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2 Growing Your Business with Email Marketing Templates

email marketing

photo credit: Flickr

Which templates generate the best engagement? What kind of ‘asks’ will get you closer to your goals? By the end of this article, you will be able to write a killer email template that will get your contacts opening your emails in a heartbeat.

As a digital marketer who works primarily within the startup space, I am constantly under the gun to create low-budget marketing initiatives that drive growth but are still simple enough for a single (often non-marketing) person to carry out. I often turn to email marketing due to its straightforward nature. The right email templates can help you execute various email campaigns far more efficiently, but drafting an effective template can be a major stumbling block; there are just so many variables to keep in mind, like the length of the email and avoiding a sales-like tone.

After working on a multitude of email campaigns, I’ve identified the golden standard for marketing email templates. Read on to learn what kind of email templates can help you grow your business.

1. The Initial Email

Your opener is, perhaps, the most important part of your entire outreach and can often determine whether you gain a new client / contact, or end up on their block list. The trick is to research your contact, know what they care about, and appeal to their interests in the first two sentences of the email. For example, let’s say I am promoting my own content and want an influencer to post it on their site and link back to me. I might begin my email by referencing an article I liked on *their* website that is also relevant to the content I am promoting.

Consider the following template (items in brackets are custom fields):

Hi, [Tim the Trainer]

I was just reading your recent article on [ferret Frisbee training]. I found it to be extremely insightful and will be adding these methods to my ferret’s training regime!

I work for a ferret training firm in Cambridge, MA and I recently wrote a step-by-step guide to cooking the best ferret food that I think your audience would love. The food is very cheap to make, extremely nutritious, and my two ferrets love it.

Let me know if you would be interested in checking it out! 
   
Warm regards,

Drew

Notice that I am not asking for anything; only offering to add value to my contact. That’s a key component to the golden initial email— do not include a link or attachment to your content, and don’t ask for anything other than to help them. This builds rapport with your contact.

Also, make sure to keep your initial email brief, personal, and use a specific call-to-action (CTA). In just 5 sentences, I was able to:

  1. Establish a personal connection
  2. Introduce my content
  3. Pitch the value of hosting my content


The faster that you can accomplish these 3 things in your opening email, the better your chances of keeping people’s attention.

2. Positive Response Email

So, let’s say that Tim the Trainer liked the idea of your ferret food article and wants to hear more. Congrats, you are in! Now you can send them a link to check out your content as promised, and you can encourage them to share it with their audiences by— once again— offering your help. See below:

Tim,


Thanks for the reply, you can check it out here:

The Best Ferret Food of All Time- http://www.affordableferretfood.com/diu

If you decide to share this on your site, I’d be happy to write a custom intro to the post for you. 

Looking forward to your feedback!

3. Rejection as an Opportunity

email marketing

photo credit: flickr

Suppose that Tim responds but only to let you know that he will not be posting your content. This email actually opens the door to some great opportunities; though the current article might not get published on Tim’s website, chances are that he will have many useful connections within your target group and would be willing to refer you. Since you’re coming from a referral, these connections are likely to respond favorably to you.

I respond to these types of rejections by asking for an introduction to a colleague who might be a better fit, creating an opportunity out of a rejection.

Hey Tim,

Thanks for giving my article a look. Do you know anyone who would be a better fit for this type of content? I would also be interested in producing an article that would fit well with your website. I have been considering the following topics:

  • Top 5 summer ferret toys of 2015
  • Make your own ferret toys at home
  • Ferret toys that you may want to avoid this season

Would you be interested in posting about any of these topics?

Best,

Drew

Notice that this follow-up template also pitches a few custom articles tailored to this particular website. I don’t offer this service to just any of our publishing prospects but, if the right, high-authority website presents the opportunity, it never hurts to take it.

4. The 1-Week Rule             

Screen Shot 2015-12-03 at 1.29.32 PMIf a contact has not responded within one week’s time, I send out an email reminder. Whatever their reason, if you haven’t heard back within a week, the chances that you will never hear back are pretty high, so at this point you have nothing to lose by following-up. I often see the best responses to my follow-up when I use the following template:

Hi Tim,

Hope all is well! It’s been a week and I had not heard back from you yet, so I wanted to follow-up regarding the addition of my Ferret Food Article at http://www.affordableferretfood.com/diu to your list of helpful resources. 

