How to Quickly Add Emojis to Your Email Subject Line 🎉

emoji keyboard shortcut

We recently held an AWeber customer workshop in Orlando, Florida. While we were there, one of the most frequently asked questions we received wasn’t about deliverability or what to write in your emails or the most popular integrations.

Nope. It had to do with emojis. Or, more specifically, “How do you add an emoji to an email subject line?”

Luckily, we had an easy answer: There’s a super quick keyboard shortcut that allows you to add your favorite teeny-tiny hearts 💚, smiley faces 😆, and clapping hands 👏🏽 to your subject lines (or even inside your email copy). Follow the steps below to try it on your Mac or PC.

How to add emojis to an email subject line on a Mac

Keyboard shortcut: CTRL + CMD + Space

emoji keyboard shortcut for mac

  • Step 1: Open your email draft inside your AWeber account.
  • Step 2: Place your cursor where you’d like the emoji to appear in your subject line.
  • Step 3: Hit the three buttons of the keyboard shortcut (Control + Command + Space bar) down at once. An emoji window will pop up.
  • Step 4: Click on an emoji to insert it into your subject line.

(Don’t have an AWeber account yet? Sign up today to build your list, create an email, and analyze your results! Your first 30 days are completely free.)

emoji keyboard shortcut

How to add emojis to an email subject line on a PC

*Keyboard shortcut: Win + . or Win + ;

emoji keyboard shortcut for PC

  • Step 1: Open your email draft inside your AWeber account.
  • Step 2: Place your cursor where you’d like the emoji to appear in your subject line.
  • Step 3: Hit the two buttons of the keyboard shortcut (Windows key + . (period) or Windows key + ; (semicolon)) down at once. An emoji window will pop up.
  • Step 4: Click on an emoji to insert it into your subject line.

*This shortcut is available on Windows 10. (Window 10’s touch keyboard also has a built-in emoji keyboard. Just hit the smiley face to the left of the space bar to activate it.)

Pro tips for using the emoji keyboard

  • The emojis you’ve used most recently will be stored at the top of the window.
  • Scroll through the emoji categories along the bottom of the window. (Categories: smileys and people, animals and nature, food and drink, activity, travel and places, objects, symbols, flags, and symbols.)
  • Use the magnifying glass to easily search for emojis instead of scrolling through them all.
  • In Windows, you can change the skin tone in the upper righthand corner in the “people” emoji category. It looks like a square patch.
  • On a Mac, you can change the skin tone in the “people” emoji category by clicking on an emoji. A small bar will appear with multiple options.
  • Enter as many emojis as you’d like into your subject line. Once you are done, you can close the pop up window by hitting the Esc key, or pressing the “X” at the top left corner on a Mac and the “X” at the top right corner on a PC.

Should you use emojis in your email subject lines?

We wanted to find out. That’s why we recently analyzed 1,000 emails from 100 of today’s top marketers. The result: 6.9% of subject lines included emojis.

While that’s a small percentage, using emojis could increase your open rates, according to Mark Asquith, marketing expert and founder of Rebel Base Media. (Asquith was also one of the 100 top marketers whose emails we included in our research.)

“A well-placed smiley, timer, or contextual emoji used alongside a well-thought-out subject line will really make your message stand out within someone’s already very busy inbox,” said Asquith, who frequently uses emojis in his own subject lines.

Emoji in subject line

When it comes to your own subject lines, our advice is to test, test, test.

Set up an A/B test of two emails — one that uses an emoji in the subject line, and one that doesn’t — and see which version your subscribers prefers. This can help you optimize your open rates in the future.

Related: Why You Need to Split Test Your Emails

AWeber lets you A/B test more than just subject lines, too. Our testing tools allows you to test almost everything, like send times, copy, templates, buttons, images, and more! Try a free 30-day trial of AWeber and you can start split testing today!

The post How to Quickly Add Emojis to Your Email Subject Line 🎉 appeared first on Email Marketing Tips.

How to Brand Your Business in 6 Steps

What company immediately pops into your mind when you see this image?

Coca-Cola. And that’s thanks to great branding. Even if Coca-Cola doesn’t show their logo in an advertisement, you still know it’s them. And you associate certain feelings and emotions with their branding.

When you successfully brand your own company, you build trust with your audience, become recognizable, and stand out. And since billions of emails hit the inbox every day, your email marketing needs to stand out.

Howard Schultz, the CEO of Starbucks, says, “Great companies that build an enduring brand have an emotional relationship with customers that has no barrier. And that emotional relationship is on the most important characteristic, which is trust. “

Here’s how to brand your business and email marketing.

What is branding?

Your brand is your business’ personality. You define your branding by how you design or talk about parts of your business, like your:

  • product
  • audience
  • logo
  • colors
  • messaging
  • perception

Great branding is consistent. Every time your audience hears, sees, or buys from you, they should recognize your brand.

Step 1: Create your mission statement.

Your mission statement tells the world what your business does and why it’s important. It will give you more insight about what type of customers you want to attract and will set the tone for how you speak to them.

To create a mission statement, think about how your product or service can positively transform your audience’s life. How do you want your audience to feel or what problems will you solve for them? Your statement should include aspirational language that speaks to your overall goal.

Sweetgreen states their mission clearly. They talk about what they strive to do for their customers (connecting people to real food) and why they want to do so (to inspire healthier communities).

Step 2: Research what other brands do.

Research companies you admire or aspire to be like. Identify what draws you toward their design, product, or voice and write down your observations.

You might jot down:

  • the fonts they use
  • their color palette
  • what types of photos they use
  • how they describe themselves on their about page

Step 3: Identify what makes you unique.

You’re most likely not the only company in your space. So it’s pivotal to communicate this to your audience. To find out what makes you unique, ask yourself:

  • How are you different from everyone else?
  • Do you serve a niche audience?
  • Do you help your local community?
  • Do you have great customer service?
  • Are you the first in your space?
  • Why should your audience look to you and not other brands?

Patagonia sets themselves apart from other clothing brands by talking about their superior standards. One of their core values is “Build the best product.” And their jackets meet their strict “H2No(R) Performance Standard.” Their high standards set them apart from other retailers and show how much they care about the consumer and their product

Related: How to Pinpoint Your ‘Hook.’ Find Your Unique Selling Proposition in 6 Simple Steps

Step 4: Be consistent with typography.

