Ok, I admit it…
I pay a lot of attention to language. Often times too much. (And I’m sure sometimes not enough)
And herein lies my trouble with the term “indoctrination email.”
Now, I understand that indoctrinate means “to instruct especially in fundamentals or rudiments.” (merriam-webster.com) And I get that the synonyms are educate, teach, instruct and train.
Nevertheless, to me, indoctrinate means “brainwash.”
And I am not alone in that feeling.
You see, back in the 17th century indoctrinate simply meant to teach. It was an innocuous word with no negative connotations or meanings, because none had been created yet.
However, in the 19th century it began to take on another meaning. One of teaching ideas, opinions and beliefs, often to be learned and not questioned.
It has since been used in relation to cults and others who are brainwashing their followers to gain their unquestioning agreement and acceptance.
And while that is not the only usage, it is a widely known one. (For giggles, search “indoctrination” on Google, and look at the images)
Why the history lesson?
Because I want to give you some insight into my issue with the term “indoctrination email.”
I originally saw this term used a couple of years ago in the book Invisible Selling Machine by Ryan Deiss. I’m not sure if he was the first to use the term, but that is where I first saw it in this context.
I love Ryan Deiss and most of what he puts out, but this I just have not been able to get behind.
It took me quite a while to figure out what the issue was. I mean, I instantly knew I didn’t love the term.
And I knew it sounded like brainwashing to me.
What I didn’t realize is just how much my distaste for the term stalled my growth.
You see, I don’t want my readers, my subscribers, or anyone else for that matter to take my word at face value.
I don’t want them to blindly trust and agree with what I say.
I want them to critically look at my words, my promises, and my delivery.
I want them to question things, research them, and discuss their opinions with me.
Not only do I encourage that, I count on it!
I am a firm believer that progress, in any area, comes through thought and discussion. And those things can only happen if all parties are fully engaged in the conversation.
Now, this doesn’t mean that I don’t believe an initial email series needs to be sent.
Nor does it mean that I don’t believe in the purpose of the “indoctrination email sequence.”
It simply means that I choose to call it something else, and I’ll tell you why.
I call it the “connection sequence.”
How does that feel when you read that? I mean, that’s what the indoctrination email is truly meant to be anyway, right? It’s the time when we introduce ourselves and our company, letting our new subscribers know what to expect, and helping them get to know us.
It’s when engagement with email is at its highest.
In fact, did you know that 74.4% of consumers expect a welcome email when they subscribe? They also show 33% more long-term engagement when they receive a welcome email.
AND, welcome emails generate 4 times the open rates and 5x the clicks of other bulk email promotions.
Oh, and just in case that isn’t reason enough to send welcome emails, they can actually see more than 3 times the transactions and revenue PER EMAIL over regular promotional emails.
So, if basic manners weren’t enough, the numbers are certainly enough to convince me to send out connection emails.
The content of my connection emails and most indoctrination emails is very similar, if not the same.
The difference is in the expectation and feeling generated when thinking about and writing the emails.
By calling them connection emails I am more directly calling them what they are. Emails designed to strengthen the connection. Between the subscriber and myself. Between my company’s mission and my subscriber. And between myself and the purpose of my emails.
Connection emails are designed to make the connection. That is their purpose. That is their function.
Now, as a writer, when sitting down to write an email it takes on a different meaning if you’re writing a “connection” email rather than an “indoctrination” email. You will likely use different language, different calls to action, and you will certainly go into it with a different perspective of your reader.
Imagine putting together an email sequence where your job is to indoctrinate your reader. Whatever meaning you put to the word, it is certainly more of a one way word. It means to teach. That is one way. To educate. One way.
Whereas connection is a two way conversation. Connection, defined, is “ a relationship in which a person, thing or idea is linked or associated with something else.”
This is what I want my emails to do.
I do not just want to educate my reader. I want them to feel linked to me. I want them to feel a relationship has been built.
I want them to begin to feel that they can ask me questions, come to me with thoughts and ideas, and get the answers and support they are looking for.
I want to build a relationship of trust with them. More than simply teaching them what I’m about, I’d like them to know that I’m interested in what they’re about.
And a “connection” email does that.
It allows me to not only share about myself, but to also ask questions of them. And to do that from a place of authenticity.
You may ask why it matters what I call it. After all, isn’t that just my internal process?
No, it’s not.
In today’s day and age our prospects, subscribers and customers are reading our material. They are consuming more information than ever before, and they are privy to what we do.
In fact, if you search “indoctrination email” in Google you will come up with 4.7 million results. That means there are approximately 4.7 million pages on the internet referencing indoctrination emails.
What do you think the odds are that your prospects or clients have seen one of these?
Yep, pretty high.
One thing I want to make perfectly clear…this has nothing to do with Ryan Deiss or my respect for him and Digital Marketer.
