» 3 Quick Tips for Writing Better Emails

3 Quick Tips for Writing Better EmailsThe human race sends and receives billions of emails per day89 billion of which are business emails – and we spend an average of 11.2 hours per week reading and answering email. Let’s face it: it’s hard to get noticed with that amount of email volume. But there are a few simple strategies your business can use when writing your emails to help them get noticed!

Want to make sure your emails are being opened, read and clicked? Follow these tips!

Write a descriptive yet clear subject line

Make it easy for your audience to find out what your email is about by making the subject line descriptive, but don’t add so much that the message gets blurred. Keep it simple and clear by choosing only one or two main ideas in the subject line. If you’re using an email provider service, you also have pre-header text to use to further elaborate on the information contained in the email!

Put your calls-to-action up front

Don’t waste your recipients’ time with a lot of content before getting to the important parts mentioned in your subject line. Feature the calls-to-action prominently in each section of the email, with the option to read further for more details and context. This makes it easier for recipients to see everything you’re asking for or telling them about, and avoids the distraction of too much content.

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» Inside WeddingWire: Email Marketing Accolade!

At WeddingWire, we firmly believe in the power of email to reach your audience with relevant, smart and engaging targeted campaigns. Our talented Email Marketing Team is passionate about everything email, from the importance of practicing good List Hygiene, to making the commitment to mobilize all emails to effectively reach users on the go, and even how to creatively and strategically deal with a dreaded “Oops Email!”

We were thrilled to recently be honored as the winner of the Best Triggered Email in MarketingSherpa’s Email Awards 2013 for our Welcome Series campaign. The WeddingWire Welcome Series was designed to create a personalized email relationship with our users, and most importantly provide them with valuable, engaging and helpful information to support and maximize their WeddingWire accounts.

This campaign makes use of techniques you could easily implement to create a personalized email relationship. Here are some tips that you can apply to your business:

  • Although it’s tempting to create one email and blast it out your full list of potential clients, personalized campaigns that are relevant to your users behavior and preferences typically outperform generic emails. For example, if you are a photographer trying to engage past clients with another event promotion, tailor your list and customize your message. Send one email to those that you served their wedding, another email for those you served an engagement session, and another email for corporate events. In each campaign, include a simple message about how you loved being their Wedding Photographer, and wanted to share a special discount for any personal referrals to their friends.
  •  Keep your communication relevant by collecting information about your clients, and personalizing your emails based on that information. If a couple with a December wedding gets an email from you about Spring wedding specials, they might unsubscribe because you aren’t sending anything that’s useful for them. Keep your potential clients interested in your emails by staying relevant!

For more Email Marketing Pro tips, be sure to check out our “Inside the Inbox” series! Do you have any Email Marketing questions we can address next in the series?

» Hi %%FirstName%%…? Oops!

This post was written by Matt Byrd, WeddingWire’s Email Marketing Specialist. WeddingWire was recently recognized by the Email Institute as one of the best brands for email marketing, alongside companies such as Amazon, J.Crew and Starbucks. Matt also spoke at MarketingSherpa’s Email Summit 2013 in Las Vegas.

 

It happens to the best of us. You spend hours creating a beautiful email, segmenting your list, testing repeatedly to make sure everything looks solid…and then, as soon as you press Send, you realize there’s a mistake.

Don’t panic!

Mistakes happen. After you’ve been staring at the same email for hours, it’s easy to miss something, no matter how obvious it might be in retrospect. Upon realizing a mistake has been made, focus on remaining calm, considering any potential damage and, if needed, taking quick action.

Begin by assessing the severity of the error. Is it something small, like a misspelled word, or is it more serious, like an incorrect event date or information about a promotion? Small mistakes can be embarrassing, but are typically not worth sending a corrected version of the email. Your customers will understand that you’re human and forget about it.

Larger mistakes often require sending a correction, otherwise known as an Oops! email. Don’t be afraid to send an Oops! email, but only send one if it’s necessary. Clients will appreciate the fact that you are correcting your mistake, and providing them with the proper information.

If you do send an Oops! email, look for ways to turn your mistake into an opportunity to further your relationship with your clients.

