About the Author
McKenzie Gregory is a senior content manager on Emma’s marketing team. A Nashville native, she can be found covering all things email on the Emma blog, debating hyphenation rules, and watching obscene amounts of Netflix without a trace of shame.Follow on Twitter More Content by McKenzie Gregory
Jay Baer's top tips for modern marketers
Since it was such a huge hit the first time around, we recently hosted another live Q&A with the one and only Jay Baer (leader of Convince & Convert, highly sought-after keynote speaker, author of several best-selling books, and yes, certified barbecue judge).
Those 60 minutes were completely jam-packed full of wisdom and actionable advice you won’t want to miss, so hop on over here to check out the full recording when you get the chance. But for those looking for a quick dose of inspiration, here are some of the questions we received from attendees, along with the expert advice Jay dished out. Enjoy!
Should we remove inactive subscribers from our email list? If not, how do we get them to become active?
If there's a segment of your list that habitually isn't opening or clicking your emails, I don’t think you should immediately delete those contacts. You should do a little bit of what we in the industry call “list hygiene.”
First, run some reports in Emma (or whatever ESP you use) to determine who's opening and who isn’t. Send people who haven’t opened in a while a dedicated re-engagement email with a sender name and subject line that stand apart from your regular messaging. It should say, “Hey, we’ve noticed that you haven’t opened our emails in a while.” Then, present those subscribers with a few different options: Engage somehow to indicate their continued interest, update their preferences, etc.
For the people who still don’t respond, you still shouldn't delete them: Just add them to a segment of inactive subscribers. That way, you can suppress them from your regular send cadence, but you can still send to them when you have something really important to share.
What is a good rule of thumb for branding and sales-focused messaging in an email? As a consumer, I prefer more subtle branding and a focus on content, but as a brand, I want to ensure the consumer gains an awareness of our product.
First of all, I’d be careful about putting too much weight on your own preferences: The biggest sin in marketing is assuming that your customers think like you do. I don’t care what you prefer – I care what your customers prefer, and you should, too!
That being said, there are plenty of companies that do this really well. In fact, Emma offers a ton of resources you can check out about brands (and Emma clients in particular) with fantastic email strategies.
In general, I think there’s always got to be a balance. Remember: If someone’s on your email list, they already know who you are. They didn’t opt into your list accidentally, they took an intentional action to get there... so you don’t need to reintroduce yourself over and over again and constantly remind them what you sell.
Ultimately, though, your email design and branding choices should be based on data and audience preferences. Use your response results to inform your strategy choices.
Gated content vs. non-gated content? If you don’t use gated content, how do you measure the success of a content marketing campaign?
Gated content is just about value exchange: It’s information in exchange for a lack of privacy.
Many marketers make the mistake of gating assets that aren’t actually worthy of being gated. The content isn’t comprehensive or interesting enough for someone to say, “Yes, I’ll give you my email and personal information for this.”
So think about your content assets and match them with the marketing funnel. If it’s top-of-the-funnel content and the people engaging with it are just getting familiar with your brand, you shouldn’t necessarily gate that. For bottom-of-the-funnel content, where it’s more detailed, product-specific information, absolutely, you should gate it.
One of the things I don’t see enough of is putting a form at the end of a content piece. Here's how that can work: You send someone to a piece of ungated content, they read through it and absorb all that great value. Then, at the end, you say, "Would you like us to send you more of this sort of thing?"
So you still have the opportunity to collect leads, but they don't have to make the decision to part with their personal information based solely on your headline and your landing page. Sure, you'll get fewer leads in the process, but the leads you DO get will be more engaged and more likely to convert.
How many links are too many in an email, particularly a quarterly newsletter?
I would ask a follow-up question first: If you’ve got so many links to include, why are you only sending a quarterly newsletter?
Besides, if you’re asking this question, I can almost guarantee you’re using too many links. Consider sending more frequently, or segmenting your audience and sending them more targeted emails about specific topics. There are lots of ways to improve the relevancy of your email beyond just making it shorter.
To answer your question directly, though, I think anything more than maybe 6-8 links in a row is too much for people to understand, as they have to read it, contextualize it, then choose what they want to engage with. UI is all about choices, and when you give people too many of them, you’re saying, "WE don’t know what you want, so YOU have to choose."
Anytime you’re making people work that hard, you’re probably going to get poor results.
I work for a healthcare nonprofit, and I want to make our content more conversational, but the higher-ups in our organization think that such a tone would be inappropriate. How do you suggest I make our content more concise, consumer-driven, and easier to digest?
Have someone else make it.
If upper management is concerned about your tone being off-base, have someone else make your content: Utilize volunteers or partners. Create a video that profiles someone you work with in the community.
If you can distribute stories that are more human and interesting but somebody else tells them, then your boss isn’t going to say “Hey, you’re messing with our brand” – you’re just acting as the vessel for the story to be told.
In the nonprofit world, social proof means everything, so this is a great way to both keep your boss at bay and do more effective marketing.
Again, if you’d like to hear more of Jay’s expert advice, be sure to check out the full recording of the webinar!