Virtual Campfires are an AAM member benefit where we jump on a video chat each month to share information, best practices and challenges surrounding a topic. Intended to simulate the learning we get when we have the opportunity to be face to face (such as the upcoming Winning is Everything), I facilitate these sessions with an eye toward how we can crowdsource improvement as a group.
This month’s topic was on emailing, that central key communication tool and the cause of all work overwhelm. Contrary to clickbait blog headlines, email is not dead, nor is it dying. In fact, in terms of your captured audience it’s one of the most valuable channels we own. We covered how we’re communicating using this medium, how often, and how to keep an engaged audience. Below are the top 3 takeaways from the discussion, but this doesn’t compare to being there firsthand!
- Targeting the message is critical to seeing results. Firms have been using segmentation of contacts into lists based on qualifiers such as niche, service lines, demographics, etc. Although personalization itself (addressing a contact’s name) has seen mixed use, and can be hard to keep up to date. Segmenting can also help reduce opt-outs, both by allowing you to plan a calendar where no one gets too many emails, and some platforms even allow the recipient to remove themselves from some lists but leave the others, or reduce the frequency without opting out entirely.
- We compared our experience with email platforms. Mailchimp is very easy to use and free for 2000 or less contacts – great if you’re just starting out. They’ve also recently introduced some automation features in the free version. Several of us on the call reported deliverability issues with Constant Contact, particularly in recent years. We talked about automating emails with Hubspot and then linking that data in Salesforce, which felt like everyone’s Holy Grail scenario. For starting out with automation, I recently got a demo on Convertkit that made it a very nice contender for the price point (about $50/month). Several people on the call also use Zoho’s CRM, which has a free tier, and even at Enterprise level is an affordable $30/month.
- Finally, we speculated about email deliverability and list health. We know that plenty of factors contribute to whether emails will hit the inbox – keyword triggers, overall list health, even the number of links in an email, but none of us have recent research to back this up. What we do know is that well over 60% of email is now read on mobile phones, making context very important. Factors such as style, responsiveness and time of day to send should be considered in this changing context. It can be very telling to A/B test your audience – that is, to change one single factor about an email and send each version to half the list to see which performs better.
Mark your calendars and register for next month, November 15 at 3pm CST/4pm EST as we share about Outsourcing!
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About Raissa Evans
As Chief Strategist of Running Reload, Raissa works with accounting industry leaders and overwhelmed marketing teams on strategies to reach growth goals. She is a former marketer of the year and AAM treasurer, and can be reached at [email protected] or (713) 416-3215.