Whether your marketing efforts be advanced or at the beginning of its journey, building an audience is essential.
It allows you to communicate in a manner that suites your purchasing funnel. So, what are your options?
Well, your first option is social media – because apparently it’s the in thing.
But, as we are becoming to see, organic social audiences are fading, day by day. Why? After such a promise of traffic referral, why couldn’t this be the key to a constant relationship with your audience?
Revenue is the biggest issue with organic social referral.
Take Facebook for example, as the years have moved on, and they have conveniently improved their ads platforms, they have made their feeds more geared towards personal profiles and sponsored content.
Which, from their perspective is a great business model.
However, it does mean that despite the most-renowned, and creative social publishers, like Buffer, doing their best, they still lost 45% of their annual social referral because of these aforementioned developments.
As a point of note, they have since figured out a great, long-term social strategy, I highly recommend this read over on their blog.
In short, they have combined a great combination of fewer, higher-quality posts alongside effective paid promotion.
But this doesn’t hide the fact the ads revenue is a big hurdle.
The second option is email marketing.
Achieving great email performance gives you unparalleled granularity, equally, it creates a sustainable, cost-effective solution. And as times move forwards, and the commercial pressures of social networks make them less brand friendly, a loyal subscriber base will be your best option.
Using email marketing to apply greater controls
Should you wish to contact people weekly, daily. monthly or even quarterly, you can give subscribers the option to receive emails when best serves them.
If you were to take the example of a financial publications that providers monthly reports, they don’t have to rely on social networks distributing in a fair way every month. They are not beholden to algorithmic changes, or paying to contact the audience that they have worked so hard to generate.
Equally, you have the option to provide information in the manner which is best for your audience.
They provide an awesome email that shares their latest blog posts, but rather than just linking away. They actually drop the entire article into the blog, which makes it really easy and readable for train-goers.
And should they wish to do so, they could easily ask their audience tomorrow if they would like an email every Tuesday at 7pm that shares an interesting statistic for the week. If you were to take this over to social, they best way of doing this would be to setup a new group/ page and then try and migrate people [not easy].
Looking forward, despite the plethora of various networks, email will still become a great way to share a message, and equally, a great means of generating revenue.
To be more specific around revenue, we recently worked on the London Streetwear fashion brand, Kuki London.
You see, despite have a great Instagram following [23k at time of writing], when the times comes for them to launch a collection, email is a great way to communicate. They can easily inform subscribers one week / two days before, and when the collection is released. Equally, they have great segments:
- Current customers
- Event attendees
- Weekly subscriber and so on
With all that said, just ‘doing email’ is not enough. Like any channel, it takes time to perfect and it requires a Growth Marketing Mindsight.
Whereby, you need to have a period of time to continually assess and improve.
As such, here’s a great process for getting your emails to optimum performance.
Improving email marketing performance: Step-by-step guide
Step #1: What are you offering?
I hate to be frank. But who really cares about you.
Not to be rude, but if someone you didn’t know came up-to you and said:
‘Hey, I’d really like to tell you something about me every week’
You would say:
‘That’s very kind, I am going to walk away now – please leave me alone’
The big portion of email is understanding how you can provide often [or sometimes less often], value to your readers. What is going to make them expect your email, and be delighted when it comes through?
Take Dominos for example, they used to be prolific at sending you their menu and coupons in the post. Granted, it was sometimes futile. But in general, it actually provided good value to the receivers. They didn’t have to look up deals online or look for the number.
Dominos made their customer experience better, and despite it not being a ‘sign-up’ process, I am sure that many would have if asked.
Email is the same.
And in my opinion, why it is more challenging then people believe, but equally more fruitful than people believe.
This could come down to understanding your industry, your prospects and your potential output – but it has to be valuable.
Step #2: Emails that perform
As you will know by all the emails that you get – there is a lot of fluff.
So you need to start-off by identifying the objective. Do you want them to learn something, buy something or go somewhere?
And that’s important. Because there are many emails out there that try and achieve too much. They bombard the viewer with so many links and options, that should the subscriber actually go and read it, more so, click on a link, it may not even by one that you wish for.
In contrast, you should check-out Buffer’s email [I realise they have been mentioned a few times but they do great marketing].
They make it really clear where they are trying to take you. They give you a summary of value, and whether you choose to click on the header or the ‘read more’ copy, you can be assured of the destination.
Granted, I don’t have the stats on their success, however, I know that they will have optimised for engagement, and such is why this works so well.
Make not mistake, I am not of the notion that pure text is the only way to go about emails, granted many industries have felt that a stripped down HTML email performs really well. But you do need to ensure that you are testing to make the assumption the reality.
A great contrast to Buffer’s approach is the real-estate industry.
They really demonstrate what is considered the opposite to many best practices. Whereby you are traditionally told to not send emails too frequently, however, if you happen to be looking for a home, you really want all the options you can get.
Whereby, it wouldn’t be uncommon for you to subscribe to many agents, and then look to have good, visual emails where they can quickly scan for what they are looking for.
And’s that’s the difference.
They may not need to send one more email until that person moves again. But that short-term value could provide enormous ROI.