I love Digital Marketer and have been a member for years. The value he gives his community is awesome and I have learned a TON from him.
However, regardless of that, I maintain that building connection emails and sequences to welcome your new subscribers to your company is a much more powerful position to come from than building an indoctrination sequence.
Next time you’re writing your welcome emails, give it a try. Notice how that shifts your language and purpose ever so slightly. And see how your connection rate improves.
I would love to hear your thoughts on indoctrination vs. connection emails. Am I overthinking this? Am I the only one who’s even noticed it? What are your thoughts and how have your results been using either of these formats?
Your email list. For many business owners it is one of their most prized possessions. At conventions business owners can often be heard boasting pridefully about how many subscribers they have.
Reactions can often be heard. “Wow, that’s awesome!” “Damn, how long did it take to build up that list.” “Don’t worry, it takes time to build a list.”
Whatever the reaction, the sentiment is the same.
If you have a solid email list, you must be making money. Right?
Whether or not you make money via email has much less to do with how many people are on your list than how you use the list you have.
How many subscribers you have does not dictate how much money you make!
I’ve worked with 7 figure business owners who have lists of 50K+ and lists of less than 10K.
I’ve also worked with business owners with lists of 50K+ whose income is in the low 6 figures.
The deciding factor really isn’t the number of subscribers. It’s what you do with those subscribers!
If you’re like most marketers you put together your newsletter and you send it out to your list. You probably also send a promo or two when you have a sale, new product launch, or need to generate some cash flow.
You likely spend some time writing your copy, putting together your buy links and sales pages, making sure there are images in your email, and then you broadcast it out to your entire list because, after all, they opted in so they are ready to be marketed to.
BUT, this is the fastest way I know of to do 3 things:
If your email list is truly one of your most valuable assets, don’t you think it should be treated as such? Remember, the people on the other end of the line, so to speak, are just people. They are human beings who want to be heard, understood, and listened to.
They want your help, not your pitches.
Now, that doesn’t mean you can’t pitch them. Of course you can. And you should.
The key is to market to them with a purpose. Share relevant information while respecting their time.
And you do that by sending them the right offer at the right time. For them.
This is where email automation comes into play.
By automating some of your emails you are having the conversation with your clients that they are ready to have. You are meeting them where they are, allowing them to learn about something that may help you, while not selling to them.
You are offering them the chance to get a product or service that will fill a need they have instead of selling them what you want to sell.
By approaching them this way you are redefining your relationship.
You are telling them “Hey, I’m listening to you. I hear what you’re saying and I’m with ya.”
That is going to get a lot more customer loyalty and support than “Hey, I’ve got this bill to pay this month so I’m going to sell you this.”
Because, no matter how good a copywriter you are, your clients can tell which kind of marketer you are. Your prospects can feel your intention and know when you are just trying to make a buck as opposed to trying to connect with them and solve a problem they may be having.
So, the next question you might have is how can you tell what they want or need…
Well, that gets easier with today’s technology.
Depending on the mail service you use, you likely have much of this information at your fingertips.
By tracking what links your email subscribers are clicking on you can tell what products and services might interest them. Maybe they are downloading a piece of content, or maybe they are clicking to read more of a particular article. Maybe they are clicking to learn more about a product or service you offer.
Whatever the click, there is information in it that can help you with your marketing.
Let’s say you have a financial services agency. And let’s say you send an email out to all of your clients about a new 529 plan, a college savings plan.
Anyone who clicks on that is going to indicate to you that they are interested in saving for college. You may not know if they are saving for their own child, a niece or a nephew, or someone else, but you know that planning for college is top of mind for them.
This would be a great time to follow up with some additional information about college savings plans. Offer them a quick call to talk about their needs, share specifics about various plans and how they can fill their needs…
The key is that you are not selling them a college savings plan at this point.
Quite the opposite. You are simply offering to share some additional information with them. Information that they have already told you they are interested in.
Now, considering most financial planners have clients who may be saving for college, others who have no children, and still others whose children have grown and already graduated…who do you think would be more likely to enjoy information about college savings plans?
Those who already clicked on a link, or every single subscriber on the list?
By segmenting it down and having the follow up emails go out to only those who clicked on the initial link you are talking to the people who want to talk to you.
I think of it this way.
Say you’re at a party, and the room is full of people. Some of whom you know, some of whom you don’t.
Now, sending a broadcast email is like standing in the middle of the room, clinking a spoon on your glass, calling for everyone’s attention, and telling them whatever it is you’re about to tell them.
A targeted email on the other hand is like having conversations with small groups of people, getting to know them and speaking about something relevant to them. A breakout room if you will.
Clearly, by speaking to small groups about what they are interested in, and speaking to the whole room about general, mass appeal topics you are going to maintain their attention longer, make more friends, and have more follow up conversations at the end of the night.
