Posts tagged email marketing
5 Ways to Get More People Reading Your Emails

Ahhh… the ultimate question. How can I get more people opening up my emails?

It’s something every business owner or marketer struggles with at some point, and now that we've talked about how to increase your email subscribers, it’s time to talk about engaging them. It’s a constant balancing act between investing time in your email marketing strategy and feeling like it’s not making enough impact.

Well, first thing’s first. Let’s talk benchmarks. As of 2018, the national average open rate for emails across all industries was 24.88%.

So, what does that tell us? Basically it gives us some more realistic view on what we can expect our open rates to be. It gives us a better idea on how to track if what we’re doing it truly working.

So, now the meat and potatoes, how can get more people opening our emails and increase our own open rates.

  1. Start with your list - Having a large list can be REALLY tempting. Seeing those big numbers can give you a great ego boost. Here’s the thing though, if they’re not opening your emails, then they’re just an empty number. And while that number may make you feel good when you look it, it actually could be hurting you in the long run. Continuing to send emails to people who aren’t opening them can actually be a trigger to mail carriers like Google and Yahoo who may end up sending your emails directly to spam. What I like to do is at the end of every quarter scrub my list of anyone who hasn’t interacted with an email of mine in the past 90 days. While it may hurt to see them go, it opens up space for those who actually want to hear from me, and helps ensure that my emails get through to them.

  1. Make sure your email is mobile compatible - With all the cool templates out there it can be tempting to overly design your email campaigns. But here’s the deal, over 60% of emails are opened on mobile phones, and if they aren’t easy to read on a phone, chances are your email is just getting deleted, or even worse, not being delivered at all. Think about streamlining your email format (studies show plain, simple text actually works the best), or check in from time-to-time to see how your emails are showing up on mobile devices.

  1. Time it perfectly - Readers are more likely to open an email within the first hour of delivery. So it’s our job to optimize that delivery day and time to reach as many active readers as possible. Studies show that Tuesday and Friday are your best days to send emails, with Wednesday and Thursday close seconds. Further more, a majority of people open emails up after 12pm (with a peak around 3pm). Of course, all of this should be specified to your audience so start with these best practices and play around a little to see the best day and time for you specifically.

  1. Change who your email is sent from - this can actually make a HUGE difference! Research shows that changing your “from” name to your personal name, rather than your business name, can increase open rates by as much as 35%! Of course, this has to make sense for you and your business - but it may make a case for showcasing more of “you” in your business. People buy from people.

  1. Up your subject line game - Now this is the big one. Your subject line can completely make or break an email campaign. Here’s some best practices to help you shape an open worthy subject line:

  • Keep it between 6-10 words. Too much longer and it can get cut off

  • Personalize it if you can. Most CRM platforms let you easily add in names to your emails or subject lines. Some studies have shown an increase in open rates by almost 20% just by adding in the reader’s first name.

  • If you’re giving away free content, or linking to a video in your email make sure you mention it in your subject line.

  • Tease their interest. Make readers want to know what’s inside by peaking their interest without giving it all away. Stay a little cryptic, or get them questioning what you're talking about. They’ll open your email to find the answer.

  • Avoid exclamation marks and question marks sometimes. Overuse of them can trigger spam filters and keep your email from getting delivered.

  • Consider an emoji. Some recent studies have shown a small increase in open rates when a sender used an emoji in the subject line. It’s always worth a try - plus they add some color and fun to an inbox.

If you’ve been struggling with your open rates, take a crack at those tips above over the next few weeks, I can guarantee you’re going to start to see an increase!

Ready to see how Hub Digital can help you grow your business online? Click here to schedule a free strategy session with Amy.

6 Ways to Grow Your Email List

Now that we know that email marketing is ESSENTIAL to your marketing plan (and if you don’t, go back and read my previous post!). Now comes the dilemma that a lot of business owner’s face. How do I grow my email list so I have people to market to?

Today we’re breaking down some of my favorite techniques to get more engaged email subscribers, and we’re going to do it in a way that is authentic and doesn't feel slimy or salesy.

  1. Encourage current subscribers to share - Adding social share or “email to a friend” buttons can be a super simple way to get more subscribers. Giving your current subscribers an easy way to share content means you can get in front of their networks.

  2. Give away something free - This is probably the most effective way to add subscribers quickly. By offering a coupon code, discount, or even a freebie in exchange for someone’s email, you can bolster your list pretty substantially. If coupons aren’t your style, or aren't getting you the traction you’re looking for, think outside the box. Putting together a cool white page, PDF, or instructional/inspirational video series can be a great way add people to your list who are really interested in hearing from you.