It would be fantastic to hear your feedback on the content.

Thanks again – I appreciate your time and look forward to hearing from you soon!

All the Best,

Drew


[Note: I DO include the link to our resource in the follow-up because, at this point, it doesn’t hurt to make your content readily available and possibly expedite the process.]

Passing the Torch

These are some of the core components to a successful email template, but every case is different, so keep experimenting to see what works best for your unique space. I have given you the tools that you need, now it is up to you to build something memorable!

 

DrewDrew Frayre is a digital marketing analyst at Chimaera Labs . He manages SEO, web analytics, and content marketing for clients in the tech space.

2 Are You Getting the Most From Your Public Speaking Skills?

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photo credit: shutterstock

As a small business owner, you’re living the American dream. You work for yourself, create jobs, and strengthen the economy. And people want to hear about it!

You might not consider yourself a talented orator, but one of the skills that got you this far — your ability to sell an idea — makes you an excellent candidate for public speaking.

Don’t fool yourself by thinking no one wants to hear what you have to say. Most people dream of working for themselves, and they want to learn from people who are doing it. While you might think you’re too busy, the best small business owners make time to speak because they recognize the value of exposure.

Public speaking not only helps you network, but it also establishes you as an expert in your field. The more you provide for others (especially other small business owners), the more you can increase your reach and grow your personal brand.

Use the Power of Observation

To become a better speaker, all you need to do is use your power of observation. Notice the world around you and communicate to others what you see.

One of my favorite speakers, Arel Moodie, likes to ask an audience member to jump as high as he can next to a wall. After marking the spot, Moodie places a $10 bill two inches higher and tells the person to jump again. Needless to say, everyone manages to grab the money the second time.

Moodie’s speech provides a great example of what observation can accomplish. He noticed how the power of reward changes not only people’s mindsets, but also their abilities, and he came up with a simple yet effective way to demonstrate that.

You don’t have to make your audience literally jump to be a good speaker; you just have to help them better understand a concept that helped you along your career path.

Start Speaking Up

To get started, you need to find the right crowd. Knowing you’re talking to the right people helps you motivate the room, motivate yourself, and find allies who might help you grow your business. For example, if you’re looking for new employees, give an engaging, interactive presentation to young job seekers.

Get involved by volunteering at industry-specific events so people will think of you when speakers are needed.

Create a persona for yourself within your industry as an expert in a certain field, and share your triumphs and trials. People like speakers they can relate to. In the end, you go from being an unknown small business owner to someone people look up to and want to work with.

Speaking helps keep you motivated to continue taking on the world. Business owners stay alive by learning from and sharing with others, so surround yourself with people who challenge you to go beyond your limits, then do the same for them!

 

10.5 headshotAnthony Russo has been a self-employed business owner for more than five years, and his seven-figure agency, Identity Marketing, is recognized among the top companies in the field of experiential promotional marketing. Russo is also a professional speaker and an emcee for large national events.

 

5 7 Activities That Don’t Scale but Will Win You Customers

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Photo Credit:www.launchsolid.com

Starting a business is hard work and early on you will need to hustle to find your first customers. There is no need to stress right away about what marketing channels will scale because you won’t know which options work best. And even when you do find out what will scale, it’s often the activities that don’t scale that will continue to provide the best ROI.

1. Attend an Industry Conference

For example, if your business is building websites for construction companies, you need to find out the most popular conferences. A quick Google search shows these conferences would be a good bet to attend: Construction Super Conference or the International Conference on Transportation. For your first few conferences, going as an attendee is recommended so you can scope them out and determine if it makes sense for you to come back as a vendor (and possibly rent a booth). Spend time walking the aisles, and I love hanging out by the lunch area, if you sit down at the right table and strike up a good conversation you can make a critical connection.

