MarketingSherpa’s latest Email Marketing Benchmark Report is about to be released, and judging from the table of contents, it’s substantial and important for those who rely on email for their marketing.
We all get way too much email, so I would have thought the most significant challenge to email marketing effectiveness would be deliverability and getting people to opt in. But apparently not. The number one challenge is targeting recipients with highly relevant content.
What’s interesting about these findings is that the one thing a company can control pretty easily is content copywriting. No one from the outside filters your copywriting while it’s being written.
MarketingSherpa says, “Email marketers continue to struggle with the challenge of delivering highly relevant content to their target audiences…Developing a sufficient amount of content is a time-intensive process that many marketers do not have the resources to produce.” (That last comment should raise the eyebrows of a few marketing consultants who make a living writing targeted, effective content.)
Growing your lists, deliverability and being perceived as spam are challenges that are out of your control, to some degree. But creating targeted content?
I understand that it takes time to segment your lists, determine what people may want from you, stay relevant, and provide value. But if you don’t do that, then don’t be surprised if your open and click-through rates drop and your emails are perceived as spam.
If you spend the time and money on your email content, you will see your email marketing ROI go up. And here’s why. Your time and effort limits will probably mean you send out fewer emails, but they will be far more effective.
And you'll be doing all of us a service by lessening the amount of useless email we receive daily.
Every industry has stats. Sports, automotive, financial, natural products, computers, education, music, you name it. They all have statistics and charts that show trends, sales, participation etc.
Some of these are proprietary, while others are made public. Let’s focus on the public ones, since those are the ones you can use in your blog for content copywriting.
These charts come with stories attached to them. Oftentimes, when they are published by the market research firm, they come with analysis which can help you get started.
Here is an example of what I mean.
This chart came from Natural Foods Merchandiser in their Market Overview issue. From this chart you can talk about a number of natural products marketing issues.
This post does not have to be long. The data alone is good information, and your insight positions you as a leader in that category. And best of all, you can do this in an hour or less. Blog writing made easy.
Next Week: Commenting on other articles
About a week ago I witnessed the perfect webinar. It was HubSpot’s “Why Social Media is BS,” presented by Mike Volpe, the company’s VP of Marketing.
For a few days I thought about why it was so successful, and couldn’t come up with anything other than I liked this and I liked that. That's when I decided to deconstruct it, so that I and other marketing consultants could apply what worked to future webinars.
1. The Title. It’s cheeky and somewhat controversial, especially when you consider that HubSpot is a big proponent of the appropriate use of social media within a marketing program. The title created an emotional as well as intellectual reaction (you should read some of the comments that came out prior to the webinar). And thousands of people signed up for it.
2. The Shameless Plug. At the beginning Mike introduces HubSpot and gives a very brief introduction to the company and its core belief. You need this to establish credibility, context and intention. In some webinars there’s too much company introduction and in others hardly any. This was about 2 minutes worth.
3. The Slides. They were a nice mix of humorous and serious, minimal text juxtaposed with clever images. This allowed the viewer to focus on something interesting (but not be distracted by the imagery) while Mike talked. In some instances it was just text, when a point or a list of tips was mentioned. There were a lot of slides (66 in total), so he kept up a nice pace – not too fast and definitely not too slow. (Below are the slides from SlideShare)
Marketing Webinar: Why Social Media Is BS
View more presentations from HubSpot Internet Marketing.
4. Passion. There was no question Mike was passionate about his subject. He was not over the top, but his words and energy created a sense of urgency and knowledge. Too often in a webinar I lose track or get distracted because the voice of the presenter becomes drone-like.
5. Rhythm. A webinar is a performance piece. You’re trying to keep people’s rapt attention for an hour. You’re also making an argument or presenting a case, and if you loose their attention mid-way, they may not see the conclusion the same way you do. Mike set up a rhythm of introducing a strategy and then offering practical how-tos for each section. Each section was bite size, maybe 5-10 minutes in length – enough to make a logical argument for the strategy and then while its still fresh in your mind, a list of how-tos so you can actually implement those strategies if you choose to.
6. Weaving in Your Solution. Too often a webinar will present an “objective” concept for the first half and then the product solution in the second half. Mike had a point to make, which was that social media is just a piece of the marketing puzzle and should be fully integrated into a comprehensive inbound marketing program.
