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How you can use your blog in your email marketing

A woman being happy because she's using her blog in her email marketing.
Photo by Vlada Karpovich from Pexels

When you’ve gone to the effort of writing a blog, I’m willing to bet that you don’t want it to just sit there on your website. You want it to be out in the world, being read by your ideal customers. At least, I hope you do. If you’re just writing for fun and a creative outlet, I salute you, but this blog isn’t really for you. (If you haven’t started a blog because you don’t know where to start, read this.) If you’ve spent time on writing a brilliant blog post and are wondering what else you can do with it, I have two words for you. Email marketing. It’s a wonderful thing to send to your list if you have one. Your blog can also help you to build a list if you need to. Here are my top 5 tips to get you started.

Create a calendar

A content calendar helps you to get organised. It also makes your marketing more coherent overall. When you choose a focus for each month you can plan all your blogs, emails and social media posts around that one topic. It makes things easier for you because you can repurpose your content by sharing your blog in your emails and breaking it down for social media posts. It also makes things clearer for your customers.

Use your blog in your email marketing

Have you ever stopped sending emails to your list because something had to give? We’ve all been there. It’s more likely to happen if you’re creating fresh content for every marketing channel. If you use your blog as a central part of your emails, you make everything quicker and easier. Then all you need to do is top and tail the email with a bit of news and your latest offers and you’ve saved yourself loads of time.

Add a sign-up form

If you don’t have an email marketing list, or you want to attract more subscribers, add a sign-up form to the bottom of your posts. (I have a widget from Thrive Themes that does mine.) It’s the perfect way to attract the right audience because people only sign up if they’re interested in what you have to say. It’s a good idea to offer people something useful as a thank you for signing up. Which brings me to…

Use older blogs as lead magnets

Firstly, a note of caution. GDPR includes rules about offering freebies to new subscribers. Please make sure you’re up to speed before you follow this tip. If you’ve already written a whole load of useful blogs, you can repurpose them to send out to your subscribers. Tips posts are particularly good if they have advice readers can put into action straight away. Just format the post as a PDF with images and you’re ready to go.

Blog series = email marketing sequence

If you’re new to blogging this is a good one to bear in mind for the future. A blog series works well for topics that are too big to cover in one post. For example, I wrote a series on how to start writing a blog. You can read it on my website or get it straight to your inbox. (Just complete the form below – see what I did there?!) What topics could you write a series about?

Are you ready to start writing a blog that you can use throughout your marketing? I can help with that. Click here to book a chat with me and find out more about your options. Or sign up to receive my series on how to start your business blog using the form below.

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How storytelling can make your email marketing better

Typewriter showing that stories matter in your email marketing.
Photo by Suzy Hazelwood from Pexels

Once upon time, there was a brave warrior princess who decided to start a business. She told lots of stories in her email marketing so her customers would love her and her business was a great success. The end.

Don’t worry, I haven’t lost the plot. I’m just telling you a story. What sprang to mind when you read ‘once upon a time’? Did it feel familiar and maybe a bit comforting? That’s what stories do. They don’t all have to start like a fairytale though. Telling a story is a really effective way to market your business, especially when you use it in your email marketing. Here’s why it works and how you can use it for yourself.

Why storytelling works

When a story comes in a format you recognise it feels comforting. You know what to expect and feel as if you’re in safe hands. A story doesn’t have to be a fairytale. It could sound like a chat you’d have with a friend. The point is, it doesn’t feel as if you’re being sold something. You’re just listening to someone else’s experience. When you use this in your marketing, it builds trust and helps you to connect with your audience. Simple.

When to use it in your email marketing

Storytelling works particularly well in email marketing. You’ve come straight to your reader’s inbox and now you’re going to share a story with them. There are, as you might expect, a few different ways to do this. You could tell one long story and relate it to your business at the end, or you could drop in snippets of story here and there. Here are a few ways that you can start using storytelling in your email marketing.

Nurture sequences

Nurture sequences are those emails that you send to new subscribers. They let new people know what to expect. It’s also your opportunity to introduce yourself. You can use a sequence to show your subscribers who you are and how you help. Let them see the person behind the business and you’ll build trust. You can also share useful stuff, like links to your best blog posts and handy tips.

Case studies

You might not think of a case study as a story, but it is. It starts out with someone facing a challenge, looking for a solution and ending up in a better place than they were before. It’s the real-life equivalent of a hero going on a quest. The only differences are that there aren’t any dragons and the princess saves herself. Case studies are also brilliant because they show your audience that you know what you’re doing and have got results for other people.

