Who should receive your newsletter?

You’ve likely heard the statistic that it is 10 times more expensive to find a new client than it is to keep an existing client. I couldn’t agree with that statistic more. Often times, clients will leave a provide simply because they feel forgotten or lost. One of the best ways to prevent that from happening is an email newsletter. Big question then, is who should receive your email newsletter?

Obviously, we’re going to add our clients to that list. Someone who has paid us in the last six months can certainly be added to that list. For most email newsletter systems, such as Constant Contact or Campaign Monitor, if you add an email address that has already opted out of your newsletter, you can’t manually add them back in again – helping us to avoid being marked as spam. When we get a new client at Full Scope Creative, I’ll add them to our newsletter list right away. Just to be safe, I’ll ask for permission or let them know that I’ll be adding them but they can opt out down the road if they choose to do so.

But who else should be added to the list? There are two other groups I usually look at. One is key referral sources. Whether this is other team members, partner companies, people who have sent referrals, or key networking partners, we also don’t want them to forget about us. Not only do I not want my key referral sources to forget about me, but we have new features or products we roll out overtime, and I want to make sure they know about these new offerings as well.

Another group I’ve added to my newsletter over the years were family and friends. Full Scope Creative has received referrals from various family members and friends over the years, and I want to make sure that all of them know what we’re up to. It’s happened before that a friend received our newsletter and later heard a conversation between a friend of theirs that fit what we were talking about and it turned into a referral for Full Scope. Again, to be safe, check to confirm it’s OK to add them or at least be sure (as is always the case) to have an easy way for them to opt out of the email list.

Having an active email newsletter is a great way to keep front and center with your clients and key referral sources. Adding clients, key referral sources, family, and friends, is a great way to build up your recipients list and help get your message out to a wider audience.

Hard and Soft Bounces

One of the great things about online marketing, such as email newsletters, is that there are so many great statistics that can be tracked and monitored. The downside to that is that there can be so much data and so many terms that it can be overwhelming. One term you’ll likely hear about in your newsletter analytics, is “bounce” – specifically, “soft bounce” and “hard bounce”. Let’s take a quick look at each and see what they might mean for your campaigns.

A “bounce” is an email delivery attempt that didn’t go through. What separates a soft bounce and a hard bounce, is whether or not it pays to keep sending emails to that email address. A soft bounce occurs when an email is sent to an email address, but for one reason or another it wasn’t able to deliver that email. If the user’s inbox was full and they’re maxed out on storage space, that would return as a soft bounce. Another example of a soft bounce would be if the recipient’s email server was down for a period of time.

While we may not know exactly why an email bounced, what we do know is that the email address is valid; the user just can’t accept email at that time. Most email newsletter systems such as Campaign Monitor will attempt to deliver to an email address a few times after it’s returned as a bounced email. If the problem was that the email server of the recipient was rebooting, when the newsletter campaign system sends the email a second time, it could potentially still be delivered.

Alternatively, a hard bounce is an email that will never get delivered because the email address itself is either no longer in use, or, was never valid to begin with – an invalid username. For example, if John Smith signed up for your email newsletter with the email address john.smith@company.com, but John is no longer employed by “company”, his email address will likely be deleted. This would result in a hard bounce. If someone signs up for your newsletter using a fake email address that doesn’t exist, this will also result in a hard bounce. For many email newsletter systems, an email that has a hard bounce will automatically be deleted from your list so you don’t send to that email anymore.

For many email newsletter systems, once an email address has experienced a soft bounce a few times, that email will automatically be converted to a hard bounce. For our Full Scope Creative newsletters, if an email address has a soft bounce 5 times in a row, it is then converted to a hard bounce and the email address is removed. If there is a soft bounce 4 times but the 5th time it’s opened, the count resets to 0.

It’s worthwhile to note that neither soft or hard bounces have anything to do with the spam folder. If your newsletter ends up in someone’s spam or junk folder, that is NOT reported as a bounce of either kind.

Soft bounces and hard bounces are really just two sides of a simple metric to see if your emails are being delivered to your users. Sending regular monthly or quarterly e-newsletters are a good tool in your online marketing toolkit, a great way to communicate with your customers, and a valuable component of any business’ marketing plan.

Making a Good Last Impression

No doubt you’ve heard how important it is to make a good first impression. If we behave rudely, don’t comb our hair, have the wrong color shoes on or anything else that might not give the ideal first impression, we don’t get a chance to do that again. Alternately, there is another impression that is oftentimes overlooked (or at least not given as much scrutiny) – the last impression. I’m not talking about a last impression as in the final time ever seeing the person, but rather the last impression for that one interaction. For example, there is always a lot of focus placed on the entrance of a store. It’s usually bright and clean, and if you are entering a Walmart for example, you are often greeted with a “Hi, how are you?”
 
