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Building an Email List in 2020

email list
Building an email list is as easy as it sounds. As a new marketer, and especially as a small business, you should never discount an idea just because it’s “too simple” or doesn’t require “enough work.” If you are working efficiently, you will be working smarter and harder.
An email list is a simple but effective tactic for driving customer engagement. If you have a blog or another online presence, you should definitely create an email marketing campaign to fit in with the rest of your business‘s strategy. So many people use emails regularly (most people check their email address several times a day!) that you are bound to find an audience for your content.
The greatest thing about an email list is that you can rely on people who are already subscribers to your blog, social media, etc. As with any business marketing strategy, start with your current customers, and branch out from there. Find the people who are most invested in your business, and create a campaign designed for them. Remember: you get to decide what, where, when, and how often you send content to the people subscribed to your email list. Not only are they easy to create, fit like a glove into your other content, and easily stand alongside your social media outreach, but they are also infinitely customizable. Email lists can come in the form of ads, newsletters, blog post updates, offers, webinar announcements, or short-time offers and campaigns. When you send your subscribers content, you will find how simple and flexible it is to build an email list.

What is an email list?

Like any subject, mastery of email lists first requires a basic knowledge of what they are, how businesses use them, and how they can maximize the benefits your customers give you. Just like any higher-level education, you will need to understand the fundamentals before you can move on to implementing your knowledge.
So, what is an email list? An email list is defined as any form of marketing that sends general or personalized messages to its subscribers. It is also known as listbuilding, email marketing, and a mailing list, but these all refer to the same thing: an easy way to engage an eager audience.
Email lists can be more straightforward than people think they are. If your address is on Facebook’s email list, then you have probably seen messages in your inbox that say something like, “You have 7 notifications, 1 new friend request, and 2 messages.” These are part of Facebook’s email list.
An email list can provide updates on exclusive offers, show ads, or simply be another way to get the word out about your current campaign. They come in all kinds of packages, but their most significant advantage is that they will engage a customer when they are ready to respond.
Let me explain what that means. When people go through their inbox, they are in a “search and destroy” mode, in which they go through all the messages they have received since their last inbox check and either answer, save or delete their messages. That means any relevant emails you send can make an impact on a consumer who is actively looking for messages and establishing mental connections to them. The pathway is already open for you to form a relationship with that customer. Email lists take your business to where they already are.
Another essential step to any marketing campaign is knowing who the target audience. Who are they? Where do they live? What other products do these people enjoy buying? If you have not asked these informative questions about your customers, I would highly recommend that you do so now. This is the first step when trying to grow a stable base of people who can become your audience. Take to heart Marshal McLuhan’s immortal advice:
“The medium is the message” (emphasis added). And if you don’t know who you are supposed to send your message to, your content will flop before reaching its target audience. People want to feel like the brands they interact with are personally engaging; this thought process drives everything from the first purchase to repeat purchases to becoming a brand advocate. Create a sketch of your customers. Find out which people are likely to become subscribers to your email list.
The next step in understanding email lists is knowing what kinds of emails to send out. Check out what businesses similar to yours are doing. If you are a small business, use a dummy address to subscribe to other small businesses’ email lists.
Narrow down the specifics as far as you possibly can. Look at businesses that share the same characteristics as yours. They should be about the same size as yours, grow from the same audience, be located in the same geographical region, and target the same demographics (age, gender, etc.). These “model businesses” should be cut from the same cloth as the customers you are trying to reach.
Once you find these types of businesses, start investigating what they do and how they do it. The first question you should ask is this: “What does their landing page look like?” This is not directly related to an email list, but it is a crucial first step in communicating with your customers. The landing page is like a welcome mat: a good one will attract attention, tell a brief message, and a bad one will not send a positive, reinforcing message to your customer. Be sure to organize your website in a way that prioritizes and information. It should take no fewer than three clicks for your customers to find anything on your website—including your email list.
Second, check out their social media. This is another similar, but not identical, way to engage customers. How many subscribers does your competition have on YouTube? How often do they update, and what kind of content do they create? And, most important for our purposes today, how does their social media marketing strategy fit in with their email marketing? Any business‘s advertising should be like a puzzle: every piece fits together perfectly to make one coherent image for your target audience.
And finally, what is their email marketing like? Remember to check the types of people these businesses seem to be sending a message to. If you have done your homework, you already know what subscribers to your newsletter will act like, so you will know when you have found a business that compares to yours. What does the page where customers fill in their addresses look like? What kinds of ads are your competitors sending? Check back on that dummy account I mentioned earlier so you can regularly keep posted on what’s happening.

What is email list building?

Before you start building your email list, you should also check out how other businesses build an email list. Feel free to review the previous section of this article for how to narrow down your target audience, find out what your competitors are doing, and research ways to improve your social brand value.
If you have done all that, then you should know what kinds of customers should be on your email list. This is part of determining your target audience by demographics (geography, age, gender, and other essential characteristics). One benefit of email list building is that it engages your target audience on a personal level. You can use their name, send emails at optimal times for them, and tell them about the products they enjoy.
Why is email marketing important?
Pull out your calculator, because we’re looking at some numbers. A recent study showed that 90% of emails get read, compared with 2% of Facebook posts that get seen. For those of you playing at home, you know that this means email marketing is 45 times more likely to reach your customers than Facebook marketing. Almost everyone checks their email frequently, but only a slightly smaller group of people check their social media daily (campaignmonitor.com).
Another awesome advantage of email list building is that email has massive reach. Sure, social media sites can connect with lots of people on a casual level. Emails, however, still beat social media numbers by the billions. More people have email accounts than social media accounts. Email is still treated more professionally than social media, so people are more willing to listen to email messages. The ROI of every email spent is 1:38. That means $1 spent on email list building will garner $38 of profit! And that is why your small business needs an email list building strategy.

