Monthly Archives :

April 2020

Email Content

STRATEGIES FOR WRITING EMAILS PEOPLE ACTUALLY WANT TO OPEN

STRATEGIES FOR WRITING EMAILS PEOPLE ACTUALLY WANT TO OPEN 900 600 Amy Judge

Of all the online marketing options that have become available over the years, email marketing remains one of the most effective. Inexpensive and in a format most people access daily, email marketing allows you to get your business in front of thousands of people with just the click of a button. Well, the click of a button and some great content! After all, to be an effective marketing tool your emails first need to convince recipients to open them. Writing emails people will actually open takes skill – it requires you to know your audience and craft your emails based on that knowledge. Here are a few of our best tips for writing great emails.

Don’t Send Emails Just to Send Emails
sending emails

In other words, don’t send an email just to stick to a marketing schedule. Make sure you actually have something of value to offer your readers. The average person receives 96 emails a day, so if your emails don’t give them something useful, they’re just noise. You need to offer fresh, relevant information that gives your readers something valuable in exchange for their time. Don’t be too salesy either – nothing makes a person delete an email more quickly than a sales pitch. If your audience knows your emails always offer useful information, they will be more likely to open and read them.

Use an Attention-Grabbing Subject Line
Stand Out Subject Lines

Your subject line is the first thing readers will see, so it needs to convince them to open your email. It should be short, descriptive and make them want to read more. Your subject line should answer the question “what’s in it for me?”. The first 2-4 words are the most important and should make readers immediately understand that your email contains information that will be valuable to them. Try personalizing your subject line if you can by including the recipient’s name, city, or other relevant personal information. Avoid using words that trigger spam filters like “buy”, “click for more”, or “act now!” (check out this hubspot article for a full list of words to avoid). 

And you know the text that appears after the subject line – the one that typically defaults to “Can’t view this email? Click here”? That’s the pre-header text. Make the most of this important bit of text by customizing it to give your readers a preview of what they’ll find inside.

Use Well-Written and Concise Copy
well written copy

Spellcheck people! No one wants to read a poorly written email. Copy that has spelling or grammar mistakes can make you look unprofessional or even lazy – the opposite of what you want to communicate. Wordy and unfocused writing will turn people off as well. When creating your emails, use clear, concise statements – less is definitely more here. Also, address your content to a person, not a group. You want your reader to feel like you are speaking directly to them, not just throwing information out into the crowd. 

Keep it Simple

Pick one topic and stick to it. You don’t want your emails to be so cluttered with content that readers have to work to figure out if any of it is relevant to them or not. Make your topic clear. If you have more than one idea you want to communicate, pick one as your main topic, using the bulk of the email to discuss it. Then briefly mention the others at the end or in a P.S. Make the most of your email signature as well by adding links to upcoming events. That way you can include them without having to take up space in the body of the email. 

Great Design Speaks Volumes

Part of getting and keeping your audience’s attention is design. When a reader opens your email, you only have a few seconds to draw them in. Even if you have compelling topics and well-written content, you’ll quickly lose people if your email doesn’t look the part. Make use of graphics to ensure your email is eye-catching and not too text-heavy. If you don’t have a graphic designer in-house, try using a tool like Canva to build enticing graphics for your emails.

Include a Clear Call to Action (Just One!)

Every email you send should have a clear call to action (CTA), giving your audience next steps that are relevant to your main topic. Be concise yet creative with your wording, and avoid using vague phrases like “click here”. Each email should only have one call to action – resist the temptation to include more, as multiple CTAs will distract readers and result in lower engagement. 

Update Your Address List Often
email list

This is the boring part of email marketing, but it’s just as important as great content. Regularly update your address list to avoid sending to old or incorrect email addresses. Even though this kind of marketing is inexpensive, sending those extra emails is wasted money. Marketing to bad email addresses can also increase your bounce rate (i.e., emails that don’t go through), making you a target for spam filters.

When your audience knows your emails will be full of engaging, valuable content, they’ll be more likely to keep opening them. Looking for more great ways to connect with customers through email? Check out our recent post for some outside-the-box email ideas.

We know these tips will help you write better emails, but if you find you don’t have the time to tackle them yourself Wild Fig can help. Contact us to talk about outsourcing your email newsletters to our figgy team!

Wild Fig Marketing is your digital marketing agency! Whether you’re looking for marketing help in the form of website design, sales or process automation, content marketing, email marketing or lead generation, we have the knowledge and experience to help you rock your brand. 

