This article has been contributed by Michael Habiger.
Life is way too short not to send automated emails as a marketing strategy. With the way this year has been rolling out, integrating automated emails can make a notable difference in your bottom line by converting a passing inquirer into a loyal, diehard customer.
People are staying home, working remotely, and limiting their personal contact with the outside world. This is the new reality for 2020 for at least the next six months. We’re looking at our emails and social media feeds more than ever before to remain connected. Now is the perfect time to jump in with both feet. There’s no need to look back in hindsight with regret for not revving up your marketing automation tactics. Now is the time to take action!
While 2020 may seem like a challenging, dumpster fire year for most people, it is also a great time to discover the answers to pressing questions every marketer wants to know: How do different audiences remain connected when they are restricted from face-to-face contact? Aside from toilet paper, during times of crisis, what do different audiences find to be most valuable from their go-to brands? What makes them loyal?
As difficult as the year may be, the time is ripe for gathering information to make informed choices and investments into your marketing strategy that will no doubt benefit your brand for years to come.
However, large visions require initial small baby steps. Start with building your social media channels and deploying automated email campaigns. A common error that businesses seem to make is keeping their channels, their social media platforms for showcasing themselves to the public, flat. Just as new chords can add much-needed depth, complexity and interest to music, so too can using multiple channels add dimension to brand identity.
Internet marketing 1. Play The Field: Engage Multiple Channels
Not all social media channels are the same, and when automating your marketing, it’s best to understand the different voices the major social media channels can offer a business.
Some social media platforms are great for storytelling, while others are better for sharing content. A good way to think about the different ways your brand’s image can be portrayed over different social media platforms is similar to the difference between a campfire conversation and a quick chat within a crowded marketplace.
A post and a tweet carry significantly different weights for different audiences, and both have inherent limits that frame how a business communicates to its audiences. Exclusively using a platform that promotes short, pithy statements may be great for notifying existing customers about sales and news, but it may fall short in creating the story of your brand. On the other hand, using platforms that are driven by a professional look and feel, like LinkedIn, may offer unique value to potential customers that watching a 10-minute video on YouTube would simply lack.
But instead of choosing one social media platform over the other, it is best to diversify the channels available to reach out with several potential followers. Focus on creating a consistent experience for potential clients by posting content regularly.
The most important place to start when incorporating your marketing channels for social media is to make sure your branding and messages are consistent across all channels. Decide on the core audience you are trying to appeal to and adjust your content and tone accordingly.
If your tone is consistent, content used in emails and other channels can very easily be adapted to do well on social media without too much work. Constantly creating new content is very resource-intensive, therefore it is important to repurpose whatever you can.
The channels you choose to establish your business not only affects the voice of your brand and the audiences you tap into, but it is also a key factor in driving the format of your content. Not all channels handle content in the same way.
Internet marketing 2. Marry Your Social and Email Marketing
To shift gears for a moment, let’s talk about money. Did you know that for every $1 spent on email marketing there is a $42 return on investment? This highlights the importance of automated emails in any marketing strategy.
Because most people have quick access to their email through their smartphones, they can quickly receive news and updates about your business. That’s not to say that email marketing is without its challenges: one of the greatest challenges of email marketing is making sure your email doesn’t find itself in the spam folder. That’s not to say that is the fate of all emails; several platforms offer the tools to make sure your connection with the prospective customer remains alive and well. However, of course, there does need to be a bit of effort on your part.
Creating engaging and relevant content, and perhaps conducting a little A/B testing, can help make emails a core component of your marketing strategy. With that being said, it may be a good idea to make sure that whatever platform or application used for monitoring your social media presence also integrates well with your automation applications. Automated email replies are essential for solid customer communication and lead nurturing.
Data-Based Metrics: Your Email Marketing Strategy Best Friends
When it comes to email effectiveness and translating that to engagement on your social media platforms, the first stats to look at are open rates, click rates and conversions to determine the effectiveness of the emails.
In terms of what looks effective, there are benchmarks for each industry. These take into account the size of the store, size and quality of audience, and opportunity for repeat purchases. Outside of these benchmarks, you ultimately want to look for continued improvement over time.
Metrics You Should Pay Attention To First:
- Open rate
- Click rate
- Placed order rate
- LTV (lifetime value) – although this is hard to track
How Do You Improve?
Optimize your emails for each metric with the understanding that starting at the top of the funnel has an exponential effect on everything down stream:
- How many people subscribe to the list
- How many people open emails
- How many people click
- How many people buy
- How many people buy again
For each metric, start with a hypothesis and test. Generally, you should collect three data points to ensure the results are statistically relevant before you choose a winner and move on with the insight.
