Q&A from The UnWebinar

I had such an amazing time moderating The UnWebinar with UnMarketing’s Scott Stratten and Alison Kramer! They tackled your questions about everything from Periscope as a marketing tactic to how making content relevant is more important than making it sexy. (But we’re crossing our fingers that The UnSexinar – where Scott and Alison teach us how to make mundane things like bubblewrap sound sexy – actually comes to fruition.) Most importantly, they left us all with interesting, easily-applicable tips for becoming better marketers.                                 

You submitted so many great questions that we didn’t have time to get to them all. So, I pulled together a list of my favorites (mostly related to email, since that’s kind of our thing) to answer here on the Emma blog. Enjoy!

What are your best tips for segmenting my email audience? – Sarah 

There’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all email. Thankfully, the fact that you’re asking about segmentation means that you (being the savvy marketer that you are) understand that it's critical to sending relevant, targeted messages. And you’re not the only one who’s taking note – 32% of marketers say segmenting their email database is one of their organization’s top objectives (MarketingSherpa).

The best thing about segmentation is that it lets you put all that data you’ve been collecting to work. Dividing your audience based on demographics is one way to do it, or even better, try segmenting your list by past behavior. You can segment based on how they joined your email list, or which type of content they clicked on, or how long it’s been since they opened an email. And if you’re a retailer, segmenting and tailoring based on purchase history is a no brainer.

As a non-profit, how can we best present the content in our e-newsletter to increase engagement? – Elizabeth Goddard

We have too much to include in our newsletter – event promotions, news, merchandise, etc. How can we make it more focused and more effective? – Rebecca 

Email newsletters often produce a serious lack of engagement – we’re talking dismal open and click rates. But it isn’t the newsletter itself that’s the problem: It’s the way that most people use them. Many brands try to accomplish way too much in their newsletters and cram in ALL THE CONTENT. It’s information overload, and in the end, they do very little to drive results.

The email newsletter isn't dead, but it is our T-Rex.

Here are a few simple ways you can improve your email newsletter:

1. Keep it simple. Most people are just scanning your newsletter, so use bold images, write clear headlines and go easy on the copy.
2. Design for mobile. Over half of your email recipients are opening your emails on their phones, so if you’re not designing for mobile, you’re already dooming yourself to failure. Design in a single column (or use a mobile-optimized template), write in a large enough font and incorporate big CTA buttons that are easy to tap on a smartphone.
3. Have one goal. Relevant emails generate 18x more revenue than broadcast emails, so create emails with a single goal in mind and segment accordingly. It’s a surefire way to improve your results.

Is there a way to coordinate e-newsletters with social media to get some synergy between them? – Joyce

There are a few simple things you can do like promoting your signup form on social (always be clear about value!), sharing the weblink to a recent mailing to expand its reach or tease the content of an upcoming send to entice more followers to join your list.

There’s also user-generated content. Thanks to Twitter and Instagram, marketers now have unprecedented access to their consumer’s real-life product experience. Did you know that user-generated content is 50% more trusted by users than traditional media (Ipsos Millenial Social Influence Study)? Or that only 15% of people trust recommendations from brands, while a whopping 84% of people trust recommendations from people they know (WeRSM)?

These stats prove how powerful social media can be when integrated with your email messaging. It allows you to recognize your loyal followers (and build more of them). Plus, it increases the relevance of your emails by directly tying your subscribers’ real-life experiences to the content you serve them.

You can create a blissful union between email and social by incorporating a real-time social feed in your e-newsletter. It’s a simple process: Choose a unique hashtag that you can use to curate images on Instagram. Then include a feed in your email that pulls Instagram posts featuring that hashtag, and they'll fill your email with beautiful imagery that’s relevant and up-to-the-minute each time it's opened.

What’s the best way to gain new email leads? – Ashley

What’s the best way to build an email list for a newsletter? – Paula 

First and foremost, be clear about the value of joining your list and then deliver on it. Once that’s established, if you’re looking for a simple way to quickly grow your list, one method that gets great results is the lightbox form. Before you freak out – we get it: Lightbox-style signup forms (aka pop-ups) can have a pretty bad rap. But despite the anxiety surrounding lightbox forms, they’re really like any other marketing method: Use it badly, you’ll produce bad results. Use it well, you’ll produce good ones.

Love 'em or hate 'em, lightboxes grow your list fast.

Actually, the results we’ve been seeing with our Lightbox Forms have been pretty remarkable. When we incorporated a simple Lightbox Form on the Emma blog, we saw a 371% lift in email signups. And one of our customers, Restaurant Equippers, saw a 700% lift! That’s crazy good.

We heard a lot about personas and buyer journeys at CMW this year. How important are building personas and/or buyer journeys to the success of email marketing? – Mary

Super important. Inboxes are more crowded than ever, so people expect brands to know what they want and deliver email that reflects it. Otherwise, they’ll simply delete it, or worse, unsubscribe. So building those personas and understanding where your subscribers are in their customer journey are hugely important if you want to send personalized, relevant content that gets the kind of results you’re looking for. And with powerful tools like segmentation, automation and dynamic content now at email marketers’ disposal, it’s easier than ever to do it at scale.

I’d love to hear about the risk assessment that happens, say when your brand considers sponsoring an edgy podcast as marketing – Aimee

It’s quite simple really. Are the hosts smart? Check. Are they entertaining? Yep. Will our audience love it? You betcha. Then let’s do it.

Have more questions for us? We’ll answer ‘em in the comments!

Want to engage your audience and grow your brand? Try Emma's robust easy-to-use product today.