It happens at the end of even the best sales pitch — it went well and your customer totally understands the problem. You have even gotten them nodding along, asking to join the Beta. You move in to close the sale, and what are you left with? An email address.
Email is a style of communication that can be frustratingly passive. It is easy to lay forgotten in your customers inbox, never to be seen. That said, it has its benefits — it is totally non-intrusive, making it far less likely to annoy your users; and it’s so light that we can afford to carry it in bulk. When used effectively, email can be an incredibly powerful tool for keeping a constant beat with your customer.
And with services like MailChimp, it is never been easier to find out how your audience really feels about your communication style. MailChimp, for example, makes it super easy to keep track of your subscribers, measure engagement and use new ways to reach out to subscribers. With everything from scheduling the release of your content, to re-sending emails to unopened subscribers, your content engagement strategy can be totally tailored to your audience.
Being part of an on-demand Beauty Startup myself, I was less than thrilled to talk over email. While tech-friendly, most of our users are not the type to spend a few extra minutes catching up on email, when Instagram is just a few pixels away. That’s why it totally surprised me when I saw the percentage of engaged users — 64%! With the industry average of ~13%, it seems that we had found a powerful creative voice to connect with our audience.
Here are a few tips & tricks that can help build a following around your content.
- Keep it Short. Succinct. Simple. & Clear.
Most of us get dozens, if not hundreds, of emails a day. The rise of mobile devices & social media has ushered in a new era of UX design, one of fewer choices and short messaging — 120 characters is the new medium. Use a Subject line that will entice your reader. 120 characters is not much, so this is truly an exercise in creative writing. Some of our best taglines read more like poetry or colloquialisms rather than grammatically correct sentences, for example:
‘Bring your Friends #ItsHappening’
The Subject line was used to create hype before the Beta launch, and asked our subscribers to invite their friends to our exclusive Beta.
More popular still, though, is the tagline used on our business cards,
‘Stay in your Pajamas’
Given that Tousled offers direct-to-you beauty services, the saying evokes a sense of playful indulgence that our readers love.
- Find the Right Language for your Audience
This really can’t be stressed enough - finding the right creative voice for your audience will naturally pull in users. Great product marketing transcends above the product sold today and speaks to a greater belief, held in common by your customers.
Visuals are the language of our audience. Here’s an example of a content piece used for promotion during the early phases of the business.
[caption id="attachment_79495" align="aligncenter" width="537"] The tagline, Endless Shades of Beauty, works well alongside the many colors in the photo; it reinforces the idea that there is a gradient for beauty, rather than a singular definition.[/caption]
Social media has given rise to some fantastic media content. Photos & videos are a great way of capturing the attention of your audience, but words still seem to be the most meaningful.
Try to use less text to create more. Find creative ways to layout messaging alongside a powerful visual. At Tousled, we apply many of the techniques from Bauhaus & Swiss graphic design to create a sense of cohesion in each content piece.
Web developers are probably familiar with this rule — tailor your content to fit across screen sizes. The way your content is read while editing is very rarely the same way that it’ll be served to your end-customer. MailChimp offers a handy ‘Preview & Test’ feature which gives an idea of what your newsletter will look like on desktop and mobile.
Screen-sizes are nuanced because we interact with each device, or form factor, differently. Mobile phones are great for surfing & browsing, while laptops & desktops are much better for productivity. Though similar in style, the variable design compels us to engage with each device differently.
Thankfully, email is generally displayed as portrait layout, staying true to its predecessor: mail. On desktop, most email clients create a frame, emulating an 8 1/2 by 11 in. sheet of paper (similar to snail mail).
Though Mailchimp has some pre-defined content & style blocks, we ultimately chose to veer away from them because the fonts & headers didn’t seem to re-size well across form factors. Now, we design and create our own templates from scratch in Photoshop, and upload as a hi-fi .jpeg
A principle of effective PR: release your content at a time when your audience is listening. Generally you’re looking for a time when users are receptive to hearing about your product, or better yet, a time when they may be looking for a solution similar to your product.
Insights from Mailchimp suggest that Thursday morning is an optimal time to send email. Interestingly enough, this is not the case for our brand. Sending newsletters on Thursday mornings actually lost us a subscriber, consistently.
I think releasing your content has a lot to do with the purpose of the product you’re selling. Thursday morning seems like a great a time for utility products and services; things of industry. As an on-demand beauty startup, we’re looking for a time when our users take a moment for themselves.
Ultimately, great content is lost without a good content marketing strategy — make sure you’re getting in front of the right viewers. Getting there is only half the battle though, once there find a way to stand out among the crowd.
About the Writer
Priya Dandawate is the founder of tousled.me. She is an artist trapped inside the body of a software engineer - foodie, traveler & coder.
This was written by a SG contributor.
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