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Why Email Marketing Is Your Most Valuable Brand Touchpoint

Why Email Marketing Is Your Most Valuable Brand Touchpoint

Practical Marketer • July 18, 2019

In this increasingly-connected world, beset with digital infrastructure, there are countless ways in which a brand can reach its target audience. Each moment of interaction is known as a brand touchpoint — a fresh opportunity to leave an impression. You can make your brand look worse, raise some interest, or fail to do anything memorable whatsoever. And because no company — however enormous — has the creative or monetary resources to approach each possible touchpoint with the same care, it’s necessary to pick out the touchpoints that offer the most value in prospect. So what should you prioritize? Social media holds a lot of sway, of course, and is fairly versatile. A strong website with a live chat feature can be excellent for earning conversions. If going to put your effort towards getting the most from one particular touchpoint, it should be email marketing. On the whole, it’s by far the most reliably valuable. It’s relevant and viable for precise targeting When you’re trying to reach people totally unfamiliar with your business, a platform like Facebook Ads provides optimal targeting precision, but a touchpoint needs something a little more in-depth than someone simply glancing at one of your ads. What sets email marketing apart is that it relies on retargeting — marketing to people already interested in your brand. Once you’ve built up your email database, you can get very specific about how you send out your emails. You can send one version to everyone under a particular age or in a certain profession, and another version to everyone else, for instance. Getting that granular with your approach might seem unwarranted when reaching out to strangers, but when you know that you’re reaching an invested audience, it’s surely worth it. Since you can track when your emails are opened (and when they’re not), you can target with even greater precision the longer you email someone. In the above example, Framebridge created an email to go out in place of its regular marketing email — an email specifically for those who haven’t been opening Framebridge emails. If the email changes their mind, great. If it doesn’t, then they get removed from the mailing list, and the company gets to stop wasting money on sending them emails they don’t really want. Consider the old adage that you can’t miss someone if they never go away. It’s better for someone who’s become apathetic to be unsubscribed — that way, at least, there’s a chance that they’ll rediscover their interest down the line and choose to subscribe once more. Using this kind of awareness of the recipient’s situation and likely interests will significantly raise the value of your average email by making its message much more impactful. Don’t you naturally gravitate away from brands that send you generic messages? But it isn’t just targeting that you can nail with email marketing, as we’ll see next. It’s perfectly suited to personalization There’s the basic form of email personalization — including the recipient’s name in various places — but there’s so much more that can be achieved. I heard an interesting comparison when listening to email marketing guru Andrew Chaperon’s appearance on the Marketing Speak podcast. He likened advanced email marketing to writing a choose-your-own-adventure story, allowing recipients to take different paths: “Everyone starts off in the same adventure, in the same story, if they have come via a certain squeeze page, and then I will quickly try to figure out what they are about and I will create different pathways. I will allow people to self-select what interests them.” Instead of viewing each touchpoint as independent, you can focus on planning a series of touchpoints that steadily present your brand in a particular way (you can also look at this as broad lead nurturing). With each email recipient getting emails that reflect their preferences (mentioning new products relevant to them, and offering content that entertains and informs them), you can slowly, meticulously, and consistently improve your brand image. This is particularly easy to accomplish for any service that gathers rich use data, because it can periodically weigh in with insights that make the user’s activities feel more momentous. Uber’s yearly recap email layout (see above) is a great example, because each stat adds something: most usefully, reminding the recipient of how long they’ve been a member makes it feel even more like a core part of their routine. Using