DJ is the former Director of Community at Blue Sky Factory. He's also worked at Bronto, an email service provider. He's a professional speaker in the social media and email marketing industry and an all around nice guy.
In this episode, we chat about:
Email marketing takeaways he has gained over the years
How to improve email open rates
Tips on Growing your email list
What it takes to manage a community
What to think about when hiring a community manager
"I think the key really is to send timely, targeted, valuable emails to people who want them. It's easy to say. It's not necessarily easy to do."
You should only send emails to people who want to receive them. These are people who have opted in and volunteered to engage with you this way, and who are excited about it.
Also consider how relevant your emails are to subscribers, and the timeliness of those emails. Always keep in mind what is valuable to subscribers (not just what you think is valuable). It should be a mix of marketing and educational content.
Email Open Rates
"The number that we bat around a lot is 20% as an average open rate. If you're above 20%, you're probably doing better than average. Below, you may want to think about it."
A good email open rate depends on a lot of factors - if your list is segmented and targeted, if the email was just sent to the whole list, etc. The further out the person is on the purchase cycle (e.g., they haven't bought from you in a year), the lower the email open rate.
"The first thing is a subject line. The second thing is trust and knowing the sender."
There are two big things that drive the open of an email. The first is an appealing email subject (something to catch the eye of the person who's scanning their inbox), and the second is knowing and trusting the sender.
Growing Your Email List
"You want to know the number one way to grow your list? It's to put it on your website."
Don't hide your subscription form on your website. Make it plainly visible.
Only ask for essential information (email address, name, etc) from people. After people sign up, send them to a page that confirms their sign-up. Also, send them a confirmation email so they know they're signed up.
Being and Hiring a Community Manager
"If your title has social media or community in it, you have to know how to communicate."
Community managers also have to be able to respond well to a crisis and be comfortable being on the front lines.
If you're making the commitment to have an active Twitter account, Facebook page, LinkedIn company profile, etc, then it's time to hire someone to manage those things because you need to be all-in when it comes to social media. People can tell when you're not making the effort (e.g., haven't tweeted in a month).
"I knew that I wanted to do write a blog post and say, 'I'm available.' I've seen people do that before. It's interesting, but if you're not hiring, who cares?"
He put together a video montage of recommendations from heavy-hitters (like Chris Brogan, Jason Falls, and Peter Shankman). He created an interactive resume. He also created a voiceover of his resume and talked people through it.
The response has been impressive, with over 6,000 views of his resume, over 600 views of the video, and over 60 people who have gotten in touch with DJ.