How marketers can play their part to create a more equal world

Marketing is at the forefront of any business. It is the mechanism for showing people your front door, your shop window and how potential customers form their first perception of you. It’s not always about trying to sell your products – sometimes (almost always) you need to focus on your brand perception and the contribution you make to society.

Due to recent events, though unfortunately a long overdue conversation, the focus has been on how we can create a more equal world and reduce systemic racism. Unfortunately the business world is not exempt from the racial biases that are a product of our past. The upside is businesses are in a strong position to help undo this.

How?

Well. Businesses, of all sizes, have a huge influence over society and have the ability to create opportunities and provide representation to drive more aspiration. Whilst directors and HR teams are responsible for ensuring equal hiring opportunities and an inclusive workforce culture, marketing teams/people can take responsibility for creating representation, not presenting biases and ensuring that you use inclusive language at every turn. This is true for businesses of any size – even if your marketing is low budget, it’s important that you still consider your impact, especially on your owned social channels.

To help businesses out, I’ve created a quick list of items that you can go through to ensure you, as a marketer, are playing your role in reducing systemic racism. Though these points are developed with racial biases particularly in mind, they can also be used to assess biases and inclusivity for any minority group.

  1. Work with your internal HR (or diversity specialist) to educate yourself and your teams on correct language to use and how to establish existing biases in your own behaviours/choices. If you don’t have one internally it is worth investing in an external consultant to kick start your efforts. Further to this, there are a lot of resources freely available designed to educate on this specifically.
  2. Audit your current marketing efforts. One of the most important things you can do is to recognise your own weaknesses and areas for improvement. Check yourself on the people used in your images, check for racial stereotypes and cultural appropriation.
  3. Have a diverse focus group you can check any new content with.
  4. Do not participate in events that are not racially diverse.
  5. Do not spend with publishers or platforms that aren’t playing their part.

Finally, always be open for feedback and always look to seek improvement. We can only change the world if we all do our bit – businesses included.


Listen. Learn. Act.

This has been hard to write and I apologise if my language is clumsy. This comes from a place of acknowledging my own privilege and making a commitment to listen, learn and challenge those around me.

The events of the past few weeks have shocked me to the core. I’ve struggled with what to say and how to articulate my anger – both towards the systemic racism that still exists and my own ignorance thinking it isn’t as prevalent in today’s society.

As a person with white privilege I acknowledge that I will never fully understand what it is like to be subject to discriminative actions because of the colour of my skin. I acknowledge that I should have done more to challenge these opinions and that these conversations should have happened sooner.

I stand fearlessly for inclusivity. Feminism and equality are core values I hold myself to with so much passion and emotion. I talk a lot about the need to over-rotate towards females in the workplace due to the inherent biases that exist. I haven’t done enough to over-rotate towards inclusiveness of black people and other ethnic groups.

The reality is that whilst there is a lack of representation of women in leadership positions, it’s more than likely that those women who are represented look like me. The majority of the time they will be white women.

I’ve previously used this example: an organisation with 7 leaders, 1 is a woman, 6 are men. There are 70 other employees.

Ideal world: 10% success rate of becoming 1 of the 7 leaders. In an equal workforce.

Perception: women are competing against each other for 1 role (2.8% chance). Men are competing for 1 of 6 roles (17.1% chance).

Add in racial factors to this and it is even more disproportionate. 

So what can we do?

There isn’t an instant fix to undoing years of racism, but there are small steps we can all take to move in the right direction. Continue to educate ourselves, continue to challenge other people and seek out ways to be actively anti-racist.

Personally and professionally, I’m committing to paying attention to who I pay attention to. Making sure that all the beliefs and behaviours I hold as a feminist transfer regardless of skin colour. This means paying particular attention to industry events that I attend and making sure that they include racially diverse speakers. This means making sure I’m highlighting black women as role models. This means recommending books by black authors, podcasts by black speakers, films/video by black producers and businesses run by black people.

