Email Marketing - Part 3 - Creating Effective Campaigns
Join our host, Toby Rosen, in the third episode of our email marketing series. We're talking about top-notch email marketing practices and the importance of action-oriented CTAs. Starting with the paramount aspect of email deliverability, we share the secrets of maintaining a clean list and authenticating your domain, and we'll dig into crafting content that engages your audience and helps drives your potential clients towards a sale.
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Welcome to Legal Marketing 101. I'm Toby Rosen. Welcome back to our Thursday Deep Dive series, where we are again talking about email marketing and active campaign. So let's get to it. Today we are going to be talking about creating effective email campaigns, and this one isn't really that specific to active campaign. But there is a big caveat to that. If you're not using active campaign, depending on what email platform you are using, you may and you should have tons of design and customization options when it comes to emails for your marketing. You should have these. So if you don't, before you dig into this episode, you may want to take a look and reconsider what platform you're using and see if it fulfills everything you need. If design isn't your objective and you don't need more than what you're getting, then that's great and you're fine. But before we dive into content and design, we need to talk about email deliverability. Deliverability is really critical for marketing because we're talking about whether or not our emails actually land in the intended inboxes or if they're just getting sent to spam, and that can be the death knell for your marketing campaigns if you don't act quickly. And now you might be thinking I'm using active campaign or I'm using MailChimp or SendGrid. Isn't that enough? Well, not quite, even with the powerful tools at your disposal from these platforms. The world of email deliverability is really complex, and we need to make sure everything is firing on all cylinders to maximize the effectiveness of our campaigns. So let's break it down into a few more digestible pieces. Number one is maintaining a clean email list. The foundation of good email deliverability is a clean list, so you want to remove invalid, inactive or bouncing email addresses regularly. You can do this with automation, but I also recommend doing a like big manual sweep every now and then to make sure no one drops through the cracks or gets lost. Keeping your list clean not only ensures that you're sending emails to engaged recipients, but also signals to your email service providers that you're a responsible sender. The ESPs may not make their guidelines for low performance really that easily accessible, but rest assured they're monitoring things. Number two, though, is authenticating your domain, which is annoying, but it's necessary, because in the internet world, this is a little bit like putting a stamp on an official document, and I'm going to throw a few acronyms at you here, but you really need to implement SPF, dkim and DMARC records to prove to your email service providers that your emails are legitimate and not some impersonator that's trying to scam your recipients. If you're using Active Campaign or one of the big providers, they should be taking care of this kind of thing for you, and if they're not, or if you have concerns, you can reach out to support to help resolve any deliverability issues, especially if you're with Active Campaign. Number three, though quality is king, because when it comes to whether or not spam filters are picking up your emails, the quality of your content does really matter. Your subject lines matter. The body text of your emails matters, and we're going to talk about how to create that content that actually gets opens and clicks in a moment, but the same principles essentially apply to bypassing the spam filter, so you want to avoid using excessive capitalization symbols or misleading phrases that scream spam and focus on creating engaging subject lines and informative, valuable content for the bodies of your emails. Esps are getting better and better at filtering out spam and low quality content, and, with spammers and fishers getting their hands on more and more advanced AI, legit businesses like ours are going to have to step up their game. Number four is to keep an eye on your reputation. We've talked a lot about reputation in terms of local SEO and in terms of marketing generally, and how you have to monitor your Uber rating on top of all of this. I'm sure you're getting tired of hearing about keeping track of reputation and scores in so many places. There's so many things, but unfortunately, with email, we do have a reputation or a sender score to monitor when it comes to this kind of marketing. Our email program might provide this for us, or you can use something like senderscoreorg to check if there's anything weird going on. Number five is to engage your subscribers or respect their unsubscribe requests. We talked about cleaning up your lists and why that's important, but inactive subscribers can also be a red flag to ESPs. I suggest running an automated re-engagement campaign to check in with users over the course of a few days or weeks and see if they're still there. You may be able to win back a few contacts and get them to pay attention, but you'll also likely be able to prune a few leads that have gone cold from your list. You're probably also going to see a few unsubscribes, especially if you're emailing a list that's on the older side, and you guys, as lawyers, know the importance of consent, but I can't reinforce this enough. Always, always, always honor unsubscribe requests promptly. Failing to do so not only tarnishes your reputation, makes people angry and pissed, but it also violates email marketing regulations. I'm sure you guys know that part as well as I do. Now there is a lot more that you can do to boost your deliverability, and if this doesn't resolve your issue, give me a shout. I'm happy to help you out, whether it's fixing your sending patterns or implementing a testing and spam checking process, or just getting more engaged with your metrics to actually understand what's going on. Deliverability is a huge beast, and while the five tactics we've talked about today will put you on the right track, we've got to move on, because we need to talk about content, which is again another beast. So we're going to talk about things in somewhat broad strokes, but fear not, we will have more on content in future episodes. So you already know that content is powerful and that it's the real meat of email marketing. But just sending any old email isn't going to cut it. In the current digital landscape, things are more competitive than ever. We're fighting dozens or hundreds of brands for the attention of every potential client, whether you realize it or not. So when we're lucky enough to have someone open our email. We only have a few seconds to captivate them, inform them and really resonate with that particular user. And that starts with a captivating