We know, you’ve heard it over and over the past year: COVID-19 has dramatically changed the way that businesses and organizations interact with current, and future, customers. Businesses shifted their marketing strategies to digital means (in particular email marketing!) to reach out and stay connected with customers, and email and social media became the main channels to inform people about new business hours, virtual opportunities, virtual events, and more.
So, since COVID is showing no immediate signs of slowing down, how do the changes you pivoted to in 2020 shape the way you’ll go about email marketing in 2021? Here are some things that we think you should keep in mind as you plan out your email marketing strategy for the year.
#1: Email is by far the most effective online marketing tool
We all know that the algorithms that social media platforms use (we’re looking at you Facebook) are always changing and can be murky and hard to understand. Email marketing gets you directly into the inbox of your customer, so you don’t have to worry about some unknown algorithm affecting your ability to market to your potential customers. In fact, active email accounts surpassed 5.6 billion in 2019, and that number that is surely expected to grow into 2021 and beyond.
Additionally, social distancing forced customers to go online to view or purchase products and services, leading to an increase in sign-ups for email newsletters. Take advantage of this trend by setting up landing pages so your customers can easily sign up to join your email list.
#2: Make sure your content is engaging and authentic
Ok, so you’ve gotten those new email newsletter sign ups, now what do you include in your newsletter? The content in your email needs to be eye-catching and relate to the customer. You must be offering something valuable to the person reading it, but also creating a connection for that reader to your business. Think of it this way- you’re trading your email for your subscriber’s time. Someone took the time to open your email (because the title was SO CREATIVE!) so make sure you’re giving them the value they are looking for to “make it worth their while.”
Before you start creating your content for your email, stop and think about how you are helping your customers succeed- what does the product or service that you’re offering them DO? Does it help them save time? Help them feel connected to a community? What problem is your business helping them solve? Also be sure that your email content tone and personality accurately reflects your brand and will resonate with the email receiver.
#3: Personalize and automate your emails
Building on #2, the biggest advantage to email marketing is the ability to personalize AND automate. You can send targeted emails to each subscriber- making each one feel special. Take the time to think about the user experience from your customers side, and what they are looking for when they visit your website. Use any feedback from customers to consider how to target and create customized content more effectively. Knowing your customers’ journey and gaining insight on the customer by collecting data like demographic information, individual likes/dislikes, feedback on your company and it’s offerings can only strengthen your ability to send targeted and personalized emails that will encourage your customers to take action. Emailing your customer an offer that doesn’t resonate with who they are is a surefire way to get them to unsubscribe.
Automation of your emails, also known as drip campaigns, are also a great way to ensure the emails your customer is receiving are relevant and timely. The last thing people want to see in their inbox is a useless or uncalled for email. Drip emails usually perform better than regular emails since they are triggered by specific actions taken by the customer. Drip campaign emails create a “friendlier” vibe and aren’t overwhelming- all the emails come in “drips,” so the customer is getting the exact information they want.
In 2021, it’s likely that this trend in an increase in e-commerce purchases and email signups will continue. Make sure you stay one-step ahead and take these few ideas into consideration, as well as think about emerging trends (such as paid-newsletters) that could help brighten up your email marketing.
Here at SocialKNX, once you have someone in your content universe, we can help you grow that budding relationship! Whether it’s setting up welcome emails, nurture sequences, or sending monthly love letters that continue to build that connection, we’ve got you covered. Give us a call today to see how we can help you with your email marketing in 2021.
Did you know that 47% of social media marketers report that the biggest challenge they face when it comes to social media marketing is coming up with strategies that support business goals? THIS is where the handy-dandy SWOT analysis comes in to save the day! SWOT stands for Strengths-Weakness-Opportunities-Threats, and completing one of these can help you understand how exactly to utilize social media and strengthen your strategy. The SWOT framework is traditionally used to analyze the internal and external factors that help or hurt a business’s success. A SWOT analysis can help you identify key areas within your social media strategies and campaigns that require improvement or tweaking in order to be successful.
