(Hint: It's Not About You)
Just like a scuba diver who struggles to enjoy the results of a well-planned dive, my clients sometimes struggle to hit the mark with their copywriting and marketing strategies.
When challenges happen with diving, I go to someone who knows more than me to get them to evaluate what is going on so I can fix the problem.
Likewise, my clients ask me to do things like reviewing their email copy and webinar content to determine what may need to change.
Just last week someone asked me to help them understand why people weren’t taking action on the things they had carefully written and invested time in creating.
They were confident that what they produced was what their prospect clients needed.
But the proof was in the pudding.
Only a handful of people seemed to engage with the email campaign and even less were watching the webinar to the end.
Out of the small group of active participants, only three purchased the product.
My client wanted to know what was wrong and how to make it more effective.
When I reviewed all the materials, I saw some key things that were wrong immediately.
But in my gut, I wasn’t sure my client wanted me to tell them the truth.
(Sometimes the truth is hard for people to swallow.)
As I prepped for the feedback meeting, I reflected on the sage advice my mentor Ray Edwards offered regarding having difficult conversations.
When the time was right, I was ready to share Ray’s thoughtful approach, “I’m embarrassed to ask this, but may I have permission to share something awkward with you?”
Tapping Into Human Psychology
The trick to writing copy that your audience wants to read is knowing what is important to them.
Many business owners think they know what their prospective clients want and need. But do they really?
Define Your Ideal Customer. It is critical to know who your prospective client is, what they want, like, and need.
If you get a handle on what keeps them up at night and use their own language — I guarantee they will listen.
Don’t just rely on your gut instinct or what you think you know.
Start by writing out everything you think you know. Then put that aside and do some market research. Conduct interviews. Do surveys. Dig around until you really understand what makes them tick. Then use and apply what you’ve learned to what you create, write, and offer.
It’s Not About You. This is hard for me to say, but your copy is guaranteed to be more effective when you take the focus off you and put it on your customer. While it is wonderful to tell everyone how awesome you and your products or services are. The only thing people care about is themselves.
Make sure that what you write, create, and offer shines the light on your customer. We live in a me-focused society. You know that. I know that. So make everything you do about them.
When you make them the focus, they are sure to stop what they are doing and listen.
As Burger King likes to say, “Have it your way.” Notice they didn’t say, “Have it our way.” Or “eat our awesome burgers our way.” No, they focus on the customer getting what they want.
You should do likewise.
Focus On Their Problems. Everyone has problems that they need and want to be solved. Don’t believe me? Just ask them.
In fact, if you listen to your ideal customers long enough, they give you a laundry list of all the things that bother and keep them up at night.
If you really want to draw your prospects into your world and let them know how you can help them—you need to put your finger on the exact spot that bugs them.
Don’t just touch on it. Poke them right where it hurts. Make sure you push on that pain until they cry, “uncle.”
Then talk to them about what they aspire to achieve on the other side of the problem. And crank up the volume. Amplify their desire and dream so loudly they can imagine a life where the problem is solved.
Once you get them to this point, they are certain to listen to how you can help them. THIS is when you can share your solution that helps their pain dissolve and their aspiration become a reality.
How You Can Apply This
When was the last time you evaluated what you create, write, and offer?
Do you know if your target audience is actively engaged?
Are your words hitting the mark?
Let me encourage you to take the key points shared here and apply them to your business.
Take time to define your ideal customer.
Find every place you’ve focused on yourself and flip it, so you’re focusing on your customer. Write as much as you can about your customers’ problems, pains, and aspirations.
When you do these things, I promise your ideal customer will start to notice what you’re offering.
Want a free analysis of your email campaign or sales page? Book a free 45-minute conversation with me today. Just fill out this form, book a time, and we’ll talk. It’s that simple.
Remember Y2K?! It was that crazy time when something called the Millennium Bug created a problem in the coding of computerized systems as they transitioned from 1999 to 2000. Remember how global havoc occurred as companies scrambled to prepare and make sure their businesses didn’t shut down? And then nothing happened.
If you’ve subscribed to an email list, bought products online, or even read a news article through your favorite publication — you’ve probably received 100s of emails from each place you’ve opted in about the GDPR and privacy policies.
If you’re not a business owner, you may wonder if you should care. Just like Y2K, it is important to be informed about what is going on. Who knows, you may decide to start blogging or selling courses online one day. When you do — you’ll need to know about the GDPR and privacy policies.
What Is The GDPR, Anyway?
According to Forbes, “the General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”) is a legal framework that requires businesses to protect the personal data and privacy of European Union (EU) citizens for transactions that occur within EU member states. It covers all companies that deal with the data of EU citizens, specifically banks, insurance companies, and other financial companies.”
