Creating a Strong Email Onboarding Plan

Having a poor onboarding experience for your customers can pretty much kill your growth and potentially your business.

The first experience someone has as a potential customer sets the tone for your relationship. If the onboarding process is confusing or overwhelming, you risk driving the customer away permanently.

What is onboarding?

Customer onboarding is the process a new user goes through to become acclimated with your product. The onboarding process starts from the moment a new visitor begins your signup funnel. It continues as they tour your product for the first time and never truly ends. 

You should continue to use onboarding as you educate your user base about new product functionalities and features. No matter when it happens, great onboarding quickly and effortlessly answers several key questions for your customer.  

Why use email to onboard?

Email is a great supplemental onboarding tool that can further educate users about your product’s features and benefits. The process should always start with a welcome email, and can then go on to include emails with followup and additional information.

Welcome emails have four times the open rate of other types of emails, and are shown to perform even better when they include video. A good way to incorporate that is by using short looping videos in a welcome email. This adds interest and movement to an otherwise static experience.

You can use email in other ways to enhance your onboarding experience. Remind new users to access the product during their free trial. Dig deeper into product benefits. You can even share social proof to build value. 

What should the email series include?

An email onboarding plan can look different for every company. But time has shown that there are best practices for how many emails to send, and how much to space out the send dates.

Stephanie Dill
Stephanie Dill, The Post and Courier’s Digital Marketing Manager

Once you get the welcome email out to the customer’s inbox, what comes next? For additional insight into how the Post and Courier onboards its brand new subscribers, I spoke with Digital Marketing Manager Stephanie Dill.

“Currently our onboarding process is a series of 6 emails sent over 30 days,” Stephanie points out when asked how many emails and how often the company sends. 

“We start with a welcome letter from our Executive Editor, putting a human face behind the subscription, and then the following emails highlight different benefits you receive as a subscriber.” 

Explaining benefits that customers receive as patrons of your business is crucial to the email onboarding process. When customers walk through your store, or browse your catalog of products or services, they get the basic idea of what they’d be paying for.

Present exclusive customer benefits in your emails

The email onboarding process is your chance to present the deeper value of your business, outside of what the customer already knows on the surface.

“These [benefits] include newsletters, access to apps and our digital replica E-Paper, our podcasts, exclusive subscriber-only Facebook groups, etc.” 

For customers using the newspaper’s E-Paper service, videos have been made available to walk them through the service’s interface and show them how to navigate the digital newspaper replica.

Great onboarding can decrease your customer service requests. If you do a great job teaching new customers how to use your product, they’re less likely to have questions down the road. In fact, 47% of businesses say using video as an FAQ tool has helped them do just that. 

“The onboarding series is a way for us to help our new subscribers make the most of their subscription and form a relationship with them that we hope will last for a long time,” Stephanie said.

How often should you send emails?

Your business should decide whether it wants to send out a burst of many emails in a short period of time, or if it should send a series of fewer emails over a longer period of time. There can be ways to meet in the middle, but you should find the right balance for your business and its customers.

“I think a blend of the two is ideal for us,” Stephanie said. “Right away, we want people to know how to use their subscription, so we send quite a few emails in the first 10-12 days. After that we back off, giving more time between sends, but continuing to check in and have little touch points for the first 30 days or so.”

Adapting the plan to your business model

The message behind your onboarding emails can and should look different depending on how you sell your product or service. Are you a business that simply sells your goods, and then hopes customers return to pay you again? Or is your revenue built upon subscription services, or other forms of recurring payment over a long period of time? 

Stephanie gives valuable information for how the onboarding process should differ for these two business models.

“I think for an already paying subscriber, you already know they are committed to their purchase, and you are working to show them additional benefits to keep them long term,” Stephanie said. 

“For a marketing qualified lead, they haven’t made that commitment to your brand yet, so your relationship is in a different place. You are still building and nurturing the relationship, and it is still very sales focused. You are offering things they want and need, but trying not to overwhelm them.”

For these types of customer leads, you should offer them discounted access to your product. You already know they have shown interest in your brand. They just need a little extra push to dedicate their time and money to you.

Finding the right balance of email frequency and regular communication with customers is the key to keeping customers invested but not overwhelmed. You never want to drive anyone away if they feel their inbox is becoming cluttered. 