How can I build an email list for free?

I’ll bet you didn’t even know you could build a list for free, huh? Well, you’re in luck!
Email list building t is not free, per se, because you have to invest time, and time is money. But as you just learned, this is very well-spent time and money! Making a sign-up sheet pop-up on your page is very simple. While this article focuses on the strategy behind building a campaign, there are tons of resources to help create sign-ups. Look for one of these resources and use it to your advantage. Some of them may already exist on your blog. This article will also discuss the best way to build and advertise your email list, as well as other advantages.

How do I create an email subscriber list?

After analyzing your competition, your potential subscribers, and your email marketing strategy, you will be ready to start your email subscriber list! As you decide how to make a list, and how to best market your business remember that customers subscribe because they want value. This makes perfect sense, after all. As consumers, we only want to put in as much effort, money, and time that’s equal to the worth we will get out of a business. So always ask yourself: what is it about my business that people should know about? What will be worth their time to investigate, and will ultimately lead to future purchases and brand loyalty?
The first step is to use your blog or landing page to its full advantage. You can do this by putting a call-to-action (or CTA) at the bottom of your blog articles. You may have heard about CTAs in other venues, such as at the end of an advertisement or presentation. The speaker discloses all of the information necessary to make a purchase, such as the location, web address, and release date. Your CTA to your email list should be similar: it should help your customers become purchasing customers. Put an invitation to join your email subscriber list at the bottom of each page (where it makes sense, that is). That way, people who have read and enjoyed your blog article will know where to find you next. The more that people enjoy the content you create, the more willing they will be to invite you into your inbox.

A personal example

Recently at the magazine I work for, I made it a goal to put a CTA inviting people to submit at the end of each new article. I am now putting links to our Submission Guidelines page, so that first-time viewers at our magazine’s blog will remember that we are ultimately a submissions-based volunteer magazine. Because I have only started doing this in the past week, I do not have any numbers to deliver yet. But I can share one immediate benefit that happened before we even got one extra page click: improved SEO. If you use WordPress or a similar SEO-scanning website, you will be very familiar with that orange face telling you that you don’t have enough inbound links. Search engines prefer coherent, clear websites, so those kinds of sites will improve their scores on search engine results. Therefore, in the case of our magazine, creating a CTA that will lead a consumer to our other page has increased our SEO instantly.
However, for email marketing lists, I would suggest having the email address fill-out sheet as a pop-up on the same page. These pop-ups do not have to be invasive, “stop everything you’re doing and click on me now” kinds of pop-ups. A sidebar or bottom tag will do. If you find that your consumers often block pop-ups and page ads, then consider making a separate post where they can fill out their personal information. But whichever method you decide to use, make sure your email fill-out sheet is visible, and that its purpose is clear. If you are asking for customers to fill out their personal information, they want to feel that there is a useful purpose for it. Even if that information is just their name and email address, they will want to know that your email content is essential to them.
That leads me to the next step: make promises. Promises, promises, promises. That’s why people subscribe or buy anything, after all! Consumers love knowing that they are getting a fair deal. Trustworthiness is very important to them. You should promise what customers can expect from your emails. Tell them precisely what you want to send, and consider informing them how often you will send messages. Here is an example: Join our email list today for notifications on coupons, events, and sales! There. Easy, isn’t it? I busted that line out in one sitting, and I did not have a company or product in mind for it. If your marketer takes the time to consider those things, they will come up with a great promise.

Welcome your customers

What next? Automated greeting! I know that sounds robotic, but hear me out. Your customers should immediately receive a message as soon as they subscribe to your service. In real life, when you get someone’s phone number, do you text them right then to make sure they have yours? That is the easiest way I have found to exchange personal information. So to make their subscription stick in customers’ minds, send them a brief “Hello!” right then. This should include their name (consider putting it in the subject line) and a brief message about your business. It can also include informing them about an online event, inviting them to follow you on social media, etc.
This is called a welcome email, and I will go over those later in the article. But here is the basic rundown: remember how customers are hesitant to give their personal information? This is one way to ease the transition. When they subscribe, tell them that you just sent an automated greeting message to their address. Make it clear what you are doing and how you are doing it, so your small business can build a relationship of trust with your consumers.
On a side note, have you ever seen business sites with a “Login” tab? You might consider offering exclusive subscriber benefits on your website, to help long-time customers continue contributing to your business. These benefits can include making comments on articles, or asking questions on the site and getting live tech support. They can also include more substantial benefits like unique content, “backstage access” to whatever is happening next, or notifications. Notifications are HUGE. They have started on social media, but now email lists can use them, as well. Depending on your customer’s phone/computer settings, they can get a notification when you release new content. But use notifications sparingly. The average person receives an average of sixty-four notifications a day. Sixty-four! Not only do you want your message to stand out, but you don’t want to annoy your new customer!
Here is another suggestion: create a timed pop-up survey. This has the same purpose as an email sign-up form, but it cleverly introduces a well-known idea. The University of Alberta recently increased its email subscriber list by 500% in one year by adding a pop-up survey asking people to join their list. Here is what it said when people came to their site:
You seem interested in UAlberta news. Would you like to sign up for the Daily News email?
-Yes [enter your email]
-No thanks
The survey gave them an option not to subscribe, which is not only ethical but logical. You would not want an uninterested, unpaying consumer on your email list, would you? It also clearly told them what would happen if they answered “Yes.” The keyword of today is clarity. If your customer knows what a relationship with you will entail, they know whether or not to join you. Again, the goal here is to show what kind of content they will get when they subscribe. Give them a little taste, a free sample, and they will buy the whole product.

