August 31, 2015
Email Marketing Strategy
Ah yes, the monthly email newsletter. Widely considered the bread and butter of any company’s communication strategy. There’s a reason… They work. Email newsletters are a great way to keep your customers and contacts updated with timely insights, stories and news. A well-executed email newsletter keeps you top of mind with subscribers, opens up another distribution channel for your best content, increases website and blog traffic, and drives sales. But once you’ve made it a staple in your recipe for communicating with your community…then what? How can you take your marketing to the next level? In this post, you’ll learn five tried-and-true marketing strategies (other than a monthly email newsletter) you can experiment with to grow your business.
1. Create a killer welcome email to engage subscribers fast
Picture this: Kelly is browsing around on Twitter and sees a tweet from her friend Randy linking to the article you spent five hours crafting. She shows up on your website, is floored by the remarkable blog post you wrote, and signs up for your email newsletter. After that she gets a bland “subscription confirmed” email and then…crickets. This is a perfect touchpoint in Kelly’s customer journey to send a welcome email that makes her feel like the new VIP of your community. You’ll leave a great first impression and build excitement for the newsletters to come. Optimizely does a stellar job with this welcome email as the new reader “starts on their optimization journey.” Optimizely sharing their top 10 blog posts over the last 30 days is like inviting the new reader to a banquet of helpful content. Translation: Awesome. Experiment with a similar email for your business by curating your top-performing blog posts and making them a part of the welcome journey for new subscribers.
2. Grow your contact base with a “lead magnet”
A lead magnet is an offer you make to potential subscribers in exchange for their email address or other contact details. The best lead magnets are compelling, enticing, helpful, relevant, attractive, and make your audience say “I want that right now.” Have you ever seen an opt-in offer like this one below? There’s nothing magnetic about it. Potential readers are left wondering: “Why would I want to subscribe to this?” Or worse, just ignoring it and leaving your website forever. To avoid this worst case scenario, try one of these five lead magnets for yourself:
- Compelling email opt-in offer
- Free reports, whitepapers, and eBooks
- Swag marketing
- Engaging quiz
- Online video lessons
Author and blogger Michael Hyatt offers a hard-to-resist lead magnet on his website homepage: Who wouldn’t want a free eBook about how to shave 10 hours off their workweek? Notice that there is no sales pitch or “buy now!” copy. Hyatt knows that a subscriber joining his contact base is just the beginning of a relationship he can nurture over time.
3. Send a quick win customer feedback survey
You’ll be amazed at the quality of feedback you get just from asking customers a single, direct question: “How likely is it that you would recommend our company/product/service to a friend or colleague?” This is called the Net Promoter Score survey, and is an important status check of your relationship with your customers. More than almost any other business metric, this gives you no-BS insight into how your customers feel about you, as well as easy directions for quick wins and ways to improve. Here’s an example NPS survey email from Groove, a help desk software company: There are a number of tools that can help you implement your NPS like AskNicely or Promoter.io. You can also craft an HTML or text-based email on your own that links to a survey on SurveyMonkey. Whether you use a dedicated tool or draft the email yourself, the important thing is that you select an option quickly and just do it. There is a goldmine of feedback just waiting to be found by sending your customers a quick NPS survey.
4. Automate content you already have with lead nurturing emails
Common sense and Gleanster tell us that every new person who first comes into contact with a business isn’t ready to buy yet. Obvious, but something that tends to slip our marketing minds. This is why lead nurturing is hot. Because it builds trust with leads over time until they are ready to buy. The best content to use for lead nurturing is helpful and educational content you’ve already created for your audience. Great candidates are blog posts that metrics have shown readers love, articles you’ve featured in your previous email newsletters, or popular videos from your YouTube channel. Here’s a lead nurturing email example from Autopilot’s own treasure trove of content: The above email links to a blog post that was published on May 29, 2015, and repurposed to be sent automatically through our Nurture Machine forever. Don’t let content you put so much time and effort into creating gather dust. Transform your best stuff into lead nurturing emails to extend its life and help out your audience in the process.
5. Get to know The Comeback Kid, direct mail
Your marketing doesn’t need to be limited to the digital world. In one study cited by the Harvard Business Review, direct mail offers response rates of 1.1 to 1.4% versus 0.03% for email, 0.04% for Internet display ads, and 0.22% for paid search. Put simply, direct mail still gets results. While 80% of marketers are increasing their digital marketing budgets, you can invest into direct mail, specifically postcards, to cut through the noise. Check out this example from “Holiday Builders” that they mailed to Kim: The way to avoid becoming a spammy direct mailer can be summed up in one word: Personalization. Notice how the above postcard mentions Kim’s name three different times? That’s personalization in action. You could apply a similar approach to reach out to people in your contact base with a personalized postcard just as easily as sending an email. Imagine the kind of customer experience you could create using a combo of online, mobile, and offline channels. Direct mail is one piece of that larger puzzle.
6. Double your newsletter open rates with this little secret
After years of obsessing over and testing how to grow email newsletter open rates, we stumbled upon a seldom used quick win that’s easy to do: Send your email newsletter again 48 hours later to subscribers who didn’t open the first time around. The only change required is a slight tweak to the subject line (e.g. “Reminder:”). This can feel like you are bugging subscribers, but they originally signed up for your newsletter because they want to hear from you. Sometimes busyness, travel, or a crowded inbox just got in the way. To get started with this in a few clicks, check out this pre-made template.
The monthly newsletter may be here to stay…
But once you have a rock solid process in place where it’s sending consistently every month on Autopilot, there are a number of new strategies you can give a shot to grow your business:
- Welcome emails
- Lead magnets
- Nurture emails
- Physical postcards
- Follow up email newsletter
Let us know what you try. We love to hear stories of your remarkable marketing.