Coupled with a solid social media presence, an email marketing campaign can make your brand stand out in a potential customer’s inbox and create desire surrounding your brand. Whether it be a newsletter or an automated thank-you letter, emails can be dressed up with social media and website links that help further generate leads.
Internet marketing 3. Dress To Impress With Unique Content
The internet is inundated with content, so how can you stand out from the crowd? Now that you understand the different advantages that different channels afford to the voice of your brand, you can now strategically dress up your messages.
For example, some platforms like Instagram require stunning images to maintain the interest of your audience. Paired with a humorous, memetic tweet, a person connected to both your Instagram and Twitter may engage in part of a rich experience that builds the narrative, the legend of your brand.
By focusing on creating engaging and stimulating content, you not only take control of the narrative surrounding your brand, but you also can spark interest and generate leads.
Don’t forget to evaluate your performance online and improve. Content marketing is not just about creating posts. You should also assess how good or bad every post you publish is, and learn how to improve posts that don’t appeal to your audience. This will help you monitor your effectiveness as a marketer and enhance future strategies for new content. Social media gives you objective, measurable insights into your post engagements and impressions.
Internet marketing 4. Take The Lead: Be Present During Your Customer’s Journey
A spark can develop from one lone, carefully crafted email, that guides potential customers and generates leads. Through careful testing, it is possible to undergo an adventure where data is the north star that enable content to be tailored to the likes and preferences of the recipient. And yet, it also guides prospective customers to your product to make a sale. It is completely possible to leverage the challenges in 2020 to deepen your connection with your customers.
However, this can only be accomplished with a consistent presence that is amplified by being on the right channels that are conducive to the message of your brand and business. After making your mark with amazing content and capturing a potential customer’s interest with an engaging social media experience, the challenge is to forge a long-lasting relationship by sliding into their emails, sending carefully crafted content according to your customer satisfaction metrics to bring them back to your website and social media channels.
- Upload your subscriber list to social media networks. This is a smart step because you can put a face to a name or an email while you can also get a better look at their needs and their wants through their social media channels.
- Run retargeting ads on social media. This is economical because social media is heavily trafficked. This works by installing a tracking code on your website which allows your ad platform to cookie visitors, then show them your ads on social media platforms like Facebook.
- Offer special discounts and freebies. Everyone loves free items (!) so aside from publishing this message and content through your social media channels, also send emails to your subscribers about your offers. All they have to do is click on the link included in your email which will direct them to your social media page.
This entire process requires dedication, and without automated tools it can take hours to create and maintain. It is through automated marketing that it is possible to create a relationship with customers and generate leads that result in massive returns on investments.
Internet marketing 5. Map Your Social Media Presence
By hand, or with the help of a tool specialized in social listening such as Radarly, Meltwater or Digimind, it is essential to know on which social networks you are already present, and where you are not. Automatically created pages, former employees, company associations, trolls: there can be several reasons for the existence of unwanted pages!
Once your mapping is done, you can repeat the exercise for your main competitors to find out where they are present, what their editorial line is, how often they publish, the size of their communities, etc. This will allow you to have an overview before strategically thinking about the actions to take in the short term and the objectives to aim for in the long term.
Internet marketing 6. Define An Editorial Line
Before writing in the heat of the moment, you need to define your editorial line. This will serve as a daily guide to the publications you need to write. The editorial line should set the tone of your communication for each of the platforms you have decided to invest in. Indeed, it is not recommended to duplicate the same content on all social networks, because the audience needs are not the same.
Of course, your industry and your company can set the tone, and it is easier to adopt an offbeat, even humorous communication. It’s up to you to adopt the editorial line best suited to your company and the image you want to convey to your various communities, and therefore to your potential customers. Think that this editorial line is an integral component of your global branding, and that it must enrich it while remaining faithful to it.
Internet marketing 7. Visuals Are Everything
Today, video is unquestionably the most successful medium, whatever the platform: LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. If you have a small team, you can vary the video formats that are easy to produce, without going through service providers, in order to capitalize on the skills you already have:
- Overview of your services
- Highlighting your premises
- Highlighting your teams
- Live streaming
For example, for a digital communication school, this could take the form of a video capture during an open day. The exercise is not too constraining: it involves filming various shots, photos, adding music to the editing and injecting a bit of rhythm, and you get content that can be used on social networks. You can take advantage of these opportunities to offer employees the opportunity to develop their skills.
Don’t hesitate to diversify your publications with computer graphics, visuals, GIFs, and use emoticons to illustrate your texts. Clarify as much as possible the information you share, and keep in mind that good storytelling is the key to success, so don’t hesitate to dedicate time to think about how to give your content an extra soul!
About the author: Michael Habiger is a self-made marketing specialist with over 6 years of professional experience. Currently he’s Head of Marketing at FollowUpFred.