data in this way is incredibly potent for how easy it is. The recipient can easily feel understood, even though it’s automatically generated with no manual involvement outside of making the template and writing the set of comments. But you don’t have to stop there. Whenever you feel like it, you can take the time to add some user-specific comments — when you’re emailing your biggest clients, it can be worth it. It allows near-boundless creativity It’s entirely up to you what you do with an email, because you can make it as long, short, simple or complex as you like. Maybe you want to fill it with flashy animations and embedded videos, or leave it sparse and minimalistic — either way, you’re covered. Factor in the importance of having a unique brand style (both visually and otherwise), and it’s clearly a major advantage. Supposing you want to depict your brand as informal and comedic in tone. It’s a gambit, but some brands do this extremely well (see Old Spice, for instance, or Firebox). In an email, you can run through all the jokes you want, splurge on wild colors, and even add interactive elements to spice things up. You can make your emails indistinguishable from any others. For the aforementioned Firebox, the personality is both textual and visual (you can see the latter in the above example). Anyone who’s bought from the store is clearly comfortable with playful content, so the company leans into it as boldly as it can, and it really works. You’d never mistake a Firebox product description for one from another company (e.g. \"Go right off the grid, escape to the country, find that Snorlax\" for \"ROBOT HEAD PORTABLE CHARGERS\"). Imagine scrolling through your inbox, seeing plenty of off-white backgrounds with generic hero images, and happening upon a wall of neon yellow with a face embedded in it. That’s something that would get your attention, surely. Now imagine trying to convey personality of that magnitude through other formats. It’s fair to say you’d struggle to manage it. Through digital ads? Too many restrictions: not enough space, not enough characters. Offline ads? Too difficult to gauge performance. Social media posts and conversations? Definitely viable, but extremely risky (you never know when something might blow up in your face, as social media marketing can go very wrong), and also limited by formatting — longer-form content is generally better for showing personality. A small attached image of the above wouldn’t have the same effect as the lengthy column you can have in an email. It’s great for spurring further touchpoints Another thing that works in email marketing’s favor is how effective it can be as the cornerstone of a marketing strategy. What I mean by this is that it can consistently push recipients towards other touchpoints, such as social media discussions (through the inclusion of social function buttons), website visits (through strong CTAs), and even in-person meetings (through the detailed promotion and booking of brand events). Having the aforementioned room for creativity, and knowing that the reader is relatively likely to stick around when the email is suitably targeted and personalized, you can take your time to run through numerous points with the goal of bringing attention to those other touchpoints. In the same way that your homepage greets people before passing value to other pages, your emails can greet your biggest customers before passing value to other touchpoints. When people do move along to those touchpoints, you can feed that data back into your emails, as TunnelBear did, with the above retention email. Email a customer to encourage them to talk about you through social media, then email them once they do to reward them, creating a rewarding loop. Until your data starts to suggest that you’re sending too many emails, at least, you can make a significant effort to use emails as action prompts. If nothing else, that makes email marketing the most economical brand touchpoint, so even if it lacked potency, it would still be worth pursuing for its sheer ROI. But since it’s also a powerful tool for doing everything from announcing new products to keeping interested parties apprised of the latest company updates, it’s an irresistible package. Which of the various contenders could stack up against everything email marketing brings to the table? It’s superbly versatile and configurable. It can be deployed at scale through templating and triggering, all without incurring enormous costs. It can delight recipients with finely-targeted and personalized content, and smoothly pass traffic to other touchpoints. For these reasons, and more, it’s the inarguable champion.


