This is a guest post from my friend Todd Knutson, CEO of The List, the most accurate online database of marketing and advertising decision makers in North America. Todd is also the author of a great new business blog, New Business Intel.
If 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
- 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- It may be out of date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 gets you there faster)
External list – pros
- It’s the most effective way to increase the size of your list
- The right llist 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.
- 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 those 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 have 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 them from many different companies and they’re universally terrible. We’ve tried it internally and experienced the same thing. 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 from the many available services. I recommend you look for one with as many of the following features as you can get:
- Easily manages opt-out requests
- Tracks soft and hard bounces
- Tracks opens
- Manages out of office replies
- Creates browser-friendly, text-friendly, and HTML-friendly format
- Allows you to test different subject lines to see which one(s) work the best, with follow-up emails going to non-opens of the first message
- Allows you to easily manage days, times, time zones for each send
- Has good analytics / reports so you can effectively measure your performance over time
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 – Todd