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21 Free Online Marketing Tools SMB Owners Need

What tools do you use for online marketing?

Are you limited by your budget? Stretching it too thin on enterprise level marketing tools?

Guess what: you can take care of all your online marketing needs without spending a dime.

That’s right buddy. You don’t have to spend a penny on your marketing stack, a.k.a all the tools you use to cover your online marketing needs. There are free options available for everything from email to social media to content marketing and beyond.

As entrepreneurs and SMB business owners, we know that it’s no easy feat assembling a 100% free marketing stack. But we know it’s possible because we’ve done it.

There’s a lot of great choices out there—free and paid—but boy are we grateful to all the companies who are so passionate about what they do, they’re willing to help the little guys out too with freebies.

Shout out to y’all ‘cause you rock.

whats-in-your-marketing-stack

Yo Z Coast, what’s in your marketing stack?

We’re glad you asked! Here’s an overview of our favorite free marketing tools and what you can expect to read more about in this post:

  1. Facebook Audience Insights
  2. Buffer
  3. Pablo
  4. Google Analytics
  5. WordPress
  6. Keyword.io
  7. Hemingway
  8. HubSpot Marketing Free
  9. Open Site Explorer
  10. Screaming Frog
  11. Canva
  12. Answer the Public
  13. Google Trends
  14. Simply Measured
  15. Zoho
  16. Quora
  17. Grammarly
  18. Latest.is
  19. Website Grader
  20. MentionMapp
  21. Flipboard

Let’s talk about why these marketing tools are awesome—besides the fact that they’re free.

Facebook Audience Insights

Facebook Audience Insights is an unbelievable tool for doing market research. You can check out specific demographic information about your audience and learn more about them in the process.

Audience Insights also works well as a content research tool. For example, if you’re a local SMB you can type in your service area or location, toggle your advanced options, select “home” and start learning exactly what homeowners in your local area are interested in.

Buffer

Every small business, entrepreneur, marketer, however you label yourself, should have a go-to social media scheduling tool. Buffer is ours. Scheduling out social media posts in advance helps you save bookoos of time.

We use the Forever Free / Individual Plan that allows you to connect a profile from each of the following social networks:

  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn

You can even link a Pinterest account if it’s on-brand with your business to have a page there.

Buffer makes it easy for us to stay ahead of the game and connect with our audiences on social media. It’s a must-have in our marketing stack.

Pablo

Speaking of Buffer, they also offer a free image making tool known as Pablo to help add a little spice to your social media. As a free Buffer user you have access to 600,000+ images via Pablo that can make anyone look like a social image pro.

Not everyone is a designer at heart and Buffer knows this. Pablo makes it super easy by providing you with a base image that you can overlay with text, logos, filters, and then download and share.

It’s a nice little time-saver and you don’t need to know the first thing about Photoshop to be good at using it.

Google Analytics

Sometimes it still amazes us that Google just gives us everything we need for free. You too. It’s out there for the taking, just waiting on you. And the best part about using Google Analytics? It pretty much does everything for you.

You can use Google Analytics to:

  • Track website traffic
  • Track traffic from specific social networks
  • Check engaged reading time by page
  • View real-time site stats

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. It can feel a little overwhelming at first given the monstrous amount of information Google Analytics just hands to you for free, but once you learn your way around, the value you gain from the insight it provides is priceless.

Wary of setting up and using Google Analytics for yourself? We can help you with that.

WordPress

Aah, WordPress. You’re the best for hosting websites and you’re also an amazing free option for creating kickass landing pages that convert.

WordPress is an excellent choice for blogging but sometimes it gets overlooked as a resource for creating static pages too—eBook downloads, webinar signups, and so on. Use it! It’s really just as easy as going to Pages from your dashboard and creating the landing page.

Keywordtool.io

We’ve talked about Keywordtool.io on the blog before, here.

It’s definitely worth another mention. Keyword research is essential to every SEO campaign you ever run. With Keywordtool.io you can gather ideas from all kinds of different places that help you figure out what terms you should be targeting.

You don’t get search volume or keyword competitiveness at the free level but if you have a few extra bucks it is an available option. Just saying.

Hemingway App

Clear and simple writing is something all content marketers strive for. Hemingway helps make that possible.

All you have to do for Hemingway to do its thing is paste your copy into the editor. The app then analyzes your text and highlights the dense parts, unnecessary adverbs, and more; telling you what to keep and what you can do without.

Hemingway is a great tool for running blog posts, landing page copy, social media copy and more through for one final edit before posting.

HubSpot Marketing Free

HubSpot Marketing Free works on any website for any small business and it’s really good at helping generate email leads.

In fact, using HubSpot Marketing Free is like looking through a crystal ball and seeing everything a lead does before and after they fill out a form on your site.

It quickly gathers email addresses from your website and provides key data points. This tool will even show you which pages are converting higher than others.

Open Site Explorer

Pop quiz: Name something crucial to establishing your domain authority.

If you answered understanding your link profile in addition to your competitors, you passed. That’s where Open Site Explorer comes in. Use this freebie to find all the sites linking to you and your competitors and get the upper hand.

Screaming Frog

We’re sure you’ve heard of Screaming Frog before. That’s because they’re the go-to crawl tool for basically everybody. They have a paid version of their tool but the free version is often more than enough to suffice for SMBs.

With Screaming Frog’s free tool you can crawl up to 500 pages for free and:

  • Find broken links, errors, and redirects
  • Analyze page titles and metadata
  • Review meta robots and directives
  • Audit hreflang attributes
  • Discover duplicate pages
  • Generate XML sitemaps

Canva

Canva is another cool freebie for creating images but it’s useful for more than just social media images. In fact, there are over 2 million people out there who trust Canva to help them create awesome images for blog posts, banner images, infographics and much more.

A free Canva account comes with optimized image sizes and templates that make it easy to create the perfect image for whatever platform you’re posting to.

Answer the Public

Answer the Public is a visual keyword research tool we mentioned in the same post as Keywordtool.io. So why mention it again, here, in a post about free online marketing tools?

Because we’re sharing our marketing stack with you and it’s an integral part of our own content strategy. We use Answer the Public a lot. It helps us determine what topics and questions we want to rank for around our primary keywords.

You should do this too. When Google looks at which websites have the best information about a topic, you’re more likely to rank. Following this strategy, you’re also more likely to convert visitors because you’re answering the questions they have.

Google Trends

Did you know that you can take a peek into what the world is searching for? For free? You can with Google Trends. You can also see how interests have shifted over time regarding certain topics. Heck, you can even look at how a common interest has shifted over time in different places all over the world.

For example, “growth hacking” and “artificial intelligence” are terms that we’ve been hearing a lot about lately. You probably have too. Put those terms into Google Trends and you can see for yourself if there’s been a sudden interest spike in either.

