Category: Wellbeing Community

The best way to create an online community is with email marketing. Our articles give you all the information you need to create an engaged following through both email marketing and social media.

Emojis – not just a smiley face!

Remember our blog post How to write email subject lines that get results? We looked at how important subject lines are for encouraging your readers to open your emails and engage with your content.

We also listed one of the great features of MailChimp as personalisation, as it allows you to use merge tags and emojis. But did you know there’s a lot more to emojis than just adding smiley faces or hearts whenever the fancy takes you?

To find out more, check out this great infographic. The Ultimate Guide to Using Emojis in Email Marketing is a collaborative effort from Ghergich and Marketing Cloud that explains how emojis affect your email marketing open rates.

Enjoy! 🙂

The Ultimate Guide to Using Emojis in Email Marketing


The ultimate image guide for email marketing campaigns

Recently we’ve been looking at creating images for your website and using images with social networks. But what about email campaigns?

If you’re serious about growing your business and engaging your audience online, then you’ll be sending out regular content to your subscribers using an email marketing provider. And if you’ve been following our blog posts, then hopefully that provider is the awesome MailChimp.

When it comes to images, size matters

As we explained in our Guide to creating images for your website, the size of your images can have a huge impact on the performance of your website, and therefore the engagement levels of your audience.

But did you know it’s exactly the same for your email marketing? If you drop a huge image into your email campaign and fire it off to your readers, it can cause way more harm than good. The email will be slow to open, slow to load, and you could lose your readers’ interest before they’ve even had a chance to read the content. Not to mention clogging up your own media library with unnecessary file space.

MailChimp kindly warns you when you’ve uploaded an image that’s way too big, by telling you that it may obliterate inboxes! You can see this in the screengrab below.  

Screengrab of large MailChimp image

What size should my email images be?

As you can see in the above screengrab, we’ve tried to upload an image that’s 5000 x 5000px (pixels). This is huge!

MailChimp advises that images should be around 600-800px wide. We would suggest the ideal size to aim for is:

600px wide

This will ensure your image will upload into your library quickly and the email will open promptly, without any dreaded inbox obliteration!

How do I resize my images?

It’s possible to upload a huge image into MailChimp and then resize it using their editing tools. If you were to click on the ‘Let’s fix it’ link in the above screengrab, you’d be taken to a screen which would allow you to adjust the width and/or height accordingly.

However, we don’t recommend doing this. It’s far better to resize your image before uploading it into your MailChimp library. This way, you’ll be dealing with a smaller file size to begin with, plus you can control the exact dimensions.

For more info on resizing images, check out the ‘Resizing your images’ section of our Social media image guide for Facebook, Twitter & LinkedIn.

As an added bonus, we’ve created a tutorial video showing you how to resize images using Pixlr Express. Simply sign up to our weekly blog to get your free video:

What about image compression?

Good point! We’d suggest that you always compress your images before uploading them. This is particularly important for email marketing, as so many of your readers will undoubtedly be checking their emails on phones, tablets and other devices. People tend to be even less patient when using a portable device!

Once you’ve resized your image to around 600px wide using Pixlr, or other image editing software, you should compress it using TinyPNG. This will reduce the file size even further, without compromising on quality. Simply upload your image to tinypng.com, let the panda do his thing and then download the newly compressed file.

Or, you can now install the free tinypng wordpress plugin that automatically compresses your image and replaces the original when uploading to your image library. How cool is that?!

For more info on image shrinking, check out the ‘How can I reduce the file size?’ section of our Guide to creating images for your website.

Can you take care of my email campaigns?

Yes! Wildheart can manage your email campaigns for you as part of our Email Marketing Package. This includes sourcing, resizing, compressing and uploading suitable images for each campaign we send out.

No-one knows your business like you do and no-one knows content marketing like we do. Together we’ll dissolve your marketing headaches so you can get back to doing what you’re good at.

Book a free consultation and let’s discuss the details.


How to create targeted Facebook ads for your business

In last week’s Content Kitchen video, Guy tackled the question “How do I get better results from my Facebook ads?” He gave 3 top tips of how you can use them to better promote your business.

But that was just the tip of the iceberg. There’s actually a lot more to advertising on Facebook than you might think. So let’s dive deeper into the world of Facebook ads to gain a better understanding of how they work.

Facebook ads: an overview

As you know, Facebook is huge. In fact, it’s so vast that most businesses are seeing a significant decline in organic reach from their Facebook page. This refers to the number of people you can reach from your page for free.

According to Brian Boland of the Ads Product Marketing team at Facebook, “There is now far more content being made than there is time to absorb it. As a result, competition in News Feed is increasing, and it’s becoming harder for any story to gain exposure.”

If you’d like to know more about organic reach, check out Jayson DeMers’ article in Forbes Why Your Organic Facebook Reach Is Still Falling – And What To Do About It.

So what exactly are Facebook Adverts?

They’re a business tool that allow you to create targeted adverts to reach different audiences, and ultimately meet your business goals.

When you run an ad campaign, you choose the audiences you want to reach by a number of variables, such as location, age, gender, interests, behaviours and connections. This makes your ads more relevant for the people who see them, and hopefully brings you better results.

Facebook ads: what you need to know

As a company, the first thing you need to do before launching into ad campaigns, is to set up a company Facebook page and start posting from it regularly.

You should adopt an attitude of exploration. Your conditions are unique to your business and it’s your job to discover the sweet spots. Beware of marketing agencies who promise you a silver bullet – there’s no way they can magically find the sweet spot with your audience without exploration either.

