You may have heard rumors that email is on its way out. But make no mistake about it: email is still king when it comes to business communications—especially direct-to-consumer marketing.
Sure, text and group channel communications like Slack have made significant headway. But good ole email is still the way most people reach out, respond, and build relationships when they want to connect with new and existing clients.
The downside to this is email is everywhere. And it’s created a phenomenon known as “email blindness,” which is similar to the “junk mail blindness” people developed with its predecessor, snail mail.
Think about it: How many times have you emptied your (physical) mailbox, sorted what was important and then discarded the “junk” mail without a second thought?
Over the past two decades or so, we’ve adopted the same process with our email inboxes.
First, email providers started filtering annoying spam messages (and try to find anyone who didn’t celebrate that advancement!). Then Gmail, the world’s largest email provider, decided to further filter messages into “social” and “promotions” tabs to save you from doing it.
Now, fewer messages than ever are making it through the spam, promotions, and social filters and landing in your main inbox. And if an email actually does make it to your inbox, it still has to make your cut.
Will be one of the emails you delete immediately because it doesn’t appear important? Or will it be one of the thousands that sit unopened forever?
Getting Your Message Across
One of the most common business challenges you’ll face—and what’s keeping you from reaching more clients faster—is identifying how to make the email experience better for the people on your list.
As a coach or consultant, you have to deliver content your recipients want to read. An irresistible subject line might get them to click, but if what they get inside is always disappointing, they quickly develop email blindness to your emails.
So here are 5 ways to improve your email content and get more people to read what you’re sending them.
1. Make it personal
The biggest mistake marketers, salespeople, and business owners make when they email potential clients is sending cold emails.
If you don’t want to run the risk of falling victim to email blindness, make it a rule that you never send an email without a personal element to it. That could be anything from including your name in the “from” field to mentioning a mutual friend who encouraged you to send the email.
The easiest way to do this is simply add a sentence about how you met or why you’re contacting them, even if it was just from an introduction through their network of contacts. For example:
“Hi, Tom! I’m reaching out to you because Sarah mentioned you’re looking for someone to help you with your email marketing.”
Look at every single email you send to new contacts and ask yourself if the recipient will instantly know who you are. If the answer is no, you’ve got some work to do!
2. Be concise
Nothing makes a reader tune out like a wall of text or an email that looks like a small novel.
You have only a few seconds to capture your contact’s attention, so use it wisely.
And how many times have you seen an email come in that looks like this:
“Hi Rachel, I came across your article in Forbes and thought you might be interested in our service. If so, please let me know…”
Pretty boring, right?
Boilerplate text is easy to recognize and using it is a surefire way to make your new contact feel like you don’t care about them.
Here’s a better idea: Start with a personalized greeting, especially when you’re reaching out to someone for the first time. This reminds the reader who they’re speaking with and keeps things on a more conversational level.
3. Add a call to action
This is especially important if you’re using email as a lead generation tool or for outreach purposes. But it’s also good practice when you’re reaching out to someone for the first time–or at least after they’ve taken an interest in what you have to say.
A call to action is a sentence or statement that clearly tells the recipient what you want them to do next. It could be a prompt to book a call with you, or simply telling them to reply if they’d like more information about the subject of your email
No matter what the email’s intent, it’s smart to give clear guidance on what you want the reader to do next.
4. Keep the reader in mind
Before you compose your email, think about who will be on the receiving end. What are their circumstances? Are they a busy executive? A stay-at-home mom? An entrepreneur who’s juggling everything in their business? Whatever their situation, it’s important to write your email in a way they can relate to.
This also means keeping your tone and language appropriate. Use words that your audience would use themselves. That means using everyday language you’d use in a face-to-face conversation. (Yes, even slang sometimes!)
5. Use images and videos
The internet has an endless supply of content, and it’s all competing for your reader’s attention. You have to get creative to keep your reader’s interest. One way to do this is to occasionally add an interesting picture or gif to keep your reader curious and entertained.
You can use infographics or videos, too, but don’t use them just for the sake of using them. Choose ones that are relevant to your message. If you’re adding a video clip or a snippet from an article or blog, make sure you include a link to the full video or blog.
Even though text messages and messaging apps are popular ways to communicate with friends and family, email is still the most effective way for you to connect with prospects and existing clients.
If you’ve been working on building your email list and staying in contact with the people on it, give these email tips a try. You just might find you get better responses, avoid spam and other filters, and get more leads for your coaching or consulting business.
I know you’re always looking for new and creative ways to encourage engagement on your social media posts. So am I. I’m not immune to the fact it can be painfully difficult to get people to leave a comment or share your content.
There are the tried-and-true strategies that work pretty well. The ‘ole “comment or tag someone to be entered” type of contest comes to mind.
And that will get you some engagement. But only for as long as the contest runs.
Then you’re back to crickets.