2. Organize a Q&A with Industry Experts

Create a list of 6-10 questions and reach out to industry experts to see if they want to participate. Package up the responses in a PDF, include bios and photos and make sure to give everyone a copy. Blog about the responses and encourage participants to get the word out. Since you are appealing to the vanity of the experts, it’s very easy to drum up interest, don’t be afraid to ask!

3. Sponsor Relevant Meetup Events

Meetup events all over the world are going on and they are often just a handful of people. If you target relevant Meetup groups and offer to sponsor their next event, you will find a lot of takers. Sometimes money to buy pizza is all you need to do and the organizer will add a special offer on their Meetup page and if you’re lucky and/or persuasive they will announce it at the event.

4. Solicit Individual and Personalized Feedback on Your Product or Service

Early on it’s a struggle to get even 5 or 10 people on board as customers. When you do get the first few customers reach out to each one of them with a personal email and thank them for trying you out. Ask for pointed feedback and if you can get them to spare 10 to 15 minutes on the phone that is fantastic as they will provide helpful insight about your product.

5. Attend Local Meetings/Events

Leverage your hometown or nearest big city to attend marketing groups and meetings. Chamber of Commerce meetings or local business groups are a great place to start. It’s not that you will necessarily find your ideal customer in your backyard, but once you start talking about your new company, your networking may uncover other opportunities. In addition, the people you meet may know other people that will help propel your business forward.

6. Target Tangentially Related Companies for Joint Marketing Efforts

If you own a stock photo site, it would make sense to contact web development companies as they often need stock photos when they are creating new websites. You could create a co-branded landing page that provides a discount to the web development companies if they want to have access to a special offer on your site. You could send their special offer to your email list (and vice versa) if you want to do additional joint marketing.

7. Create Handwritten Letters as a Relationship Builder

The old school approach can win you big points. If you take time to customize handwritten letter like this example here, you have a great shot at making a beneficial introduction. Do your homework and understand what the person likes and dislikes before writing the letter and make sure to send it to their place of business.

11.16 headshotChad Fisher is a co-founder of Content Runner, a marketplace for connecting users and freelance writers for the creation of unique written content. Friends of Duct Tape Marketing can create a free account and receive a $30 credit to try out the writers on Content Runner, click here to learn more!

2 Social Customer Service Metrics: 3 Case Studies

Featured Image

photo credit: Flickr

How has marketing changed thanks to social media? Well, now 90% of customers are influenced by online reviews. Some companies cringe when they hear this: The decision whether to buy can come down to a good or bad Yelp review. And we all know some customers can be finicky, their opinions arbitrary and skewed. But some can be incredibly on point.   

Since so many people are influenced by consumer reviews, customer service is a new form of marketing. Customer satisfaction turns into word of mouth, word of mouth converts the potential customer.

Word of mouth/peer-to-peer marketing isn’t just happening via review platforms. It’s happening constantly on channels such as Facebook and Twitter, to name the major players. For that reason, social media listening, or monitoring, helps marketers and business owners understand more about the following:

  •         How people are talking about a brand – positive/negative sentiment
  •         Likes, dislikes concerning products
  •         Additional products or product modifications customers want  
  •         Complaints

The sheer volume of conversation going on allows businesses to analyze metrics and adjust customer service and marketing based on the numbers (i.e. number of negative posts about a product vs number of positive posts). Peer-to-peer marketing doesn’t exclude business-to-consumer social marketing—it runs alongside it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We can learn quite a lot about what customers want, and what they like, from social media metrics. We can also learn from businesses who are doing this well. Here’s a look at some of the exemplars in different industries.

Five Guys

The burger franchise is all about social media for marketing and customer service. Through their efforts, Five Guys has one million followers on various channels, which has helped them open twelve-hundred locations worldwide. Online Marketing Specialist, Kenneth Westling, identifies three facets of the Five Guys social media campaign that contribute to its success:

  • Prioritizing customer service
  • Involving employees at home and abroad
  • Monitoring “engagement metrics” and “tailoring content based on what works for each social network audience”

Five Guys looks at posts related to brand and keywords and creates content based on what people are saying. Further, they use geo-locational data to zero in on marketing successes, product and service issues, and how people are feeling about unique campaigns around the world. They use Hootsuite to track as many types of hashtags about their company as possible and reach out to consumers on an individual level, talking with them, not at them.

