Wednesday, September 26, 2012

How to get more readers to open your business email ...

In business, good communication with customers, prospects, vendors and stakeholders is critical. Broadcast email is still widely regarded as one of the most cost effective ways to reach an audience today.

How you use email is a matter of individual tactics. Do you use broadcast emails or just communicate specifically with one person at a time?  Do you look upon receiving these as spam or direct communication?  How does email fit in to the marketing mix of what you do to attract and retain business?

Email use may be trending more towards business and marketing related activity, but it is still the pivot point for all things online. One aspect most social media sites still can not get past - you need an email address to sign up for them and for them to send your notifications such as a lost password.  Sorry Mr. Zuckerberg, that's just how you set the system up. 

I built Round Table Promotions on the strength of broadcast email. One phrase I hear quite often when meeting someone for the first time is, "I get your emails." In the age of social media, people I come in contact with still want to get the emails I send out, or want to be on the list. My lists may have grown and shrunk over time, but people still appreciate hearing from another business owner they know and trust.

Emerging technologies keep influencing how we communicate, but email in some form is here to stay. Four years ago, mobile marketing ... using text messages to cell phones was supposed to be the next big means to communicate. This has been significantly reduced by Smart Phone Apps, which let users choose when they want to interact with you through a dedicated application. Of course, there is an financial and time investment in developing this technology. Many people push out messages using all number of general and focus specific social media sites. 

Here are three quick ideas to improve what you are already doing: 

One - Give me a reason to read it from the moment I see it.  Treat the subject like like you were writing a newspaper headline. Make it stick out and do so with good word economy, right around seven words if you can. 

If it is a newsletter or offering, use something from inside that will pique the reader's curiosity. "How to stop losing money by ... secrets of successful ... How to get more readers to open your business email - I recently used that headline and it attracted your attention.  In a broadcast email, action words including FREE, gain, receive, act now to are great attention getter's. Other words that cut through the clutter include: secret, awesome, skills and helpful

When you send out individual emails, the same rule applies.  With a subject saying just "Minutes from Tuesday's Meeting," you are less likely to get an open verses "Need you to review these minutes from Tuesday's Meeting."  A call to action will get it out of the stack and in front of the receiver's eyeballs.

Two - Have the right mixture of selling and telling.  Reward me for opening any email I get by making me fell smarter for having done so.  Avoid sending a broadcast business email that only sells, sells, sells.  Even if you are promoting something, look for a way to make us aware of something that will help us feel better, smarter or solve a problem. Include a tip, which could spark interest in a different product or service your offer. 

For individual correspondence, think back to when people sent actual, formal business letters.   Use some of the transitions that you would use back then: Thank you for your assistance with this ...  I appreciate the prompt attention you are giving this matter ... I appreciate our most recent meeting and gained a great deal from it.  For those of you who are "just the facts" types, you are missing out on opportunities to increase your rapport with this person and bring ideas to the dialogue that they may or may not have thought of before. 

Three - Test, test, test what you're doing. Learn from the tests. Pay attention to the things that get you results. If something you did or said gets a quick response rate or a positive rate of interaction, then use that knowledge the next time. Don't stay stuck in three years ago - continue to test and monitor. 

For broadcast emails, test your subject lines. There is a rule that if you send out two emails with the same exact content, but change just the subject lines, one will have a superior open rate verses the other. I have found this to be true every time.

I am offering a FREE online conference call for business professionals who design and implement their own marketing programs or those valuable assistants who do this on behalf of an organization. 

To better accommodate your busy schedule, we have two sessions from which to choose:
Tuesday, October 23, 2012 from 4:00 PM to 5:00 PM EDT*/1:00 PM PDT^ - 

Thursday, October 25, 2012 from 11:00 AM to 12:00 PM EDT*/8:00 AM PDT^ - 

When you register in advance, you will receive a confirmation email with instructions on how to participate. Take the next step towards becoming a more powerful communicator using this tool. Sign up NOW!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Dead Words

The following words have been officially proclaimed as dead: "stuff," "think," "nice, "fun," "good" and "great."

This news comes to me from my youngest daughter Leelee and her fifth grade class. Her teacher has posted them on the wall of the classroom in an attempt to have her students use more exact language in their speaking and writing. I applaud this.

These are the tired, bland, polite, lifeless words that most kids and far too many adults use in writing, conversations and communicating with each other. Our messages would be more clear and precise if we never used these ever again. Catch yourself ... listen as you speak and look as you proof your writing. Are you keeping these tepid, powerless words alive as verbal zombies?  We are now going to be word killers.

"Stuff." - We all have too much stuff. Yet, the word doesn't describe anything we own.   If you want an accurate examination of this, enjoy this clip of George Carlin. He makes the point about our slavery to items we own. Let's put this word out of our misery! (DISCLAIMER: This is a classical Carlin clip, so he does use great language and drop in a few swear words to keep it salty.  If you are sensitive about this, don't watch it - just keep reading.) 

"Think" - I know that "think" needs to be sent a early grave. Too many people begin any information they share with these two words: "I think."  When giving an opinion, out will pop the cousin of I think, "I feel."  Why not jump right in to your reasons?  Do our opinions need a running start to get up to speed?  Do we need to tell the world that ideas were first in our brains, and then came from our mouth?  Using this dramatically waters down our ideas and insights. Share them direct. We know you can think.

"Nice." - My skin is crawling. The word "nice" tends to be used in rather a wishy-washy sense these days. In general use it tends to mean anything that is satisfactory, but not too strong ... since we don't want to over commit or hurt someone's feelings if they feel differently.  Sit near any playground and you will hear a maternal voice over the din of the kids calling out at some point, "PLAY NICE!"  Let's grab a stake, stab it in the heart and kill this one now!

"Fun" is done. Again, another bland excuse to hold back how we really feel. If something is truly fun, take us on the journey. Give your communications the full power of what happened.  Let us know the full range and then we can determine if your your level of enjoyment. "Fun" is done, in my book.

The twins "Good" and "Great" are last on the list. Good is a tepid endorsement at best. Upon hearing the word good, we want to know the down side. Why wasn't it great?  "Great" suffers from  a lack of specifics. If I tell you that it was "Great," the question "Why?" isn't far behind. "Great"  works for animated tigers promoting breakfast cereal. Take the buffer out of your sentence and tell us that it was the most delicious meal you can recall, a truly memorable vacation, the wisest investment you ever made or your professional recommendation.  Maybe we can kill these two with a bank shot?

You have better words, thoughts and insights inside you - I know it! Take the time to post these words at your desk. As you proof your writing or collect your thoughts, take the time to move past these words.  Lets call them dead and buried. Rest In Peace!