Simply Measured

Among the many free tools and reports you can grab from Simply Measured, here are some of our favorites:

  • Facebook Content Analysis
  • Facebook Competitive Analysis
  • Facebook Insights Report
  • Instagram User Report
  • Traffic Source Report
  • Twitter Follower Report
  • Google + Page Report

 

Disclaimer: All of these reports are free to run, but Simply Measured will ask for a Twitter follow or FB mention in exchange for the reports they give you. Totally worth it.

Zoho

Have we mentioned that you can run your entire business with Zoho for free?

Oh, well, now you know! Zoho is the bomb and our favorite CRM out of any other free or paid option out there. Zoho Free is available for up to 10 users and loaded with features and information, as the very best CRMs should be.

Zoho Free features a responsive dashboard and refreshing UX that includes sales, email marketing, reporting, and customer service all in one modern, intuitive package.

Recommended reading: Business Daily, Zoho CRM Review

Quora

More and more marketers are starting to use Quora and we’re big advocates of this trend. It’s useful for researching topics, digging into emerging trends, and starting conversations with your audience.

Quora comes in handy while doing market research, content research, and monitoring buzz and concerns among your target audience.

Grammarly

Grammarly is a nifty little Chrome extension that checks your spelling and grammar. It’s nice to have around as it can help prevent any social media or blog post mishaps before publishing.

Highly recommend you keep this one in your back pocket at all times. You know, just in case.

Latest.is

Latest.is is not breaking news.

Nor is it trending hashtags.

It is simply an automatically generated list of the best links being shared on Twitter. The list is sourced via an algorithm that focuses on people who “always tweet the best links first.”

However, we’re never told who these people are. By taking advantage of the links you can find via Latest.is, you can generate a little extra buzz and engagement on your own business Twitter account.

Just remember to double check where the link goes and make sure it’s a topic that’s relative to your audience; if you run a clothing store and start sending out a bunch of tweets about understanding V8 (Google’s open source JavaScript engine) it doesn’t matter how trendy it is at the moment, it’s probably going to cost you followers, because it has nothing to do with them or your industry.

Website Grader

Website Grader is another freebie from HubSpot that gives you the overall performance score and grade of your website.

Factors that determine the grade of your website include:

  • Mobile responsiveness
  • SEO
  • Speed
  • Security

If you’re lacking in any of these areas, Website Grader will offer up some tips on how to improve. This is a good tool for your own website and it can also be useful when wrapping up web design projects with clients.

MentionMapp

MentionMapp is a phenomenal tool. It shows you how Twitter users are connected with each other and maps out all your connections in an easy to explore visual format.

MentionMapp delivers unbeatable insight into people, places, events, and conversations that you shouldn’t miss out on. It’s great for unveiling opportunities and connections for your SMB.

Flipboard

Got some favorite topics, industry influencers, or thought leaders you want to keep up within one easy place? Download Flipboard.

Flipboard is like your own personal magazine that makes it easy to organize all of your interests. Read stories. Collect stories. Share stories. That’s what we do anyway. Flipboard is great for sourcing curated content and gathering inspiration.

Your Turn: What are your favorite free online marketing tools?

What are some freebie tools you’d add to this list?

See any you haven’t tried before?

We’d love to chat with you about what free marketing tools you find most helpful and if you plan on trying any from our own marketing stack. Don’t be shy about sharing your thoughts in the comments.

Rather chat in the privacy of your own inbox? You can shoot us a message if you like.

 

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12 Phenomenal Email Marketing Examples You Have to See

Name a day of the week and just about anybody can guarantee their email inbox is overflowing with messages.

We are all constantly bombarded with emails upon emails that do little for us besides giving us some boxes to tick as trash when mid-afternoon rolls around and the office is quiet. But…

Every now and then we get an email that’s so good not only do we read it, we share it with friends and tell them why they should subscribe, too. They’re top-notch and often breathe new life into our inboxes. For that, we are thankful.

What separates a top-notch marketing email from the rest of the pack?

Top notch email marketing campaigns are often

  • Cleverly written
  • Filled with interesting graphics
  • Personalized & responsive

They also tend to feature a meaningful and highly actionable call-to-action (CTA). If marketers are going to fill our inboxes with messages there better be a  point. Right?

Schedule some time with a specialist to learn how to build a successful email marketing strategy.

12 Examples of Excellent Email Marketing

We know you already get enough emails and it’s not easy deciding if you should subscribe to another list. However, if you’re feeling froggy, we’d love to show you some of our favorite email marketing examples just so you know they’re out there and can get in on the good stuff too.

  1. Blue Bottle Coffee

    Blue Bottle Coffee is the bomb. They’re all about delivering the most delicious and sustainable coffees they can find right to your doorstep. And their emails never fail to deliver a delicious experience in your inbox.

    It’s a win-win.

  2. Charity Water

    Charity Water is a non-profit organization near and dear to Paige’s heart. For those of you unfamiliar with Charity Water, they’re  a non-profit whose mission is to bring clean and safe drinking water to people in need around the world.

    Their newsletters keep you in the loop regarding current projects and where your money is going if you’ve donated. They also have a knack for delighting subscribers with the occasional “profile feature” email as seen in the example below.

  3. Paperless Post

    “Paperless post helps you create online and paper stationery that reflects your individual aesthetic.” Their dedication the helping customers create distinct and custom designs that make it easy to communicate on any occasion consistently comes through in their emails.

    Any Paperless Post email we’ve ever received has been so easy to skim and so pretty to look at it’s ridiculous. Enjoy!

  4. Litmus

    “Litmus makes your email better.” Truth.

    Of course their own email marketing messages are going to be fantastic. The example below features a solid content hierarchy that looks great on desktop and mobile. As it should.


  5. Moo

    We wouldn’t be surprised at all if you say you’ve heard us say it before but we’re total fangirls and fanguys of Moo and their newsletter (or any other email they send).

    Who can say that getting something called The Moosletter on a regular basis isn’t dope? No one. If you’re not subscribed you’re missing out.

  6. REI

    Every time an REI email hits our inbox we’re ready to lace up our hiking boots and head out into the wild. So in short, they know exactly what they’re doing with their marketing. Respect, REI, respect.

    Everything about this email example is great. Icons, images, typography. Name any element of the email and it’s just great. We’re taking notes too.

  7. Huckberry

    Huckberry delivers some seriously cool gear and some seriously good deals. It’s one of those sites that you have to sign up for before entering but it’s totally worth it. Promise.

    We’ve been members for 2+ years now. We’d never recommend something without trying it ourselves first. The Huckberry newsletter (featured below) is amazing and often inspires us to lead more adventurous (and stylish) lives.