Although it may seem unimportant, typography — or a specific set of fonts — is essential to a stand-out brand. Typography helps your customers identify your company at a glance, and it says a lot about who you are.

For example, Sweetgreen uses simple, rounded letters, which convey friendliness and openness, as opposed to a sharper font with harsher, straighter lines. The simple, rounded font works well with their mission statement: “To inspire healthier communities by connecting people to real food.”

When choosing a typeface, select fonts which are easy to read at any size and with long or short paragraphs and sentences.

Only select 1 to 3 total fonts to use across your brand, and choose a primary font that you’ll use 85% to 90% of the time.

For example, Nike does a great job of consistently using one font on their homepage. To highlight the most important text, Nike displays headlines in bold, large, capitalized letters. They display sub-headlines, which are less important, in unbolded, smaller, sentence-case type. This is called design hierarchy, and it helps you find the most important text on a page at a glance.

Be sure to define font styles for the following things:

  • Body copy (text that is standard on all paragraphs)
    • This text should be easy to read at a smaller size.
  • Headline copy (text that describes what you are about to read in the paragraph below)
    • This font size should be larger and most likely bolder so that it stands out.
  • Button or links
    • Don’t think too hard about this one. Your buttons should be simple. They should be either text over top of a color box or underlined text of a certain color to indicate that you should click. Setting a standard for these will help create consistency throughout all of your web marketing materials.

Pro tip: Not sure how to choose your fonts? If you already have a website and logo, you should have a dominant font already. Reuse it on all your marketing materials. If you don’t have either, read this article from Canva to learn how to choose the right fonts.

Step 5: Choose colors for your brand.

Color theory is the science behind color and how it can affect your audience’s choices. Your colors should look good and express your brand’s personality.

If you’re new to branding and color theory, I suggest reading this article by 99 designs to get more insight on how to choose colors that express the right feelings

If you already have brand colors, don’t reinvent the wheel. Use the colors you’ve already chosen.

You should start by examining your logo. What colors are in it and what colors will complement it?

Related: How to Choose Colors That Work Together

Spotify’s colors are limited, but also iconic. When you see this specific green combined with black or white you can easily identify the Spotify brand

You can also use the colors from other marketing content to guide your color choices, like your:

  • emails
  • website
  • landing pages
  • mailers
  • product packaging

For example, if you are using black or gray for all text on your website, use the sames colors in your email text.

How to easily identify colors

For web content, you can identify colors by their hexadecimal color (or hex code), which will contain a hashtag followed by a combination of letters and/or numbers.

Pro tip: To identify a color’s hex code, you can use this HTML Color Picker tool.

In AWeber and many software platforms, you can enter your custom hex code to display your exact brand colors. Below, the hex code #FFFFFF is used to display white text.

For print, you can define a color by its CMYK, or Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black, values.

Be sure to define colors for the following things:

  • Body copy
    • This should be a shade of black or dark gray so that it is easy to read on most color backgrounds.
  • Headline Copy
  • Background colors
    • I suggest using white in most cases so that your pages, emails, or printed items are easy to read. If you need to add color, neutrals like light gray or tan are typical as well.
  • Button or link color
    • This should always stand out from the rest of the palate to attract the viewer to take an action.

This article by OptinMonster gives you some insight on what the best colors are for “calls to action” or buttons

Step 6: Choose a photography style.

Take cues from some of the inspirational brands you identified in step 2. What kind of photos do they use? Analyze how their photos appear using the follow criteria:

  • Lighting
    • Are they outside or inside?
  • Composition
    • Are the photos overhead or looking straight on?
    • Are they centered or off center?
    • Is there motion or are they still?
    • Is it close up and abstract or far away and full picture?
  • Subject matter
    • Do the images consist of people or still life?
  • Coloring
    • Are the photos black and white?
    • Is there some sort of filter or consistent coloring that make them all feel the same?

Pro tip: Don’t have a photographer or nice camera? Here’s How to Create Amazing Photos on Zero Budget

LinkedIn does a great job of using a consistent photography style. Within the LinkedIn style guide, they speak to how they represent different parts of their marketing.

When they show photography of their app, they use images of a phone laying flat among everyday objects that “represent human touch,” (a.k.a. It should look like a person left the objects there.).

When they show people working and collaborating, they use images of people in candid moments.

Document your decisions.

Now, write down everything you learned and guidelines for how you portray your brand. The best way you can start to implement these ideas is keeping a document that states all of your findings so that you can always reference it when you go to create something new.

Create branded emails in minutes with AWeber’s Drag and Drop Editor and 700+ templates. Start your free trial today.

The post How to Brand Your Business in 6 Steps appeared first on Email Marketing Tips.

New in AWeber: Web Fonts, Awesome Integrations, and Email Insights to Help you Grow

What's new in AWeber?

We’re back with another video sharing the latest features in AWeber:

Explore what’s new:

Did you miss an update?

Don’t miss last month’s update video! We shared exciting new features in our mobile app, Curate, and a handy new way to copy entire automated campaigns.

Get started today

Log in to your account to try out these new features, and let us know what you think in the comments! Not using AWeber? Get started, free for 30 days. Our email experts are available 24/7 to help you get going.

The post New in AWeber: Web Fonts, Awesome Integrations, and Email Insights to Help you Grow appeared first on Email Marketing Tips.

How to Write an Apology Email

When your business makes a mistake, you need to act quickly. A sincere apology email can often help to fix the damage.

But the stakes are high. Use the wrong words in your apology email, and you might anger your audience.

To avoid disasters like this, we gathered great examples of apology emails. Consider this the hall of fame of email mistakes. Use them as a guide if you ever need to send a heartfelt — or even humorous — apology.

When should you send an apology email?

Before sending an apology email, evaluate whether the situation calls for it.

Ask yourself two questions:

  • Would subscribers be inconvenienced or confused if I don’t send an apology?
  • Did I (or my business) offend or upset my audience by doing something wrong?

If you respond with a “yes” to either question, you should send an apology email.

Different mistakes require different responses. Here are examples of apology emails for some of the most common mistakes businesses make.

