By Tori Peglar, Content & Brand Director
National Park Trips
Being a successful email marketer for your own business can be easier and a lot less complicated than a lot of people think. Much of it is paying attention to how customers are responding to your emails, what they are clicking on and delivering engaging content that is relevant to their lives. It’s also using common sense. What makes you open an email? What are the top subject lines from other companies that you love? And how can you employ the best practices others use in your own business strategies? Here are some tips for questions small-business email marketers often ask.
How can you learn more about your audience?
Create a survey and email it to your email audience on a consistent basis, whether it is once a year, twice a year or whatever frequency you feel helpful. You can create a survey on google forms- it’s super easy. Find out their gender, ages of your audience, their hobbies, household income, if they are single or married, what they thought of your customer service or product. You might find out surprising things like women are your main readers or maybe people love your product, but your custom service is not as good as it could be.
Use Google Analytics to see who is visiting your site. Go to Google Analytics and login. You can see how long people are on your pages, where they are coming from (what states and so on), if they are using desktop or mobile, which pages get the most traffic and so on.
Pay Attention to Email Engagement
See how people are responding to your subject lines and to your content. What links are they clicking on? What email subject lines have had the best open rates? Track each email you send on a spreadsheet that includes that date of the email, subject line, how many people you sent to, how many opened and how many clicks each link got.
Monitor Your Facebook and Instagram Posts
Which posts got the most shares or likes or comments? Track this, too, in a spreadsheet, so you can see over time what content and photos resonate best with your customers, followers, clients. It can help shape your email marketing strategies, too.
What is the best way to deal with writer’s block?
I don’t get writer’s block in a traditional sense where I literally cannot put a thought down on paper, but I used to. And it was because I was trying to write something perfect right off the bat. Writer Anne Lamott has a book called “Bird by Bird” about writing. She starts it off talking about how when her brother was little, he had to write about a number of birds for a report he was working on and he was totally overwhelmed and paralyzed by the task. He started to cry. His dad was sitting next to him and told him, “Let’s do it bird by bird.”
And that is a great lesson for writing and life. Break down whatever you are working on in bits. For instance, the first step to writing email text or an article or marketing piece is just to start brainstorming ideas. Get everything down on paper and don’t self-edit as you go. I never try to get things perfect the first time because it puts too much pressure on every word I write down. No one gets it right the first time, so take time to write all of your thoughts down. Your best ideas are often some of the last things you write on the page.
Then look at everything you wrote and think about what your main message is. What do you want your audience, customers, clients to know about and what do you want them to do after they read your email? And how can you make that message fun and engaging? Think about what your customers love and how you can help make their lives better, whether it’s sharing fun financial tips (6 Easy Ways to Save for Your Child’s College Education), a flash sale, promoting your upcoming summer events (4 Top Ways to Spend Your Summer) and so on.
What are some tips for becoming a better email marketer?
Subscribe to a number of newsletters. They do not have to be related to your field. They could be local businesses, or they could be emails from a retailer like Anthropologie, Crate and Barrel, or travel and media companies like National Geographic. Read the subject lines and body text and pay attention to each layout. What resonates with you? What companies are really doing it right? What types of subject lines are particularly clever? See how they market their products and what you find particularly effective and why. What do they do really well? Incorporate those strategies into your own marketing.
When I worked at a university, we had a really text-heavy newsletter that felt clunky. We looked at a number of newsletters and actually modeled our layout after J Crew, the clothing company. We weren’t selling clothes, but we liked how J Crew artfully paired a photograph of a product with a short blurb. Our products were events and programs, so we started to think of these in a sharper, more relevant way that resonated with our audience. Be open to all ideas.
How important is a subject line and how long should it be?
Your subject line is very important. It’s what convinces a reader to actually open your email. And it’s an extension of your brand voice. Try to write between 3-8 words plus a subhead. Have key words that resonate with your audience in your subject line. For our road-trip travelers to whom we offer travel tips, words and phrases like “uncrowded,” “off-the-beaten path,” “best towns” and “undiscovered places” really resonate.
Again, look at your email spreadsheet. What subject lines and content have resonated with your clients in the past? Then look at your own inbox for inspiration. What gets your attention and why? Employ those strategies in your own emails. Get to the core of what your email is about in your subject line but make it catchy.
How do you get your customers to open your emails?
Every brand is different, but we, as a company that creates content to help people plan self-guided vacations, find when we promote deals, our open rates are lower. This would not be the case perhaps if we were a retail company. When we promote real specific tips and info people need for trip planning, we have higher open rates. Track what content and subject lines do well with your audience and use it to guide your strategy and deepen your relationship with them and increase open rates.
Create Content that Makes Your Clients’ Lives Better
Not only will you start to cement yourself as a trusted authority, but your website may also start to rank higher in SEO if you write relevant content with good keywords that’s 300 words or longer in articles on your site. I notice swimming pool construction companies don’t just have content on why you should buy a pool from them. They often have blogs about topics like “8 Things You Should Know Before You Buy a Pool.” They are cementing themselves online as the pool authority, and the result is people from all over the country are reading their blog posts and developing trust in their brands. This spring, Murdoch’s Ranch Supply store sent an email with gardening tips, including “How to Plant Your Garden with Companion Plants.” Murdoch’s is not a garden nursery, but they sell garden tools, and this content is fun, relevant and valuable to customers this time of year. Think about your own brand and how you can deliver relevant content that helps your customers in their lives.
About National Park Trips
As experts in national park travel, we started our company to make it easier for people to plan their dream vacations to national parks. From taking in the awe-inspiring views, floating down the beautiful rivers, and listening to evening music at one of the park’s historic lodges, we believe national parks and the attractions on the way truly offer something for everyone. We spend every day, uncovering the hidden gems of the national parks and the roads to them, so you can spend less time researching and more time having fun.
Every year, we help millions of travelers plan a national park vacation of a lifetime. Our detailed trip-planning websites, National Park Journal magazine, park-specific trip planners, social media channels, and newsletters are packed with insider tips on what to do in and around the parks, including the best places to eat, sleep and explore. We also have developed epic road trips with daily itineraries that highlight fascinating natural and cultural attractions and fun outdoor activities along the way. To learn more visit https://www.nationalparktrips.com/.