Posts in digital marketing
How to write better email subject lines

This is one of the topics that resonates the most with my audience. Email subject lines are TRICKY to get right. And they have incredible power over whether your email gets opened or unsubscribed to. Yikes, no pressure! There’s a way to approach subject lines that takes practice and tremendous intentionality. First, watch the video. Then I’ll elaborate.

I often write a placeholder email subject line at first because I’m really weird about doing things in order. And I usually have an idea of what the theme of the email is going to be. But I almost ALWAYS come back to the subject line and study it very hard before committing. And, if you’re approaching your marketing writing properly, you’ll give everything - including the few words of a subject line - some time to marinate before committing.

After writing out the email, I’ll look through the content and intentionally put myself in the shoes of my perfect customer. What in this email is really beneficial to her? What would she need out of this the most? Of course, hopefully there are multiple values I’m providing in every email - see my Facebook live on how I put my marketing emails together - but there’s usually one thing that your best fans will grab onto. That’s the point you want to tease out in a subject line. It’s an art, I know. It takes practice. As everything in marketing goes, you will get it wrong as much as you get it right - but this approach will help. And it will train you in finding the point that will resonate with your audience in all of your marketing content.

If you found this helpful or are curious about making your emails, including subject lines, more effective, I’d love to read your comment below! Thanks for reading, friend :)

When to hire a digital marketer or outsource your small business marketing

Should you hire a digital marketer? Should you hire a part-time digital marketer? Should you outsource to a marketing agency?

Is the investment into marketing worth the money? Is your business ready to support a full-time or part-time digital marketer? Or, could you outsource your digital marketing to a pro and save a ton in employee overhead?

As your business grows, you’ll go through alllllll kinds of growth pains and have to make alllllll kinds of decisions. Let me make the decision to hire for marketing a little clearer and easier for you.

First, there’s a difference in outsourcing your digital marketing and hiring a digital marketer to your company team. I believe in most cases, if your business is healthy and growing, you’ll eventually have to do both. Which is why I want to speak to both scenarios.

I have experience working as a full-time director of marketing in the corporate setting as a part of a team. I also know what it’s like to provide outsourced digital marketing to small/medium businesses that don’t have a dedicated marketing team yet. Here’s a checklist to help you confirm when you should outsource your digital marketing and when you’re ready for a dedicated team member or two.

When to outsource to a digital marketer

  • Early on, when your business needs a few online marketing tasks managed but not necessarily the full-scale marketing treatment.

  • When you can no longer justify spending your time doing marketing and you need to turn it over so you can make more money focusing on what your business bottom lines are.

  • When your own marketing approach is simply.not.working - get some pro help!!

  • When you can afford to spend at least $250/month on marketing management of some sort. This could be email marketing, social media marketing, website management, social or Google ads management, etc. Disclaimer: $250 isn’t necessarily my rate or someone else’s rate for a marketing service. To me, $250 signifies about where your business profit needs to be to start thinking of regular monthly outsourcing. Honestly, this is the lower end of many digital marketing services and you’re not going to get “the works” for that amount (beware super cheap vendors!!) but it’s a good place to start as you’re considering whether or not your business can begin to support outsourcing something and taking a little off your plate.

  • When you can afford to spend $1,000+/month on marketing. Um, if you’re profiting enough each month to put some serious dough into your marketing - DO IT. DO IT YESTERDAY. That means your business can’t afford for you to keep spending time on its marketing. Outsourcing will free you up to keep doing what you’re doing - and even better - and get you some knowledgable, professional marketing help that will take you to new heights in no time. This is a no-brainer.

digital marketer

When to hire a digital marketer to your team

  • When you can afford a digital marketer salary - and it’s less or equal to what you’re spending to outsource. This number will depend on where you live (you can easily look up local salary comparisons online) or how much you want to spend if you search for a remote team member. If you’re unsure, it wouldn’t hurt to put some hiring ads out and do a few interviews to get some confirmation that’s the route you’re ready for.

  • When you’re ready to manage/lead a new team member. Remember that leadership also requires a time investment, so consider whether you’re ready to lead them, cultivate their career, bring them into the culture of the company and facilitate their interactions with you and other team members first.

  • When you’re ready to have an in-house marketing team. If you run a company that could truly benefit from dedicated, in-house marketing, a digital marketer is a must. There are many roles that can still be outsourced but someone to oversee your digital marketing plan and work with those outsourced vendors is a good foundation for building a full team upon.

