Editor’s Note: Sometimes it is the small things that matter most. That is sometimes considered a tired cliché, however, it is also painfully accurate in most cases. This is an opportunity easily taken advantage of. Blane Warrene outlines below a series of simple steps that can extend your voice to the most mundane of places in your communications. Consider them as potential places to communicate more helpful and valuable information to your clients, connections, and prospects.
Simple Moves to Upgrade Your Website and Email Experience
There is another way to look at the “keep it simple” moniker – and that is looking in the most boring of places in your digital communications. This is also an opportunity to show that you understand it is about more than just pure selling – but about insuring those who follow, subscribe, and connect with you get value at every step of the way without feeling suffocated.
It starts with thinking through the ways you come into contact with an audience both before, during, and after they’ve engaged with you. This is also a path to looking at digital from a broader perspective as more than just social media or emails. Let’s put the picture together.
Your Digital Presence
It all starts with your website. You should own and control the hub of all of your online efforts. This insulates you from traumatic changes that can occur on social networks or even public web services (think Google or WordPress). Aside from being a modern site with support for mobile users, there are some basic fundamentals often overlooked as opportunities to not only communicate more effectively but show your digital literacy.
Three Steps for Your Website
Get in Touch
Make certain your contact information is on the home page in the footer instead of only on your Contact Us page. If you take phone calls, include your phone number along with address. If you are using social media, make certain your social profiles are clearly visible to send folks to those destinations.
Tell Me About Yourself
We are in a relationship industry – so our About Us page(s) should illustrate that. Just like you hear advice on having professional photos for your LinkedIn profiles – be sure those who have client contact are profiled on your web site. It is amazing what putting a face to a name is. If your team is using social individually for business – this is a great place to highlight LinkedIn profiles alongside the bios.
Oops, what’s a 404?
Links break, search engines have errors and many other factors can produce a bad link to your web site. This produces what is called a 404 Error Page. If you are using a content management system (i.e. SquareSpace or WordPress, among others), there is a default 404 page that is somewhat user friendly. In the worst case, a web browser will simply show nothing. Talk to your web design resources about having a 404 Error Page custom for your web site. By doing so, you can insure your phone number, a link to contact you via email, as well as social profile links are found on this error page. A search box is also very helpful. This is a much more friendly way to recover from an error.
Give Your Email Subscribers White Glove Service
Think of the experience of signing up to receive email updates, be it a monthly newsletter or on-demand alerts of new content. Often we just see “Subscribe Here,” a space for our email address, and a submit button. However, what about taking a few extra pixels of space and letting potential subscribers know what you will be sharing and on what frequency? This small action sets an expectation and hopefully anticipation for those future messages.
Let’s look at four elements of your email marketing process to consider how you can offer more value at each step.
The Opt-in Subscription Form
This is the small form in various places on your website (or also using pop-up windows) that ask for visitors to subscribe to communications from you. This could be for your regularly scheduled newsletter and/or for any automated communications you are using, such as RSS to email campaigns when you make posts to your blog.
Let visitors know right on the form how you intend to communicate with them. For example you can:
- Highlight 2-3 key values they will receive from subscribing
- Disclose the frequency you will communicate to them
- Offer access to unpublished information, perhaps a special guide or other tips as a reward for subscribing
Just these couple steps may incentivize visitors to take the extra time to share their email with you. Be sure to also let them know how you will safeguard their information. For example, promising not to sell or otherwise distribute their information to third-parties once they subscribe to your list.
The Confirmation Message and Page
Once someone has chosen to join your email list, one of the most under-leveraged opportunities is with the confirmation email message as well as the resulting confirmation web page.
At minimum this is a great place to insure your subscribers have complete contact information for your business. This means toll free and other phone numbers, contact page and physical address, and also an opportunity to insure they know where your social media accounts can be found.
This is also a good place to share a link to the most popular post, according to your analytics, that is visible on your website or blog.
The Welcome Message and Page
Once your new subscriber has finished the process of confirming their email address and has officially joined your email distribution, this is a great place to offer a free reward. Perhaps you chose not to list a perk on your subscriber opt-in form, and can offer up that free special guide, white paper or other custom content here.
I also find value in insuring new subscribers know where webinar replays, podcasts, or any other interactive content you publish on your website or blog. Again, the goal is to highlight already popular or earlier archived posts that offer a flavor of what your new subscriber can anticipate. This also can often lead to organic referrals, where this is shared with the subscriber’s friends and connections.
The Unsubscribe Message and Page
It may seem counterintuitive to provide value when a reader unsubscribes; however, this is an important part of building credibility and showing transparency. A good tactic when someone unsubscribes is to ask if there is anything you could do better. Many marketing software packages offer this option, offering a simple survey or comment form for the exiting reader to leave feedback.
I also recommend providing a giveaway link here as well. As a parting farewell, you can link to a survey asking for more detailed feedback and advice, as well as offering up content folks can download or share one-time without remaining subscribed.
In other words, seek to part on amiable terms and leave a lasting impact. Perhaps if a reader has inbox fatigue, once they reduce the clutter of emails they receive, that lasting impression might bring them back in the future. If nothing else, they will remember your graciousness.
These simple enhancements are small and may even go unnoticed by many who pass through your web and email pipelines. Yet, you never know who it will resonate with – perhaps your next best client.