6 Ways To Improve Your Email Marketing Campaigns And Boost Sales Online

Originally Posted on Forbes May 10, 2017

6 Ways To Improve Your Email Marketing Campaigns And Boost Sales Online

[caption photocredit="Image Credit: Leatherology, Mealpal, Postmates"]

Gabriel Shaoolian , CONTRIBUTOR
I critique digital marketing.

Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own.

Mealpal, Leatherology, and Postmates, exemplify the effectiveness of email marketing.[/caption]

We all get emails. Far too many emails. As a decision-maker at Blue Fountain Media, a digital marketing agency, I get far too many emails myself. I am bombarded by them. But perhaps what is more aggravating than the sheer volume of email I receive, is how poorly many of these emails are done.

Each email in a user’s inbox only gets a split-second of attention. Everything from how the email starts off to how it’s formatted has a big impact on whether I’m going to give it another three seconds of my attention or not.

Our agency does email marketing for many of our clients. We use certain best practices to get some pretty darn impressive results. These practices are quite straightforward, and not complex, but they represent simple ways to help your business improve your email marketing. Let me share what those rules are.
1. Know your audience

Know who your audience is and make sure to send them messages that are relevant to them. One of the worst mistakes you can make with your email marketing is to simply blast every subscriber on your list with the same message.

As I’m writing this I just received an email from my health clinic promoting a female wellness program. It’s obvious that the content in this email is not relevant to me or my health needs, and yet, it ended up in my inbox. Using list segmentation to send the right message to the right audience is critical to success with email marketing. You can be sure that the email I just received from my health provider is not going to do much to improve my relationship with that business because I know they don’t care about who I am and what my specific needs are. Not to mention that when you’re dealing with serious topics like health-related information, blasting the same content to all your users can have some pretty bad results.

List segmentation is simple to do. I suggest working with an email marketing platform, like Marketo, to make sure your email campaigns are segmented to reach the right audiences.

2. Keep it short

In the early days of email marketing it was common to get email newsletters that had two or three columns packed with content rendered in small text. Even though they’re less common now, those types of emails still get sent with surprising frequency. When you receive one you’re immediately overwhelmed by the amount of content to take in. Your eye has no idea where to focus.

People want to read one main message. They don’t want to look at a spreadsheet, a table of contents, or an entire article contained within an email. Keep your emails simple by writing messages that are clear and concise. If users are interested in what you’ve presented, they’ll go to your website to read more. Don’t try to cram too much information into your email. The truth is that simple messages are the ones that people react to.

One big reason to keep your email messages short and to the point is that most emails are read on mobile. There’s no way around it — the emails your business sends will be read on mobile devices. Decision-makers especially are busy people. They’re reading emails on their way to and from a meeting, or when they’re in transit because when they are at their desktop, they’re using that time to get work done, not to sift through their inboxes.

So be sure to keep emails short and concise. Get to the point. And remember that four sentences in an email on mobile looks like a novel. Keep that in mind when determining how much content to include.

3. Cut out the fluff

How many of you get emails that begin with “Hello Sir, Good day to you?” Or my personal favorite, “I’m sorry to be bothering you.” Or, even better, “I know you’re busy, but…”

Not only are these opening lines stiff and awkward, but they’re also a huge waste of valuable real estate. The opening of your email has to immediately capture the user’s attention and make him or her feel compelled to read further. Your opening needs to grab the user by speaking to his needs. All of us, especially the decision-makers a lot of email marketing campaigns target, are pressed for time and we aren’t going to read past the first sentence of an email if we don’t see clear value in doing so.

If you have value to offer to your customer or prospect, get straight to the point and tell them exactly what you can do for them. Your email marketing is about what you can do for your customer or prospect. So make sure they don’t miss the point because they got lost in the pleasantries. Cut the fluff and get straight to presenting a clear, compelling message that speaks to a user’s needs or desires.

4. Make it personal

Along with the fluffiness factor, there’s another strong reason not to begin your emails with “Dear Sir” or “Dear Mrs.” or “Dear Customer.” Those aren’t personal introductions and in email marketing, it pays to be personal. Email intros that begin with “Dear Sir” sound generic and are a signal to users that the email content is probably not very tailored to them.

If you’re sending out a letter, put the person’s name in the introduction. If you’re sending out more image-driven emails that won’t have an introduction, you can still personalize the email with the user’s name in the subject line. Both of these things are easily done in most email platforms with minimal effort. Personal introductions show users that you care, and they’re likely to be more effective at capturing user attention than generic introductions are.

5. Have a Call-to-Action

Of course your email needs to have a call-to-action (CTA). Otherwise, how will your users know what they’re expected to do? The trick is to have one single CTA in your email directing users what to do next. Multiples CTAs in one email risks confusing the user and making them less likely to click altogether. The job of the email marketer is to make the user’s life as easy as possible, so provide one clear CTA that leads to a landing page that matches the expectations you have created for users.

