Jump Start Your Ad Agency Blog Using Email

Quality and Reach
by Todd Knutson

email iconIf your ad agency has or is considering writing a blog, deciding how to spread the word to acquire readers is important: If relevant corporate marketers aren't reading it, the time you invest in writing may be in vain.

Common ways to promote your blog include:

  • Email marketing
  • Twitter
  • Links from your website

This post is a guide to using email as a blog promotional tool.

Your most important decision is choosing between using an internal email list or purchasing a list. There are pros and cons of each:

Your list - pros

  • You own it.
  • It's free.
  • It has your clients and some prospects on it.

Your list - cons

  • It may be out of date.
  • It may not include all the prospects you should be pursing.
  • It may be too small (you need at least 1500 good names to kick-start your blog, and more will get you there faster.

External list - pros

  • It's the most effective way to increase the size of your list.
  • The right list will allow you to reach the corporate marketers that exactly fit your prospect profile: by the geography, industries, titles, company size(s), and media spend that are appropriate for your agency.
  • The right list will be high-quality (i.e. clean), with a low (5%) bounce rate.
  • Certain list companies will completely update their email list multiple times per year, and/or will offer to correct or replace emails that bounce.

External list - cons

  • There are few, if any, opt-in lists for corporate marketers.
  • You'll get what you pay for: low price usually equates to not being able to effectively target as described above, or you'll experience a high bounce rate.

The opt-in question is tricky: to my knowledge, highly targeted, opt-in lists of relevant corporate marketers just aren't available. Our clients tell us they've purchased opt-in lists from many different list companies - and they're universally terrible. We've tried them internally and experienced the same result. I think the reason is fairly simple: the corporate marketers you want to reach just don't opt-in very often. However, that doesn't mean they aren't interested in relevant content.

Your next decision is to choose an email provider. I recommend you look for one with as many of the following features as you can get:

  • Overall ease to use.
  • Easily manages opt-out requests and out-of office replies.
  • Tracks soft and hard bounces, and opens.
  • Creates browser-friendly, text-friendly, and HTML-friendly formats.
  • Allows you to test different subject lines to see which ones work the best, with follow-up emails going to non-opens of the first message.
  • Allows you to easily manage scheduling: days, times, time zones for each send.
  • Easy, one-click analytics / reports so you can effectively measure your performance over time.
  • List management features like merge, purge, drip marketing, etc.
  • CAN-SPAM compliant.
  • Telephone support - if you need it.
  • Integration with your CRM system.

Promoting your blog well makes the effort it takes to write all the more worthwhile, and email is a great way to do so.

Good luck, and let me know if you have any questions.

 

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