Why unsubscribers are a good thing

If you have been in the game long enough, you may have noticed an odd trend: every time you send out a major email message, create a YouTube video or post an article on your blog, you not only gain subscribers, but you may also lose some. Why is this happening? You know when you are making relevant content, so why is that driving a few people away?
As a Social Media Manager at a local magazine, I keep tabs on everything that is happening in the online world—either for work purposes or just for fun. One YouTuber I followed once mentioned in a video that every time he uploads a video, he loses a few subscribers. While his channel is gaining subscribers overall, he believes that when people see his new content in their social media feed, some people say to themselves, “Why am I still subscribed to this guy? I am not very likely to consume any of his content or purchase any of his products, so I will unsubscribe and declutter my feed.”
This is an amazing insight. When people unsubscribe from a business‘s email marketing or social media marketing list, two things happen. First, people send a message to the business about what kind of content they like to see. Gauging public interest is difficult because you have to do it on a yes/no basis. People either buy your product and become an engaged customer, or they simply do not. With all our experience in marketing and social media, there is still a lot we must learn about why some people reply to marketing tactics, and why some do not. So any feedback, even negative feedback, on your content, campaign, social media marketing, or email marketing will help you narrow down what kinds of messages work and which do not. Maybe your customer unsubscribed because your messages were too frequent and too annoying, for example. Then you know to return to the drawing board, do more research, and find things that will better engage your customers.
The other thing that happens when a customer unsubscribes from a subscription list is that you lose someone who is not likely to see your message. While I do not encourage losing anyone, narrowing your target market can be a good thing. Here is a hypothetical situation: you are a business selling Product A to Group A. Because people in Group A are your target market, you know it is unlikely that People B, C, or D will find your campaign. Now pretend that your subscriber list includes an odd blend of people from Groups A, B, and C. If people from Groups B and C are unsubscribing, they must not have been interested. It is clear that they are not interested in your product, and continuing to pay attention to your business would waste their time and your resources. Now you are free to focus on the customers in Group A who are very likely to make purchases, spread your brand, and send recommendations to their friends.
So in short, do not be too concerned about the occasional unsubscriber. Sure, if your target market keeps unsubscribing in large numbers, then you have a problem, but a few lost customers here and there are not going to make or break your campaign. In a way, when they simplify their inbox, they are helping you, too: they are telling you who to focus on and how to generate relevant content for other, more likely customers. If you have seen any graph of a company’s growth, you will notice blips of ups and downs all along the way. The line graph of profit is not in danger of landing on the bottom just because a tiny blip comes in from time to time.

What are the types of email marketing?

Welcome email

This email is pretty much what it sounds like. It’s a way to greet your new customer and let them know in advance that they will be receiving email notifications from you at their address. This initial connection is very important. In any professional relationship, it is vital to establish the rules and expectations of your interactions, as well as introduce yourself in a friendly, open manner. If customers do not wish to receive emails from you, then suddenly start receiving messages, they may block your emails, regardless of how well made your content is.
The welcome email is the first step in your relationship with a new customer. New customers are very important if you wish to grow your business. They can be tricky to find and slippery to hold on to. As blog.hubspot.com reads, “Did you know it costs five times more to attract a new customer, than to keep an existing one?” (hubspot.com). In other words, it is vital to have an amazing self-introduction and welcoming statement for each new customer your email marketing attracts.
But that doesn’t mean the message has to be grandiose or complicated. In fact, it should be simple. Because people check their emails multiple times a day, they do not have the time or energy to look through complicated messages or unclear statements. So stick to the basics. Use pictures and graphics liberally, especially ones that are clear cut and represent your business.
Feel free to reuse any images you may have already used in your other campaigns. It is perfectly acceptable to do this. People will probably recognize your logos, images, offers, and other media from other advertising campaigns you have going on right now. Remember hearing that most customers require 7 or 10 or however many interactions before they consider buying a product? There you have it! The welcome email should be one of these interactions.
The next step is to be warm and friendly. Remember, you just put a lot of work into finding this new person, so help them feel special! Use their name in the email (which is quite easy to do. When people sign up for your subscriber list, when they enter their first and last name, then program the email to insert their name into the first line—or even the subject line! You can use both their names or just their first name, so play around with using both and see which one will grow your audience more.
You may want to tell your customer what kinds of things they should expect in future emails. Are you going to inform them about a future offer? Will you grow your business by asking for their input and reviews on a shopping website? Again, there are as many possibilities for what you can send to your customers as there are businesses themselves.
If it feels like I’m spending an excessive amount of time on the welcome email, I am. But it is so important that your connection and dedication to the customer comes out in the first few seconds of interaction. Your newsletter should not just send content to your subscribers. It should send positive reinforcement to the customer for giving up their precious personal email information. In a world where subscribers want businesses to have less information about them, reward them for giving you the bits and pieces of information they do send.
And above all, remember the age-old adage: first impressions are the most important.