Here are a few ideas:

  • Extend your discount an extra day to give people more time to take advantage of an offer;
  • Offer them a special promo code to use at a later time;
  • If appropriate, provide an email address or phone number they can use if they are confused or have questions.

Most importantly, make sure your Oops! email is sincere and authentic. Don’t over-hype or over-complicate your message. Explain that a mistake happened, apologize for it, and offer the correct information.

Many marketers have even found that a well-done Oops! email has outperformed standard promotions! Customers appreciate honesty and being treated like real people. As a result, owning up to your mistake will have better long-term benefits for your brand and business.

» Inside the Inbox: The #1 Rule of Email Marketing

This post was written by Matt Byrd, WeddingWire’s Email Marketing Specialist. WeddingWire was recently recognized by the Email Institute as one of the best brands for email marketing, alongside companies such as Amazon, J.Crew and Starbucks.
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The #1 rule of email marketing is… that there is no #1 rule! Many resources try to suggest that there are finite rules and guidelines for email marketing. Common ones include things like “Don’t use FREE in the subject line!” or “Don’t have subject lines longer than 50 characters.”

Take a quick glance through your own inbox, and you will realize that those “rules” are outdated. The word “FREE” might have sent your email to the spam folder two or three years ago, but that isn’t necessarily the case anymore. Many new, complex factors affect how your email marketing performs beyond black-and-white rules about content and subject lines.

And 50 characters? Check out this subject line from popular online retailer Rue La La…it’s 177 characters!

“Vera Bradley, Charles David, Sweet Pea, Earnest Sewn, For the Table: Eco-Friendly Wood & Bamboo, Hello, July: The Month of Heritage, Honora, & The Baby Gifts They’ll Go Gaga For”

You might also hear things like “Don’t send emails on the weekends!” or “Don’t send emails after 5pm!” Again, factors like this are completely dependent on your audience. What works for you might be completely different from what works for another Pro. The only way you can find out what the best days are for your clients is to test – and test often!

As an example, you segment your database into three equal parts, and send an identical email to each group on three different days but at the same time. It’s important that only one factor change – so make sure it’s the same email at the same time, just on a different day. Otherwise, one of the other changes might also affect the results of the test. You won’t know if it was just the send day that had an effect, or one of your other variables.

Repeat the test a couple of times to ensure that the results are consistent. On the flip side, you could send the same email on the same day, but at different times. Maybe your customers open emails more at 2pm instead of 10am. …There’s only one way to find out: get testing!

» Inside the Inbox: Bridal Show Email List Dos and Don’ts

This post was written by Matt Byrd, WeddingWire’s Email Marketing Specialist. WeddingWire was recently recognized by the Email Institute as one of the best brands for email marketing, alongside companies such as Amazon, J.Crew and Starbucks.
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One of the perks of exhibiting at bridal shows is that you get to collect email addresses from the potential clients you meet. To get the most out of your bridal show experience, focus on making email address collection as easy as possible, and then create effective messages to reach out to those bridal show clients.

Some email service providers make email collection on-the-go a snap. For example, MailChimp has a handy iPad app (Chimpadeedoo) that lets you easily collect addresses and sync them automatically to your MailChimp database. Some bridal shows make it even easier for you by supplying a list of registrants’ contact information at the conclusion of the event, so you don’t have to worry about collecting their emails at your booth.

Once the event is over, here are a few suggestions for maximizing on your new list of contacts:

  • Timeliness: Make sure you follow-up with potential clients quickly after the event. As time passes between the event and when you actually send your follow-up emails, attendees could potentially forget who you were and that they gave their email address to you.
  • Relationship: In your email, mention that you are contacting them because of the specific bridal show they attended. This establishes that you already have a relationship, which will lend credibility to your message and keep it from seeming like Spam. While it’s tempting to lump several bridal show lists together and send one email, you should create different messages that contain the different names of the bridal shows. Personalization will pay off!
  • Relevance: All of these new potential clients are not the same! They should get specific messages tailored to their event needs. When you meet a potential new client, in addition to their email address, collect some basic information about their event, such as the date or location, and then group them into buckets based on shared characteristics. You can send an email with a photo of a winter wedding to couples with winter wedding dates, or offer a “Spring Fever” discount to couples with April and May wedding dates.
  • Privacy: If you are using your regular email account to send your emails instead of an email service provider (like MailChimp or ConstantContact), make sure that you don’t just copy and paste the list of email addresses into the “To:” field. Aside from looking unprofessional, this violates the privacy of everyone you’re emailing. Use the “BCC:” field to hide all of your recipients’ addresses. (We definitely encourage you to switch to an email service provider, though, as it will offer you many great features and allow you to track your emails’ performance!)