     
  8. The Hustle

    We only discovered The Hustle recently and my word how did we not know about this before? The copywriting is phenomenal and it’s a treat every day when the email hits our inboxes with all the tech and business news we need for the day.

    The Hustle is the best we’ve ever seen at writing personal, in your face copy that resonates with their audience. Plus, everything they write is just plain fun to read.

    Hat’s off to the copywriters here.

     
  9. Spartan Race

    If you’re never really sure what to do once you get to the gym or you’re just looking for a little motivation in your life, we highly recommend subscribing to the Spartan Race Workout of the Day email.

    If you’re looking to go to school in the art of writing copy and crafting CTAs that inspire people to get off their butts and change their lives, we highly recommend subscribing to the Spartan Race Workout of the Day Email.

  10. Modcloth

    Modcloth does a phenomenal job with their CTAs. They’re easy to spot and easy to click whether you’re at your desk or on your phone. Their copy is always light and airy which is perfectly on brand. Love.

     
  11. Chipotle

    One: Chipotle’s emails are packed with just as much flavor as their burritos.

    Two: Chipotle’s subject lines never disappoint. The sub for the featured email below was: “The Best Tasting Email You’ll Receive.”

    Three: Sorry for making you hungry.

  12. Fitbit

    How to showcase a featured product via email?

    *enter Fitbit*

    This email is a prime example of how to do a product feature email. It’s also an excellent example of CTA basics:

    – compelling copy under 5 words
    – contrasting colors
    – clear message

These are just a few of our favorite emails. We could go on all day but nobody’s got time for that.

We will stick around long enough to say that these examples all have a resounding message though: Don’t just follow best practice when it comes to your emails. Throw in some personality too.

Sometimes we get so wrapped up in sticking to best practices that we forget how email best practices get to be best practices in the first place. In order for best practices to be established in email marketing, there must be email specialists out there who aren’t afraid to push boundaries and try new things.

Take notes from the examples above and try experimenting with your emails. Toss in a GIF every now and then like Moo or get a little saucy with your copy like The Hustle if it’s on brand and you think it’d work with your audience.

Have a question or just want to share some of your own favorite email marketing examples with us? Drop it in the comments. We’ll be like besties sharing secrets. But on the internet.

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Salespeople: How-To Write Better Email Subject Lines That Get Results

Email subject lines can be the beginning of closing a great deal or the reason your email winds up in the trash bin. Sales reps know this better than anybody.

While most people spend time agonizing over the copy in the body of the email, salespeople never forget one of the most important ingredients of sending an email:

If your subject line sucks, it doesn’t matter how great your email actually is because it’s never going to be read.

However, what we’ve seen a lot of sales reps struggle with (and we struggle with too from time to time) is the fact that there isn’t a whole lot of space to work with when trying to craft an action provoking subject line.

Today, we’re going to help you become a boss when it comes to writing subject lines for emails that get your foot in the door and help you meet your lead quota.

How to Write Better Subject Lines Than Other Sales Reps

First things first, make sure you’re familiar with all the points on the checklist below so you know what to look for when assessing if you’ve written the best subject line for your email or not:

  • Summarizes the intention of your email
  • Clearly, connects to the first line of your email
  • Reflects the type of email you’re sending (initial, reply, forward, or follow up)
  • Grabs the attention of prospects and stands out when they scan their inbox

Because if your subject line doesn’t meet all of that criteria, it’s not going to mean anything if you’ve written the perfect email that’s the perfect fit for the prospects needs and sent it at the perfect time. Why? Because like we said before, it’s most likely going straight trash.

Phrases Salespeople Should Avoid In Subject Lines

Tip of the day:

AVOID THESE PHRASES IN YOUR SUBJECT LINES
Join Us For
Webinar
Appropriate person?
You’re invited to
Exclusive invitation to
This week’s call
Something of interest?
Can you chat
Trying to connect

According to Yesware, on average, all of these have open rates less than 38% and a reply rate that’s virtually non-existent.

If you’re using any of these phrases, you’re sabotaging your email from the start.

Phrases Salespeople Should Try in Email Subject Lines

Ditch the list above and try out these phrases in your subject lines instead:

PHRASE AVERAGE OPEN RATE AVERAGE REPLY RATE
Follow-Up 68% 48%
Contact Info 70% 43%
Check In 70% 49%
Next Steps 71% 50%
Today’s Call 70% 51%
Status Of 73% 57%
Meeting Today 71% 55%
Introductions 77% 58%
Confirming 72% 53%
Catching Up 71% 52%

Other techniques you should try and avoid:

DO TRY THESE TECHNIQUES DON’T TRY THESE TECHNIQUES
Include numbers (Subject lines with numbers has an average open rate of 53% and average reply rate of 32%) Assuming things based on your own needs (i.e. they want to connect too or you just need to find the right time.)
Mention your prospects name in addition to another customer’s name the recipient likely know and respects Asking a question and expect a response when you haven’t earned their trust yet. Reply rate for initial emails with sub lines as questions is 18%.
Get Creative – find an interest of theirs and connect to it Using exclamation points. It lowers opens rates and can get you flagged for spam.
Try sending a blank subject line – research shows blank subject lines have a >60% open rate. Using “free consultation.” If the inbox spam filter doesn’t grab it first, your recipient is sending it straight to the trash.

Now that you’ve got an idea of some of the big dos and don’ts of crafting a sales email subject line we can give you some brilliant examples to help get you started.

Best Subject Lines For Salespeople

5 of the Best Email Subject Lines for Salespeople to Try

  1. “I hope all is well”

    The reddit user who suggested this subject line says that “it gets a lot of reads from decision makers who are tired of people trying to serve their own self interests.”

    In other words, demonstrating genuine concern isn’t something people see a lot of and it’s refreshing when it happens.

    Sales reps who focus primarily on building relationships rather than just trying to make the sale are more successful in the long run. Prioritizing the relationship from the beginning is what will set your message apart and help you score more in the end.
  2. “[Name] referred me to you”

    Smart salespeople know that referrals are pure gold. According to NoMoreColdCalling.com, referred prospects have a whopping 50% close rate.

    Why? Because salespeople who get referred to new prospects “borrow trust” from the person who referred them. The relationship between the rep and the prospect is automatically warm thanks to the relationship between the prospect and the referral source.
  3. “You aren’t alone”

    Most of your prospects only have visibility into their own organization. As a salesperson, you often have a broader vantage point that spans innumerable buyers and customers.

    The Reddit user we mentioned in the first subject line suggestion also pointed out that “You are not alone” provides a good opening to an email containing a case study or testimonial from an organization similar to the prospect you’re emailing.