Offer email

Again, just like it sounds (this is common for all these email types). An offer email is a message that tells your subscribers about an exclusive offer or deal. This can include coupons, limited time offers, etc., that are exclusive to those who sign up. Why just for those who sign up? It’s part of the package! Your consumer will feel like they are valued if their messages are exclusive and personal. Offer emails can deliver both those things.

Request email

The request email is a great way to remind people that they are subscribed to your email marketing. Request emails ask for feedback from your consumers. It is similar to when an app asks you to rate it. Ask for testimonials from your consumers and find the ones that will be best for your business. The request email can help you in other marketing venues, too. If you get a stellar testimonial, put it on your webpage or even a billboard. Request emails not only generate amazing content by themselves, but that content can be used elsewhere.

Newsletter

Great for magazines, editorials, and anything that publishes regular updates, the newsletter is a useful way to send content regularly. But make sure what you are sending is relevant and clear. Start with a monthly newsletter if it helps, then move up to one every two weeks, or even every week. Look at The New York Times as an example. In their case, daily emails with summaries of the featured content are a successful way of marketing their brand.
Which ones are most common for businesses like yours? Which ones are less common? Most importantly, how are people reacting to these types of email marketing?
Remember, your subscribers may want more of the same that other businesses are giving them, or they may want new content. Form effective email marketing campaigns that will engage your customers—especially your long-time subscribers.
Your long-term fans are your best source of information when it comes to knowing which email marketing campaigns work and which do not. This is an amazing opportunity because your long-term customers are also your target audience, as well as your gateway to thrive leads, grow traffic, and spread through word-of-mouth marketing (online or in real life).
For more information, feel free to check out this article.

Anatomy of a good email

Like any doctor would study the human body, you should study what makes a good email work. Like anything relating to your email list, this will vary depending on your business, product, social media marketing strategy, geographic location, and other factors. While you are free to adapt these principles as you like, here are some quick tips for how to create a great email:
First, use images as frequently as you would if your email were a social media post. You probably already know that social media posts with images get much more attention than those without, so use this knowledge to your advantage. You can even send out an image you just used in a social media post, or a link to the blog post itself! If you are running a live event, such as a poll, a contest, a livestream, etc., you should try using email as a means to tell people what’s going on right then! This will help your customers feel like your emails are creating relevant content, and will grow your social media image as a friendly, trustworthy business.
Also, use outbound links. Good for your page, good for your email. Include your main page, a link to anywhere you sell your products, social media blogs, and anywhere else you are trying to direct your customer. Again, your email list is just another way for your content to get out there.
Finally, include an email address for questions, comments, etc. How should they contact you if they want to do so right then? Your business‘s info can also include things like your physical address and office hours, if applicable.

How does email marketing fit into my overall marketing strategy?

The first thing to know is that email marketing, like overall marketing strategies, is a little different with each business. If you’re small, you get to experiment because your brand isn’t widely established yet. If you’re big, you have a cushion to use so you can experiment. Either way, you have the power to define your business campaign.
This may be a time to step back and consider your overall marketing strategy, as well. The most important question is this: What has seen the most growth? Growth is much more important than size because it shows where your next purchase is coming from. All size tells you is what your business has done in the past—a good precedent, but not guaranteed success. At the magazine I work at, I noticed recently that our Twitter page had seen much more growth than Facebook. On top of that, our Instagram account gets tons of attention, with 1 in 8 followers liking our posts. As Social Media Director, I am now creating content specifically for these accounts, not just our larger Facebook page.
Email marketing is a great way to get the word out about your small business. However, building your email list should also get the word out about your campaign. Treat the messages sent to your website visitors as personalized ads, complete with their names and products they like. Feel free to be a little more open over emails—the customers signed up for them, after all! Send bulk emails that describe your current marketing campaigns. Have a New Year’s sale coming up? Offer a discount code for 10% off! Have a new commercial that you are proud to share? Include it in your email content marketing! Business owners should offer messages that create value for those who are most likely to purchase your product. Offer a giveaway, a free ebook, or whatever else you offer!

What are other ways to build my email list?

So far, I have talked about how to build your email list online. But people can sign up for email marketing services in person, too. If you have a physical location where you regularly interact with customers, ask them to fill out a sign-up sheet. If they are interested, have them include their email as part of their contact information. Or if someone from your business gives a presentation, ask them to write a review online. Then, ask them to write their email on a card and leave it with one of your employees. Your email distribution list should include contacts from all places, so it diversifies and reaches more people.
Consider the other ways you can attract potential customers. For some businesses, word-of-mouth marketing works wonders. In the early 2000s, a hilarious webtoon series called Strongbad got amazing attention and legendary fan loyalty. Strongbad only had a regular schedule for two years; its creators had other full-time jobs and never ran page ads. But because its fans were so eager to share its quick, quirky cartoons, the creators had a strong target market. This included a newsletter for building an email list, and they also dipped into product branding. Bottom line: find what works for your business‘s digital marketing and maximize that. Be aware of all possible avenues you can use to get the word out.

What is email list segmentation?

Email list segmentation (AKA email list splitting) is where you divide the addresses in your address book by different features. Like your products, your emails should be marketed specifically towards people who are already interested in your products. You wouldn’t market a product to someone who has already decided not to buy it, would you? List segmentation works in much the same way.
Business owners should first find software that helps them analyze who is opening their emails (and when). (For more information, check out this helpful article). Then put this data to use by gathering your marketing team and crunching the numbers. Are there other sources you can use, such as Google Analytics? How can you better plan to send each customer a semi-personalized message? I can’t say this enough: your email list building should be just another step in your overall marketing strategy.

