Email marketing is an essential part of the industry. What advertisers have figured out is simple:
– it’s less obtrusive;
– it’s more likely to be opened; and
– it creates a following
The right blast can make customers and leads aware of promotions and offers and get them to make a conversion as a result. Gone are the days when companies pestered shoppers on the phone. It’s all digital nowadays.
Still, there’s a problem – your email strategy isn’t doing any of the above. The reason is why is that you’re making silly mistakes. Here are the culprits and how to avoid them.
Once a reader gets hooked, they want their fix. They’ll want as much as possible, yet you can keep them addicted by controlling the demand. The problem comes when the email doesn’t land at the time and date it should. Your emails may be the best, but they need to get a hit somehow so they’ll bounce. The less regular they get, the more they’ll go into remission. The best way to maintain a steady flow of emails is to use automation. Along with IT support, this will ensure the blast goes out without asking for permission. Think of it as a direct debit but for electronic mail.
When a trend takes off, businesses are culpable of overkill. They use the method as much as possible because they think it’ll get some traction. It might work in the beginning, yet it’ll soon get old. Once the novelty wears thin, the emails won’t have any value any longer. They’ll turn into spam and end up in the trash folder. The trick is to focus on quality over quantity. Send out an email once or twice a week and make sure it includes everything they need. Think about the solutions they want from the brand.
Okay, it’s not like an email is on paper but it’s still a waste. It’s a waste of your time and energy. Why? This is mainly because not everyone in the target audience will want to receive an email. Some prefer a call or a text message or a leaflet in the street. Yes, it’s old-school but that is how they like to do business. Sending out an email regardless is like throwing a deck chair off the Titanic: pointless. To avoid this, you should segment your list and split it up by preferred contact methods.
Emails contain links to sites and pages, the ones you want them to click-through to and make a conversion. Unfortunately, websites suffer from glitches and links can break. If it isn’t working problem, you’ll have two issues. The first is obvious – there is no way to generate a lead. The second is trust. Readers will stop reading and clicking on links because they’ll assume their dead. Before every blast, make sure the elements you want them to see are viewable by testing the pages.
Do you think your email strategy will work now?
You may be wondering what the difference between a Business Strategist and a Business Coach is. They both should help with the direction of your business, they both should achieve progress, they are both services you should use if you are feeling overwhelmed, frustrated and lost in your business! Both services are specifically for people in business.
Using a business coach or a business strategist should save you money and time for your business. They will get you where you need to be in a much faster time. Before you know it, your business will be elevated to the next level, with your dream business in sight!
However, using the wrong one may still leave you feeling lost, so you may well be wondering what the difference is!
There will always be a degree of crossover between the roles. In fact, there are coaches who are actually strategists and vice versa, simply because they’ve labelled themselves as a Business Strategist when they’re actually a Business Coach.
Which is kinda scary as they should know exactly what they do right!!
The most simple way to look at it is as follows;
A Business Strategist will offer structure, guidance, strategies and tips for your BUSINESS.
A Business Coach will offer structure, guidance, strategies and tips for YOU!
Let’s look at this in more detail;
During a Business Strategy Consultation, your business will be analysed, and your specific problems addressed. You can examine marketing, sales, getting more customers and followers, product and service development, time management, staffing, legal issues and much more. After working with a Business Strategist you should feel like you have a plan of action for your business to hit your goals. You should feel educated to proceed forward with your business and take it to the next level.
A coach will assess you! They should bring out the best in you so that you may serve your business better. They will look at your motivations through to your passions and purposes, and translate this into your business and brand.
They may also look at issues like mindset, motivation, confidence, limitations… that kind of thing!
Maybe you need both a Business Strategist and a Business Coach! I can’t tell you that. If you only want to hire one, I’d say the best thing to think about is where the bulk of the problems lie. If you want your business to succeed, you want to put goals in place, you’re happy to work for new customers, consider a strategist who will help drive the business forward.