So, with that in mind, how can you shift from a broadcast model to a targeted email model? What emails can you shift from going to everyone on your list to only those that have raised their hands? And, as importantly, how will you shift your broadcast emails to be more well suited for your entire list?
Make sure you are tracking your results as you make these shifts. Nothing is easier to misjudge the impact of than something that is not measured.
Email marketing remains one of the most powerful ways to connect with your clients and prospects. According to a June 2016 survey of US marketers conducted by the Direct Marketing Association email has a median ROI of 122%, more than 4 times higher than other marketing formats!
That is an amazing increase over things such as social media, direct mail and paid search.
BUT, as we know, email is a noisy channel. In fact the average office worker receives 121 emails per day and checks their email 74 times per day! Estimates by the Radicati Group put emails sent per day at around 269 billion. (Interesting fact: according to multiple reports Groupon sends the most emails per user)the average office worker receives 121 emails per day and checks their email 74 times per day! Click To Tweet
If email marketing is so valuable, and there is so much noise in our inboxes, the next question is what can you do to make your marketing message stand out. How can you create and send an email that your market will want to open, read and click on?How can you create and send an email that your market will want to open, read and click on? Click To Tweet
There are several things you can do to increase those numbers, but there is one thing that, above all else, will impact your open and click rates.
Make your emails valuable!
Don’t send emails for the sake of sending emails. Send emails with valuable content. Share information and ideas that your prospects and clients want to have. Share valuable insight that they can’t get elsewhere. Make sure that they are glad they opened your emails, and that your emails are something they begin to look forward to!
Now, assuming you have nailed the valuable content piece, here are 10 things you can do to increase your open and click rates:
These will help you to improve your open and click rates of your emails. Remember, make them personal. Emails with personalized subject lines are 26% more likely to be opened. (CampaignMonitor)Emails with personalized subject lines are 26% more likely to be opened. Click To Tweet
Be conversational. Be memorable. Be relevant.
And most of all, be diligent about tracking your metrics. Know where you stand, how you are trending, and where you want to go. Set goals for your open and click rates, and work consistently toward reaching those goals.
Facebook ads and boosted posts…what is the difference and how does it affect you?
The difference is huge and it affects you if you are advertising on Facebook. While both options will help you get your message in front of more people than an ordinary post will, but which one is best for you?
In order to answer that question you first need to determine what your goals are. You see, paid ads and boosted posts each offer fantastic results, as long as you are using them for the right reasons and at the right times.
So let’s take a look at that.
Boosted posts are when you have a regular post on a page that you’d like for more people to see. For a variety of reasons with Facebook’s algorithms when you make a post only approximately 1% of your audience will see your post.With Facebook’s algorithms when you make a post only approximately 1% of your audience will see your post. Click To Tweet
That means that if you have 10,000 likes on your page only 100 people, on average, will see a regular post that you make.
When you boost that post you increase the numbers who will see your post significantly. Boosting your post simply moves that post up in your existing audience’s feed, so more than the standard 1% will see it.
This can be extremely valuable if your primary purpose is to drive interaction among your existing audience. Maybe your posts haven’t been getting much engagement lately, your likes and shares are dropping, and you want to give those a bump.
Boosting posts is a great way to do that.
While you will likely get some new page likes as a result of higher shares and likes, this is not the most effective way to grow your audience.
Again, it’s effective for engaging your audience, not growing it.Again, it’s effective for engaging your audience, not growing it. Click To Tweet
If you are ready to grow your audience, you want to drive page likes, clicks to a website, registrations for a webinar or something similar then you most likely want to run paid ads.
These are the ads you see in your newsfeed or on your right sidebar.
Paid ads are extremely powerful for growing your audience because they allow some targeting not available with boosted posts. Because boosted posts simply boost the visibility to your audience you do not have the flexibility to choose what audience you want your ad to be shown to.
With Facebook ads you can target your audience by any variety of things. We are all familiar with targeting options like age, gender, and marital status. But what about behavior? Imagine the power of targeting people who like certain things, like your competitors.
Paid ads allow for another great feature that is not available otherwise, and that is including a call to action within the ad itself. Rather than just allowing people who see your ad to like, comment on or share the post paid ads allow for specific calls to action such as Learn More, Register Here or Click Here.
Paid ads are also a great way to drive page likes. Done correctly you can actually get page likes for under .10 per like, a great way to grow your page and perceived authority quickly and inexpensively.
There is a drawback to paid ads…their complexity requires someone knowledgeable on the platform to manage them.
Like anything else that is complex and high level, Facebook ads can be one of the most powerful tools you use in your business, or one of the most costly. The choice is up to you.Facebook ads can be one of the most powerful tools you use in your business, or one of the most costly. Click To Tweet
The complex platform allows skilled users to dial in the audience they are targeting to get the best price per click. It allows users to narrow down their audience in such a way that they can literally talk to exactly the people they want to.
