Crafting Compelling Titles

I love taking advantage of free (or low cost) resources that are abundantly available to enhance my skills or learn something completely new. If you want to, you could probably sit in on a webinar on some topic of interest to you, every day of the week. Well, last week I sat in on a free class that was hosted by Mad Mimi (the e-mail marketing company) & Clever Zebo (online marketing company) that looked at subject lines in newsletters. Subject lines are super important. They are the first things ¬†your customers see when your email pops onto their desk. Oftentimes they are the difference between the “trash” bin and a sale, so take the time to craft compelling titles.

Just a few notes from the class:

  • Remember to use subjects that capture people’s attention!
    • Sometimes shock value is good
      • The example the presenters used in this scenario was a tech company that sent out an email with the subject “QTP is no more…” (QTP was a favorite software that many of their clients used). Now once you opened the email you found out what that really meant (they were upgrading their software, not getting rid of it altogether). This email got a larger open rate than say one that simply stated that they were upgrading their software. Of course, with this method, you want to be careful not to anger your customers either ūüėČ
      • A sense of drama or urgency can compel an audience to take action
        • Today vs. Tomorrow
          • The folks at Clever Zebo ran a test using the wording “today” in the subject line and another one using “tomorrow”
          • Ironically the one with the word “tomorrow” in the headline got more opens and a higher click through rate, BUT
          • the newsletter that went out with the “today” subject actually had a higher number of actual registrations for the event they were promoting (it was actually a webinar that they were holding)
          • They discovered that urgency mattered more if the people reading it (your customers) already had a strong emotional connection with you
          • An important point to note is to be thoughtful when using words, don’t overuse them, make them count
      • Try using a subject that begs a question that can only be answered by opening your newsletter
      • Something that speaks to our sense of¬†curiosity¬†can be very effective
    • Interest vs. Importance
      • There is a difference between creating a subject line that creates interest “oh, i’ll leave this in my inbox and check it out when I have time” and importance “I need to find out right now what this is about”
    • Remember to let your customers know where¬†value is in your email, the sample they used in the class was “Increase sales by 8% per month”, in that headline there is a very specific value to the reader

A few key takeaways that they mentioned:

1. Simplicity-Remember less is more-Stick to no more than 8-10 words in your subject

2. Specificity-give people a specific reason to open your email

3. Sytntax-remember to be true to your voice and your brand

A couple side tips that came out via questions that were asked:

  • Remember to link your email marketing to your social networks
  • Add a newsletter sign up form to your Facebook page
  • Keep it simple!

YOU Are A Brand!

“Developing who you are to reveal more of who God is, in the way only you can for the good of others”

I was fortunate enough to hear about and attend an online class that was held at The Influence Network¬†called “Brand You”, through a friend of mine. I wanted to share some of my favorite insights with you here. It was all about branding yourself and your blog or small business and was led by an awesome woman named ¬†Stephanie Bryant of S.Bryant Social Marketing. Her emphasis is that YOU are a brand! She encouraged us to sit down and answer several questions about your business/blog?

  • What do you want to be known for?
    • Take some time and think about what what you want your business (and you as the face of that business) to be recognized for? Are you offering a service? What special gifts, skills, traits, experiences do you bring to that? Are you selling a product? What is the image that you want to create in your customers’ minds about that product? For me, this answer looked something like this: I want my business to be known for offering small businesses, entrepreneurs¬†& non-profits practical services (such as creating and¬†distributing¬†email newsletters) in a service oriented, reliable, creative way. I want clients to feel like I’m their partner in the success of their business and ¬†want to be known for being encouraging, resourceful, helpful & enthusiastic.
  • Where do you hope to be a year from now?
    • This question involves dreaming! One of my favorite things (just ask my husband). Where do you see yourself and your business a year from now? Do you see taking on more clients or readers? Do you see your focus shifting? Do you see yourself having more or less time pursuing the things you’re passionate about? Do you see yourself adding to your product line or weeding out and focusing on just your top selling items? Do you see opening up new avenues of distribution? Are you planning on taking advantage of a new social media or marketing tool? This question can go anywhere, take time and imagine the possibilities!
  • What is the expectation that you hope to create for your future customer?
    • This is a super question because what she was essentially asking us to consider with this question is “What is the promise that you are making to your customers?” You already listed some things that you want to be known for, here is where you can tie those things into what you are offering your customer. You want to make a promise to them. Give them an idea of what they can expect when they buy something from you, talk to you,¬†receive¬†a service from you, read something you wrote, whatever… For me, my hope would be that when a client comes to me for my services that they could expect someone who is enthusiastic about the work, diligent, creative, organized, resourceful & trustworthy. That I am someone who will strive to treat their brand as I do my own. And finally, that I would do everything I can to fulfill their expectation and assist them with all the skills that I have to the best of my ability. This becomes the “promise” to my clients.
  • Who is your audience?
    • This is that demographic question that we all need to answer. Who are you looking to serve with your product/blog/service?
  • Is the promise you’re making fulfilling to your audience?
    • Are your promises in line with the people you are looking to serve and then how are you living up to those promises. Your name, your services, your tag line, ¬†who you identify as those customers (we can’t serve everyone at the same time), your logo, your website, your business cards, your social media, your Facebook page all convey ways that you are fulfilling that promise to your audience.

Stephanie stressed the importance of the having a unifying identity across all of your outlets. If someone sees your newsletter, stumbles onto your website, or goes on your Facebook page, it would be obvious who’s brand this is. ¬†This class really got my juices flowing and energized to be more intentional about branding myself and my business. This is an ongoing process and today is as good a day to begin as any.