Home / Internet Marketing News / Return to Sender: Email Marketing Is NOT Dead, But It Needs Rejuvenation

Return to Sender: Email Marketing Is NOT Dead, But It Needs Rejuvenation

Email Marketing Is Not Dead

Email Marketing Is Not Dead Oh, look. Another death of email marketing headline. All too often, we see posts that lead with this provocative clickbait proclamation, while keeping the contradicting nuances under the surface. Ironically, this kind of practice is exactly WHY email marketing has seen its reputation tarnished. The focus has shifted too far toward style at the expense of substance. Marketers became so singularly obsessed with compelling opens and clicks, through irresistible subject lines and poppy CTAs, that many of us lost touch with the core value of this digital channel: direct, one-on-one engagement. I’m here to tell you that this value still exists, and might be more essential today than ever, in spite of (maybe even because of) the waters becoming so muddied. Recipients will welcome a little freshness and clarity in their inbox, from those brands and influencers that are willing to buck the trend. Dead? No way. Email marketing is alive and well, and it can still be a central component of a successful, customer-centric marketing strategy when done right. 

The Rise and “Fall” of Email Marketing

This life experience might be unique to fellow millennials, but I’ll never forget the jolt of excitement I felt as a preteen logging into America Online in the mid-90s and hearing those three magical words: “You’ve got mail!” The internet in general was too new and grand a concept for my young mind to grasp, but anyone could take delight in a mysterious message sent expressly to you — like a present waiting to be unwrapped. via GIPHY Fast-forward a couple decades, and the quaint charm of a full inbox has largely disappeared. Irrelevant messages began to proliferate and pile up like AOL trial discs. Spam started running amok, to the point where — as of March 2019 — 56% of all email messages were categorized as such. The sheer volume of messages we receive, and the dread of digging through them all, can cause legitimately troublesome levels of stress and anxiety As a result, many emails are now being cast aside, either because inundated human users click delete instead of open, or because increasingly stringent filters are diverting them to the spam folder — especially if they come from a company or unfamiliar sender.  There’s no doubt that trust has been shaken. Anecdotally, I’m sure most people reading this have been scarred by an experience where they had to completely shut down an email address because it became overwhelmed by promotional junk, or where they repeatedly tried to unsubscribe from an unwanted newsletter to no avail. It is at times like these that well-intentioned, creative, value-driven marketers can answer the call and rise above the fray. Here’s how.

Rejuvenating Your Email Marketing Strategy

A fact that might surprise you: open rates aren’t in a state of steady, ceaseless decline. In fact, according to Super Office, the average rate has generally been increasing (or at least remaining steady) year-to-year over the past decade-plus: Email Open Rate According to Super Office Meanwhile, a new Email Usage Study from Adobe finds that the average person spends 5+ hours per day checking email, including 3+ hours at work.  As Adobe’s Sarah Kennedy puts it in a blog post: “The Adobe survey findings solidify how important email still is in the everyday lives of our customers, and this means there is still a big opportunity for marketers to utilize email to engage with people in relevant and useful ways.” Relevant and useful. Therein lies the key. Here’s how we can pursue these ideals.

Refine Your Mailing List

First of all, opt-ins are essential. If you can’t verify that a person on your list actively volunteered to receive emails from you, remove them. You might even want to consider a double-opt-in (send a confirmation email once a person signs up). It’s better to write for 10 people who truly want to receive your messages than 100 who are ambivalent or worse. From there, any type of segmentation you can do will help. Can you divvy up your list based on areas of interest or specialization? If so, you’ll be able to create different content (or even slight variations of the same content) oriented more toward the specific individuals receiving it. A little personalization goes a long way. [bctt tweet=”It’s better to write for 10 people who truly want to receive your messages than 100 who are ambivalent or worse. @NickNelsonMN #EmailMarketing” username=”toprank”]

Use Email to Build Relationships, Not to Sell

There are multiple problems with salesy emails. One: people generally don’t like them. Two: spam filters tend to be triggered by the terminology used in these messages. Three: they represent a fumbled opportunity. When someone opts into your newsletter and then starts getting overtly pitched right away, it can feel like a betrayal of trust. As a relatively direct and personal form of marketing communication, email should be used to deliver value and build brand affinity. This is not to say you must avoid any type of lead generation elements in your messages, but make them subtle and sparse. [bctt tweet=”When someone opts into your newsletter and then starts getting overtly pitched right away, it can feel like a betrayal of trust. @NickNelsonMN #EmailMarketing” username=”toprank”]

