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.
What kind of content are you posting on your Facebook page?
More importantly, is it getting any engagement?
If you’re using Facebook for your business, you may or may not be having much luck with post engagement. That’s because organic reach for Facebook business pages is pretty low.
Obviously, Facebook is a business. And they’d prefer that you spend money on ads within the platform to advertise your business. They’re not about to make it easy for you to advertise for free.
That’s why I suggest using the platform to build a community around your business—and promote that community as much as you can by making sure your website and other social channels have a link to your Facebook business page.
You should also link your business page to your personal Facebook page (which gets a much better organic reach). Share some of your posts from your business page to your personal Facebook page. It helps people get familiar with your business.
But here’s where I’ll give you a word of caution: Facebook prohibits you from using your personal profile solely for business purposes.
That means if your personal Facebook page has nothing but promos for your business, that’s a no-no—and you’re running the risk of getting shut down.
But you can use your personal Facebook page to speak to your friends AND clients. You can use your page to share client stories, blog previews, and business tips—if you’re doing it from the position of a private individual and not as a business.
Set Your Intent
If you’re using Facebook as a marketing tool (and I really hope you are), you have to know what you expect to get from your effort. What are you trying to accomplish?
Personally, I like to use social media to be…well…social. I like to share photos of my life and funny things my kids say on Instagram. Sometimes those photos and stories end up on my Facebook page, too. For me, that’s part of building my brand awareness. I want my clients to know who I am and what I’m about. I want them to know I’m someone they can relate to.
They can also see the quality of my work from reading the posts on my Facebook page.
Have you identified the goal of your Facebook page yet?
According to one survey by software company Sprout Social, marketers’ social media goals were as varied as the types of businesses surveyed. Some said they wanted to increase brand awareness or increasing community engagement, while others wanted to grow their brand’s audience or drive web traffic.
Without knowing what you want your Facebook page to do, it’s hard to plan content for it.
Then you end up where I was a couple of years ago: just not posting anything.
Share Content Worth Reading
Once you know what you’re using Facebook for, it’s time to come up with good content to help you reach that goal.
For most of my clients, they want to use Facebook to boost their brand awareness. They want people to know them for what they do, and they want to be seen as a leader in their industry.
For that reason, I create content for them that focuses on education and engagement.
Here’s what’s tricky about creating engaging content: It’s not the same across the board.
For one of my clients, the posts I create that ask a question are the ones that always see a higher engagement. For another, it’s the videos I post that get the best response.
That means you’re going to have to try out different types of content and do some detective work. Post several kinds of content for a couple of weeks and see how they perform. Which posts get the most likes? Which ones moved people to comment?
Let the data dictate where you go from there.
5 Types of Content
Have you ever come across a Facebook page where every post is a promotion post? Or a quote? I have. And I always wonder if it’s intentional, or if the person behind the page suddenly realized one day that they hadn’t posted in a while and just threw anything up on the page to make it look active.
I’m not gonna lie: I’ve done it. I’ve opened up my business page and noticed that the most recent post was from 4 months ago.
In a panic, I threw a quote into a design on Canva and whipped it up on my Facebook page—only to realize the 4 posts beneath it were also quotes I’d posted out of desperation over the last year. Oy!
Last winter I decided my fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants posting schedule was definitely not working. I was terribly inconsistent with my social media, which didn’t look good to anyone who stumbled across my page looking for help with their own.
Plus, a stagnant Facebook page leaves people scratching their heads. If the last post I see on someone’s Facebook page is from 2019, are they even still in business?
That’s not so great for brand awareness.
So, I started using the system I’d been using for my clients for a number of years: a post rotation.
It’s evolved quite a bit since the early days of my business when I was offering social media management. Back then I only cycled through 4 types of content, and to be honest, it wasn’t all that good.
Now I cycle through 5 types of content: blogs, promotional posts, value posts, photos (or videos), and engagement posts. With this format, all of my posts achieve my goal of building brand awareness.
More importantly, this system has kept me way more consistent. In fact, I don’t think I’ve missed a Facebook post in about a year. If anyone comes upon my page, there’s always recent content. There’s no doubt I’m still in business.
Think this system might work for you, too? Here’s how I do it:
If you have a blog for your business (or your business is a blog), coming up with this type of content for your Facebook page is going to be really easy. This type of Facebook content will also inadvertently double as a promotional post, since you’re linking to a blog on your own website.