What is an email sequence?

Great question! An email sequence sends an automated email at certain pre-programmed times. They are also known as time-based email sequences or autoresponders. An email sequence implements what this whole article has suggested: it creates a schedule for your content. It allows you to send messages when you are not at your computer, scheduling them in advance like social media posts.
While email sequences can (and should) include emails related to your overall campaign, customize them a little. Send messages that mark a customer’s progress in your business! Announce their first login, the first comment on a post, first purchase directly from the site, and other significant milestones. Don’t hold your customer’s hand too tightly, but you should be there with them from the first impression to purchase.

How often should I send marketing emails?

Like everything I have talked about, this will vary with your consumer base. If you just copy and paste what this article suggests, it will be a good start. But it’s only a start. Figure out when your customers are online, and what times they are checking their emails.
The New York Times sends two or three emails a day, but…they’re huge. You may want to start with something smaller. I would suggest you send weekly emails to those who have subscribed. This is a safe bet if you are just starting your email list—often enough to keep them interested, but not annoying. You may want to switch to two emails a week when things get off the ground. For now, experiment with different types of emails every week.

What time should I send marketing emails?

Again, this will vary considerably, but do some research on when most people open their emails. You may want a different electronic mailing list for different customers/products, so determine which times work for those. There are still lots of emails that go unread, but optimal sending times will reduce that risk.
Business owners can further customize your message outreach by analyzing where people are opening your messages in the world. People wake up, work, and go to sleep in different time zones, so keep that in mind when you stretch into international marketing. For example, a YouTuber I follow has found a way to market to his audience, which is largely American. The Australian YouTuber Shadiversity makes history-related content and plugs his self-published book. He sold 12,000 copies during its first week because of his YouTube following. There is a 17 hour time difference between the American West Coast and Canberra, Australia. To combat this challenge, Shadiversity uploads his videos at a time that works for either continent. Depending on which side of the world you live on, his videos will go live at a time that works for you.

Final comments on building an email list

In conclusion, making an email list is an easy, wide-reaching way to tie potential customers into your advertising strategy. Business owners can greatly benefit as they experiment with their emails and try to craft the best ones. Customize and personalize your messages and be friendly and sincere. Take care of your customers, and your customers will take care of you.
Thanks so much for checking out our article and sticking around to the end. If you are interested in learning more about how to grow your business, check out these other articles on Innovation Exchange’s website:
And please sign up for our email list! If you see what works for our email list, it could send some ideas for content and campaigns your way!
  • by Calvin
  • |
  • December 30, 2019

How Well Is Your Content Marketing Working?

Content marketing has taken over the digital marketing world. In an attempt to increase the number of visitors to a website, companiesbrands are working to provide more informative content. While most digital marketing professionals agree that content marketing is crucial and important, an effective content market strategy involves much more than creating and publishing content.
Your company’s content should be engaging and informative. But, how can you determine if your content includes these important features? This guide will take you through four metrics that can help you evaluate the effectiveness of your content marketing plan.

Compare Your Results to Your Content Marketing Strategy Goal

To measure the results of your content marketing, it is critical to first determine your goals. A few things that you can accomplish with content marketing include:

Brand awareness

Carefully planned content is a great way to increase your brand’s awareness. By placing yourself in an authoritative role, you can closely align your brand as an expert in your industry.
Brand loyalty: When companies regularly provide your customers with useful information, they are more likely to become loyal to your brand. Although content marketing does not always turn into an immediate customer, it nurtures meaningful customer relationships, increasing the chances they choose you when they are ready to buy.

Conversions

The right content can also lead to more conversions. Whether companies are selling a product or a service to their audience, high-quality content can be used to increase conversions.

Optimization

Content marketing is an important tool used in search engine optimization (SEO). When creating content around a product or service, you can naturally use keywords that will optimize your site. A carefully planned content marketing strategy can also implement certain keywords into your content in which you want to rank higher.
These are just a few of the goals that content marketing can accomplish. Evaluating your goals is the first step toward determining the success of your content strategy. When determining your content marketing strategy goals, you will also want to identify how you will measure success.
What will you do to reach your audience? Will you track user engagement? Will you measure how many potential customers click a link within your content? Did you plan to increase your leads by a certain percentage? Do you want people to take a certain action after reading your content? Whatever your goals are, you can use reporting metrics to determine whether or not they were met.

Check Email Open Rates for Your Content

Newsletters are a great way to keep in touch with your current customers. Marketers can use newsletters to update customers on the business or to offer them promotions to encourage sales. Checking your email open rate is a great way to measure whether or not your email content marketing campaign is working. Even if the content within your newsletter is useful and engaging, it means little your target audience never actually opens the email. In a digital industry where as few as 17.2% of emails are ever opened, the content of your subject line is essential. The headlines that you use will serve as a gateway.
Newsletters also require that you build a trusting relationship with your customers. If customers are frequently opening your newsletters and finding content with little relevance or value to them, you will lose their trust and have to work to get it back. Keeping in touch with your audience is essential to every marketing strategy.