Speak as a Human, to a Human

Your emails should never come from an address that looks like this: noreply@company.com. Use a real person’s name in the sender field (an executive or marketing manager or whomever you want to use as the face of your outward brand communications) and craft content in a way that feels human and friendly.  Ann Handley, Chief Content Officer at MarketingProfs, has an awesome newsletter called TotalAnnarchy that epitomizes this genuine vibe. At Social Media Marketing World earlier this year, she gave a talk about creating a newsletter people want to read. Among her tips: focus less on the NEWS and more on the LETTER, make it delightful, and write as if your message were only going out to one person. I love the way Ann frames the present value of this channel as a marketing tool: Email is the only place where people, not algorithms, are in control. [bctt tweet=”Email, when it’s done well, is like hot fire. It can burn like nobody’s business. Ann Handley @MarketingProfs #EmailMarketing” username=”toprank”]

Make Your Emails Visually Interesting

This is tricky terrain because different email clients will display images differently (and sometimes not at all) but in general it’s wise to err on the side of making your emails more colorful and lively. Among their examples of powerful B2B marketing campaigns, Campaign Monitor shares this webinar promo email from AdWeek featuring an animated GIF to infuse their content with understated movement.  AdWeek Email Marketing Example (Example via Campaign Monitor) Just like on social feeds, compelling visuals can make your emails stand out in a crowded inbox. But make sure you don’t cross the line into gaudiness. 

Make Email a Thoughtful Part of Your Overall Strategy

“We need more traffic to our blog post. Do an email blast.” This kind of reactionary thinking is a problematic aspect of email marketing.  As we say repeatedly, promotion should be built into campaigns from the start, and every channel should have a distinct purpose. Connect your email strategy with your goals and give it the proper effort to become a worthwhile standalone piece rather than an obligatory add-on. 

Bring Your Email Marketing Strategy Back to Life

The rumors of email marketing’s death are greatly exaggerated. This channel can still be a key fixture in your content strategy if you give it the care and attention it deserves. But like other content channels, in order to maximize its efficacy we need to emphasize quality over quantity, focus on building trust-driven relationships, strike a human resonance, spice up the visuals, and connect it to our larger goals and strategy. When you achieve this, you just may reignite that “You’ve got mail!” spark of wonder that recipients feel when your messages pop up in their inbox. Email marketing isn’t the only form of promotion that may be missing from your strategy. Learn how to cure what’s been called “invisible content syndrome.”

The post Return to Sender: Email Marketing Is NOT Dead, But It Needs Rejuvenation appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

Click Here For Original Source Of The Article

Ads by WOW TRK

About Daniel Rodgers

A lot of news that you will not see in the paper. A lot of technology that is coming out that will not see in the paper.

Check Also

10 Crucial Steps for Launching Your B2B Podcast Into the Wild

Hey, friend, have you heard the good news about podcasts? 

Given the most recent stats, it’s highly likely you have. Over half of all Americans over 12 years of age have listened to at least one. Podcasts have well and truly hit the mainstream. In other words, the gold rush is on for brands looking to connect with a highly-engaged, long-attention-span audience.

However, getting a podcast up and running isn’t as simple as publishing a blog. We recently published an entire B2B podcasting webinar to walk you through the entire process, from conception to publication. This post will zero in on the choices you need to make and the steps you need to take to release your podcast into the wild.

B2B Podcasting Launch Checklist: 10 Steps

Sure, you could just upload your audio to your web server, add an RSS feed, and call it good. But if you want people to actually find and listen to your podcast, there are a few extra steps you should take. This checklist will help your podcast find an audience and start building a subscriber base.

via GIPHY

#1: Choose Your Hosting Platform

A podcast syndication platform makes it easy to publish your podcast and get listed in directories. Think of it like WordPress is for your blog — it hosts the files, makes them look pretty, and makes it so people can find them.

Most platforms will also give you embed codes for embedding episodes in blog posts or on a landing page. You’ll also get stats on how many people are downloading episodes, and on what program they’re listening.

We prefer Libsyn as our hosting platform. Podbean, buzzsprout, and Blubrry are also solid options. They all have a free tier of hosting, but you’ll want to pay a few bucks a month for bandwidth and analytics.

#2: Upload Your First Three Episodes

Podcasting is all about establishing a regular cadence (more on that later). But for launch, you’ll want to have at least three episodes ready to go. There are a few reasons for publishing multiple episodes for your debut:

  1. One episode may not be enough to convince people to subscribe. 
  2. Multiple episodes show you’re committed to keeping the content coming.
  3. Most importantly, Apple podcasts requires at least three episodes to qualify for their “New and Noteworthy” section. 

So before you publish, have at least three episodes completed, and be ready to follow up with more at your promised publishing cadence.