So always make sure your emails are valuable and informative. Treat your potential customer well, and talk to them like a person, not just a piggy bank.

SEO marketing

10 SEO Mistakes to Avoid

10 SEO Mistakes to Avoid

Search engine optimization (SEO) is crucial to building your brand and growing your business in 2020. As the use of technology has significantly increased over the last decade, so has the use of Google’s search engine. According to Statista, in April 2020, online search engine Bing accounted for 6.25% of the global search market, while Google had a market share of 86.02%. Additionally, in 2017 Google was responsible for driving 35% of all website traffic. 

SEO best practices are constantly evolving, as is Google’s algorithm. It is essential to not only continually monitor your website SEO conversions, but also continually optimize. There are a lot of intricacies surrounding search engine optimization, and it is easy to feel overwhelmed with what best practices to use. Today, lets discuss common SEO mistakes and how to avoid them.

 

1. Not meeting search intent 

It is important that the reader achieves what they’re looking for when visiting your page. If their needs are not met, your SEO ranking will be negatively affected.  Google ranks your site based on trust & value. This trust is established by behavior that shows your visitors find what they are looking for.

 

2. Writing at a high reading level

This is something that I personally struggle with every time I write a blog. As a writer, it is easy to forget that not everyone loves long, intricately structured sentences with fancy words like you. Not everyone, meaning Google.  Ideally, Google wants to see that your page is readable to anyone who visits it. This means keeping sentences short, and using words that everyone understands.

 

3. Outdated SEO techniques 

If you’re familiar with search engine optimization already, you know just how quickly the techniques can change. Google’s algorithm is constantly changing. It is important to understand the important SEO insights as they actively change. Here is a good list of 9 SEO insights you must follow right now.

 

4. Unclear SEO goals

Just as any marketing practice, without a strategy there is no way to measure your success or reach your goals. You should establish an overall SEO strategy, as well as a strategy for individual campaign initiatives. If you’re new to building an SEO strategy, I highly recommend checking out this article by marketing expert Drew Fortin.

 

5. Ignoring conversion data

Measuring the success of your SEO is extremely important. The primary goal of your search engine is to drive traffic to your company website. More specifically, the goal is to target relevant customers. Someone who is already interested in a product or service your company provides is more likely to convert. Without measuring your conversions, you have zero ability to measure the effectiveness of your SEO strategy. Here are some helpful tools to audit and monitor your SEO.

 

6. Using only text content

If you’re new to SEO optimization, text-only content is dead. It is more important than ever to include imagery and/or video in blogs, emails, and other means of content. According to comscore, adding video to your website can increase the chance of a front page Google result (SERP) by 53 times. Video increases customer attention, therefore leading to higher engagement. This Vidyard article is a great example of the benefits of video marketing.

 

7. Not good for mobile

Over 50% of users use their phones to view websites and open emails. Google search ranking practices Mobile-first indexing, meaning that Google predominantly uses the mobile version of the content for indexing and ranking.  Because of the shift in web traffic being driven by mobile users, new websites (built since 2019) are indexed mobile first. Keep this in mind when building your landing pages and blogs!

 

8. Not enough attention to your headings

Headings and subheadings are important because they make your page or article easier to read; thus, increasing your SEO value. The reader should be able to find what they’re looking for quickly. Otherwise, they will leave your page. Making minor changes to the text in your headings won’t directly affect your SEO value. Rather, it is the effect on the overall structure of the page. Use headings as signposts, and the text below to describe what they’re about. Applying structure and making the page easy to read for customers will help Google understand your page better, too. 

 

9. Writing for Google & not your audience

It is easy to lose sight of the purpose of the blog article or landing page you are building and cater specifically to SEO rankings.  As important as it is to keep search engine ranking top of mind, it is essential that you write for your audience and not Google. If you’re using a platform like WordPress, I highly recommend using the Yoast SEO plugin. Once you’ve begun utilizing Yoast, write FIRST for your audience and THEN integrate the SEO optimization. Yoast will provide a detailed list of SEO suggestions, and rank your blog or landing page accordingly. Ultimately, real people are who you are trying to reach and convert into revenue, not Google (sorry, Google).