We all know that perfectionism, while it has its merits, holds us back from making the progress in our business and in our lives that we truly want and need to make. Perfectionism in marketing is death. Death to progress and eventually to your business. I have to admit, not with any sense of pride mind you, but I have never had to worry about the negative effects of being a perfectionist. I have been a self-proclaimed slacker-mom, rusted trophy-wife, and a fly-by-the-seat of my pants entrepreneur. Always biting off more than I can chew and figuring out how to survive as I choked it down. Let’s just say, I have no shame in my game!
So I am not going to sit here and tell you how I overcame my struggle as a recovering perfectionist. But I am going to tell you that in my 22 years of being in business, helping people with their marketing, I have seen the carnage that perfection leaves in its path. I’m going to give you some facts that will help motivate you to let go a bit with your marketing and then 4 and ½ steps to help you recover, make more progress, and grow your business!Why the ½? Well it’s so perfectly IMPERFECT!
Let’s get a few things out so we can build your motivation for seeing the need to let go of the neat lines and perfect circles:
Perfectionism kills creativity and can completely cripple your ability to get ideas out and move your business forward.
Today’s pace is faster than ever. We can’t wait months to get a piece of content created. Many times, we need it in hours or days.
Marketing is all about testing. Testing means you have to produce multiple products, videos, lead magnets, blog posts, etc. to… TEST.You have to release something to the world before you can truly know what your audience wants. Then you can make adjustments based on the feedback you get. If the only feedback you have is coming from your head, you might spend months on something and then release it to crickets! If it takes you MONTHS before you can get one item completed, the only thing you will test is your patience.
You may say you don’t want to put anything out unless it “looks professional” or is “professionally created.”There is absolutely nothing wrong with things looking professional if it can be done in a realistic time frame. There is nothing wrong with something being created by a professional, as long as they don’t cause said professional to age 12 years working with you because of all of your “small edits.” If you can’t get something out because you are waiting on the graphic designer to return the 87th version of a 2 page PDF, you need therapy…and now the poor graphic designer does too!
Video is one of the hottest marketing tools you have today and yet video is a big hurdle for many perfectionists because there are just so many areas where perfection is nearly impossible. You may want to wait to do videos until you have the perfect equipment. You will of course then need to put it off until you are at your perfect weight and have made an appointment with your hairdresser to get those highlights looking perfect. Then, of course you will need the perfect day when you got the perfect amount of sleep so you look…PERFECT. (I think this could be the beginning of a children’s book… If you give a perfectionist a project.) Let the real YOU shine through. Instead of trying to create a perfectly produced video of you sharing your expertise, imagine sitting across from a friend over coffee and sharing these nuggets of wisdom. Be THAT you on video. It is so much more enjoyable to watch and learn from someone who is REAL like the rest of us.
More motivation here:
Overly produced videos do not do as well as raw footage of the real you when trying to build relationships with an online audience. When people see a very nice “commercial” of you and your product, they see you trying to sell them something. When they see you giving tips, information, or advice with nothing but you and the camera, you become more real and approachable…Even with bags under your eyes! Your imperfections create likability and build trust.
Authenticity comes from showing your imperfections.We want to see the real you not the overly produced you. This doesn’t mean your videos have to be unprofessional, it just means they don’t have to be perfect. You may find after you record your video that a piece of your hair was sticking up like Alfalfa, the entire time. You may start a live broadcast a few minutes late because there were technical glitches. You may be recording a video and you forget something you were going to say next. You may be in the middle of a live video stream and your dog will bark…or all three of them will suddenly go NUTS…all hypothetical examples of course! This is REAL LIFE. What would happen if you were face-to-face with someone and these things happened? You would keep going.
So let’s get to the 4 ½ steps to help you tousel your hair a bit and start producing more marketing content to build your business.
Get rid of “All or Nothing” thinking.
Remember, in marketing your goal is to produce regular content to TEST. You have to let go of the thinking that gets you stuck, or paralyzed. “If I can’t get more people connecting with our brand on social media, then I don’t want to put together the slides for the webinar we were supposed to do. And if I can’t do the slides, then there is no point for me to schedule a weekly Facebook live.” “If I can’t get the graphic artist to get this image just right, I don’t want to put out the blog post.”Put the blog post out with a regular image and you can always go in and swap it out later if you wanted. Aim for PROGRESS, not perfection. You need to TEST, TEST, TEST.