I hope this was helpful! As always, put questions in the comments below or let me know if you benefitted from this blog. I love feedback and to know someone’s reading :) Best wishes as you invest in your business marketing!

Why not sending emails is costing your business

If you’ve followed me for long, you know I’m ALLLLLLL about simple, consistent marketing. I coach business owners that whatever they’re realistically going to DO is a better plan than aiming for what’s overwhelming and hard to keep up with. BUT….

Your audience still needs frequent messaging from you to actually convert.

47% of buyers view at least 3 to 5 pieces of content before deciding to speak with a sales rep. (Demand Gen Report, 2016)

lindsey-wagnon-digital-marketing-agency.jpg

Top digital marketing companies spend their time, money and talent orchestrating complicated customer journeys online. These journeys are strategized and scrutinized with the intention of “touching”, essentially sending some form of marketing message, a single potential customer several times a week. If your business is ready, you may be able to buy software or outsource a digital marketing pro to help create journeys for your business. Or, you can apply the same concept to a more basic marketing plan by increasing your “touches” - or messaging - by 2-3 pieces of marketing each week. If you’re not doing weekly or bi-weekly emails, that’s the first addition I recommend. Here’s why:

  • Email is 40 times more effective at acquiring new customers than Facebook or Twitter. – McKinsey

  • Three-quarters of companies agree that email offers "excellent" to "good" ROI. (Econsultancy, 2016)

  • Active email accounts are expected to hit 5.6 billion by 2019. (Statitsa, 2018)

  • About 49% of businesses use some form of email automation. (Emailmonday, 2018)

Source: https://www.hubspot.com/marketing-statistics

And for a personal anecdote, I began growing my email list and sending regular emails a few months ago. I can ABSOLUTELY tell a difference. My website traffic spikes after sending emails AND I’ve had followers who’ve been quietly observing my brand from the early stages engage more since I began sending emails to their inbox.

I could go on and on and bore you with more stats but here are three things I’ve observed from being in marketing for years - both in corporate and side-hustle world.

email-marketing.jpg
  1. Email makes your audience feel informed, in-the-loop and special.

  2. You should NEVER hesitate to send emails, or increase the frequency of emailing, because you’re afraid of turning people off. Just like your social accounts, their freedom to unsubscribe simply means they’re not your ideal customer at that moment.

  3. Social media algorithms make it impossible to get your posts to ALL your followers. Email is far better at guaranteeing your message will get a chance at being seen by the recipient.

Of course, throwing emails into your marketing without a whole picture plan could make them more work than they’re worth. Learn what you need to do to choose the right course of action and tie it all together with a free consultation.

Also, join my Facebook Group and tune in for free trainings on email campaigns and all other things digital marketing related!

What a digital marketer's 2019 digital marketing plan looks like

I am immersed in the world of digital marketing. Between my corporate job and side-hustle, I’m strategizing and creating online and offline content (print or networking collateral) on a daily basis. Not only am I constantly creating marketing for other entrepreneurs, I have to keep up with my own as well.

2019-marketing-plan.jpg

So what does a digital marketer do for her own marketing? How do I manage to fit marketing my own business into a VERY full month of managing others’ marketing? My advantage is that I’ve done a lot of everything, so I know what it takes to create certain assets, how to see if they’re working and what combinations work within various time, budget and creative limits.

What I’ve learned is that the best approach is to formulate a marketing strategy or plan around the person or persons in charge and their business goals, not all the latest marketing trends or what’s traditionally worked for a certain industry.

Many times, business owners will have an idea of what they want based on watching others, but aren’t aware of how time consuming or costly it is, or that it’s actually not doing anything for the other entrepreneur at all - it just looks or seems flashy. Believe the metrics, not the visual appeal.

Here’s the thing, boss babes, your marketing secret sauce is what makes the most sense for YOU - your time, budget and creative capacity.

My 2019 marketing plan is wider and broader than what I was doing in 2018, but it’s based mostly on what I can handle in the time I have to create and test and tweak and improve within an allotted window each month. I am pushing for more but within realistic guidelines and being another year wiser about what will produce the best ROI for what I can invest - both in time and money.

In summary, my 2019 marketing plan consists of most of the same things I was doing in 2018 - keeping my website fresh, monthly blogs, weekly social posts and weekly emails. I’ve added paid social ads because I think I’m ready to manage them (doing it right is more expensive and high maintenance than most people realize).