Working Remotely

COVID-19 AND COMPANY CULTURE: CREATING POSITIVE CHANGE IN A DIFFICULT TIME

COVID-19 AND COMPANY CULTURE: CREATING POSITIVE CHANGE IN A DIFFICULT TIME 900 600 Kari Switala

With stay-at-home orders and social distancing measures in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19, companies have sent their employees to work from home, some of them for the first time. Without the central hub of the office to bring their employees together, many businesses are concerned about the effect this change will have on their company culture. How do you maintain a cohesive culture when your employees are all working from different places? The truth is, your company culture will likely go through some changes during this time, but that doesn’t have to be a negative thing. In fact, it’s possible to use this unexpected shift to create positive change in your company’s culture. Here are a few ways to do that.

Stay Positive

Stay PositiveStaying positive is the best way to confront uncertainty, and keeping employees in a positive mindset is more important than ever right now. If your business has been forced to move to a remote work environment, consider it a learning opportunity rather than an obstacle. Now is the time to learn new technology, new ways of staying connected, and new ways of communicating.

The less face-to-face interaction you have with people, the more difficult it is for them to interpret the tone of your communication. Make it a point to portray a positive tone in your emails, texts, video calls, and more. Infusing positivity into your company and its culture will help you weather any change that comes your way.

Embrace Mistakes

Mistakes will happen – they always do when we learn something new. But instead of seeing mistakes as evidence that a remote environment can’t work for your company, see them as chances to learn, adapt, and grow (see how that positivity comes in handy?). Mistakes can be the avenue to finding new ways to succeed.

Even if this whole work-from-home thing was forced on you by the current situation, it can still be a valuable test of how your company handles difficult change. Does your company culture encourage flexibility, adaptability, and innovation? If not, this is your opportunity to change that.

Foster Collaboration

Foster CollaborationCollaboration is a crucial element of any company’s culture. Collaborating with co-workers when you’re not in the same place can be challenging, but it’s absolutely possible. Utilize technology to keep the collaboration going – provide your team with tools for online meetings, document sharing, task management and communication.

For example, here at Wild Fig we use Asana for task management. Asana is a web-based software designed to improve team collaboration by making it easy to manage projects and tasks. You can create projects, assign work to teammates, specify deadlines, and communicate about tasks. It really helps us stay on top of the many projects we have going on and ensures that each team member knows what they’re responsible for.

Encouraging collaboration by offering tools like this will help you maintain a cohesive team and enrich your company’s culture.

Communicate Clearly and Often

Communication is the biggest tool in your arsenal when it comes to both remote work and strengthening your company culture. Communicate with your team clearly about expectations, timelines, and more. Since you’re not working in the same space, it is more difficult to keep an eye on what everyone is working on and details can fall through the cracks. Combat this with overcommunication – in other words, repeat yourself often.

One element of communication that is especially important in a remote environment is listening. It’s time for everyone on your team to really hone those listening skills. This is especially true in video conferences – the last thing you need on a conference call is everyone speaking over each other! It will take some time to adjust (remember, mistakes will happen), but everyone will need to learn to be patient, listen to each person speaking, and reply only when a response is needed. This kind of thoughtful, respectful listening is part of a healthy company culture.

Maintain Relationships

One more note on communication – make sure to create avenues for employees to continue “water cooler” conversations. Whether it’s a Slack channel or another type of group messaging format, give employees a chance to continue building relationships with one another. Those relationships help to create a vibrant company culture and will be reflected in everything you do.

Looking for more tips to adapt your company to this new normal? Take a look at our recent blog on Leading a Remote Team!

A well-defined and effective culture is vital to your company’s survival. Switching to a remote working environment means big changes, but it can be the stimulus you need to change your company’s culture for the better.

Wild Fig Marketing is your digital marketing agency! Whether you’re looking for marketing help in the form of website design, sales or process automation, content marketing, email marketing or lead generation, we have the knowledge and experience to help you rock your brand. Contact us on our website or set up a complimentary 30-minute strategy session here!

Customer Driven Growth

7 TIPS FOR CUSTOMER DRIVEN GROWTH

7 TIPS FOR CUSTOMER DRIVEN GROWTH 900 600 Jen Hiltunen

Customers want a voice in your brand and in the way they engage with you. Forbes recently identified customer-driven growth as “the elusive holy grail.” If you can align your business operations to achieve this kind of growth, you’re setting your business up for long-term success. Let’s start by taking a look at some current trends in this arena. 

Increasing efficiency

Particularly in the B2C retail segment, businesses are prioritizing the booming customer-driven demand for efficiency. Although it costs more to offer free 2-day shipping and free returns, for example, retailers recognize that customers expect this efficiency. More and more businesses are willing to increase efficiency despite higher costs. Currently, 49% of B2C and 39% of B2B businesses report maintaining this focus.  