One of our most important pieces of advice is: ads are only effective if the landing page is optimised. There’s no point having a great ad if it leads people to a mediocre or unclear landing page. Where do you want people to go? What’s the goal of your advert? How will you measure success? We always recommend a goal outside of FB, e.g. email signups, course registrations, booking a meeting, etc.

When choosing your audience variables, follow our essential targeting principle: the narrower your focus the better. Avoid going wide! Your advert will lose its targeted audience and simply won’t be as effective.

Don’t forget about retargeting. This is where you deliver ads to people who have visited your website within the last, say, 30 days. This usually has a much higher conversion rate, i.e. converting views to clicks. If you have low traffic to your site these ads will be low volume but high quality. It’s always better to go for quality over quantity, so don’t be put off – remember you’re an explorer.

The placement of your ad is important, i.e. mobile vs News Feed. Mobile-only delivery can be cheaper (at least for the moment), but remember your landing page has to rock on mobile devices – or else!

The design of your ad should not be overlooked. So get creative! You need a strong image or graphic and you need to balance this out with the text. Make sure you have a strong call to action. What do you want people to do? Make it very clear.

For more info on using text and images in your adverts, read the Facebook for Business Guide For Using Text in Ad Images.

How to get better results from your Facebook ads

Ok, so you’ve gathered the basics and might even have got started on your ad campaigns. Now check out our top tips for getting better results from your FB adverts:

  • Commit to a minimum of 3 months’ experimentation. Remember you’re an explorer – this is expedition time!
  • With all due respect to the social media giant, your aim is to give Facebook as little money as possible for the best results.
  • Keep your ultimate goal in mind, e.g. email signups, and don’t get lost in the FB campaign data.
  • Remember: the purpose of the ad is to send people to the desired page with the right expectation.
  • Start by testing certain audiences. Measure these each week and update them, creating a new test each time. If you’re not sure of the results, then test for longer until you have more data and feel more certain of the results.
  • You should also carry out A/B split testing on your ads. This is where you create 2 or more copies of your advert, but you change the age or gender of the audience for each one and test them to see which performs better. But remember: you can only change one variable at a time, or the results will be skewed. This article has detailed instructions on splitting your audiences.

Tweaking your Facebook ads

If you don’t feel your ad is getting the clicks it deserves, try investigating the following:

  1. Is your graphic right? Try changing it.
  2. Test different audiences.
  3. If you’ve tried these, then test the call to action. Is it clear? Is it compelling?

If your ad is getting people to the goal page but they aren’t ‘converting’, i.e. doing what you want, then you need to fix the landing page:

  1. Check that the expectation you set in your ad exactly matches what people find on the page. If people don’t feel you’ve delivered on your promise, they won’t hang around.
  2. Check the page on different devices, if relevant. Your design should be responsive so that the page works on any sized screen or device.
  3. Remove distractions and anything that’s not needed from the page, e.g. unnecessary website navigation or links.
  4. Check the page heading – is it clear and relevant?
  5. Check the copy on the page. Is it clear? Could a child or your granny follow the instructions? (No offence to grannies or children!)
  6. Check the call to action. Is it strong? Is it clearly visible?

As you can see, there’s a lot more to Facebook ads than you might think. Using them effectively to get the best results from your audience can be a fine art. It takes time, patience and curiosity, just like a good expedition.

By following our advice you should be well on your way to making the most out of Facebook ads to help grow your business.

Go forth and conquer, intrepid explorers!


Content Kitchen 3: How do I get better results from my Facebook ads?

Brought to you on the first Friday of each month, Content Kitchen is a series of videos in which our co-founder Guy answers your content marketing questions. Why Content Kitchen? Because they’re recorded in Guy’s kitchen of course!

How do I get better results from my Facebook ads?

This month we dive into the world of Facebook ads and how you can use them to promote your business.

Guy shares 3 best practice suggestions to help you get better results from your ad campaigns. Watch the video to find out more.

What next?

Once you’ve watched the video check out our follow-up post How to create targeted Facebook ads for your business – it’s the ultimate guide to Facebook ads, packed with advice, insights and top tips.


How to write email subject lines that get results

The delete reflex

How many times have you received an email newsletter, read the subject line and deleted it without reading the content?

My guess is a lot! We seem to be bombarded with email newsletters and marketing emails that we never read. Whenever we buy something online, signup for a free download, or even indicate a preference for a product or service, we usually get signed up to a mailing list.

Some of these mass emails may actually be of interest to us, but we find them so overwhelming that we often automatically hit Delete without even reading them. I know I’m guilty of this myself.

Sometimes I unsubscribe, but sometimes I can’t quite bring myself to. What if there’s an amazing offer one day that I miss? Or a product or piece of information I really need? So I stay subscribed to the list and just keep hitting delete after a quick scan of the content. Or even after simply reading the subject line.

Email subject lines are king

If no-one opens your email then it really doesn’t matter what you’re offering, how well you write the rest of the copy or how your email template or photos look. So what makes people open your email? You’ve guessed it – the subject line.

Your subject line is the most important part of your email by far, so it deserves some careful attention. Our advice: spend more time on your subject lines!

How do I write a good subject line?

According to MailChimp, “When it comes to email marketing, the best subject lines tell what’s inside instead of sell what’s inside.”

The best subject lines are usually short and concise, describe what’s inside the email, and provide the reader with an instant reason to open it. As with any content writing, you should always keep your audience in mind. You should also test your keywords for maximum engagement from your subscribers.