If you feel that you are holding your business back, as you are feeling unmotivated, or distracted then consider a coach.
If you would like to discuss any strategy needs for your business, why not have a chat with us! We are experts in helping small businesses get the results they want! Have a free 30 minutes business advice on us!
Do you have a dream of where you’d like your business to be in 1 year? 5 years? 10 years even? Do you know how you are going to get your business to that dream business? I mean do you have concrete plan to execute month by month? With realistic goals and targets? Do you know the help you can get? What services you could use? What free options are available? Who you could network with?
How you could make more money by doing less?
That’s where a business strategist can help. We look at where you are now, and where you want to be. Using my network and experience I help you set goals, explore new ideas, and maximise your business’s potential. Typically my services will see your customer list grow.
My business strategy consultation help you get your business from where you are now, to your dream business as quickly as possible.
Whilst I do hold a diploma in business, I have to say my knowledge comes from over ten years of running various businesses. I have managed all sorts of businesses from dog walking, through to personal training, through to freelance writing! I have served local customers in person, I have served people on the other side of the world online. I have worked with animals, children and adults! I had businesses before Instagram even existed!
And all of them were a success.
The only reason I don’t have those businesses now is because I created a better business. When I say better, I realised what I wanted in life. Where I wanted to direct myself, how I wanted to live. I stopped having work or businesses that dictated my life to me and reversed it. I now have a business that I love and fits my lifestyle and I want to share everything I learned with you!
Click here to book in and find out more!
You’ve probably heard it tons of times – the money’s in your email list. And it’s totally true. From getting loyal followers and increasing sales to up-selling and keeping current customers happy, building a strong email list can help your business grow and thrive like nothing else. But strict new EU regulations (called GDPR) are seriously changing up the rules of the email marketing game.
If any of your subscribers are EU citizens (no matter where your business is actually located), you’ll need to ensure your email marketing is GDPR-compliant before May 25, 2018, or risk stiff fines. Yikes, right?
But don’t panic! Even if you’ve never heard of GDPR before, this post will help you get up to speed and protect your business in a couple of simple steps.
GDPR stands for the General Data Protection Regulation. It’s basically a new set of EU rules that govern how businesses can gather and use personal data such as subscribers’ email addresses.
Unfortunately, GDPR rules still apply to you, even if you only have a few EU-based subscribers or customers. If you’re scrambling to get your email signup forms GDPR–ready, don’t worry, you’re not alone. In fact, more than half (52%) of all businesses are unsure about the potential impact of GDPR and 57% of retailers are not GDPR-ready.
It all comes down to a major shift in the concept of “consent”. The new standards for what constitutes consent are much stricter than what was acceptable pre-GDPR. Under GDPR, a simple email opt-in doesn’t cut it anymore.
Instead, you now have to be able to prove that you’ve received “clear and affirmative” consent before you can collect someone’s email address and send them messages. This rules out previously acceptable forms of opting in, like pre-ticked consent boxes and failure to definitively opt out of receiving marketing communications.
In the past, consent only required you to receive confirmation from people that they were willing to get marketing communications from your business.
With GDPR though, both the way in which consent was asked for and the way in which it was given matter. (For a more in-depth view, check out this GDPR review)
Consent must be clear and affirmative, as well as “freely given, specific, informed, and unambiguous”:
It can’t be bundled together with other terms and conditions. In keeping with the requirement that it be specific and freely given, consent must be independent and granular. If you’re like most businesses, you currently offer value-packed content like guides, checklists or eBooks to people in exchange for an opt-in to receive newsletters or other email marketing. From a marketing standpoint, this is an awesome way to draw in potential subscribers and provide them with more content, based on the offer they downloaded.
Unfortunately, under GDPR, this is no longer considered freely given consent.
In other words, subscribers must consent to receive your newsletter because they actually want it, not because it’s a pre-requisite to getting the checklist or eBook they really do want.