Email marketing introductions

If nurture sequences and case studies sound a bit long winded, don’t panic. There are simpler ways to use storytelling in your emails. You can start with your opening paragraph. That bit where you say hello before you share your latest blog post and current offers. You might decide to share your latest business news, but you can also tell a personal story. I work with lots of business owning mums so will often talk about the school holidays or something funny my kids have said. It’s a small thing that reminds my readers that we’re all dealing with the same stuff.

Do you want to start using storytelling in your marketing? I can help with that. Click here to book a chat with me and find out more about your options.

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Is it ever OK to use jargon in your marketing?

Frustrated by too much jargon.
Photo by Yan from Pexels

When it comes to marketing, I’m a big fan of keeping things simple. Let people know that you understand the problem they’re experiencing and show them how you can help. Of course, there are loads of different ways to do that. That doesn’t just apply to the hundreds of platforms you could choose to share your message. It also applies to the language you use. Every business has its own jargon, no matter what industry you’re in. The real question is, how much of that jargon should you share with your customers? When you use insider language you run the risk of driving potential buyers away, simply because they don’t understand what you’re on about. Here are just a few things to think about when it comes to using jargon in your marketing.

Is it really jargon?

Firstly, let me be clear about what I mean by jargon. For me, it can be two different things. Firstly, there are technical terms that a specialist in your field would use. It could refer to a stitch you use when you’re creating something out of fabric or a silversmithing tool that’s designed to complete a gorgeous piece of jewellery. It could also be shorthand for a legal or accounting rule.

The second kind of jargon is the type that we all hear more often. They’re the kind of buzzwords that we feel we should probably understand but don’t. We might have a vague idea but not a detailed one. Some people love them, others find them annoying. If you follow me on social media, I share one of these every month to see what people think of it – I’d love you to join in if you’d like to.

Who are your audience?

There is one kind of audience where using jargon is not only fine but downright useful. That’s when the people you’re talking to are in exactly the same business as you. This can also extend to well-informed amateurs too, particularly if you’re talking about cake making or selling craft supplies. When I was a lawyer, having a shared language meant that you could get straight to the issues in a case because you both understood the rules. I didn’t fully appreciate how useful this was until I encountered lay people who were representing themselves. Everything took three times longer.

If that doesn’t apply, consider whether your audience will understand the terms you’re using. Get too technical and they may feel you’re blinding them with science. That only serves to make you less relatable. Use too many irritating buzzwords and they might feel you’re downright untrustworthy.

We’ve all had enough of buzzwords

Buzzword bingo can be an entertaining way to get through a dull meeting, but I generally feel as if we’ve all had a bellyful of them this year. There seems to be a new one every week. I shared my least favourite Coronavirus buzzword a while back (unprecedented, in case you’re interested) and asked people to share theirs. There were loads and every share made me groan. There weren’t just buzzwords but whole phrases that would once have seemed caring but now just make people want to vomit.

It’s made me question every single ‘I hope you’re well’ and come up with new alternatives to ‘in these strange times’. If I’m honest, I haven’t found one I’m completely happy with. It’s become even more important to use straightforward language that helps us to be understood.

If you need no-nonsense marketing copy that speaks your customers’ language, get in touch! Or sign up to my mailing list for handy hints and tips straight to your inbox every month.

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Are you winning at email marketing?

Woman with a cup of coffee checking her email marketing on a laptop.

Email marketing is officially still alive (and if you don’t believe me, read this). But how do you get it right? There are (of course) lots of different approaches you could take. Some of my favourite emails are written like letters, giving you an insight into the writer’s life. They always make a point but there’s usually a personal story behind the advice. Others have a mixture of behind the scenes insight and advice. As with any other kind of content, the most important thing is to offer something useful that fits with your brand and that your audience will enjoy. There are also a few best practice rules that you should pay attention to. Here are just a few.

Be helpful

Before you send any email marketing, ask yourself why you’re sending it. Yes, I know you want to sell stuff but that shouldn’t be your only focus. People are much more likely to buy from you if they know you want to help them rather than just rake in the cash. So, you could explain why a particular service might help them, or talk about ways to do it themselves. You could talk about practical steps to take – I’ve seen some great ones from accountants covering the Covid-19 financial support. I always view it as offering my services but enabling people to do it themselves if they need to.