Here are our top tips for writing awesome email subject lines:

  • Keep it personal: you can use merge tags such as first or last name to personalise your subject line. MailChimp uses the tags *|FNAME|* and *|LNAME|* which can be found on the Setup page of a campaign. MailChimp research suggests that using a city name in your subject line is even better.
  • Change it up: it’s best to use a different subject line for every email you send. For example, you don’t want to send out a newsletter that always has the subject “The Green Gardener Monthly Newsletter”. Even if you get a high open rate at first, this is likely to decrease over time. Remember: your subscribers need to know something about what’s in the email, otherwise they won’t open it.
  • Short and sweet: the shorter the better when it comes to subject lines. Your readers are probably scanning through their emails to decide which ones are worth opening. You need to grab their attention quickly, so it’s best to stick to a maximum of 50 characters.
  • Promotion, promotion, promotion! Sending promotional emails is a good way to grab your readers’ attention and reconnect with inactive subscribers. You could try running a competition or giveaway, sending a poll or survey, and even offering a free gift as an incentive for completing the poll.

For more advice on writing good subject lines, check out our post How to write killer headlines for your blog. There’s lots of overlap and you should pick up some useful tips for writing headlines generally.

How MailChimp can help with subject lines

MailChimp is simply awesome when it comes to email marketing. It’s free, easy to set up and super simple to use. If you don’t believe me, check out our post 5 reasons why you should use MailChimp for your email marketing. There’s even a free video tutorial showing you how easy it is to set up a MailChimp account.

MailChimp wants you to get the best results from your email campaigns, so it has lots of tools to help you with your subject lines:

Personalisation

As mentioned above, MailChimp allows you to use merge tags to personalise your email subject lines. You can also add an attention grabbing emoticon – just hit the emoji icon in the ‘Email subject’ field of the Setup page to access MailChimp’s emojis.

Subject line researcher

MailChimp allows you to research your keywords and phrases to see which ones have a better open rate, based on the entire MailChimp user base. Click on the ‘How do I write a good subject line?’ link beneath the ‘Email subject’ field and then select ‘Subject line researcher’ in the popup box. If your keywords don’t perform highly enough, MailChimp will suggest suitable alternatives.

Recent subject line performance

You can also select ‘Recent subject line performance’ in the same popup box. This will show you the open rates of some of your recent campaigns, so you know how popular your previous subject lines were with your specific audience.

A/B split testing

If you’re not sure about your subject lines, or you have different versions and you’re not sure which one to choose, MailChimp allows you to split test them. This means you can test your actual subscribers to see which subject lines they prefer.

You can send up to 3 versions of your email campaign with different subject lines to randomly selected parts of your list. MailChimp will then record the open rates and send the campaign with the best results to the remainder of your list.

To access this feature, go to Campaigns, click ‘Create Campaign’ in the top right and select ‘A/B testing campaign’. Then follow the instructions as MailChimp guides you through the setup process.

Example of a successful subject line

If you’ve read this far then you’re really interested in making sure your email marketing is a success. You might be wondering “This all sounds great, but how do I put it into action and what kind of results can I expect?” We’d like to share a real world example of a successful email subject line that we recently created for one of our clients.

The email campaign was to launch a new online shop for a yoga studio in London. The subject line was “Too cool for school?” with a smiley face, as you can see in the screengrab below:

screengrab of email inbox

 

The subject line worked well, as it had a good open rate and a really good click-through rate for an audience that wasn’t expecting to receive an email about clothing. In this case, we created a sense of intrigue rather than explaining to people what was in the email. Notice how the lines that appear after the subject line actually do this, but not the subject line itself. You can see the campaign results in the screengrab below:

screengrab of email results

On the day the email went out, our clients made an impressive number of sales. Our job was to get people to visit the online shop and we did just that!

How Wildheart can help

If you’d like help with your email marketing, including writing successful subject lines, Wildheart offers a comprehensive Email Marketing Package that covers the enitre process.

Let us dissolve your marketing headaches so you can get back to doing what you’re good at while your business grows.

See how we’ve helped our clients


Social media image guide for Facebook, Twitter & LinkedIn

A few weeks ago we shared our Guide to creating images for your website. This month we go one step further and share our tips for using images in your social media accounts.

Why do I need this guide?

Have you ever tried sharing something on social media – either your own content or just something you like – but the picture is all weirdly cropped…? And it looks different on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn…? It’s sooo frustrating!

Why is this happening? Because there is no standard image size for all social networks. They each use different image dimensions. What a pain!

But don’t fear – by the time you finish reading this post you’ll know exactly how to make sure the images in the content you share on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn all look awesome!

We’re going to show you the professional way to display images on your social networks. And there’s even a free tutorial video when you sign up to our blog, so don’t miss it!

There are 3 main steps involved in using images with social media, as follows:

  1. Source your image
  2. Resize your image
  3. Upload and share

Let’s take a closer look…

1. Sourcing your images

The first thing you need to do is find suitable quality, suitably sized, relevant images for your blog, that don’t break any copyright laws.

For a detailed guide to sourcing and crediting your images, check out the “Where do I find images?” section of our post A picture says a thousand words… but not if it takes too long to load! A guide to creating images for your website.

It’s usually sufficient to feature just one image per blog post – if you want to use more you’ll need to follow the same steps for each image.

2. Resizing your images

Once you’ve found your image, the next crucial step is to resize it appropriately for each social network you want to share it on. This is the part where your business will really benefit – an update on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn will instantly look more professional if you use the right sized images.

