Tag: Email Marketing

Email marketing is the best way to deliver your content directly to your readers. But there’s a lot more to it than just firing off random emails! Sign up to our blog to discover all you need to know to get started with successful 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 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


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.