7 Things You Must Do to Get Your Emails Read

May 24, 2020 by  

How many emails do you get a day? A week? And I bet you have at least 2 email accounts, business and personal. And of course; Facebook messaging, IM, iMessage. You probably feel like a great big inbox. I certainly do! So with these kinds of odds to get your message noticed, it is amazing that we read anything, especially ones trying to sell us something. There are things you can do to get through the clutter.

1. Make it relevant – Relevance is the key. This opens a whole lot of opportunities as relevance is something you can only determine if you
a) know your customer and
b) can target your email campaigns.
Also, relevance can be increased with personalization and not just about the recipient. If your customer knows you then send it from you. We all like to feel special which is so much better than To Whom it may Concern… From This Great Big Company.

2. Know your customer – If you aren’t doing ongoing customer insight research, you can’t know your customers. Remember you are not your customer nor are your employees. Reach out to customers frequently. Ask them to rate your offer, product, service, and communications. Analyze your customer results to identify trends such as is a particular group that always open the email X? Another group that seems to like email Y? Identify them and send out the emails they want not the others!

3. Segment – not all customers are the same so your email list should not be one “catch-all”. Identify and segment different customers even if it is just geographic and tenure to start. The research you will be doing will add to this. Then make sure you take into account their preferences.

4. Don’t use SPAM hot words such as spam algorithms and hot-word lists which are always changing so make sure you are testing your subject lines and content against spam guidelines. Your email service provider can help you keep current! You may be unknowingly using words or phrases that are flagging you! Don’t get complacent either. If it worked last year, it may not work this year.

5. Use a reputable Email Service Provider – in this instance size can matter. The large email service providers have direct relationships with many of the ISP’s so have the ability to fix incorrect spam flags quickly. Plus, they offer superior data analytics tools, training, and knowledge! Check out Mail Chimps reporting on Email Marketing Stats. It has become the standard for many marketers! Remember, your email won’t be read if it is sitting in spam or worse, not delivered at all!

6. Keep it short. Remember the goal is action and emails should give just enough information to get a customer to act, call, click or buy and nothing more. If your offer is complex, simplify it. If you have lots of relevant info, let them find it online if interested. Make it easy for them to skim and see if they want to act not wade through a novel to figure out your point!

7. Send it late evening or night. Why is this important? Being one of the first emails of the morning (or during that 3 am sleepless night session) just gets better results. Again, this shows the importance of working with an email provider that has auto-scheduling, and the servers to allow for a quick send even if your list is HUGE. The worst time? Noon or early afternoon. Check out Mailer/Mailer’s email open rate report for the details.

If you follow these 7 tips you will likely have more openings from your customers so more success for your business.

Why Leaders Should Ask Questions?

May 14, 2020 by  

Many leaders hesitate to ask questions because they fear it will make them appear weak. Leaders are supposed to have all the answers, right? Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it), the world we live in has become so complex that it is simply not possible for anyone to have all the answers, no matter how tenured he or she is. But there are all kinds of benefits to asking questions, regardless of how much you know.

Here are a few:
1. Great questions lead to great discoveries. If you ask profound questions, you get profound answers. If you ask shallow questions, you get shallow answers. If you ask no questions, you get no answers at all.
2. Great questions are the anecdote to advice. Our own advice can be great sometimes, but lousy or misinformed other times. Giving advice is easy and costs little, at least on the surface. In organizational settings, however, a leader’s advice can quickly get translated into a “direct order” with no room for further discussion.
3. Great questions develop the critical thinking skills of others. If you are a leader, the critical thinking skills of your team will likely determine how far you go. When you give answers, you get followers. When you offer questions (and coach through the process of determining the best answer), you develop more leaders.
4. Great questions delegates responsibility. At the end of the day, if you are the person everyone comes to with every problem, your leadership bar will remain low. Leaders need followers who can solve problems on their own. In addition, keep in mind that a person is always more motivated to act on and own a solution he or she has come up with themself than to follow the guidance of someone else.

What do Great Questions Look Like?
It is true that most leaders don’t become great at asking questions until they become great at listening (something that should cause each of us to pause and consider). There is a learning process for everything. But in the meantime, let us consider some examples of what great, powerful questions look like.
Leading vs. Non-Leading Questions: A leading question proposes a solution in the form of a question. A non-leading question opens up the possibility for multiple solutions.

Consider the differences between these two examples.
Leading: “What would happen if you tried having training meetings on Tuesdays?”
Non-Leading: “What are some different options for conducting training?”

Closed vs. Open-ended Questions: Closed questions require a “yes” or “no” answer while open-ended questions can have many outcomes.
Closed: “Have you thought about creating a new task force?”
Open-ended: “What are some ways you could approach this challenge?”

Advice vs. Possibility Questions: An advice question is basically just advice in the form of a question.
Advice: “Couldn’t you address that situation at this afternoon’s meeting?”
Possibility: “When (or how) could you address that situation?”

Why vs. “Tell Me More” Questions: Why questions can be abrasive and feel accusatory, regardless of their intent. No one likes being on trial. Using a “tell me more” approach opens up the dialogue.
Why: “Why did you decide to ship only seven orders?”
Tell me more: “Can you tell me more about the thought process for this shipment?”

Actually asking great questions instead of giving advice is probably one of the hardest disciplines leaders encounter. The first step is to stop yourself from giving unsolicited advice. The next step is to respond with a question. The next step is to make that question a powerful one. I encourage you to give it a try and actually stick with it. Ask someone to give you feedback on your question-asking ability. It will be slow at first, but eventually, it will start becoming natural. Besides the leaders you serve will develop right along with you.