Each network has its own recommended image sizes, so it’s important to get these right. For now we’ll focus on the top 3 social networks for business, as these are the most common channels for blog sharing.

Recommended image sizes:

  • Facebook: 1200 x 628px
  • Twitter: 1024 x 512px
  • LinkedIn: 700 x 400px

So, how do you get your images to fit these sizes? The best free tool we’ve found for image manipulation is Pixlr Express.

Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Go to Pixlr Express and select Browse to open your image.
  2. Select Adjustment from the bottom toolbar, and then Resize.
  3. Ensure ‘Keep proportions’ is selected, then change either the width or the height to the required dimension and hit Apply.
  4. Provided the second dimension is still larger than the required end result, you can now select Crop and enter the second dimension accordingly. A box of these dimensions will appear over your image which you can then adjust to select the desired area.
  5. Hit Apply and you’ll be shown your image resized to the correct dimensions.
  6. Hit Save in the top left corner to save your resized image.

Tips:

  • The original image dimensions will need to be larger than the dimensions you want to resize it to; you can only resize down, not up.
  • You cannot simply change both the width and the height to the dimensions you need without keeping the proportions and therefore stretching or skewing the image.
  • If, when you change the width of the image, the height changes to a smaller dimension than is required, you’ll need to play around a bit by entering a bigger width until you can accurately crop the image to the desired dimensions.
  • Some images simply won’t work to the dimensions you want without cropping parts of them out. If this is no good, you may need to find a different image to work with.
  • As you’ll need to share different versions of each image, we’d suggest using a naming convention for easy identification. This is what we use and you can copy us if you like…!

Facebook: [image-description]-fb.jpg

Twitter: [image-description]-twitter.jpg

LinkedIn: [image-description]-linkedin.jpg

Still confused?

Simply sign up to our blog at the bottom of this page and we’ll send you a tutorial video showing you how to resize your images using Pixlr.

3. Uploading and sharing your images

So, you’ve found your images and used Pixlr to get them to the right size. Now what? You’ll be pleased to know this is the easy part!

First, it’s a good idea to crunch or compress your images to save space. Check out the “How can I reduce the file size?” section of our post A guide to creating images for your website. We advise using TinyPNG to do this as it’s super simple. You can also install the TinyPNG for WordPress plugin on your site and it’ll automatically compress every image you upload – how neat is that!

Then, you simply need to upload the images into your Yoast SEO plugin in WordPress. Here’s how…

Facebook

  1. In the editing mode of your post in WordPress, scroll down to the Yoast box beneath the main body of the post.
  2. Select the social icon on the left hand side.
  3. In the Facebook tab, click Upload Image next to the ‘Facebook Image’ field and add your correctly sized Facebook image (see screengrab below).
  4. Click Update (or Schedule) to save the changes of your post.
  5. Now, when you share your post on Facebook, it’ll pull through the correctly sized Facebook image.

WordPress screengrab Yoast SEO

Twitter

  1. As above.
  2. As above.
  3. In the Twitter tab, click Upload Image next to the ‘Twitter Image’ field and add your correctly sized Twitter image.
  4. As above.
  5. Now, when you share your post on Twitter, it’ll pull through the correctly sized Twitter image.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn works a bit differently to Facebook and Twitter, as there isn’t a LinkedIn sharing tab in the Yoast plugin. This is because sharing on LinkedIn works in a slightly different way.

In LinkedIn you can have a company page and a personal profile. You can share updates to both a page and a profile, and you can also publish posts on a profile.

Sharing an update vs. publishing a post on LinkedIn

Sharing an update on LinkedIn is an option you’d usually use for short, simple messages, particularly if you want to share a link with some brief accompanying text. The update is sent out to your network and can be seen by viewing the recent activity on your profile.

Publishing a post on LinkedIn is useful for when you want to share a longer update, or even a whole blog post. It’s still sent out to your network and also sends a notification to your connections. You can give your post a title, upload an image and also embed videos into it. Your posts can be viewed in the Posts section of your profile (see screengrab below from our co-founder Guy’s LinkedIn profile).

Screengrab of Linkedin posts

Using images in LinkedIn posts

So, this is how to use your image when publishing a post to your LinkedIn profile:

  1. Go to your LinkedIn profile and scroll down to the Posts section.
  2. Select ‘Write a new post’.
  3. Click on the icon above the text ‘Add an image to bring your post to life’.
  4. Select your correctly sized LinkedIn image and click Open. The image will be inserted into the post.
  5. You can now add your headline and text into the body of the post. If you’re just writing an intro, don’t forget to include a link so your readers can read the full article.
  6. After clicking Publish your post will be displayed on your profile.

Need more help?

We hope you’ve found this post useful. You should be well on your way to creating more professional-looking images to share across your social networks.

We know the resizing of images can often be a bit of a stumbling block. If you need more help, sign up to our weekly blog below and we’ll send you a tutorial video showing you how to resize images in Pixlr. You’ll be able to watch our simple steps in real time and you can re-watch the video as many times as you like!


Which social networks should my business use?

Following on from our first Content Kitchen video, we thought we’d take a closer look at social networks, and share our insights into one of the most commonly asked questions: “Which social networks should my business use?”

It’s difficult to give a straightforward answer to this question, as it’s such an extensive and complicated topic, and each business is so different. But, by reading this article, you should be able to make a more informed decision about choosing where to invest your time.