Incorrect info, broken links, and typos

If you forget to carefully review and test your emails, you might end up sending an email with broken links or typos. It happens quite a bit. (Pro tip: Test your emails before you send them.)

Related: 3 Ways to Test Your Emails before Hitting ‘Send’

If you did this, send an email to give people the correct information and to apologize for the mistake.

BuzzFeed sent a newsletter with the wrong link. They quickly sent an apology email with the right link and a lighthearted explanation.

Accidental email sends

If you hit send too early or deliver an email you never meant to send, keep calm and send an apology.

If the email you accidentally sent is funny (Let’s say it contains nothing but a cat.), you can even make your apology humorous, like Fab’s purrfect email below.

Missing information or details

Forgot to include important information or details in your email? Send a follow up email to correct your mistake.

Notice how Really Good Emails apologizes for sending another email in the same day and shares the information they forgot.

Tech issues

Technology doesn’t always work. If your website goes down or you’re dealing with another tech issue that affects your audience, email them to apologize and give an update on what’s happening.

Joanna Wiebe, founder of CopyHackers, sent an apology email after her webinar platform failed to work during her presentation on apology emails. (I think she jinxed herself.)

Broken products or poor service

A bad experience with your company can destroy your relationship with a customer and lead to negative reviews of your product or service.

If a large group of customers have a bad experience because you delivered a poor product or service, the negative impact is magnified. But you can send an apology email to help alleviate the damage.

After delivering defective products to their customers, Passion Planner emailed their audience an apology and an offer for a full refund.

Serious mistakes

If you’ve made a serious mistake, own it. No excuses. Apologize and explain how you’re addressing the issue so it doesn’t happen again.

Check out the apology email AirBnb sent for a serious mistake below.

How to write an apology email subject line

Not sure what to write in your subject lines? Try one of these tips.

Be direct.

Explain exactly what happened and what you’re doing about it.

Example: Passion Planner

Subject line: Trouble with Eco? We Hear Your Concerns.

Mention your mistake.

Be clear about the mistake you made right in your subject line.

Example: Really Good Emails

Subject line: We forgot some stufferoo

Be human.

Everybody makes mistakes. As long as you haven’t made a serious one, use a human tone, like Buzzfeed, and maybe even add an emoji.

Example: BuzzFeed

Subject line: Let’s try this again…🙈

Related: Your Guide to Writing the World’s Best Email Subject Lines

Own your mistakes.

It’s much better for your brand to apologize than to say nothing when a mistake happens. Plus, it’s the right thing to do.

Need help writing other emails? Download our free What to Write in Your Emails guide. It includes 45+ fill-in-the-blank email templates.

what to write

AWeber is an email marketing platform that allows 100,000+ small businesses and entrepreneurs to create and send emails people love. Learn more about what AWeber can do for your small business.

Additional reporting by Amanda Gagnon

The post How to Write an Apology Email appeared first on Email Marketing Tips.

How Your Feedback Shapes the Future of AWeber

At AWeber, we’re committed to providing you with remarkable experiences all day, every day. You can contact us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week  at our Pennsylvania headquarters. Our email experts are always ready to offer you technical advice (like how to use features inside your account) and strategical advice (like how to launch a successful automated email campaign). It’s because of this commitment to creating remarkable customer experiences that, for the fourth straight year, AWeber has been recognized for exceptional customer service by both the annual Stevie Awards and National Customer Service Association. No other email service provider can say that! “I am super proud of our amazing team,” said Chris Henrich, director of Customer Solutions at AWeber. “These awards serve as well-deserved recognition of our entire AWeber team’s continued focus on both refining and enhancing an already exceptional customer experience.”

We took home two Stevie® Awards for Customer Service

The Stevie Awards are like the Oscars of the customer service industry. They recognize the best of the best in customer service across a variety of industries and company sizes. This year, our Customer Solutions team received not one, but two awards at the 2019 Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service. AWeber received a Silver Stevie Award for Customer Service Department of the Year, as well as a Bronze Stevie Award for Contact Center of the Year. On top of that, AWeber was named runner-up in People’s Choice Stevie Award for Customer Service Department of the Year. (If you voted for us, high five ✋ and thank you!)

We were runner up for NCSA All-Stars Award

The All-Stars Award recognizes the top customer service individuals, teams, and organizations across the United States. Nominees had to meet strict criteria, including delivering consistent excellent service, going above and beyond normal job duties, and adhering daily to their organization’s mission and values. AWeber was named runner-up for the National Customer Service Association’s 2019 All-Stars Award.

How we’re creating even more remarkable experiences using feedback from our customers

Each year, AWeber strives to make an even bigger impact with our customers, and 2018 was no different. We pushed ourselves to innovate the way we serve our customers in a variety of ways. We’ve always used customer feedback to help shape our product and service. However, last year, we made some changes to how we collect, analyze, and communicate feedback across our teams.

  1. First, our Customer Solutions team actively monitors the results of our quarterly customer surveys, allowing them to quickly follow up with customers who love our platform, have questions, or need additional support. Because of this, our customers know that we are committed to providing them with the tools they need to be successful.
  2. Second, we launched a new “feature request” process that enables our Customer Solutions team to easily collect feedback from our customers about new tools they want to see inside our product. This feedback  influences new product releases.
  3. Third, our Customer Solutions team has a hand in developing AWeber. Last year, members of our Customer Solutions team began working more closely with our product team. They began attending product meetings regularly, taking customers’ feedback straight to the people building and refining our product offering. By doing this, communication around product development and customer sentiment has never been more efficient or effective. Every product update and new feature is thoroughly tested by the Customer Solutions team before we send it to our customers.

These changes had a meaningful impact on several releases last year:

We made a bunch of improvements to Campaigns

On top of the huge addition of click automations to Campaigns, we made many meaningful improvements to the Campaigns to improve our customers’ experience building automated emails. And the Customer Solutions team was a big part of these improvements, bringing greater awareness of the needs of our customers to the entire AWeber team. For example, customers wanted to see what Campaigns would get triggered when a tag was applied using a click automation. Our Customer Solutions team was key in identifying that need and helping us prioritize that.