According to data security and analytics pioneer Varonis, “if a US company collects data from EU citizens, it will be under the same legal obligations as though the company had headquarters in say France, UK, or Germany — even though they don’t have any servers or offices there.”
GDPR Resources You Can Use
I’ve collected some GDPR resources to share with you. Keep in mind that I’m not a GDPR expert or a lawyer. If you have doubts, get legal counsel.
If you’re just waking up to the GDPR phenomena and wondering what to do, you may want to check out some of these:
If you’re using an email service provider, keep in mind that they are just as responsible as you for ensuring compliance. Here are some guides for each of the services I use with my clients:
GDPR & Bloggers
If you’re focused on blogging and live in the U.S., you may think the GDPR doesn’t impact you. Think again.
If you collect email addresses for any reason, you must be compliant.
Internationally renowned blogger Leslie Samuels (who happen to live in the EU) writes about what to do in his blog “What Is The GDPR and How Does It Affect Bloggers?”
My marketing friend and colleague, Adam Highfill writes about something called “Legitimate Interest,” which really makes sense to me. Here’s what Adam shared “Before you send a consent email to your entire list, I’d recommend checking to see if using "Legitimate Interest” to comply with GDPR works for your context. This is a much easier way (in my opinion) for many businesses to comply. Legitimate Interest “...is likely to be most appropriate where you use people’s data in ways they would reasonably expect and which have a minimal privacy impact, or where there is a compelling justification for the processing." "The legitimate interests can be your own interests or the interests of third parties. They can include commercial interests, individual interests or broader societal benefits.” It doesn’t require your entire list to re-consent and will be much less intrusive for your opt-in forms going forward.”
You can read Legitimate Interest and the GDPR here.
The new law is complicated, but it doesn’t need to derail your business.
At the end of the day, you need to educate yourself and determine what you need to do to make sure you’re compliant.
You can’t miss it. Everywhere you look, you see tragedies occurring around the nation. You turn on the news or go to social media, and it permeates everything.
As a business owner, what do you do during these times? Do you continue to send out email campaigns trying to create engagement that hopefully leads to a new customer? Or do you switch gears?
Do you stay the course, waving your productivity flag trying to conduct business as usual? Or do you show your human side?
Two Different Approaches
Over the past few weeks, I’ve seen two different ways brands try to connect. I’ve seen businesses who push forward and continue to fill the inbox of everyone on their email list. No matter what has been going on — these individuals have persevered in trying to make a sale.
I’ve also seen businesses that have paused to give people space to breathe, recover and embrace life and loved ones. They have taken time to reach out to others and offer a reassuring hand. They’ve given prospective customers time to deal with whatever tragedy is afoot.
Even though I no longer live in Texas, living through Hurricane Harvey was trying because I have so many friends living there that were potentially impacted by the storm. (Thankfully most were not impacted.)
Preparing for Hurricane Irma proved to be exhausting as it was projected to wipe out large portions of my home state of Florida. Family members and friends stood to lose their homes. Even our own home in Charleston was also in harm’s way.
Today life is somewhat back to normal in Charleston. We were impacted by Irma but not as greatly as others. As I sit at my desk getting back into the groove of things, I’m struck by the immense numbers of “sales” or “engagement” or “launch” emails that are cluttering my inbox.
It gives me pause and makes me want to reflect on the senders of the emails. It makes me wonder if they realize that they come across as disconnected and unfeeling. It makes me feel like they are fake and not genuine in their pursuit of my time and money.
A Few Extra Steps Can Help
I am certain they would have segmented their list to block their automated campaigns from storm-targeted zip codes or states had they possessed that information. But I realize that in today’s rapid email collection world, businesses typically only collect names and emails addresses. That said I really can’t blame the businesses for being insensitive when they send email blasts to their entire lists.
But what I can do is make a recommendation. We all possess the capability to collect data and use it wisely. That said going forward I recommend business owners of all sizes collect the state and/or zip code from people who opt-in.
Collecting additional demographic information gives you the ability to segment out populations that may be experiencing a tragedy. Doing so gives you the ability to genuinely engage with your audience. Instead of trying to sell something to those in tragic situations— you could consider sending a kind word. Your email campaigns, blog posts and outreach are ensured to catapult from fake to genuine.
Sure, gathering a bit more data creates a couple more steps in your collection and email sending process. But I guarantee you—being in tune with your audience in times of need ensures engagement that goes a lot further than selling something ever could go. If you do this, your brand or company is sure to be remembered for a long time in a positive way.
Want to create an engaging email campaign but don’t know how? Let’s connect and discuss your needs today.
You’ve created a survey that you’re going to issue to your customers and prospects. You’re eager to push the emails out to encourage participation.
You plan on using an email list that you’ve been collecting for a long time. Unfortunately, you haven’t consistently nurtured the relationship with many on that list. Many people haven’t heard from you in a long while. And many people on your email list have not provided their first names - so there is no way for you to personalize the email to them.
