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Using Email Marketing to Boost Social Media Followers

Using Email Marketing to Boost Social Media Followers

Beyond • June 26, 2017

Marketing is meant to be a machine with all parts working toward the same goal. In most marketing departments, the parts are meant to make up the whole; at least, that is the ideal. The reality is very different. The reality is most marketing department processes and functions rarely support other pockets of activity. Take content, for example, the most time intensive marketing responsibility. Content should be an overarching umbrella that funnels into different purposes. One piece of content should be adaptable and have multiple functionalities so it can be adapted to social media, email marketing, blogs, and more. In this way, content is not only dictating how other marketing arms are fleshed out, but the content is also bringing these different pockets together. Instead, content tends to be scattered across the board. One thing is said on one platform and something else entirely somewhere else. What’s shared on the blog, of course, often makes it to social media platforms -- but not all social media platforms. First of all, content is not adapted to suit the style of each platform. What works on Facebook will not work on Instagram; and what works on Instagram is not going to cut it for Twitter. Let’s look at content the other way around. In fact, let’s look at your biggest organic content generator: social media. Filling the Social Media Follower Void If you have an active social media presence on any platform -- and you’re not pulling from the engagement and dialogue there -- you’re missing out on some major opportunities. One of those opportunities is getting more people from your email marketing list to convert as new social media followers. This is particularly important if you have a strong email marketing subscriber list and a loyal following there -- and are trying to build up your social media accounts. The most under-utilized way to bridge the gap is to integrate social media into your email campaigns, particularly newsletters. If you have a hot Instagram or Twitter account, take some of the best high-traffic posts and link to them in your campaigns. If there was a dynamic Facebook post the generate a riveting dialogue with followers, then summarize that with a headline and an invitation to join the conversation on Facebook. The point is to tease your subscribers with linked-back images of the chats that are happening somewhere else so you can funnel them to your social platforms. In fact, you can have an entire email campaign per week dedicated exclusively to social media chatter for the week. When it comes to social media, you want to keep this a weekly occurrence just because the news cycle changes so quickly. What’s relevant or hot today, may not be of interest to your followers next week, even if that social post is visually driven images from Instagram. Cultivating Social Media Followers from Email Campaigns The point is not to forget about one pocket while you’re working in another pocket. For starters, it’s highly recommend to center one entire email campaign is centered on a call to action for social media. It should be well-designed, clean and organized, as you see with the two examples. The one above for JoAnn Fabric and Craft Stores is a fantastic example of how to focus on your niche audience. At the top of the email campaign, as you would also share at the top of a website, they list all the social media platforms they’re on. They understand their demographic is women who are inspired to create and get crafty. The best social media platform for that is Pinterest. If they were to focus on a second, maybe it would be Facebook and then Instagram. JoAnn’s chose to focus on Pinterest and paired it with a pinboard. There isn’t an excessive copy. The call to action is simply the pins, which they repeated in various graphic design elements throughout the email campaign. The example below is Bed Bath & Beyond. They have a cheeky theme about “getting into the swing of it,” paired with value for each platform. The value isn’t also a thesis, it’s about pairing strong visuals that direct action with language that supports taking that action. Interestingly, the email campaign weaves in elements of website design. The top two rows of categories mimic their website. This is smart. It reminds people what the brand is about but also is a non-verbal cue to shop. Building on that, there are other ways to get email subscribers to show. Try including social media links in your email sign up form as well as your email confirmation form. Your subscriber’s welcome email can also be broken up into two separate campaigns, the latter of which focuses exclusively on social media. Have a second follow-up welcome email focus exclusively on social is smart if your email campaigns tend to be spaced out, allowing your subscribers to stay engaged in other ways in between campaigns. Weaving in Your Brand Value When integrating your social media teasers into your email campaigns, the key is to keep in mind brand value. In other words, think of communicating,  “Here’s what you need and here’s why you need it.” That is how you go about drumming up your value. Ask yourself what’s the one thing you offer on your social platforms that make them pop out? Going further, perhaps there are multiple types of value. You might get great community engagement on your Facebook page. Perhaps your Twitter page scoops up the hottest issues. Instagram might be where you curate the best finds across the visual platform and repost on your Instagram account. Maybe your Instagram is where you capture your brand’s culture. The point is the value you have your social media accounts tends to be diverse, and each platform captures a different facet of your brand value. Now it’s time to bring that back home to your email campaigns. It’s Always About the Numbers [caption id=\"attachment_5960\" align=\"aligncenter\" width=\"620\"] Graph as seen on OptinMonster.[/caption] The people marketing higher-ups typically answer to are easily charmed by the appeal of social media. The engagement there is visible. The likes and the replies are visible, but that doesn’t mean they’re measurable in the same way you measure engagement on email marketing. Think of it this way: 5,000 subscribers to your email subscriber list is not the same 5,000 subscribers on your Facebook or Twitter page. According to Stuart Marler from Retriever Digital, “If you have 2,000 Facebook fans usually only 2-5 people will see each post you publish.\" The level of engagement on social media is typically very minimal unless you’ve boosted the post. Then there’s the issue of boosting a post. While a boosted post gets you more traffic, likes, shares, and replies, etc., that engagement very typically isn’t driven by people who like or follow your business page. They’re often one-offs, there because you’ve paid for a sponsored post. It’s not an accurate level of reach or fanbase, especially when not compared to what you get on email marketing. Let’s look at what you get when you post the same thing to social media, on a platform like Facebook, while also sending the post to your email subscribers. Thought leaders Ogilvy note that Facebook organic reaches an estimated 6% of a brand’s fanbase, whereas the average reach (open rate) for email is 22%. That is a huge discrepancy in numbers. The point is this, the level of followers or subscribers is not equal to the level of engagement had based on that number alone. Think of it like this: you can have 5,000 contacts on your phone but who picks up the phone when you call? When it comes to social media, the same relative theory applies. It’s a question of who’s there versus who answers the call. Coming back to the point, considering that you naturally have a higher rate of email marketing engagement, it’s smart marketing to drive that audience to social media. Not only do you want to make sure you are evening out the playing field with the same people accessing all platforms you’re present in, but you can also use your email subscribers to help boost social media engagement. Going back to the drawing board, think of how you can use this information to create a bridge to connect social media to your email marketing campaigns. Considering summer is ahead of us and is typically a dry spell for email marketing, this is a great time to go back and pull the best of what you have on social media into your email campaigns. In fact, a key theme during the summer could be to draw attention to the most pivotal conversations and shares on social media as one-off email campaigns that can be sent out daily. It would be curious to see how your numbers perform under this strategy, whether your social media followers go up and whether you’ve maybe even increased social engagement through this innovative way to think about your marketing platforms. Give it a try, have fun with it, and let us know how it went for you!


