Last week I arrived in Boston, suitcase and iPad in had for the Hubspot marketing conference ‘Inbound’. I was excited, many of my favourite bloggers were speaking, there was a massive agenda and lots of knowledge to be sucked in.
For four days, I shuffled around the Massachusetts Convention centre, moving from room to room, from speech to speech. I came away full of ideas and a mountain of notes and I’m still sifting through them.
Today I’m sharing just three of my takeaways from the event. They’re easy to implement for small business and could make a big difference to your online marketing.
1. Stop Sending Emails To People Who Don’t Open Them
We spend a lot of time building our email lists but how many of those subscribers actually open our emails? Most businesses see less than half, many less than a third. That percentage is taking a dive as well due to the Gmail ‘promotions’ filter.
In his presentation ‘Seven Reasons Even Your Mom Would Ignore Your Email’ Tom Monaghan from Hubspot advised us to just stop sending your marketing emails to those who don’t open them.
Statistically, only 67% of people open the first email you send and only 23% the second. If you want to ensure that people continue to open your emails you have to send an amazing email the first time. It has to be the best email you have ever sent.
- Clean your email list, you can either do this by deleting subscribers who haven’t opened your last few emails or send them a mail asking them to confirm they still want to subscribe.
- Create an awesome, magnificent welcome email to new subscribers. Make it so good they’ll really want to open the next one.
- Consider segmenting your emails by engagement level. You’ve cleaned your list so more people open but now look at clicks. Most email marketing software allows you to send emails to just the people who clicked a link in your previous email or those who didn’t. Experiment with sending only the important emails to those who don’t click and more frequent emails to those who do.
2. Create a style guide for your brand
Your brand is more than your logo. Your visual brand needs to be recognisable, consistent and eye-catching. Peg Fitzpatrick gave us a whirlwind session packed with tips for creating remarkable visual content but for me there was one section that left me feeling guilty.
Creating a style guide both for Spiderworking and for We Teach Social has been something that has been on the long finger. I do have a rough guide but it’s not written down and sometimes I just guess. Guessing, according to Peg is something you should never do.
A style guide is a list of branding guidelines for your business. It outlines the colours, fonts and feel that should inform your visual content. Maybe your graphic designer provided you with this when they created your logo, perhaps like me you have a rough idea of what you are doing but if you really want to be on brand don’t waste any time formalising your guide.
Peg took us through a simple step by step process for creating your style guide. Here’s the key points:
- Choose two or three colours for your brand and be consistent with them. Make a note of the colour codes for these so you get it right every time. Peg suggested taking inspiration for these colours from a photo you particularly like.
- Decide on a mood for your business. Are you fun? Playful? Serious? Helpful? Inviting? Ensure that your visuals reflect that feel.
- Choose two or three fonts that you will consistently use for your brand images. Make a note of these so that you get it right every time.
- Choose two or three filters, whether it’s in Instagram, Canva or another tool you use. This will add a consistent feel to your images.
- For those of you that are using Canva I highly recommend upgrading to ‘Canva For Work‘, this allows you to create branding within the application, this is a massive time saver when creating blog and website graphics.
3. Make Your Content Memorable
I have a terrible memory and it seems I’m not alone. One of the most revealing sessions was with Dr. Carmen Simon from Rexi Media who talked about ‘The Neuroscience of Memorable Content’.
What’s interesting, scary in fact is that as marketers we’re busy creating, creating, creating content but on average people will only remember approximately 10% of your content. This is a metaphorical number, because it’s difficult to place a strict statistic on how much they retain. But research shows us that people forget a lot at first and less later on. So there is a metaphorical 10% that does stick. It’s devastating to think you will forget most of this blog, but I am glad to know it is possible to control the little you will remember..
One of the key problems Dr. Simon discussed was Habituation. I used to work in a shop, we had a single CD player. Changing that CD wasn’t a priority for any of us so we’d hear the same tunes day after day, week after week. After a while we stopped hearing the music. When eventually someone changed the CD we’d be energised and happy until that too slipped into the background. This is habituation. Sometimes it’s useful, it allows us to block out unnecessary stimuli, traffic noise for example. Without it we would be overwhelmed with sensory overload. It’s bad news for marketers, we don’t want people to tune out our messages.
Our audience may already be tuneing out. To ensure this doesn’t happen, or to reactivate those we have already lost there are a few things we can do.
Here’s just a few:
- Decide what your memorable message is. This is the 10% you need your audience to remember.
- Vary the stimulus by posting a variety of content, some text, some visual some audio.
- Change the perspective. Use simplicity and complexity in your content.
- Use anticipation to keep people interested in your message. Build your stories over time.
- Mix something familiar with something unusual. The memorable image from Dr. Simon’s presentation for me was the Einstein below.
Were you at Inbound?
Will you use these takeaways for your business?
I’d love to hear your thoughts below.
Eilish Rafferty says
Really great piece, Amanda. Sounds like you are energised by the conference! Your first point is so obvious, yet it’s something few of us do – clean up our mailing lists. On your second point, I would say that the style guide extends to your written content too – not just the visual. Doing a brand persona exercise to understand what your brand voice is – beyond the logotype – is really useful, especially if your business is growing and the brand voice is not necessarily yours, the founder’s, anymore.
Amanda Webb says
Very good point Eilish, yes getting the voice right can be hard.
Dee Sewell says
That was a timely post as I’m in the processes of helping someone with their email list and need to overhaul my one. I think frequency is something to consider too. I receive so many newsletters in my inbox that if they arrive in my email too often, they simply don’t get opened.