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How to Spice Up Your Email Newsletter

Whether you send it every week, month or quarter, don’t neglect your email newsletter. And by neglect, I mean don’t let it get boring. Don’t let your newsletter be the lost piece of marketing in your audience’s inbox each time you send. Like the latest iPhone, you have to keep evolving your newsletter with the times. Here are six ways to spice up your newsletter and get your audience reading again.

Create a welcome email

Sure, it might be extra work, but consider sending a warm welcome whenever someone opts in to your newsletter. Use the opportunity to simply say hello in a beautiful or funny way. Don’t overcrowd the email with too much company info or news. The warm gesture is enough and will leave them with a good taste for your organization. Email sending services like Mailchimp or Campaign Monitor allow for automated set up so you can make sure your welcome email fires off without a hitch!

Spice up your subject life

makenzie_davies_image_121416Thought you saw a typo? Guess again! Merely a simple Spice Girls pun for your reading pleasure. This type of nonsense is exactly what I’m talking about. Give your subject line an upgrade and be witty, sassy or bold (while maintaining your brand voice – of course!). You use emojis in your everyday text, so don’t be afraid to use them in the subject line to make reading more fun, eye-catching and conversational. Scared to dive right in? Do some A/B testing with your traditional, informative subject line against one with a little more pizazz and you might be surprised at the difference it makes on your click-open rate!

Keep content short and sweet

Say what you need to say. There’s a reason you’re sending a newsletter: to inform your community about what’s going on. But can you say it without forcing such a commitment on your reader? Their time is important, so take less of it by considering the following: Does the any of the information in your email exist somewhere else on the web? If so, consider teasing your reader with an interesting snippet of content and linking to the source. Is your email one, long story with several paragraphs of text? Consider breaking the email into sections with prominent headers for topics like events, important dates, news, featured members, celebrations, and others. Lastly, proofread your email for redundancies. You could be repeating content – such as dates, locations and more – that has the potential to be deleted, shortening (and sweetening) your email.

Use buttons

Not only do they make an attractive addition to your newsletter design, buttons provide the obvious click call-to-action your email might have been missing. How many hyperlinked words appear in your email copy? Too many? It may be time to evaluate whether they could be complemented by – or better yet – replaced with a nice, big button. Today’s email user is accustomed to opening an email and scanning it for the most important parts. Highlight that important information with a button that clearly outlines the action you most want them to take: “learn more” “buy now”
“redeem” etc.

Include deals & offers

Do you care about your members? Do you care about your business partners? Great! Benefit both by offering deals from your partners for your members to take advantage of. Maybe a discounted Lyft ride… Perhaps a free coffee from your local shop… Even a reduced ticket price to an event can enhance brand loyalty, strengthen relationships and entice future opens on your email, increasing your click-open rate!

Get feedback from your community

Try out some of these strategies and ask your readers what they think! Send a quick survey or start an internal chat with your most active members. Whatever you do, let them participate! After all, they’re the ones you need to please.

Moral of the story? Don’t be afraid to try new things in your newsletter. In fact, always keep trying new things! (If you’re going to pick one to try first, I vote emoji.) It’s kind of like a 20-year marriage, you’ve got to keep things interesting.

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How to Grow Your Association’s Membership with Marketing Automation

Can marketing automation help grow your association’s membership? Simple answer, yes. Marketing automation is the use of software to automate your marketing processes in a much more efficient way, and to deliver consistent, timely, and relevant content to your prospects and members. For associations, utilizing an automated marketing software can translate into growing membership by allowing you to do the following:

Keep Brand Consistency

Brand consistency is essential for your association. You want to make sure your message is strong, clear, and consistent across all channels. Through marketing automation, you can plan out your entire campaign and see the overall structure as a whole. This allows you to make sure there is consistency. For potential new members, they will easily be able to understand your association’s message. Having this strong voice will attract those prospects.

Boost Member Engagement

gears_marketingYour current members play an extremely important role in the growth of your association. With engaging members, they can help spread the word about your association and recruit new members. If prospects see this engagement and passion from your current members, they are more likely to want to join. If all your members are silent, then the attractiveness of your association will suffer. Without their help it may be difficult to grow and continue success. With automation, you can monitor which members are engaging and help push content to those who are not.

Maintain Current Members

Just as it is important to grow and find new members, it is equally as important for the success of your association to maintain the members you already have. Losing members is not a good sign for the growth of your association. If prospects see satisfied current members that have been with the association for many years, it will certainly increase their likelihood to join. Through marketing automation, you can send out personalized content to all of your different members based on their needs to keep them engaged and attract new members along the way.

Track Content to Your Prospects

When you automate your marketing efforts, you have the ability to automatically send out specific content at specific times. Just like points along a “sales funnel,” you are giving them targeted messages at the right time to push them through to join the association. Also, you have the ability to track what they click on to better improve those tailored messages. When tracking prospects, automated messages push their general interest into commitment to your association. Turning interest into commitment, means turning prospects into members.

Increase Flexibility

Marketing automation, like mentioned before, allows you to send what you want, when you want, to whom you want. Give prospects what they want by tailoring your message to each recipient. Your automated campaigns are created by you and can be altered to what fits your association’s message. Just set up your steps, import your prospects and members, and boom – your marketing automation software takes care of the rest!

Most associations have one overall goal: Gain and retain members. Using marketing automation software allows not only maximum reach to prospects, but also constant personalized content to current members. By taking care of your current members and targeting prospects with information that is relevant to them, you are increasing the ability to grow and succeed as an association.