There are hundreds of potential social networks out there, but to keep things simple, we’ll focus on the big 5:

  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Instagram
  • Pinterest

The key question: who is your audience?

At the simplest level, all you really need to do is decide on the social media channels that:

  1. interest you; and
  2. are relevant to your business and customers.

This second point is key, because it’s your customers and potential customers who you’re trying to connect with. Which networks are they on? How do they behave online? What would appeal to them most?

Once you’ve decided on your network(s), the next important thing to remember is: stick with it. Social networks build by, you guessed it: networking. You have to put the effort in to reap the rewards.

There’s no point signing up to a whole bunch of social channels just because you think you should, or because that’s what your competitors are doing. It’s far more important to choose a network and commit to it. And that means posting regular updates, interacting with other users, sharing relevant links and images, and re-posting other users’ updates. All this activity helps to build your profile, grow your email list, increase your website traffic and boost your customer base.

In a nutshell: you have to be sociable, and you have to network.

Social media is the cherry on the cake

Remember that social media is the cherry on the cake. First, you need to focus on the cake itself, i.e. your website. After all, there’s no point having a nice tasty cherry without a cake to place it on, is there?

The cake

The foundation of your cake is your website. This must be your first order of business, so you need to ensure:

  • The architecture is clear and simple.
  • You’re publishing regular new content.
  • There are clear calls to action on each page.
  • Your site is optimised for search engines.
  • Your site is running at an optimum speed.

The icing

The next layer is the icing: building a high quality email list. This takes time and you need to be patient.

What you’re aiming for is converting website traffic into email list subscribers so that you can build a more personal relationship via email marketing. Email marketing is still way more effective than social media for building relationships with leads and customers.

For more on this, check out our article An Introduction to Lead Magnets: How to use your WordPress blog to grow your email list.

The cherry

Once you’ve got your website in tip-top shape (i.e. baked your cake) and have started to grow your email list (i.e. spread that delicious icing), you can finally place your social media cherry on top.

The big 5 social media networks

Facebook

Facebook is huge. It was launched by Mark Zuckerberg on 4th February 2004 and, as at January 2016, has 1.59 billion active monthly users.

Facebook is the biggest social media channel by a long shot. In fact, as the market leader, it was the first social network to surpass a billion registered accounts.

But you’d be mistaken if you thought it was only for personal use. There are now more than 50 million small business pages on Facebook and 2.5 million advertisers.

Everyone’s heard of it, everyone knows what it is, and most people are on it. And that includes your customers, your potential customers, your email subscribers and your readers. Facebook Ads are a great way to reach your audience through targeted campaigns, they’re simple to set up and you get to control your spending.

Facebook is a great network for consulting and for consumer products and services. If you only invest in one social network, and you aren’t drawn to another one out of preference, then a business Facebook page is a great place to start.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn was launched on 5th May 2003 and now has over 400 million users, although only 100 million of these are active on a monthly basis.

This network is primarily targeted at professionals and is great for consulting businesses or B2B (business to business) companies.

Be aware of the difference between a LinkedIn profile and a LinkedIn company page. A profile is connected to an individual and is active, whereas a page is linked to a company and is passive. LinkedIn company pages are a bad copy of Facebook’s pages and it’s widely accepted that they’re not as valuable as profiles: 3 Reasons Why Your Personal LinkedIn Profile Will Generate More Results Than a LinkedIn Company Page

“It’s still worthwhile to create [a LinkedIn company page] but don’t fool yourself into thinking it’s going to be some sort of untapped goldmine of exposure for your brand. Building a popular company page on LinkedIn is hard work and takes a significant budget dedicated to ads to get off the ground.” – Umran Malik

If you choose to set up a LinkedIn account, start with your profile and focus on building this up to include as much information as possible – about yourself and your business (in the Experience section). You can always add a company page later if it feels relevant.

Twitter

Twitter was launched in July 2006 and now has over 320 million active users worldwide.

Twitter is great for both companies and individuals. It’s very easy to maintain as you’re restricted by the number of characters, links and images you can post. In fact, a tweet has a maximum of only 140 characters, which forces you to be as concise as possible. There’s no room for waffle here, you need to get straight to the point!

The brevity of the format is attractive to some and a turn-off to others. Go with your gut if it appeals to you. Twitter appeals to people on the go and people in fast-paced businesses. It can also appeal to a more geeky or “techy” crowd, so think about your customers and what they would respond well to.

Instagram

If 140 characters is too limiting, and you feel a picture says a thousand words, then Instagram could be for you.

Instagram was launched on 6th October 2010 and was actually bought out by Facebook in April 2012. In September 2015 Instagram hit 400 million active monthly users, overtaking Twitter by a long shot.

Instagram is an online mobile photo-sharing, video-sharing, and social networking service that enables users to take pictures and videos, and share them either publicly or privately on the app, as well as through other social networking platforms.

With digital filters that can be applied to any image, Instagram has turned the people of the world into amateur photographers!

This format is great if you run any kind of visual business or a business that has a physical product. It’s perfect for artists, photographers, food bloggers, restaurants, gardeners, etc. Again, think about your business and think about your customers – would this social network appeal to them?

Pinterest

Pinterest is another very visual social network. It was launched in March 2010 and has over 100 million active users.

Pinterest is so called because users upload images and other media content, known as ‘pins’, to catalogues and collections, known as ‘pinboards’. It acts as a personalised media platform and has been described as a “catalogue of ideas” rather than a social network by its CEO Ben Silbermann.

