Email marketing is still a reliable advertising medium for over ten years now even with the introduction of newer digital advertising technologies. According to a recent analysis by Vertical Response, about 72 per cent of consumers say that they prefer to hear from businesses via email. Email marketing still continues to be one of the most cost effective ways to reach potential clients and customers.
Not only that but it has a flow on effect to social media as well. ‘Email subscribers are three times more likely to share content on social media than leads who came through another channel,’ QuickSprout tells us.
Not everybody who engages in email marketing gets it right and with so many businesses competing for inbox space, sending lacklustre emails isn’t enough to make the desired impact. Keeping up to date on the best practices ensures email communications stand out and offer a successful campaign.
Fortunately, email marketers develop new ways to make EDMs even more powerful every year to stay on top of their game. To ensure that you stay on the cutting edge, here are some of the email marketing trends for 2018.
Make personalisation and segmentation a priority
2018 is set to be the year that email personalisation will be a significant player in email marketing campaigns. Personalisation within the email marketing context means creating uniquely tailored experiences which make users feel valued by your business. For example, one of the most common forms of email personalisation is using the recipient’s name instead of the standard “hello” or “dear customer”. But now, more than ever, it’s up to you as a marketer or business owner to enhance personalisation even more. By implementing comprehensive list and client segmentation, email marketing will be able to reach new heights of personalisation that extends beyond addressing your clients by name.
People are more likely to respond to emails which have been tailored specifically to them than to generic emails. By creating a personalised experience for your customers, you can also boost continuous engagement through dynamic content.
Segmentation is simply the process of carrying your personalisation efforts further by segmenting your mailing and contact lists into customer groups based on various distinctive criteria ranging from birthdays to time zones to when the last time they opened your emails were. This provides acutely relevant content to your recipients and its importance cannot be overestimated. According to a 2017 DMA report, about 79 per cent of email marketing ROI came from segmented and targeted campaigns. By segmenting your mailing lists by age, gender, geography, interests, education level and so on you can provide more relevant emails and boost engagement. And customer service is consistently refined and implemented through email marketing.
Create interactive content
Have you come across an email message with an embedded GIF image or a survey attached to it? This is interactive content. Interactive content allows users to interact with the email interface keeping the digital content interesting and unique. Additionally, they also help companies increase customer research, engagement and even retention. Email marketing interactive content may include:
Marketing Sherpa data reveals that the use of GIFs in email can increase click thru rates by 42 per cent, conversion rates by 103 per cent and revenue rates by 104 per cent.
How to make a GIF.
Erica Stacey from Scout Digital Marketing and Training says,
'While social media understandably continues to be the bright, shiny marketing tactic for many businesses, email marketing activity is increasing year-on-year and studies show that email marketing has an average return on investment of 122 per cent. That’s four times higher than other digital marketing activities!
Huge consumer trust is involved when someone decides to subscribe to receive emails. It is a piece of contact information that you own, far more valuable than a like or a follow and it should be treated as such.
Additionally, a comprehensive email marketing strategy, that sits within an overall digital marketing strategy should be a key consideration for most businesses.'
Want upskill in email marketing? Scout Digital Training can help.
A new marketing funnel
Also, there will be shifts in the traditional marketing funnel and it won’t appear as linear as we are used to. Emails will need to be of higher value and automated campaigns will need to be ramped up as this is where the revenue comes from. Remember the timeless customer process:
The world is constantly evolving and new email marketing strategies are being implemented every day. It has, therefore, become important to seek out and integrate the latest trends into your email marketing strategy to achieve the best results in 2018. Email marketing is still one of the strongest assets in your marketing arsenal!
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You probably have a website or blog and are wondering how to increase your followers or website traffic, as we've looked at here, your website is the hub of your communications.
My website is currently averaging around 12 000 views per month, which is exponentially growing each month. But it’s not just the amount of views and their growth that are important, it’s the good quality of leads– I get nearly 40% of my potential clients from organic searches who discover my website. And ZERO potential clients come to me before checking out my website.
Unfortunately, I lost most of my website data prior to September last year but I know it’s generously increased and my next six months will see a focus on increasing it even more. I’ll be sure to let you know the results.
Here are some of the basic strategies and fundamental ways that I increased my website traffic during 2017 that you can easily replicate.
I started answering questions on Quora, which is an online community where people answer one anothers’ questions on any topic.
