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How to Use Welcome Emails to Delight Your New Blog Subscribers

How to Use Welcome Emails to Delight Your New Blog Subscribers | Social Media Marketing | Scoop.it
Learn how to make welcome emails for your new blog subscribers in this step-by-step post.

You know how the associates in retail stores usually give you a friendly, "Hi! Let me know if I can help you with anything today" when you walk through the door? Sure, they say it to everyone who enters the store, but there's just something about a friendly greeting that makes you feel appreciated.

Now, if you're like me, though, you hope that the retail associate doesn't continue bugging you incessantly while you're shopping (badgering people isn't quite the best method to get them to buy, if you ask me). 

The same scenario can also happen with your blog subscribers. Chances are, you've worked hard to get them to subscribe -- you've written valuable content that makes them want to come back for more, you're blogging regularly, and you've encouraged them to subscribe. Now that they've walked through your door, don't they deserve a little greeting themselves?

This is where welcome emails come into play. Here's why they're so great and how to set up one of your own to show appreciation for new blog subscribers.

The Benefits of Welcome Emails 

A type of transactional email, welcome emails are beneficial for a number of reasons.

First off, they're lovable -- they show your new subscribers you appreciate having them as part of your subscriber community. After all, these people just opted in to get even more email delivered to their already cluttered inboxes. Definitely worth a little thank you from my perspective.

Welcome emails are also great for reminding subscribers exactly what they signed up for. This is particularly important when users opt in to your blog through more indirect methods, like check boxes on landing pages.

The fact of the matter is people sign up for things and then forget they ever did. Reminders are always helpful, especially when they prevent people from thinking the blog subscriber emails they're suddenly getting are spam -- and marking them as such.

Furthermore, they set expectations with your subscribers by clarifying the types of content they'll start getting emailed about and how frequently they'll get those emails.

Welcome emails also give you, the marketer, a chance to promote other things like offers, upcoming events, etc. And best of all? They can be set up and triggered automatically, requiring little maintenance on your part.

How to Configure a Welcome Email 

Like I said, one of the beautiful things about welcome emails is the ability to automate them. How you configure yours will largely depend on the software you're using, but in general, you'll set up a workflow triggered by either the contact's addition to a subscriber list or the contact's completion of a subscriber form.

That workflow will then initiate your welcome email to new subscribers based on the timing you specify (we recommend triggering the email to send immediately after the contact subscribes). 

In HubSpot's software, for example, all of this is easy to set up due to the integration among our Blogging, Email, Marketing Automation, and Contacts tools:

Anatomy of a Welcome Email 

Okay, so what about the welcome email itself? What should it include? General email best practices aside, let's review some of the specific welcome email must-haves, using Inbound Hub's own welcome email as an example.

1) Recognizable Subject Line, Sender Name, and Branding 

Because this is the first email your subscribers will be receiving once they've opted in, the most important thing to consider when choosing the subject line, sender name, and branding of your welcome email is recognizability.

As a result, make sure you're using your company or blog's name and other branding elements like logos and screenshots to identify that the welcome email is coming from your blog. It's also smart to recognize the action the recipient took in the subject line so it's immediately apparent why they're receiving the email in the first place.

For example, the following is the subject line for Inbound Hub's welcome email: 

Thanks for Subscribing to Inbound Hub! Your Next Steps ...

"Thanks for subscribing" reminds the recipient that they just subscribed, and "your next steps" offers a sense of urgency to click through to the email. As always, feel free to test variations of your subject lines and sender names to determine what works best to generate clickthroughs.

2) Personalization 

Aren't greetings so much more personal when they're ... well ... personalized? If you're lucky enough to have your email software connected to your contacts database (that's you, HubSpot users!) and you've collected any information about your contacts aside from just their email addresses (like, say, their names), personalizing your welcome emails is easy as pie.

Plop in a dynamic tag, and you can turn that generic "Hi there" greeting into something much more personal like, "Hi Rebecca." Much more welcoming if your name is Rebecca, right?

3) Thank You Message

After you greet your new subscribers, show them you care! Like I said, these people have deemed your content worthy enough to receive emails about it -- and that's quite the compliment. Show them you appreciate having them as a new subscriber with a simple thank you. It'll go a long way.

4) What Subscribers Can Expect

Remember -- even if you trigger your welcome email to get delivered right after contacts subscribe, some people need a little clarification about exactly what they signed up for, especially if they signed up without knowing any of the details. So tell them! What type of content should they expect to receive? How frequently will they get emailed about it -- every time you publish a new post? On a daily basis? Weekly? Monthly?