If your business doesn’t have a blog, though, be aware that curating this type of content can take quite a bit of time. And you should always make it clear to your audience why you’re sharing the blog with them. If you just throw a link up on your Facebook page with no context, no one’s going to read it.
Tell your followers what you liked about the blog, what they can learn from it, or why you think it would be valuable to them.
If you’re running a business, I’m going to venture a guess that you’d like people to know about your business—and spend their money on it.
Putting promotional posts on your Facebook page seems like a no-brainer.
But here’s my advice when it comes to creating promotional posts on your Facebook page:
Promote the end result (or transformation) of buying your product or service.
That means you should never post something like this: “My new book, ‘Manifesting the Life You Want’ is available on Amazon now!” Click the link to order your copy.
Would you click that link? I wouldn’t.
Even if I’m interested in learning how to manifest a life that I want, there’s no incentive for me to click and buy the book.
Do you know what would get me to click the link?
A post that talked about where I am and where I could be if I learned manifestation. A post that I could identify with. A post that gave me the feeling that I was missing out on something because I don’t manifest the things I want.
I don’t know the first thing about manifestation, but I sure do like the idea of manifesting a better life. And do you know where I could learn about it? From that book.
That’ll get me to click.
Think of a promotional post as a mini sales page within your Facebook page. It doesn’t have to be long, but it does have to reach the reader on a personal level. It has to promise the reader something that will change their life for the better.
I call these value posts, but I’ve seen them called educational posts, too. The purpose is the same no matter what you call them: to give the reader something they can use right now. It could be providing them with a tip on how to do something or explaining how something works.
I follow a virtual assistant who sometimes posts tips and shortcuts for Excel. And more than once those tips have taught me a simpler or quicker way of doing something that used to take me a long time. Saving time by knowing how to do something more easily is super valuable to me.
Value posts demonstrate your expertise without trying to make a sale. The whole purpose is to give your followers something without asking for anything in return. Then, when they do need to hire an expert, they’ll remember all the great free advice you gave. They’ll remember you.
What skill, technique or method can you teach your audience with a value post on your Facebook page?
If you’re stuck for ideas, think of questions you’re often asked or a skill or software you’re really good at. If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that a lot of the things I do every day are things other people don’t know about (but would love to!)
Photos and Videos
Okay, I’m going to preface this by saying it’s good practice to include some sort of visual element with every Facebook post. That could be a photo, a video, or a gif.
But what I’m talking about here is when the photo or video is the post.
On my Facebook page, I don’t write a lot of text for these types of posts because I use the image or video to tell the story. This post is the perfect example.
Photos and videos are probably the easiest content to come up with. Think about it: How many pictures are on your phone’s camera roll right now? There’s a goldmine of content there!
But your best bet is videos.
There’s a reason more than 500 hours of YouTube videos are watched on the platform every day.
People. Love. Videos.
In fact, according to a study by growth consulting agency Insivia, mobile video consumption increases by 100% every year.
If you’re like me, the thought of stepping in front of the camera makes you a little weak in the stomach. That doesn’t mean I don’t post videos. I just don’t post videos of me (yet!). But I do share videos that I think my followers will enjoy or find useful. Sometimes I post them for pure entertainment, like this one.
One last thing about posting videos: Facebook doesn’t like it when you take people off their platform, so try to post natively to Facebook if you can.
Engagement will improve your reach, plain and simple. If you can boost your engagement, you’ll get more eyeballs on your business page.
When people engage with your Facebook posts, that engagement fuels Facebook’s algorithm. It identifies you as someone who has posts people like, so your posts show up more frequently in their feeds.
I like to use really simple engagement posts. Most of the time, I post easy questions people don’t have to think about much to come up with an answer. And the question has to be one practically anyone could answer:
“What’s your favorite movie?”
“How many masks do you own?”
“Would you rather go camping or take a cruise?”
These survey-type questions are fun and they’re inclusive, which is why they’re effective. Everyone has an opinion! The first time I posted one, I was floored by how many people answered the question.
Test and Tweak
Whatever you’re posting, it’s important to keep in mind when it’s most likely to be seen. If you know that your followers are online in the evenings, post in the evenings. When you post at a time people are more likely to see your content right away, you increase the chance they’ll interact with it.
Experiment with posting different types of content at different times of day. Think about when your audience is online, not when YOU’RE online. And remember that not everyone is in your time zone.
Give yourself time to test out different types of content and then post more of the content that gets the best engagement to use organic reach to your advantage.