Email is a strong tool to move potential clients to booked events! Get started with Matt’s tips today, and check back soon for more top email marketing strategies for your business.

» Inside WeddingWire: Meet Our Email Specialist, Matt!

In our Inside WeddingWire series, we love giving you a glimpse into the WeddingWire Headquarters and what makes our company so unique!

Today, we would like to introduce you to a member of our team, our email marketing expert, Matt Byrd!

Matt is an Email Marketing Specialist, leading our email marketing team (which—trust us—is no small task!), and is passionate and knowledgeable about all things email! We are excited to announce that he will be joining us on the Pro Blog in a new series, Inside the Inbox, where he will take a look at email marketing trends and best practices, and most importantly, how to apply them for your business.

Be sure to check back soon for the new Inside the Inbox series! If you have any specific email marketing topic ideas that you would like to see covered, please leave a comment for Matt!

» Top 4 Tips for Effective Client Email Pitches

Turn more of your inquires into meetings and new clients!  Follow these top 4 tips for effective email pitches to your potential clients, and be on your way to booking more weddings and events.

 1. Be Personal

Your emails to your potential clients should be personalized. Be sure to reference them by name, and ask questions about their wedding or event. Engaged couples want personal attention for their special day, and asking the right questions can help you to stand out among the rest!  Express that you would love the opportunity to connect on the phone or in person, and hear more about their wedding plans, how they met, and how they are envisioning their perfect day—so you can be sure to help them create a meaningful and memorable wedding.

2. Be Purposeful

Creating a specific call to action is key.  It isn’t enough to just send availabilities, costs or work examples. Be sure to make the ask for an appointment, and the more specific you are the better. For example: “I would love the opportunity to hear more about what you envision for your perfect day, and discuss ways I could assist to make your wedding as special as possible. Are you available for an appointment next Monday?”

3. Be Persistent

It is okay to politely follow up on any messages that were not returned. This shows the engaged couple that you are interested and committed to their event, even before you are officially one of their Wedding Pros! It is best to give them a few days to get back to you, and follow up in about 3 days if you have not heard back to check in. This shows that you are confident in your business, but be careful to not appear overly pushy. Couples want Pros who are on top of their game, and who follow up on details for their behalf, so never be afraid to follow up. It sets a good precedent for your work ethic and attention to detail.

 4. Be Polite

Always say “thank you.” In your initial email, thank the engaged couple for their interest and express that you are honored they are considering your service for their wedding. Even if you hear that the couple is going with an alternative Pro, always reply to thank them for their time and consideration and send them best wishes. You never know, they may refer you to others or use you for a future event! Plus, this will help solidify your professional, courteous reputation in the industry.

» Top Tools to Help You Work Less #2: Social Media and Email

 

This post was written by Sonny Ganguly, CMO of WeddingWire, you can follow him on Twitter @sonnyg. Sonny leads WeddingWire’s marketing strategy, customer acquisition, and business development.

 

As the next installment of our Top Tools to Help You Work Less series, we reflect on some of the most effective WeddingWire tested Social Media and Email tools to help you work smarter, not harder!

Social Media

Having a social media is necessary to connect with potential clients, share your personality, and network with your community. The following tools are helpful to manage and master your social media accounts!

  • Namechk
    • Namechk is the quickest way to own all your online real estate! This tool allows you to check if your desired username or vanity URL is still available on dozens of popular social networking and bookmarking websites!
  • HootSuite
    • HootSuite is a social media dashboard that allows you to manage all of your social media accounts across Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn in one place. This dashboard allows multiple team members to post across accounts, as well as pre-schedule messages!
  • Tumblr
    • Love to blog, but don’t have the time?  Tumblr is a micro-blog that leverages all the benefits of blogging without all the effort.  Create simple blog posts that are links, images, videos, quotes or even audio recordings.  Even better, you can do it all from your phone!

