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Anna Powers and Sarah Ristorcelli, founders of Orlando Content Marketing, have harnessed one of their most powerful client tools–the email list–for their own company. How are they using email campaigns to market to their customers? Read on to find out.
Two years ago, when we first opened our business and started growing our email list, we could count our subscribers on one hand. That’s right: Anna’s mom, Sarah’s husband, and a mutual friend all “signed up” to receive our initial marketing messages. (Allowing users to opt-in to your email list is always a best practice, but when you’re in a startup’s inner circle then you’re probably a founding member of their list.) We’ve since cultivated subscribers through local business networking, Twitter, an active blog with an email sign up, and drive-by website traffic. Our list has grown from those early days, and while the current number isn’t huge, it’s definitely mighty.
The Engaged Few Are Better Than The Passive Many
Let me explain. We believe that a small(er) group of passionate followers is more powerful than a large, passive cohort. Superfans discuss and share, evangelizing you to their friends and families. We’re not alone in this thought; other marketers understand that amassing hordes of lukewarm followers on social media platforms is a less effective strategy than talking with a devoted few. Conclusion? 100 wild is better than 10,000 mild.
With that in mind, here are the statistics on a recent email campaign we sent to announce the launch of our new website. The open rate: a whopping 55.6%, or nearly 500% Mailchimp’s industry average.
The clickthrough rate: 12.7%, or over 10 times Mailchimp’s industry average. The number of nice congratulatory emails we received in response: 7. (We don’t have stats on that one.)
…And How We Got Them
How did we achieve such spectacular numbers?
1) We kept the main text short. 132 words, to be exact. Thanks to humanity’s incredibly shrinking attention span, we have less than 8 seconds to capture our audience’s attention before they move on. We didn’t want to take the chance that our email list would be overwhelmed by a giant blob of copy, so we kept things compact.
2) We included one simple ask: visit our new website! We didn’t send our readers to 4 different places (more on that in a minute), to do four different things.
3) We created a nice graphic that celebrated our hometown. This email revealed the change in our business name from Powers + Ristorcelli Content Agency to Orlando Content Marketing, so its header highlights the fact that we’re proud of our city.
4) We mailed our superfans. This list is our best and brightest, our most interested and engaged. Because we’ve sent similar blasts to the same group with similar results, we had data to back up our feeling that this message would be well-received.
But How Do We Iterate?
This email had success, but that’s not to say its formula is untweakable. As you can see from the template’s design, we included 3 boxes at the bottom of the message, directing readers to blog posts and organizations we feel strongly about. Guess what? No one clicked any of those links. That’s right: the only clickthroughs we received were directly back to our new website, which was ultimately the email’s most important task. The lesson? Each email should include a single link, associated with a single request for your customers. Want people to check out a new product line? Link only to that; don’t send them to your FAQs, or a page featuring other products. Want customers to contact you for a free consultation? Link only to a landing page or contact form. You get the point: in an age of digital overwhelm, keeping things simple is the best way to get results.
And Now, To Repeat Our Success
Our goal for this email campaign was to touch our most fervent supporters, reminding them of our services in the new year. We’ll follow up with an email in a few weeks introducing a new client case study; the goal of that campaign will be more focused on lead generation. And over the next few weeks, we’ll be paying attention to the number of new email signups and general website traffic that this email generated. As with so many other aspects of digital marketing, smart content + a connected audience + attention to data will achieve results.
Anna Powers is Co-founder and Creative Director of Orlando Content Marketing, which provides blogging, copy, and content strategy services in the B2B and B2C space. Their recent projects include content for Orlando Health, the Houston Chronicle, and Florida Institute of Technology.
For the past 15 years, she’s written about photography, creativity, and lifestyle, in print and online. Anna has also led several successful digital content ventures, including her own website misosouper.com, which was acquired by TheFind.com. She began her career teaching writing and literature at NYU and University of Miami, where she completed her graduate degree in English. Anna is also a proud graduate of UCF, and loves experiencing downtown Orlando life with her family.
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