I just got back from Social Media Week NYC, one of the biggest industry events of the year. Social media marketers from across the globe came together in the Big Apple to learn from some of the most influential names in marketing. Among them were Forbes, BuzzFeed, The Coca-Cola Company and IBM, just to name a few.

Are you starting to feel a twinge of conference FOMO?

So here I am, post-conference, brimming with actionable tactics and inspiration that I just can’t keep to myself. Here are nine things that I learned and how they translate to your email strategy:

1. “Not all reach is created equal.” – @Forbes

If you’re spending all of your time trying to get your content out to the most people in the most places at the most times, you’re doing it wrong. Why?

Because not all reach is created equal.

Shift the conversation from page views (or in the email marketer’s case, open rates), to the people who are actually engaging with your content. Having a big list is impressive, but if those subscribers aren’t opening or responding to your emails, you may want to rethink your strategy.

Pro Tip:

Focus on building a more curated list of people who are genuinely interested in what you have to say. These are your most loyal readers, and the ones who are most likely to do business with you in the future.

2. “Each space tells its own story.” – @Buzzfeed

Adapting original content that works on one platform to many others is the key to extending your reach. Facebook, Twitter, Google+… all of these platforms have different audiences and those audiences respond to different types of content.

What may have been a hit on Twitter may not necessarily translate well to your Facebook audience.

Try turning that listicle into a video, and vice versa. Keep tabs on the types of content that your audience is clicking through and sharing and keep on iterating.

Pro Tip:

Email is no exception. Don’t just copy and paste your latest article into a broadcast. Your emails should hold a level of exclusivity that gives people a reason to subscribe, even if that means simply repurposing content by changing the format.

3. “Brands are what people say they are.” – @RicolaUSA

The media landscape is changing and we’re witnessing a shift in the brand/people relationship. The opinions of friends, family and peers are becoming more influential than ever and this is kind of a big deal.

Brands used to be what brands say they were. Brands are now what people say they are.

It makes sense: relationships are a two-way street. Think of your subscribers as co-authors of your brand story. Acknowledge their voice and find ways to invite collaboration. Allow them to take part in shaping your content. Then what you can expect from them becomes significantly greater.

Pro Tip:

Send out a survey to your subscribers to see what kind of content resonates with them the most. Inviting their feedback is a great way to build trust and gain insights into what’s working within your campaign. Data can reveal a lot about your reader’s behaviors, but only they can tell you the reasons behind it.

4. “Think like a startup.” – @AbsolutVodka

Why? That’s exactly it. Startups are all about the why. The brands that are succeeding are doing a really great job of not only describing what they do and how they do it, but why they do it in the first place.

Pro Tip:

Make sure your message comes across loud and clear on all of your subscriber touch points, from your blog to your landing page to the content within the emails themselves. You have a passion for your business, share it!

(Oh, and don’t be afraid to take a risk. Startups have an appetite for risks.)

5. “Build a community of advocates.” – @Hootsuite

The people on your list are more than just subscribers. They are individuals with valuable opinions and insights that are crucial to improving your business. By building relationships with them, you’re opening the doors to a much bigger conversation.

A good start is identifying those key members of your community. These are the people that are engaging with your brand and sharing your content on a frequent basis. Nurturing and empowering these relationships will help build a solid group of advocates who will then spread the #brandlove amongst their networks.

Pro Tip:

Salute your super fans! Whether it’s sharing user-generated content or simply giving them a shoutout on your blog, a little acknowledgement can go a long way.

6. “It’s all about that data.” – @Seventeen

Data. We love it. It can reveal things about your campaign that your gut just can’t tell you.

That’s right – we can no longer trust our guts to drive when and where we place our marketing dollars when all of this juicy data is easily within reach.

From the best subject line to the optimal time to send your emails, we’re always looking for ways to improve our campaigns. And one of the easiest and most effective ways to do so is through split-testing.

Pro Tip:

Testing doesn’t have to be costly or time consuming. Check out this post for painless ways to set up a split test and ideas that you can start implementing today.

7. “Put the user first.” – @Spotify

How are you creating an optimal experience for your subscribers?

Think about every touch point that they have – from your signup form and landing pages to your newsletters and blog. Each of these should have a consistent look and feel.

Links should work. Images should load. Subject lines should not be forgotten. (Who hasn’t made these mistakes at least once?)

While these might seem like little things, they’re actually a huge part of creating a great user experience.

Pro Tip:

Always go back and test before you send. Trust us.

8: “GIFs express things better than words or smiley faces can.” – @Giphy

A GIF can speak 1000 words – and delight your subscribers. They also lend an element of delight to your emails. The next time you launch a campaign, try adding a dose of personality with an animated GIF.

Pro Tip:

Looking to create your own? We love tools like DSCO, Boomerang and GifGrabber. And be sure to follow us on Pinterest for more great ideas on how to use GIFs within your emails.

9. “To be successful, you can’t be everything to everyone.” – @Refinery29

Sometimes we become so focused on latching onto “the next big thing”, that we lose sight of our original goals. Not only can this become totally overwhelming, but it can severely diminish the quality of the content we put out.

Pro Tip:

Instead of trying to have it all, focus your efforts on perfecting what you do have.

If you’re a vegan dessert blogger, own that niche. Expanding out into the world of hors d’oeuvres and beyond might seem tempting, but the market might be saturated. Set your sights on being the go-to blog for vegan desserts and ensure that your content is on par.


Are you going to try out any of these tips? Were you at Social Media Week? Leave us a comment or send me a tweet @oliviadello to keep the conversation going!