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5 Email Strategies from Tumblr to Help You Increase User Engagement and Conversion

These five email strategies from the worlds largest media sites like Tumblr will help you increase user engagement and conversion too.

Tumblr sites get over 20 billion page views per month.

Online media is changing rapidly. Whilst old-world media outlets and newspapers rapidly try to work out how to stay relevant and monetize in an online world, ad networks and new-age media like Twitter, Tumblr and Pinterest are exploding.

One thing in all of this is clear: savvy, successful publishers understand the power of email to increase user engagement, readership and revenue.

Here are five email marketing tactics you can learn from the best in the publishing industry.

You can apply each of them your own business, no matter what you sell.

1. Personalization, personalisation, personalisation

The name of the game in publishing is to serve customers articles they want to read.

Ensuring customers are engaged and the maximum amount of time on your site means more advertising revenue. New-age publishers like Twitter, Tumblr and Pinterest really lead the charge when it comes to email personalisation.

Tumblr’s recommendation newsletters are a great example of A/B testing at work. Their variations range from the visually dynamic (this was an animated GIF):

Automated email Tumblr trending

…to the experimental:

Behavioral email campaign Tumblr Go

Similarly, Twitter use your followers, people you follow and trending data to recommend new tweets that are personally relevant to you:

Twitter what is trending email

The point of the this campaign is to get you more engaged in Twitter, to ensure you spend more time on the site and, of course, to get you to generate more awesome content.

To round out examples of personalisation, Pinterest recently sent this email to our inbox, a great example of how targeted you can be:

Pinterest targeted email marketing

Personalization based on customer actions on your site and their interactions with your content is the holy grail (like the above).

It’s not easy to achieve but Pinterest and others show that with the right tools it can be achieved.

4. Roll out the red carpet for new customers

Publishers like DailyCandy and Nerdiest make tens of millions of dollars a year, primarily thanks to their large subscriber databases.

Just like eCommerce stores and SaaS businesses, your customers’ initial experience with your business is a vital one.

SIgn up is your best (perhaps only) chance to truly impress your customers. It’s the perfect time to welcome and educate.

DailyCandy send out a welcome email like the one below. It’s a fantastic example of great email copy. It has the right tone, perfectly representing DailyCandy’s brand, such as “Think you’re the only one with bills to pay?”. Plus, it aims to make the recipient feel special: You’re one of us now.

Welcome email DailyCandy

Nerdist do a similar thing, welcoming new users. They make it clear that a) they can unsubscribe at any time and that b) they should add Nerdist to their contact book. Both smart tactics: being open and honest about unsubscription helps build an engaged list whilst getting into your customer’s address book increases deliverability rates.

Nerdist Welcome Email Campaign

A great campaign idea, regardless of the industry, is to target new signups that haven’t yet actually interacted with your site with a different strategy.

This sounds obvious but is done less than it deserves to be. These days it’s super easy to track when a customer signs up and super easy to track all of their actions.

For example, rather than continuing to bombard customers that haven’t interacted with your business you could this drastically different approach, like Fab.com:

Fab.com automatically unsubscribe customers

You should use the opportunity of targeting this segment as a golden chance to get them re-engaged in your product. If an email like the one from Fab above doesn’t get attention then nothing will!

3. Drive your customers to re-purchas wherever possible

Online publishers make money via online advertising.

Some publishers control their own ad platforms whilst others earn revenue through intermediaries like Google AdSense. Google are extremely adept at using lifecycle email to get AdWords customers spending more.

Not only do Google focus on getting you activated with AdWords quickly:

AdWords Welcome Email Campaign

…they also send you lifecycle emails at key points in your engagement with the product that focus on three things:

1) Keeping your account topped up, 2) Getting you to create new ads, 3) Ensuring your ads make you more and more money (increasing LTV).

All of these approaches aim for the same goal: increasing your spending on the network.

Their reminder emails are simple, like the one below:

AdWords Email Running Low

Whilst their emails designed to get your creating more effective and diverse ads are a little more sophisticated:

AdWords Email Try This Feature

These emails work well as they use statistics and personalised content in conjunction with targeted events to convert recipients.

LinkedIn are increasingly a large publisher of user-generated content. They also run their own ad network.

Here’s an example from LinkedIn that aims to get business users to start using their paid ads:

LinkedIn Buy Ads

Twitter do something similar, letting their customers know about their new ad platform. This is an example of a great newsletter they sent that harnesses social proof and the recipient customer’s own details to great success:

Twitter Ad Platform Email

Perfect Audience are a Facebook and display retargeting platform that use email a lot. They use the power of psychology to make advertisers feel good, with emails like this ‘conversion success’ notification:

Perfect Audience Conversions

They also send out summary emails designed to emphasise the impact their platform is having on your business.

If you work with or manage your own advertising platform then email is an extremely effective tool to get your customers spending more for longer.

It’s all about striking the right tone and the right time. Data-driven segmentation is the key here.

4. Social and email play nicely together

Building on the Twitter example in part one, Twitter also use personalised data to recommend profiles you should follow:

Twitter email people you know

Twitter makes great use of the extremely detailed data they have to give you recommendations that are relevant, keeping you on the platform.

Twitter is built around social, so this is only natural. Thinking about what you can do to encourage social sharing of your own content can begin with most basic social integration – Facebook and Twitter share or profile buttons in the sidebar:

Nerdist social email marketing

If you’re not doing this, then shame on you.

For an example of innovative thinking and a really interesting case of combining social data with publishing data comes from Disqus.

Disqus are not a publisher, per se, but they are an increasingly important part of the online blogging world and recommendations within that sphere.

Their digest emails connect you with the comments you’ve made, where you’ve made them and responses from other readers. This is an interesting subset of email marketing within the publishing world and food-for-thought on how you might use your own commenting system or recommendations to build a community:

Disqus digest email

Always think outside the box!

Combining social data into the emails you’re already sending makes sense: it gives you an instant increase in your reach by leveraging your readers’ networks.

5. Advertise and cross-sell like crazy

Advertising in email campaigns and cross-selling related products is something publishers are particularly good at.

Companies like DailyCandy have many promotional emails that directly reference product offers or sales. They do so in an editorial way, blurring the lines between direct selling and publishing.

Take this example selling Mara and Mine shoes:

DailyCandy Shoes Offer Email

…or this example for Dove deodorant:

DailyCandy Email Marketing

Segmenting your list and advertising related products to potentially interested consumers is a money-making machine.

Monocle, a UK-based paper magazine, is a savvy publisher too. They use their newsletter to sell their own branded products and to cross-promote content, partnerships and other tidbits from around their network:

Monocle Offer Email

Perhaps most effective (and even a little ironic 😉 is the way Monocle use their email list to convert subscribers to their print magazine (the core of the business):

Monocle Print Edition Offer Email Marketing

If you’re employing the strategy of sending offers to your readers then your focus should be on segmentation. Without segmentation it’s unlikely your cross-sell will lead to conversions, sales and revenue.

This tactic can work for anyone and in comes in many forms. Here’s an example from Verizon:

Verizon up sell email marketing

Another example of a subtle but effective upsell in an otherwise completely transactional email.

Think about each and every email you send as an opportunity to upsell and create ‘expansion’ revenue for your business.

Think about what other features, products or content you can share to get customers more engaged with your business instantly.

Publish your next campaign and profit

The tips above come from some of the world’s largest online publishers.

They’ve got millions to spend on testing and finding campaigns that convert customers.

So why not borrow these ideas for your next campaign? From welcome emails to segmented newsletters, these are ideas that any online business can benefit significantly from.

What campaign will you create next?

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