Pinterest boards are a great tool for gathering and organising inspiration, so they work especially well for designers, artists and fashion designers. Pinterest is not just for the hunters; it’s primarily for the gatherers.

Pinterest also allows businesses to create pages aimed at promoting their companies online, which can serve as a virtual shop front. In 2013, they introduced a new tool called ‘Rich Pins’ to enhance the customer experience when browsing through pins made by companies. Business pages can include various information and data, such as prices of products, ratings of movies or ingredients for recipes.

Even if you don’t fancy yourself as a photographer you can still use Pinterest to curate and collect ideas, and to inspire your followers.

The ones to watch…

With so many social networks out there, it can be hard to navigate your way through them and figure out which ones you should be using. And of course, more and more channels are popping up all the time… will they ever stop?

Probably not. Here are the 2 networks we think are worth keeping an eye on. They could become huge…

Vine

Vine has only been around since January 2013 but already has over 200 million active users – that’s more than Pinterest and LinkedIn put together.

Owned by Twitter, Vine is a video sharing service where users can share 6-second video clips on a continual loop. In a world addicted to TV, computer screens and YouTube clips of animals and babies doing hilarious things, is it any wonder Vine has become so popular so quickly?

Periscope

Periscope is a live video streaming app which “lets you explore the world through someone else’s eyes”.

It was only launched in March 2015, so is a relative newcomer on the scene. Also owned by Twitter, it already has over 10 million registered users, with 1.85 million of those active on a daily basis. Surely another one for the watchlist.

What next?

Remember, there’s no right or wrong when it comes to choosing a social network. It really depends which ones are right for your business and for your audience. It’s also important to choose the networks that appeal to you; the ones you ‘get’. You’re far more likely to keep up with your networking if you actually enjoy doing it!

Whatever you decide, commit to it. It’s far better to sign up to one network and use it consistently, than sign up to 5 you never use.

And linking to dormant social media accounts from your website is a big no no. Make sure your social media accounts are active and in regular use, otherwise remove the links from your website – it can do more harm than good.

If you need any help baking that website cake, building up your email list icing, or popping the social media cherry on top, check out the packages we offer and book a free consultation to go through your options.

If you found this post useful, why not go ahead and share it on your favourite social network? 😉


Content Kitchen 1: What social networks should my business be on?

Brought to you on the first Friday of each month, Content Kitchen is a series of videos in which our co-founder Guy answers your content marketing questions. Why Content Kitchen? Because they’re recorded in Guy’s kitchen of course!

What social networks should my business be on?

This month we take a look at the commonly asked question of which social media networks to use for your business. With so many social networks out there, it can be a bit of a minefield. Should you sign up to all of them? Should you just take potluck? Which ones are right for your business? And how do you know where to start?

Watch the video to find out more.

What next?

Our video gives a brief overview of this topic. For a closer look at the big 5 social networks and our top tips for social networking for your business, read our follow-up post Which social networks should my business use?


5 reasons why you should use MailChimp for your email marketing

In last week’s post, An Introduction to Lead Magnets: How to use your WordPress blog to grow your email list, we looked at the importance of growing your email list in order to turn subscribers into potential customers.

In order to do this, there are two crucial things you’ll need: a WordPress blog and some email marketing software. But why..?

Why do you need email marketing?

Email marketing basically means engaging with your audience via the use of email. This usually involves sending out a regular email newsletter with updates, special offers, information and advice. If you have a blog it would also include links to your latest blog posts, either as an automated RSS feed, or as manual links that you insert yourself.

You can also send out one-off emails to inform your readers about an event, special offer, or urgent news item you want them to know about before your next scheduled newsletter.

Email marketing is absolutely key in reaching your potential customer base. It is the cornerstone of building a digital business. As we saw last week, email marketing is much more effective than social media:

“E-mail remains a significantly more effective way to acquire customers than social media—nearly 40 times that of Facebook and Twitter combined” – McKinsey & Company

There’s no point having a great website with an informative blog if you haven’t considered who your audience will be and how you can reach them. One of the reasons our co-founder, Guy, first started a digital marketing agency, was because he felt so frustrated by designing beautiful websites that never got seen by the right people, as he explains in this video (yes, the one with the silly hat!)

Why MailChimp?

As we mentioned last week, when it comes to email marketing providers, we just love MailChimp. And we’re not the only ones! Founded in 2001 and with over 100 employees currently on their books, MailChimp welcomed nearly 3.5million new users last year alone. And they’re growing fast.

So what’s so great about them? Here are our top 5 reasons why we love them and think you should too:

1. Forever Free

MailChimp’s “Forever Free” account is perfect for new businesses or those just starting out on their email marketing journey.

You get a subscriber list of 2,000 and a monthly send limit of 12,000 emails. For free! It’s easy to set up and offers a low risk introduction to the world of email marketing. If your email list grows beyond this, or you need a higher send limit, you can easily upgrade to one of their paid accounts, but in our experience the free account suits most people’s needs.

To see how easy it is to set up an account, click the link below to watch our free MailChimp tutorial video.

2. Easy Peasy

MailChimp is super user-friendly. And super flexible. We love that it’s been designed for non-technical people, so anyone can send out professional looking emails without needing a marketing degree!

The application was first launched in 2001 and has been going from strength to strength ever since. They’re continually improving the design to make the user interface simpler, clearer and the most user-friendly it can possibly be. You just choose a template and then set your layout and text using their simple drag-and-drop design feature.

Easy, peasy, lemon squeezy.

