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Top 5 Email Marketing Tasks

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Are your mailings doing as well as they could be? Probably not, based on a recent survey of the FeedBlitz database (see results below).

Why is that?

Well, to get the best value from your blog, your mailings and your mailing list you need to bring together multiple factors to persuade your subscribers to stay engaged, open your message, and interact with it.

This is true whether you're using FeedBlitz's automated social media marketing (blog to mail, twitter, instant messenger etc.) or your own in-house solution. Once you have the email delivered to the subscriber's inbox, you still have to get them to take the next step and open it, read it and interact with it. At each of these steps, though, you risk losing the reader or - worse - earning a quick trip to the trash folder.

Top 5 Essential Tasks

So how do you minimize these risks and boost your mailing's effectiveness? Simple, really: With these basic five tasks:

  1. Identify Yourself
  2. Brand Your Mailings
  3. Tweet the Word
  4. Say Thank You
  5. Write Great Content

Well, OK, what do these mean in practice? And how do you make them happen in FeedBlitz?

Identify Yourself

When your mail turns up in your recipient's in box, is it obviously from you? Putting your name (or your company or brand name) as the sender is an essential step in the recipient recognizing that the mail is, in fact, from you. This means that your mailing is much more likely to be opened in those crucial first seconds when the subscriber gets it.

All FeedBlitz publishers can set this for their mailings at Newsletters / Settings / Email Envelope Settings.

Brand Your Mailings

Once the mail is opened, does it reinforce your brand? Or, at least, does it look like the way you want it to?

If your blog, brand name or logo isn't at the top left of the email when it's opened then you're missing an opportunity to reinforce your branding and further encourage the recipient to read on. This is especially true for email read on mobile platforms - give your recipient a chance to recognize your brand without having to scroll the screen.

FeedBlitz mailing list owners can upload logos and other artwork and use it to quickly build a branded mailing at Newsletters / Settings / Easy Email Design Editor. More advanced users can dive into HTML using the advanced template editor.

Tweet The Word

Get your mailings onto Twitter where it will reach your most ardent and sophisticated social media audience - as well as be picked up by real-time search engines, including Google now.

You can get your word out quickly and to a wider audience than your traditional mailing list this way. It's trivial to set up at Newsletters / Mailings / Twitter

Say Thank You

Seems basic, doesn't it? When a subscription is activated, let your new subscribers know you care - or reward them with a free white paper, report or coupon. Such event-driven mailings are called "autoresponders" and can be simple one-shot deals (e.g. sending a "thank you for subscribing" message) to multi-step drip marketing sequences or email courses.

Set these up at FeedBlitz using the Responders tab (or read on for an easy way to create a single step "thank you" autoresponder).

Write Great Content

Ok, this part's up to you! But if you're blogging for fun, family or business you're probably already doing that. Right? Right! But... are you reaching everyone you could? There's an extra task here that you might want to consider.

You're using FeedBlitz to automate both production and distribution of your mailings, so think about importing opted-in subscribers from other services via Newsletters / Subscribers / Import Subscribers (we'll validate them with an opt out mailing if your import passes our other anti-abuse policies).

That's the Theory - But in the Real World...

The thing about all these tasks is that while each takes only a matter of seconds to a couple of minutes to do each task, most publishers haven't done any for their lists. And that means that they're not making nearly the most of marketing services like FeedBlitz and that your list is potentially underperforming.

In fact, we ran a report on the FeedBlitz database last week. Including the import task, we wanted to know how well our users where using our service.

Scary stuff.

  • Fully 85% of our lists haven't done anything beyond our default settings. No customization, branding, importing, tweeting.
  • 8.6% had just one of these tasks completed.
  • 3.9% had finished two, 2.0% had finished three best practice tasks, and only 0.3% had done four.
  • And the percentage with all these Good Things done? 0.02%

Yet all these features are readily available to all. So how can we help you use them?

Encouraging Best Practice

Now to be fair, some of the features that we're talking about didn't exist at FeedBlitz in the early days. Since the beauty of FeedBlitz is that it automates the mailing tasks and pretty much just works, once it's been set up there's no compelling reason to keep coming back unless it's for reporting or to run an import.

But still - it seems there's a lot of room for improvement. And since we're here to help, here's what we've done.

When you come back to your newsletters tab, you'll find a new "Best Practices" task list sitting atop your Newsletter tab, along with your grade (we give you a mulligan for creating the list in the first place, so nobody starts at zero!). A completed task list looks like this:


The task(s) you need to do next will gently pulse until you do them. We prioritize identification and branding first, since these will immediately benefit your existing subscribers and give you the most value in terms of increased attention and engagement. Clicking on the icon, if it's pulsing or enabled, takes you directly to the page you need without having to traverse the site's navigation. Icons that are disabled will start to pulse when the appropriate pre-requisite tasks have been finished.

Once you've set up these, you can move on to importing, tweeting and quickly setting up a simple one-step "thank you" autoresponder, without having to work with the more powerful but more complex user interface in the Responders area. Each task typically takes no more than a minute or two to finish, although an import will have to complete before you can start a new one.

(Ironically, it turns out when I checked in on FeedBlitz News after the task lists went live that I'd forgotten to add a "thank you" autoresponder myself! Fixed it now...)

Rewarding Best Practice

We know that, even with the best of intentions, knowing that you should do something doesn't mean that it will get done, especially around the holiday season and year-end when there are so many other calls on your time.

So even though each task only takes a minute or two and your mailings will be significantly more productive as you step up your grade, we'd like to give you another reason to step up your game this year.

Publishers who get to a 100% grade - all tasks completed - will get a special, time-limited bonus for their readership. So press on and check it out!

The rest of you? Log in to FeedBlitz and click the Newsletters tab to check your grade and take the first step to increasing your blog's productivity. You'll also be getting an email from us soon detailing how you're doing and what the most essential next step is.

You've worked hard to build your list; make the most of it with FeedBlitz.

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2 Comments:

Blogger Wayne Vriend said...

I love how helpful and clear this article is....and an alive worldview that must be behind it....now onto improving my recent subscription

10:36 AM, December 15, 2009  
Blogger Denise Wakeman aka The Blog Squad said...

Love how you're making Feedblitz easier and easier to use. Appreciated getting the email letting me know the ways I can improved my blog update emails.

Thanks Phil!

2:13 PM, January 02, 2010  

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