Avoid losing email subscribers -give them options.

Avoid unsubscribes by giving the reader more options.

Avoid unsubscribes by giving the reader more options.

I’ve decided that I get too many emails that I don’t read, so it’s time to tidy-up my inbox. As I’ve been doing this, I noticed a few things. There are a lot of newsletters that I don’t actually want to unsubscribe from…I just want fewer emails!

You can avoid losing subscribers completely if you give the recipient more flexibility to manage their settings. Consider adding these options to your email campaigns:

  1. The “Frequency” option: This is the “I still want to receive emails from the ABC Company, but I don’t them everyday” option. If the only option you provide readers is to unsubscribe, then you are losing people unnecessarily. Add an option to receive daily, weekly, or monthly emails from your company.
  2. The “Categories” option: the recipient might like your emails notifying them of a HUGE sale, but don’t want emails about company news. Divide your emails into categories and give them more flexibility. The subscriber will pick and choose what communications they want to receive from you.
  3. The “Update Contact Information” option: The emails that include this option are minimal. What if I changed my email address but I still want to receive your correspondence? You need to make it REALLY easy for me to update my information, so that you don’t lose me completely. If I have to “unsubscribe” and then go to your website to subscribe with my new address, chances are I’m not coming back.

Remember, if you use email to market your business, you must be compliant with the CAN-SPAM Act. If someone wants to unsubscribe, let them unsubscribe. Don’t hide the link or make them go through unnecessary steps to get off your email list. They were never going to be a customer anyway.

Did I miss anything? Leave me a comment.

A Plea for Commercial Variety

I like to watch video segments from CNN or the Today Show on my computer while I multitask. It helps me get through mundane tasks. Like most viewers I’m watching for the show segments, not the commercials. I know commercials necessary, and that companies need to bring in revenue to support these shows we enjoy watching.

What I don’t understand is the complete lack of commercial variety. I want to watch the entire Today show online but it’s really difficult when I have to watch the same Charmin commercial 20 times. I end up turning it off, changing to a different website, or selecting only the videos that I really want to watch. (Or perhaps I should record it on DVR and then fast forward through the commercials.)

I wonder how many other people are just as frustrated. Can’t the stations see that a little commercial variety would be beneficial for everyone?

#firstworldproblems

Words to Live By

Best practices. Mediocre results.

One of favorite quotes isn’t from a famous author or public speaker. It came from an advertisement in a marketing magazine a few years ago. I was skimming the articles when the full pager jumped out at me:

Best practices. Mediocre results.

That’s all it said. I stared at it for a few minutes. The text was black on a white background. How could an ad that is so simple bring so much meaning? The only artwork was a serious faced emoticon at the end of the sentence. What a boring life that emoticon must have; constantly doing the predictable. I knew that I didn’t want to be that emoticon.

We all want a baseline. It’s a false sense of security that says everything will be fine and your efforts won’t be wasted as long as you follow these steps. But if we all follow the same guidelines, we’re all destined to be mediocre.

What a genius advertisement. Four words. Two sentences. Changed me. Challenged me.

Your Personal Brand: Using LinkedIn for Messaging

LinkedIn endorsements launched in September of 2012, with the purpose of recognizing your 1st-degree connections’ skills and expertise with one simple click. It turns out that colleagues aren’t our only connections. We all have connected with friends and family members, as well as clients and partners on LinkedIn. What can we learn from their perception of our skills and expertise?

Connecting through LinkedInWhether it’s a problem with society (how do we not know what our best friend does for 40+ hours a week?) or a problem with our LinkedIn behavior (was I not supposed to connect with my mom?) remains unclear. What is evident is that a lot of the people care about you and want to do anything they can to show their support. How sweet is that?

Recently LinkedIn asked me to endorse someone for VMWare. I have no idea what this means, so I decided to click “skip.” That got me thinking–how many other people click “skip” when they don’t understand the requested endorsement? I decided to take a look at my profile.

You wouldn’t know that I’m a content marketer from my endorsements list. My top five endorsed skills are: online marketing, marketing, social media, social media marketing, and email marketing. My guess is that my connections aren’t familiar enough with the skill “content marketing” to endorse me for it.

How can we use this information?

Sometimes we get so advanced in our roles that we start speaking industry lingo without even realizing that it isn’t common vernacular. If you have a fair amount of endorsements from your connections, take a look at what skills they picked for you. Use those words or phrases as a basis for what a majority of people probably understand, and build your messaging around it. In my case, I should probably substitute “content marketing” for “online marketing,” whether I’m talking to family members at Thanksgiving or with potential clients who don’t live in the marketing world.

Use this section as a tool to get to know your audience, so that you can communicate in their language.

Presenting ideas like a pro

As a marketer, people are always asking for your ideas. It’s almost as if they expect you to be an idea-generating machine, and presume that everything that pops into your head will bring a flood of customers immediately. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case.

creativity2

We need time to develop our ideas. Creativity is not at its best when a super-tight timeline is involved. (At least, not for me.) That’s why I carry a notebook or smartphone to jot down notes or thoughts that could develop into something bigger. You never know where you might find the solutions to life’s problems.

Let’s fast forward and say you have your ideas for the next campaign. You need to present them to your boss or client. How should you present those concepts?

  1. Start with the most “normal” idea first. You probably have some creative ideas to show and that’s great! However, jumping right into the craziest idea is like leaping into a pool of ice water. Warm up your audience with the concept that is easiest to grasp. Once they understand the pros and cons of this baseline, they’ll be more prepared to appreciate your brilliant out-of-the-box thinking.
  2. Run through each concept out-loud before your meeting. Sometimes when you explain an idea out-loud, you realize that there are some holes that need to be plugged. Try to do this before your meeting so that your boss or client doesn’t ask those obvious questions.  (This is also a good chance to spend some quality time with the family pet, to see if you can sell them on your idea before you approach a more critical audience. My dog loves it.)
  3. Explain the benefits. This is something that I don’t do enough. The benefits of a certain idea aren’t always apparent, or even understandable to people who aren’t in marketing. Is it easier to measure ROI with one idea, as opposed to another? Does one approach help you learn about your customers?  Whatever your reason, say it with confidence and really sell your idea.

Sometimes we’re afraid to express our thoughts or solutions because we feel vulnerable. We’ve spent a lot of time developing those ideas…what if the other person hates it? Try not to take it personally and don’t let it get you down. In the words of Edwin Land, “An essential aspect of creativity is not being afraid to fail.”