For a sneak peek inside the MailChimp app, check out our free video guide below.

3. Feature-rich

MailChimp is packed with useful features to make your life easier. Well, when it comes to email marketing at least – they’re not miracle workers!

These are some of our favourite features:

  • Scheduling: this allows you to prepare your emails in advance and schedule them to be sent on particular days at particular times. So you can really get ahead with your marketing and avoid last-minute panics.
  • List segmentation: it’s really important to be able to segment your list to ensure your emails are getting to the right audience. The free account allows you to create groups within your list, so your readers can select relevant topics when they sign up. This means you can send more targeted emails to them and they receive the information they actually want.
  • Reporting: MailChimp has an extensive reporting tool, even with the free account. You can see exactly who opened your emails and how many times. You can see which links were clicked the most. You can tell what time of day was most popular. And you can even find out where in the world your readers are located. This gives you great insight into how your email marketing is performing and where you might need to improve.
  • Integration: MailChimp offers seamless integration with other apps and services, allowing you to get the most out of your marketing. It works well with Customer Relationship Management software (CRMs), WordPress generally, the WordPress Gravity Forms plugin, ecommerce signup forms, and of course social media networks, to name a few.

4. Superb Support

Freddie with his mailbag

MailChimp’s customer service is unsurpassed. Their staff are super helpful – you can contact them with any query and expect a fantastic, speedy and friendly response. Rather than offering free accounts with no support options as a way to get people to sign up to their paid services, MailChimp has actually made ‘freemium’ a key part of their business model.

Or at least this is the way it used to be. Unfortunately, due to their exponential growth, they can no longer offer unlimited email support for their Forever Free accounts. But this is simply testament to how well they’re doing and how great their product is. And the good news is, you still get 30 days of free email support after setting up your account.

In addition, they provide a vast Knowledge Base full of articles and video tutorials with user guides, how to get started and how to get the most out of your account, as well as more technical information and a full glossary of terms.

5. The Chimp

And last but not least, there’s the monkey. Or Freddie von Chimpenheimer to be precise.

He’s the guy who helps you along your email marketing journey with helpful hints and funny messages. He gives you High Fives and Chimp Chatter and there’s even a Paper Buddy you can download and cut out to keep you company!

MailChimp Rock OnOk, that’s all very cute and charming, but does it actually have any relevance? Well, actually, yes it does. Because it’s all about the brand personality. Branding is very important to digital marketing and MailChimp has done a brilliant job creating brand loyalty around Freddie. He’s funny, friendly and, most importantly, memorable. Everyone loves a monkey and the way they use him in their branding creates instant warmth and likeability.

In 2001, MailChimp hit their millionth user and to celebrate they gave away thousands of plushies, shirts, and of course the handmade Chimp hats as modelled by Guy in our recent video. You can even connect with Freddie via his very own Facebook page!

Like the user interface, Freddie and the MailChimp logo have gone through various design improvements. The current Chimp was designed by Jon Hicks, who also created the original Firefox logo. We think you’ll agree, it’s pretty awesome.

What do you think?

Now you know why we love MailChimp so much, we’d love to hear from you.

Are you a fellow fan or a MailChimp virgin? What are your first impressions of the software after watching our introductory guide? Have you set up your new account yet?

Let us know in the comments section below.

And have a Chimptastic weekend!

Our email marketing case studies


How to grow your email list using lead magnets

Firstly, let’s take a look at email lists and why they need cultivating.

Why grow your email list?

Email lists are like gardens. They need loving and careful attention to help them grow. Each subscriber on your list is like a seed. You need to give each seed exactly what it needs, i.e.  information and advice, in order to prevent it from dying off, i.e. unsubscribing.

Once your seeds take root and buy into your product or service, you can keep feeding them what they need until they flourish into beautiful plants. Or customers as we like to call them. And just like plants, your customers need ongoing attention to keep them engaged. This is why you need to keep delivering consistent, relevant, good quality content to them.

How often have you signed up to an email newsletter, only to unsubscribe a few weeks, or even days, later when you realise the content is not interesting or relevant to you? It’s important to engage with your subscribers, to find out what they really need, and to keep delivering it to them, in order to help your garden grow. Without water, sunlight and a little attention now and then your plants will wither away and eventually die.

The more seeds, i.e. email subscribers, you have in your garden, the more opportunity you have for turning these seeds into flourishing plants, i.e. customers.

Email marketing is 6 times more effective than social media

And here’s the other reason. It’s widely accepted that email marketing is way more effective than social media in growing your business. According to McKinsey & Company “E-mail remains a significantly more effective way to acquire customers than social media—nearly 40 times that of Facebook and Twitter combined”.

So email marketing has a significantly higher engagement level than social media. And at the core of email marketing is blogging. Blogging is central to driving high-quality traffic to your website. It is also central to building your email list, by using lead magnets.

What are lead magnets?

A lead magnet is a valuable resource that you give away for free in return for an email address. By providing their details, the reader automatically becomes an email subscriber and therefore a potential customer, or lead.

If the email subscriber is your seed, then the lead magnet is the currency you exchange to buy the seed in the first place. Except that no money changes hands at this stage. You give your readers something they need and they give you their email address. Simple.

A lead magnet can be anything downloadable from your site, e.g.:

  • ebook
  • email course
  • infographic
  • video
  • checklist
  • template
  • spreadsheet
  • helpful guide

For example, Wildheart Media offers a free Content Audit worksheet in our blog post Prepare for a redesign with a website content audit:

Wildheart Lead Magnet

And Drip (more on them later) offers a 7-part email course when you sign up:

Drip Lead Magnet

How do I create a lead magnet?