As you can see in our example welcome email, because Inbound Hub is comprised of several different sections, we indicate which of those sections the recipient is subscribed to and at what frequency. This way, subscribers know exactly what they've signed up for -- and what to expect.

To do this in your own welcome email, use dynamic tags to indicate the subscriber's email subscription preferences. (HubSpot users can do this by using the dynamic tag for their blog's subscriber email frequencies -- instant, daily, weekly, or monthly.)

5) Link to Email Preference Center 

What if the subscriber is unhappy with the frequency at which you'll be emailing them? Or what if they (unfortunately) decide they don't really want email about your blog content after all? Give them the opportunity to modify their preferences by linking to an email preference center landing page where they can change their frequency preferences or opt out of your blog(s) completely.

I also recommend linking to this page in the individual blog subscriber emails you send.

6) Relevant Call-to-Action

While your welcome emails should mainly be about welcoming new subscribers and providing information related to their new subscription, we're marketers, right? It's hard not to use the opportunity to inspire some kind of action or next step, so feel free to include a call-to-action for a relevant offer or action you want subscribers to take next.

Maybe it's a CTA to download your latest free educational ebook, register for an upcoming event, or simply check out some of your most popular blog posts. In our welcome email, we've chosen to promote the revamped homepage of Inbound Hub, since it's fairly new, and it's something we're trying to drive more traffic to.

The choice is yours -- just make sure it's subtle and relevant.

7) Personal Sign-Off 

It may seem obvious, but a welcome email should come from an actual person. Our welcome email, for example, currently comes from yours truly because I manage our blog's email subscriptions.

You can extend this logic to your sender name as well to make things even more personal -- our welcome email comes from "Pamela, HubSpot Blog," for instance.  

8) Social Media Follow Buttons 

If your subscribers were interested enough in your blog to subscribe to your emails, it's safe to assume that many of them might welcome other ways to connect with you. Therefore, use your welcome email to help increase your social reach by including social media follow buttons for your social media accounts. 

 
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How To: Implement An Editorial Calendar For Your Facebook Page

How To: Implement An Editorial Calendar For Your Facebook Page | Social Media Marketing | Scoop.it
A good social media marketer will plan out their Facebook page content with an editorial calendar. Use our tips and templates to plan and dominate Facebook.

 

Why Do You Need An Editorial Calendar?

The most time consuming part of maintaining a Facebook presence is usually finding and posting interesting and relevant content. An editorial calendar will:

Let you plan ahead and be prepared.

Give you time to source and create quality content in advance.

Save you from having to labour over your Facebook page daily.

Allow you to get others involved if necessary. Sometimes two heads are better than one and you can involve someone else in the content creation process when you have the time to plan ahead.

Top Tips For Your Editorial Calendar

Having an editorial calendar in place is not just a social media practice. Magazines, newspapers and blogs have been maintaining such calendars for years. It only makes sense to be organised when you have so much content to publish and such little time!

Here are some tips to help you get started -

Plan Ahead

Posting ad hoc on your Facebook page can be very time consuming so the best advice we can give you is to use your calendar to plan your content in advance. Depending on the nature of your business, you can plan content a week in advance or even a month. Usually, it’s not a good idea to plan content more than a month in advance as things change and a lot can happen in a month.

Topics

What sort of topics do you want to focus on, on your Facebook page? Creating a calendar is an excellent opportunity to identify a theme for your page. By clearly outlining a theme for your page, your content will stay on topic and on brand more often.

Types of Content

When you’re short on time (and ideas) for content, do you find yourself falling back on internet memes? Are you finding there isn’t much variety in the content you post on Facebook? Laying out your content within an editorial calendar gives you the opportunity to plan out the types of content (images/ videos/ links etc.) you would like to share with your audience.

Timing

When are you going to post your content? You can plan out your content for each day of the week or you can plan out types of content for particular days of the week. For example – food posts for Fridays. You can even drill down further and

Analyse and Adjust

Don’t be afraid of change. Analyse your content and your calendar on a regular basis to see what’s working and what’s not. Change things that don’t work. Also, if something else comes up during the month – don’t be afraid to discard your planned post and insert something more timely or more relevant.