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The Best Email Designs Are Based on Your Audience

The Best Email Designs Are Based on Your Audience

Beyond • May 16, 2017

You might want all the bells and whistles when you’re crafting the best email designs for your marketing campaigns. Yet, the best way to go about this project is to step back and think about your audience. If you’re opting for a packing your email campaign with a lot of information, consider whether that’s the ideal way to communicate to an older audience that might have trouble navigating between different messages or focusing on the one you want to emphasize the most. It would be information overflow. Similarly, if your email design is going to an e-commerce subscriber list of customers, you may want to focus on information such as different products. However, now you’re facing an additional issue. Your content isn’t text, but the product, and so your email design needs to highlight and beautify each product. Making this process a lot easier for you, we’ve tallied the best tips across the web. Best Email Design Tip #1: Forget the Big Picture Even though you might want a big beautiful design, email design size matters. Studies show that the more a reader has to keep their eye movement along the same line before a line break, the longer it takes them to process the information. The longer it takes someone to read or process something, the sooner they’re disinterested and walk away. That stat has a lot to do with why content skyrocketed once mobile technology developed. People go through content more on their mobile devices. The same goes for your newsletter. You want your desktop version to be at 600px and you want to also check and see how that converts to mobile. In most cases, this means keeping design simple and focusing on one or two key images versus flooding your email campaign with images. You want your desktop version to be at 600px and you want to also check and see how that converts to mobile. In most cases, this means keeping design simple and focusing on one or two key images versus flooding your email campaign with images. If you do have a lot of images to share, focus on one or two for the email campaign and include a link to a landing page that hosts more. Because size matters, you’re going to want to be very selective about what type of content you include. This also applies to the level of text you have. Sure people are scanning for information, but they don’t want to keep scanning. Keep the text brief with a link to a landing page. If you absolutely feel the need to add in a lot of text, then have breakers and subheadings with bullet points. These markers will help draw the eye to key information, helping your reader get through it faster. Best Email Design Tip #2: Think About the Big Picture So while we’re forgetting about the literal big picture, we do want to keep in mind the figurative big picture. When there’s so much going on in the world of your subscriber - or even just in your email campaign - how do you draw their eye to what matters? An email campaign isn’t just about saying hello and letting people know you exist. In other words, it’s not enough to just send the campaign. Best email design practices mean that you need to drive home a point. Each email campaign MUST have a call to action. The most powerful way to set up your call to action is in your design. Your email design needs to highlight the call to action but also clearly frame and identify it. The call to action could be a key point or message; it could be a donate button; it could be a ‘buy now’ button, etc. The truth is most email campaign readers don’t scroll all the way through your email campaign. Instead, they make a snap decision. This means that you’re best email design practice includes keeping your call to action at the top. For content-driven campaigns, that means using the major headlines as the key point you want to drive home so that if that’s all your reader read, they’ve walked away with the bit of info you want. For e-commerce, it’s about capturing someone’s attention with the sale teaser, such as the percentage off, the coupon or the window of time - all these things. From there you want to keep the buy now button not at the end of the campaign, but in the middle of the frame or picture so it’s still easy to access.


