The New Rules of Email Marketing: Webinar Takeaways

I don’t often get to attend all the webinars that Vocus puts on, but I’m never disappointed when I do. Today’s was no exception. With DJ Waldow, co-author of The Rebel’s Guide to Email Marketing, as the presenter the webinar was lively interactive and full of great tips regardless of your industry. My notes and takeaways from the webinar are below.

General:

  • Send timely target valuable human emails to people who want it.
  • Speak #human, not jargon. Obvious, but not always followed.
  • “Talk directly to the recipient.” –@djwaldow (in human language, be personal!)
  • Don’t send “ugly emails” we all get them every day and still open them. Design doesn’t override content. “Beauty is in the eye of the subscriber.”
  • You might want to check more than the open rate, like the click-throughs and forwards.
  • Make your unsubscribe link obvious – make it easy. As in, don’t make them more frustrated.
  • Video in email: embed screenshots, not autoplay.

Audience/recipient:

  • Use #emailmarketing to build trust and provide value.
  • If you have trust with your audience, they’ll forgive a few email mistakes/chances.
  • Build trust before you get the person’s email address.
  • Know your audience/clients/members. The better you know them, the more likely they open your email.
  • Shouldn’t we be sad that the industry open rate average is about 20%? even for subscription based lists?

Subject line:

  • Subject words to avoid advice is old, outdated, not true (for example, search your inbox for the word Free or any subject line in all caps.)
  • Use a compelling subject line. But it only works if you earned your subscribers trust.
  • Any rule that starts out always is never a good rule.
  • Flip side: check your own spam folder. See what subject lines they use. Free and ALL CAPS might not be in the folder
  • Love A/B subject line tests! Helps you know your audience better!
  • The 30 and 50 characters a rule to break. So it cuts off on an iphone or tablet? If your subscribers trust you, they don’t care.
  • Shouldn’t a subject line be more like an article headline? Less gimmick, more substance? journalism tactics can work for advertising and marketing too! It should be a combination of human elements and a headline aspect.  Might be more work, but could be worth it.
  • As the subject line characters go up the open rate goes down, but the click to open rate, goes up!
  • A subject should be all about what’s in it for the reader not your agenda.

In summary, know your audience but don’t be afraid to try new things. As DJ Waldow said, “Don’t forget to have fun with email marketing!” It’s just email, not life or death. Plus with email, you don’t even risk paper cuts! You can see the entire Twitter conversation from the hashtag: #VocusWebinar.

What do you think?

Extra tip: consider incorporating a twitter contest into the webinar, you might be surprised at the results!

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