    This works because nobody likes to think they’re the only one. The fact that other people have faced the same problem as them and found a solution for it (in you) is often enough to sway opinions and drive action. It’s called the bandwagon effect.
  4. “Possible meeting [date] at [time]”

    A Reddit user who’s trained with Kate Kingston disclosed that she recommends sending with subject lines such as “Possible meeting at your office Tuesday, August 1st at 10:45.”

    Setting an appointment on the :45 is much less pressure than setting it on the :00 or even the :30 because it gives the illusion you’ll only take up 15 minutes of your prospects time.

    It’s also been noted that specific subject lines convey more valuable information to the email recipient, which draws them like a magnet into the content.
  5. “Can I help?”

    To be successful as a salesperson, you must practice Always Be Helping. Use subject lines like “Can I help?” shows prospects you don’t just view them as dollar signs.

    As soon as recipients see this subject line in their inbox they’ll immediately wonder, Help me with what? To find out, they’ll read your email. The well-written, personalized content inside will prompt your prospect to respond.

Most email subject lines have two to three words. Subject lines under 5 words are generally the ones that win open rates above 50%.

Final Thoughts

Never forget, if you’re going to crush it when it comes to writing better email subject lines that get results you have to know your readers and you have to deliver value.

Take the time to provide your recipients with relevant sources. Remember, you need to give in order to get. It’s also beneficial to toss in a compliment, pick at a pain point, and not be afraid to think outside the box of traditional sales emails.

Did you find this post helpful? Have some sales email subject line tips of your own you’d like to share? Leave us a little somethin’ somethin’ in the comments.

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20 Sizzling Email Marketing Stats (2017 Edition)


What’s the best day of the week to send emails?

We get this question a lot. The truth of the matter is, when you get down to the nitty gritty of it, it all depends on your audience.

Plenty of folks have done studies to give you a good starting point to run tests though that can help you determine if certain days of the week really do work better than others for your recipients.

For example, MailChimp, HubSpot, and GetResponse have conducted multiple studies over the years to discover that across all industries on average:

  • Tuesdays are the best days to send emails if you’re shooting for high open rates; Thursday comes in second
  • Tuesdays and Fridays are the best days to send emails if you’re shooting for a high click through rate (CTR)

The same deal applies to send times as well. It depends on who you’re emailing and where they’re located. However, if you don’t know where to start, we suggest you start testing the following times to find your sweet spot:

  • 12NN – 4:00PM if your goal is to achieve the most opens. Inbox traffic slows down in the afternoon so your recipients are more likely to see and open your email if you send it someone between Noon and 4 o’clock in the afternoon.
  • 6:00AM – 8:00AM if your goal is to up your CTR or get a response from your recipients. The best time to send an email that requires action is to send it when your recipient’s inbox isn’t seeing a lot of action. We also recommend testing out some evening times between 8:00PM and Midnight as well.

Again, we can’t stress enough that while these serve as a good general rule of thumb, best practice is to use analytics to determine the best email send days and times for your market.

How important is mobile really when it comes to email marketing?

Extremely. Exceptionally. Tremendously. Remarkably. Pick your adjective. If your emails aren’t mobile friendly, you’re missing out on a big chunk of your market.

In Litmus’ recently released State of Email Report [2017], it was revealed that:

  • More email is read on mobile than on desktop – 54%
  • Mobile unfriendliness is the leading cause of opt outs (5%) while 43% of consumers have marked email as spam due to mobile unfriendliness
  • 1 out of every 3 clicks within an email occurs on a mobile device

So what can you do to ensure that your emails are mobile friendly? Make them responsive!

Responsive email designs expand or contract the layout based on the device being used by the reader.

If a reader opens the email you sent on their laptop, the email will appear at its widest size. However, if a reader opens that same email on an iPhone or Android, the responsive layout will immediately shift to accommodate the smaller screen size without effective legibility of your content or graphics.

If you’d like to learn more about how responsive (and hybrid) email design works, we suggest you check out this article by Jason Rodriguez over at Litmus:

Understanding Responsive and Hybrid Email Design

Why Personalize Emails?

We’re glad you asked! Email personalization goes beyond just calling someone by their first name in your salutation. Surprisingly though, according to Kissmetrics, only 5% of companies take the time to personalize their emails beyond just including a first name.

Why do you think that is when 94% of companies say they know that personalization is critical to success? It seems the answer lies in the fact that 60% of marketers admit they struggle with personalizing content in real-time.

Personalizing emails is important because it makes your emails more relevant to your subscribers. When you personalize an email you’re appealing to the individual interests of your recipients.

Where can you start?

  • From Name – The From Name is one of the most prominently displayed elements of your campaign when it arrives in your subscriber’s inbox. It’s not surprising that 68% of Americans say they base their decision to open an email based on the From Name.
  • Subject Line –  This is the second most prominent element in the inbox. Make the most of it! Depending on the type of email you’re sending this is a great place to include the recipient’s name or location.
  • Email Copy – If you know your subscriber’s first name, t-shirt size, birthday, or any other information you can use to personalize the content of the email they’re receiving, use it!
  • Imagery – Personalizing your emails go well beyond text. Dynamically changing your images in your email marketing campaigns is a great way to better appeal to your subscribers and increase CTR.

If you take the time to invest in good quality email marketing by getting to know your audience and their habits, and provide them with personalized content in a personalized format, it’s going to pay off.

Like we mentioned in the infographic above, email marketing has a 3800% ROI, but 77% of all email ROI comes from well-segmented lists and personalized campaigns.

 

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How to Find On-Trend Content Marketing Ideas

If you’ve ever asked yourself how the heck you’re supposed to find content marketing ideas and hot topics that are on-trend and relevant to your business, this post is for you.

Using nothing but free tools, we’re going to show you how you can find ideas, produce relevant content for your audience, and attract engagement. Buckle up boys and girls because we’re about to blow your mind with some easy content marketing hacks.

What’s Content Marketing?

Content marketing is a fascinating subject but a lot of people find it more intimidating than they should. It’s okay if you’re one of them, you won’t be by the end of this post.

Everybody, no matter what type of business you’re running, has to participate in content marketing. What is content marketing? According to CMI:

“Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience—and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”

Instead of just throwing your products and services in people’s faces all the time (which is a real turn-off), content marketing shows that you really care about your prospects and customers. You’re going the extra mile and providing useful information to people because you want to help them solve a problem.

The hard part is finding out what information your prospects and customers are looking for.

Or is it?

5 Free Tools for Finding Hot Topics to Produce Content About

Because we’re cool people, we’re going to give you a sneak peek into how we hunt down on-trend content ideas for Z Coast using nothing but freebies.

We’re going to use the actual topic of content marketing because, ya know, we do that here: Proof. But these tools and tactics are for everybody, no matter what kind of business you’re running.

