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E-Mail Dynamics

Have you ever been to a rock concert? Or even better, a live comedian (a GOOD one)? You’ll notice that any good performer always does something in their show – they customize their show to where they are. They acknowledge WHO they’re performing for!

A good comedian will always inject some local “joke” about a local politician or other public figure that the audience can easily relate to joking about. Did you know you can do a similar thing with your emails? And it’s EASY!

It’s something called “Dynamic Content”, or content that automatically personalizes the email from person to person. For instance, if I know I’m going to have a van out in one or more remote areas and they’re not fully booked, I can send out the same email to LOTS of people, address them by THEIR name, acknowledge where THEY live, and give THEM  a special deal if they book within the next 24 hours (just make sure your mailing list has their city listed along with their name).

Here’s how I’d do it in Constant Contact.

Step 1: Pick a template. I’ve picked a VERY basic one.

Dynamic Content Step 1

Step 2: Select the content block you’d like to work in.

Dynamic Content Step 2

Step 3: Select where you’d like to put the greeting. Then click over on the left menu where you see “Greeting”.

Dynamic Content Step 3

Step 4: Select what you’d like the greeting to be (including punctuation). In this case, I’ve elected to say “Hey, <First name>.”

Dynamic Content Step 4

It will look something like this:

Dynamic Content Step 5

And the finished product. This is a VERY simple example, obviously. However, it’s really not hard at all to create a personalized e-mail campaign that you can keep around for future mailings as well.

Dynamic Content Step 6

If you’d like to start some mailings like this, feel free to reach out to me, or call Constant Contact Customer Service by calling 1-866-289-2101. They’re SUPER helpful and can walk you through doing just about anything.

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Speaking “Subjectively”

I’ve often said that one of the most overlooked facets of a solid digital marketing strategy is a well-honed e-mail campaign.

E-mail is very inexpensive. It only takes a little time and (maybe) a small monthly subscription to a service like Constant Contact (which I highly recommend). And you don’t have to have a ton of technical knowledge or marketing prowess to create an effective campaign.

I dare say that most everyday e-mail marketers spend FAR too much time focused on only the SECOND most important aspect of their marketing – the content.

Don’t get me wrong, good content can be the difference between booking a job and having an open schedule. But unless your e-mail gets opened, your customers will never view the content you worked so hard for. What does the customer see first? The subject line.

That’s right. That little cluster of (hopefully) well-chosen words will be the difference of getting your carefully crafted e-mail opened or ignored.But how do you make sure it gets opened?

A few great tips and examples can be found here on a page from Pebble Design.

how-to-write-a-good-subject-line

My #1 rule is: K.I.S.S. – Keep It Short & Simple. Don’t use 10 words when you can use 6. Communicate the actual topic of the email without giving away all the content.

And, when you feel like you’re ready to send it, take one more look and ask yourself, “Would I open this email based on the subject line?” If you can’t honestly say “Yes”, you still have some work to do.

With a little practice, and some trial and error, you’ll have a great targeted email campaign that keeps customers coming back for years to come.

 

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Minions of the Internet

For a long time, there’s been a major debate about just how much website traffic is legitimate.Whether it’s a small mommy blog or a large corporate website, there are many online experts that feel the lion share of visitors to your website are what are referred to as “bots”.

Think of a bot as a little online mechanized version of the Minions from the Despicable Me series of movies. There are “good” (yellow minion) bots and “bad” (purple minion) bots.

HD-Minions-Wallpaper-Yellow-Minions-and-Purple-Minion

The good bots are those that are actually just making the rounds finding good information for search engines and, for the most part, enhancing your SEO. Good bots also don’t increase website traffic (relative to other sites) because they make regular visits everywhere.

“Bad” bots, however, are the kind that will eat your lunch and just about everything else they can get their hands on. They can sometimes (but not often) do a lot of harm.

But there’s good news!

A recent article from eMarketer based on a report by Incapsula indicates websites with fewer than 1,000 daily visitors (I can’t think of many franchises that might have more than that), are in luck!

Despite most of your website traffic likely coming from bots (about 85%), the majority of them (51% of all traffic) are the “good” kind just going around and doing their jobs of helping the internet grow and helping REAL customers find your website. They go around finding words like “carpet cleaning”, “tile cleaning” and others that will boost your business online.

So, don’t pay too much mind when you hear someone say that most web traffic doesn’t come from real people. Increased (good) bot traffic just means your site is getting found and will keep working for your business.

Talk to your SEO provider about how to get the most out of your website and use “bot traffic” to get REAL traffic.