Let’s check out two examples of the right and wrong way to receive independent consent:
Note that on this sign-up form, an individual isn’t forced to download additional marketing communications if they don’t want to. They can simply download the checklist without opting into anything else if they wish. This helps to fulfil the requirement for freely given consent.
In the example above, the subscriber has to sign up to receive a newsletter they may NOT want in order to get the checklist they DO want. This makes the consent given invalid under GDPR.
Always provide granular options for people, allowing them to download or sign up for only what they want.
The (very) rare exception is in cases where it’s necessary to receive email consent in order for you to render a certain service. It’s best to always clarify that this is the case before proceeding.
Passive consent, such as an individual failing to uncheck an already checked box, is not considered valid under GDPR. While this may be good marketing, (passive consent options tend to garner higher opt-in rates on forms) it can place your company in non-compliant territory.
This also applies to any form of passive consent, including inactivity, silence, or failure to actively opt out.
Let’s look at examples of active (correct) and passive (incorrect) consent below:
In the example above, the individual has to check the sign-up box themselves, meaning that they actively consent to receive the communications offered.
Here, you can see that the sign-up form has a pre-checked box. This puts the onus on the individual to stop and uncheck the box if they don’t agree.
Under GDPR this is considered passive opting in and is not an acceptable form of consent. For this reason, steer clear of pre-ticked forms, opt-ins through silence or inactivity, and any other form of consent by default.
You’ll also need to be able to prove that you’ve told people how you’ll use their personal data and that they’ve agreed to your terms. This proof will need to be stored and presented in case any question of non-compliance comes up. Using a CRM that automatically saves a copy of all opt-in forms for you can make this step a little easier.
This news is the source of most businesses’ GDPR-related headaches.
GDPR comes into effect on May 25, 2018 but that doesn’t mean that you can continue to market to contacts previously gathered before that date in a non-compliant way. Its regulations apply to both existing and new data, so past data gathered in a non-compliant manner can still land you in hot water.
Many businesses agree with the need to receive explicit consent but feel that, in some cases, proof of legitimate interest may be enough.
For example: If your e-commerce business’s subscribers gave their original consent in a non-compliant manner but then proceeded to open and engage with your messages, wouldn’t that serve as proof they are legitimately interested?
And wouldn’t your business then be justified in continuing to market to them?
The short answer is “not really”. Unfortunately, GDPR doesn’t allow using legitimate interest when marketing to individuals, so I would err on the side of caution. While this could represent a major cut to your existing contacts list, it’s well-worth it to avoid falling foul of the regulation.
Of all marketing operations, the new rules hit email marketing particularly hard. In the face of GDPR, you might be tempted to just delete your contacts and data altogether.
All isn’t lost, however. While these new requirements are certainly challenging, you can turn GDPR into an opportunity.
Savvy marketers are already going through their databases and working to salvage contacts through re-permissioning.
Re-permissioning is the process of getting a definite opt-in from your database. By sending out re-permission emails that seek clear affirmative consent from your existing contacts, you can move forward with a clean and engaged list.
Will you lose some contacts after sending re-permission emails?
Almost definitely. There’s no sugarcoating that fact. Industry statistics show that re-permission opt-ins range anywhere from only 10% to 50%. But while you’ll likely end up with a lower number of contacts, getting opt-ins from contacts who do want to continue hearing from you will allow to market more confidently in the wake of GDPR. And sending re-permission emails offers your business benefits beyond GDPR compliance, including:
Contacts who are willing to opt in again are more likely to open and engage with your emails. This will give your deliverability and sender score reputation a major boost. Don’t worry about losing a couple of names on your list.
Higher conversion rates:
Your smaller list may actually be way more powerful, as every contact on it actually wants to hear from you and is actively interested in your business’s offerings.
You probably have a much better chance at turning a subscriber who has taken the trouble to opt-in again into a customer than you do with someone who may originally have passively opted in.