Use tools and then TRUST the tools.
If you find yourself frustrated trying to get your marketing pieces looking professional but can’t do it yourself or your budget can’t afford the cost of having a graphic artist do 87 revisions, check out some of these tools:Beacon for creating tip sheets, resource guides, and even eBooks. Typepad or for creating quizzes. Tools like Canva can help you create infographics or graphics to promote the tip sheets and guides you’ve created. (See our post on Create Lead Magnets for more information.) And if you want a video tool to send out videos in emails check out LOOM, a free Chrome extension that allows you to record just you, or you showing your screen. This tool is free for videos under 10 minutes.
Go for 80% Done.
A good friend of mine (and client), Toni Newman, is a recovering perfectionist as well. Someone told her that she needed to use the 80% rule because her 80% good enough is still 100% enough for everyone else. I love this. If you think you must have 10 pages on your whitepaper before it can be complete, let it go when you have 8. If you think your blog post has to have exactly 1,400 words before it can be published, wrap it up at …. 1,120 (full disclosure… I had to ask Alexa what 80% of 1400 was, whereas I should have said “wrap it up when you are around 1,000 words”). Just learn to let go a little sooner and watch how the world keeps spinning and you get more accomplished.
Allow yourself to be a beginner.
Especially when it comes to using new tools like podcasting or social video! It’s ok to let your audience know you are using a new tool, or finally working up the courage to use live video. Not only will people be ok with it, they will often cheer you on and offer words of encouragement. This transparent confession also makes you much more LIKEABLE.
4 ½. GET STARTED!
That 1st step is the only huge one. Once you commit to doing it—putting yourself out there—getting that first blog post written and published, or that first video done and out to the world, you will find that each one following gets easier and BETTER! I used to tell my youngest daughter, also a perfectionist, that she can’t start something as an expert. Experts become experts by being beginners who kept doing something over and over. You can’t get GREAT until you GET STARTED!
[bctt tweet=”You can’t get GREAT until you GET STARTED! ” username=”GinaSchreck”]
Do you have tips that have helped you overcome your need for perfectionism in your marketing? Do share below. And if you’d like to hear a Facebook LIVE that we did on this very topic with one of our DIY.social Group members, Elizabeth Suarez, check out the video below (and you will hear dogs going crazy!)
Perhaps you’ve heard this term, “Lead Magnet” and wondered what it is. Maybe you’ve heard them called freebies, giveaways, value offers or a slew of other terms. The bottom-line is they are a crucial part of your marketing mix and without them, it is hard to measure your success and many times, it’s hard to get to your goals without them.
WHAT IS A LEAD MAGNET?
A Lead Magnet (I’m going to use this term but you can call them whatever you’d like) is simply a piece of content or an item of value that people would exchange their contact information for. Perhaps you would exchange your email address for a free ebook. You might sign up on a website with your email address to get 20% off an order. You enter your email address to gain access to a free webinar or online course. All of these are lead magnets. What’s NOT a lead magnet is a piece of content that just talks about YOU or your brand. Lead magnets are not promotional content. They are not a piece of sales copy. They are helpful and/or valuable content to the prospective customer.
Even if you think the item is super valuable because it tells your prospects about the services you offer…that is NOT a lead magnet. That is a promotional piece of content.
WHY SHOULD I GIVE MY VALUABLE CONTENT AWAY FOR FREE?
This is often the response of people when I say we need to take their template, their eBook, their white paper or tip sheet and give it away for free. Do you remember the days when you paid to create brochures and flyers and then you bundled them up and went to the post office and paid them to mail these? Well what did that cost you? You are going to pay for your marketing one way or the other. Why not use a method that is working for today’s consumers?
And if you are going to tell me the printed brochures do work for you, then you can get a pass on this post and get your gold star. Keep doing what’s working. But for those who need to find a way to reach today’s savvy consumer who is searching Google for answers, this is for you. Keep reading.
WHY ARE LEAD MAGNETS IMPORTANT IN MARKETING?
In marketing, we have goals such as brand awareness, building trust, increasing brand engagement, and establishing credibility, but these are harder to measure. We also have more tangible goals like building an email list, increasing website traffic, driving traffic to sales pages and helping to convert to sales. These actions are usually done with the use of lead magnets. These actions are easier to measure because there is an action people take when they download or sign up for something.