 

10. Helpful content

This is one of the strongest marketing trends for 2020. With the current state of the world and the economy, it is more important than ever to produce helpful, educational content. If you are producing something to sell to your clients, you’re going to turn away potential clients before they can even decide if they want to buy with you. Your communication should come from an empathetic and honest place. However, don’t ignore the elephant in the room. Try new + creative email campaigns geared towards providing your clients with helpful resources.

 

 

 

 

Important Email Stats You Should Know

Important Email Marketing Stats You Should Know

Email Marketing Stats You Should Know

Covid marketing trends that are here to stay

 
  

What is the current state of Email Marketing?

Let's start unpacking this question. Before the Covid-19 pandemic began, many marketers suspected that email marketing would be “dead” within a matter of a few years. However, recent trends suggest just the opposite. HubSpot research shows that 78% of marketers have seen an increase in email engagement over the last 12 months. In fact, the latest research from Litmus found that for every $1 spent on email marketing, the ROI is $42.

 

So, what helpful statistics can help your business navigate email marketing practices to increase your email performance, and thus your company’s ROI?

 

Since April 1, 2020, marketing email open rates have been climbing.

Additionally, companies are utilizing email marketing at a higher rate than before. These two metrics have increased in tandem. Here are some useful insights related to open rates:

 
 

Additional best practices to increase your open rates involve your subject line.

Before your customer can even read the beautiful and helpful email you’ve created, they need to feel inclined to open.  Your subject line needs to grab the attention of your audience within just a few words. 

The best part about subject lines is that they can be A/B tested. It never hurts to switch up your language, be mindful of your audience, and test different methods to see what your audience reacts to. 

  • Keep it short. Recipients are often mobile users. Keep your subject no  more than 9 words / 60 characters. (Mailchimp.com)
  • Personalization is key. Use tags to personalize your subject lines with each recipient’s name, company name, or location. Personalization is known to increase open rates for most users. (Mailchimp.com)
  • Try using emojis. 56% of brands using an emoji in their email had a higher open rate than those that did not (HubSpot.com). Try to limit your emoji use to one, and use them to supplement words rather than replace them to make sure your message is clear. (mailchimp.com)

 
 

Implement email segmentation.

Marketers who use segmented campaigns note as much as a 760% increase in revenue. (HubSpot.com).  

What is segmentation? According to Campaign Monitor, segmentation is the division of an email list into smaller segments based on set criteria. Segmentation is a tactic used to ensure relevancy to your audience based on location, interests, purchase history, client activity, and more. 

 

Additionally, measure & analyze your list performance.

Continually monitor email performance metrics like bounce rate & unsubscribe rate.

Your bounce rate is a direct measure of your contact database and how enriched your data is. A high bounce rate would suggest that your contacts are recently active, or perhaps just aren’t updated.

A high unsubscribe rate speaks to your list and the relevancy of your email to your customer. If you’re just beginning an email campaign strategy and your clients aren’t used to receiving emails from you, make your purpose and value of the email clear to your audience. Continue to segment your lists based on the list performance results and nurture the clients who want to be included in the information you have to share.

 

Create honest, helpful content. This includes educational or resourceful content.

This is more important during this “new normal” as we’ve adapted to the Covid-19 pandemic. If you are a part of an industry that has been slow to adapt to digital marketing, this presents a large window of opportunity.

Conductor.com reports that according to their new research, consumers are 131% more likely to buy from a brand immediately after they read a piece of educational content.  

HubSpot Marketing Manager Henni Roini echoes this sentiment, “Only the companies and brands that create human connection are going to succeed. This is extremely true with email. You might get short term benefits from very promotional content, but honest, human, and personalized content creates a following for the long term.”

In our previous blog discussing client Relationship Management, we elaborate on how to use empathy as a tool. Your goal is to design a communication strategy that leads with empathy from an honest place.
 
 

Stay consistent and measure your success.

If you don’t have one already, implement a review process to check for broken links, grammar mistakes, etc. Make sure that you have an approval process that works efficiently. Stay consistent with send dates and times to build trust with your audience.

 

Analyze email performance across all marketing channels.

Did your team write a blog that resonated well with your audience? Perhaps you decide to extend the reach of this article by supporting it with a social media paid campaign. Assess your click through rates - perhaps the topic isn’t as relevant to your customers as you originally thought, or the segmentation wasn’t in the right direction.