Answering topic specific questions on Quora is fun, engaging and although it doesn't involve most of my direct corporate clientele (some copyediting quotes and potential leads have come from there, however) it has increased site views particularly to relevant blog posts. And as we are well versed by now, if more people visit your site, Google is going to recognise that it is a site of value.
I constantly and consistently proactively market myself on social media. Mainly because I really enjoy it. I will absolutely concede that my socials could be done better in terms of aesthetic and branding but I consistently have lots of high quality content to share that I create.
Social media brings in nearly 40 per cent of my traffic and nearly 80 per cent of that comes from Facebook (page and personal profile), followed by LinkedIn at 10.49 per cent.
I have nearly six hundred email subscribers that I send out a enews every few weeks, sometimes once a week when I have a special or discount or there has been an important social media announcement that I need to share. I am unsatisfied with this number of subscribers so will be devoting time in 2018 to increasing this number to at least 3000. I should probably take some of my own advice over at my increasing your enews subscribers.
Email marketing is still an effective way of bringing readers back to your blog or website as well as to creating and maintain a subscriber list. Having your own email marketing list is important because you can sell your products and services directly to your list. By using an auto responder or automated email marketing (which most platforms have), you can send emails to your list every time you post new content or have special offers or announcements.
If you want to sign up to my database, please do so here.
I hired a SEO consultant for some one on one training to amplify my site and increase leads a year ago. Within THREE DAYS (I am being literal and not exaggerating) my website ranked from second page to third place (in Australia) for some of my chosen keywords which included:
This was not magic, it did take a lot of work but the payoffs were more than worth it. During the past year, nearly 40 per cent of the people I have sent copywriting quotes to have found my website via Google.
Nearly 40 per cent of the people I have sent copywriting quotes to have found me via Google.
I wrote a lot of content in line with my SEO strategy. I have at least a hundred posts currently, which is easy for me to do as this is what I do for a living. My content articles are filled with practical information, advice and backed up by statistics, quotes and are linked to other resources. My aim is that anyone (even from a non marketing background) can read one of my articles and get genuine takeaways that they can do straight away that improves their marketing.
It’s important to me to have high quality posts that aren’t just regurgitating what other people have said.
I advertised in a business magazine in July and received no known leads from that and I was featured in a glossy magazine late last year, again no known leads. Whilst I do genuinely think traditional PR and media coverage is terrific for your brand and really useful for generating sales for a lot of businesses (industry dependent), it hasn’t proved fruitful in meeting my objectives this year.
If you want more website traffic, take a look at my content writing strategy.
All the copywriting assets explained.
What are content articles?
A content article is a well written editorial type article that generally sits between 700 and 1200 words and is often in written in the third person.
As it is often commissioned by a commercial client, it does inherently contain bias and is used as a soft sales tool but is written in a way that still retains credibility, resources and is often viewed by readers a piece of editorial.
There are two very important aims for content articles:
A good content article will contain quality pull quotes, statistics, links, sources and genuine information and is relevant and employees a number of best practice SEO techniques. It also uses impeccable grammar and spelling and follows an editorial style. I also take the liberty of highlighting a few HTML/formatting tags including headings, sub headings, pull quotes, call to actions and so forth.
Content articles will be written to a specific content plan/strategy that has been created by your marketing department/consultant that adheres to the customer buyer journey or your SEO research and keyword/search term list.
Content writers ‘...produce content to entice and engage visitors so they continue browsing the current website. The longer a visitor stays on a particular site, the greater the likelihood they will eventually become clients or customers,’ Wikipedia.
It’s unwise to engage a content writer that has no SEO training and doesn’t keep abreast of SEO updates and changes.
What is a media release?
A media release, also known as a press release, is a one to two page document that is written specifically for people who work in the media and is genuinely newsworthy. It incorporates a journalistic style and is often written by publicists or copywriters, with the aim of getting media coverage.
The idea behind a media release is to have it written as closely to the journalist’s or media personnel’s way of writing as possible. People who work in the media are always on a deadline and busier than you can imagine, so the easier you make their job, the more chance that you will be featured.
The ultimate media release is one that a very busy journalist can cut and paste.
Media releases are great for:
What is email marketing?
Email marketing campaign packages could include kickbacks, autoresponders, automated campaign emails and prompters.
Automated emails are set up via specialised platform (such as Mailchimp, Aweber, Campaign Monitor etc) that are sequential and have their own trigger.
Check out my email marketing campaign template here.
What are meta data descriptions
Meta data descriptions are the small amount of text and title that is placed at the backend of your website that is displayed in Google's search results. Getting the meta data description right, is vital for high performing SEO.