A sign-up form for your lead magnet can be placed anywhere on your website. But one of the best ways to engage with your audience and inspire them to sign up is to offer your lead magnet through your blog.

1. Pick a topic

First, you need to decide on a topic for your blog post. Think about your audience and your potential customers. What’s useful for them? What problems do they have that your business can solve? What’s topical in your market at the moment? What’s trending?

2. Write a great blog

Use your knowledge and expertise to write a high quality article. You don’t need to try to sell your products and services; your main aim here is to inform, educate and entertain. You want to instil authority around your topic and build a great reputation in your market.

Keep it relevant and specific. A good tip is to write your headline first, which includes a promise to your readers; then make sure your article delivers on that promise, e.g. “An Introduction to Lead Magnets: How to use your WordPress blog to grow your email list”.

It’s important that your content is high quality. If you don’t feel you have the necessary writing skills, you could always outsource to a copywriter. But this is not ideal as no-one knows your business like you do. What we actually recommend is that you develop your own writing skills in-house. Check out our blog post: 7 steps to writing a great blog post, and you can also sign up to our Killer Content Email Course at the bottom of that post.

3. Decide what to give away

Now you need to decide what valuable resource you’re going to give away with your article. Make sure it’s something your readers will want. And make sure it’s specifically related to the article you’ve written.

A good way to do this is to use a concept called a ‘content upgrade’. This is where you produce a document that summarises the content of your post, but you ‘upgrade’ it to a more detailed or information rich format. For example, you might write a post about the 10 most important questions to ask an estate agent when buying a house, which would go into detail about each question and why it’s important. You could then upgrade this content by producing a PDF questionnaire of the questions only, that your readers can print off and take with them on their viewings.

The chances are, if your readers are interested in your blog post, they’ll find your lead magnet even more appealing.

4. Create the lead magnet

Now you need to create the lead magnet itself. Choose a format that works well for the information you’re giving away. It could be a checklist, an infographic, an ebook or even an email course that you drip-feed to your readers at regular intervals.

Whatever you decide to give away, ensure it’s of the highest possible quality in terms of content and design. If you’re not nurturing your seeds, i.e. if your subscribers aren’t interested in what you’re saying, your garden will be full of unsubscribes instead of plants.

Again, use the services of a copywriter or designer if you’re not confident creating this yourself.

5. Give it away!

Once you’ve created your killer blog post and beautiful lead magnet, all you need to do now is send it out into the world using your digital watering can.

You’ll need to embed a sign-up form into your blog post, write a welcome email for your subscribers, create a link to the lead magnet and hey presto, you’re done!

Of course you’ll need some email marketing software in order to manage your subscribers and send out emails. Our preferred email marketing provider is MailChimp, but if you’re looking for more complex interactions with your subscribers, like moving them through different emails based on the actions they take on your site, you should try Drip. Their marketing automation software is an affordable alternative to other providers, like Infusionsoft, and while MailChimp offers automation as part of its paid account, it’s still quite basic compared to Drip.

You’ll also need a WordPress plugin to create the sign-up forms for you. We love Gravity Forms because it’s a super powerful form builder with loads of integrations with other services like MailChimp, Drip and many more.

Don’t forget to share your article across your social media networks, and to include it in your next email newsletter if you have one.

How can WordPress help you?

WordPress is the perfect tool for helping you on your lead magnet journey. Just like a handy garden rake!

First and foremost it’s a blogging platform. And a very good one at that. Even if you’re not particularly tech savvy and don’t know your widgets from your plug-ins, you can easily create decent-looking blog posts using their simple software.

WordPress also enables you to connect to your email marketing software, such as MailChimp or Drip. AudienceOps offers a great content upgrade plug-in for WordPress, and this lead magnet sign-up form on their own site was created using Drip:

Screen Shot - AudienceOps lead magnet

Does this sound like too much hard work?

If you’re still confused about blogging, email marketing, lead magnets and social media, let us help you. Wildheart Media are here to make your life easier. To take away your content headaches and relieve your digital stress. There are two main ways we can help.

All of the above

We can help you with everything mentioned in this article. From researching the best blog topics, to advising on lead magnets; from installing your WordPress plugins to ensuring your post gets in front of the right audience.

Are you a WordPress virgin? We can deal with the technical bits, help upload your content and ensure it’s formatted correctly with the right keywords and subheadings, to make sure it’s search engine friendly. We can even find the perfect images to go with your blog.

We can take your existing content and turn it into something great.

Ongoing audience engagement

Of course, there’s no point creating great blog posts, giving away valuable lead magnets and growing your email list if it’s not going to result in more customers. We want those seeds to flourish into plants, remember?

It’s very important to keep your blog fertilised and watered. That means you need to be blogging on a regular basis, with great quality content. The frequency will depend on your industry and audience, but could be weekly, fortnightly, monthly or even quarterly. What’s more important is that you publish consistently, e.g. every Monday or the 1st of each month.

Working together, we can develop a content strategy for you – including research, content creation, blog management, email marketing and social media strategy – that ensures your audience are getting relevant, timely, necessary content from you, whilst also being entertained. This is what will keep your readers engaged. And, as we know, engaged readers can turn into email subscribers, which can eventually turn into customers.

Check out our marketing packages, then book a free consultation. We can help you start using your WordPress blog to grow your email list – and turn those seeds into a lush garden full of beautiful plants.