We made massive improvements to our Drag and Drop Email Builder

We asked our customers what they needed from our email builder, and we released several awesome updates, including the ability to easily customize preheader text, a new row element to quickly group and move content around in the editor, and new email layout templates. Customers saw huge benefits in the new Drag and Drop Email Builder improvements:

“I like [the new editor]! 😉 Pretty smooth graphically, and the preheader is the MONEY Bonus! Nicely done ya’ll! This is great, solid improvement.” – AWeber customer for 2 years

Read more about the Drag and Drop Editor improvements

We launched new and improved split testing functionality

We rebuilt our split testing tool to help you send high-performing, effective emails. And our customers are thrilled with the new split testing functionality:

“[Split testing] exceeds my expectation. I was expecting A/B testing, but to have the ability to do A/B/C [testing]; just to have that extra variable, it makes a big difference.” – AWeber customer for 12 years

Read more about our split testing improvements

We introduced 24/7 customer support

Based primarily on customer feedback (and because we have customers in 196 countries around the world!), we introduced 24/7 customer support. We did this without outsourcing or establishing a satellite office. This allowed us to preserve our award-winning culture and customer support. Going 24/7 enables our customers to get as close to real-time solutions as possible. These additional support hours allow us to foster better relationships with our customers. Read more about our new 24/7 customer support

Looking ahead

We took a fresh, innovative approach last year to the way in which we support our customers. And we’ve got some great things planned in 2019 to continue that positive momentum. Creating remarkable experiences is at the core of what we do at AWeber. For us, it’s not just another quote to put on a wall. It’s our way of life. Each customer interaction is an opportunity for a unique experience and we make sure each is personable, positive, and memorable. See what makes our Customer Solutions team so special. Start your 30-day free trial of AWeber or contact our Customer Solutions team today!

The post How Your Feedback Shapes the Future of AWeber appeared first on Email Marketing Tips.

What Is Email Whitelisting and Why Is It So Important?

Email Whitelisting

What if your emails never hit your subscribers’ inboxes? What if your messages always end up in their spam folders or promotions tabs instead? It happens more than you might think. Luckily, there’s a super simple solution: email whitelisting.

What is an email whitelist?

Email whitelisting is when a subscriber adds your email address to their contacts list within their ISP, like Gmail or Yahoo!. Think of your inbox like a door with two locks on it: a deadbolt and a doorknob. If one of them is locked, a message can’t get in. AWeber works with the ISP to get all of our customers’ messages into the inbox. We essentially “unlock” the deadbolt for your messages. However, we have no control over what happens on the individual level. Anyone that has an email account can set up their own filters, which locks the doorknob. Even though the deadbolt is open, your messages still can’t get in. Your emails may be sent straight to their spam folder or promotions tab. That’s why whitelisting is so important. When your subscriber whitelists your email address, he or she unlatches the second lock for you, regardless of what filters they have activated. The door is open for your messages. “When your customers whitelist your email address, it provides feedback to their provider that your mail is wanted,” said AWeber’s Director of Deliverability Karen Balle, who gives multi-million dollar companies advice on how to reach the inbox. Getting subscribers to whitelist you can also increase your overall reputation with an ISP, according to Balle. “Since your message is delivered into your customer’s inbox, it helps increase reputation by increasing your read, open, and click rates as customers are more easily able to find and interact with your message,” she explained. And the higher your engagement rates, the better your deliverability to all your subscribers (whether they whitelisted you or not!). Related: 4 Things That Hurt Your Email Deliverability (and How to Fix Them!)

Whitelisting doesn’t mean you can spam your subscribers . . .

Being whitelisted isn’t a free pass, though. You can’t send your subscriber whatever you want, whenever you want. Once your whitelisted, the ISP will keep a close eye on your messaging behavior to make sure you practice responsible email marketing, and that you’re not violating the CAN-SPAM Act. If you take advantage of your whitelist status by spamming your subscribers, your deliverability reputation with that ISP will suffer and hurt your results over the long haul.

How do you get subscribers to whitelist you?

Ask them. It’s that simple! Here’s a quick example of what you can write. (Feel free to tweak it to match your brand’s voice and tone.) Take this important step! To make sure you receive emails from me, add my email [enter your email address here] to your contacts list. By adding me, you ensure my messages, special offers, and invites make it into your primary inbox. Below are some more examples of how to incorporate whitelisting instructions into your content.

In your Welcome email

What to Write is one of AWeber’s most popular free email marketing courses. It teaches you how to effectively write an automated email series — and also includes 45+ downloadable fill-in-the-blank templates. The very first email is a Welcome email that includes short whitelist instructions. email whitelisting instructions Ann Handley is a bestselling author and the chief content officer at Marketing Profs. Through AWeber, Handley sends out a long-form newsletter called TotalAnnarchy. Here’s the automated welcome email she sends when you subscribe. It can save her newsletter from hitting your Promotions tab. Related: How to Write the Perfect Welcome Email in Under 1 Minute email white listing instructions When you subscribe to Scott’s Cheap Flights, you get email alerts for discounted international flights departing from  airports near you. The very first email you’ll receive has easy-to-follow whitelisting instructions. Email Whitelisting Instructions

On your Thank You page

Another key location for your email whitelisting instructions is a Thank You page. If someone signs up for your emails or a course, you can offer up whitelisting instructions then. So we not only asked people to whitelist AWeber in our What to Write Welcome email, but we also did it on the Thank You page. email whitelisting instructions SEO mastermind and Backlinko founder Brian Dean also includes whitelisting instructions on his Thank You page. You can see them in the P.S. section below the screenshot of his AWeber confirmation email. Related: Writing Confirmation and Welcome Emails People Love [Backlinko] Stage One Startup reminds subscribers that their confirmation email may have landed in the promotions tab. They encourage you to drag it over to the primary tab to whitelist their email address. Email Whitelisting Instructions

How does a subscriber whitelist your email address?

It can vary depending on the ISP. Here are examples of some of the more popular clients that your subscribers might be using to receive emails. Under each section are steps on how to whitelist a sender’s email address inside that client. Feel free to direct them to that article for the specifics on how they could process this in their own email client, so you don’t have to reinvent the wheel!

