A few months ago, I switched to Substack from MailChimp because for my individual needs, MailChimp is quite expensive. Nonetheless, it is one of the best email marketing tools.
Its biggest strength is the analytics that it provides that help you create highly focused email campaigns. This is something that is missing in Substack but then, Substack does not promote itself as an email marketing service – it promotes itself as a publishing platform. I am fine with that.
MailChimp has been in the email marketing business for quite some time. It means it has massive amounts of data about subscribers and campaigns that can be crunched for bits of highly valuable intelligence.
The success of every email marketing campaign depends on multiple factors and one of the most important factors is the content of your message.
This includes the way you have written the message, the type of images you have used, typography, call to action and the ease or difficulty of going through the message.
The content optimizer – a premium feature – collect data from your various campaigns and then makes suggestions accordingly, on how you should compose your message, how short or long your sentences must be, what sort of words you should use, what should be the nature of the images and the external links, and so on.
When you’re sending regular office emails the recipients, normally, have no choice but to open your email because it is work related. But when you’re sending emails to people who are not expecting to hear from you, who may not even know you, it becomes difficult to make them open your emails.
One of the biggest challenges faced by people who want to do email marketing is getting people to read their emails. Here are some helpful tips:
Use a familiar From name
The “From:” field tells your recipient from whom they are receiving the message. Messages from companies are usually ignored. Messages from strange names are also ignored. Nonetheless, using a name is far better than using a company name
You are more prone to opening an email from “Amrit” than “Credible Content”, or even from “Google”.
Use compelling subject lines
After the “From:” field, it is the subject line which is the biggest factor in people opening your email. Research shows that 47% of people base their decision of opening your emails based on the subject line (source).
There are some tried and tested formulas for writing compelling subject lines such as invoking the fear of missing out on a great opportunity, catering to the vanity of people, expressing curiosity, making people laugh, retargeting (sending emails to people who have abandoned your shopping cart), and such.
Send the emails at the right time
When are your recipients most likely to open your emails? There are different ways of finding it. You can use your common sense. You can use analytics data provided by your email marketing service such as MailChimp.
This may take some time. You will need to send multiple campaigns and then note during which time period your messages are opened the most.
Be regular on delivering value
Even if people open your email message the first time, they won’t open the subsequent messages if you don’t deliver on your promise. If they expect some value from your email messages, make sure you deliver that value. If they want to learn from your email messages, make sure that they learn something each time they open your email.
Make emails easy to read on mobile
59% of the millennials use their smart phones to check email. 67% of the generation z check their email on their mobile phones (source).
Whether you are enamored by the mobile or not, make sure that your email is easy to read on mobile phones. It is not even very difficult. Just keep your emails straightforward.
So, if you want to make more people open your emails, when you’re sending the email for the first time, the subject line plays a very important part, but after they have opened the email, and have become familiar with your name, it is the quality of your messages and the email content that is going to make them open your emails again.
The success of your email marketing depends on regularity. Repurposing your existing website or blog content can help.
One of the biggest problems you face when running an email marketing campaign is the lack of engaging content.
Email marketing – especially well-meaning and long-term – means building and sustaining relationships with your existing and prospective customers and clients. If you send out email campaigns just to promote your products and services, you’re not using the full potential of email marketing.
But this update is less about the dos and don’ts of email marketing and more about how to repurpose your existing website and blog content to get quality material for your successive email campaigns.
As this Business2Community update suggests, you can re-purpose your existing content from multiple sources including blog posts, web pages, and even social media updates.
I have been doing this for a couple of months now. I mean, getting content from various sources. I have been publishing my newsletter for years, but the only source of content was my blog.
Whenever I published a new blog post, I sent a notification to my email subscribers with a small intro to the blog and then a URL.
These days I do a lot of repurposing. From LinkedIn to my Credible Content blog to Quora, I’m constantly repurposing and remixing content.
For example, I publish an answer to a question on Quora. From there I have started turning those answers into full-fledged blog posts for my Credible Content blog. Then I write a small intro of 200-300 words both for my LinkedIn update and my newsletter update.
Repurposing isn’t just relevant to contemporary content. Maybe you wrote a blog post back in 2017 and it contains some nuggets of wisdom. You can share in your newsletter. But how do you find such content?
I normally use a site-based search query On Google such as “site:credible-content.com email marketing”.
This brings up all the content I have published on my website on the topic of email marketing. Then I quickly go through the links and find something useful to use for my next newsletter broadcast.
Well, a few days ago Twitter also launched a Substack alternative and started urging its users to publish newsletters from the new platform. It’s called Revue.
In case you don’t know what’s Substack, it is a newsletter publishing platform that operates on profit-sharing basis.
It is different from MailChimp. When you use MailChimp for your newsletter broadcasting, you pay for the number of messages that you send. After a while, it can become quite expensive.
Substack doesn’t charge you for every email that you send. It expects you to create so much quality content that your subscribers become eager to pay you. When your subscribers pay for your premium content, Substack takes a part of it. Quite fair.
In particular niches, Substack is quite famous. I came to know of it a few months ago when I was looking for a cheaper alternative to MailChimp because as the number of subscribers increased, and since, at least right now, my newsletter doesn’t get much money, running it was becoming expensive.
Since anyway I didn’t need the advanced features of MailChimp, switching to Substack was an easy decision. All I do is broadcast my blog posts and I don’t need advanced scheduling and analytics features.
Since it has its own unique way of publishing, many alternatives are popping up, and the recent is Bulletin by Facebook.
Compared to Substack, Facebook certainly has lots of money and it has been able to attract high-profile writers in the beginning itself. For example, if you go to the Bulletin homepage, you can see sliding faces of Malcolm Gladwell and Erin Andrews.
Twitter too launch its own Substack alternative called Revue. The company existed before, in the beginning of 2021, Twitter bought it. In the sense of revenue model, it is more similar to Substack – its home page says that it charges 5% of the money that you charge from your subscribers, once they start paying you.
Of course, in terms of packaging Bulletin and Revue seem quite spiffy, but Substack too has its loyal users. Besides, for an established publication, switching a platform is not a casual decision unless there is something overwhelming reason. I mean, I don’t plan to switch.
The newsletter publishing marketing is quite heating up.