The dynamics of your list are a bit lackluster. But you decide to send it out anyway.
Does this sound like something you’ve experienced? If so, you probably walked away from the survey campaign with less than anticipated results and input.
Here are a few things to think about as you work towards reaching out to customers and prospects via email.
Create and leverage an opt-in mechanism that collects first names. Did you know that email personalization can improve relevancy and engender trust? Studies have show that the clickthrough rate on call to actions in emails have increased by approximately 14 percent when an email is personalized to the individual.
In fact, email personalization can improve the customer experience and business performance by as much as 66 percent. Sadly, research shows that 70 percent of brands fail to personalize their messages. This is a direct correlation to their email effectiveness.
Next time you go to send a survey promotion or email of any kind, you can stand out from the crowd by personalizing messages. Studies have shown that leads who are nurtured with personalized content produce a 20 percent increase in sales opportunities.
Your goal should be to create and leverage an opt-in mechanism that collects first names along with emails. And then leverage those first names by creating personalized emails.
Cultivate and nurture relationships with your email list. Nurturing relationships by sending relevant marketing emails will ensure customer retention. It will also help you build trust that eventually converts to new customers.
There are many ways to cultivate these relationships. I’ll share ideas for nurturing email relationships in an upcoming post. For now, think of the vast things you can do by sending out content that recipients will want to open and read. You can create and include downloadable content that is engaging and speaks to their needs. You may also want to showcase social proof by including customer testimonials that allows someone else to tell how awesome your company or products are.
There are many ways to cultivate and future relationships online. You simply have to strategically map out what will work for you and your audience.
Revive cold emails. There are many different approaches you can use to resuscitate a cold email list recipient. Before you dive in — keep in mind that re-engagment takes time and typically doesn’t happen over night.
You’ll want to evaluate the lists you’re reaching out to determine if you it is worth your time trying to revive them or not. You may decide to spend your time creating lead magnets that lead to adding new warm, emails to your list instead of reviving cold ones.
If you decide that a particular segment is worth your time reviving, you’ll want to map out your strategy for reconnecting. The types of reconnection emails may include:
Your time is valuable. Make sure you use it wisely as you determine whether or not to try and turn cold email lists into warm ones.
Email is a form of currency that allows businesses to connect with prospects and customers. When done right, email marketing can be used to drive conversions from cold leads into warm leads that eventually lead to sales (aka hot leads).
Studies show that successful email campaigns occur when email subscribers opt-in to receive your emails. There are SPAM laws that require thoughtful interaction between the sender and receiver. (The CAN-SPAM Act has specific requirements for commercial emails. There are tough penalties for violations.)
Businesses that build permission-based email lists experience high open and click through rates on their email campaigns. This approach can allow email list segmentation so a recipient receives the type of information that is relevant to them in their stage of the sales funnel. Over time, opt-in subscriber lists can be added to a drip email campaign funnel that generates significant sales and revenue from email campaigns.
It is important to know that there are two types of email subscriber permissions: implied and express. Implied permission occurs when someone is an existing customer, or an active member of your website or online community. Express permission occurs when someone willingly gives you their email address. This typically occurs when they sign up for your newsletter on your website or fill in a form for a particular piece of thought leadership content in the form of a lead magnet.
Research shows that 40 percent of permission-based emails are typically opened and 20 percent of those people who open emails actually click links in the email. However, email lists that have been purchased or shared via partners typically experience a low open rate. Studies find that only two percent of non-permission based sends are opened and achieve a click rate of less than 3/10 of a percent. These non-permission based emails have been known to increase a company’s spam complaints by ten times. Even less of the click throughs ever convert to a sale.
Translation? Sending only permission-based emails can ensure higher open and click through rates while greatly increasing your ability to convert to sales.
So how do you ensure you’re email campaigns are successful? By using your customer email list and creating ways to grow your opt-in email list.
Use Your Customer Email List
The best way to build an implied permission email list is by synching your customer database with your email marketing tool. If you can’t do that for some reason, you need to consistently upload a current customer list to your email marketing tool. (Make sure you ‘dedup' the list so people don’t get emailed multiple.)
Generate New Opt-In Email Lists
Opt-In Email Lists are nurtured and grown by creating various opportunities for people to give you permission to email them. This can be done by creating an opt-in form to subscribe to your newsletter on your website and other appropriate social media outlets. You can also create lead magnets that provide a bribe (offer) that is irresistible in exchange for their email address. Lead magnets can include a wide array of items. Options can include a simple one-page checklist, customer case study or cheatsheet; an exclusive offer; an audit, quiz or assessment; or maybe a report or tool kit. My favorite kind of lead magnet is a webinar or recording that presents thought-leadership content without selling. The various types of lead magnets that you can create are endless and can generate quality leads if done well.