You’ll also spend less time and valuable resources marketing to people who just aren’t that into your content.
A clearer analytics picture:
Your current list may be larger but it probably includes a number of subscribers who aren’t genuinely interested in receiving your messages.
As a result, their lack of engagement with your emails can artificially drag down your analytics, giving you a false impression of your content’s effectiveness. While you may be doing great at converting those who are interested in your emails, you’ll still end up with a cloudy idea of your strategy’s effects.
Cleaning up your list with re-permission emails helps you gain analytics clarity.
An enhanced reputation:
Asking current contacts whether or not they want to keep receiving your emails is a fantastic way to gain trust. If you stress the fact that you want to provide real value, not just clutter up recipient’s inboxes, your brand’s reputation will definitely benefit.
Start sending now:
Keep in mind that there’s going to be rush of re-permission emails from other brands in the lead up to May 2018. Many businesses are probably waiting until the last minute, still unsure of how to deal with GDPR. This gives you a head start. Staying ahead of the pack means you can get your emails sent before recipients get tired of the flood of eleventh hour re-permission messages in their inboxes.
Only contact those who have given consent:
But be sure no to send re-permission emails to those who’ve already opted out before. Current regulations require you to ensure you’re only contacting those who’ve given you consent. The alternative could mean major fines, as organizations like Honda and Flybe have learned to their cost.
Don’t use a blanket approach:
While a general template will work well for most subscribers, single out your best customers for special treatment. In select cases, try a highly personalized email. Go for relevant, targeted messaging that reminds contacts why they like hearing from you. Use first names, thank them for being subscribers, and be genuine.
Acknowledging valued customers is the best way to ensure they stay on board after GDPR.
Be clear and direct:
While GDPR is an important issue to businesses, your audience is likely less interested. Sending a clear, to-the-point email will go a long way towards ensuring your message actually gets read. A long-winded email that sounds like marketing, on the other hand, is a surefire way to get opt-outs.
Instead, focus on grabbing attention with punchy subject lines and keeping it with purposeful keywords in the brief body copy.
Remember, silence equals an opt-out:
If a recipient doesn’t open your email, (or opens it and doesn’t definitively opt-in) take them off your list. GDPR is very clear that anything less than clear and affirmative consent is not valid, so resist the temptation to reach out again.
Clarify which organizations will be relying on the consent received:
Make sure that your business and any third party organizations gaining this consent are clearly named. So for instance, if your organization “Bella Trading” and a partner company called “The Beauty Group” will be relying on the consent, both must be named.
Provide a clear opt-out:
Your message should state clearly that people have the right to opt out or withdraw their consent at any time. Include clear information about how to withdraw consent. Focus on making it as easy to opt out as it is to opt in.
Bonus: Your subscribers will appreciate it and will be less likely to opt-out if they feel like they have a choice.
I can’t stress this enough. Going forward, it will be super-vital that you protect your business by maintaining records of consent received.
Your records should also demonstrate how consent was asked for and given. If you haven’t already done so, start re-vamping processes now to prioritize the maintenance of thorough records. Everything from automatic screenshots to copies can help.
There’s no doubt that email marketing can help you take your business to the next level. Customers absolutely love hearing from their favourite brands via email, as it’s a more personalized experience.
But with GDPR right around the corner, you’ll have to make changes now to make sure that your email list is 100%GDPR-proof. Businesses everywhere are rushing to deal with this change but instead of worrying, keep your focus on getting ahead and being prepared.
Making a few important adjustments can help you protect and grow your email list, so you can actually turn GDPR into a business opportunity.
With that said, however, these regulations and the repercussions of non-compliance aren’t to be taken lightly.
If you have any questions about compliance, I’d highly recommend consulting a legal professional. Clarity about your business’s specific situation will allow you to craft long-term strategies that make the best of these new email marketing rules.
Have any questions or comments about making sure your email marketing is GDPR compliant? Share with us below!