Analyze Your Social Media Shares on Content Marketing

When you create content that is informative and engaging, consumers are more likely to share it with friends and family. Doing this gets your content in front of more potential customers while establishing your experienced place in the industry. To determine if you have great content, measure the number of social media shares that you receive. Great content tends to get shared often among your customers.
Of course, a strong call to action is also a requirement when measuring social media shares. When companies‘ content has a share button or specifically asks their target audience to share, marketers likely to notice an increase in your shares.

Consider Your Content Marketing’s Bounce Rate

Analytics tools today inform marketers on how many customers are coming to their social media platforms/blog posts, and how long they are staying. Your bounce rate can provide a lot of insight into the quality of your content. If users are visiting your website and then immediately leaving, it is likely because they find the content difficult to navigate, or because it is not relevant to them. While it is good to create engaging content that will benefit readers, it is also crucial that it aligns with your mission. Content marketers must make relevant content that reflects what customers want most.
To measure how relevant and engaging your content is to customers, analyze your bounce rate. Does your content direct your customers to other pages or resources on your site? Valuable content will leave your target audience wanting more. If they don’t find what they’re looking for, they will bounce.
A website’s quality comes into play when considering the reason behind a high bounce rate. You can also learn a lot about your bounce rates by identifying any website technical errors. But keep in mind that while it is vital to create content that search engines‘ bots can easily browse to increase your SEO ranks, it is essential to always keep the customer in mind. The best content is created with both audiences in mind.

Creating a Content Marketing Strategy That Meets Your Goals

The goal of content marketing is ultimately to increase brand awareness and customers‘ conversions. Before you dive into creating content and publishing it, evaluating your specific goals and how you will measure them will ensure that your content marketing is meeting its intended purpose. Continue evaluating your progress toward your goals, and you will find that content marketing offers many advantages in the content creation industry.  Great marketing teams will make great content that complements their strategy to reach their audience.
  • by Calvin
  • |
  • November 25, 2019

Twitter For Business: The Ultimate Guide

Twitter for Business

Twitter is a social media giant that can help you grow your small business.  It’s like the town square of the internet: everyone comes here to see the latest news. You small business owners may already have a social media marketing plan, but using Twitter for business will help you contact potential customers quickly and easily.

How do I use Twitter for business?

Twitter is a great way to deliver short, instant messages to hundreds of thousands of potential customers. These customers regularly jump into Twitter to discover what’s trending. They are ready for personalized feeds that tell them what’s happening with their interests, news, and their favorite businesses.

If you’re familiar with Facebook, imagine Twitter as the kids’ meal-sized Facebook. Its posts are short and sweet and let you get right back to work. Users log into their profiles to see what’s happening in the world. Because tweets are so short, limited to 280 characters, it’s easy to keep up with dozens of sources on a daily basis.

Twitter enables small business owners and influencers to get their marketing out there regularly. The only way marketers fail at Twitter is if they don’t even try. Your consumer base will expand while it uses one of the biggest social media platforms out there.

How do I create an account to use Twitter for business?

If you already post on Instagram and Facebook, setting up a Twitter account will be almost the same. You choose a name, upload some photos, and put in some information—and it’s all for free.

There are a few key differences to remember when making a Twitter account. Here are three easy steps on how to set up your business’s Twitter account:

First, create your account. The first thing your account needs is a Twitter login, which is called a Twitter handle. Like Facebook posts, Twitter shows your name and profile picture next to every tweet you send. Your business name should have no spaces or underscores so that it’s easier to read on mobile devices (for example: JohnsonBrothersHomeCare). If your business name is already taken, try giving your account a similar name, or putting “real” at the front of it (like RealHughJackman, KevinHart4Real, etc.). If you’re a freelance businessperson, you might consider using your personal name instead.

Second, choose profile and background photos. Your profile photo is vital because everyone who sees your tweets has to recognize that they come from you. A good photo is like good writing: it gets your point across.

What photo should you choose? You have lots of leeway here. If you’re a freelancer or a professional individual, you should probably use a professionally taken headshot. People who can see your face are more likely to trust you, both online and in person. If you’re a small business, your profile picture can be a logo, but it could also be a personal photo. Again, people trust you if they can see you.

But here’s where photos get interesting: Twitter also allows you to upload a huge background photo. The background photo is not at all like the profile picture. The size difference is like the difference between a penny and a dollar, so you shouldn’t just upload the same photo for both your profile pic and your background.

Try to take a wide, landscape photo that represents your brand (image dimensions are 500 x 1500). Match the colors and theme of the picture with what’s happening on your page. Think about how to summarize your business in a single photo: how would you do it? Would you show a group photo of your amazing staff in front of your workplace? How about a deep-sea snapshot with your company name and logo off to the side?

Think less like a billboard and more like the awesomest desktop background you’ve ever seen (you can even make up words! I just did that with “awesomest” and my editor hasn’t scowled too much at me). And while your picture doesn’t have to be a professionally-taken custom photo, you may want to consider that.

You can even change the background design of your page. While the background photo changes what appears at the very top, the background design will scroll down your page as people scroll to read your tweets. Go to your profile settings, then “Design,” then choose one of the pre-packaged designs shown—or even create your own! Find what screams your brand!

Steve Jobs spent an inordinate amount of time designing the iPhone’s packaging. He knew how important first impressions are. Taking the time to review and re-review your profile and background photos will help you stand out from the crowd of boring, blurry rectangles that plague businesses’ Twitter pages today. It’s the little things that count.