subject line. Think of your subject line as the headline of a newspaper article. It should grab attention, spark curiosity, and it should give your recipients a reason to actually open your email. So think about using action words or posing a question or addressing a specific pain point that someone in your audience might have. Obviously, what you say here can vary quite a bit, but remember that people like answers to their questions and they like free stuff as well. Subject lines probably deserve an episode entirely just for themselves and all of the tricks you can play and strategies that you can put. There's so many, so we're not going to dive too deep there. My main recommendation for subject lines is to test, test your subject lines, test personalization, test everything that you possibly can. But let's move on to the body of the email, where there are quite a few things we can do to increase engagement. Once we get someone to actually open an email, which is, in the grand scheme of things, that's relatively easy we need that person to take action, though, and that's a lot harder, but there are a few things you can do to increase this, kids. Let's start with personalization. Don't you love it when someone remembers your name, even if you're not particularly close? It makes you feel important and remembered. It gives us all this little bit of a feeling that we have some value to that other person, even if we don't know them well. Your email recipients and your potential clients feel the exact same way, so address them by their name and, when possible, personalize the content based on their previous interactions with your firm or information that's relevant to the client. We've talked about making sure the right people receive the right content by using tags, but we can take this a step deeper. Most email providers offer some sort of variable system for including personalized information about clients within emails, and people are just more likely to engage when they feel that the email was crafted just for them. The psychology of this isn't really that tough to grasp. You'll usually see this referred to as email personalization or something similar and, depending on what you've seen, just keep in mind that this should be endlessly customizable. It's nice to add names and other bits of personal info, but this personalization can be extended to assist automation in quite a few really fun ways, and that's also another one for a future episode. So, focusing back in on content, there are a couple of other best practices to quickly highlight, namely that clarity and being concise are paramount. Most of us are already waist deep in a pool of email, so keeping things to the point will work in your favor most of the time. There is a major exception to this for long term nurturing campaigns, but in general, less is more. At the same time, though, we still want to provide some value by either addressing common legal concerns or offering some type of insight, or even by sharing an update that our audience could find useful. But now, maybe most critically, above perhaps any other part of your email, you need to have a call to action, or CTA. We've talked about CTAs before. Every email that's part of your marketing or intake sequence should have a clear and compelling CTA. Whether it's to schedule a consultation, download a guide, attend a webinar, make sure that CTA stands out. Choose some action oriented language like schedule now or get started or get this free thing. Every piece of marketing should have an objective, and the content in that marketing is what's going to deliver that. Without a CTA, you're essentially letting your marketing ship set off without an engine or a sale. In two weeks you'll find your campaign beach somewhere nearby and the crew long gone. My fun boat analogy is aside, your CTA really is super important, and it's not just what's in your CTA, but how it shows up. So we need to talk a little bit about design once again. If you've worked with me, you'll know that my design skills are much more theoretical than they are actual, but I do have my stripes when it comes to understanding what's going to look good in a client's inbox and what is not going to get read, and I may not like it, but design does play a really crucial role in email marketing. The big pitfall I see law firms falling into, though, is that they let it overshadow their message with over designed templates. A visually appealing email will grab attention, and in some cases it's going to increase conversion rates, but the key to that is always that the message is shining through and that the design is not clouding the action we're trying to elicit from the recipient of the email, and this is even more important now, giving the mobile centric age we're in. Your email should look just as good, if not better, on a smartphone than it does on a desktop. So use a single column layout and focus on larger fonts to improve readability and keep the size of your buttons in check. That'll keep you on the right track. But don't forget to preview and test these emails. Even if you think you've designed it great, don't forget to preview and test your emails before they go out. You are the last step of review between something insane going out to your email list and something that generates leads going out, and that testing is the last part of our episode today. Now I'm going to breeze through this a bit, because if you're a regular listener on the podcast, you know that AB testing is my favorite and I hope you're sick of me talking about it by now. But what I just mentioned testing the mobile responsiveness and the design of your emails is really just the first step. We're going to talk about it more in another episode in this series. But when it comes to email, we have a mountain of variables. We can test from subject lines to content and content formats and CTA placements and colors and different shapes. The list is endless and we are going to get there. But today what you need to look at is three things your open rates, which will tell you how well your headlines are performing. Your click through rates, which will tell you how well your content is performing. And your conversion rates, which will tell you how well the rest of your sales process is doing. These three numbers are going to be a part of your life now and we will talk about them more later, but it's good to start getting familiar with where you're at in your account so you'll know how you're doing compared to the benchmarks we'll talk about later, but even right now you can start using these metrics to start refining your strategy. Low open rate try some new headlines. Low click through rate add some more links, change some things, make something shorter or make something longer. You won't know which variable is the squeaky gear in the system until you try it out. When it comes to content, the key to success is finding that delicate balance between being engaging and informative with your content and design and funneling users towards a sale. That's it for Legal Marketing 101. Check out rosanadvertisingcom for more Thanks.