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!

I’m Mad About Mimi…Email Newsletters

One of my clients is a busy sales rep that manages about a half dozen lines and over a hundred clients. She can’t possibly connect with each of those clients on a weekly basis, so one of the ways that she’s chosen to communicate with them is through a bi-monthly newsletter that I manage, develop and send out for her. Recently, one of her clients reached out to me to ask about email newsletter companies and get my opinion on the one that I use.

When I first began doing a newsletter for this client we went with Constant Contact¬†(CC), I think pretty much because they were the most well known e-marketing company out there. For over a year we were very happy with the performance of their ¬†program. It’s loaded with features, they offer lots of online resources and help and it’s affordable. The one thing that I always felt was lacking though was a more sophisticated and clean aesthetic. Most of the newsletter templates they offered just seemed very crowded, with too many spots for too many messages. So, in searching for a new company to work with I ran across a company called Mad Mimi (sort of a funny name). I had received a few newsletters from local businesses that used their service and I always loved the clean, crisp look so I decided to check it out for myself.

Mad Mimi’s service doesn’t offer nearly the wide variety of templates that CC does but it is almost completely customizable. They stress a more simple and clean approach to email marketing, which I can appreciate. I hate getting a newsletter with tons of different fonts and colors, in my opinion, it’s just too distracting for the reader. With Mad Mimi you choose a color palette (or you can create your own based on your logo or branding) and it incorporates that into your entire newsletter. In addition, you choose one font for all your titles, you can choose one for all your subtitles, one for your body text, etc…It almost forces you to keep your message visually pleasing to your customer. The entire newsletter is centered with no extraneous messaging on the sides.

They offer many of the same tracking features as CC such as open rates, bounces & click throughs. In addition to all the above you can link all your campaigns to Google Analytics as well as automatically connect your newsletters to social media.

One of the other things that I look for when working with any company is that they offer a strong support desk. I’m never one to shy away from asking for help and I’ve contacted them several times when I’ve had an issue with an image not loading properly or something not copying over properly from another site. They have an online chat and as far as I’ve seen someone is always there and willing to help in whatever way they can. They seem to really value their customers. One last perk is that they have an active blog where they post all sorts of helpful e-marketing tips and they offer online webinars like the one I just attended this week on writing impactful subject lines.

There are several¬†deficits¬†that I would like to mention, one is that they don’t have a direct feed to blogs. My client has a blog that she occasionally would like to link an article from to her newsletter. With CC this was an easy, automatic thing. With MM, I need to work around this and just create a link ¬†to her article (not a big deal, but it’s not as smooth). Another thing that I miss is that they are not as supportive of PDF’s. I agree with the idea of not sending out a PDF if you are a B2C client but this client I have is a B2B person, she needs to send price lists, catalogues and things of that nature to her customers. I attach quite a few PDF’s in the newsletters. With CC it was super easy to do, you just attached it and inserted the link wherever you wanted the info. With MM I now have to “host” the PDF on our website and then link it into my newsletter (again, not a deal breaker, but annoying). I just saw on their blog this week that they are now offering a 3rd party hosting spot so maybe that will be easier with that service.

There are a bunch of other e-mail services out there, another I’d like to try out soon is MailChimp, I’ve seen some nice newsletters done with this program as well. If anyone has any experience with either MailChimp, CC or Mad Mimi, I’d love to hear about it. Also, if you have any questions that I can answer about e-newsletters I’d love to help. This post¬†originated¬†from an email that I got from a client’s customer.

***If you are interested in trying out Mad Mimi, they do offer a perk to people who recommend them. Here is my affiliate link***

Mad Mimi Email Marketing