and valuable. It’s not about selling. You need to educate and provide useful information.’
What to avoid:
Remember: it’s a professional networking site not a social networking site such as Facebook, so keep it completely professional.
You may also like... How to perfect your content articles and website writing.
Content articles and website writing
Writing well (particularly your content writing and web writing) is a key player in drawing in more customers and leads via organic searches, as we’ve looked at previously with easy SEO tips.
If you’re not getting the organic traffic that you expect, it’s time to start including better written and more content on your site. To do this, it’s essential to know what Google determines as good content. You'll need to know what to avoid, how to make it engaging and readable to your target audience with an insight to the importance of setting business goals in order for marketing success!
72% of marketers say relevant content creation was the most effective SEO tactic.
In this article we’re discussing great content. Content can mean a number of things in marketing but in this article I am focusing on discussing content articles, which are online articles that are informative and well written but as they are often commissioned by a business an organisation, they play a part in the sales process. They are not as obvious and glaring as advertorials, they are more closely related to editorial. Although not overtly “salesy” they can occasionally contain bias and will avoid mentioning competitors. We’ll also touch on static website copy (all the other text that sits on your website) and the part that plays in sales and conversions.
Before you consider creating exciting features or content for your website, brainstorm your business goals and what you want to happen when people visit your website. To get the results you desire, set marketing goals from the outset in order to develop an effective marketing strategy that is easy to follow and execute. Identifying clear goals and your “why” will help you understand the motivation behind every marketing activity and help you simplify your decisions.
If your goal is to increase sales, you might consider in your plan to focus on having a user friendly site with clear calls to action to increase conversion rate. Conversion rates indicate the amount of people who visit your site who then follow your call to action which include making a purchase on your site, subscribing to your enewsletter or contacting your business.
Other goals include becoming an authoritative resource in your industry or on your area of expertise, improving interaction with your customers and nurturing new leads to eventually convert them into new customers or sales. To achieve these goals you'll want to establish trust on your website with the content you provide and way you present your knowledge. You’ll particularly want to give your customers a reason to come back to your site.
‘On average, consumers visited at least three online stores before making their purchase and 81 percent of shoppers conduct online research before making a purchase.'
And in the travel industry, 'buyers can visit up to thirty eight sites to plan their holiday.'
To capture those people who are ready to make a purchase upon first viewing of your site or to increase the chances of people coming back, it’s imperative that you foster a sense of trust and knowledge on your product or services. Having compelling content articles and static website copy will instil confidence and security in your potential buyer.
Kissmetrics tells us that ‘Approximately 96% of visitors that come to your website are not ready to buy.’ Give them a reason to come back! If you're looking to establish your brand and its credibility, you'll also need to look at producing great content.
Keywords: the base of your content articles
Good content writing is optimised content and uses intentional keywords in your content. Keywords are the words or phrases people typically search for whilst using a search engine. For example, if you've set up a business selling BMX bikes in Sydney, ensure that you use these keywords and variations of in your content. Avoid overusing the terms, make it readable and enjoyable and importantly informative for your audience, as Google’s ranking system is hyper savvy and will know when you are “keyword stuffing”. Keyword stuffing is the practice of throwing in a bunch of keywords in your content at the expense of good writing. Basically, the more natural and professional you can make your content writing sound, the better.
You can research the top keywords on sites such as Google Adwords, Google Trends, Keyword Tool, Hubspot’s guide to keyword research to find the best key words to attract your audience to your site. To get a good idea of which key words will work, check out your high ranking competitors and the type of content writing and keywords that they use.
Tip: don’t forget to include locations in your keywords, particularly if you are a location based service. For example, one of my search terms is “Adelaide copywriter”, given that I am based in Adelaide.
Once you've figured out your key words, get a feel for what people like to read about and care about. Using the BMX shop example, you might want to write about competitions and races that are taking place in the local area or you might want to write about exciting new and upcoming products that you'll be stocking. Never pad out or over use keywords as this will detract from the quality of your writing and Google search rankings favours well written material.
Have a go at writing your own content and posting regularly and you'll start to see positive reusults. There are a number of copywriting services that I offer to help with this process, all of which I'm excited to help you get tangible results. They are:
Here’s a collection of things that I have personally used that make my professional life easier and more productive.
I can often be found muttering to myself ‘geesh, I love technology’, because really, how great is it? That we can do our best work and have so many useful tools and programs to help us achieve great results and outcomes. Just so you know, I am an affiliate of Harpoon and Scrivener, which means that I get a minimal kickback if you purchase by clicking on the links below. I genuinely love and use these products, however, so feel free to ask any questions you have.
Harpoon is my “one stop shop” business running app. It invoices my clients (and sends automatic reminders should their payment be late), it stores all my clients’ data, helps me to budget and forecast my income and most importantly for me, it tracks my time so I can accurately keep track of how long it takes me to write something and if I am charging my clients correctly.
LiveChat is a plugin for my website that runs an automatic chat bot for anyone who visits. You can outsource to consultants but I prefer to be the one chatting to potential clients/site visitors, even if that means I miss out on some opportunities. Fortunately, I can access chat via both my phone and laptop and I am alerted as soon as someone has questions. This week, I had the opportunity to encourage someone to buy my book, book into my ecourse and let a potential client know about the extra services that I offer (we’d originally discussed some product brochures but he was also interested in getting some media releases written).
This is a great tool for anyone in a customer or client facing business that wants to add another layer to their customer service.
