E-newsletters, webinars, Slide Share info-graphics and other email marketing content can go as flat as an open bottle of champagne after a while. Business in the 21st century is sort of like show business, folks. Gypsy Rose Lee said it best, “You’ve gotta have a gimmick”. You need to know how to hold your audience. For that matter, you’d better know your audience well enough to recognize when they stop paying attention.
Assuming that the content you provide is relevant to potential readers and not just a 3 page sales pitch about you, wonderful you, there may eventually be a drop-off in the email open rate. Attention spans are short and email in-boxes are filled to the brim with all manner of messages. But you can’t afford to lose control of your “room”, your list members. Presumably, that list is populated with clients, prospects and referral sources. They are the life blood of your business. How do you win them back? Try these tactics:
1. Examine your stats and identify who is not opening your emails. Studies show that 60% of email marketing communications are never opened.
2. Prune the list. Facing up to audience members who have fallen out of love with you takes courage but like any love affair that’s over, it is best to move on. Resolve to remove the non-readers. Carol Tice, who founded the Freelance Writer’s Den and maintains a formidable email list, sends her non-readers an email and asks if they would like to remain on the list. The overwhelming majority do not respond and their names are removed. A handful ask to continue. You will feel better when you do the purge. You’ll have an open rate that makes you smile. You will know that the creative energy and hard work invested in your content marketing will be appreciated.
3. Ask list members to update their email information. Your open rate could improve just by allowing readers to have communications sent to an alternate email address. Those who don’t respond after a second or third reminder to update their info are clearly not interested and can be removed from the list.
4. To maintain the interest of readers who remain, especially if your open rate is dropping, take a look at your subject line. A well-written subject line is a siren song to potential readers. See headline hooks that reel in readers
5. Include a tempting call to action and name it in the subject line. A Survey, free webinar (hosted by you or someone whose expertise you trust), or a white paper on a subject of interest to your readers re-establishes your relevance and will persuade a certain percentage of non-readers and infrequent readers to click and engage.
6. Think mobile. In July 2014, Forrester Research reported that 42% of emails from B2C retailers are opened on smartphones and 17% are opened on tablets. Customize your email communications for responsive design, so that reading will be easy on mobile devices. Make it convenient for all potential readers to open your communications.
7. Send on a regular schedule. Frequent readers of this blog know that Tuesday is publish day, even if Christmas or the 4th of July fall on that day of the week. You may prefer to publish on a given date. Whatever you do, establish and adhere to a predictable publishing schedule. Readers appreciate it more than you may realize. Make readers anticipate receiving and reading your communications.
8. Build your list. Organically and with permission, build your email marketing list. You should have met each person on your list at least once. At the email campaign launch, send to all business contacts along with an introductory message that announces the debut, explains the benefits to readers, reveals the frequency (weekly or monthly) and provides an easy and effective opt-out. Resist the temptation to add to your list the names of everyone who hands you a business card. When speaking with people, do mention your email marketing campaign, give examples of the subjects covered and how often you send. Ask if they would like to receive at least one and let them know that if they choose to opt out, that can be easily and quickly done.
9. Personalize. Whatever service sends out your emails should include a greeting to the individual recipient.
10. Sign me up! On your website and social media, allow interested parties to sign up to receive selected email marketing communications, register for webinars or receive a copy of any white papers.
Content marketing is the new advertising and emailing your content is the best way to reach clients and prospects who no longer answer the phone. Create a viable list by continually adding and purging members to enable your campaigns to deliver optimal ROI. Draw in readers with relevant content and intriguing subject lines. Format in responsive design to include those who prefer to read on mobile device. Fulfill expectations by publishing on a regular schedule.
Thanks for reading,