Investing in technology

Technology fuels businesses’ ability to increase their efficiency. For this reason, both B2B and B2C companies are also maintaining a focus on developing and implementing new technology to drive greater efficiency. 

Additionally, businesses are automating their business and marketing processes and tapping into apps that streamline their customer communications. Calendly, for example, eliminates the email and phone tag game and makes it simple for prospects to book appointments. Today’s consumers also expect up-to-date websites and will often hit the red “x” on websites with boring or outdated content. Keep all customer-facing tech updated and fuel your efficiency with updated tech on the backend as well! 

Hiring talent

Successful business leaders are recognizing the importance of hiring talent to implement their new technology and keep their customer-facing platforms up to date. 

After years of hearing employers gripe about managing employees, we strategically hired six amazing employees at Wild Fig Marketing. While the HR details can be challenging, we are thrilled with our talented team and recognize the value that employees with a wide range of expertise can provide for our business and for our customers’ businesses. 

Aiming to meet or anticipate customer expectations

Many companies align their strategies to meet customer expectations. After all, in today’s B2B and B2C markets, customers are savvy and particular and they will remain loyal to you only as long as you’re delivering on their expectations. An increasing number of businesses are working to go a step further and anticipate customer demands with innovative products and services. 

At Wild Fig Marketing, we know a thing or two about leaning into customer-driven growth. Here are some of our tried-and-true tips!

Provide stellar customer service

  • Do this on the front-end by refining your onboarding process to get customers excited about your product or service immediately. 
  • Make sure you communicate the value of your product or service and let them know what you want them to do next. 
  • Ask customers about their pain-points and what answers they’re seeking from your product or service. 
  • Solicit feedback from your customers and check in periodically to make sure they’re satisfied with their purchase. 
  • Address any questions or concerns that arise. 

Build relationships with your customers 

Show your customers that you champion their success and let them know you’re with them on each step of their journey. Give them opportunities to engage with your brand on social media and host customer-appreciation events. 

Don’t neglect to let your customers know that you’re thankful for them! At Wild Fig, we make a point of hosting regular customer-appreciation events. A couple months ago, we hosted an evening of drinks and hors d’oeuvres at Bald Man Brewing in Eagan, MN. It was a memorable evening filled with laughter and wonderful conversations!

Speak to customers with your content

Provide valuable content for your customers. This can be in the form of blog posts, manuals or guides, whitepapers, video, webinars, etc. When you supply value, you drive customer engagement and loyalty which, ultimately, creates brand advocates and grows your business. 

Kari, our founder and Chief Creative Officer, recently started hosting live Facebook events on Thursdays on a variety of topics as yet another way to supply our customers with valuable content and also give them an opportunity to engage with us across these topics. The response has been phenomenal and she plans to continue!

Customer-driven growth shouldn’t be a goal. It should be a mindset. At Wild Fig Marketing, we specialize in customer-oriented business strategy. If you want help assessing customer demands and driving business growth, sign up for our complimentary 30-minute strategy call here!

Wild Fig Marketing is your digital marketing agency! Whether you’re looking for marketing help in the form of website design, sales or process automation, content marketing, email marketing or lead generation, we have the knowledge and experience to help you rock your brand. 

 

 

Remote Working Tips

TIPS FOR LEADING A REMOTE TEAM

TIPS FOR LEADING A REMOTE TEAM 900 600 Kari Switala

In light of the recent COVID-19 outbreak, more and more businesses are setting employees up with remote access – a big challenge for those businesses that rely heavily on in-person communication and interaction. The thought of leading a remote team and directing onsite employees to continue their jobs from home can be daunting. Will you get the same performance from them? Will business start to slump? 

First of all, let’s quell any fears about decreased productivity. Did you know that remote workers average 1.4 more days of work each month as opposed to onsite workers? That adds up to an extra 16.8 days each year! 23% of remote workers are willing to put in extra hours to get more done and 77% of remote workers report increased productivity. 

Instead of looking at this time as something to fumble through, put these tips into practice so you can convert your team into a successful remote team and continue with business as usual. 

Get comfy 

If you and your team find yourselves suddenly putting in long hours at home, having the right equipment is a must. While you may be able to work for a few hours here or there at your dining room table, once you start pulling longer stretches, your body will eventually revolt. Consider investing in an 8-hour, adjustable chair, a desk with a pull-out tray for a wireless keyboard and an adjustable arm for your laptop. The right equipment allows you to tailor your work setup to your custom ergonomics. 