Boomerang for Gmail
Boomerang is an add on to your Gmail platform that performs a few handy actions including scheduling your email to be sent at a specified time, triggered reminders in XX number of days if the person hasn’t replied and has a tracking option to not only show you when someone has opened your email but what links they have clicked on in the email.
This is a handy instrument for those people working with less than desirable clients who claim to have never seen an invoice (thankfully I am yet to have one of those, touch wood).
So, we all struggle with being distracted by the internet. Anyone who says they don’t is probably lying or in a place with really bad WiFi. Sometimes you just need that extra kick up the butt and Freedom is just that. It blocks out the internet or designated apps or social media sites for a predetermined amount of time so you can explicitly focus on your task at hand. As a writer, this is such a key factor in being super efficient.
IFTTT – which stands for If This, Then That – is one of the most incredible automation tools of the new world. It is a collection of applets (conditional statements) that bring together your existing apps and online services using a myriad of “recipes” to basically make your life easier and make the absolute most of almost everything that exists in this glorious world of tech. For example, I have set up recipes to guide my iPhone to repost every one of my Instagram pics as native posts on Twitter (this saves the hassle of those ugly links that Insta sharing creates). I also get a message an hour before it rains, when I need to put sunscreen on and more.
It can even get you out of bad dates, automatically unlock your front door when you arrive home.
As an avid reader and collector of information, Pocket has been an app that I have used consistently for years, both in a professional and personal context. There’s always so much content (articles, videos, listicles, slideshows) floating about that there is barely enough time to read it all and the chances of you stumbling across an interesting link during a busy work day or just as you are about to fall asleep is highly likely. For these occasions you can simply send a link to Pocket and review later when you have half an hour to wait at a doctor’s appointment or are doing some research for a client.
I know I have mentioned it before but CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer [sic] is really a worthwhile tool, particularly in my line of business.
If you write a lot of longform stuff, such as ebooks or books or even courses, then you definitely need Scrivener. It has a simple yet effective visual layout that can help you see what you've written and what you need to write to finish the project. Plus it has handy features such as a project target counter and can help compile and format your book to sell it.
Would love to hear about your favourites!
How Scrivener looks:
The subject line is the first thing that people will see when it hits their inbox. According to Chadwick Martin Bailey, 64% of people say they open an email because of the subject line. Crafting the perfect subject line is an art form, a rewarding one, which can entice people to open the email and read the content. Your mission: to write an appealing subject line that will make people want to keep reading. The subject line is really worth investing time and energy into getting right. This is going to be the device that encourages people to open your email and read it (and then, hopefully, click on the call to action).
Most importantly, the subject line needs to indicate or foreshadow what is in the email and what the readers can expect to get out of it. Be sure not to misrepresent your email’s content. Much like a headline the subject line will need to have a great hook in it. Give specific reasons why someone should open the email (as that one hundred per cent the aim of a great subject line). Which sounds more specific?
The answer is 2. Number one is too vague and number three is too "salesy". Remember: it’s much more effective if you tell your readership what the email contains, rather than give them the “sell”.
Just like headlines, you might want to employ one of the psychological techniques in your subject line (as long as you adhere to the other success principles):
Although there has been some preliminary research into how many words affect the open rate of an email, there seems to be no consistent number of words that prove best practice when it comes to wheedling opens. An older study from Adestra suggests that subject lines fewer than ten characters long had an open rate of 58%.
This is more of a personal opinion than professional opinion but I detest the sight of an emoji in a subject line, no matter the industry or brand. It cheapens the look and detracts from the offer or information. This may not always be the case for your target demographic, however, so it is best to do some thorough research and understanding of your target demographic groups (my book has more details about those groups) to know how to directly speak to them. If you’re communicating B2B I would strongly recommend not using emojis in your subject lines or email body copy. World Emoji Day on 17 July might be the only exception to this rule.
Most email platforms have something called A/B split testing. This is the ability to send your email to your mailing list with two or three minor changes, so you can ascertain which gets more of a response. It’s worth your time to try A/B split testing for subject lines. Don’t just guess what people will respond to – test the waters! These test results will be useful for the next time you send out an email campaign and you’ll be able to see whether your email list responds better to questions or giveaways or rewards or whatever you decide to test!
Craft the language to be personal (not at the expense of professionalism though). You may also like to include the recipient’s name in the subject line. Mailchimp discovered that including your company name in the subject line increased open rates. For example, Jones the Writer really wants you to learn about this today…
So how many people should be opening your emails? How do you know if your subject lines are doing well? Although it is industry dependent, Mailchimp purports that between 15% and 29% of your entire mailing list opening your emails are standard. Check out where your industry lies here.
Here are a few industries that most of my audience fall within. These figures are up to date as at 1 February 2017.
Technically it is both correct if you capitalise the first letter of every word (known as title case) but my grammatical preference is to only capitalise the first letter of the first word (known as sentence case). I find it is easier read and promotes a flow that the eyes can follow easily. As with any great writing, avoid excessive capitalisation and overuse of syntax (keep the exclamation marks away). Read more about grammar for blog posts here.
In a nutshell
Keep the subject line copy very clear, medium to short in length, professional and as a precursor to what the email contains. As with most copywriting, it’s better to aim for brevity and clarity over and above being to creatively “clever”. Although it may seem a little on the conservative side, it’s better to opt for something that works.
'64% of people say they open an email because of the subject line.'
You may also like... How to get a heap more enews subscribers.