Making newsletters great again

We all do it. The days when your inbox is so overloaded you get the greatest satisfaction from a mass ‘delete’. Or you fervently unsubscribe to all your sign ups at the start of the New Year – it’s so cleansing, right?

But then something catches your eye when you’re trolling the interweb. You read about some cool project, a company you love, a product that’s a ‘must-have’ and before you know it, in a FOMO flurry, you’ve hit ‘subscribe’ or filled in that form.

They gotcha.

Email marketing continues to be a vital communications channel for all businesses in the days when inbox competition for attention from email subscribers remains fierce.  There’s plenty of newsletters that don’t hit the mark, that’s for sure. But every now and then, we get a newsletter that’s so good, not only do we read it, but we click it, share it, and recommend it to our friends.

So you want to be that winning newsletter

SMB’s are stepping up their game in the email marketing world. Focus on email marketing should be in your content marketing strategy for 2018 because it’s such an important strand in your multi-layered business growth strategy.

Think about it. You’ve got a potential or existing client who has already engaged with you to the extent that you’ve got their contact details. They’re willing for you to send them stuff they want or need to know, or want or need to buy (you get the drift).

So don’t stuff it up. Planning and good quality content is KEY to success. You want this to be a long-term relationship not a quick fling.

The ‘how to’ newsletter

Take ‘How to Dad’. He’s built a trusted brand by saying it like it is, with a good dose of Kiwi humour. He’s real. He’s so real and trusted a local electricity company has brought him on board as their brand ambassador to peddle a ‘good cause’.

So, back to your ‘how to’ newsletter.

Keep it real. Don’t be one of those automated email newsletters that just give us another morning task – deleting or marking as read (not read).

Exceptional newsletters or email marketing campaigns need to be cleverly written to attract attention. They should be personalised, filled with interesting graphics or images, and designed for mobile and desktop.

Above all, newsletters must contain a meaningful call-to-action. Every message must have a point to it.

And we do that how?

Try awesome subject lines and preview text. They’re always short and punchy, and they’re consistent and logical. BuzzFeed does this exceptionally well – they know their market.

Keep it simple. If you’ve got a deal or promo on the table, give it a brief initial description paired with a very clear call-to-action. The ‘skimmer’ subscribers can get the basics in a matter of seconds, while those who want to learn more are treated to a more detailed (still pleasingly simple), step-by-step explanation of how the deal works. Uber is a master at this.

Be consistent with your branding. Look at your website, social media photos, your app or other parts of your visual branding, and make sure your newsletter’s singing from that same songsheet. All communications and marketing assets should tell your brand’s story, and it makes your newsletter stand out from the inbox crowd.

What’s working and what’s not

There’s a few ways to measure what’s working and what’s not. Use your analytics, look at clicks etc. For relatively straightforward newsletter templates and measurable campaigns use something like Mailchimp to see how you’re going. Try sending out newsletters on different days of the week, different times, then look at which gets the most opens or clicks. Which parts of your newsletter are being read? Ask for feedback on content or timing – you can easily incentivise that. Keep changing and evolving and most of all, keep it real.

Regular, consistent and relevant communication with current clients is a crucial tool. Know the importance but stuck for words? Let us help, we’re wordsmiths after all.

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Social media takeaways from December

Summer is officially here (hurrah!). With only 2.5 weeks until Christmas we’ve compiled our final social media takeaway blog for 2017.

Here’s a recap of seven almighty social media updates and trends to keep in mind for planning and implementation of your social and PR strategy in 2018.

Video is KING

Did we need to remind you? According to a recent Social Media Today infographic, video is expected to account for more than 80% of all consumer internet traffic by 2021.

Having the ability to create video content across your platforms remains KEY in your strategy. Grab your iPhone, a tripod and get practising with family and friends this silly season.

 

4K resolution for Facebook

Uploading and sending high res images via email is a thing of a past thanks to the latest Facebook Messenger update. Communities and businesses can now send and receive images in 4K resolution (up to 4,096 x 4,096 pixels per image).

Happy sharing.

 

Milestone moment for Instagram business community

The Instagram business community has grown to 25 million. If you’re a Queenstown business and you’re not already on this platform, it’s time to discover, connect and determine whether this is for you.

Still not quite sure how to reach your customers this Christmas? Relax. Our beloved Instagram is spreading some festive cheer to help you shine bright. Click here to succeed.

 

Ephemeral Content

Never underestimate ephemeral content marketing. Yes, it’s short-lived content (shows and disappears in seconds or 24-hours) however it’s a cost-effective and authentic way to connect with your fans, followers or audiences.

Humanise your brand by sharing your behind-the-scenes moments, show a real-time snippet of your CEO collecting your latest tourism award or showcase your media coverage and products in engaging ways. Whatever your content focus or strategy, it’s one to add to your team’s daily schedule.

 

A tweet ‘storm’ is brewing on Twitter

Along with the extended 280-character limit (do you like it?), Twitter’s Tweetstorm feature is in testing, enabling users to extend their tweets by adding additional context. Here’s how this might look.

To be honest, we have the same reservations as TechCrunch. Could this feature result in never-ending ranting and trolling from critics – potentially leading to additional ‘damage control’ from crisis management teams across the world?

 

Did someone say chatbot?

It’s top of mind and we’re looking forward to watching chatbots evolve for SMB’s next year.

Adding the ‘human’ to these artificial intelligence ‘bots’ remains key and businesses need to know there’s not a one-size-fits-all solution. Your customer’s journey is key.

 

Organic social isn’t dead

Yes, paid social is important to reach new audiences and convert your customers, however organic social is key for nurturing engagement, relationships and interactions.

Sprout Social looks into the importance of ‘sprouting’ engagement on your channels to help your company grow.