6. Make it easy to read

One of the most important components of email marketing is to make sure your emails are easy and enjoyable to read. Don’t make users squint or strain their eyes to see your content. Use large, readable fonts that can be easily seen on desktop and mobile. For text-heavy emails, always use black text on a white background — that’s the most readable combination. Not white text on a black background, or white text on a neon blue background. If you’re serious about your business, make your emails professional and easy to read.

How frustrating is it to open an email on your mobile device and have to pinch and scroll back and forth vertically in order to read the content? Pretty frustrating. Frustrating enough, in fact, that you might abandon the email and never return. That’s why, from a mobile perspective, it’s a good idea to use a stacked layout, which presents content in a vertical alignment that works better on narrow screens. This will ensure maximum readability on mobile devices.

Leveraging Email Marketing To Drive Sales

Take note of these best practices. Designing an email that is clean, simple, and focuses on one clear message takes less time than it does to design one that’s crammed with extraneous content. Simple, straightforward emails are also more effective. Save your creative flourishes for your oil painting hobby. When it comes to email marketing, err on the side of simplicity.

For nearly all companies within the B2B and B2C world, if you have something of value to say, get to the point, say it simply, and make follow-up action clear and easy to accomplish.

Marketing Calendar 2017

www.Front2BackDesigns.com

New Year – January 1 Dr. Martin Luther King Birthday – January 16 (Observed) Valentine’s Day – February 14 President’s Day – February 20
St. Patrick’s Day – March 17 April Fools – April 1 Easter – April 16 Earth Day – April 22
Mother’s Day – May 14 Memorial Day – May 29 Flag Day – June 14 Father’s Day – June 18
Independence Day – July 4 National Night Out – August 1 Labor Day – September 4 Columbus Day – October 9
Halloween – October 31 Veteran’s Day – November 11 Thanksgiving – November 23 Christmas Day – December 25

The Fatal LinkedIn Mistake 90% Of Job-Seekers Make

Published by Liz Ryan, Forbes May 7, 2017

The Fatal LinkedIn Mistake 90% Of Job-Seekers Make

Liz Ryan , CONTRIBUTOR

Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own.

 

The fatal LinkedIn branding mistake almost every job-seeker makes is to hedge their bets.

They brand themselves too broadly. The result is that the job-seeker’s description is so vague or task-oriented that we cannot tell what they want to do or what they’re especially good at.

They try to cover too much ground!

Listing all the things you know how to do only makes you sound desperate for any kind of job at all.

Shutterstock

 

Your personal brand cannot be desperate, or your brand will not help you. It will hurt you, in fact.

What hiring manager would have confidence in your ability to walk into their department and make a difference when your branding says you aren’t sure what you do professionally?

When your LinkedIn profile says “Multi-skilled Business Professional” you have already eliminated most of your potential audience.

 

They’re not looking for a Multi-Skilled Business Professional.

Who in history ever was?

Hiring managers have pain in specific areas.

When you have pain in your body, it’s specific, too. Nobody says “I have pain!”

They have a back ache, a tooth ache or a pain in their knee. You can’t brand yourself to appeal to everybody — that’s not how branding works!

Good personal branding is more specific than any of these overly general self-descriptors:

Diverse background in aerospace, consumer products and legal services (who cares what you did already, unless you want to do it again? Tell us what you intend to do, and why you’re qualified for it!)
Skilled at Marketing, Sales, Operations and Customer Support (what does this even mean? No one who has dug into any of these functions in depth would continue to describe themselves as skilled at all four!)
Trainer/Instructor/Instructional Designer/Training Specialist (tell us what you are dying to do most of all. Commit! The world will reward your belief in yourself)
Open to Any HR VP, Director, Manager or Coordinator Position (you cannot call yourself an executive but also mention that you’re open to junior-level positions. Nobody looks at the same candidates for high-level and lower-level jobs. Decide what you’re best at and use Indeed to learn where the job openings are, and brand yourself right there!)
What’s a better branding approach? Choose the sweet spot at the place where your experience, your talents and employers’ pain intersect.

You’ll find that sweet spot by thinking about and writing down your favorite activities and favorite past roles, as well as things you love to do and are good at outside of work. Then, you’ll check out job ads to learn which positions companies are looking for.

Many people are confused about their career direction. That’s okay. You can leave your overly-broad branding on LinkedIn until you figure out what you want to be when you grow up — at least for this job search!

Read LinkedIn profiles to spot job titles, job descriptions and specific responsibilities that sound like a fit for you. Now, brand yourself for the jobs you really want — not every job you’re qualified for:

Freelance Travel Writer and Editor
Sales Manager for Pharma/Neutraceuticals
Office Manager/Bookkeeper Seeking Overbooked CEO to Support
Startup Marketing Manager with Press Contacts
Your LinkedIn branding is important because it tells the world how you see yourself.

Everyone else will see you the same way the minute you stand in your power and tell us “Here I am!”

Liz Ryan is CEO/founder of Human Workplace and author of Reinvention Roadmap. Follow her on Twitter and read Forbes columns.