Lead magnets are important because they form a bridge from EXPOSURE or AWARENESS, to TRUST and LIKABILITY. They give people a stepping stone to stand on and decide if they want more of you before you expect them to open their wallets. And the higher your price tag is the more steps you may need. You may need a free tip sheet that then gets their email and then in a series of emails you send helpful content that has a link at the bottom to download your research paper or eBook. Then you might have to invite them to a free webinar to then talk about the coaching program or consulting practice you have.
They also help start to qualify a lead and gain a small commitment from them, moving them toward a sale. If I create a piece of content that is for leaders managing teams of people in candy factories, I might just know something about the person who downloads this item.
EXAMPLES OF LEAD MAGNETS
Here is an example of some lead magnets. I’m sure there are many more we could think of, but this will get you started:
Tip Sheet—Top 10 tips for ____.
Resource Guide—Step-by-step guide to ______.
Must have apps/tools for your life/business.
e-Booklet (keep it short)
Sample questions to help someone __________.
Series of video tips
Single short video course
Discount code to use on purchase
Free item (perhaps customer pays shipping only)
Your best resources (equipment, suppliers, etc)
Monthly HOT TIPS (aka not-so-boring-newsletter)
TIPS FOR CREATING GREAT LEAD MAGNETS
There are a few things to keep in mind as you create a lead magnet. One, you should keep them short and “digestible.” If you give me your 78 page eBook, I will probably save it for later reading…to be read right after those 900 wordy emails and 42 e-zines I have saved in that same folder. Keep the content valuable and short. You want people to download the item and use it right away to see how awesome you are. They will come back faster for more if you keep things short and sweet.
Secondly, you want to be sure the lead magnet is indeed, valuable. Just because you think it’s the most awesome piece of content you have ever seen, it doesn’t mean that people will find it valuable enough to turn over their precious email address for it. It’s like when I see, “Sign up for my newsletter.” You know someone thought that was going to draw people like goats to tin cans, but let’s get honest with one-another, who REALLY wants another email coming in? No one. But if you had something like, “Get our monthly tips and resources,” that might be more of a draw. I’ll never forget when a client told me that he subscribed to many newsletters from professional speakers and was shocked at how useless and self-promotional almost all of them were. Make sure your offer or lead magnet is really providing value.
Lastly, always but your next move or call-to-action at the bottom of your lead magnet. If I download your resource guide and love it, I find it so helpful, I will probably be in the mindset to consume some more! Have a link at the bottom or at the end that takes me to that next step.
TOOLS TO USE TO CREATE LEAD MAGNETS
Lead magnets are not created out of some special magnetic app that you must use. You can use Microsoft Word or PowerPoint to create your item and then save it as a pdf (most lead magnets are saved as pdf for easy delivery and to preserve your formatting). You can have someone work their magic on the document to make it a visual wonder in Adobe Illustrator, or even have a professionally produced video piece to use…but you don’t have to.
Keep it simple but make it look professional and VALUABLE! A bunch of text thrown on an image that looks like a poster in the breakroom of the post office is not going to cut it. If you do not have an eye for design, either pay someone to lay out a template for you or use one of these tools:
Beacon is a template tool for creating guides, tip sheets and more. The monthly cost is steep ($30) but it might be worth it for a few months to build your inventory.
Canva is another tool that you could use to layout a great template and then plug your content into it.
WHERE TO USE A LEAD MAGNET ONCE YOU HAVE CREATED THEM
Now that you’ve created a few lead magnets and have started beefing up your inventory, plan on creating one or two a month, if possible. You want enough of a variety that you don’t have to offer the same item everywhere. Here are some of the spots you can use your lead magnet to draw people in:
End of blog posts
Social media posts
The end of a live or pre-recorded video
In your newsletters
In your email signature
In your LinkedIn connection messages
Now it’s time…time for you to create your first lead magnet or another lead magnet if you have one that might need revamping. As you work on that, we’ll get next week’s post lined up to show you the next step in your marketing plan.