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How to Go Back to the Drawing Board for the Best Email Newsletters

How to Go Back to the Drawing Board for the Best Email Newsletters

Beyond • May 10, 2017

I’ve been around a lot of email marketing campaigns across several industries. Whether you’re looking at non-profits, think tanks, e-commerce, major consumer brands, networking groups, or blogs, there’s one thing that ties the best of the best together, and it’s purpose. Every great email marketing plan — and notice it’s a plan or a campaign, versus a single email — has these common variables. They each have a common purpose behind their campaigns. They each invoke emotion, and that emotion is typically carried in part through the design. There’s consistency in deliverability and there’s a variety of the types of campaigns shared over time. These factors are what creates the difference between mediocre campaigns and the best email newsletters. It always boils down to purpose. If you know what you’re walking through those doors for every morning — if you have a mission — it becomes a lot easier to walk out of them winning every day. The best email newsletters are all unified in their mission statement. They understand that email is so different from any other content or messaging platform. Email is the spear that drives the arrow. For there to be a point, you need to know what your purpose is. This comes back to organizational awareness. You might know what product or service you’re selling, but unless you know why you matter (or what matters to you), you don’t really have a purpose. You may be looking back and thinking this would have been easier to get right at the start of your business rather than maybe going back to the drawing board. I disagree. Once you’re in the ebb and flow of your business, you sometimes come out with a much better idea of what direction you’re going in and what matters to you now. From there, it’s always easy to shift and redesign. 9 Rules for Going Back to the Drawing Board World leading marketing analysts McKinsey & Co. developed a fantastic guideline for redesigning with purpose. According to the expert analysts that are drivers to growth and opportunity in some of the world’s most lucrative business, there are nine concrete steps to making this happen: Focus on long term goals Study the landscape Think about the blueprint Think beyond structures Bring on the right people Guide people to think differently Set a benchmark for analytics Leaders should be talking to each other, always. Things won’t always go your way, so manage those risks. Their guideline also shows that companies who follow six or more rules have a 73% improvement rate versus companies who followed just one or two rules. The latter had a 12% improvement rate. Those who followed all nine rules secured a jump in an improvement of a staggering 86%. Your Mission Statement, Should You Choose To Accept It To shake up your own company’s mission statement, get your team in a room and ask them to write down their answers to these questions: What do they think your business does every day? What would they say is your mission statement in a sentence or two? What would they like to see the company doing in this regard? You don’t want to give people more than 15 minutes to write their answers down. You want their answers to be real and not packaged for what might sound best. The same can also be done if you run an online business or content-based platform.


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3 Things Every Email Marketing Specialist Should Know

