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  • Subject words to avoid advice is old, outdated, not true (for example, search your inbox for the word Free or any subject line in all caps.)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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Nice Brands Finish First! webinar takeaways

Today’s Vocus webinar didn’t disappoint. With HARO founder, Peter Shankman, as the presenter the webinar was lively interactive and full of great tips whether you’re a big company with lots of money at your disposal or a small non-profit.

My notes and takeaways from the webinar:

  • Have a good sense of humor. It accentuates the good and lets the negative roll off.
  • Make yourself and company feel like a friend. Not a cold unfeeling entity. 
  • Add to the conversation, don’t detract from it. This is especially true during tragedies. Be human first and a marketer second. Silence can be best. As Peter Shankman said, “Shut up once in awhile.”
  • No person or brand gets bashed for being respectful.
  • I’d rather be known as nice than cool. Nice is good.
  • Take 30 seconds a day and spread a little happiness. Make people happy they chose YOU and your company/organization.
  • If you ask yourself for a second if this will offend someone DON’T POST IT.
  • Making people smile will drive repeat business. Even a little smile. Shouldn’t that be what it’s all about?
  • Do the right thing because it is the right thing to do. Don’t do it to make money, the money will come later.
  • empower your employees to do nice things. Don’t make it hard!
  • Regular people are the bread and butter for your brand. Celebrities are like jam. Good in moderation. Don’t chase the jam only to lose the bread and butter. The celebrities might have louder megaphones, but making more regular people happy will have the same impact.

While Peter Shankman shared the grandiose gestures brands have done for him (Morton’stoothpaste, etc.) brands don’t have to make big or expensive statements to be friendly. Your customers, clients and members have choices, make them want to choose you. Scripts are great for consistency, but by moving away from consistency and into individual experiences you can create a better business atmosphere. If you make someone happy, they’ll at least tell someone if not broadcast it on social media.

You can see the entire Twitter conversation from the hashtag: #VocusWebinar.

What do you think?

First Day of Work

Animation from: www.43things.com
Ask just about anyone you know and they will tell you the first day at a new job is like the first day of school. In addition to learning where you’ll work, where the bathrooms are and where the cafeteria is, you’ll meet people and you should be the person you want to be. I disagree with the metaphor.

If you’ve done your homework and kept in touch with your future supervisor during the transition, you know exactly what is expected of you on the first day. You know what the dress code is, what time to show up and if you are lucky if you need to bring a lunch or not.

As for meeting people, of course first impressions are important, but the people you meet will also want to give the best first impression. I suggest being relaxed and polite and yourself. Don’t try to be someone you aren’t, that approach never works out in the long run.

A successful first day at a new job takes a little planning. Set the alarm a few minutes early, or even a full half hour. Over dress a little. If everyone else in the office is dressed up for your first day, you do not want to be under dressed. Take a few extra moments before you walk out the door to remember that they hired you. You belong there. I don’t suggest being cocky, but simply confidant. When you arrive, be friendly. Make eye contact. Say hello and try to remember everyone’s names. You might be more successful than you thought!

Don’t be afraid to be lost or not know an answer. Ask for directions and ask for help. Everyone in the office has some knowledge that you need, even if it is only where the bathrooms are located.

Relax and above all else, be friendly. Soon you will know the ins and outs of the office. Until then enjoy the opportunities as they arise and use this as a chance to get to know everyone without any preconceived notions.

I’m leaving! Now what?

Cartoon from: www.cartoonchurch.com
You’ve given your two weeks and might be thinking, now what? Treating the last two weeks just as you treated the first two will leave you and your company in good positions. Be positive. Be friendly. Work hard.

Some people tend to slack off during the last two weeks. I suggest taking the opposite approach. Put forth extra effort. Make sure all of your projects are completed and as close to perfect possible. Assist in rewriting your job description and make sure to include the additional tasks you do daily (such as filling the printer with paper). Check in with the people you work with internally and externally and ask them what information they need to help transition someone else into your position.

Make your contact information available to only those who will need it or work directly with you (I’ll address the goodbye e-mail in a post next week). While you have left a detailed description of how to post a piece to the company website, the next person might not understand exactly what you meant. The option to contact you can relieve some of the stress. Make sure if they do contact you that you respond appropriately.

Leaving the company on a positive note doesn’t just solidify your reputation within the company you are leaving, but it helps leave a good impression should you need to contact the company again for references or any other reason.

While some people would suggest asking for a letter of reference from your boss as you are leaving, I disagree. Find a way to keep in touch and ask for a reference only when you need it.

Change is stressful for everyone. Doing what you can to relieve as much stress as possible for your co-workers and supervisor is the least you should do.