I’d love to hear from you in the comments below with questions you have or other ways you have used or seen lead magnets used.
Many agree that the world of marketing and social media today is like a wild jungle or zoo. So many social media channels and tools to discover and plenty of opportunities to hurt your business along the way. So how do you tame the marketing beasts and help your brand thrive in these wild times?
Just like there are different personality or communication styles, there are marketing styles or tendencies that we may fall into that can trap us or hurt us if we don’t learn to balance those with some good habits.
We are going to take a look at four of the beasts that can help or hurt your marketing and give you some tools to tame them.
We know that elephants use those long trunks to spray themselves as well as everyone around them, so this animal represents the SPRAY & PRAY marketer. Just throw a bunch of good content and interesting posts out there to see if anything sticks and draws someone in. This often leads to frustration when the water runs dry and you realize that all that effort has led to very little, if any, return.
Without a strategy and daily plan to draw your ideal customers closer, it won’t happen. Step back and outline your purpose on each channel. [READ: Where to Begin with Your Social Marketing] Write specific activities that will help you achieve that purpose. Do you need to add a strong call-to-action at the end of your blog posts before promoting them on social media? Are you capturing email addresses with landing pages and helpful content pieces that help build trust with your ideal audience members? There are several steps needed before you start spraying social media posts.
Owls are all business and oh so serious. This animal represents the DRY & NOT-SO-SOCIAL marketer. Only posting business content that shows their expertise and wisdom. While this is not all bad, you could be missing the point on SOCIAL media sites, and that is, to be SOCIAL.
Like the strategy outlined in our elephant’s profile, you may need to plan to be social throughout the day. Make time to comment and like other people’s content. Create or find some fun content that shows a lighter side that people may be more likely to connect with. On Facebook, especially, look for ways to create fun posts that encourage engagement, not just consumption. Perhaps a question to your audience? A fill in the blank statement. A fun photo that you found that people in your industry would find the humor in. [Check out our 30 Things to Post on Social Media When You Don’t Know What to Say] and download our guide: 20 Types of Facebook Posts to Increase Engagement.
Dolphins are playful and fun. Who doesn’t want to hang out with one of these friendly creatures? This animal represents the VERY SOCIAL BUT NOT CONVERTING TO BUSINESS marketer. Dolphins are on their social channels a lot; commenting and sharing everyone’s content but putting very little focus on their own business strategy. They are always wishing others happy birthday or congratulations on business accomplishments. Being “always present” but applying little focus on your own content can hurt your brand. People start to wonder, “What do they actually do?” “How do they actually make money?”
While being friendly and social is important, don’t forget why you and your brand are on these social media channels in the first place. You want to connect with potential customers, draw them in closer to you with helpful and interesting content and find a way to do business together. Even if your product or service doesn’t seem to fit the model for creating a sales funnel and content to draw people in. Activity on social media can seem futile without a solid plan. How could you personalize your marketing if you had people in different email lists? Could you create some special promotions or content pieces that are for a very targeted audience? How could this help you close more business?
Zebras are social and efficient, traveling in packs to help each other survive. The zebra is INTERESTING AND HELPFUL, blending focused content with social activities to draw others to them. Regardless of how amazing your content is, without a plan, your content is will not return the results you hope for.
To be more efficient in your marketing, create a plan that ties into your overall business goals. If your goal is to increase brand awareness because you are a new hair and nail salon, you need lead magnets or tip sheets on hair and nail care that people can download and have your location and phone number at the bottom. Add a 10% off your next visit coupon and you can track the number of people your social media activities brought in. If your goal is to build a mailing list for your new book launch, you need lead magnets that allow people to exchange their contact information for the item being downloaded. The more specific you make your lead magnets, the better you can qualify someone and even put them into different lists in your email system to further customize your offerings. If your goal is to drive sales, you may want to look into buyable pins on Pinterest, or the shop feature on Facebook and Instagram. Tie your social media activities to your overall business goals and you will not just survive in the social jungles, you will thrive and greater success spending time there.
So regardless of your “Marketing Spirit Animal” be sure your animal is tamed and has a plan to turn that social media activity into business. Let’s all make sure we are putting more focus on being helpful and interesting with our content to draw people in, build trust and business.