3 Things Every Email Marketing Specialist Should Know

Beyond • May 1, 2017

Whether you’re manning the email marketing fort, training a team, or looking to hire a specialist, there are some concrete skills every email marketing specialist should have. We’re here to help you figure out what that list looks like, and how to get these skills. #1 Knowing How to Survey the Scene Email marketing doesn’t start with your email campaigns. It starts with understanding the conversation around you. It’s the job of every smart email marketing specialist to survey the scene and understand the conversation around them. That starts with listening. Listening is actually one of the most important things you can be doing on social media. While many marketers think the point of social media is to engage, it’s just as important to keep your eyes and ears open for what people are talking about and how they’re talking about it. There are simple ways to do that including setting up lists and checking in with those lists on a daily basis to see where the conversation is going. But for more aggressive email marketing specialists, there are social media listening tools that range from free to paid structures. # 2 Understanding What Your Audience Wants A “Science of Email” study shows that 64% of email subscribers prefer rich text emails. Once you figure out if your demographic - and which part of your demographic - falls into that category, the next step is seeing what they consider rich. While rich to me might be a thousand words, rich for most people might just mean a good 400 words with a link to a landing page if they want to read on or find out more. Then there’s the question of knowing that not everyone wants words. This goes back to your demographic. Some readers might only be interested in visual content or a certain type of content like quarterly updates or weekly check-ins. Others might like in-depth material. To understand what your audience wants, you need to ask them. The best time to do that is to get them to check off their preferences when they opt-in to your email list. #3 Automation Makes Your Life Easier Emails that reward people for signing up do something else: they bring people into the world of your brand. The first email you send once someone has signed up is the most important one. It’s the one that statistically as a 41% chance of being opened up over any other email you’ll ever send again, and it has a 14% click-through rate, which is pretty high considering you’re looking at 14% of 41%. Being an email marketing specialist is a misunderstood position. Unless you’ve done it and understand what needs to be done to be successful (see above), people are going to think you’re sitting there stuffing and licking envelopes - the real-time equivalent to what they think email marketing is about. We know better. We know you have a lot of fine tuning to know what the message should be, how to craft it, and how to repackage it for each segmented audience. That’s why you need to use automation as much as you can, especially the follow-up emails thanking people for signing up. Being an email marketing specialist is about being smart and using all the tools at your disposal to run a full-time, well-oiled machine. You’re the proverbial wizard behind the curtain, pulling levers and pushing buttons - and somehow it all seems to work on the other end. But you and I know there is a lot that goes on (and needs to go on) behind the scenes. What are some other things that you think email marketers should know? Share your ideas in the comments!


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Two Reasons to See Email Marketing as an Extension of Content Design

Two Reasons to See Email Marketing as an Extension of Content Design

Beyond • April 25, 2017

A textbook mistake marketing departments make is disembodying their content strategy from their email marketing strategy. At the drafting table, most marketers design a content plan that is focused on types of content and then look to outlets to disseminate that information. Along with social media and websites, email is seen as another content marketing channel. Instead, email should be looked at like a hybrid between a marketing channel and it’s own content platform. While not all content cuts and pastes neatly into an email campaign, email marketing design can still accommodate content needs. In fact, it can not only present the info to a pool of subscribers, but it can also evolve and adapt the content to be reframed. Repetition There are a couple of reasons it’s advantageous to reframe content when considering how content can be designed to fit email marketing. First, there’s repetition. A commonly known marketing fact is that a viewer needs to be presented with the same information at least 5-7 times before being persuaded or influenced to make a decision. The same is true if you’re trying to inform or educate. Repeat exposure helps drill in the information you’re trying to get your audience to internalize and express it back in their own opinion. A McKinsey report on the customer journey showed that repeat exposure gets your audience through key gateways before they can convert to a loyal customer or audience member: Awareness Familiarity Consideration Purchase Loyalty Framing Framing is about how you position your message. What you can say in one format might not be how you want to (or can) say it in another way especially when you have to repeat exposure to a product or idea. Take for example a feature article you might write: 800 words are great for an in-depth publication but it’s too long for a blog post about that article. You can chop it down to 300 words for a summary in a blog post, but that’s probably still too much for an email campaign, especially if that campaign is designed to drive traffic to the original article. So while you’re reframing your original feature for email, you also need to consider how the audience best approaches the issue in a pool of email subscribers. This is where segmenting works really well, but you want to pair segmentation with smart email marketing design. Instead of just segmenting batches of email campaigns by demographics, age, or gender, why not try something far more intimately and scientifically tested -- like a Meta Program? According to Forbes contributing writer Christine Comaford’s article “How to Influence Anyone, Anytime, Anywhere,” Meta Programs increase conversion by 50% through looking at codes: Meta Programs operate on a range: we don’t usually fall all the way to one side or the other as an absolute. They are also contextual, meaning that you may have one set of meta programs in the context of work, another set when it comes to money, and yet another for romantic love. Though we generally have an overall set for how we approach life. Going back to segmenting, you’re going to design your email marketing based on another scientific principle, Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), that looks at how people perform. ABA was something we discussed in an earlier blog post, and if you’ve been working on understanding your audience through motivators, you should have begun forming a model that helps you understand what motivates them and how they make a decision. Using that data, you can then apply meta programs to push content so that it drives behavior. The ultimate purpose of content is not to inform, but to persuade.


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