Whitelisting is only part of the equation

Keep in mind, while whitelisting can help you reach the inbox, you won’t stay there long if subscribers don’t like what they get from you. So keep striving for the most relevant, useful content possible! AWeber provides you with the best-in-class educational content to help you succeed. Our team of email experts constantly creates new courses, guides, podcasts, and articles (like this one!), and hosts live webinars and coaching sessions to help you crush your business goals with email marketing. Begin your free, 30-day trial with us today! This article was updated on March 19, 2019. Additional reporting by Amanda Gagnon.

The post What Is Email Whitelisting and Why Is It So Important? appeared first on Email Marketing Tips.

21 Creative Email Ideas for People Who Don’t Like to Write

You don’t need to write a 1,000-word blog post to have content for your next email newsletter or automated email series. In fact, you don’t need to write anything at all. You can forget about writer’s block and try one of these 21 creative ideas instead. They’re simple, easy, and proven to work — the pros use them all the time!

1. Videos

Adding video to your emails can increase click rates by 300%, according to one study from MarTech Advisor. To put that in perspective, if you average 1,000 clicks each email, adding a video would increase that to 4,000. If you create videos regularly, promote them in your emails. Fitness Expert Betty Rocker shares her new and popular workout videos with email marketing. Related: Your Guide to Brainstorming Creative Video Ideas

2. Podcast episodes

Have a podcast? Add it to your next email newsletter to increase downloads. Notice how Productivity Expert Michael Hyatt uses a captivating story to introduce his latest podcast episode in the email below. Did you know that subscribers can actually play and listen to your podcast episode directly from an email? With AWeber’s Curate app, you can simply add your new episode to a newsletter, and the app will automatically generate the code for you. You can see this feature in action below with the Would You Rather Newsletter, a weekly message that presents “Would you rather… ?” scenarios. Related: 4 Easy Ways Podcasters Can Use Email to Grow Their Audiences

3. Quotes

People love inspiring or motivating quotes. We know, because we include a quote in many of our FWD: Thinking newsletters, and our readers love it. And many of the most successful newsletters mix quotes into their content as well, like financial newsletter Finimize with this quote from Pearl S. Buck.

Need quote inspiration? Check out BrainyQuote. It’s like an encyclopedia of quotes.

4. Webinars, tutorials, and workshops

What’s the #1 way to get people to register for your webinars? For us, it’s email. A single email can contribute hundreds, even thousands, of registrants. Email is what other experts rely on too. Below, Joanna Wiebe, Founder of Copy Hackers, promotes her workshop with an email that explains the key takeaways subscribers will get.

Related: The Not-So-Secret Tactic to Growing Your Email Audience Really Quickly

5. Industry news or updates

You’re an expert in your industry, whether that’s fitness, writing, nutrition, travel, or business. Subscribers join your list to learn important information about your industry, like the latest news and updates. For example, if you’re a fitness expert, this might be a brand-new meta-analysis or research study that further proves the science behind high intensity interval training. Morning Brew, a newsletter that relays the latest news from Wall St. to Silicon Valley, adds stock market updates to the top of their emails to keep subscribers up-to-date on the market.

6. Instagram posts

Your Instagram posts don’t need to stay on Instagram. Repurpose them in your next email newsletter. Your post will get more exposure, and you won’t need to hope and pray that Instagram’s algorithm will display it in your followers’ feeds. Take a look at how Marketing Expert Gary Vaynerchuk links off to one of his popular Instagram posts in the email below.

Pro tip: You can use AWeber’s Curate app to drag Instagram posts (or any content!) into your next newsletter in seconds.

7. Facebook live videos

If you create Facebook live videos, promote them in your email newsletters. More people will watch the video. (Facebook loves that.) And you can save time by reusing your social content for your email newsletter. (You love that.) Fitness and productivity expert Chalene Johnson gets thousands of people to watch her Facebook live videos. Her secret? She promotes her videos on social and in her email newsletters.

8. Tweets

The lifespan of a Tweet is 18 minutes. Which means your carefully-crafted Tweets gather cobwebs after only 18 short minutes. What are the chances your followers will actually be on Twitter during that brief period? I wouldn’t bet your business on it. Increase the lifespan of your great Twitter content by talking about it in your next email newsletter. You can even include Tweets from other successful companies, like Brass Ring Daily — a newsletter for career, productivity, and writing advice — does below.

Related: 9 Ways to Grow Your Email List with Twitter

9. Social campaigns

Sharing social content isn’t the only way to use email to get more social engagement. You can also encourage your subscribers to post about your brand on social. Ask them to share a testimonial on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook. Or, get them to post with a hashtag on a social platform, like travel company Topdeck does in this email.

10. Subscriber information

People love to see their name in lights. Mention subscribers in your newsletter if it’s their birthday or when they take a certain action. The daily newsletter theSkimm has millions of subscribers. Yet, in every newsletter, they still call out their subscribers’ birthdays and highlight people who are doing great things.

11. Pictures

Have beautiful or funny photos and an audience who would love to see them? Put them in your next newsletter. Buzzfeed has a weekly newsletter about cats (Sorry, dog people. There’s not a dog newsletter . . . yet.). Readers send Buzzfeed pictures of their cats, and Buzzfeed adds them to the newsletter with a brief description.

Related: How to Create Amazing Photos for Your Emails on Zero Budget

12.  Book recommendations

If you like to read, this tip is for you! Recommend the good books you’re reading to your subscribers. If the books are relevant to them, they’ll appreciate it. Plus, it’s an easy newsletter content idea for you. The Brain Food Weekly Digest is a newsletter dedicated to helping you become a better version of yourself by sharing educational content. Shane Parrish, the creator of the newsletter, often shares what he’s currently reading.

13. Questions and answers

Do your subscribers ask you certain questions again and again? Answer one of those common questions in your next newsletter. This will increase engagement by making your newsletter interactive. See how financial newsletter Finimize adds a question and answer to their email below.

14. Special offers or deals

If you have a limited-time or can’t-miss deal, add it your newsletter so subscribers don’t miss out. Liberty Travel always includes vacation deals in their popular email newsletter.

15. Events

Events, whether they’re virtual or at a physical location, take a lot of preparation and effort. Make the most of all that work and fill more seats by promoting your next event in an email newsletter. Nomadic Matt, a successful travel blogger, promotes all of his Travel Meet-ups with email.