UPS

The shipping company created a Customer Communications team to focus on, “Daily content and managing brand communications and reputation.” This team corresponds directly with a social customer service representative team, which reports to the overlying Social/Digital team. The Social/Digital team is more concerned with metrics and strategy. In terms of metrics, they measure the following:

  •         Conversation sentiment
  •         Engagement
  •         Organic audience growth
  •         Pull-through on Calls to Action

Their social customer service representatives work on responding to customer issues as quickly as possible. They get the most customer service inquiries on Twitter, then Facebook. They use social media to, “Serve as a barometer for customer concerns or business opportunities.” UPS’ efforts are an example of compartmentalizing different aspects of the social strategy, but integrating each team with the other.

Southwest Airlines

Southwest Airlines just landed on the list of Fortunes’ Top 50 Most Admired Companies. One reason is the companies’ practically legendary social media presence. Southwest’s “best practices” for social customer service include:

  •         Consistent engagement
  •         Timely action
  •         Genuine brand response

Southwest recently created a Listening Center, which they use to solve service issues, share information about their brand, and provide “one-contact resolution” to customers—which reflects their emphasis on personalization—they have teams devoted to each network and encourage flight attendants to post on social media when they find out about a customer’s special occasion.

As a take-home, here are five essential metrics to track:

  •         Engagement rate – amount of interest in a piece of content, divided by number of fans/followers
  •         Share of voice – your mentions vs those of a competitor
  •         Response time – amount of time it takes to respond to a query
  •         Response rate – percentage you responded to mentions
  •         Clicks – number of clicks

Any customer relationship management software can help you track these metrics. And ultimately, your social media campaign will benefit the more you listen.

 

Daniel_Matthewscropped_150x150Daniel Matthews is a freelance writer and musician from Boise, Idaho. In 2006, he earned his Bachelor’s Degree in English with a Creative Writing Emphasis from Boise State University. Throughout his twenties, Daniel worked as a Psychosocial Rehabilitation Specialist, a marketer, and a server. Last year he took the plunge and became a full-time writer. Daniel believes one of the most important, if not the most important aspect of modern business is the understanding and appreciate of diverse cultures. Please find him on Twitter.

 

12 Why Your Business Needs a Google+ Page Too

It’s guest post day here at Duct Tape Marketing and today’s guest is from Diana Gomez – Enjoy! 

If you are on Google+ (which you are) and if you run a business (which you do), you also need to create a G+ Page for your business that is wholly separate and distinct from your personal G+ profile.

Essentially, Google designed Google Pages to address the specific needs of business owners seeking to maximize Google’s features for their professional purposes.

Here are some of the basics you need to know for mastering your G+ business listing and some tips on where to devote your energies to reap the greatest rewards in harnessing the power of G+ for your business marketing strategy as well as enhancing your business’ reach across the online realm:

First Impressions Matter

With so much competition in any given field, unless you can create a visually stimulating profile page for your business, there’s a high likelihood that searchers will simply move on to the next business in the carousel that has prioritized its appearance.

At a minimum, your business page cover photo needs to represent your brand and indicate what line of business you are in. You may love kittens, but your business’ cover photo is not the venue to display this affinity (unless you are in the business of kittens, that is). If you are not, leave them on your personal G+ Profile Page or on an adorable YouTube video where they belong.

Ideally, the photo will be clear and will adapt well regardless which device the user employs. More and more searchers are doing so via mobile devices, so making sure your G+ Business Page is compatible is a must.

In addition, make certain that your properly linked website conveys the same message!

Google Maps Matters

The best way to establish your place “on the map” is by establishing your place on the map, literally.

When your business profile clearly lists your business address, your physical location will automatically show up when people search for your area of expertise using Google Maps. And that’s why it’s also important that you select the most-appropriate business category – Google wants to connect you with your potential customers, so help them help you.

Make sure your listing shows your address exactly as it appears on your website. Additionally, don’t just stop at your business name, location and physical phone number. Provide as much information as possible. Include hours of operation, a description of what you do in general, and a few specifics such as: most popular products and most requested information.