#3:  Register with Podcast Directories

Podcasts are peculiar in terms of content delivery. Your hosting platform makes the files available, but most people will listen to your podcast on their chosen podcast app. Each app maintains its own directory — think of it as a search engine for podcasts. 

Your podcast needs to be listed in their directory, or people won’t be able to find you. I recommend registering with at least these six:

  1. Apple Podcasts
  2. Google Podcasts
  3. Stitcher
  4. Podbean
  5. Spotify
  6. TuneIn

Each of these sites will ask for the RSS feed of your podcast, which your hosting platform will generate for you.

I created a podcast tracker to keep track of all these directories — sign up for the webinar and you can download it for free.

B2B Podcast Tracker

#4: Promote Internally

Gaining visibility on a podcast directory is tricky business. Apple and Google are where the majority of your listeners will be, and each employs an algorithm to promote podcasts in search results and feature pages.

How do you get an algorithm’s attention? Engagement! Start by promoting your podcast to all of your employees. Encourage them to subscribe on Apple or Google, give a rating, and write a brief (and honest) review. What’s more, draft some social messages and encourage everyone to promote the podcast to their networks, too.

That base level of initial engagement will help your podcast start finding its audience.

#5: Activate Your Influencers

Most podcasts are Q&A-style interviews with influential guests. If your podcast includes influencers in your industry, make sure they know as soon as their episode goes live. Give them the tools to promote the podcast easily:

  • Sample social messages
  • Social media images in the correct sizes
  • Embed codes

If your podcast doesn’t feature influencers, it’s worth re-evaluating your strategy for your next season. Influencer content not only is more valuable to your audience, it’s an indispensable channel for promotion.

#6: Publish Blog Posts

The one downside of audio content: It’s not super crawlable for SEO purposes. Granted, Google has started to auto-transcribe episodes and add them to search results, but the technology is still in the early stages.

To truly get some SEO juice from your podcast, we recommend embedding each podcast in a blog post. This example from the Tech Unknown Podcast by SAP* shows how simple it can be. All you need is an introduction, a few pull quotes, some key takeaways, and a transcript.

#7: Add Paid Promotion

As with any content, you want to use every tactic available to make sure it gets seen by your target audience. That’s especially true with podcasts, since podcast search engines are incredibly competitive.

Targeted, paid social promotion can help establish your subscriber base and get your new podcast some much-needed visibility.

It’s also worth considering cross-promotion on other podcasts. Consider both paid advertising and trading guest spots with a podcast that shares your target audience. 

#8: Solicit Listener Feedback

Ratings and reviews are essential to your podcast’s success. They’ll help provide social proof for new listeners and boost your search visibility in podcast directories. 

The best way to get ratings and reviews? Ask for them. Make it part of each episode’s sign-off. You can even encourage thoughtful reviews by reading the best ones on future episodes. You will engage your listeners and solicit more reviews at the same time.

#9: Keep Up Your Cadence

As with blog content, there’s no single “right” frequency to publish a podcast. Some of my favorite podcasts publish weekly, biweekly, or even monthly. The best cadence for your podcast is “However frequently you can reliably, regularly publish quality content.”

Choose your cadence with an eye to long-term sustainability, and tell your listeners explicitly how frequently you’ll publish. Whether it’s “See you next week,” or “PodcastTitle is a monthly podcast that…” listeners will find it easier to make your podcast a habit if you stick to a schedule.

#10: Repurpose, Repurpose, Repurpose

In my last post on the content marketing benefits of B2B podcasting, I mentioned that podcasts are a content machine, and I’ll say it again. It’s easy to finish an episode, publish it, then forget it and move on to the next thing. But don’t do that! 

Pull snippets of audio content for social media. Turn them into short videos, too: Add a still image or a simple looping GIF for visual interest.

Use your transcriptions as fodder for future blog posts, quotes for influencer marketing, or even a stand-alone asset. 

Any way you can reuse that content can help bring more listeners to your podcast. What’s more, putting the content in a different medium can reach an audience who might not be into podcasts (yet). 

Check, Check, One Two

Launching a podcast is a little trickier than launching a new blog, especially if you’re new to the format. But if you follow this checklist, you can make sure your podcast is available on all the right channels and is ready to start attracting an audience.

Need more podcasting help? Check out our B2B Podcasting Webinar. In addition to learning the Four P’s of podcasting success, you’ll see me make this face:

B2B Podcasting Face

*Disclosure: SAP is a TopRank Marketing client.

The post 10 Crucial Steps for Launching Your B2B Podcast Into the Wild appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

css.php