As you create your 2019 marketing plan, please don’t get wrapped up in what “everyone else” is doing. If you’re in the early years of your business or need help keeping up consistent marketing that isn’t time consuming, I’ve got exactly what you need here. My post on driving website traffic is basically a fundamental marketing strategy with a great, simple tool to help with consistency.

What else are you curious about when it comes to a 2019 marketing plan? Let me know and I’ll do a blog post or maybe a Facebook Live on it. Make sure you’re following my social accounts! I’m constantly giving away marketing GOLD on them. Enjoy your new year planning, girlfriend!

Branding Authentically: Learn from others without losing your voice

You would think authenticity in a marketing message would be one of the most natural skills for a business owner. Simply write like you talk. Convey a thought or idea the way you would standing in your kitchen or brainstorming with your team. 

But how many of you girl (and guy) bosses are with me when I admit to serious struggle in this area? Especially in those first few months of my business' launch. All day long I'm watching and learning from those more successful than me; studying their Instagram feeds, reading their LinkedIn articles and listening to their podcasts, thinking, "oh, okay, that's how I should do it."

mom boss marketing

Sure, we need training to improve how we lead, manage and move our companies forward, but all this absorbing others' material can also cloud our communication. It can become very tempting to take on someone else's tone, style, word choices and methods, to our own detriment. Your audience doesn't want another so-and-so, they want you, and the special way you can serve them. Your business will never stand out if you don't decide what's going to set it apart.

I'm still learning this myself, and I'm sure I always will be, but I can tell you what has helped me in this area - and if you'll let me preach for a moment - stress to you that I really, truly want you to fight for authenticity with your business and brand messaging. The world needs your way of doing something that is a little - or a lot - different from the other companies in your field. Learn best practices, but don't be afraid to put your own spin on what that is for your small business. Here are a few ways you can make sure you're branding authentically.

jess-watters-467760-unsplash.jpg

Write your first draft from the heart

Sometimes, when I begin a blog or content piece, I can't get past the first couple sentences without second-guessing myself. Is this what I should say? Is this how I should say it? Oh shoot, is that even grammatically correct? 

Brand owners, I give you full permission to toss all the rules out the window and let your heart guide your first draft. Just let those thoughts and fingers fly. Who cares about proper punctuation, how someone else may read it or if the sentence is perfectly formed? First drafts are the best time to put your spirit into your words. You can worry about all that fine-tuning after you feel that what you're saying and how you're saying it is truly a reflection of you. 

Learn from your own successes

Hopefully, after you've been at it a while, you can shift your attention off other business owners and focus more on what's worked for you. Gradually decrease the amount of time you spend following your favorite branders and devote more time to what you love about your own branding. This will help you build off what's been working and stay in tune with how you should come across to your specific audience to create more successful leads. 

Create your own stylebook

If there's any point here that I feel equipped to speak to, it's this one. I began in the magazine publishing world, worked at a newspaper, blogged for businesses when it wasn't cool yet and just crossed three years as a full-time copywriter for a mortgage company. Style, grammar and the English language have been my world for about 15 years. 

When it comes to brand messaging, advertising and marketing content, style guides and grammar rules can be held loosely. It's a different type of communication, and you can absolutely feel free to create your own style guide.

What you don't want to do is be inconsistent. Choose how you're going to write a term ( pluralize business' or business's?) or punctuate (do you like more or fewer commas?) and stick with it. Sure, it may not pass a college essay, but college English wasn't about branding your business. In marketing world, your grade is about consistency.

Be firm with your business boundaries

If you hate blogging, don't blog. If you prefer to podcast over owning a Facebook business page, then put your time and creativity into a podcast. You don't have to do all the types of messaging you see others doing - especially in the early years. It's okay to choose the type of marketing you prefer, and what works best for your audience - it's your brand!

Keep putting yourself out there

el-alce-web-378482-unsplash-1.jpg

When it comes to writing authentically, repetition is the best teacher. I felt super awkward those first couple months trying to "be me" with my own brand. Years of helping other business owners and companies find their voice didn't mean my own came instantaneously. You're entitled to a few awkward social posts, blogs, videos (have you visited my YouTube account lately? Me neither, lol) and emails. 

Don't let those uncomfortable first few hold you back. Keep posting, recording, emailing and captioning. Your voice will come. 

 

Maybe you've been in the biz a while and you've established your authentic brand conversation. Now, your problem is you simply don't have the time or desire to take your marketing to the next level with strategic, lead-creating website writing or email campaigns. That's what I can help with. And please, if you simply found this blog super helpful, leave me a comment because I'd love to know! 

Until next time, bosses!