Take breaks 

Even if you’re a person who loves putting your nose to the grindstone and blazing through work, research suggests that working in short intervals and interspersing short, frequent breaks increases focus, creativity and productivity. If you’re not in this habit, the Pomodoro Technique is a great place to start. Use a timer to keep yourself on task. Encourage your remote employees to try it as well! 

Protect your work hours 

Set a schedule.

One of the biggest challenges of working from home is dealing with interruption. Interruption by your spouse, your kids, your pets…Set a daily schedule for yourself and communicate it to your family members so they know when you’ll be working and unavailable. If you can, put someone else in charge of Fido during your work hours. A set schedule will also help you stay motivated throughout the day and help you keep up momentum as you move towards your goals. 

Implement white noise 

Whether you have other people or pets making a ruckus in the background or you’re contenting with your own swirling thoughts, it can be hard to concentrate when you’re working from home. Using a white noise app or machine can muffle distinct sounds and distractions and help keep you and your employees on task. 

Foster open communication 

When making the transition to remote work, it’s crucial to keep open lines of communication between management and employees as well as among team members. 

  • Utilize helpful tools: There are a plethora of digital tools at your disposal to help facilitate nearly every task. At Wild Fig Marketing, we rely on Slack for client-specific team communication. Asana is our go-to project management tool and we love Amazon Chime for virtual meetings with each other and with our clients…and these are just a few of our favorites. Learn more about some of our go-to apps and tech here!
  • Stay connected over video: When you can’t be in the same room, video is the next best option. Get comfortable with your smartphone, laptop or desktop camera and get used to seeing your face on the screen! Create weekly video snippets for your employees, keeping them up-to-date on company happenings. Host virtual team meetings on your favorite video platform. 
video conferencing

Hot tip: Have fun with your team meetings and implement themes. The sky’s the limit here! Wacky hair, 1980’s attire, dress like a nerd, etc. Or open your meetings with trivia or icebreaker questions. We sported our favorite hats for a recent team meeting!

  • Create a “water cooler experience” for your employees: It’s not just practical, work-related communication that you need to accommodate. Keep teams connected and keep morale high by carving out a space for water cooler chatter. At Wild Fig, we created a “Random” channel in Slack for non-work-related conversations. 
  • Implement one-on-one meetings: In the midst of the transition to remote work, set a regular cadence for one-on-one meetings. It’s a good way to keep a pulse on each employee and how their remote experience is going. If you have a big company, ask managers to check in with their individual team members on a regular basis.

Ultimately, view this time as an opportunity to foster remote collaboration. It will benefit your business long after the pandemic is over. 

Check out another one of our posts for some great tips for boosting onsite and work-from-home efficiency!

Wild Fig Marketing is your digital marketing agency! Whether you’re looking for marketing help in the form of website design, sales or process automation, content marketing, email marketing or lead generation, we have the knowledge and experience to help you rock your brand. Contact us on our website or set up a complimentary 30-minute strategy session here!

MY BIGGEST MARKETING SUCCESS STORY

MY BIGGEST MARKETING SUCCESS STORY 900 600 WildFigAdmin

If you met our sweet Lucy, our 4-month-old hound/shepherd/lab mix, I’m convinced that you would be just as smitten as I am – her big droopy ears, her big tan paws and these soft brown eyes that stare directly into your soul. And if you can conjure up in your mind the colors and swirls of a marble cake mix – that’s her beautiful coat. She’s playful…she’s snuggly…she’s potty trained…Ok, maybe not exactly potty trained but, well, we’ve got time to work on that.

Lucy is a great addition to our family and has integrated well with Steve and Murphy, our other two pups. Our boys, Kevin and I love our Lucy and that love is most definitely mutual. What more could we ask for?

But we haven’t always wanted another puppy. Or more accurately, Kevin hasn’t always wanted another puppy. What you see before you today is the result of a long, persistent and ultimately successful marketing campaign. The psychology of conversion is truly fascinating.

Step 1: Identify Your Main Goal/Objective

The key to a successful marketing campaign begins with stating a clearly defined goal or objective. In this case, my goal was to get another puppy because a) I LOVE dogs and b) I wanted to find a playmate for our very busy 2-year-old dog, Murphy.

Step 2: Understand Who Your Target Audience Is

This is often one of the most challenging components of a marketing campaign and yet also one of the most critical. Many businesses try to skip this part because they believe their product or service can benefit everyone. Regardless of what you sell, however, this is never the case. If you take the time to narrow down your focus, your campaign will be more effective and you’ll get results quicker.