  1. Quora

    Quora defines itself as, “A place to share knowledge and better understand the world.” It totally lives up to that definition. If we’re ever at a loss for topic ideas, one of the first places we go troll is Quora.

    You can use Quora just like a search engine by taking advantage of the search bar. So, as an example, we logged into Quora and searched “content marketing” to see what we could find.

    With Quora, you have the option to just search for the term or search by topic, we like searching by topic.

    Anyway, we searched the topic “content marketing” and it took us to a feed where we have the choice to view by:

    — Read
    — Answer
    — Topic FAQ
    — Most Viewed Writers

    They’re all cool to search through but we’re partial to browsing through Most Viewed Writers So that’s what we did.

    Why the preference? We like the top ten list this view returns. We tend to gravitate towards the middle of the list but you should always pick whatever piques your interest the most.

    When you pick a writer and click through on an article you think looks interesting we recommend that you also look at the number of follows and number of answers in the article.

    Follows tend to vary wildly but the more answers an article on Quora has, the better indicator it is that it’s a hot topic at the moment (just check the date to make sure).

    However, the most important thing is the number of views and upvotes an article has. You don’t have to look for anything outrageous but you’re in good shape if anything’s got over 300 views and/or 50 upvotes.

    So, continuing on with our example we’ll say you found an article on the topic of content marketing about startup content marketing that had 511 views and 64 upvotes. Next stop…

  2. Reddit

    Otherwise known as the front page of the internet. When we got to Reddit, we searched “startup content marketing” and Reddit gave us some subreddit ideas but what we’re looking for is actual topics.

    Remember, we’re looking for recency and engagement so we found a post about investing in content marketing that was published about 7 months ago that has 269 points. Good number.

    Of course, you should always read the post. But once you’ve got an idea about the context of the topic what you really want to look at are the comments and replies at the bottom of the page.

    That’s where the good stuff is and where you’re going to find some more ideas.

    Pay attention to the types of questions people are asking about your topic and look for ones you know you and your business can address.  That’s what we did.

    Follow the breadcrumbs!

    Quora led us to the idea of startup content marketing which is one on-trend content marketing idea we could use by itself. But then we searched that term in Reddit and it led us to a post about investing in content marketing, another topic we could pursue.

    The questions and answers section of that article is full of discussion about content management systems and which ones are right for different business sizes.

    Boom! It only took a couple of minutes and now we have 3 new ideas for Z Coast blog posts and other types of content we could produce all about content marketing.

    But we’re not done yet!

  3. YouTube

    We also like to use YouTube when we’re looking for content marketing ideas. And you guessed it, we went to YouTube and searched startup content marketing there too.

    Note: YouTube makes it super easy to find recent content. Just use the little Filters tab at the top and filter by whatever timeframe you want for your search.

    After searching startup content marketing we filtered by “This Month” and found a nice little video from Miles Beckler: DIY Sales Funnel Part 2 – Start Content Marketing & Learn How To Customize Your Theme On WordPress.

    It was published 1 week ago, has 1,152 views at the time of writing this post, 50 likes, and 53 comments. Not bad.

    The video is definitely worth a watch but after watching we headed to the comments section ‘cause we’re on a mission here. In the comments, we found more questions and comments about:

    — Content management systems (especially WordPress)
    — Hiding sidebars with CSS and other tricks
    — Image uploading issues in WordPress
    — SEO tactics

    Great stuff! Now we have a whole Google doc full of hot content marketing ideas (literally) based on the types of questions people are asking all over the web.

    And finally…

  4. Answer The Public

    AnswerThePublic.com is the bomb for three reasons:
    1) The old guy on the homepage who doesn’t give a crap that you’re there.
    2) It’s visual keyword research.
    3) You can search specifically by country. You’ve got to try it.

    We’re in Atlanta, GA so we searched in the US setting. ‘Murica.

    Since using the Answer The Public, we’ve found that broad terms work best when you’re looking for ideas so instead of searching startup content marketing here like we did on Reddit and YouTube, we just searched content marketing.

    By doing so, Answer The Public presented us with an infographic of 85 popular questions around the topic of content marketing such as:

    — What are content marketing methods?
    — Companies who use content marketing?
    — When to use content marketing?
    — How does content marketing make money?

    Now the really cool the thing about Answer The Public is that you can click on any of the questions it gave you and it will literally search in Google for you. Then, you can see who ranks and for what in relation to the question you searched.

    Pretty dope, right?

  5. Google

    You didn’t think we’d get through this post without mentioning Google, did you? Of course not. From Answer The Public we clicked on the question, “How does content marketing make money?” When we got to Google we checked out some of the top posts but the real reason we’re here is to look at searches related to how does content marketing make money at the bottom of the search page. We found eight. All of which we’ll save in our Google doc of literal on-trend content marketing ideas.

You Can Be A Content Marketer Too

All 5 places we visited looking for topic ideas can be used for anything. You can take the same methods we use and apply them to your restaurant, your art studio, or your pet grooming business. We just used the actual topic of content marketing here because we literally specialize in content marketing at Z Coast Media.

Over the course of a few minutes, we showed you how we generate ideas to blog about, write emails about, and do other cool content marketing things with. We started with nothing and ended up with 10+ new ideas that’ll keep us busy for weeks. We know you can do the same!

Questions about content marketing? See an idea we disclosed in this post you’d like us to write about? We’re not mindreaders! Share ‘em in the comments.

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15 YouTube Channels You Need To Watch If You Have A Startup


Opening Credits: 15 Of The Best YouTube Channels For Startups

One of the realities of going into business for yourself is that you always have to be open to learning something new. And where are we most likely to turn when we want to learn something new? That’s right, Youtube.

The internet is an endless source of information and sometimes it’s just a heck of alot easier to watch a video and learn about pop-ups and modals and how they interact with SEO than sift through articles (though written content is important to, don’t forget that).

YouTube provides us with the easily digestible bite-size information so many of us crave. Subscribing to the right channels can keep you in the loop and help you grow your startup without wasting hours and hours of precious time and money.

We’ve compiled a list of the best (our favorite) YouTube channels for startups that will educate and inspire you.

Never stop working hard to grow and expand your skillset. Your business depends on it.

 

The Main Show

Gary Vaynerchuk

If you don’t know who Gary Vaynerchuk is, buckle up ‘cause you’re in for one heck of a ride. Vaynerchuk is a kick*ss serial entrepreneur and the undisputed master of generating engagement. His ability to use video in different ways and slice and dice content to maximize view on both YouTube and any other social media platform you can think of is uncanny.

The guy just loves what he does and it shows. Anytime we sit down to watch one of his video clips we always come away with a fire in our bellies to get out there and succeed at everything we do. No excuses. No options. You will too.

