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A few principles to keep in mind when trying to create email messages to connect with your audience.

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Online engagement

  1. engagement Engagement is a word that means many different things: What comes to mind when you hear the word “engagement”?
  2. diagram it can be an appointment, a new job, connecting two things together…
  3. Battle? Often we view our online engagement as a battle: we need to overcome the resistance of our target, and get them to sign up for… whatever it is that we’re talking about.
  4. Online engagement When trying to reach a large audience, the best advertising creates a character that we can care about, and ties them closely to a brand. In this case, it was possible via social media to have an actual conversation with the character from that advertising. Is this the best example of online engagement yet? Some commentators think that its combination of social media, advertising, and product placement makes it so.
  5. It takes a big team to do something like this. http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/how_old_spice_won_the_internet.php
  6. What about us?
  7. beyond “let’s put our old stuff up on the web” http://www.flickr.com/photos/7941044@N06/2865644230
  8. Keeping it simple For my example, I’m going to talk about something that we use every day: email.
  9. online engagement: using digital means to generate interest in your message I want to suggest that the way we use email (and any other digital means) should be that of a courtship.
  10. Did you get my email? http://www.flickr.com/photos/undream/2100521994/ This isn’t quite what I’m talking about.
  11. how does an institution build a connection with its audience? http://www.flickr.com/photos/24100730@N08/4014629377
  12. One clear tailored message at a time.
  13. you might think you're talking to a crowd. http://www.flickr.com/photos/acousticskyy/3651475141/
  14. you're not.
  15. you have an audience of one http://www.flickr.com/photos/acousticskyy/3593761024/
  16. online engagement is a courtship If you propose – if you make that big request - without building the connection first, you'll get nowhere.
  17. how do we build the connection?
  18. Get to know your user.
  19. What does their online life look like? http://www.flickr.com/photos/fncll/135465558/
  20. When do they access your message? Ideally, you want to find a time when they’re interested in reading something, and they’re not overwhelmed with a lot of same-y emails to work through: that gives you the best chance of having your message read.
  21. Are they online from the start of the day? http://www.flickr.com/photos/montage_man/1473232665/ If someone is checking their email then, they’ll likely be inundated with emails from any overseas sites they’ve subscribed to. If you have a way of getting their day off to a good start, this might be a good time to send a message out.
  22. Are they checking their messages late at night? Late at night, they probably have other commitments to worry about. How internet savvy is your target audience? http://www.flickr.com/photos/62337512@N00/1427324899
  23. What device are they using? http://www.flickr.com/photos/johanl/4365558047/ Google breaks down mobile users into three behaviour groups: "Repetitive now“ – waiting for the latest update to a piece of data "Bored now“ – time to kill "Urgent now” – need to know something *right now*
  24. Do you have their complete attention? http://www.flickr.com/photos/tallkev/4082110101/ We like to imagine that people are sitting down with a cup of coffee, have cleared their desk, and are concentrating on what we’re telling them. In reality, they are battling any number of distractions.
  25. How they use a computer http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2010/06/06/business/kord-pano.html When you read a brochure, it’s generally the only thing that you’re doing. When you use a computer, there are all kinds of built-in distractions – perhaps more than you think! Here is an example of a power-user working on their computer. The blue circle grows in size the longer they look at one thing on screen.
  26. Your message: more important to you than to them. http://www.flickr.com/photos/64419960@N00/3545127104 The biggest trap that a message-sender falls into is over-estimating how important their user finds the message.
  27. Have a good relationship?
  28. They’ll read your message.
  29. Ignoring everyone? http://newyorker.tumblr.com/post/862788932/cartoon-of-the-day You don’t want to go on someone’s “ignore” list.
  30. Are you listening to them? http://www.flickr.com/photos/sonofgroucho/3346955081 Before you send a message, have you worked out how you’re going to respond if your user tries to get in touch? Have you made it easy for them to contact you?
  31. What to say.
  32. Conversation: Quantity http://www.flickr.com/photos/35444427@N00/4801604476 The right amount of information – not too much, not too little.
  33. Conversation: Quality Nothing false, nothing for which you lack evidence.
  34. Conversation: Relevant You can use what you know about the person to include or exclude content. This helps cut down on the parts of the message that will just bore or irritate them.
  35. Conversation: Manner Not obscure; Not ambiguous; Be brief; Be orderly
  36. Subject line If you can get past their spam filter, and perhaps their executive assistant, this might be as far as you get in your communication with them. Are you giving them a reason to open the message?
  37. Does your message still work if the images haven’t been downloaded?
  38. Breaking it off http://www.flickr.com/photos/82862943@N00/367490867/ Don’t smother them – give them a way to end the relationship. If you try to hang onto them too tightly, you’ll lose them. Unsubscribe links can also help you get past the “spam” filter.
  39. write for scanning, not reading Use headings where you can. Use images and formatting to allow people to get an overview of the message, even they don’t read it all.
  40. every message needs a call to action What do you want them to do – is it clear to them?
  41. Practice this every time you send an electronic message
  42. Write the message your user wants to read…
  43. …and wants to share with others.
  44. CHECKLIST Before you hit send: • is this a message they want to read? • is this a message they want to share? • Have you told this in a human way? • Have you made it as uplifting as you can? Does this help them see the world in a new way?
  45. And one last thing
  46. Checking the health of your relationship Don’t just think that everything is fine in the relationship because they signed up once upon a time. http://www.flickr.com/photos/undream/2100521994/
  47. Analytics • Are people opening your message? • Are they clicking through? • Keep improving your messages
  48. final piece of the old spice story
  49. Summary • Get to know your user • Send messages they want to read • Be ready for the proposal when the moment comes
  • yaseend

    Jul. 13, 2011
  • mbjorn

    Nov. 26, 2010
  • pauld

    Nov. 26, 2010
  • sanjaybanerjee

    Nov. 25, 2010
  • JeehyePaek

    Nov. 25, 2010
  • MinJooLee

    Nov. 24, 2010

A few principles to keep in mind when trying to create email messages to connect with your audience.

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