However, when you leave, you’re exiting through the clean, bright physical area, but there is often no memorable impression – just a cashier handing you your items and saying, “Have a good day.” I often frequent Kwik Trip, a local convenient store, and when you leave you almost always hear something along the lines of, “Thanks for stopping, we’ll see you next time.” Not only do I walk out of a clean, well-lit location, but I’m also leaving with the idea that I will be back again.

Email signatures can work in the same way. Instead of just having your basic contact information, add in a quick quote or a funny joke: a quick line to show who you are and what you and your company stand for. In my email signature, I have my name, phone number, email, link to my company website, a few words about what we do, and then one of my favorites quotes by Thomas Jefferson – “I’m a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work the more I have of it.” It doesn’t sound like much, but you’d be surprised how many times I’ve had people comment on it and that it was refreshing to hear. I’m doing my best to leave a good last impression. After all, the most recent interaction with you, be it in person or electronic, is the one that is most likely to stick. Be sure to take advantage of that final opportunity to make a great “last” impression!

What are Responsive Sites?

At a recent business networking event, I mentioned responsive websites. A couple people in the group asked, “What is a responsive website?” After that meeting I thought a quick explanation of responsive sites could be helpful.

A responsive site is a mobile friendly site that is equally easy to use on a wide array of devices, from smartphones to tablets and up to desktop computers. In the early days of mobile browsing, designers would sometimes only show certain important information on a mobile site, such as food menu on a restaurants website. However, much research has shown that in recent years most users are doing many of the same tasks a on a mobile device as they would on a  desktop; from filling out contact forms to placing an eCommerce order. Users are now days using their mobile devices the same as they do a desktop machine. Because of that, we now need to include the same set of information and pages on the mobile viewing experience as on the desktop version.

One of the easiest and best ways to tell if your site is responsive is to go to the Google Responsive Test and type in your website address. Google will do a  quick scan of your site and tell you if your site is responsive, and if not it will give you a few key reasons as to what was wrong.

Mobile browsing is quickly becoming one of the most common forms of web usage. If you don’t currently have a responsive, your website is in many ways behind the times. To get your site upgraded to a responsive site, please get in touch with us.

The Conversation

When I talk to clients about blogging, email newsletters or social media, I often get asked about what they should write about. What you write about isn’t necessarily the most important thing to think about. What you should be thinking about and keeping in mind, is that it’s all about the conversation between you and your community.

While it’s important for you to be talking about things related to your industry or business, at the end of the day you are really just having a conversation with people. Make sure that your writings and posts are written in a similar tone and style to which you speak. Some people think that since they are writing they need to use big words or come across as a very well educated writer – not at all true, but do be sure to use spell check and proof read things.

The goal with these different types of communications is to keep you and your company front and center with your community. It’s really no different from calling someone or going out for a cup of coffee. Just be yourself and share your ideas and provide some value. We may live in a high tech world, but people still buy from people.

What’s wrong with a @aol.com email address?

Every few months I’ll get handed a business card or get an email from someone who has an email address @aol.com. I always recommend getting a new address. AOL hasn’t been a big name in the web for years and they’re pretty much a laughing point now.

An email @google.com or @yahoo.com would be a better option. And if you have a website, be sure to use an email address @ YourDomainName.com. You can always set the email up to forward to your other preferred email address, just don’t publish them. The email address @YourDomainName.com always looks much more professional.

Scam, spam, or legitimate

Scam, spam, or legitimate? Sounds like a cheesy TV game show or a Saturday Night Live skit, but it’s actually a game we have to play on near daily basis with our emails. I’ve been getting a lot of emails lately from clients and friends asking about emails that they’ve been receiving and wondering if they are a scam, spam, or legitimate. When it comes to figuring out if an email is scam, spam, or legitimate, Grandma’s teachings still hold true – if it sounds too good to be true, it’s a lie (or in this case scam or spam).

Obviously, if the Prince of Nigeria needs to hide a bunch of money, he’s not going to be asking you or me. There is no million dollar Russian lottery that you won, keep in mind they use rubles, no dollars. And you don’t have a rich great uncle that dies and needs you bank account to send your inheritance to. And yes, these are all emails that I’ve been asked about in recent months.

Another one I’ve seen recently was about wanting to buy a domain name. These can be tricky, because sometimes people will ant to buy a domain name from you. I have sold a domain name once when asked about it. A quick way to tell if these emails are scam, spam, or legitimate it to take a unique line of text in the email and Google it. If the first five listings say “it’s a scam!” then that email is junk.

If you do get an email about your domain name or any other emails and you can’t figure out if it’s a scam, spam, or legitimate, let me know and I’d be happy to help you figure it out.

Get your emails read

Like many people, I get dozens of emails a day. Many of them are marketing emails from various companies wanting me to buy this or that – many of those emails get deleted. But of the few that get opened and read, there’s usually one key thing that sets them apart – a captivating subject line.