16. Stories

Calling all authors! This idea is for you. Your subscribers love to read. Share short stories, poems, or chapters from your book in your email newsletter. It’s the perfect content for your bookworm audience, and can help increase your book sales or downloads. Publisher Penguin Random House sends a newsletter with one section from a short story inside. You have to read the next email to continue the story, which keeps subscribers coming back for more.

17. Tools

Great newsletters solve their audience’s problems and answer their questions. That’s why subscribers continue to open and read them. While educational content is an excellent way to teach your audience, it doesn’t help them actually do the work to resolve their problems. Tools, on the other hand, make it easier for them to accomplish tasks. For example, we created a tool called Email Libs to help our audience write their email content in a few minutes. They just answer a few simple questions about their business, and the tool generates email content. If you know of a tool that could save your subscribers’ time, whether you created it or someone else did, link off to it in your newsletter. In a recent TotalAnnarchy newsletter, MarketingProf’s Chief Content Officer Ann Handley dedicates an entire section to useful tools she used that week.

  Related: 12 Free Tools to Create Jaw-Dropping Email Images

18. Plans or steps

If your subscribers would like to accomplish something and they’re not sure how to do it, add a plan or detailed steps to your newsletter to show them how. Every week, Food blogger and founder of Skinnytaste Gina Homolka sends her subscribers a meal plan filled with healthy recipes. It makes her subscribers’ lives easier. Instead of spending hours planning their weekly meals, they can use Gina’s simple plan.

19. Trivia questions or riddles

Asking questions in your newsletter is a great way to increase engagement. Instead of simply reading your newsletter, your subscribers will interact with it. Morning Brew often includes a trivia question in their newsletters. They give the answer at the bottom of the email so subscribers have to keep reading to see it.

20. Courses

The global market for online education reached $255 billion in 2017, and it’s not slowing down (according to World Economic Forum). Millions of people buy online courses in order to upgrade their knowledge and skills. Dreaming of creating your own free course for email subscribers? You don’t need a course platform to do it. Just use email. Build an automated email series with 1 or 2 days between emails. Then, each email in your series can be 1 lesson of your course. The entire lesson could be within the email or you could link off to a video or landing page that hosts the lesson. Talia Wolf, conversion expert and Founder of GetUplift, promotes her email course as a lead magnet (a.k.a freebie) on her email sign up form. Once people sign up, she delivers the course lessons through a daily message. Related: How to Create Your First Email Course or Email Challenge

21. Blog posts or articles

“Wait a minute … At the beginning, you said I didn’t need to write a blog post!” You don’t. Include great blog posts and articles created by other companies in your next newsletter. This is called curation, and it saves people time because they don’t need to search the internet to find the content. It’s delivered right to their inbox. Dave Pell writes NextDraft, a successful newsletter with thousands of subscribers. He fills each email with educational blog posts and articles. The surprising part? The majority of the articles aren’t written by Pell. They’re written by other people. But they’re still valuable to his subscribers, which is why they keep reading.

Related: 4 Email Newsletter Ideas for Bloggers

Put these ideas to the test.

These 21 ideas prove that you can add any kind of content to your next newsletter, as long as it’s valuable to your subscribers. Now that your creative juices are flowing, it’s time to try these ideas out! Create a free AWeber account today and get started.

The post 21 Creative Email Ideas for People Who Don’t Like to Write appeared first on Email Marketing Tips.

Now in AWeber! Curate Updates, Campaign Copying, and More

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The 3 Best Copywriting Formulas for Email Marketing

copywriting formulas

Wouldn’t it be nice to have a recipe to follow when it came to writing your emails? A recipe that not only sparks interest among your subscribers, but also encourages them to complete a call-to-action? You can! Many marketers use copywriting formulas, which are proven structures to help you write more effective copy faster. Copywriting formulas provide a starting point to help you organize your message for the most persuasive impact. It’s how you turn so-so copy into killer copy, and convert subscribers into buyers. Take a look at three tried-and-true copywriting formulas that are perfect for email marketing, below. You can also use them on your social media feeds or in blog headlines, too! That way, you reach your audience no matter where they are.

Copywriting Formulas for Email Marketing

Formula 1: F-A-B

You understand your product or service from the inside out, but it can be tough to communicate all the important details about it in an email or two. Plus, you run the risk of losing your reader’s interest if you drone on too long about your product features. Yes, it’s important to explain the features of your product — but where the magic happens is when you connect those features with the advantages and benefits they bring to your customers. With the F-A-B formula (which stands for Features, Advantages, Benefits), you can touch on your product’s bells and whistles, but you focus on why a person would find your product beneficial. Here’s the breakdown:

  • Feature: Briefly explain the elements of your product. Keep it short and sweet.
  • Advantages: Highlight why these features are unique and how they can make a difference in your customer’s business, life, etc.
  • Benefits: Showcase the value of your product and how it can solve your customer’s problems.

The emphasis is on why your product’s features are great and how they can help your customers rather than dissecting each feature ad naseaum. So, how can you implement this formula? It might look something like this:

{Insert feature} will help you {insert advantage} so you can {insert benefit}

Example of F-A-B in a Tweet: Our wireless Smart Robot Vacuum will clean your pet’s hair off floors and carpets, so you don’t have to spend time chasing down hairballs.

These same principles can be used in subject lines or stretched out to serve as body copy. For the latter, you may expand on the advantage and benefits in multiple paragraphs to really drive the value home.

Formula 2: P-A-S

It may not come as a surprise that P-A-S made our list, but it’s a tried-and-true copywriting formula that works for just about every scenario. In fact, marketing legend Dan Kennedy calls it the most reliable sales formula ever invented. Let’s take a look at how it works:

  • Problem: State your audience’s issue.
  • Agitator: Agitate the problem by talking about why it’s a problem in the first place.
  • Solution: Solve your audience’s issue by presenting your product or service as the solution.

