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Josh Bernstein, BSG Contributor

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5 Crucial Steps for a Successful Email Marketing Campaign

Posted by Josh Bernstein, BSG Contributor on Jun 5, 2015 10:49:32 AM

Unknown-1-1It should surprise no one that email marketing has surpassed direct mail in terms of sheer volume. The reasons are obvious: email is cheaper, more measurable and better targeted than direct mail. Email marketing is an effective way to grow your contact database and foster your existing contacts for increased profits. Here are some helpful tips for a better understanding of an impactful and successful email campaign.

Know your audience and speak directly to them.

Lazily copying a campaign model from someone else will get you nowhere. Be aware of who your potential clients are and provide them with something they can use. Use any and all information you have gathered about your customers to personalize for them targeted, relevant messages. Each one of your target audiences should have a developed offer customized for them. Take the necessary time to promote a specific product or service to generate repeat business from existing customers, as well as finding ways to drive your product and message home to a new set of customers.

Write a great subject line and grab the reader’s attention quickly.

A solid email marketing campaign grabs the attention of the reader immediately, most often with a killer subject line. Besides, the subject line is the very first thing that your clients will see when they are poring over the emails in their inbox. The subject line should be simple and straight to the point. It should tell the reader what to expect inside. Personalizing the subject line to each recipient and including the name of your company is a tested method that encourages high rates of emails being opened, as opposed to being “spammed.”

templatesDirect customers to a purposeful landing page.

You’ve already succeeded if your customers have opened your email and read it. Now is not the time to have their interest fade! Instead of sending them to your homepage or a basic product listing page, you should be sending them to a purpose-built landing page, specifically designed to convert click-throughs into leads and ultimately, into sales. An email landing page should:

  • Only include content that is relevant to your email campaign
  • Mirror the headline on the landing page to your email campaign so customers can quickly evaluate the relevance of the page
  • Display the most important information where it is likely to be read (at the top and to the left) 
  • Ensure that the copy can be easily scanned
  • Make sure your call to action is clear and distinguished so that your audience knows what the next step(s) should be
  • Make your call to action clickable 

images-3-1Your message needs to be succinct and to the point.

Let’s face it… this is a challenge for everyone. Easy writing is the hardest type of writing. Investing in a great copywriter will undoubtedly strengthen your campaign. Hiring a strong writer—someone who is entrenched in the field and who has specific experience crafting effective copy—will ease the burden of having to write all the copy yourself.

Test your campaign before you click send.

Your message needs to be vetted, edited and tested many times before it is actually sent. Send test emails to yourself to get a sense of what the email will look like with the more popular email readers (Outlook, Gmail, Yahoo Mail, etc.). It will also help you to ensure that images aren’t broken and that the details of the email won’t lead any customers to mistake it for spam. The only way to find optimal combinations of copy, design, etc. is to test and keep track of different combinations. You must edit and re-edit until your specific message is 100% crystal clear. Keep track of these key elements when considering what to edit and refine:

  • Subject Line(s)
  • Style, tone and context of the copy
  • Font sizes, colors and formatting
  • Call(s) to action 

If you don’t have the time to construct an email campaign or if you feel overwhelmed and don’t know where your business stands, take advantage of these helpful tips and begin developing an effective email marketing campaign that will nurture leads and transform them into successful sales. And don’t forget that your email campaign can also be used to generate additional income from your existing customer base. It’s a win-win situation, so stop procrastinating and get started!

 

Topics: Best Practices for Businesses, Content Marketing, Creative Marketing, Content Creation

Stop Writing Boring Headlines!

Posted by Josh Bernstein, BSG Contributor on May 27, 2015 10:54:58 AM

Unknown-8On average, 80% of people will only read the headline of an article or post.  Headlines either pull people in or they push them away. While this is a bothersome reality, copywriters must find ways to harness their skills and write the most effective and attention-grabbing headlines they can muster. Otherwise, four out of five people will never make it to your very first sentence. Here are some ways to strengthen your headlines and grab hold of the limited attention of your readers.

The Effectiveness of Numbers and Lists

Numbers help a headline to stand out. The human eye is naturally drawn to a number’s close proximity to words. A numbered list can ease the reader into a comfort zone where they have a much clearer idea of what to expect from the text they are about to read. Also, certain buzzwords can be used to strengthen the chances of a reader making it through to the end. Strong adjectives catch the attention of readers. These are some good examples:

  • Fun
  • Free
  • Essential
  • Strange
  • Incredible
  • Shocking

Also, be sure to include some rationale, further heightening the chances of piquing a reader’s interest. Some examples include:

  • Reasons
  • Ways
  • Tricks
  • Secrets
  • Ideas
  • Facts

These are good examples of word-combinations that can help prepare the reader for the material and at the same time, provide an easy reading experience.  The reader knows exactly what he or she is going to get.

Blog_Headline_Writing_Tips1Short and Sweet

The old adage “less is more” has never been more true. Most people today scan text, instead of reading it. The perfect length for a headline is six words. The reason for this is that the majority of people scan headlines, only reading the first and last two or three words. The primary function of a headline is to get the first line read. Overwhelming a reader with a long, clunky headline will derail the attention span of a reader and leave your work unread. Try and keep your headline under 65-70 characters. In this age of Twitter and text-speak, the longer the headline, the less likely the reader will be to continue reading.

The Impact of Negative Wording

Negatives, by nature, draw upon our insecurities. As strange as it may seem, phrasing a headline negatively can have huge advantages. Data has shown that headlines with phrases such as “no,” “without” and “stop” have led to more shares than headlines without negative buzzwords. An example of this would be “STOP! Here’s 10 ways you can save money!” You’re grabbing the reader’s attention and at the same time, offering them a list of ways to benefit themselves. It’s easy and effective.     

Use the Five W’s

We all remember these five words from grade school, but let’s refresh our memory, as these words can be very helpful in catching a reader’s attention. They are Who, What, Where, When and Why. Take for example “5 Reasons Why You’re Not Making Tons of Money” or “Where to Go When Visiting New York City.”

Sense of Urgency

Much like the effectiveness of placing a negative-sounding word in your headline, adding a sense of urgency can help to grab a reader’s attention. Readers are apt to consider themselves and what’s at stake for them or their business if presented with an urgent headline. An example of this would be “Are You Losing Sales by Ignoring Your Customer’s Needs?” or “What You Must Understand about Health Insurance.” People tend to read that which appears scary or concerning to them, so don’t be afraid to add a little bit of desperation and seriousness to your headlines.

Follow a Formula

While there are many ways to write a great headline, here’s a formula that includes all the above points.

Number + Adjective + Keyword + Promise.

An example of this would be “12 Ridiculously Easy Tricks for Acing an Interview.”

Make Sure the Headline Is Useful

8844478218270This seems obvious, but many copywriters fail to understand this basic tip. If your headline doesn’t come across as helpful or of use to the reader, then you can forget about them reading the actual article. Know your readership and understand what they need and expect from you. Try and convey the big, long-term benefits of the product or service in the headline. Make sure the reader understands that by reading your article, they stand to gain something. If there’s no prize at the end, then what’s the point of taking the trip?

Headlines fail for a variety of reasons. They don’t coincide with what the article entails or they’re not specific enough. Sometimes they’re too boring or wordy. And many times, the subject matter just isn’t interesting enough to warrant further reading. By following the tips above, your headlines will start to carry that added level of oomph that is needed to grab the reader by the collar and demand their full, undivided attention.

Topics: Content Creation, Effectiveness, Blogging

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