We’ve all done it before; judged a book by its cover (or title). A great subject line does two key things. One, it ties into or sparks some emotions in the reader. And two, it has a sense of urgency to get the reader to open right away.

One of the best email subject lines I’ve ever read was last fall. It was in the middle of November and was getting pretty cold outside and it was just about lunch time. I was debating what I wanted to do for lunch and I heard the little beep beep that I had a new email. All I did was read the subject line and I was sold. Keep in mind it was cold and it was lunch time. What was the subject line?

Want a hot lunch? $7 large pizza!

The subject line sparked some emotions in me – it was cold outside and I was hungry. It also set some urgency by using the words “lunch” and “get.” I didn’t think twice about it and ordered my pizza.

I don’t remember what the rest of the email said. I opened the email and picked up the phone and order by large pizza for $7 and the hot pizza was there in about 30 minutes.

Next time you send out a marketing email, or any email for that matter, try adding in some emotional pulls and set some urgency in the subject line.

Now, who wants some pizza?

Set Your Newsletter Apart

I’ve heard a lot of talk lately about the United States Postal Service shutting down different branches/locations and eliminating deliveries on Saturday. I can’t say that I’m entirely surprised to hear this. Since its arrival on the scene, email has continually been taking a bite out of the market that used to be handled exclusively by the USPS. For this reason, it’s more important than ever to be utilizing an email marketing campaign.

I’ve talked before about an email marketing newsletter being part of your website marketing Hat Trick. There are countless uses for an email marketing campaign. For example, email marketing campaigns work well for introducing new products or services, announcing a special sale or promotion, or simply to display your knowledge and expertise about your industry.

There are a couple of things that you can do to help make sure you get the most out of your campaign. First, make sure you have a strong subject line. Many would argue that the subject line is the most important part of a newsletter. A subject line such as “Company XYZ Monthly Newsletter” really has nothing to captivate the subscriber into opening the email. It is beyond easy for a user to simply delete a newsletter if they are not captivated by the subject line (I have several newsletters I get every day that are deleted right away because there is nothing in the subject line to spark my interest). While writing this blog, I received an email newsletter that I will definitely open – it’s from Domino’s Pizza and the subject line reads, “Carry out a $5 oven baked lunch”. The subject line hit on many of the key areas that will interest users, especially if the email was sent out shortly before lunch hour like it was.

The second thing you should be sure to do is to use a custom designed template for your campaign. Your template should be designed based on your website because you should keep all of your online marketing consistent. Even with a great subject line, I’m tempted to delete an email if it doesn’t catch my eye. A well designed email template will do just that. It will get you away from the standard black text and white background email we’ve seen for years. A custom designed template will allow you to easily add in your own copy and pictures while providing a design that will keep users engaged.

If you want to learn more about email marketing campaigns and what they can do for your, get in touch with us today.

The Website Marketing Hat Trick

We’ve written a few posts in the past about how to market a website, but I thought it would be helpful to do one more, and bring all three aspects we’ve talked about together. When you utilize blogging,Social Media, and Email Marketing you can see a great return on your investment as you complete the Website Marketing Hat Trick.

BLOGGING

One marketing element that all businesses should utilize is a blog. Blogging can help increase your overall search engine ranking, as well as help you to showcase your expertise and knowledge in your industry. By writing good posts on a regular basis, your clients will continue to return to your site, looking for more expert knowledge, and possibly complete a make a purchase or contact you (whatever the goal of your site may be).

FACEBOOK

Facebook has over 500 millions users, odds are that some of them are either existing or potential customers. With a Facebook account for your business, you have a great avenue for introducing new products or services, announcing new sales or specials, or just opening a unique dialog amongst your customers and Facebook community. With new posts made on your Facebook wall, try to include a link back to your main website. By doing this, you’ll help pull visitors back to your site to complete your sites objective, and it also can help increase your search engine ranking.

EMAIL MARKETING

Acquiring new customers isn’t always an easy task. Once you have a customer, or even just a potential client, you’d want to stay in communication with them. By using an email marketing campaign, you can announce new products or services, sales or promotions, or simply stop in and say “hello.” A well written email, especially one with a custom email template, can yield great results. With a custom template, your email can easily stand out from all the other dozens of emails your subscribers get a day.

PULLING IT ALL TOGETHER

The game plan for search engine optimization is changing. The emphasis is no longer on gaming the search engines. It’s about providing your users with quality information at their convenience. By using these three marketing avenues – Blogging, Facebook, Email Marketing – you can see a great return on your investment with higher sales, and a more loyal customer following. If you would like to learn more about putting the Website Marketing Hat Trick to work for your company, get in touch with us today. Are you currently using any or all three of these marketing tools? How are they working for you?