The beauty of marketing is the ability to create, test, and analyze to improve your results going forward. Measure results and evolve your strategies.

 
 
 
 

PandCDigitalLORES

Our Journey to 10k

Our Journey to 10K

The Post and Courier has recently achieved a milestone of 10,000 paid digital subscribers. This accomplishment can be attributed to a multitude of efforts from our newsroom and marketing team. But, what does this really mean and how is it relevant to you as a business partner?

 

It is no secret that in general we spend more time on the internet today than we did even a year ago. Since January, we’ve seen an increase of over 2,000 new paid digital subscribers - an increase of over 27%. What this trend tells us is that our audience is craving digital news updates and informative resources more than ever before. 

 

Let’s address what this engaged digital audience means to a business owner and how it can be leveraged through digital advertising.  HubSpot describes, “Digital marketing encompasses all marketing efforts that use an electronic device or the internet. Businesses leverage digital channels such as search engines, social media, email, and other websites to connect with current and prospective customers.” 

 

Just like all marketing, your goal is to connect with your target audience in the right place at the right time. 

 

The benefit of advertising with The Post and Courier is our standing trust with our readers and our ability to connect you with your target audience based on the behaviors of our engaged readers. This keeps us connected with our readers' needs and thus the needs of our partners. 

 

Claire Linney, our Emerging Sales expert explains, "For example, we have a Food & Dining newsletter that is sent to readers specifically interested in reading about all things food related (restaurant news, recipes, new breweries, food events).  As an advertising partner, this proposes an opportunity to reach a targeted audience with specific interests by investing in an advertising position in a fitting newsletter.  We’re here to help you navigate your spending and ensure your investments are strategically aligned with goals.."

 

As a company, The Post and Courier continues to be digital first, with focus on increasing and expanding an engaged digital audience.   With the hard work of our newsroom, producing special reporting about topics directly impacting our community and state, our audience continues to grow and see value in our in-depth coverage.  

 

Here are some fun statistics that expand on the significance of this milestone of 10,000 paid digital subscribers and value of The Post and Courier broadened digital audience:

 

With the current state of the economy & recovering businesses, it is more important than ever to make certain your company is investing wisely via digital platforms.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Relationship Management Blog

Relationship Management: How to Keep Leads Warm Without Selling

Relationship Management: How to Keep Leads Warm Without Selling

As businesses begin to re-open, it is more important than ever to prioritize relationship management and be mindful of how each business approaches potential buyers. Your business’s ability to adapt to an empathetic marketing strategy will have an impact on customer conversions. 

Trends suggest that how a business communicates with clients during a time of crisis will directly impact the brand’s reputation for the foreseeable future. The goal is to design a communication strategy that leads with empathy from an honest place. 

Using empathy as a tool and not a recovery plan

Understanding your client’s perspective is essential to your success. By listening to your customers needs, you can better provide them with whatever services or products could help them. You want to be their problem solver for the immediate, and need to present longer-term the value in your proposal. 

By now, you should have your post-pandemic marketing strategy in place. However, there’s a high possibility that clients may still be uncomfortable with spending. Although sales are down for a majority of businesses, web traffic has increased significantly since March. Marketing Gong's Head of Content, Devin Reed believes customers aren’t making purchases, but they’re gathering information about who/how they want to spend when the time comes.   

Positive and creative communication

HubSpot Marketing trends reveal email open rates are increasing and holding steady, but sales are down. Now what? Nurture these leads with a kind voice & helping hand so that when they reach financial recovery (individuals or businesses), they choose to purchase with you. Listen to your clients’ needs and only beneficial information. Deliver value first.

Remove words from your messaging that carry a negative connotation. However, don’t ignore the elephant in the room. Try new + creative email campaigns geared towards providing your clients with helpful resources. Response rates are 25-50% lower and sales open rates have tanked. The idea is to pull, NOT push your clients to you. Lead with relatable and positive messaging and don’t be afraid to add a little (tasteful) humor. 

Utilize some of our Post and Courier Marketing Blogs and incorporate them as selling tools. We’ve written dozens of articles in an effort to help small businesses with tons of useful information pertaining to crisis marketing + other free tools we’ve created to help local businesses at this time.