It is a unique blend of advertising and SEO and is one of the key factors in getting people to visit your site (your click through rate) and they need to be compelling and an accurate summary of the corresponding webpage.
In 2016, Google announced that the amout of text (approximately 300 characters, although it actually goes by pixel width) that they truncate has increased.
Here is SEO guru, Neil Patel, telling us why meta data description is so important.
Editorial or news article
An editorial or news piece is suitable for an online or print publication.
It involves less formatting than a content article and is written more like you would see in a newspaper or a magazine. For example, one heading and many storytelling paragraphs.
It contains unbiased and more dense content, is often written more formally and uses correct word choice, rather than being SEO and focussing on putting the designated keywords throughout the copy.
A sales letter is a more traditional form of direct mail communications that may be still used today. A sales letter is a one page, formal letter introducing a product or service to an existing database and is even still sent via post!
It has high selling power and is written specifically to persuade the receiver to purchase, so it is a really high value piece of comms and is still quite effective in creating return on investment.
High sales landing page or squeeze page
A high sales landing page is a standalone web page, most often seperate from your website and uses specific landing page software that help monitor and track your sales conversion funnel.
The purpose of this sales landing page is very focussed and specific on converting the reader to a sale or signup, right then and right there. It's very "salesy" and can be dramatic to get the most effective results. A lot of work and skill goes into crafting these pages, so your copywriting might charge a little extra, but they are of incredible value to you because they are a huge player when it comes to selling well and a lot.
Target demographics and copywriting
‘Everyone is not your customer,’ Seth Godin
You probably have a terrific product or service that you have refined and you’re ready to tell the world. But where is your money, time and marketing efforts better spent: telling the entire world in a diluted scattergun approach? Or specifically targeting and blitzing people that are almost guaranteed to buy your product/service? Or at the very least buying similar from your competitors, have a need for what you offer or will likely to want it.
Here’s how you can discover the people (and psychographics) that you need to be speaking to directly. Knowing who these people are will shape how you talk to them, what kind of language and tone you use, what platforms you use and what images they will want to see. Remembering that '2pm on a Tuesday could be a very different moment from 2pm on a Saturday for the same person.'
A demographic is a group of people that you are aiming your message towards. They are defined by their characteristics, purchasing habits and other factors.
Here are three types of demographic groups. Within each group you can further filter into more specific demographics.
Also known as your existing or primary group, these are the people who are already addressable and interested in what you have to offer and have knowledge of your product/service. Although smaller, this group are easier to influence. The one thing you will have to provide is a unique selling point or a reason why they should continue to choose you above their existing practitioners or suppliers.
Also known as your secondary group, these people are more likely to be potential clients/customers. They may have never tried your product or service or have little or no knowledge about your business but are open to taking that step or have been referred to you but are yet to “cross that line” and make contact with you. They may also have signed up to your enews or have enquired about you in the past without taking it further. Although a larger group they will require more energy and work to encourage them to move into the engaged group.
This is a wide group of people, also known as the wishful or bonus group, that have no interest in your topic and are not open to learning or hearing about it and are unlikely to (however, if they do open up at some point, they automatically swap into the new group, then may convert to the engaged group). Needless to say, the return on effort (and there might be a lot of effort involved) is not worth reaching out to this group.
Your target demographic will be the people that you want to communicate directly with who are most likely to buy your service or product. This is not about excluding anyone from your marketing prowess but is about honing in on the people most likely to buy from you so you save your time and resources and get a better result.
I’m going to help you simplify this process so that you will find a useful and helpful way to use this knowledge, rather than overwhelm you with possibilities. My intention is not to dumb this down for you but to find a way of melding common sense and technical marketing knowledge in a useable and workable concept. By all means, do some extensive research on demographics and how to identify and reach them. You can even go so far as to boil it down to a sample person (known as a customer avatar) based on all the median research that has been done. A lot of larger consumer companies do this, so they know who they are targeting and can personify their demographic in the hope of really speaking to them.
Remember: don’t fall into a seductive trap of thinking that your product or service is best marketed to everyone. It is simply not the case that your product or service will be wanted or accommodates everyone, so it’s better to maximise your time and effort and really hone in on the target demographic that will make your business thrive. Be aware that this might only be five people that purchase a hundred thousand dollars worth of product from you each year. Or it might be twenty thousand people that buy ten dollars worth of product from you each month. Download your free demographic template here.
How to identify who is in your existing and new groups:
Resources for finding data:
The internet is wonderful, of course, but there may be a lot of information you have to wade through. Ensure you put aside enough time to do so.