 

Looking for some ‘social’ holiday reading?

We’ve got three recommendations for you…

 

Keen for Southern PR to help you through this process or point you in the best direction? Get in touch, we’re happy to talk it through.

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Social Media Takeaways from September

Spring has most certainly sprung and it’s been a busy month all round, not just social media. You’ve got enough to worry about with the general election just happened, not to mention which way dear Winston is going to swing. Because last month’s  social media news and updates are possibly the last thing on your mind, we’ve done the hard yards and compiled a list of ‘go-to’ updates, big and small.

The latest on Instagram

Instagram now lets you block negative comments

Instagrammers with a public profile can now manage who comments and sees comments on posts.

Instagram is aiming to make the platform a friendly and welcoming place where everyone can get along in its social community. All changes come with a new heart-shaped sticker and the #KindComments hashtag.

 

Instagram adds face filters to live video

Instagram filters have been readily available on video and images captured first and then posted, but now its face filters are available on live video.

This means you can customise your live videos even further and even target those audiences that have four legs and a tail [insert puppy dog filter here].

 

The latest on Twitter

Twitter doubles its tweet length

Twitter is testing extending its character count from 140 to 280 to persuade more users to use the platform. Twitter says the reason is to give you more characters to express yourself. Is my name Donald Trump, I hear you asking? What are your thoughts on the extension? Less is more, or more is …..too much?

 

The latest on Facebook

Facebook connectivity team touches down in Puerto Rico

Facebook is not only donating economically to the relief efforts of Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria, it’s also donating its employees!  Facebook employees are helping restore telecommunications so people can get in touch with their loved ones and rescue workers can further coordinate relief efforts. Thanks Facebook!

 

Facebook ranks the eighth most valuable brand in the world

For the first time in history, Facebook has broken into the top 10 of the world’s most valuable brands slotting into eighth position right next to Toyota and Mercedes Benz.

Interestingly, half the brands at the top of the Best Global Brands 2017 list are in the technology sector and have mastered creating experiences through technology that reinforce the value of the brand itself.

 

The latest on Snapchat

Snapchat introducing augmented reality beyond filters

Snapchat’s latest filter is yet another step further into augmented or virtual reality. Its new ‘Sky Filters’ give you the ability paint with all the colours of the wind…or, filters. Imagine being able to change the scenery to match your mood with virtual weather, sunsets, starry skies, rainbows and so on. Well, now you can! This was released on Snapchat’s sixth birthday – Happy Birthday!

 

Google and Snapchat join forces to hold the ultimate challenge for millennials

It’s no surprise that the future is technology and coding is a skill being recognised by major technology brands Google and Snapchat.

Called #MyFutureMe, the contest is to create and code an official Snap lens and accompany the entry with a 100-word statement about the ‘future you envision’. As with any great business idea, having a slick and well-rounded elevator pitch is key to success in this fast-paced and busy world. Five finalists will be sent to the TEDWomen conference in November to work with Google and Snap engineers. Interestingly, Snapchat will only verify contestants ages after finalists are selected.

Have we missed anything? Get in touch.

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Christchurch-based creative Amy Forsyth joins SPR

Delighted to announce that we’ve introduced yet another creative to the Southern PR team! Amy Forsyth hails from Christchurch as she joins us to expand SPR’s communication services to her beloved hometown.

After working in one of Auckland’s biggest PR agencies, she’s back and fizzing that she gets to get work within a busy agency dynamic in the Mainland (she’s not patriotic about the South Island at all…).

She’s enthusiastic about anything digital, loves to listen and be heard and naturally, loves to chat.

We’ve asked her all the hard questions here so you don’t have to…

Who are you and what’s your role at SPR?

Amy Forsyth, Account Executive and the first SPR ambassador for the Christchurch region.

What excites you about a career in PR and communications?

Keeping up to date with businesses and industries, listening to people’s stories of their objectives and issues and getting their identity to where they want to be. The level of problem solving and strategic thinking that goes into PR planning is not something that’s taught at University. It’s all about intuition, keeping up with affairs, knowing who’s who, and following the forever changing digital and communications landscape.

What’s your connection to the Garden City (aka Christchurch)?

Christchurch is my home! I’ve lived here all my life so I’m very aware of the changes and the opportunities that are in motion. After returning from work experience in Auckland, I’m also now working part-time at Crowne Plaza Christchurch as their Marketing Coordinator. Being so familiar with the city and media industry means I’m up-to-speed with the number of new businesses and inspiring individuals with fantastic new services, products or events on offer as the city springs back to life. I’m working on helping some of them get their key messages and branding across to the right audience.

If you could meet any historical figure, who would you choose and why?

I’m admittedly a bit of a book nerd, so I have to say it would be Roald Dahl. His imaginative stories always resonate with me, even as an adult. His own life stretched over some significant historical events and happenings, so listening to his life stories would be unreal.

How do you keep up with today’s 365/24/7 news cycle?

Every morning with breakfast I check all major news platforms, regularly watch the news, and my Sunday ritual is to have breakfast with the Sunday paper whether I’m out for brunch, or at home I enjoy taking it all in in print. I also follow local online business directories like Neat Places, POA and CHCHcentral, and of course love to keep up with all the latest society trends through publications like Cityscape, Metropol, Style Mag and naturally also via social media.

It’s all about checking into the right sources and creating routine for enabling time to keep as updated as possible.

One of your best and most valuable learning experiences to date? Any advice/learnings from internships?

My most important piece of advice thus far in my career would be understanding that when you are on your client’s time it’s as though you work for the company directly yourself. You want to listen and absorb the feeling of their identity, gather a full picture of their background operations and understand how they want others to hear them; the real essence of their business.

Want to know more? Get in touch with Amy.

 

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