 

A Note From The Author

If you like what you read here, I encourage you to read the Association Marketing Toolkit, which is full of additional resources, tips, and ideas for marketing your association!

Marketing Automation for Associations

 

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Should Your Association be Blogging?

This is always one of the first topics of conversation when we meet with a potential client. It starts with “should I have a blog?” and then leads to “my main competitor has one so I feel like I need to.”

Now, usually, we smile because we are very excited about the opportunity to blog. After all, our firm specifically believes in the power of content. However, blogging can be tricky. Our response to the question typically goes something like this “what do you want to blog about?” Some leaders have thought about the “why” but others have not. Usually, we receive a response similar to “I don’t know yet but I feel like I need to have one. Everyone else has one.”

guestpost_am_111616This is where we sit up a little higher in our chairs. Blogging has become a very popular marketing tool and one, that if used properly, can bode well for a brand. On the flip side, it can actually damage your brand if you aren’t utilizing the tool in the way it’s intended to be used. Here’s what we mean:

With most marketing tools, a strategy must come first. Many of our initial conversations with curious bloggers-to-be begin with an interrogation from us on their goals. A blog is a communication tool that requires a great deal of dedication and focus. Writing takes time. Not to mention, writing is much harder than what it was five years ago. People do not want to spend more than five minutes on one article or blog post. Often times, articles even have a timestamp by the title to tell you how long it’ll take a viewer to read it. And while the demand for information is at an all-time-high, bloggers need to be aware that what you say and how you say it are quickly important to capturing an audience.

So, when we discuss whether or not a brand should have a blog, here are the things we like to ask first to validate whether it’s a good use of time and resources:

  1. What is your goal in having a blog?
  2. Name 3-5 content pillars (content topics) your blog could be focused around. Do you have enough content to keep your blog regular and consistent or should this content be reflected in, perhaps, an email newsletter?
  3. Review your 3-5 content pillars. Is your content unique and differentiated enough to your audience (members, prospective members, sponsors, partners, etc.)?
  4. Who would write your blog posts?
  5. What tone of voice would you write your blog posts in? Is that tone of voice compelling enough to sustain a lengthy period of time?
  6. How frequently will you publish blog posts? (This answer may heavily depend on your answer to Question 1).

By answering these questions, you have either set up a great skeleton-strategy to begin implementing a blog OR you have decided that blogging may not be right for your association at this time. (And that’s ok). Content is king in today’s wealthy world of internet info-gathering, however, blogging isn’t the singular solution for everyone.

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Upgrade Your Insta-game

am_guest_101316Let’s be honest, half the fun of Instagram is editing your photos. With stunning filters and special apps, the most mundane moments can become a work of art.

As a Marketing Coordinator for davies + dixon, I’m on Instagram quite frequently. After testing out a number of different photo editing apps, I’ve come to the conclusion that there’s not one app that’s better than all the rest. However, there is a method to this beautiful madness and it requires just a few tips and tools.

For starters, I highly recommend planning your Instagrams in advance so that you can envision how they’ll look next to one another (use the Later app to help you with that). Sticking to a specific color scheme will also help elevate your gram game. For example, the Insta-pros behind A Beautiful Mess, Elsie and Emma, do a great job of color cohesion. So whether you’re trying to be like Elsie and Emma, or you’re on Insta just for fun, here are a few photo editing apps that are worth trying out!

VSCO

This is a must-have app for any serious Instagrammer. VSCO fosters a talented community of iphone photographers but you can still edit your photos without making an account. Within this app, there are several elegant filters to choose from, as well as a great selection of image adjustment tools. When experimenting with the filters, I recommend turning down the strength to a 6 or 7 – you don’t want your photo looking too saturated. For those of you that would like your entire feed to have a consistent look and feel, then this is the app for you. After editing your photo, you’ll see it appear in the front page of the app titled “My images.” Simply select the photo you just edited (a yellow box will appear around it) and tap the three dots in the bottom right corner to “Copy Edits.” Upload your second image, repeat the steps in bold and you’ll now see the option to “Paste Edits.” That is how you can ensure your photos look cohesive!

Afterlight

In my opinion, Afterlight is less intense than VSCO and more user-friendly. If VSCO is the black diamond of photo editing apps, then Afterlight is the blues on the mountain. The UX design is simple and the filter presets are fun and diverse. Once you have selected your image within the app, you’ll see a rainbow circle in the toolbar on bottom. This circle expands to show you their filter packs. I mainly use the options within “Original” and “Seasons.” Like I mentioned, you may gravitate towards different filters based on the photo subject, as well as the color scheme of your overall Insta feed. Something that differentiates Afterlight from other photo apps is the ability to add film-like borders to your photos. The film icon is next to the rainbow circle. These effects make for some very #artsy photos!

A Color Story

If you love bright whites and colors that pop than this app should be your go-to. It’s great for product shots and flat lays. A unique feature about this app is the S-curve editing tool – the other apps I’ve mentioned have all the fundamental adjustment tools (i.e. Clarity, Contrast and Exposure) but not Curves. If you’re familiar with Photoshop than you know how crucial the Curves tool is. This is the best tool when it comes to adjusting the lighting of your photo. Another awesome feature about A Color Story is the ability to create and save custom filters. If you’re the creative type, you’ll enjoy building your own original presets!

While Instagram has definitely improved their editing capabilities, why settle? Downloading just one of these apps will quickly take your feed to the next level. I encourage you to play around with each of them until you find the one that works best for you. And have fun with it! There are no rules to the Insta-game – only recommendations. What has worked for you? Share in the comments below!

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