Editorial Calendar Template

It’s a good idea to start your editorial calendar with some sort of structure in mind. The structure will help you create and plan out your content for the long term.

You can include as much information as you need within your calendar. When starting out, it’s a good idea to cover the basics. As you start using your calendar more frequently and get more used to the process, start making tweaks wherever necessary. As you become better at planning your calendar, you will figure out what works for you and what doesn’t and this will allow you to change the process as you go.

If you’re not sure where to get started, we have just the thing for you. Download your FREE Editorial Calendar Template and get started today!

Also, watch out for an upcoming blog post in which we will cover how to put this calendar to use. We will show you how to source and create your content and build a content schedule that you will be proud of!

Gareth Gabriel's insight:

I personally find content creation hard but this guide and template helps no end

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The "Three A's" of Nonprofit Social Media Engagement

The "Three A's" of Nonprofit Social Media Engagement | Social Media Marketing | Scoop.it
Learn why your nonprofit should follow not only the social media "rule of thirds," but also the "three As." Read on to find out what they are.
Gareth Gabriel's insight:

If your a nonprofit organization and your not using social media this artical will help show you why to use it and the best practice for using it. Well worth a read

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The Business Blog Editorial Calendar Every Marketer Needs [Free Template]

The Business Blog Editorial Calendar Every Marketer Needs [Free Template] | Social Media Marketing | Scoop.it
Use this free blog editorial calendar template to organize your business blogging efforts.

 

At this point, we know that consistent, frequent blogging is critical to your business’ online success. In fact, according to the 2012 State of Inbound Marketing, 70% of companies that publish articles 2-3 times per week have acquired a customer through their blog. Furthermore, according to our 2012 Marketing Benchmarks report, companies that increase blogging from 3-5X/month to 6-8X/month almost double their leads. So how do you turn your company blog into a thought leadership-building, lead generating machine so you can achieve this kind of success?

I’ll give you a hint: organization and consistency is key! One of the greatest blogging challenges is not the actual writing. It's stuff like brainstorming topics, targeting the right readers, and optimizing posts with the right keywords and calls-to-action. Lucky for you, this is where our new blog editorial calendar template comes in handy! This free template is designed to keep you on track as you develop awesome content that your prospects, customers, and fans will fall in love with. Download this template to stay organized, monitor your keyword use and topic balance, and manage your blog's timing and deadlines. In this blog post, we'll pick apart the pieces of your new editorial calendar template so you can use it to to its fullest potential.

Authors and Due Dates

Share this calendar with anyone who will be contributing to your blog (in fact, consider plopping it into a Google doc for sharing and collaboration purposes!), and make sure they know when they’re being asked to contribute. It also makes a lot of sense to assign due dates that are at least a few days ahead of your planned publishing date. I’d recommend giving them a full week -- you may want a larger buffer in case your bloggers need extra time to complete their assignments. This will allow you the time you need to review their articles, go through the necessary rounds of feedback and revisions with writers -- so your writers can improve over time -- and do your final editing and prep work.

And don’t forget about guest bloggers, either! Getting external writers to contribute is a great way to not only fill gaps in your editorial calendar, but also to boost social sharing, reach, and the inbound links coming in to your blog content. Guest bloggers are generally proud to share their words on your awesome, thought-provoking blog, so they’ll be eager to push their contributions across their network. It may not be wise to share your internal Google Doc ed cal with external contributors, but be sure to include their contributions in your planning, and give them due dates and deadlines like you would your internal contributors. And to maximize the reach of your guest contributor's articles, consider scheduling them for publishing on the days during which people are more active in social media (Tuesday-Thursday).

Titles and Content Details

Remember: An engaging title can make or break a blog post. After all, who’s going to read a post that has no hook? Follow the six characteristics of exceptional blog titles: Be actionable, brief, keyword-conscious, clear, definitive, and intriguing. Creating a sense of urgency (e.g. "7 Common SEO Myths to Throw Out the Window Immediately"), or being controversial (e.g. "Is PR Dead?") are also great attention-grabbing tactics. (Just don't be controversial for the sake of being controversial.) “How-to” titles, because they imply that the reader will get actionable advice on how to do something specific, also work great.

In your blog editorial calendar template, make sure you write out your full blog titles to ensure you're using a mid of title styles and techniques. This will help you maintain a balanced mix of how-to's, numbered list posts, thought leadership-style content, etc. Remember: Variety is the spice of life!