Meanwhile, your post is probably annoying more people than it’s attracting. I’ve been tagged in the same post multiple times by several Facebook friends trying to win a contest.
Good on you if you want to enter to win a new set of patio furniture or free tickets to a wine tour. But why do you have to drag your friends into it?
These kinds of posts don’t really do much to create a relationship within your audience anyway. After all, if there weren’t an incentive, would they comment or share? Probably not.
So how can you get that kind of attention without bribing people with a giveaway?
Organic Reach is… Tough
It’s no secret organic reach is tough to get with your Facebook business page. Unless your audience engages with your content, your social posts won’t end up in their feeds.
It’s a similar story for Instagram. The algorithm’s job is to feed you content you’re interested in. And how does it know what you’re interested in?
It studies the content you interact with.
Knowing that, it’s crucial for you to put out content that’ll get people to react–whether it’s with a thoughtful comment below your post or even sharing it with their audience.
The good news is, it doesn’t have to be hard. You don’t have to rack your brain to come up with clever ways to get people to engage. In fact, doing these 5 things consistently will boost engagement on your social posts:
Share the Content of Your Followers
Communication is a two-way street and so is engagement. Try sharing content that your followers post, and they’ll be more inclined to return the favor. They’ll want to give your post a little boost when you’ve already done the same for them.
This is an especially smart move if a follower has posted something about your business, like a purchase they made, a picture they took at your location, or a review of your business.
When they make a post or share a story on Instagram, reshare it to your business page with a caption like, “Thanks for stopping in,” or “We’re glad you enjoyed your [product/service].”
It’s a super simple way to share their content but still keep your feed on-brand.
With this strategy, you’re creating a more personalized experience with your audience (which creates loyalty and boosts engagement). You’re also encouraging your followers to create posts about your business because they know it could be shared on your page. That’s a no-lose proposition!
Social media is about being social. No one wants to talk with a business. It’s impersonal, and it reinforces the idea that business pages only exist as a marketing tool to make money (which may be true, but you don’t have to remind your followers of that).
Just like you, your audience wants to connect with other people. They want to connect with you. Be personable. It’ll make your followers more likely to engage.
Here’s an example: Let’s say you run an independent bookstore. Your social media page might include information about your hours, sales, upcoming book releases, events, etc. That’s informative, but it’s not giving anyone a reason to connect with you.
Why not take it to the next level and create posts that give book recommendations based on what your staff members are reading?
Your audience won’t only get a steady stream of information about the titles you carry, but they’re able to make connections with your staff based on reading interest. It gives your audience a chance to comment and say, “Wow, I loved that book, too!” Or they may even make recommendations of their own.
Whenever you can, show the people who work behind the scenes through snippets of everyday life in your business. People want to talk to people—and people buy from people (not companies).
Learn When Your Audience is Most Active
It’s hard to increase engagement if you don’t know when your audience is online. Posting too early in the morning or too late in the day might get your content buried in their newsfeeds. Be intentional about the days and times in which you post.
Most social media platforms now provide analytics that let you know when your audience is most active. Break it down by day of the week and time of day. Then, strategically plan your posts to publish just before peak engagement times.
Respond to Comments
One of the easiest ways to encourage people to comment on your posts is to respond when they do. If you have a small following, try to respond to each comment quickly. If you have a larger following, and comments come in faster than you can respond, spend some time engaging with as many as you can.
If you can’t comment on all of them, try to at least leave a reaction to their comment. Personally, I prefer to use the heart emoji over the thumbs-up emoji. (Maybe that’s just me be over-enthusiastic.)
When you respond to comments, you’re telling your followers that you appreciate their engagement and you’re interested in what they have to say. It can be something as simple as a thank you when they leave a positive comment, or a longer response when they ask a question.
You may even start to recognize some of your more frequent commenters and build a relationship with them. That’s when you can reference them in old comments or tag them in content you think they may find interesting. All of this builds a sort of mutual engagement that creates loyalty and boosts engagement even further.
Create Posts That Spur conversation
This is a really basic strategy, which is probably why it’s so effective. Create posts that spark a conversation by encouraging viewers to share what they think.
These conversation starters don’t have to require deep thought. It could be something as simple as comparing two similar products and asking customers which one they like best and why.
You’ll often see this strategy in action by businesses that sell handmade jewelry or some other handmade item.
The post might have a picture showing two plates, with copy that reads, “We can’t decide which glaze we like better on these ceramic plates: green or blue. What do you think?”
Not only are you encouraging your followers to comment, but you also get some feedback on your products. When they give it, don’t forget to respond to their comments!
So there you have it: 5 easy ways to boost engagement on your social media posts.
None of these strategies is particularly advanced. They don’t have to be to work. The trick to building a good relationship with your audience is to put in the work.
Show excitement about their content, their comments, and publish posts that spark their interest and curiosity. When you do, your followers will naturally want to comment and share more often—no “like and share this post” incentive needed.