  3. Create bonus content - Just because you’ve been writing a blog (as you should per our June discussion…) it doesn’t mean that you have to give away ALL your content on your website. Create bonus content based off of your blog post and encourage readers to subscribe to get it.

  4. Utilize your social media - Create a cool contest or give-a-way that requires contestants to submit their email address to enter and promote it on social. Especially if you already have a following, it’s a great tool to bring those followers over to your list. While you're at it, utilize your social channels to promote some of that gated content (that we talk about in #3), and drive more traffic to them.

  5. Find a partner - Search around for a complimenting business, blogger or influencer to help promote your brand. You can run a joint promotion, contest or give-a-way that can help increase both of your lists. This is also a great way to increase social media following and just general traffic.

  6. Go old school - If you’re a retail business or have a physical location, set up a notebook or pad and pen on your countertop. It's easy to collect email addresses from online sales, but often times we forget to ask in stores. Have a little set up and encourage who ever is working the register at the time to collect the email addresses of everyone as they check out. If you’re a service based business, you can still apply this strategy by collecting emails at networking events and expos.

If you stay consistent with your list growth strategies you will start to see some serious growth over time. The goal of this is also to see an increase in subscribers who are engaged and excited to hear from you each and every time.

And don’t forget, it’s email marketing month inside The Hub - the online marketing membership program geared towards helping you grow your business online! Get instant access to even more trainings and masterclasses to help you up your email marketing game for only $1!

Are you ready for all this?

Oooohhh I'm SUPER excited about some of the AMAZING content I just launched for June!

What's got me so pumped? Let me break it down for you...

The June Masterclass is all about the #1 way to reach your target market.

With all this  noise around GDPR, it has people wondering. Is email marketing even worth it? Spoiler alert: YES! Check out the latest Masterclass to learn my best practices, favorite email platforms (some are FREE), and best ways to grow your email list with engaged followers

This Month's "Ask Hubble" Podcast is all about some social media hacks.

Hacks you say? That's right, I've got a guest on with me and we're diving into how you can still get around the new Facebook algorithm to get some real organic views (YUP! It's still possible!), AND talk about how you can use Google+ to get some real website traffic.

Oh, and our Guest Expert Training is giving you the exact steps she used to go from $0 to $10K months in less than half a year.

Oh yeah... We've got online growth expert Melodi Maxton spilling some MAJOR secrets on how she organically grew her business WITHOUT a following, social media presence or website. Interested to find out how she did it?  

All of this content (PLUS one more Guest Expert training on how you can make passive revenue WITHOUT creating your own online course or product)  is brand new this month inside The Digital Marketing Hub!

So head on over and get instant access to all of this PLUS some amazing past trainings inside The Hub!

GDPR: What is it and how does it work?

If you haven't heard yet, BIG changes are coming this week to how marketers and businesses are allowed to collect, market to, and store data of those in the EU.

So, you may be thinking, "Well, I don't do business in Europe, so I clearly don't have to worry about this." And you're right, you most likely will never run into an issue with it. However, by some off chance that someone living in (or even just visiting) Europe happens to fill out your contact form, it's better to cover your butt and ensure everything is compliant to avoid the hefty fines that can come even from one email address.

The general concept behind GDPR is that you have to have clear and concise language that outlines how you are going to use and store their information. It also must clearly explain what kind of communication they will receive from you if they give you their information, and how they can opt out if they don't want to hear from you any more.

So, what do you need to do to be GDPR compliant? While it's an annoying process, for most people it's something that can be done in an afternoon.

1. Get a GDPR compliant Privacy Policy. Even if you already have one on your site, you must have an updated one to fit the new requirements. Talk to your lawyer, or utilize an online resource like TermsFeed, to get a new, customized one written for you. Include a link to it in the footer of your website (or in the footer on any of your lead pages).

2. Update your opt in forms and email forms. No longer can someone just be added to your email list without giving explicate (not implied) consent. This means that on your website, or on your lead page forms, you must clearly inform someone that they will be added to your mailing list if they fill out the form. There are a few ways to do this:

  • Add a checkbox to your form that someone must click on to be added. If they do not check off the box you CAN NOT market to them.
  • Add language, above the submit button, that clearly states that they will be added to your mailing list if they fill out the form. Language like: "Join my mailing list for this free download..." or "By filling out this form, you will be added to the [company name] mailing list. You can opt out at any time by hitting the "unsubscribe" button." qualifies as giving consent.