On the topic of frequency, you should be able to send emails as frequently as the readers want your value. But even more so, let them choose.
On your landing page, we’ll touch on this more later, ask them with a check-box, do they want to get an email daily, weekly, monthly etc. According to your service, not all of the options will make sense.
That way, people are less likely to unsubscribe entirely because they choose to get emails that frequently.
Next, we come to the matter of subject lines, and despite the plethora of articles that preach the value of certain subject lines, these include:
- Personalisation [include their name]
- Ask a question
- Make a statement
- Use statistics
- Introduce a story
- Use emojis
There is no universal answer.
Firstly, it easily has differences according to your industry. And that’s the important factor, you really want to give room in your email marketing efforts so that you can A/B your outcomes.
As a note of previous background, you are much better placed at looking further down the funnel process to establish success as an email. You often find that opens and delivers actually vary by platform because of changes in technology [such as looking on an phone home screen, or seeing it in your notifications].
Even better, if you can start to pull together opportunities or customers, or in the B2C space, starting to see a good run-rate of revenue, you can provide a clearer ROI.
From our perspective, you either are looking to do this through an end-to-end marketing CRM, or a great email provider, like MailChimp, who do well with their APIs, such that they allow for the revenue to be noted on platforms like SquareSpace.
But the A/B testing has to really be done in a controlled environment.
It is not enough to just use an entirely different template, have a 5% better click rate and think that template is the one.
You are better placed to look to your weekly emails or something of that nature, and look to A/B test the subject for a few weeks, then the preview text for a few weeks. However, this process never stops, and it means that you get closer and closer to success.
Step #3: Create compelling landing pages
So, you worked dam hard to build out great emails.
The HTML is on point.
The fonts and links are as you wanted.
Now lets get people involved in the funnel.
In addition to inline blog subscriptions, sidebars and footers, there always seems to be a need to have an actually landing page [LP] – and it makes sense.
Sidebars and so forth tend to be quite space limited, and you don’t really get the opportunity to pitch the value of your emails. So they don’t really have a great reason to subscribe.
So – here are some techniques that you may find build out your perfect LP.
1. What they can expect
‘Join our newsletter and we’ll send you something related to the topic you are interested in’.
That’s pretty much what most of these newsletters mean.
So be clearer, not just on your LP, but also on the actual email process you create.
So whether it be examples of law firms that are starting to embrace mobile working, on interesting vegan dishes – don’t be afraid to go narrow. In fact, you are more likely to get subscribers if you create 3 personas per-say, and start to acquire niche email subscribers.
Firstly, you can be assured of a high click rate, but they are more likely to recommend that to other vegan lovers [I assume their are some].
In the marketing industry, Brian Dean [Backlinko] has a unique approach to marketing, and his emails give subscribers and easy forward to fellow marketers.
This point does depend by industry, but I do think that is definitely one to test.
So, it is frequently helpful to have an agreed time and date in which your email can go out [this can still by the same by country]. Whereby, you have the confidence to put this on your LP so that the subscribers can expect your content at a certain time.
This means that they will begin to anticipate your email.
Of course, a great deal of this is based upon the premise that you also produce, or update content in an equal manner.
Going back to Brian, because he produces sporadic content [because it takes varying degrees of time to make so good], there isn’t a formulaic structure of expecting his emails [beyond the initial work-flow].
This would be a really great time to give credence to your organisation / personal value.
Whereby individuals of industry note could justify your thoughts. This will of-course come in various different elements, if you are a florist you may simply want to note the amount of other subscribers, whereas a SaaS based product would benefit from an industry leader’s quote.
The point here is that you create a situation whereby a viewer of this page feels really compelled to subscribe. But more than just a single input box. They become excited by the idea of receiving your content.
Bonus: Creating workflows
After those three steps, there is just one last bonus function that will improve your marketing efforts:
You do need to be wary when creating workflows, but they do take the edge off of the issues that coming with a scaling subscriber base. Firstly, after your landing page you will frequently have a short email that confirm their subscriptions, sometimes there is an email verification.
This initial email is actually a lot more important than you might initially think.
You see, the reason why Brian Dean and other make such a big deal of you engaging with that email is oweing to SPAM filters.
Well, as you may know, you email provider will start to make judgements as the worthyness of content based off your interaction, so in order for them to recieve any of the value going forwards, you want to mark the ground.
From the user’s perspective it is often a pain to take the time to subscribe, and your first email is just a verification, so consider putting something helpful in that email, whether that be a guide or so forth.
Lastly, don’t feel like you need to ask for too much in that initial email.
Many overreach and ask people to follow them, forward the email, or some other form of unjustified effort.
My advice is first to demonstrate value, then you earn the right to request a LinkedIn follow for example. Whereby, LinkedIn is the only place you give away value of X-type.
Summary – that’s it!
As time moves forwards, behaviours will change.
So marketing [and therefore, email marketing] will change.
Hopefully our three tips [plus workflows] will get you on the best path for current times. To re-cap, they were:
- Establish what you are offering – not matter how niche
- Create emails that can be tracked
- Build outstanding workflows
We’d love to hear your thoughts on this Chia Insight – comment below.