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What To Do When Your Welcome Email Lacks Soul

What To Do When Your Welcome Email Lacks Soul

Practical Marketer • May 16, 2019

Research shows that we form our first impression of someone within 27 seconds of meeting them. E-meeting someone is exactly the same. Well, actually, it’s much faster; consumers can make a snap decision about whether they like your company or want to read your email in a matter of milliseconds. That’s why your welcome email needs to shine. A welcome email is a perfect chance to make a great first impression on your brand new subscribers. However, crafting an enticing welcome email is easier said than done, especially if you’re not a natural writer or you haven’t got the time or budget to hire someone to make it sound good. The danger of writing a bad welcome email is that your brand can come across as too aggressive, too dull or just plain weird. It’s the email equivalent of standing in the corner of a party not talking to anyone and clutching a bowl of pretzels as if it’s a safety blanket. If you’re worried about how your welcome email is being perceived, then don’t be. Here are a few of our top tips on what to do when your welcome email lacks soul. Keep It Simple A welcome email is (or should be) the very first communication between your company and a subscriber. Take this opportunity to wow them, but also introduce yourself in a chilled way, like this well-toned welcome email from Virgin America: You don’t want to scare your potential customer off before they’ve even bought anything. Throwing a shedload of irrelevant, unnecessary information at them in the very first email you send is too much. Say you’re at a party; it’s essentially like meeting a new person by the fridge and then diving headfirst into a monologue where you proceed to tell them every intricate detail of your life. At the soonest chance, your poor new acquaintance will down their glass of wine and make a run for it. Keep it simple: sometimes, just a friendly hello is enough to start off. Be clear and concise — introduce yourself, say thanks for signing up, and include a call to action. The rest will come later in other types of emails as you start to nurture a meaningful relationship, but for now, minimal is best. Tell a Compelling Story If you think your welcome email lacks soul, then a surefire way to inject some is to tell your subscribers a story. Storytelling is a powerful tool for connecting with consumers, marketing your brand and selling your product. By storytelling in your welcome email, you can create an engaging, emotional narrative that draws your audience closer and creates a shared experience between them and your brand. You can do this in a number of ways — by telling them the story behind how your business began, introducing them to the team, mentioning customers you’ve helped already or even including a snap of the office dog. Design brand Ugmonk used storytelling in their welcome email to make their copy creative, authentic and emotive: Think of writing a welcome email like writing a book. You need compelling characters (your team or your customers), a killer plot (your brand origin story), and some decent writing. This blog post from Jericho Writers on how to write a book details the components of a great story pretty well — and applying these points to your welcome email will help you treat your email content in a more creative way. This is what will strike a chord with your subscribers; vibrant, emotive storytelling will persuade readers to like you, which will lead to trust, which will lead to conversions. You can even embed a fun introductory video if you want — visual storytelling is a really effective way of capturing your subscriber’s attention and injecting some fun and personality into your email. The key is to be heartwarming, funny or uplifting; you want to capture their hearts as well as their email addresses. Get Personal and Start Conversations Getting personal will ensure that your welcome email has plenty of soul. You can do this in a number of ways. Firstly, setting a friendly, conversational tone will set your readers at ease and make them more inclined to carry on the conversation. Back to that party analogy; when you meet someone new at a party, you want to make a good impression. You’d try to be friendly and engaging because you want them to like you, right? It’s the same with a welcome email, except in this circumstance you’ve got potential sales riding on this conversation. When you’re writing your welcome email, try to channel this genuine person-to-person interaction. People want to get to know you. They want to know the faces behind the brand — it makes your company seem more human and more relatable, rather than just being a faceless corporation. HelloPrint got it right when they added this awesome introductory section to their welcome email: Be personable; sign your email from the real people in your team that will be looking after your customers. A warm, friendly introduction like this stops you from being anonymous and allows customers to put a face to your brand. If you use an email marketing platform to craft your emails, you can also make the most of personalization to address the recipient in their name. It makes it seem like your email was written just for them, and will be much better received than a generic “hello customer” email ever will. Neil Patel explores some other killer methods of email personalization that will propel your email marketing. Make an effort to get to know them too: ask them to fill in a short survey or questionnaire detailing the types of emails they’d like to receive, and the topics they’re interested in. This will help you to create targeted content that they are more interested in, which will generate a higher click-through rate for you too. Creating a natural connection with subscribers will help you to build a loyal community around your brand. You may feel like your welcome email lacks soul at the moment, but it’s easy enough to turn that around if you put some love and care into your writing. By injecting some emotion, personality, and simplicity into your email, you can ensure that your new relationship with your subscriber gets off to a good start; where you go from there is up to you.


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