And perhaps most important, consistency across all of your business channels is key. If Google lists your address differently, change the one on your website to match theirs. Those who are willing to play the game according to Google’s rules are the ones whose businesses will benefit in the end.

Connect Through Conversations

One of the newest aspects of social media that Google is working to integrate across their own products is hashtags. Whenever you post something on your business page (and you should as often as possible), include relevant hashtags because Google now recognizes those in searches when it shows up on their own G+ outlets. If you are using the “right” hashtag at the “right time,” Google just might reward you with an increased rank in search.

As we all know, there’s no secret formula for getting to the top of the Google search charts. But if you follow these optimization guidelines when setting up your Google+ Business Page and listing, you are that much closer to connecting to your customers when they seek you out via Search, Maps, G+ or mobile devices.

And the best part is that by putting the work in upfront and staying on top of regular updates, from that point on, the rest will be taken care of by Google marketing automation.

DianaGomezDiana Gomez is the Marketing Coordinator at Lyoness America, where she is instrumental in the implementation of marketing and social media strategies for USA and Canada. Lyoness is an international shopping community and loyalty rewards program, where businesses and consumers benefit with free membership and money back with every purchase. Check out Lyoness on Facebook.

 

12 Shut Up & Social Listen

Thursday is guest post day here at Duct Tape Marketing and today’s guest is Shay Wright – Enjoy!

At any given moment, there are literally millions of different conversations happening online, and some of these conversions could actually be related to your specific product or brand. Are you listening to these conversations? If you are, are you listening for more than just mere words but actual insight and useable feedback? These conversations can offer vital information to further improve your business, product, and online reputation. The key to gaining this important insight, however, is often to simply shut up and listen.

Listening station

photo credit: Beverly & Pack via photopin cc

Listening requires patience and understanding of the customer’s point of view, and many companies don’t like this. They prefer to do more talking, and they are so overly anxious to get their message out that they end up missing the mark because they have not taken the time to really listen to their customers.

Listen For The Right Reason

Nobody likes the idea of some nosy company listening in on their conversations about a particular product or brand. If you’re listening in just to feed your ego or slam anyone that says something negative about you, you are in it for the wrong reason. When it comes to social listening, first ask yourself what your motivation is. If your motivation entails anything other than striving to better understand your customers in order to serve them better, you are in it for the wrong reason, and your social listening efforts aren’t going to lead yield the results you had in mind. Listen for the right reason, and your time spent listening will be some of the most effective time you spend.

Benefits of Social Listening

While social listening does require some time and patience, the benefits of social listening far outweigh the time and effort involved.  Below are a few of the many benefits that social listening can bring.

1. Tool For Testing

The great thing about the Internet is that it is a great way to get a quick reaction and immediate feedback from people. You can test the waters without investing a lot of additional time and money into something that people might not be that interested in. Put your product or content out there and listen to how people respond before deciding how to proceed with it. You may decide to throw out your idea altogether or even go bigger than you originally planned.

L.L. Bean often uses its online audience to test out new merchandise for its stores. Online test marketing can help large retailers like L.L. Bean determine just how popular a product will be before placing it in stores across the country.

2. Find Your Audience

With the right social listening tools, you can find out where your targeted audience hangs out. There are a lot of niche communities where you might find a plethora of people interested in your specific product or service. If you find out where your targeted audience tends to hang out, you can listen to their conversations, better under their points of view, their wants and needs, their likes and dislikes, etc. And when the timing is right, you can later join in the conversation or carry out a marketing campaign in that specific community. You have to take the time to listen first though.

3. Find Advocates

Never underestimate the value of your true brand advocates, and you’ll find out exactly who they are by doing proper social listening. If you come across someone that talks about how great your product or service is, enlist this person in your cause. Brand advocates can become some of your most valuable assets.

4. Content Ideas

If you are doing a good job of social listening, you often discover common questions or concerns that your audience has in relation to your product or service. You can then use this information to develop content that solves their questions and concerns. If a lot of people are confused about how to use a particular feature of your product, write a blog post about it and reference it, when appropriate, in online conversations.