We have to all take responsibility for holding the world accountable and elevate black people so that we provide equal representation. We need to make damn sure that black men and women feel as though have as much chance of achieving leadership positions in the business world as white men and women. We all need to work to make that happen and provide opportunities.

As a feminist, a woman and a human who experienced discrimination/prejudice because of my gender, it would wrong and hypocritical not to be proactively driving change to reduce and eliminate systemic racism. Don’t turn a blind eye thinking this isn’t your problem. Listen. Learn. Act.


Mental health, feminism, kindness and the workplace

Disclaimer: This article is written from my perspective and experiences as a woman. It is not intended to be exclusive or put forward the idea that females are the only ones with mental health issues – that’s a whole other topic. I’m also not a mental health professional so this is not intended to be professional advice. I implore you to speak to someone qualified if you are reading this and struggling yourself.

This week is Mental Health Awareness week and the theme this year is ‘kindness’. It’s important. We need to talk about it.

I have a lot to say on mental health generally, it’s a topic close to my heart and if you’ve been following my content for a while (or know me at all) you’ll know that I’m passionate about feminism. Back in March, I wrote an article for International Women’s Day that was very emotional and touched on why or how we are saying the right things, but as a society we are failing to remove inherent biases that exist between men and women. In the article I also mention the importance of displaying kindness to other women. You can read it for the finer details because I need to try and keep this piece as concise as possible. This does form a nice segue into today’s topic: the importance of kindness within the workplace to help reduce mental health pressures for females.

As women in the workplace there are often unique situations and feelings we have to combat, especially if you are in a male dominated industry. It’s something which I’ve felt throughout the last seven years but only recently have started to understand it for what it is.

Starting out there were immense feelings of intimidation which resulted in stress and anxiety. This was no ones fault (except, maybe, our entire history as humans), it was down to the fact that there were a lot of men with very strong characters and very few women. I should point out I had some phenomenal women as role models within my immediate team and as managers. The thing is when you’re starting out you feel as though you need to prove yourself. Prove you can cope. Prove you’re not ‘weak’. Prove that you can do what men can do.

You don’t talk about that constant fear of not being enough and feeling so out of place in the role you’ve worked so damn hard to get to. Impostor-syndrome sets in, sleep is interrupted and emotions run high. To an extent, the desire to prove yourself can act as motivation – I thrive in high-pressurised environments – the problem is it can quickly become imbalanced. How do you recognise when to stop so that the anxiety and stress doesn’t interrupt your sleep and cognitive function?

As you progress, or certainly as I have, in your career you find ways to reduce the feelings of intimidation. My confidence grew as I did and I found techniques/methods to help me along the way – you can read about how I learned to assert myself in the workplace here. I don’t think the feeling of being an impostor ever really leaves you, but you can often find ways to quieten that inner voice that tells you that you shouldn’t be here. That’s when you really start to feel performance pressure. It isn’t enough to simply fit in and be able to do your job anymore and, to quote Taylor Swift, “I’m so sick of running as fast as I can wondering if I’d get there quicker if I was a man”. The reality is for many women – based on my personal conversations and experiences – the anxiety around needing to perform is often coupled with frustration and stress that no matter what they do, a man would get there quicker. It’s a never ending cycle.

Then comes the women against women. There are limited amounts of women in leadership positions – for example, on a team of seven leaders, let’s say one is a woman and the rest are men. Like it or not this gives the perception that there is only one role for a woman at that level, vs the six for men. So, even if you have a gender equal workforce, the aspiration of that workforce is not necessarily equal. It may have started that way but our unconscious biases creep in due to lack of representation. It creates the feeling of competition amongst women, instead of amongst the whole pool of employees. Going back to the example : instead of all 70 employees (35 female, 35 male) aspiring for one of the seven roles – a 10% success rate – you end up with 35 women aspiring for one role (2.8% chance) and 35 men aspiring for one of six roles (17.1% chance). While this may not be the reality, the perception that this is the case is everything. Inadvertently, it can make women feel like they are competing against each other which can produce even greater feelings of being alone, instead of the ally-ship and camaraderie that we should be experiencing by supporting each other.