3. Link to the privacy policy on ANY form that collects data. Put something like: "We may collect, use and process your data according to our privacy policy." at the bottom.

4. Get consent from your current email list. Unfortunately, even if someone is already on your list, the new law requires you to get their consent to stay on the list (bummer, I know). How to go about this can depend on how many, if any, European's you currently have your list.

  • If you're pretty sure you do not have any European email addresses on your list, you should be pretty safe to send a simple email outlining your new privacy policy and how people can opt out if they wish. This is the option I chose, so feel free to copy the language from my email (no judgement here!) if this is the route you choose as well. 
  • If you know you have a ton of EU addresses on your list, you may want to take the extra step and ask for new consent. Send an email specifically requesting people to opt in or out of your list. Here is a great example.

5. Clean out your current list. According to GDPR, you can not store email addresses from those that have opted out or unsubscribed from your list. Take some time to clean out those unsubscribed or bounced emails that are just sitting there not being used. Another good practice is to clean out addresses that haven't interacted with any of your emails after a certain set amount of time (I usually do six months). These are people who may have signed up for your list at some point, but haven't opened or clicked on ANY of your emails in the past 6 months. While you may see your list get cut down, these are emails that are worthless to you anyways, and are actually just reducing your open rates (which can affect email delivery).

While we are not lawyers, and will always advise you contact one for advice or for any questions, staying GDPR compliant is something that you can get yourself and your business on board with, whether or not you explicitly do business in the EU. Better safe than sorry!

Want more information and trainings on all things growing your business online? Check out The Digital Marketing Hub where you can get access to full Masterclasses, Guest Expert Trainings and answers to your digital marketing questions!

The Tools I Love That Make Marketing Easier

Today is Valentine's Day and we're talking LOVE here at Hub Digital! And by LOVE I mean some of the marketing programs and tools that we heart and use everyday. Check out the video below to learn more about them and why I recommend them, and then follow the links below to check them out for yourself!

The tools mentions in this post:

Canva - Graphic design program filled with templates to design everything from documents, to social posts, to banner ads. Can even create animated graphics for more exposure and engagement on social media.

Buffer - If you need help scheduling and managing your social media posts, we recommend Buffer as the easier to use, less expensive option.

ActiveCampaign - The email marketing platform for those with large lists and who need more integrated automated sequences and to move contacts through different sales funnels.

Mailchimp - For many businesses, Mailchimp covers more than enough of the emailing needs of a small business. PLUS it FREE up to 2000 subscribers AND automatic sequences are included!

Zoom - If you have video conferencing or Webinar needs, Zoom can cover both and is less expensive and more reliable than it's competition.

Drift - Have LIVE conversations with website visitors or encourage them to schedule appointments with you during your off hours. Engage your customers when they are thinking about you and your business.

The 5 Pillars of Digital Marketing

Here at Hub Digital, we believe that there are 5 main pillars to digital marketing. They are the 5 different areas that you should be exploring to help promote your business online. What are those pillars you ask? Good question!

- SEO
- Blogging
- Social Media
- Email Marketing
- Paid Advertising

Seem overwhelming? I mean, running your own business is hard enough! How are you going to tackle all these different things on top of that?

Don't stress! Yes, you should do make an effort to use each of these pillars in a successful marketing campaign. BUT, it doesn't mean you HAVE to do everything in each of those pillars. Explore ways that you can integrate some of these strategies into your marketing routine.
- Can you repurpose your blog into a weekly or bi-weekly email campaign?
- Can you spend 10 minutes each month researching those keywords and using those as future blog topics?
- Can you spend a few dollars each month to boost a great Facebook post to get some more reach on it?

See! It doesn't have to be hard!

Check out our Facebook live from last week to learn more about these 5 pillars, why they are important and how you can integrate them in your business' marketing.

Big SEO For Small Businesses - Online Class!

STRUGGLING WITH GETTING TRAFFIC TO YOUR WEBSITE?

Having a hard time mastering Search Engine Optimization? Not even sure what SEO is and how it will even help your business? We're so excited to announce enrollment is opening for the only SEO class you'll ever need.

In it we'll walk you through; what SEO can do for your business, understanding everything that goes into an SEO strategy, and how you can master it to drive more website traffic and more sales.