This copywriting formula works best if you focus on the “A” aspect. To “agitate,” you need to stir up all the negative emotions attached to their problem. Make the reader squirm in their seat. Get inside their head. And just before they’re ready to scream “Enough!”, present them with a solution (your product or service!). (Not sure what your audience’s “P” — a.k.a. their biggest problem — is? Here’s a great guide to finding your subscribers’ biggest pain point.) Here’s how you could use it: State a problem: Got pet hair all over your carpet or floor? Agitate the problem: More pet hair means more time sweeping your floors. You’re already busy enough. Do you really want to spend all this extra time cleaning when you could be doing other things? (Like napping or reading or watching Netflix.) Present the solution: Or you could control your pet hair problem with our new Smart Robot Vacuum. Just charge it, turn it on, and get back to your day. Like the F-A-B formula, the P-A-S formula translates well on platforms like Twitter, Facebook, or in headlines because of its directness. Using this same example, you could send a Tweet that says:

Pet hair everywhere? Spending more time cleaning up pet hair means less time for the things you want to do — like napping or watching Netflix. You could spend time sweeping every day, or you could let our Smart Robot Vacuum clean it up FOR you.

The P-A-S formula is excellent for subject lines, but it’s also a fast and easy way to explain your value proposition in a quick way. Many email marketing geniuses use this formula in their own emails. Here’s an example from Paula Rizzo, an AWeber user and a TV producer who has an entire side business called The List Producer. Through this business, she helps customers stay organized with various checklists and courses. Subscribers who sign up for Rizzo’s email below have stated they’re feeling a lack of control in their digital world. Their inbox is overflowing and they can’t keep up! In her first email, Rizzo welcomes her new subscriber, tells them a little bit about her business, and then launches into agitating their problem. The agitation section is shown below: PAS copywriting formula Then, Rizzo hits the reader with a solution: a paid course “Take Back Your Inbox: Stop Drowning in Unread Messages, Respond Quicker and Finally Achieve Inbox Zero.” (Check out all that’s included in her $47 course.)   PAS copywriting formula

Formula 3: A-I-D-A

A-I-D-A is arguably one of the most-used copywriting tactics of all. First, here’s what it stands for:

  • Attention: Catch the reader’s eye.
  • Interest: Pique their interest with a compelling setup.
  • Desire: Make them crave the thing you’re offering.
  • Action: Tell them how to get the thing.

This is a classic formula for selling, so it makes sense to deploy it in an email environment where you want readers to take action and move from their inboxes to the next stepping stone in the conversion path. Here’s how you could use it: Attention: No matter how much you love your pet, there’s probably one thing that drives you nuts. Interest: Pet hair is a never-ending battle (and it’s one you’re always losing). Right? Desire: Smart pet owners know it doesn’t have to be that way. The Smart Robot Vacuum is always on top of hairballs (so you don’t have to be). Action: Click here to get 20% off your purchase today only! With a simple, actionable setup that solves problem and reduces a customer’s pain points, this formula is a sales-driving machine not only in emails, but also on landing pages and in video scripts.

Stretch it out!

You can use these copywriting formulas in one email — or you can expand it over a series of automated emails. For instance, with P-A-S, you could use it over the following 5-email series: Email 1: Introduce the reader’s biggest pain point Email 2: Agitate the problem Email 3: Really get in there! Agitate the problem some more. Start to hint that there may be a solution for their issue… Email 4: Offer the solution — your product or service! Email 5: If the reader doesn’t convert, you can offer a coupon or special incentive to buy. Digital marketer gurus like Amy Porterfield, Henneke Duistermaat, and Jeff Walker have used similar email series when they launch a new online course or product.

Additional copywriting tips

Once you find a copywriting formula that works best for you, keep these tips in mind as you begin writing. Avoid jargon Using words that your customer may not understand is a quick way to lose their interest. Make sure they understand your message and what value you can provide them. Nail the subject line It’s been said a million times, but it rings true. Having a solid subject line that piques the interest of your subscribers will ensure the email content you worked so hard to create has a chance to be seen. Be sure to deploy A/B testing to find your strongest option. Related: 6 Email Split Tests You Can Set Up in 1 Minute Be conversational Being personable with your copy is a great way to engage with your customers and show them that there are real humans behind your brand. Conversational tones not only make your brand sound more relatable, but it’ll ensure your customers understand what you’re saying, too. For more email copywriting advice, check out our full list of copywriting tips.

Formulas save time and maximize ROI

Copywriting formulas are an excellent way to make sure you communicate your message clearly and present it in a way that will be most receptive to your audience. Different formulas work for various products and messages, so keep testing and tracking what you learn from each formula use. Ready to see a greater ROI on your email marketing? Sign up for AWeber today or contact a Customer Solutions member. (Our team is available 24/7 at our Pennsylvania headquarters!)

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10 Steps to Creating a Landing Page That Converts

10 steps to creating a landing page that converts

You’ve got the product or service. And you know it adds value to your target audience. All of the marketing research and testing has told you that. Now all you need to do is convince people to choose it. How do you do that? With an effective landing page. It’s a place where you can send visitors via emails or via your social feeds to tell them about the value of your offer, and have them convert there and then. There is no one-size-fits-all template for high-converting landing pages — there are too many different offers and niches in the world for that to be the case. But there are certain steps you can take for a landing page to be successful regardless of what you’re selling. We’re going to cover all 10 of them.

Step 1: Establish Your USP

Your USP (Unique Selling Point) is the thing that sets you apart from the competition and the reason why people will choose you over everyone else. Studies show that you have less than 15 seconds to capture someone’s attention when they land on your website. That’s how long they’ll stick around before deciding whether what you’re offering is right for them. So you need to impress them, quick. Define a strong, value-driven USP and build your landing page around it. You can do this with headlines and images (we’ll talk more about those soon), or by including a value proposition in your landing page copy. A value proposition is a key component of your small business marketing strategy, and shows the user what they’ll gain when they take action, whether that be filling out a form or making a purchase. Value propositions include:

  • Showing how your product or service compares against a well-known competitor
  • The ROI that can be achieved
  • The monetary value of the product and the saving that can be made by signing up now
  • The success that can be achieved
  • Making it clear that your offer is free
  • A guarantee

Airbnb does this brilliantly. Take a look at how it pairs its USP (earning money by renting a room in your home) with a value proposition (how much you could earn by becoming a host). landing page example