It just so happens that HubSpot offers a great inbound marketing software platform. What Mike did was make a compelling case for a real business/marketing solution, showing the viewer why social media has to be integrated and why it works well with inbound marketing. So how do you implement that? Well, you have many options, and one option is with HubSpot. So whenever it was appropriate he showed how HubSpot could help. It was very natural, and it did not detract in any way from the objective value of the webinar. This is really hard to do, but Mike showed us all how it can be done.
7. The Final Offer. During the Q&A session, there was a slide for a free website assessment and a 30-day free trial offer. Everyone does this, and everyone should.
If you have an hour and want to learn about inbound marketing and why just posting on Facebook or Twitter without an integrated approach is really not that valuable, I recommend you see this webinar. Hopefully, you’ll enjoy it as much as I did.
On this Monday, give yourself a break. Don’t wrack your brain trying to come up with something new or original. Today’s is content copywriting recycling day.
If you have a webinar, white paper, speech, press release, case study, podcast, or a video, you have material for your next blog post, or more.
The fact is your customers and prospects are a varied lot. Some prefer getting their information from video, some from a webinar, some from a white paper or ebook and so on. When you create any of these marketing tools the first time, you have content to recreate it in another form.
Let’s say you’ve just created a webinar. Chances are each slide or pair of slides makes at least one point. That’s a blog post right there and at the end of the post you can point them to your archived webinar.
White papers are a treasure trove for recycling. Often in a white paper you are logically setting up an issue which you solve. Just take the issue, briefly mention the solution with a link to the white paper and then ask your readership if they have any other solutions. Hopefully, that will encourage comments.
Other recycling tips include:
So if any of you reading this have ever recycled content, let us know. Just think, you’ll be able to recycle it into our comments which will link back to your website. See how easy it is.
Next Week: Love those charts.
During the past two months I’ve attended both live and virtual trade shows. As a marketing consultant I worked the booths and made contact with other show attendees. While on the surface the experience might read the same, in reality there was no comparison.
Let’s start with booth experience. In the live trade show, I worked in a worst case scenario. Our booth did not show up. We just had a table on which to put our information. No signage behind us.
In the virtual show, everything was in place – our graphics, our downloadable material, even our video.
Guess which one engaged those who came by?
The live trade show – by a mile.
To begin with, people walked by and actually noticed no graphics. There was also this thing called eye contact, which has been proven over the last few millennia to work pretty well. And when contact was made, conversations flowed.
In the virtual event the only way I could make contact was by sending an invitation to booth attendees as they arrived, offering to give them information. They could ignore, accept or decline. Approximately 10% of those who entered our booth space accepted, and of those, 70% said that if they had any questions, they would ask. There were only a handful of meaningful interactions, and that’s the combined total of 3 virtual trade shows.
Why was that?
In a live event, people dress up and are completely focused on the event at hand. In a virtual event, people are in their offices or their homes. They are easily distracted. One guy actually put on his video cam, and I saw him in his t-shirt surrounded by the books and papers of his home office. That would have been OK, but even while we were conversing, I could tell he was distracted by other things going on. And he was on camera. Imagine the concentration of those who aren’t.
In fairness, most of those who attend virtual events go for the educational webinars. But I’m not talking about attendees and their experience. I’m talking about exhibitors who pay to be in the show.
So in the end, what’s the ROI difference?
Going to a trade show and setting up a booth can be pretty expensive. We’re talking tens of thousands of dollars, depending on your size and the number of people who people your booth.
Having a booth in a virtual trade show still costs you money, but you don’t have to deal with any of the travel, lodging and meal expenses. So it’s a lot cheaper. You also can work out deals where no matter how many people actually show up at your booth, you can get the list of all attendees and email them after the show.
Let’s say that list is 3,000, and let’s give the send a generous 33% open rate, and a respectable 5% click through rate. That’s 50 people who make it to your landing page. Now compute a normal conversion rate for your company, and you’ll see that you might get a handful of warmish leads.
In a live event, you may get several hundred leads. Of those, most of them have discussed your products with you. You may even have been allowed to email or mail to the attendee list before and after the show. You probably also talked at length with existing customers – so you can add retention marketing into the mix.
I’m not saying that a live trade show has good ROI, but compared to a virtual event, at least there are some sales to measure against cost. Yes, there are other factors to consider with having a booth at a virtual event – brand awareness, association with a newish technology etc. But ROI? Based on my experience, limited as it is, I’d still opt for a bricks and mortar live event over a virtual one.
What do you think?