FYI, I work with and am friends with some of the most kick-arse women around and am SO lucky to be part of a group of truly inspirational people that really do build each other up.

So how does this link to kindness?

Well, the reason it was chosen as this year’s theme is because kindness is an antidote to isolation and creates a sense of belonging. It helps reduce stress, brings a fresh perspective and deepens friendships. Kindness to ourselves can prevent shame from corroding our sense of identity and help boost our self-esteem.  Kindness can even improve feelings of confidence and optimism. If we can remember to show kindness to women in the workplace and build genuine friendships, maybe we can help reduce some of these pressures, stresses and feelings of anxiety. If we, collectively as women, can come together and support each other  then maybe we could increase our collective confidence, lessen the feeling of being alone in these thoughts and break through some of the inequality in the workplace that still exists.

It’s not a cure-all/fix-all solution but it is a step in the right direction.

Remember if you are struggling with your mental health you should talk to someone – some great resources can be found at the below links:

https://www.mind.org.uk/

https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/

https://www.samaritans.org/

https://www.headstogether.org.uk/


Content marketing isn’t a thing

What’s that now?

You heard me. I don’t believe that content marketing is a helpful term. It puts forward the idea that it could be a tactic that you choose to implement or one that you don’t – like social marketing, search marketing, email marketing etc.

Having a content strategy, however, is something that every business, regardless size or type, needs to have. It’s your one tool to help your customers know who you are and what you do. Your content keeps your business alive, growing and your customers engaged.

The reality is that if your brand is the skeleton of your business – who you are, what you are and how you operate – then your content is the blood of your business.

In order to nail a content strategy you need to:

  1. Ensure it meets your audience’s needs: make sure that every single piece of content is one that addresses your customers’ needs in a way that is right for them. Make sure it aligns to your objectives and who you are as a brand.
  2. Ensure you have the right channels to distribute it: it’s no good having all this great content if you aren’t putting it out there in a way that is accessible to your audience and via a mechanism that is preferable to them. It’s like telling someone you are holding a coffee for them – they reach out and you don’t have an arm or hand to even be holding that coffee. So where will they find it?
  3. Continually review and renew content as appropriate: make sure you have a mix of content that has a short lifespan and a long lifespan. You should be reviewing the performance of your content, adjusting it and renewing it if it’s become outdated. Make sure you analyse the data you have in order to make informed decisions about your go-forward plan.

If you get this right, your content will engage your audience, help people to learn about your business, encourage purchase and increase the likeliness of retention.

If you don’t get it right – the rest of your strategy is redundant. What use is a skeleton, organs, muscles and limbs if you don’t have blood flowing through it that contains right levels of oxygen, nutrients etc?


SEO vs SEM: the difference

SEO and SEM are two terms which I see used interchangeably but that actually have very different meanings. They are two sides of the same coin – but just like any coin, these sides are different.

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is the process you go through in order to ensure your website/content pleases the search engine and allows it to serve up your content when a user is looking for it. Your goal here is to ensure that your website is turning up on the first page of the Google’s (or any other search engine) search results. There are lots of different elements you need to look at when optimising your website; it can be VERY overwhelming. From ensuring your website is structured in a way that makes it easy for Google to determine the classification and content of the page, to ensuring a quality back linking strategy and creating the type of content that it will deliver first to users that is key word heavy. Google will analyse all these factors, as well as the performance of your landing page, to determine its relevance to the what its user is searching. It’s definitely worth investing in an SEO consultant who can help set you up here.

Whilst traditionally the definition is related to websites alone, now there are search functions within many different platforms and so the principles can be applied throughout all that you do.

Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is the tactic in which you pay per click (PPC) on ads which you create to drive traffic to your website. These are the ads which appear at the top of a search engine results page, marked with “ad”, that you decide the headings, text, links, landing page, etc, for. You choose which key words your ads will run against, how closely they need to match and what KPI you’d like to optimise towards. PPC/SEM ads are paid for via an auction/bidding mechanism: you set your maximum bids, time frames, budgets etc and then this information is combined with the quality score of your ads. The quality score of your ad is determined through a number of factors such as quality of landing page (content & load time), relevance of headlines/copy and additional features such as site-links or review features.

So what’s the link?

Well, ensuring you have a solid SEO strategy in place can actually complement your SEM strategy. For example, a high quality landing page with strong organically driven traffic is more likely to achieve a higher quality score – which can then help your paid ad appear higher up the ranking, without paying more.

If you’re getting to grips with marketing and starting to work out how to build a plan for your business, it’s really important to understand the difference and the value each can add. Our recommendation is to first focus on SEO, even if that means investing a little more upfront in an SEO specialist to get your website up and running.

Not sure how to get started? We offer a Brand & SEO package which combines a workshop on developing your online brand and working with our SEO specialist to build out a custom strategy & support plan. Fill in the form below to find out more.


Read this if you’re in B2B marketing

If you know anything about me and the values of Pink Digital then you’ll know that I am passionate about breaking down the belief that B2B brands must market in a completely different, impersonal way to B2C brands. I’ve written a post previously (back in October 2017) about the importance of remembering that your customers are humans and, how the global digital disruption (oooh, buzzword), needs to be considered for all organisations when creating your marketing strategy.

Now I’m going to talk more around how people’s personal beliefs, likes, dislikes, preferences and beliefs are impacting decisions in the workplace. I.e. why you should stop thinking something won’t work for you because it’s a traditional B2C tactic and why you need to lean into content that appeals to people.

First some questions: when was the last time you can honestly say you made a decision that was completely against your personal beliefs but was for the good of your company? Have you ever stopped working for a company because of how they operate or interact with you?
Have you ever found a new company to work with because their messaging was so up your street?

The chances are you answered: not for a long time, if ever; yes; yes.

There are 2 reasons for this.

1) You have been hired by your company for your expertise, mindset and experience. This means that it is very unlikely that if something is fundamentally against your beliefs personally, that it will benefit the company. You have been hired for your opinion. You know that and so will likely exercise your right to that opinion when making decisions on behalf of the company. Otherwise, I’m sorry but you shouldn’t be in your job.

2) It is physically impossible to completely separate your personal preferences for consumption, interaction and values, regardless of what you are researching or buying for. It’s not in our nature as human beings.

This means that who your company is and how your company operate are two of the most important aspects of your marketing strategy. And, you need to have a crystal clear view of who your target audience is – deeper than their job title.

You have to understand what they like, what they dislike, what their hobbies are, whether they have children, love sports, hate sports, are into fashion. Where do they over index? What values are important to them? All of these different elements can help to inform your tone, messaging, visuals and placements. It’s also why it is so important to continue to invest in brand awareness, not just sell, sell, sell your products. No one cares if you have the most cost-effective solution if you aren’t an ethical company nor will they want to partner with a company who’s employees are not happy or passionate – for example.

B2C marketing is often seen as the holy grail of marketing and super fun to work on because their campaigns focus on people and lifestyle. But you can appeal to people as well. Make people excited about your brand. Relate to them through their interests in more than just a badging exercise – find an organic connection between an element of their persona & your brand.

Then leverage the shit out of it.

Show the people at the core of the organisations you are targeting that you are there for them, that you understand them and that you can help them. Create an organic, human connection. The sales will soon follow if your website, products & sales team can do their job.


Why passion is important

There are three reasons why passion is important in the workplace:

  1. It means you genuinely care about success
  2. Provides an internal motivation
  3. It is outwardly obvious and gives you authenticity.

Too often people, particularly women, can get caught up around skill sets and knowledge when it comes to applying for jobs or deciding on next steps in their careers. The thing is though, I’m a firm believer that every opportunity you take should teach you in some way. You need to be learning and to do that you need to take on roles/responsibilities that are beyond your current experience or skill set. This is where passion comes into play.