Third, fill in your business’s personal information. As an individual, you may have avoided posting personal information on your Facebook page, and that’s all well and good. But on Twitter, the exact opposite is true: you want people to know everything about you.

You can add this information at any time under “Settings” in the top right corner. This information includes Location (put your business’s full address), Website (put your business’s web address here) and Bio, (describe your company in under 160 characters. It’s a short blurb that appears when people pull up your profile).

*Steps adapted from Social Media Examiner, at https://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/

Why use Twitter for business?

Twitter is an obvious marketing choice for businesses because it’s a tool to communicate short, direct messages. As a microblogging site, Twitter condenses information in ways that other social media can’t compete with. It’s basically a highly-personalized string of comments about a user’s favorite topics.

“Because people are in a discovery mindset when they’re on Twitter, your brand or business is likely to leave a lasting impression” (https://business.twitter.com/en/basics/intro-twitter-for-business.html). This “discovery mindset” is where you can make SO MANY of your impressions. Remember the saying that it takes seven “impressions” or “points of contact” before a customer decides to buy from a company? Tweets are an effective way of making little impressions, one search result at a time. Having your foot in as many social media platforms as possible guarantees your audience will find you sometime.

Not to mention, Google can give you a hand, too. With search engines customizing search results so much, people and influencers who share things in common with your audience are much more likely to see your brand in the first place.

Let’s say you run a pet adoption clinic. First of all, congratulations on all your adorable animals! Second, the way your business tweets can drive home messages to animal lovers who are likely to come by your clinic. If I’m an animal lover who enjoys watching silly cat and “doge” memes on YouTube (true story, by the way), then my YouTube feed will give priority to videos about cute animals.

Search engines do the same thing. Google will see your adoption clinic’s tweets about all those abandoned puppies you just found, and the next time I search for “puppies,” “cute animals,” or “octopus and grizzly bear are best friends” (not a true story…though that would be cool) Google will put your tweet higher up on my feed. In other words, whether your customers are on Twitter or not, they are almost always online, which makes them very likely to see your tweets.

Twitter consistently shows at the top of any search result on any topic. That means regular tweets give your business the chance to rise above the other voices and deliver a clear invitation. Every tweet your business sends could be a home for Puppies 1 through 101.

And another thing: tons of Millennials use Twitter. The Financial Times recently cited Millennials as “the world’s most powerful consumers.” Whether your brand specifically markets to a Millennial audience or not, they have a lot of buying power and pay close attention to social media marketing. You may have some future sales with them. Sometimes you don’t have to jam your foot in the door. Maybe your business simply needs to find the right door to knock on, and for Millennials that door is social media.

How to get followers on Twitter?

A meme I saw recently said the following:

“Is four followers a lot?”

“Depends on the context. On social media, no. In a dark alleyway, yes.”

Four followers (on social media) may not be a lot, but it’s a good start! Here are some ways you can build your page’s presence. The first and easiest step to getting Twitter followers is to tweet often. How often? Shoot for a few tweets a week. Find ways to spread the news about your business: polls, retweeting positive interactions with people, sharing and re-sharing news about popular events, and much much more.

It may help to think of your Twitter page as a news outlet (there are several on Twitter anyway). Keep your followers up to date by informing them of what’s going on in your business. This can include simply announcing a new product, showcasing the employee of the month, or announcing promotional sales.

Twitter is a platform that allows a two-way conversation between you and your target audience. Because Twitter is so instantaneous, the things you talk about will have the weight of relevance attached to them. And again, find other businesses on Twitter and take inspiration from them.

Once you start making regular tweets, users will check back on your profile to keep up with what your business is saying. This will increase post engagement, which in turn will increase the number of people who see your post. Experiment and see which posts get more attention. The average account on Twitter follows five brands (https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/twitter-for-business), so people are used to seeing business tweets. Find great quotes and images to go along with whatever you’re trying to say. Pictures make great content for just about any social media post.

You may also consider using tools like Hootsuite, a site designed to help grow your business by managing all your social media in one place. (https://hootsuite.com/)

Bottom line: If your tweets share an idea, entertain, or educate your target audience, then you’re doing great! (https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/twitter-for-business)

Second step: hashtags. We’ll talk more about hashtags later in the article, but these are those keywords with # in front of them. Add hashtags to your tweets that are relevant to your business, and Twitter’s feed algorithm will sort your tweets with others that are talking about the same thing. I like to think of hashtags as links to other pages: if you put hashtags on your tweets, they’ll link what you’re saying to larger Twitter accounts, and you can piggyback off their momentum.

What can Twitter give me that other social media platforms can’t?

Twitter’s structure has one major thing going for it: attention span. With Twitter’s character limit at 280, and with most tweets hitting around 33, Twitter users love bite-sized pieces of information. They go to Twitter to follow celebrities, news flashes, and sports updates because they want brief summaries from multiple sources, as opposed to one long post that goes in-depth on a single topic. It’s a useful tool for people in a hurry.

Imagine if someone knocked on your door and tried selling you a thousand-page book. If you’re like most rational people, you would say something like, “Of course not! I don’t have the time for books that huge! Who do I look like, Leo Tolstoy?”

The lesson here is that customers don’t want to reinvent the way they live their lives to conform to what you’re proposing. That’s not good content marketing. However, it’s easy to encourage people bit by bit. Now pretend someone wanted you to read the first ten pages of their book—or even just the first page. Imagine if those pages had big, visible headings that talked about things you enjoy. Now you know exactly what the book’s about and you don’t have to spend much time reading it.

