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  • Subject words to avoid advice is old, outdated, not true (for example, search your inbox for the word Free or any subject line in all caps.)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?

Cleaning Out Your Desk

Photo from: http://pdorfman.files.wordpress.com

If you’ve been thinking ahead, you have probably been taking non-essential items home with you since you put in your official two-week notice (more details here). If you haven’t, there is still time to catch up.

The most important thing to do first is see if you can get your hands on one of the most coveted items in the office: a copy paper box. If you can get the lid too, take it. You won’t regret it, especially if it is raining.

Non-essential desk items should be going home with you every night. This includes any knickknacks or personal items you don’t use daily. For me, this includes the snowman coffee mug (with top hat lid!) and the birthday hat from Chevy’s. Use your judgment here. It is easier to take a few little things home every night than it will be to pack everything up on the last day.

Make a list of every place in the office you have items. Don’t forget the refrigerator and any common areas. I still miss the lunch box I left behind a few years ago. Please, don’t repeat my mistake.

On the last day, pack stuff into the copy paper box as you use them for the last time. If you are able to, try and do a majority of this while everyone else is at lunch so as not to cause too much of a distraction.

Your desk was (hopefully!) clean and empty when you arrived. Try to at least leave it in the same condition. 

Fair warning: Do NOT, I repeat, do NOT take office items that are not yours. Do you really need another stapler or tape dispenser? I think not. This theft reflects poorly on you and may leave your past employer with a bad memory. After all the hard work you’ve done to leave on a good note, don’t ruin it all by taking something you don’t really need.

Answering the Why Are You Leaving Questions

Cartoon from: www.cartoonstock.com

 

As word spreads around the office, there are going to be the inevitable questions. I suggest being positive and honest, again without being cruel. 

The most common questions I’ve encountered recently are: 

Why are you leaving?
Where are you going?
When is your last day?
Why didn’t you tell me you were looking elsewhere? 

Make sure you can answer at least this in a professional, encouraging way. 

If you have followed the previous advice (here) for how to best give your two weeks notice, then the core people who need to know already know. If you haven’t and they’ve heard it through the office gossip mill, try and pull them aside and have a one on one conversation with them. 

Now is the chance to say, I am so sorry you didn’t hear it from me. I was waiting to tell you until everything became concrete. I am sad to be leaving you, but I’m excited for this opportunity to take my career in a different direction. 

You will likely have lots of these one-on-one conversations and if you are lucky. This is a chance for you to tactfully explain your reasons for leaving, but I urge you to remain positive. Don’t complain and don’t air dirty laundry. 

You may be asked questions about who will be taking over your responsibilities and projects. If you don’t know, find out as soon as possible. Reassure our co-workers that you aren’t abandoning them and value them even though you won’t be working side by side anymore.

Giving Your Two Weeks Notice

Comic from: vahidbehzadi.wordpress.com
As cat’s now out of the bag and I’ve officially announced my new position (if you missed it click on yesterday’s PRBreakfastClub post here), I thought it might be a good time to refresh how to appropriately give two weeks notice to your employer.

Even if you hate everything about your job and the people you work with, you still must be professional. If you have a position already lined up, good for you! Make sure as soon as you’ve signed on the dotted line at the new position that you let your current employer know you will be leaving.

Talk to your immediate supervisor. Tell him or her in person as soon as possible. Be respectful. If you are lucky and are like me, then your supervisor will understand. I was able to explain that I have greatly enjoyed working with her and have learned a great deal during my time at the company. This new opportunity will offer me growth opportunities and the ability to use all of my skills. Just be truthful and honest (not cruel, you never know when you might need something from your previous employer). In this conversation, make sure you find out what the official process is for submitting your letter of resignation.

As for this letter of resignation, keep it short and simple. There are lots of examples online. Once you know what your company requires to be in the letter and who it should be address to, you’re set.

Reiterate in the conversation with your supervisor and any additional bosses that you will wrap up any current projects and do your best to help make the transition as smooth as possible.

Giving notice can be stressful, but as long you remain professional and honest you can maintain the good relationships you have worked hard to build.