Watch: Creative Is The Variable of Success. It’s fire. Disclaimer: Gary V is known for his use of expletives so there’s no shortage of colorful language in his videos.

Ted Talks

Did you really think we’d make a list of the best YouTube channels for startups and not include Ted Talks? C’mon. It’s free access to some of the most inspiring and thought provoking lectures in the world.  

Watch: Know Your Worth And Ask For It. This video is sooooo important. Especially for entrepreneurs, startups; anyone who’s ever played with the idea of going into business for themselves.

You’ve got to know how to communicate your value. You have skills that set you apart and allow you to provide your clients with unique products and solutions that meet their needs.

Act like it.

Moz

We linked to a Whiteboard Friday Moz video at the beginning of this post. Why? Because even though video is insanely popular right now, it’s hard to have a successful website without knowing about Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

And it’s hard to have a business today without having a website. See how that all ties in? SEO might not seem all that important to you right now but it’s vital to your business.

Moz’s YouTube channel is one of the best places to learn about the latest strategies and trends—they’re always changing—for optimizing your website and ranking blog posts. In fact, it’s so good we’re going to suggest another video for you.

Watch: The 10 Types of Content That Work Best for SEO. Presented by The Wizard of Moz himself, Rand Fishkin.

Google Small Business

The entire purpose of the Google Small Business YouTube channel is to help startups and small businesses succeed on the web. This channel is packed full of valuable content about how to use Google’s services to propel your small business to the top.

Because duh, it’s Google. Of course that’s what all the videos are going to revolve around. So take advantage of it!

Google honestly lays out everything you need to get your startup going. You just have to be willing to put in the work to learn how to use everything they’re giving you to your advantage.

It’s worth it. We promise.

Watch: Turning Your Company Into A Legitimate Business

This Week In Startups

You were waiting on this one to show up, weren’t you? We knew it.

If you’ve got a startup and you’re not watching This Week In Startups, ditch the cat videos and dive into this channel. There are 2400+ videos on this channel just waiting to be watched.

The content and guests on this channel are some of the best out there for calibrating the mindset of a successful founder. These videos never fail to deliver an insightful, compelling, timely and timeless look at the startup ecosystem.

What are you waiting for? Watch: Hunter Walk, Homebrew Investment Strategy

Behind The Brand

Bryan Elliot is the bomb. Mostly because he manages to get us a backstage pass into the minds of people and brands like Ariana Huffington, Warby Parker,  Seth Godin, and Lori Greiner.

Behind The Brand is all about unmasking the challenges entrepreneurs we look up to faced along the way and allowing them to share important advice to other people trying to build their own brand.

See the appeal? Watch: Lori Greiner — Advice To My Teenage Self

Marie TV

Marie Forleo of Marie TV was named by Oprah as a “thought leader for the next generation.” She was also one of Inc. 500’s fastest growing companies in 2014. Of course we watch her YouTube channel.

Marie’s channel is full of wit and actionable tips to help you start a business you’ll love forever. But more than that, her videos are just full of wisdom that can be applied to everyday life beyond your business.

The life of a small business / startup owner can be crazy busy and overwhelming at times. It’s important to have daily reminders that although work is important, there’s so much more to life than working all the time.

Watch: Find The Courage To Keep Going Even When You Feel Like Giving Up

Y Combinator

Get out your notebook (or favorite note taking app) because you’re about to go to startup school. Y Combinator is the world’s most powerful startup incubator so they kinda know what they’re talking about over on their YouTube channel.

Twice a year, Y Combinator invests a small amount of money in a large number of startups. Basically, they help startups actually get started and make something of their ideas.

In between investing in other companies, Y Combinator keeps up a pretty popular YouTube Channel we highly recommend you check out.

Don’t know where to start? Watch: How To Manage with Ben Horowitz. This video serves as an excellent reminder that you aren’t the only person your decisions impact as the founder and leader of your company.

Derek Halpern

Every business needs marketing, right? It doesn’t get much better than Derek Halpern when you’re looking to expand your knowledge on that subject.

Halpern is an excellent resource for pointers about pricing products, building email lists, dealing with aggravating clients, split testing, and a lot of other stuff.

His videos aren’t boring either. They’re entertaining and make learning fun. We hope you enjoy them as much as we do.

Watch: How to Write Better Sales Copy

Shopify

If you’re not familiar with Shopify we’re willing to bet you’ve at least heard of them before. Shopify is a powerful commerce platform that makes it possible for anybody to sell online.

Even you. Seriously.

Their YouTube channel is full of helpful tutorials for starting an online business, insightful interviews, and the occasional “behind the scenes” video. This channel is full of personality and does a fantastic job of encouraging entrepreneurs to just go for it and pursue your passion.

Watch: The Struggles of Entrepreneurship

The Good Life Project

The Good Life Project summed up: Live your life with purpose.

Like we said before, there’s more to life than work. The Good Life project is all about finding joy in everything you do both inside and outside of work, and living a life full of deep meaning and connection.

This is arguably the most inspiring YouTube channel on this list.

Go out there and live your life. Live it confidently. Live it successfully. Have a little faith in yourself and your dreams. Surround yourself with encouraging people and be an encouraging person.

We’re genuinely rooting for you. We’re dreamers too.

Watch: Tiffany Dufu. Author of “Drop the Ball,” Tiffany Dufu is a force of nature. Don’t put off listening to this interview.

Casey Neistat

We’re just going to let Casey Neistat’s YouTube Channel speak for itself.

Watch: Do What You Can’t

Project Management

Part of running an awesome startup and being an impressive entrepreneur is knowing how to manage your projects. Now, we get in the beginning that sometimes it’d be nice just to have one project, but don’t be discouraged.

The day is coming when you’re going to have so much business you won’t know what do with all of it. That’s why you need some project management skills.

You need to have the ability to initiate, plan, execute, and control your projects and the team working it in order to achieve your goals and meet the criteria you determined would spell success.

Get on it by incorporating the Project Management YouTube channel into your daily online video watching ritual.

Watch: How To Improve Your Team’s Efficiency

Creative Mornings Atlanta

Shameless backyard plug! We love Atlanta and all the creative people in it. We also love all the creative, boundary-pushing videos they put out. We wouldn’t put them on the list if we didn’t think you would too.

Watch: All of them!

Spartan Up

Running your own business takes a lot of hard work and dedication. We’re firm believers that in order to truly successful in this life, you have to be in great shape mentally and physically to do it.

Building your startup takes time and energy. You’re not going to make the kind of leaps and bounds progress we all know you’re capable of if you’re not functioning in prime mental and physical condition.

Spartan Up’s YouTube channel inspires us to work hard and play hard. It reminds us that there’s no excuse for not getting the job done. It challenges us to be better people in business and our personal lives.