Marketing Calendar 2017

www.Front2BackDesigns.com

New Year – January 1 Dr. Martin Luther King Birthday – January 16 (Observed) Valentine’s Day – February 14 President’s Day – February 20
St. Patrick’s Day – March 17 April Fools – April 1 Easter – April 16 Earth Day – April 22
Mother’s Day – May 14 Memorial Day – May 29 Flag Day – June 14 Father’s Day – June 18
Independence Day – July 4 National Night Out – August 1 Labor Day – September 4 Columbus Day – October 9
Halloween – October 31 Veteran’s Day – November 11 Thanksgiving – November 23 Christmas Day – December 25

How a Mexican Janitor Invented Flamin’ Hot Cheetos

Repost 2/20/17 from INC Magazine Cynthia Than  Founding member, Cross Circles Twitter@NinjaEconomics

How a Mexican Janitor Invented Flamin’ Hot Cheetos

Richard Montañez was born in Mexico and grew up in Guasti, a small town close to Ontario, California, picking grapes with this family. They would have dinner at the communal table in the kitchen they shared with six other families.

As a child, Richard had no idea that he was poor. “No one ever taught me what was on the other side of the tracks,” he says. And on his side of the tracks, the aspirations weren’t very high: Most of the kids he knew hoped to get a job at the town’s factory.

Richard had trouble learning English and he dropped out of high school because he couldn’t understand the teachers. Without a high school diploma, he got a job as a janitor at the Frito-Lay Rancho Cucamonga plant in California.

Richard came from humble beginnings and had modest ambitions (“No disrespect to anyone, but my dream was to drive the trash truck”) but that all changed when someone told him he could have bigger dreams. The president of the company sent a video message to his employees and “he told us to act like an owner,” says Richard. “I looked around and didn’t see a lot of reaction from my co-workers, but for me it was the opportunity to do something different. ”

One day, a machine broke in the assembly line, causing some Cheetos to not get dusted with the bright orange cheese powder, so Richard took some home and put chili powder on them. He created his own recipe for a spicier version of Cheetos that was inspired by a Mexican street snack called elote (corncob).

“I see the corn man adding butter, cheese, and chili to the corn and thought, what if I add chili to a Cheeto?” Richard remembers. His family, friends, and co-workers all loved the new creation and they encouraged him to tell the plant supervisors about it. Richard called the president and talked the secretary into putting his call through. Richard told him that he had an idea for a new product and he got a chance to give a demonstration.

“I had two weeks to prepare a presentation to company executives,” says Richard. He had never given a presentation before and knew nothing about marketing, so he and his wife went to the public library and copied a strategy from one of the business books. He bought a $3 tie, his first ever. (A neighbor helped him tie it.) He put the Cheetos in sample bags that he designed himself and he went to the meeting.

The company executives loved his idea and the Flamin’ hot line of products was born, including Flamin’ Hot Cheetos, which is Frito-Lay’s top selling snack. Today, Richard is the executive vice president of multicultural sales and community activation for PepsiCo’s North American divisions. He also helped influence Hispanic products and marketing promotions for KFC and Taco Bell.

“Latinos who have made it like myself have a responsibility to open doors to younger generations and teach them that they can do it,” says Richard, who provides college scholarships to young Latinos. He also gives back to the community through food, clothing, school supplies, and other services. “I do it because I can and I know what it is to be hungry.”

 

Marketing Calendar 2017

www.Front2BackDesigns.com

New Year – January 1 Dr. Martin Luther King Birthday – January 16 (Observed) Valentine’s Day – February 14 President’s Day – February 20
St. Patrick’s Day – March 17 April Fools – April 1 Easter – April 16 Earth Day – April 22
Mother’s Day – May 14 Memorial Day – May 29 Flag Day – June 14 Father’s Day – June 18
Independence Day – July 4 National Night Out – August 1 Labor Day – September 4 Columbus Day – October 9
Halloween – October 31 Veteran’s Day – November 11 Thanksgiving – November 23 Christmas Day – December 25

We Love Our Clients at Front2Back Designs

We Love Our Clients at Front2Back Designs

We love our clients at Front2Back Designs: The Matt Garcia Foundation, Plumber by Trade, The Salvation Army/ Team North West/Brass Band, Laurel Creek Elementary School, Bricks4Kidz, All Weather Heating & Air Conditioning, Substructure Support Inc., B.Gale Wilson School/Dual Emersion., PG&E, Solano Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

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Do you need help with branding your business? Call 707-421-1831 Today!

Marketing Calendar 2017

New Year – January 1 Dr. Martin Luther King Birthday – January 16 (Observed) Valentine’s Day – February 14 President’s Day – February 20
St. Patrick’s Day – March 17 Easter – April 16 Earth Day – April 22 Mother’s Day – May 14
Memorial Day – May 29 Flag Day – June 14 Father’s Day – June 18 Independence Day – July 4
National Night Out – August 1 Labor Day – September 4 Columbus Day – October 9 Halloween – October 31
Veteran’s Day – November 11 Thanksgiving – November 23 Christmas Day – December 25