Conclusion

Keep in mind that just because a conversation is happening around your brand doesn’t mean you have to jump in the conversation right away, as tempting as it might be. Take the time to listen first, and then use the information you gather during the listening process to respond to your audience in the most effective way possible.

Some great tools you can use for social listening include Google Alerts, HootSuite, Social Mention, and Fresh Web Explorer.

shayContributed by Shay Wright. Shay loves to read, write, and discuss pretty much anything Internet marketing related and is currently working as a Senior SEO Specialist as SEO.com – the leaders in search engine optimization and other Internet marketing solutions for businesses of all sizes.

17 Blogging Customer Stories

Lincoln SignThere are so many good reasons for small businesses to use blogging as an essential marketing and communications tool that I can only hope my occasional examples turn the light bulbs on for those who still don’t yet see the value.

Lincoln Sign Company in Lincoln, NH – a company that makes and installs all manner of custom signs and not exactly the first kind of business you think of when you think Web2.0 – has been blogging for several years and is a great model for what a small business can do with this tool.

One of the things they recently initiated was a way to use the blog as a way to tell the complete story of a sign as it is being made in their shop.

Our new strategy can be summed up as follows; “We are not using our blog to sell signs, we are using our blog to sell the EXPERIENCE of getting a sign.”

As we create a sign in-house, we blog about it throughout the process, and it enables us to interact with our customers as a new way. We also use it as a selling point.

“At the end , you get more than a sign, you get a sign, AND the story of how that sign was made.”

We have also just started providing our customers with “Memory Boxes”. Basically paint samples, scrap materials, hand-written notes, etc. The flotsam and jetsam of making a sign

This post sums up their new approach

This is such a smart way to use content as a marketing strategy. They get great buy in from the customer as to the value of the process (my guess is they aren’t the cheapest around), they create a story that can be used over and over again and they automatically create web content that brings them search engine traffic.

8 Friday roundup of stuff

That’s not a very catchy title is it?

Oh well, I just wanted to share a couple things that may be of interest.

1 Live blogging the Thanksgiving drive

I’m headed down I-35 somewhere south of Oklahoma City fully wireless and blogging – don’t worry I’m not driving.

But here’s the thought I wanted to share. Two of my daughters are sitting in the back seat plugged into a movie – TranFormers (they’re really too old for that, but that’s another story.) The point is that they both have headsets on and occasionally they erupt into various forms of giggles at something that happened in the movie. It’s kind of sweet to hear these spontaneous giggles, but the odd thing is that they giggle at different times. In other words, what they think is funny is different for them.

I wonder how many people visit our web sites, read our sales copy and listen to our pitches and, effectively, laugh at different parts, and maybe not the parts we thought they would laugh or not at.

Test, test, test everything. It’s a amazing how different the same web page can appear to different people. Know what you want people to do when you make a point, create a web page, write a sales letter and then get some people together to see if they get it. You are probably too close to know what the funny parts are anymore.

By the way, some of the roadkill out here in North Texas looks pretty good for T-day.

8 Content is a verb, content is a strategy?

video cameraIf content is king, and it is, then what, really, is content these days?

On the web, it’s simply not enough to write hard hitting sales copy and call it content. Content, content that educates and builds trust, has become much more active than that and requires a strategic view to be truly effective.

    To compete in the content is king world small business marketers must consider creating, aggregating and filtering the following forms of content:

  • Written content (blogs, articles, static web pages, RSS feeds and news updates)
  • Spoken content (podcasts, testimonials, case studies, core messages, press releases)
  • Video content (tutorials, case studies, testimonials, customer generated, company story, demos and stunning images)

The bar has been raised and your prospects expect to find information in the format they want. They expect to be able to consume this content in many ways, including on a mobile device like an iPhone. You can’t afford to sit this out.

And, guess what, Google, Yahoo and MSN think so much of the mixed media content strategy they have all begun some form of what is being called Universal Search. Now when a surfer goes to a search engine looking for content they may find local directory results, images and video mixed into the organic results. If you aren’t producing these types of content you may find it tougher to compete.

For a great primer on Universal Search look no further than this post from Lee Odden at TopRank.