But above all, it encourages us to be warriors and go make something of ourselves. What about you? Ready to get up off your butt and make something of yourself?

Watch: The Not To Do List

 

The End

Even if you only watch one of the suggested videos on this list we promise it’ll make a difference in how you operate on a day to day basis. Every channel on this list echoes the same message in a unique and inspiring way: get over your fear of trying something new and going after your dreams.

Don’t let lack of knowledge hold you back from launching your startup and going after the goals you’ve set for yourself. As you just saw, there’s a heck of alot of YouTube channels out there serving up free content to help make you a more intelligent and business savvy entrepreneur.

Take advantage of it y’all.

What’s your favorite YouTube Channel for learning something new about entrepreneurship, startups, and running your own business? We like suggestions as much as the next guy!

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Bounce Rate Basics for Online Business Owners

Have you ever visited a website, thought to yourself “nope,” and left immediately? That’s called bouncing and if you say you haven’t done it you’re a liar. Everybody’s done it.

If you manage an online business, you’ll soon discover that bounce rate is one of the most important metrics for you to keep up with and constantly work to improve.

Too busy with all the other aspects of running your online business to deal with things like improving the bounce rate of your website? Don’t sweat it. We can work on improving bounce rate for you.

 

Bounce-Rate-Basics-For-Online-Business-Owners

The Definition of Bounce Rate

Bounce Rate as defined by Google Analytics is:

“The percentage of single-page visits (i.e. visits in which the person left your site from the entrance page). Bounce Rate is a measure of visit quality and a high Bounce Rate generally indicates that site entrance (landing) pages aren’t relevant to your visitors.”

A visitor can also bounce from your site by

  • Clicking on a link to a page on a different website
  • Clicking the back button to leave your website
  • Closing an open window or tab site
  • Typing a new URL
  • Session timeout

It’s important to understand your bounce rate because Google takes it into account when determining how to rank your site. But it signals some other things as well.

 

Why-Does-Bounce-Rate-Matter

Why Does Bounce Rate Matter?

In addition to having a leading role in how your site is ranked in search engines, bounce rate also signals how you can expect your online business to do in sales each month. If a lot of people visit your website and bounce before they get to your product pages, the less online sales you’re going to make.

Ouch.

It doesn’t matter what kind of online business you’re running. You never want to scare visitors off with confusing copy or ancient web design. Everybody knows that.

However, there are more factors that affect bounce rate than the design of your site and the copy on its pages.

 

How-To-Make-A-Website-Unbounceable

How To Make A Website Unbounceable

Unbouncable is totally a word for the purpose of this post. Just go with it.

First things first, make sure you’re aware of everything that can affect bounce rate on your website:

  • Purpose of the page
  • Type of audience
  • Links to external sites
  • Landing page design
  • Landing page message
  • Page load time
  • Pop-up ads
  • Search engine ranking of page (pages that rank highly for irrelevant keywords have high bounce rates)

After taking all of that into account, you can then take some extra steps to improve the amount of the time people are spending on your website.

  • Above all else, the trick is to make sure you’re providing interest and relevant content to your audience.

    For example, if your online business is all about camping gear, make sure you’re describing the benefits of your products specifically to the people you want to appeal to: campers, hikers, outdoor enthusiasts, etc. Use your blog to provide camping tips, how-tos, and best of lists that shoppers will find useful when browsing for new gear and planning trips.

    Always keep what your audience wants in mind when putting any and all copy on your website and landing pages.

  • Even though we said it isn’t everything, design still counts for something. If your web design is easy on the eyes and relevant to the theme of your product line, visitors are more likely to stick around and engage.

    You should make it a priority to design a clear navigation path/menu system. The less clicks visitors have to make to get where they want to go, the less likely they are to bounce. We’re lazy creatures when you get down to it.

    Pro tip: It’s also a good idea to put a structure in place so that any external links you have on your site or in your blog posts open in a new window.

  • Utilize call-to-action buttons. Calls-to-action or CTAs help guide people through your website and shows them what to do next. CTAs make it easy for people to take the action they hopefully came to your site with intentions of in the first place.

    Your CTA should always have a clear directive and be easy to click on. No surprises. In our opinion, the less pop-ups, the better.

What have you learned from analyzing your bounce rate? What tactics, tricks, or tips have you used and witnessed success with? Share your experience in the comments!

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6 Things You Can Do to Promote Your Business On Facebook

Facebook, as we all know by now, is the #1 place to connect with friends and share things online. But it has quickly become so much more than just a social media platform.

Facebook has exploded into a place where businesses both big and small can market themselves through interaction with customers and self-promotion. And the best part?

You can do a lot of it for free.

That means you don’t have to be Coca-Cola to use Facebook as a powerful marketing tool. If you’ve got a business, do yourself a favor and start using FB to promote it.

Don’t know where to start? No worries. We’ve got some tips about what you can do to break through the noise in your follower’s News Feed’s.

How do you use Facebook to promote your business? Share your top tips with us in the comments.


How to Promote Your Business on Facebook

#1 Use a profile picture people will recognize.

Being easily recognized is super important to being found and liked. How do you expect people to know who you are or how to determine it’s a real company account if they don’t know what to look for? Your profile photo gets prime real estate at the top of your profile page. Make the most of it.

#2 Pay attention to your insights page, bro.

Facebook came in clutch when they introduced Facebook Insights. This is a free and powerful tool you have at your disposal right in your business profile. You can use Facebook Insights to help you determine the best days and times to post and engage with your audience. Posting strategically, which often reveals that less is more when it comes to Facebook, can have a huge impact on your clickthrough and share rates.

#3 Coordinate the most visible parts of your page.

We already covered getting your profile picture in order but coordinating your cover photo, CTA and pinned post are a pretty big deal too when you want to use Facebook to promote your business. The best thing that you can do? Make your messaging match across all of these features (and your other social profiles while you’re at it).

#4 Tailor your posts to your audience.

Give the people what they want! Facebook gives you everything you need to successfully promote your business. We’re talking tools that help you segment your organic posts by age, gender, education, all kinds of stuff. This my friends is important to getting the right posts in front of the right people at the right time. Easier said than done but important nonetheless.

#5 Mix it up!

Speaking of getting the right content in front of the right people at the right time, you can’t be afraid to mix up what you post to your business page. Keep people engaged with visual elements, graphics, and video which can generate up to 94% more views. Just remember not to go overboard and post so much so often people start hiding you from their feeds.

#6 Try using Facebook Ads.

This is the only thing we’re suggesting you do to help promote your business on Facebook that isn’t free. However, if you start doing everything else on your list ahead of this one, you can get better ROI on your ads by promoting content you already know works. Strategic advertising at its finest.