Story time: once upon a time I was a student applying for my first internship. I studied Psychology at university but attended a university renowned for business, so there was a huge focus on getting an internship. They would put on career days whereby companies would come in, tell you why you should work there, talk about the application process and give you freebies. Nine out of ten companies told me not to apply for a role in marketing or PR because I didn’t study business. Oh, how I wish I had a crystal ball at that point in time to show them where I am now. More fool them though, it gave me such a fire in my belly and that’s when I first used the phrase: you can teach me anything you need to but you can’t teach someone else to have my passion.

I didn’t work for one of those companies – nor would I want to work for a company that judged me solely on my choice of degree. The thing is, it’s my passion that keeps me going when things get tough and I think that’s the same for most people. When you truly care about something it makes it personal for you which gives you a whole different level of motivation to do the very best you can. It means that you care about the outcome for whoever or whatever you are working for – a company, your clients, yourself. At the end of the day, wouldn’t you rather with someone who genuinely cares and is going to try their best to get the best outcome?

Now onto the third point I make – authenticity. Now more than ever people want to make connections with other people and brands that represent their own passions/values, even if it’s a B2B engagement (I bang on about this a lot, I know). Thing is, when you’re not passionate about something people can tell. If it isn’t something you believe in at the core of yourself then it is damn obvious – unless you a very accomplished actor in which case maybe you should rethink a career in Hollywood. From a personal branding perspective, investing in causes that you are passionate about will draw people to you. You’ll radiate enthusiasm and that person wondering whether or not to invest in you, will feel that. You’ll be remembered and even more so, remembered for the feeling that you evoke in other people.

Obviously there are occasions where skills & knowledge have a greater role to play and by no means am I trying to say that passion is all you need. But next time you’re weighing up whether to go for a job, take on a new project or client, ask yourself if it’s something you’re passionate about. Because if it is, chances are you’ll make it your mission to learn all those skills that are required, you’ll immerse yourself fully into the role and do everything you can to better yourself & the outcome for that client/project/company.


Instagram for business

Let’s talk Instagram for business, why you should be on it and some top tips & tricks for succeeding. It’s such a great platform and even if you don’t think your business is *right* for Instagram there are still some phenomenal benefits to be had.

  1. Build awareness – eye pleasing visuals grab the attention of people endlessly scrolling. Research has shown that on average people spend 53 minutes a day on Instagram, second only to Facebook at 58 minutes per day. Have you read my post about the value of being insta-worthy? We talk about how leveraging this quality can boost awareness & engagement. If you aren’t active then you’re missing out on connecting with your audience, which brings me nicely onto my next point…
  2. Build a real connection with your audience & customers – a few years back I wrote a piece on the importance of remembering that everyone is marketing to a human being. Instagram is the platform to build that connection at a human level. With a more real-time feel than other platforms, the ability to add snippets of content in stories and bring your company to life it can help breakdown some of the walls between customer & brand. Especially in the B2B world.

So, how do you master it? I’m glad you asked!

Here are my top 10 tips for mastering Instagram:

  1. Set the right expectations for yourself: take the time to assess whether Instagram is going to be a predominantly awareness/community building or sales based platform for you.
  2. Make sure it’s on brand: if possible ensure your handle matches your company name and that the colours, image style, tone of voice all match your brand
  3. Make the most out of your bio: include descriptive copy with a call-to-action. Don’t forget that you’re allowed one URL so make sure it’s a good one – I like to either link to my blog posts or a current offer
  4. Have specific content pillars: stay structured and consistent with your content by developing themes that align to your brand & goals. I recommend 3-6 content pillars depending on your type of business
  5. Plan ahead of time: there is nothing more stressful than getting to the day you need to post and not having a clue what to do. Preparation is absolutely key and can help you stay aligned to your brand
  6. Ensure you have a # strategy: hashtags are a great way to reach new followers and tap into existing conversations. Make sure you have a mix of broad and narrow reach hashtags. Do some research and see what ones your target audience and competitors are using
  7. Use location: by using location tags you can increase your reach as people search posts tagged in locations. If you tag a location in your story you could even be included in that location’s story… more exposure!
  8. Make the most of your stories: IG stories are a great way to provide more insights to your audience on you, your employees, the day to day of your business and help people feel connected to your business/brand
  9. Engage meaningfully with your audience: if you’re going to grow your following & engagement on Instagram then you need to engage too! Make sure you’re replying to comments in a meaningful way and make sure you are engaging with others’ posts too. Stay authentic in your engagements but make sure you set some time aside each day to do this
  10. Use analytics: Instagram offers free insights into your content, audience and activity. Use these insights to better serve your customers content that will resonate with them and that will aid your growth.

If you want some help in setting up or improving your Instagram strategy drop us an email at hey@pinkdigitaluk.com – we offer both one off workshops and monthly support packages.


How to assert yourself in the workplace (virtually or not)

I had initially written this piece before the lockdown but actually, now is a great time to try out some of these techniques and build your confidence from the comfort of your own home. It can be less intimidating to speak up when you’re not physically in the room with the people – a baby step for asserting yourself.


A regular discussion I have with my friends and women entering the workforce is how to assert yourself in the work place – particularly if you work in a male dominated industry. Throughout my teenage and young adult life I had part time jobs ranging from being a lifeguard and swim teacher, to being a student ambassador at university. These were roles which needed confidence and, at times, a thick skin. The comments I received as a young female lifeguard, particularly from men, were horrendously sexist, uncomfortable and humiliating. I will never forget one occasion where a group of (I would guess early twenties) men decided to break almost every rule the pool had, whilst hurling comments at me about how much water would it take to make t-shirt see-through and if I would give them mouth-to-mouth if they pretended to drown. This was loudly. In front of the rest of the fairly full swimming pool and café area. This was a defining moment for me though – I could either breakdown or I could ask them to leave the pool and centre due to continuous rule breaking and harassment. I went with the latter and when they refused, the duty manager was called and dealt with them. They were banned from the centre for life.

It’s not a pity story. This was the moment, aged 16 or 17, that I realised I had a voice that I had every right to use. It was this moment that I started to develop my passion for feminism and, without knowing at the time, was the catalyst for me wanting to do more to help women.

Flash forward to 23 year old me starting my first role as a graduate in a male dominated industry. I worked in a mixed team but the sales team I was aligned to was predominantly men – very strong-minded and confident men. I felt so nervous to speak up in meetings and very under-qualified. I didn’t know how to gain that confidence to speak up and give my opinion. I admitted this to someone I worked with who told me that I had valid opinions and needed to assert myself more.

Well, from that point on I did everything I could to make sure I had something to say and no matter how uncomfortable I felt, I pushed myself to be more assertive. The key was making sure that what I said was well founded and thought out – it simply isn’t enough to say something for the sake of it. Five years later I was described as “fearlessly vocal with well positioned opinions” and now find myself advising other women on not letting the fear keep you quiet.

But, how? I thought back to my time as a lifeguard and realised that the reason I felt able to assert myself was because I knew my stuff, I knew I had the backing of the senior staff, I was there to do a job and I knew it wasn’t right. And from that realisation, I was able to pull in my learnings and form three top tips:

  1. Be prepared: ahead of each meeting make sure you take some notes around the subject area and do some brainstorming on topics that might come up. If there is an agenda start to think about what you know around each point. If you know and have a good relationship with the owner of the meeting, reach out for more clarity if you aren’t sure. If your manager is going to be on the call you can also ask them for more information – a good manager should be supporting you. Then, once you have some notes, reassure yourself that you have got this. Half the preparation is telling yourself you can do it – you were hired for a reason and that reason is for your knowledge, experience and opinions. Even if that is different to your peers – diversity is a recipe for growth.
  2. Get an ally: someone you know can back you up in the meeting or, if you’re struggling, open the floor up for you to speak. This person should be someone you trust and can be totally honest with. It can be someone you overtly speak to before the meeting for guidance, advice and to let them know your thoughts ahead of time. If you’ve prepared for the meeting beforehand why not chat about it with your ally – “I was thinking about that meeting on Wednesday about how to increase our awareness in this area, what do you think about expanding out to try this tactic…”. Sometimes just having a person you trust in the meeting/on the call can help give you that confidence to put yourself out there.
  3. Challenge yourself: set yourself a goal of volunteering one idea at an upcoming meeting, tell a friend and then ask them to hold you accountable to it. This way after the meeting, they’ll be expecting you to let them know how it goes. Being accountable to someone else can really help you push yourself out of your comfort zone. They don’t need to be big challenges to begin with – start with meetings you’re more comfortable in first of all and build yourself up.  

The final piece of advice I can give you when you’re feeling out of your depth is get to know your co-workers. Building a relationship with people, finding out if they have children, what their hobbies are, what they’ve been up to at the weekend etc. can make them seem more human and less intimidating. It’s much less scary to talk to people you already know because they value you as a person.

Do you have any other tips?


Email marketing – newsletters

Email marketing is often a tactic that gets overlooked but is absolutely key when thinking about keeping your current customers engaged. It can be a great way to communicate latest offers, content and news (not just of your company but the general industry) – the more people you have engaging with it, the more loyalty they have, the greater your customer retention.

So how should you include email as a tactic in your broader marketing plan? I’m glad you asked, as well as ensuring that it is consistent with your branding and tone of voice there are a few other ways you can ensure its success.

Newsletters can be a great way to update your customers on the latest & greatest so here are our top 5 tips for nailing it:

  1. Pick a cadence and stick to it – monthly or quarterly can be great and a lot less daunting than committing to a weekly newsletter. Obviously this does vary business by business but you also need to be mindful that the content won’t create itself.
  2. Design a template and stick to it – your readers want to know what they’re getting each time an email arrives in their mail box. Visual layouts stick in a person’s head; you want them to recognise your newsletter and recall that this is a mail they want to spend their time reading. Make sure you break up each section and choose a template that is aesthetically pleasing for the eyes.
  3. Establish your regular content and stick to it – there’s a theme here and it’s consistency. It’s really confusing for your customers if you keep changing up what you’re doing. Plus, you want them to invest in your content have them wanting more. Of course you need an introduction but think about what other unique pieces of content you could include – competitions, customer feature, latest offer, new blog posts, news in the industry (after all you can’t be expected to be seen as an expert if you only talk about yourself). There are lots of possibilities but our top tip is to pick a few key segments and deliver them each time you make a send.
  4. Write a clear, concise and attractive subject line – do not use emojis or special characters as these can trick inboxes into thinking they’re spam. Again, consistency is key, you want your readers to know by just that one notification that your email is worth reading and what they are expecting to receive. It should be descriptive of what it is but maybe include an issue dependent variation.
  5. Include call-to-action items – that is, make sure that your emails lead somewhere and incite your readers to do an action. Whether that is to read your latest posts, shop your new products, take you up on a special offer or follow you on social. If you aren’t telling your readers to do something, then you’re losing out on an opportunity.

It goes without saying that you also need to make sure that when you are collecting email addresses etc, you need to be cognisant of GDPR and ensure you have the correct permissions. Also make sure, that with almost every form fill/interaction with a customer you ask if they are willing to be added to your mailing list – this can help you build your audience. If you have a website, make sure you a link that is visible for people to sign up to your mailing list, you could even share the URL on social.

Most platforms for sending bulk emails also have built in analytic tools – you can see who opens, reads and clicks on the links you include so use them to your advantage. If you can, test different subject lines to see what gets you the most opens and if you aren’t getting any click-thrus, experiment with your content a little.