In this case, my target audience was pretty cut and dry. It was Kevin, a 47-year-old Polish male (insert your favorite Polish joke here) who thoroughly analyzes every decision he makes. He is equal parts stubborn and convincing and relies heavily on Excel spreadsheets when it comes to making big decisions.

Knowing the demographics of your target audience is imperative. Go the extra mile and spend time thinking about how they make decisions, where they find their information and how your products/services can impact their life. You’re guaranteed better results.

During this part of the process, it’s helpful to create buyer personas.

  • Interview at least 3-5 people who fit the following criteria: current customers, prospective customers, people who aren’t familiar with your company.
  • Ask them a list of predetermined questions regarding their job description, the company they work for, their goals, their challenges, how they gather information, their personal background and how they select and interact with vendors.
  • Use your research to create your buyer personas. Check out this great HubSpot article for more details on how to create buyer personas for your company!

Looking for another great resource? This article will help you put wheels on the process!

Creating buyer personas allows you to engage in a targeted marketing campaign.

Step 3: Determine The Best Tools/Marketing Channels To Use

Once you’ve clearly defined your target audience, the next step is figuring out how to reach them. Where do they get information? Do they read the newspaper or other publications? Do they prefer Facebook to LinkedIn? Go where they go!

There is an abundance of marketing channels at your disposal. Instead of spreading yourself thin by trying to reach prospects through too many channels simultaneously, choose a few of the ones you think will be the most effective for your buyer personas and drill down. Here’s some great info to get you started!

When it comes to social media channels, it’s helpful to take a look at demographics for each of the biggest contenders and see which ones best align with your persona demographics. Then direct your efforts towards those channels.

Since my campaign wasn’t a traditional marketing campaign, the channels I chose were a bit non-traditional. I chose a multi-pronged approach (which is what we recommend to our clients when we’re developing their campaigns). My campaign consisted of text messages, peer pressure/influencer marketing (thank you WFM team for your support!) and event marketing. The event? I organized a Canine Coffee Break with Spot’s Last Stop. They were going to bring puppies into our Wild Fig office to help socialize them. And of course the pups are up for adoption too. I know. I fight pretty dirty.

I figured that, as soon as my husband saw the puppies and how happy they made me, he’d be hard-pressed to say no. My team was also rooting for me and I knew they’d help seal the deal. Marketing is no stranger to obstacles, however, and COVID-19 put a kink in my plan and we had to postpone the event. Hint: Take some time in the planning stages to look for potential obstacles. It will help you avoid them more often than not. (Note to self: I should probably take my own advice next time.)

Now what?

I knew I had to adjust my plan.

The Governor was about to issue a shelter-in-place order and I had to act fast. I changed my messaging accordingly:

Hey honey, I’ve been thinking. This really is the perfect time to get a puppy since all four of us will be home to help potty train him or her…

I went on to state my case and all the benefits of adopting a puppy.

I also sweetened the pot by offering to oversee all of the training (gulp) and I utilized influencers (our teenage boys). How could Kevin say “no” now? I knew my marketing strategy was taking hold.

Step 4: Develop Your Messaging

Once you have a plan for which channels you’re going to use to reach your target audience, it’s time to create your “before and after” personas. What does life look like for your ideal customer before they purchase your product? Perhaps they’re overwhelmed, sad, wishing they had more leisure time…Now, what does life look like for your ideal customer after they make that purchase? Are they more relaxed and content? Less sad or frustrated? Taking time to flesh out these personas will help you more precisely align your message.

Then, as you develop your message, keep these things in mind:

Be consistent

Did you know that it takes 8 touches just to get an initial conversation with your prospect? And it takes many more touches to convert. That’s why it’s critical to keep your message in front of your prospects at all times.

Timing is everything

Knowing when to ask for the sale is paramount. If you ask too early you could lose the deal for good.

I definitely had to be mindful of this when timing my communication. If my husband had a bad day or was in a funk, I refrained from talk about puppy adoption.

Step 5: Analyze Your Results

When all is said and done, how did your campaign go? Did you accomplish your goals? More specifically, what parts of your campaign were the most effective? The least effective? Then ask yourself about your customers: What did you learn about them? Did you target them in an on-point way or were your tactics a little off? Were you making any assumptions about your customers that turned out not to be true?

I’m happy to report that Operation Puppy was a tremendous success.

It wasn’t without its obstacles and it certainly required planning, precision and patience. However, the end goal was achieved – I sold my idea to Kevin – and our family is now reaping the benefits. Isn’t she just the cutest?