Show behind the scenes

There are some emails that don’t feel like email marketing. It’s more like an update about what’s happening in their life before mentioning something you might want to buy at the end. Laura Belgray (aka Talking Shrimp) is great at this. Of course, that might not suit your style. I show glimpses of my life but don’t talk about every detail. Showing your customers what goes on behind the scenes doesn’t have to involve sharing personal details. You could tell them what events you’ve been to or where they can meet you in person. That said, the more they see you as a human being, the more likely they are to trust you.

Create a good subject line

A good subject line can mean your email gets opened rather than deleted. Just like good headlines, a good subject line should be relevant to the subject and have good emotional resonance. Even the most conservative audience will respond to it. It can also be a good idea to personalise your subject line using the recipient’s name. I’m hearing some suggestions that using emojis in your subject line can increase open rates. I think this probably depends on your audience and their views on emojis generally. I like them but not everyone does.

Whatever approach you take at first, it isn’t set in stone. Experiment and change things to see what works for you.

Get the basics right

Good design is important but doesn’t have to be complicated. Have you ever been put off reading an email because the design was so fussy it made it hard to read? Kind of defeats the point. Keep your design simple but with some appealing images – basically the same approach you’d take to the rest of your marketing. Most email marketing platforms allow you to check how your email looks on mobiles. A lot of people will read on their phones so check it doesn’t get scrambled.

Also, one final note. Pay attention to GDPR. There is loads of guidance out there, especially from the ICO, so make sure you follow it.

Further reading

Test your headlines for emotional resonance with the Advanced Marketing Institute’s headline analyser.

Power words to use in your subject lines.

If you’d like to receive fabulous marketing tips straight to your inbox, including hints on email marketing, blogging and much more, you can subscribe using the form below. You’ll also receive a copy of my free guide helping you to get your business seen online.

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Is email marketing dead?

Email marketing with an image of a blank laptop and coffee.

How many emails are currently sitting in your inbox, unopened or otherwise ignored? We subscribe to so many different things, ticking the box to accept email marketing because we like the look of a free download or a special offer. Then the emails start to land… The thing is, if we feel like this as business owners, why on earth would we bother with email marketing ourselves? Who on earth is actually reading? If you’re tempted to give up writing your email newsletter (or just not bother starting) here’s why you might want to change your mind.

The right people are still reading

There are techniques you can use to encourage people to open your emails (more on that later) and to keep them reading once they’ve opened. The key is to be helpful. Email is a great marketing tool but it shouldn’t just be about marketing. You can share knowledge and advice that will be useful to your customers in the same way as you do in your blog. The people who like what you’re saying will keep reading even if they don’t buy straight away. They might be keeping in touch, knowing that they want to work with you when the conditions are right for them. Or they could just be waiting for the right offer to come along.

The numbers are on your side

This helpful post from Optinmonster gives some great, detailed statistics around email use in the US. As depressing as it may be at this point, we tend to follow them pretty closely (plus I couldn’t find any UK-specific stats – sorry about that.) More than 90% of people have email (even my Mum and she resisted for years). Mobile apps give us the opportunity to check our emails even more frequently. Even teenagers are still using email despite having access to multiple messaging platforms. Email even outperforms social media for engagement. Generally speaking, as long as you don’t go into spam you’re pretty much guaranteed to be seen via email. How often can you say that about Facebook?

You’re in control of your list

There will be a few subscribers who never open your emails but don’t unsubscribe. What do you do about them? That’s where list cleaning comes in. If people aren’t reading, they aren’t helping you. Removing inactive subscribers means you’ll only be emailing people who are interested in you. Your open rates will improve and that reduces your chances of ending up in the spam folder.

Your email marketing platform statistics will tell you who’s opening and who isn’t. If anyone hasn’t opened an email in the last 60 days, get rid of them. You might want to give them a final chance, say by sending a final email letting them know you’re going to remove them unless they choose to stay. Chances are they won’t read that one either.

Getting email marketing right

The beauty of being a small business owner is that you can make decisions quickly. If something in your email marketing isn’t working you don’t have to consult with a committee to try something new. Maybe you started out with a sign up form inviting people to subscribe to receive exclusive offers or tips. If that approach didn’t work, or just ran out of steam, try something else. Perhaps you need a new offer to tempt people in, a free download or a tutorial video. Ask your existing subscribers what they would find useful, or talk to your network. That enables you to create freebies that will tempt people in and to write emails that help your audience.

If you’d like to receive fabulous marketing tips straight to your inbox, including hints on email marketing, blogging and much more, you can subscribe using the form below. You’ll also receive a copy of my free guide helping you to get your business seen online.