Email 

Email is still a powerful tool to promote your services and reach new clients. The following tools will help you easily send and track professional email campaigns, which do not end up in the spam box.

  • Mail Chimp 
    • Mail Chimp helps you design emails, share them on you social networks, integrate with services you already use and track your results. This tool is great for small businesses and allows you to analyze data from your desktop, tablet and mobile device.
  • Litmus
    • Litmus allows you to test and track your email campaigns. Easily set up email design tests, spam filter tests, and email analysis across Gmail, Outlook, Yahoo! and more. It is the quickest way to see how your emails will look across email providers.

Be sure to check back for top tools to help with Insights and Analytics, as well as Organization and Meetings, and review the top Website tools!

» Build Your Brand: Social Email Signatures

It’s one of the little things that can make a big difference – social email signatures. Sites like WiseStamp help you add social media buttons, RSS feeds and more to your own personalized email signature. The service is free and works on Firefox, Chrome, and Safari.

Adding links from your emails to your Facebook, Twitter, blog and website will give those you interact with on a daily basis the ability to quickly and easily learn more about your company and establish a greater connection.

Watch the short video below to see how it works:

» Think Email Marketing is Going Away?

Think again. Over 88%* of us check our email at least one time a day. And with the rise in mobile popularity, email is still an effective marketing tool that deserves some attention. Think about it – it’s low in cost, it allows you to target your audience AND it provides ongoing communication between you and your clients. So with that said, here are a few tips to think about when composing your email campaigns:

  • Good lists yield desired results: Find ways to constantly build your lists (e.g. bridal shows, website, blog) all while making sure to capture the right info (e.g. name, email address, wedding date, wedding location, etc.). We also recommend grouping your list (e.g. by wedding date, location, etc.) so you can better target your audience.
  • Think short, sweet and pretty: Put yourself in the shoes of your audience for a second – what is your initial reaction when you open an email that is full of words and no pictures? Exactly. Keep your messaging relevant and to the point, and include graphics.
  • Don’t forget the “call to action”: Provide your readers with a “call to action” in your email, whether a link to your website, WeddingWire reviews, blog or social media accounts. This will help you further promote your business and reach your clients.

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» Email marketing, the right way.

With over 1/3 of all engagements projected to happen over the holidays and the New Year quickly approaching, now is the time for you to hone in on your marketing efforts! Over the next few days I will cover some different ways to help you do this.  Today, let’s take a look at email marketing.

Emails can work as a means of advertisement.  According to a recent MediaPost blog, email marketing is still the highest ROI channel and earning $45+ ROI for every dollar invested (DMA, 2008).

As mentioned in the blog, the key to email marketing is there is a right and wrong way to approach it. The wrong way involves sending the same email, multiple times. This tends to increase your list churn and drive readers away, making it very hard to earn back their respect.

The right way is to make sure that each email counts.  Here is my take on a few good tips from the MediaPost blog that you can use to help you do this:

  1. Get the tone right – Position your products and services so that they meet the need of your customers during the realities of our time (i.e. down economy, low budgets, etc.)
  2. Realize that discounts are not the only motivator – Although discount emails can sometimes work, they tend to fall into the “wrong way” category if they are repeated too many times.  Try providing helpful tips, value information, and timely offers in your emails.  These can boost your response and protect your margin.
  3. Integrate online channels – Use emails to spark a conversation that will continue to other social mediums, such as facebook, twitter, etc.
  4. Ask for feedback in each email and every source of contact with your customers – It is key for you to monitor customer feedback and experience. Make sure you listen to what the customers are saying and communicate back with them. This is only going to benefit you in the long run!
  5. Thank your customers – Send helpful tips and special offers to good customers and new buyers.  This is a great chance for you to encourage your customers to tell their friends about you!

These tips and others listed in the MediaPost blog can help you become a smarter marketer and assist you in crafting your emails the right way!

Feel free to share any other email marketing tips you have personally had success with!