Migrate Facebook Followers Now to Opt-in Email Lists

If you use Facebook in your marketing mix, there are new concerns about user engagement, suggesting you need to be more proactive than before about migrating your “followers” to your opt-in email list. During the past couple of years, my observation, now backed up with research, reveals that fewer people …

facebook email logoIf you use Facebook in your marketing mix, there are new concerns about user engagement, suggesting you need to be more proactive than before about migrating your Facebook “followers” to your opt-in email list. During the past couple of years, my observation, now backed up with research, reveals that fewer people are posting updates about their lives and instead have moved on to sharing news (often “faux news” with spammy clickbait headlines), videos and stuff having little to do with themselves.

The drop is significant: 21 percent fewer posts with users’ own words and images from 2014 to 2015, and a 5.5 percent drop in sharing, according to a report in Inc. and The Information.

Why Facebook Followers Are Risky

Why is this bad news? Because sharing life events is the magnetic allure of Facebook that keeps users coming back. But if users aren’t sharing updates about themselves as much, and instead are posting faux news and cute animal videos, it stands to reason that Facebook users will engage less frequently or move on to other platforms where sharing is still predominant.

As to why people aren’t sharing as much, I posed that question on my own Facebook page, and a friend wrote this:

“I love connecting with friends and family who live far from me. But, as you have observed, fewer of these folks are posting personal photos/content. I have heard comments about:

• Fear of predators who see photos of children and then stalk them;

• Fear of current or future employers using your posts of party activities (toasting with an adult beverage) or concerts against you;

• General lack of privacy even when you think you’ve tightened your settings;

• Dislike for the targeted advertising — I post something about back pain and then I get ads and junk emails for related products;

• The systematic way Facebook decided what/who you prefer to see, even when you have marked the pages and people you want to follow first.”

5 Ways to Encourage Facebook-to-Email Opt-Ins

As a marketer, if you have followers on Facebook or any other social media, remember that you are merely “renting” the privilege of communicating with them. You don’t “own” the name as you would with your postal or email list. Here are some actions you can take to migrate Facebook followers to opt-in to email:

  1. Aggressively encourage your followers to opt-in to your email list. In the apps section on your Facebook business or organization page, you can embed a link within Facebook to opt-in to your email list, integrating with an email marketing system, such as Mailchimp or others.
  2. Encourage followers to click on posts that lead to your website, and when they do, encourage them to opt-in to your email list. While most of us as consumers may not like pop-ups on websites, they work for building an opt-in list.
  3. You need strong headlines to earn clicks. With so many spammy clickbait headlines and faux news stories, be mindful about how you entice followers to click on your posts. Build trust with credible content.
  4. Your posts are going to sink down the news feed quickly. You have a couple of options: Post multiple times daily (some have found that four times per day is optimal, but change out the content each time), or pay to play with sponsored posts where you set the audience, amount you’ll spend and length of time the post will be boosted.
  5. Consider creating a custom audience using Facebook remarketing ads. After adding a pixel to your website, you can serve ads to people who visited within the past 180 days. This is one more tool to bring people back to your website to opt-in (or better, make a purchase).

The gold standard for generating conversions and higher ROI is email and postal mail. If you think you can completely replace these channels by posting to your followers on Facebook, your marketing performance will surely disappoint as Facebook risks becoming less about people sharing their lives.

My advice for a back-up plan: Don’t abandon Facebook. I’m certainly not jumping off the Facebook wagon for any of my clients, but work harder to grow your “earned” email list now, so you own the name.

(Want more tips and advice about how to align your messaging with how the primitive mind thinks so you can attract more customers? I’ve put together a seven-step guide to help you titled “When You Need More Customers, This Is What You Do.” Or get all the details in my new book, “Crack the Customer Mind Code” available at the DirectMarketingIQ bookstore.)

The 7 Best Direct Mail Teasers of 2015

How do you engage direct mail prospects in your message? It’s a question that’s always in the back of my mind when I analyze mail for Who’s Mailing What! The easiest and hardest place to start with, if you’re mailing with envelopes, is the teaser.

Let’s put aside for the moment the never-ending debate of whether envelopes should even have a teaser. To quote copywriter Lea Pierce, “You have three seconds to live or die” as your mail is being opened.

So what makes a good one? I know, it’s a loaded question.

I compiled a list of about four dozen new teasers that engaged me right off the bat in 2015, especially once I saw that the message inside fulfilled my expectations.

In no specific order, here are seven of the top ten.

Sure, many insurance companies vow to save you money. GEICO is particularly good at this with much of its mail.

Geico_01But what got me here was mixing type sizes so that the promise really stands out, and pairing it with a QR code that can be scanned to completely bypass the message inside. Or … you know … open the envelope anyway.

2. California College San Diego
This mailer also mentions money (“the income you deserve”) in the teaser as it flatters the recipient.

CCSDThat tactic – tapping into the yearning for a better life – is pretty uncommon for college mail, even when the target audience is working adults. The letter and other components inside reassure the student that they can balance their responsibilities while achieving their goals.

3. Lifelock
It seems like every week brings news stories about financial, employment, or customer records being hacked from a variety of places around the world.