Make sure you jot down some notes under the 'Content/Details' column too. The body content is the meat and potatoes of your blog. You should be solving customers’ and prospects’ problems, earning their trust and becoming your industry’s leader by demonstration.

Here, you’ll want to include a quick synopsis of each article to create a backlog of posts and ensure that your new content is fresh and unique. In addition, it’s also important to double check that your title accurately reflects the content of the article. After all, your blog title doesn’t just live in a silo on your website. The title of your blog post will also show up as a result in search. And oftentimes, when your post is shared via social media, it will look similar to the following, just the blog title and its link:

Sure -- your article may have a lot more context on your blog, but that context can easily get lost once it's shared externally. Think of how your stand-alone title would appear in a Facebook post or among a litany of other tweets in a user's Twitter feed. Does the title clearly reflect the content that's inside? Failing to align your article's title with its content is a sure-fire way to lose trust in your readers ... and ensure they never come back to your blog for more.

Keywords and Target Personas

Your company has a mission, right? And if you're blogging, that mission likely includes providing expertise in certain areas that can be explained in a few keyword or key phrases that people use to search. Well, it turns out blogging plays a HUGE role in improving your company's search rank. Okay, okay -- no surprise there. But you'd be surprised how easy it is to overlook SEO when your main focus is content creation.

Make sure you're not only consciously integrating the keywords your company is trying to rank for into your blog posts, but that you're also listing them in your editorial calendar. Consistent use of these terms is one way Google will rank you, so make sure your keyword strategy is baked into your blog and tracked here. It will also keep you focused on blogging about the topics that you want to get found for, which should also help you cater to your ...

... target readers! Visualize the people reading your blog as people you want to buy your products or services. Considering that vision, wouldn’t you want to tailor your content to something they’ll want to read and learn from? If you're still a bit hazy on who your buyer personas are, check out this post, which is everything you need to research and create detailed buyer personas -- with its own template and all! Then, fill in this this column before you publish anything. If you can’t identify the specific target persona for a particular post, is it really worth writing?

It makes the most sense to use these two sections in tandem. Put yourself in the shoes of that target reader, and think about which keywords he or she may be searching to find you. Use those keywords as the starting point for topic ideas. Then, analyze the performance of those articles in terms of metrics like views, social shares, leads generated, as well as feedback from comments. This is a great way to determine which topics resonate best with your various buyer personas, which should help to inform your future blog topic ideas.

Offer/Call-to-Action

Speaking of leads, you want to generate leads from your blog too, right? That's why every blog post you publish should include a call-to-action (CTA) for an additional lead-generating offer that visitors must fill out a form to obtain. This provides you with their contact information (which enables you to nurture them later) and thus helps push readers closer and closer toward becoming customers. This is where the lead gen aspect of your blog really shines. To learn more about proper CTA selection, check out this blog post.

On the flip side, if you have a great new marketing offer you want to promote, this is another strong starting point to brainstorm your next blog post. Can you write a blog post on a similar or related topic that enables you to incorporate a call-to-action for your desired offer? Consider how you can use your blog to promote your amazing offers, and come up with article topics from there. Use this column in your template to keep track of which offers you're promoting in each post. This can also come in handy for making sure you're not mistakenly using the same CTAs over and over ... and over ... again -- particularly if you have a lot of high-performing offers to choose from.

Now that you’ve got a sense of what this template can help you accomplish, give it a try! Depending on how much content you publish (or want to publish) and how far in advance you want to do your planning, you can customize and build out this template to cover a month's worth -- or even a whole year's worth -- of blog content. But you've got to download it first ;-)

Gareth Gabriel's insight:

Every business should have a blog and this atical will show you how to do it correctly

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Twitter Releases Card Analytics: Here's How to Use 'Em

Twitter Releases Card Analytics: Here's How to Use 'Em | Social Media Marketing | Scoop.it

Have you tried out the new Twitter Card analytics? Here's everything you need to know about decoding your dashboard.

 

If there was a magic wand you could wave to suddenly make your Twitter presence more successful, I'd bet that most people on the platform would do it. More followers? More clicks? More retweets? All without any work? Sounds like a marketer's fantasy. 

Well, I hate to break it to you, but there's nomagic wand ... though we now have the next best thing. Yesterday, Twitter unveiled a brand new analytics dashboard for Twitter Cards

 

Gareth Gabriel's insight:

This guid shows you how to use the Twitter Cards analytics to get the most out of your twitter marketing

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