Category: E-mail Strategies

Tips for getting the most out of e-mail based communication efforts.

Get Your Marketing Emails Opened

The email inbox is a cluttered place. How do you increase the odds of getting your marketing emails opened?

How many emails do you get that you delete before you read nothing more than the subject line? We all do it as recipients, yet none of us want to contemplate that reality as senders. Our messages are great – a must read!

Not so much.

You need to face the reality that your emails may not be read and, worse, may actually be irritating the very audience you want to reach.

Here are some ideas to mix things up a bit and reduce your unread messages.

Refresh the Approach

Give your email recipients something fresh to look at and read. Use a different formula for the subject line and follow it with a change in format and content in the message. Try something that falls under your content strategy, but hasn’t been used in a while. Add more images and/or a video.

Change Frequency

Reduce the number of emails you send. See if you can actually get more impact with fewer messages. Adjust based on the data.

If your email program allows, it’s great to offer control over frequency to your subscribers. It’s better to send fewer messages than to lose a frustrated subscriber altogether.

Offer More Options

Speaking of subscriber options, offer as many as you can. The more that subscribers can control what they receive, the less likely they will become frustrated recipients or unsubscribe. While you can make educated guesses on what your email readers want, it’s always better to let them tell you.

Get Intel from Unsubscribes

The reality is that people will unsubscribe from your list. This is an unwanted outcome, but it’s also a learning opportunity. Make sure your unsubscribe process allows you to gather feedback about why the person left your list. This insight is invaluable to you as you work to make every message valuable to your readers and grow your subscriber base.

These strategies can help you find just the right balance in your messaging and reduce the likelihood that you will annoy your subscribers.

Cornerstone Pages Boost SEO

Cornerstone pages are an increasingly important concept for search engine optimization. Arranging your content around cornerstone pages (also called pillar pages) will help you to rank highly in search results, which react to the way people today search.

People Use Phrases to Search

Today’s search engine user submits queries that reflect plain language, conversational style. This is becoming even more prevalent as voice searches (“Siri, find me a…”) become more common.

The majority of search phrases are four words or more. Rather than searching for general terms, people use these longer search queries to find the exact information they’re looking for.

Organize Content Around Topics

To rank in search, approach your content differently. Choose the broad topics you want to rank for, then create content based on keywords related to that topic. Interlink the content.

Organizing around content and linking URLs together will help more pages on your site rank in Google and help searchers find information on your site more easily.

Create Cornerstone Pages

Then, link all the related content together on a cornerstone (or pillar) page for the broad topic. A cornerstone page should cover all aspects of a topic on a single page. Additional related pages and posts then link into the pillar page.

Cornerstone pages generally have more content than other pages and posts because they cover all aspects of the topic you’re trying to rank for. They should provide general information and address common questions about a particular topic. They also serve as the hub where all related content is linked.

Adopt the Right SEO Mindset

To succeed with SEO, you need to think about the topics (rather than keywords) that you want to rank for. These should be central and congruent with your brand or business.

With your core topics in mind, you can create your cornerstone page(s). You can then research the keywords related to your topic and build out more content to link to the pillar page.

How to Make Email Marketing Work for You

The trend is unmistakable. My clients who use email as part of their digital marketing strategy have more success connecting with their target audience.

Every business needs to have an active email marketing strategy. Here are the essentials.

Use an Email Marketing Tool

Don’t try to do your email marketing campaigns from a regular email account. You will be flagged as a possible spammer by either your email service provider or one or more of the servers that receive your messages. That will shut you down from sending any emails, until you can find the server that has marked your account and get the block removed.

Anyone who has ever tried to negotiate automated phone systems knows you never want to get on the bad side of a machine. They are inflexible. Unless you do things their way, you rarely win.

Use an email marketing tool like MailChimp (my favorite), Constant Contact or Robly. These tools will make sure you don’t get sent to spammer jail. They take care of being nice to all those servers out there so your messages always get to the intended recipients.

Think Beyond Newsletter

When I talk to business owners about email marketing, most think of the email newsletter. They don’t want to write a monthly newsletter and I don’t blame them.

Today’s users don’t want your newsletter. They want relevant, timely information. They generally want an email that has one topic and one call to action.

Consider this content:

  • Sale or promotion
  • New product or service
  • Helpful tips or best practices
  • Changes in your business in terms of offerings, hours, locations, etc.

Have an Email Marketing Strategy

Don’t just start sending emails. Have a strategy that aligns with your marketing goals and the other elements of your digital marketing. The strategy will help you keep your content on point and all of your efforts aligned.

Be sure to consider:

  • How people will be added to the email list(s)
  • Branding and template for consistency
  • Editorial calendar that targets subscriber needs and interests, as well as your goal
  • Data from emails sent that indicate what works (do more of that) and what doesn’t (don’t do that)

Define Your Voice

Email is a 1-1 communication. You may send 100 or more messages at a time, but each one goes to one person and lands in one inbox. Make sure you provide content that leverages the 1-1 connection you are making.

The best email marketers are able to define a tone and voice and keep it consistent across messages. Users are able to “get to know” the business, and as a result, develop a sense of connection.