Here is a simplified example of demographics broken down into three groups.
BUSINESS NAME sells an organic cotton clothing range in a dedicated retail store in Byron Bay. They also sell their range online, via their website. Primary demographic: females aged from 20 to 45 years, who live in suburban areas and mostly come from Victoria and New South Wales. They prefer to buy their clothing in-store but will often research the product thoroughly online first. They go to yoga and meditation classes, prefer to shop and eat organic and most of the group are mothers and work for themselves in some capacity.
Curious? Check out Victoria Secret’s identified marketing demographics here.
This cohort includes the primary group’s partners, parents, friends or children that buy for this group and might also include wholesalers that act as a middle man for BUSINESS NAME’s product.
Maybe you have a dream that your business reaches the over 50s market. Perhaps there needs to be some alterations to your product or service to suit this demographics’ lifestyle (and you’ll know what that looks like because you’ve done your research!) Perhaps your product or service already suits this group but you need to alter your branding so it really speaks to them. In this example, you might consider creating an “Over 50s” range with more classic branding.
Tip: to successfully communicate with any of your demographics, find out what they want through customer segregation. You can’t do this by guessing or assuming what they want. You can do this by asking them, perhaps as an incentivised survey (try SurveyMonkey) or by doing your research and monitoring people’s behaviours, trends and attitudes towards other products and services.
Remember: people’s behaviours and wants change regularly, so you will need to reassess who your target demographics are at least once a year.
The better you understand your customer, the faster your business will grow.
This has been adapted from an excerpt of my marketing book Promote Your Spiritual Business.
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.'
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A call to action [CTA] is a concise phrase that you include in your copywriting and marketing material that not only encourage your readers to do something but it demands it! The term itself gives it away – it’s a strong directive that ensures action. The action that you want taken are practical steps that will ultimately lead to a sale, a booking or a purchase.
Examples of call to actions include:
An effective call to action offers urgency. Create urgency to play up to the natural instinct that humans have – the fear of time running out or missing out on something (also known as the scarcity principle). Tell your audience exactly what to do and when – words like today, now, straight away, before too late…
Pick one of your benefits (not a feature) to the consumer and use that as a call to action. For example, a benefit of good copywriting would be that it improves your SEO ranking. Therefore, I could use this benefit in my CTA like this:
Check out this video from Marketing Experiments on the power of a "micro yes" when it comes to call to actions.
Where do you include call to actions?
Include them on each page of your website, each blog post or content article, videos, social media posts, enewsletters and direct email campaigns and in person. Each of your webpages and marketing emails should have between one and three call to actions.
Place one within the first half of your webpage/email/marketing collateral but not directly at the top, as your readers will want to read some credible information first. It's also wise to place one at the end of your copy, to remind and instil your message.
Tips on writing a great call to action:
Don’t forget to include your call to action on your webinars, infographics and presentations or slide shows. You can also verbalise one if you are giving a talk but don’t give more than one. It will most likely be ‘go to my website for more details’.
Here are two clear call to action examples on big business's landing pages:
Do you need an Adelaide copywriter?
Do you think email marketing (that’s your email newsletters, EDM and email automated campaigns) is dead? Are you mistakenly believing that you need to invest all your time into your social media marketing?
You might be doing your business a disservice because according to MarketingSherpa, '72% people prefer to receive promotional content through email, compared to 17% who prefer social media.' Those kind of stats are just too hard to not experiment with, let alone ignore. Not only does an enewsletter provide an effective way of communicating new and existing services or products you have but it will ensure clients/customers feel connected, attended to and will encourage click throughs to your website and social media channels. Here's six reasons why email marketing is important.
But almost everyone has an inbox overflowing with various enewsletters, so it’s important to fill yours with interesting and relevant content. Not sure what to include in your enews?
You may like to experiment with this formula
30 per cent teasers
50 per cent quality information
20 per cent direct promotion
Examples of what to include in an enews
Make sure you set up your template so that every enews includes:
Here's two more important factors to a good enewsletter:
Sporadically—every four to six months—make your enews purely about the readers, cut out the promotion and offer quality content and/or a free product or service or ask them a question to invite conversation.
Include a clear call to action. Make your readers do something. That could include going to your website, booking an appointment or providing you with feedback. Aim to have at least three calls to action per enews—even if they are the same. Read my enewsletters here.
Email is 40 times more effective at acquiring new customers than Facebook or Twitter. – McKinsey
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