Everything you've ever needed to know about SEO and how to optimize it all in 15 easy to follow lessons that you can take in your own time and when it benefits you. Not sure you need this class? Let us tell you why you do:

  • 70% of links search users click on are organic.
  • When consumers are exposed to both search and social media influences by a brand, their overall search click-thru-rate went up by 94%.
  • The #1 driver to websites is search, beating out social media by more than 300%.
  • SEO Leads have a 14.6% close rate, while leads from advertising have a 1.7% close rate.*

*Stats courtesy of Search Engine Journal

What You'll Learn

Big SEO For Small Businesses, is a 15 module course designed to walk you through everything you need to create a comprehensive SEO strategy that will drive more traffic to your website and help convert that traffic into sales.  Learn More!

Michelle Girasole - Optimizing Your Email Open Rates
Learn some quick changes to increase your email open rates.

Today, Hub Digital is proud to feature one of our favorite partners and friends, Michelle Girasole of Constant Contact, who is breaking down how to get more attention with your email marketing.

Email -  Five Seconds Can Make or Break Your Next Customer Sale!

If your customer reads your next email on their mobile device, it will take them just under five seconds to decide if they will read it or delete it.  That email had better be good if you want to get their attention and your next sale!

Despite this daunting fact, email is still one of the best values for your marketing dollar.  Entrepreneur Magazine just published an article suggesting that email marketing is the "The One Marketing Tool Entrepreneurs Should Focus on for 2017".  It is more effective than many other marketing tactics - not only for building brand awareness, but also for inviting ACTION, the lifeblood of your business. And remember, a customer sale is not the only measurable action, though this is the ultimate end goal.   If customers are opening your emails, reading the content, clicking on buttons, links and graphics, asking questions and/or sharing your content on their social media channels, then congratulations!  This means you have nurtured a treasure trove of highly engaged subscribers, which will soon lead to sales with consistent, relevant and valuable marketing outreach and sales effort.  

If you send an email out and hear only crickets, it is time to rethink your strategy.  There are three questions you need to ask in order to achieve success in email marketing:

1) Who cares?  You have likely built a large list of email subscribers. Are these people all prospects for business, or just people you know?  Do you segment your list and send targeted messages based on their interests, or do all subscribers get the same message?  It may be time for a list review.  Clean out those addresses that bounce.  Segment the folks who click on emails into a "VIP" list that gets special offers or early notice of news or deals.  Treat them special, because they are.  On average, only 5-18% of subscribers click through, according to Constant Contact, who reviews 200 million customer emails every year.  The ones who click through should get special attention, and if you don't know who they are, you need to find out.

2) What do they care about?  What you say in the subject line of your next email should speak directly to the very topic that your customers care the most about.  About 1/3 of email subscribers decide to open the email or hit delete, based solely on the content in the subject line!  Make your subject line compelling and deliver on the promise of the subject line in the body of your email.  Create content based on what they have clicked on in the past - what are their interests?   What questions are they asking you at the networking meetings?  What problems have you solved for customers this week?  Turn those questions and problems into the storytelling that sells your services or products.  80% of your content should be informative, educational and/or entertaining.  Only 20% should be sales-oriented, so if you are using your email to deliver discounts and sales offers exclusively, you are missing the point.

3) What happened last time and what do I do next?  Most email marketing platforms worth their salt have automated reporting that tell you exactly what happened the last time you sent an email out.  Who opened?  Who didn't?  Who clicked? What did they click on?  What time of day did most people read it?  Who came back more than once?  What emails bounced back as undeliverable?   All of these factors should be studied within 24 hours after you send your email, and careful consideration should be given as to what to do next.   There is so much knowledge at our fingertips that can help us pack some power into the next email we send, and yet many of us just look at the open rate as the single factor of success.  Read your reports and make marketing decisions based on what you find.

Email is the number one app used on smartphones today.  Access to email is everywhere we go, and so we have an opportunity to reach people wherever they are.  We're no longer restricted to communication during daytime working hours to people sitting at their desktops.  We can reach them at the coffee shops, football fields and even in their beds.  (When was the last time you checked messages one more time, before turning out the light, hmm?)  This is a powerful marketing tool, and we must use this power wisely.  By using email to nurture your audience, you will build credibility and trust, and invite action.  And, people taking action is the only thing that will drive ever your business growth. 

Michelle Girasole is an email marketing industry veteran.  A marketing professional for 24 years and a Constant Contact solution partner since 2003, Michelle is the only one certified to teach Constant Contact workshops in Rhode Island. She teaches many free workshops for Rhode Island small business and non-profit organizations, many sponsored by SBA/SCORE and the area chambers of commerce.  For a calendar of her upcoming workshops click here.