We know that using Facebook to promote and market your business can seem a little scary, especially if you’re just starting out. But we’re here to encourage you to go for it!

Take a look in the mirror and remind yourself that you’ve got a great product or service that the world needs to know about and you’re going to make sure it gets out there.

If you don’t want to do it alone, you don’t have to.

Tell us how we can help you get the most out of your Facebook business profile and we’ll be happy to help you achieve the goals you’ve set for yourself in 2017.

Talk to Us

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Album Art You’d Have To Be Blind Not To Love

You have to create beauty to appreciate beauty.

Around here, we like to find the beauty in a lot of different things. Websites. Posters. Cars. Mexican food. Album covers.

Big emphasis on the album covers. We’ve mentioned it before and you can bet we’ll mention it again, but we dig music over here on the (Z) Coast.

Designing album art is a very different kind of design and we know when to take the time to appreciate something unique and inspiring. Albums represent a chapter in the artist’s life that often signals something worth remembering. It’s common courtesy, really.

A lot of emotion, time, energy, and money go into recording an album so you better believe just as much emotion, time, and energy (we won’t get into the money debate today) go into the art that graces the cover.

Album art designers are faced with communicating via a single image what most listeners will forever associate with the entire collection of songs on the artist’s album.

It’s not an easy task and it’s kind of a big deal.

But we’d totally jump at the chance to design an album cover if anybody ever came knocking with a project.

So tonight, we’re taking the time to recognize some of our favorite album art. Art that we believe connects with its intended audience and relays a powerful message about the music waiting to be unleashed into our earbuds and change our lives forever.

We hope you enjoy the album covers below as much as we do. The music ain’t bad either.

Radiohead – A Moon Shaped Pool (2016)

Radiohead-A-Moon-Shaped-Pool

Ryan Monbleau – I Was Just Leaving (2017)

Ryan-Monbleau-I-Was-Just-Leaving

The Velvet Underground & Nico – The Velvet Underground & Nico (1967)

The-Velvet-Underground-Nico-The-Velvet-Underground-Nico

Childish Gambino – Awaken, My Love (2016)

Childish-Gambino-Awaken-My-Love

B.B. King – One Kind Favor (2008)

B-B-King-One-Kind-Favor

Milo Greene – Milo Greene (2012)

milo-greene-milo-greene

Zac Brown Band – Jekyll + Hyde (2015)

Zac-Brown-Band-Jekyll-Hyde

Lucius – Wildewomen (2014)

lucius-wildewoman

Eden – I Think You Think Too Much of Me (2016)

Eden-I-Think-You-Think-Too-Much-of-Me

Years And Years – Communion (2016)

years-and-years-communion

Music is the pulse our body craves to feel, touch, and generate art. Do you believe we love music yet? Good, because we would like to create your next album art, traffic-generating website, or marketing funnel. Z Coast Media is all about the vibes and in order to keep putting your sound out you need a plan to fund that adventure. Contact us today to reach your bands brand goals! 

 

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A Recipe for Restaurant Email Marketing Success

Today, we’re going to cover the basics of email marketing for restaurants. We’re already hungry and we haven’t even started cookin’ yet. Cookin’. Get it?

Let’s just skip the rest of the bad food jokes and get right to it. Bon Appétit.

Why Restaurants Should Invest in Email Marketing

As a restaurant owner, email marketing is one of the most powerful tools at your disposal. It’s also one of the fastest, easiest, and cheapest ways to reach people who want to hear from you. All you have to do is give people the option to sign up.

Think of it like the first ingredient of your email marketing recipe. A simple place to start? Your own website. Dedicate some digital real estate to a sign-up form for your mailing list.

The sooner you start collecting emails the better. Start with friends and family if you have to and encourage them to forward the emails they get from your restaurant to other people in their contacts. You never know what might happen.

 

Whats-the-Secret-Ingredient-to-Good-Email-Marketing

What’s the Secret Ingredient to Great Email Marketing?

Once you’ve got a list you can’t just let the people who have signed up for your emails sit there and go bad like milk left on the counter overnight. That’s never pleasant for anybody.

The secret ingredient to any awesome email marketing plan is the cadence at which you email your lists. You’ve got to find the right cadence for emailing your subscribers. Keep ‘em warm and keep ‘em happy.

If you’re not sure where to start, a good rule of thumb is to aim to email your list one to two times per month. Make sure you stay on brand by using your restaurant’s logos, graphics, and other images often and always proofread your messages before sending them out.

It’s also a good idea to remember to stay conversational and not get too promotional with your emails. Hospitality is about people right? Use your emails to connect with people and show them a little extra warmth; give them something else to relate to.

What’s On The Menu?

Okay, you’ve got your list and you know how often you want to email everyone who signed up but what should you send them? They obviously have great taste and you don’t want to disappoint them.

No worries! There’s no reason to overthink this. People signed up to get emails from your restaurant because they’re obviously big fans of your food so give the people what they want!

We’re talking:

  • Menu Items: Tell them about seasonal specials, specific dishes, and newly added items to your menu.
  • Press: You got a good review in the local newspaper? Atlanta Magazine? Don’t be afraid to share it with your subscribers!
  • Private Dining/Catering: If you offer these services, they go particularly well around holidays, graduation season, and summer vacation.
  • E-Commerce: Gift card giveaway anybody? Don’t be shy about promoting restaurant swag either. Nobody ever has enough t-shirts. Nobody.
  • Special Events: Think fundraisers and happy hours.
  • Seasonal Promos: There ain’t no shame in playing the seasonal promo game. Use Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, National Doughnut Day, whatever to whet the appetites of your subscribers.

We’ll even be as bold to suggest sharing cooking tips and recipes (especially if your restaurant already has a blog where you publish stuff like this).

There are plenty of hungry college kids and even grown adults (like us) out there who would happily subscribe to a restaurant’s email newsletter if it meant it might save them from another night of frozen dinners.

 

Don’t Forget Images

Once you’ve got the messaging down make sure you include some big beautiful photos in your emails. People eat with their eyes. Including quality images in your emails is important for every business who sends emails, not just restaurants.

Folks like photos. Wow them with close up shots of signature dishes, break down recipes, show off the best booth in the house. Get creative with it! But most importantly…

Follow the golden rule of email marketing and only send the people who have opted in to all the awesome emails your restaurant has to offer. It doesn’t matter how pretty your images are or how awesome that happy hour event is going to be, if they never wanted to see your email in the first place, it won’t do your restaurant a bit of good.

And there you have it! Cooking up an awesome email campaign to help get the word out about your restaurant isn’t hard at all. Try it out for yourself and let us know how email marketing is going for your restaurant in the comments below.

–Z Coast Team