Almost everyone has a few seconds to look over something that interests them, and that’s the magic of Twitter. And that’s all that a tweet asks for: a few seconds of your time in exchange for “sample size” bites of information. Here’s another example: would you eat an entire block of cheese in one sitting? Not if you love your body. But would you eat a tiny cube of cheese like the ones they serve at the front of grocery stores? For free? You might, if you liked the flavor.

How do I use Twitter in my overall social media marketing strategy?

“What about just posting stuff from another social media onto Twitter? My business already has a Facebook/Instagram/Pinterest page. Can’t I just repost the stuff I’m already doing on Twitter?”

Of course you can do that, but you should also post things unique to Twitter as well. Twitter gets the word out about your other social media sites, so try and reach out. Connect your audience on all your social media platforms. But you need to plan for Twitter’s tools when making tweets. Remember, your audience comes specifically to Twitter to learn about what’s trending. That’s your gimmick. Pick it up and run with it.

Also, if you’re running multiple social media platforms, remember that you can’t automatically share things from one platform to Twitter. I’m running a small business’s social media page, and I have to make separate posts for Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. I can use the same picture, text, and hashtags for all of them, but I can’t just ask the Facebook gremlins to magically share everything to other social media.

If you haven’t already, your first step is to create a social media action plan. This plan should involve several major platforms, not just Twitter, and have specific goals such as “We will post on Facebook twice a week, publish two blog posts every month, and schedule tweets four times a week.” You should also include goals for the number of new followers, likes, etc.

Then, make sure the content is relevant and isn’t all business-related. Putting up social media posts only when you have a new product to sell is like calling your friends only when you need something from them. Tweets like that don’t nearly get as much action as regular ones that give little updates on your business. Did you just meet a new subscriber goal on your YouTube channel? Did you just hit the one-week mark before a major conference? Find any good quotes from Steve Jobs? All of these little things can make for great tweeting—especially when promoting events.

Look at other businesses’ pages for inspiration, too, as well as social media influencers. Find ideas for what your page should look like, what type of background to choose, or how often to post. What is their customer service like? Excellent customer service should send direct messages to people who have questions. How do they handle complaints and engage in conversations? What kinds of things do they talk about in their tweets? Pay attention and take good notes.

How and why should I use hashtags in my tweet?

Ah, hashtags. Yes, we still use those, and they are still a great way to show up in search engines’ recommendations for viewers. Hashtags not only increase how high your tweets show up in search results, but they also associate your business with other things related to it. It’s easy to add hashtags to your tweet. Once you’ve written your tweet, type the # sign and write a word/phrase after it.

As an example, let’s say you’re a lawn care business looking to advertise big at the beginning of April. What things go with the current market? With the time of year? You could put hashtags like #spring #springcleaning #lawn #lawncare #[businessnamehere] #aprilshowers, etc. A tech company that writes reviews about the latest products should include company names and products relevant to whatever they just reviewed: #iphone #apple #plus #ios #smartphone #airpods, and so on.

Also, don’t separate words when writing hashtags. #march #madness may be grammatically correct when separated, but your tweet won’t find other users who are tweeting things like #marchmadness #bballbracket, etc.

So how many hashtags is too many? Or too few? You should have at least five hashtags on each Twitter post, and probably no more than ten. More than that, and it looks like you’re spamming, and the likelihood of reaching a relevant audience decreases. Focus on a handful of really well-used hashtags and your tweet will do just fine.

Having trouble coming up with ideas for hashtags? There’s a website that can help you out called best-hashtags.com that does exactly what the name says. It pulls up trending hashtags, organizing them in order from most used to least used. It even shows the total number of tweets with that hashtag. All you do is type in a subject, and it will pull up what other people are hashtagging when they talk about it. “Business” pulls up #business #entrepreneur #marketing #success #motivation #entrepreneurship #money #startup, etc. Sites like this are a great way to narrow down your brand marketing to your target audience (http://best-hashtags.com/).

(PS: Hashtags work on Instagram and Facebook, too! Hashtags don’t add your posts from other pages as tweets to Twitter, but social media sites’ algorithms also use hashtags to sort data).

A Success Story

I’ll wrap up with my own experience of a small business’s social media. I’ve been working at Leading Edge Magazine for about four months now. When I got there, we had a blog as well as Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook pages, but everyone was so busy with their other assignments that no one had the time to post on these pages regularly. Our online content growth had stagnated.

I was hired as a Social Media Director, and one of our big goals was to market regular, relevant content to our audience. We drafted ideas, made a schedule, and didn’t let the small number of followers discourage us. We collaborated with other people on the team (we’ll soon publish an article with four different authors) and kept at it as we worked.

Perseverance was key to our success. And so was humor. And so were posts asking for engagement: polls, opinion pieces, and a successful “Flash Fiction Crossover” contest. For us, the answer was to regularly post or tweet thoughtful content. Now our pages are growing with two posts a week, and our blog site is publishing more amazing articles. Nothing at the magazine itself has changed—but the way we present ourselves is more optimized. Here’s a link to our blog as an example of a small business with a growing social media presence: (https://www.leadingedgemagazine.com/).

In summary, regular posts, a great profile page, and making relevant content (with hashtags!) is what small business owners and influencers need to take their online presence to the next level. Your business plan for Twitter doesn’t have to be grandiose—but it has to start today.

  • by Calvin
  • |
  • November 18, 2019
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