Lifelo_01Lifelock leverages fear of identity theft in this membership effort by using the teaser to noting a healthcare records attack, and then go into more detail about the crimes (and their solution) on a buck slip inside the envelope.

4. Quantum Wellness Botanical Institute
Mention a “big” institution to some people, and you’re sure to get a negative reaction.

Quantu_01To customers of a natural supplements company, “Big Pharma” is part of an establishment that opposes them.The anger that’s present on the outside becomes a sidebar on the brochure inside, which focuses instead on selling curcumin.

5. Hillary for America/Cruz for President
Hillary Clinton and Ted Cruz are two pretty different people, but their question is the same.

Politui_01Maybe this will be the eventual matchup in the presidential race. In their letters, the two major party candidates lay out the challenges they each see for America and the stakes in the election as they try to rally support from donors.

6. Amnesty International
For decades, this human rights group has included generic notes in its fundraising appeals to win the release of political prisoners. This campaign is different.

Amnest_01The annual Write for Rights event is a recent development that focuses on specific cases. The black outer and the simple “WRITE A LETTER. CHANGE A LIFE” message are going to members who merely have to fill out one or all of the protest notes and return them with a donation..

7. Ocean Conservancy
I love direct mail that uses fascinations – little interesting factoids – to tease what’s inside. But this clickbait-like teaser is also irresistible.

OceanC_01I’m surprised this digital tactic hasn’t popped up more.  Here, it doesn’t result in disappointment or annoyance. The brochure inside cleverly devotes a page to each ocean fact. It directly directly supports the group’s mission to save ocean habitats and wildlife.

So, for many of these marketers and fundraisers, the mail moment for their envelope has advanced past the three-second mark. But as with everything in direct mail, A/B testing will go a long way in determining a winner.

How about you? What teasers rock your world (or your customers), even if they’re a few years old? Please, let’s talk about it in the comments below!

You Won’t Believe What Happens Next in this Shocking Post About Clickbait

For me and many other Millennial Marketers, the word “clickbait” makes us roll our eyes and mutter a curse against sites like UpWorthy and Buzzfeed. It’s often lazy copywriting, cashing in on people’s curiosity for the sensational, but then failing to deliver relevant content (and usually the websites are a hot mess, IMHO).

Clickbait memeFor me and many other Millennial Marketers, the word “clickbait” makes us roll our eyes and mutter a curse against sites like UpWorthy and Buzzfeed.

It’s often lazy copywriting, cashing in on people’s curiosity for the sensational, but then failing to deliver relevant content (and usually the websites are a hot mess, IMHO).

For some of us, hearing someone benignly say, “You won’t believe …” causes a collective shudder, and if you tell me something is going to shock me, it better be pretty horrific.

That said, Pat Friesen — one of my copywriting mentors — presented on a recent All About eMail session titled “You Won’t Believe It! Clickbait and Email Subject Lines,” and made a great point: All subject lines and headlines are bait of some sort. They’re in place to convince readers to open, click through, read, etc. The editorial staff here at Target Marketing knows that all too well: Our subject line can make or break our daily e-newsletter’s performance.

But here’s the caveat: It’s what you, the marketer, provide after the click.

Buzzfeed Chips StoryOkay, admittedly, I’m already skeptical. Chips (actually, in this case, the Buzzfeed piece is referencing what most Americans call fries) are a pretty basic food. A little salty, a lot potatoey. Don’t get me wrong, I love them, but I don’t consider them capable of blowing my mind. So let’s look beyond the headline.

Buzzfeed Chips Body

Ohhhhhhh. Yum. So we have a few things going well here.

No. 1: excellent food photography (seriously, who would stick around on an article about food without some photos?! Instagram has trained us all to well).

No. 2: Each listing links to a recipe. Yes, that’s right: You’re going to scroll through this Buzzfeed piece, get a bunch of ideas, and when something looks really good, you can click the link and go to the recipe, which you can then pin on your Pinterest board for later. To make my point, here’s the Buzzfeed link so you can get pinning yourself.

Now, is the Buzzfeed headline kind of ridiculous? Yes.

Is it kind of clickbaity? Yes.

But does it deliver on the headline?

YES. And better yet, to throw back to last week’s post, this content arguably levels me up. How? Because now I have a recipe for kimchi fries for my next party and everyone attending is going to be impressed. Thanks Buzzfeed for making me a better me.

Now for something completely different …

ClickbaitIn comparison … well, Macaulay Culkin is still very much alive, and the other two headlines result in sites that try to sell you suspicious products (not provide you any information about how to do the thing). These three are the epitome of time-wasting and useless clickbait. I’ll pass.

So remember, there is a difference between provoking your reader to make the click, then delivering on that headline, and being a lazy marketer who’s just out for clicks. Don’t be that guy.

If you’d like to listen to Pat’s complete session, register to access entire virtual show on-demand, because I barely scraped the surface of all the solid copywriting information she provided in our 30-minute session.

And now, as a special treat, here’s a taste of @clickbaitrobot … yes a Twitter bot that takes trending topics and attempts to turn it into bizarro clickbait. (I dare you not to laugh or at least question humanity.)