It is absolutely one of the most powerful tools out there.
And it does require the expertise of someone who manages ads on a daily basis to be able to maximize their effectiveness.
So, as you’re deciding if you want to boost your posts or run some paid ads, think first about your goals. Figure out what it is you want to achieve, and talk to an expert. Find someone who is willing to spend some time on the phone with you, discussing your goals, and is willing to advise you on the best way to achieve those goals.As you’re deciding if you want to boost your posts or run some paid ads, think first about your goals. Click To Tweet
When your goals are clear, and your strategy is well thought out, Facebook can undoubtedly be one of the most powerful marketing tools in your arsenal.
Have you ever wondered why, when you paste a link into your Facebook post, you get the image and wording you do? Do you remember when it used to be simple to post on Facebook and share links?Do you remember when it used to be simple to post on Facebook and share links? Click To Tweet
As recently as several months ago when you pasted a link into a website you could customize the headline, text and image for that link.
Well, that’s all changed. Due to the changing culture we live in we no longer have the ability to change the info for links we post. The information is pulled directly from the website when the link is posted.
As a site owner this is actually a very good thing. It allows you to have complete control over how your site is represented online, and it prevents anyone else from changing your branding or messaging.
That being said, it does add an extra step or two for you as you’re building your web pages and posting your blog articles. They are simple but essential, and they will help you make sure you are putting the right message out into the world.
The first thing you have to do to optimize your posts is to add a featured photo. Notice I said you have to do this…that’s because if you don’t you can end up with some odd images showing up. Social media logos, author headshots, or unformatted images can all end up as your default image if you don’t take control of that.
Make sure you’re using images that will look great on Facebook. Remember Facebook is a social platform. It is where people go to connect, to have fun and to unwind. Make your images engaging. Often when a post doesn’t catch someone’s attention and make them stop scrolling, the image will.Often when a post doesn’t catch someone’s attention and make them stop scrolling, the image will. Click To Tweet
Next, you need to be clear on your headline. It will show up in the Facebook preview anytime someone shares your link. Make sure it’s awesome! Even after someone reads a post directing them to your site, many times people won’t go if the link doesn’t look appealing. Make sure your headline will grab their attention and entice them to visit.
Finally, carefully craft your summary. This is the small preview that shows in your link text. It lets the reader know what to expect if they click through to visit your site, and gives them a sneak peek at you and your writing.
People will make decisions based on all of these pieces, and it’s important that yours are planned out. Be intentional and strategic with your brand and content when it’s posted online. You have a few short seconds to encourage people to come to your site. Use them wisely.Be intentional and strategic with your brand and content when it’s posted online. Click To Tweet
Now that you’ve selected your preview information carefully, you need to make sure it’s showing up correctly. Facebook offers a great tool you can use to check your article and see how it shows up in the preview. You can find it here.
Simply plug in your link, click “Fetch new scrape information” and wait for the results. It will show you exactly what Facebook sees and what it will post.
If you’re happy with it, great!
If you’re not you can use a tool like Yoast to plug in your info and customize your preview.
That’s it! A few simple things you can do to improve the preview that shows up in Facebook when you or anyone else shares your post. These strategies and tools will allow you to take control of your brand’s identity on Facebook and make sure that you are being represented the way you have chosen to be.
For many companies the holidays are an essential time for marketing. In fact, it’s often the time of the year where you can make up any shortcomings from earlier in the year and get ready for the upcoming year.
To be truly effective your holiday marketing should have started last month. 🙂 That is the time to really examine your audience, segment them for email and advertising purposes, and prepare your list to mail to.
There are a lot of things to consider with your holiday marketing and, while it’s best to start this long ahead of time, we know that’s not always possible. There’s still time to plan and get ready for the holidays!
You’ll need to commit the time to do a great job here, and ideally set aside time for you and/or your team in your calendars. The holiday season offers huge revenue opportunities for all kinds of business, but you have to be ready.The holiday season offers huge revenue opportunities for all kinds of business Click To Tweet
This is by no means an exhaustive list, but it is a great start at the things to look at and prepare for when building your holiday campaign. By being prepared and thinking ahead you can make sure this holiday season is your best yet!By being prepared and thinking ahead you can make sure this holiday season is your best yet! Click To Tweet
One of the biggest pitfalls for businesses during the holiday season is in customer service. If you approach your entire holiday season with a client centric attitude you will forever shift your customer experience and your results.If you approach your entire holiday season with a client centric attitude you will forever shift your customer experience and your results. Click To Tweet
From sales to fulfillment to service, remember, your customers are being hit from all directions during the holidays. Make sure your message stands out, is focused on them, and delivers on its promises. If you do this, you will win this holiday season.