Step 2: Keep the Design Clean and Simple

Everything about your landing page should be geared towards getting the user to complete the transaction. This means removing anything that might draw their attention away from your offer. Make your landing page full width and height, and remove navigation features. This isn’t to say you should scrap scrolling completely, but you should take away any visible arrows or buttons that encourage it. Make the most of white space too. Sometimes, what you leave off the page is as powerful as what you include. White space removes congestion and gives the brain space to think. It also forces the eyes to focus on your offer. Take a look at how the AWeber homepage keeps things simple and clean: landing page example

Step 3: Create Headlines That Hit Home

A landing page will live or die on the strength of its headline. This what grabs a visitor’s attention and compels them to find out more about your offer. Studies show that as many as 80% of people will read the average headline, but only 20% will read the rest of the copy, so it’s important that you nail this part of your page. A good headline should:

  • Immediately grab the attention of your visitors
  • Tell the visitor what your offer is about
  • Be short and sweet

Once the headline has the user invested, you can reinforce your message with a powerful subheadline that persuades them to stay. Your subheadline can go into more detail than the main headline, but you should limit it to no more than a few lines of persuasive copy. Slack does this well on its landing page. landing page example

As does Robinhood.

landing page example

Step 5: Grab Attention With Images

Images are a huge part of landing pages that convert. They’re the first thing that catches the visitor’s eye before they read the headline.

Images are processed 60,000 times faster than text by the brain, so what the visitor sees will influence their immediate opinions about your brand and offer.

Like headlines, use imagery to grab attention. Make them relevant to your product or service.

  • If you’re offering a product, your imagery should be of the product
  • If you’re offering a service, your imagery should relate to what the service is in a way that paints a positive picture in the mind of the user

Remember that you don’t have long to make a good first impression. Make sure images are large and high-quality. Try to stay clear of stock imagery — you don’t want to show visitors something they may have already seen.

Teambit, an employee engagement and performance management platform, is a great example of imagery done well — original illustrations used to capture attention and promote its service:

landing page example

Step 6: Talk Up The Benefits (But Not Too Much)

Including benefits on your page is a way to reassure and persuade visitors that are on the fence. They back up your USP and headlines, and provide users with more information about what you offer.

When it comes to writing out the benefits of your offer, focus on clarity. Clearly explain how what you’re offering can solve the user’s problem. But do it in as few words as possible.

According to MarketingProfs, landing pages with more than 800 words have a 33% lower conversion rate than pages with less than 200 words. Bullet points are a great way to keep things concise and make benefits easily digestible for the user.

Of course, not everything has to be written. Video is a powerful persuasion tool. Research by Eye View Digital shows that using videos on landing pages can increase conversions by 86%. 

Codecademy uses both video and copy for its benefits, dedicating a full section of its landing page to the former:

landing page example

Step 7: Add Social Proof

88% of consumers trust online recommendations as much as personal ones. If you’ve got people that have used your product or service and are happy with it, use their feedback to your advantage.

Including social proof is one more way to convince visitors that your offer is as good as you say it is. It can be added to your landing page in a number of different ways.

  • Customer case studies or testimonials
  • Recommendations from influencers or industry experts
  • Number of users
  • Certifications from trustworthy industry bodies
  • Showing how many of the user’s friends use your service

By the time users get to the social proof section of your landing page, you’ve already captured their attention and interest. What they’re looking for now is confirmation bias — a reason to back up what they’re already feeling.

Basecamp does this well by combining number of users and testimonials for some strong social proof that supports the strength of its offer:

landing page example

Step 8: Include Contact Information

Contact information tells the visitor that you’re a real company. It lets them know that there’s someone behind the landing page, which increases trust.

Including a physical address and contact phone number is the most basic way of adding legitimacy. What those things don’t do, though, is encourage contact. If you want to be helpful to visitors, give them a way to get in touch online. There are three ways you can do this.

  • Include a chat pop-up that follows the visitor down the page, making you available to answer any questions
  • Include a contact form on the page
  • Include a contact call-to-action that clicks through to a dedicated contact page

Related: 9 Inspiring Sign Up Form Ideas to Grow Your Email List

Step 9: Make Calls-to-Action Strong and Clear

Every element of your landing page is designed to get visitors to notice and click on the call-to-action.

Include calls-to-action throughout your landing page, placing them above the fold, at the bottom of the page and two or three times in between. In terms of how it should look, there are some standard rules to follow:

  • Make it big enough not to be missed
  • Always use a button. People are conditioned to expect a button, don’t throw a curveball at them
  • Use a contrasting color that attracts the eye
  • Use words that are valuable and actionable (e.g. “Get your Free Trial,” “Buy Now,” “Download Now,” etc.)

Unbounce places their call-to-action front and center where it’s impossible to miss:

landing page example

Step 10: Test, Test, Test

Landing pages are trial and error. Once you’ve created a page you’re happy with, don’t put it live and just leave it. Always monitor performance and iterate. Look at your analytics weekly and look at performance over time. Use heatmaps and scrollmaps to see how people are interacting with the page and use the information to improve.

If your page isn’t bringing in the number of leads or conversions you expected, tweak elements of the design or copy, or tinker around with the color and positioning of buttons.

Then, run A/B tests to see how the different pages perform against one another. From there, you’ll be able to take the best elements of both to produce a page that gives you bang for your buck.

Related: 6 Email Split Tests You Can Set Up in 1 Minute

Conversions Are Only the First Step

Your landing page converting is a sign that a) it’s working, and b) people are putting their trust in you to deliver on what you say. Repay trust and reward loyalty by emailing customers with content that adds value, personalized offers, and freebies, or letting them know when they left items in their cart. Every dollar spent on email marketing has an ROI of $44. Once a person has opted-in to your email list, use it to your advantage.

Related: How to Get Your First 50 Email Subscribers in 30 Days

Not sure what to include in your emails? Download 45+ free writing templates to learn how to craft emails like a pro. 

  About the author: With nearly a decade of digital marketing experience, Chandal has created content strategies for both the biggest and sometimes the most unexpected markets, while developing strategic relationships with editors and publishers. Chandal contributes to some of the highest authority industry publications, has been featured in industry events and is thrilled to be Acquisio’s Content Director.

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