As one of the most tried-and-true tools in marketing, emails should be a part of every strategy. Whether you are looking to reengage prior customers or find new ones, emails can be a potent tool. But, while they are still relevant in modern marketing, it is important to note that they have changed and that there are now numerous innovations that can be useful. Old-school email strategies might in some cases seem outdated when we take into consideration today’s modern data-based, personalized marketing. So, let's see how you can optimize your email strategy by using direct stories.
Direct stories - a brief summary
Before we go any further, we should first outline what direct stories are. If you already have a decent understanding of direct stories, feel free to skip to the next paragraph. If you feel that some concepts related to direct stories are a bit fuzzy, please read this first.
Story content is brief, visually based pieces of marketing content that you can see on a various number of platforms. They all have their distinct form whether it may be an image, a short video, or any other form that may emerge. The main idea behind these is that they are bite-sized and jampacked with fun, interesting information. This makes them ideal for modern marketing where the audience’s attention span has shrunk down to just 8 seconds.
Direct stories refer to story content that you share directly with a user. So, instead of simply posting it online, you share the story with someone in particular. By doing so, you combine the engaging nature of story content, with the personalized touch of a direct message. Therefore, it is easy to understand what potential such communication can have when combined with email strategy. That can elevate your emails, especially if you know how to make your content stick out.
Biggest strengths when it comes to marketing
Direct stories, when used properly, hold tremendous marketing value. By using them, you can look to engage an audience that would otherwise be hard to reach. Keep in mind that all audiences, regardless of age, gender, or location, are constantly bombarded with marketing content. So, no matter who your target audience is, you will have a hard time reaching them with standard marketing. To see your brand grow in the modern marketing landscape it is paramount that you adopt modern marketing strategies, and that you approach your customers on a personal level. In both these aspects, emails can be of great help, especially if you combine them with direct stories.
How to optimize your email strategy with direct stories
Whether you are trying to find new customers, retain old ones, or simply further establish your brand, emails can be a great tool. A well-made email is still a joy to read, especially if we feel that it was written precisely for us.
But, simply relying on eh quality of your written content sometimes isn’t good enough. Modern marketing trends simply necessitate that your emails contain visual content and not just any visual content but short, bite-sized content. And seeing how effective that story content is, you'd be more than smart to incorporate it.
You can leverage all the best that story content offers: personalization, engagement, interactivity, and precise targeting. The better you incorporate elements and principles from direct stories, the better your email campaign will perform. Here's how:
The first way in which you can optimize your email strategy with direct stories is to incorporate visual storytelling. What this means is to use high-quality images, GIFs, or even short videos that convey a narrative or highlight the key message of your email by using story formats. Visual elements can capture the recipient's attention and make your email more memorable. And if the visual elements are catered towards the specific viewers, your emails are pretty much guaranteed to hit the mark.
Keep in mind that storytelling in marketing doesn't simply refer to a single piece of content. To tell a marketing story, you can rely on various content types and space it out. If the story is interesting, this will give your viewers further incentive to research your brand. For instance, you can give some information via your own platforms i.e. your website or your app. And then send emails to your target audience that reacted to it and, that way, make them even a part of that story. By doing so, you'll naturally garner the interest of your viewers with surprising ease.
A good way to use the attention of your viewers is to incorporate interactive elements within your emails, such as clickable buttons, images, or surveys. These elements encourage recipients to engage directly with your email, increasing the chances of click-throughs and conversions. CTA buttons are an obvious choice for interactive elements. But, they don't have the end-all of them. You can also add polls, questionnaires, or simple links. Your goal should always be to motivate viewers to interact with your brand, in any shape or form, and to grow fond of it.
Clear call to action (CTA)
If you do wish to include CTAs in your email, you need to make sure that they are clear and actionable. Whether it's prompting recipients to click a link, make a purchase, or sign up, a well-defined CTA guides them on what to do next. You'd be smart to further research how to phrase your CTA and how to combine it with visual elements within the story you’re sending via email.
Short and engaging content
While some people will pay more attention to emails rather than to other communication channels, you still shouldn't push your luck. Regardless of how much you would like to tell your audience about your brand, you should still look to keep your emails short and sweet. The less you have to stay in order to get your message across, the better. Use compelling headlines and brief, focused messaging to convey your message effectively. Avoid long paragraphs and make use of white space to improve readability. Also, try to use visual elements to enhance your written content as much as possible.
Metrics and analysis
It is important to note that modern marketing is highly based on analytics. Even when it comes to emails, you will still need to rely on various metrics to plan, execute, and then analyze the performance of your marketing campaigns. You will need to keep an eye out for open rates, click-through rates, conversion rates, and other relevant metrics. And you will need to find new ways to collect personal data from your customers.
In this regard, direct stories can help. If you give your audience an incentive to provide personal data, you will be able to orient your email marketing far better. Seeing that direct stories can have interactive elements, it is fairly easy to include data-providing options. Keep in mind that if the audience members decide to provide data, they should be able to do so quickly and easily. That way you don't risk them getting bored and you ensure that they continue viewing your brand.
Once you have gathered the necessary user data, it is important to personalize your marketing content. And yes, by that we mean direct stories. Address recipients by their names and segment your email list to send tailored content based on their preferences, behavior, and demographics. In our view, personalization is the future of marketing as every other content is seen as generic. And seeing the advancement of AI tools, it is becoming easier and easier to create personalized visual content. Therefore, we shouldn't be far off from full-fledged personalized direct stories. The sooner you look into incorporating them into your brand, the better.
A big benefit of direct stories that can easily go under the radar is that they are surprisingly mobile-friendly. Again, regardless of who your audience is, you can safely assume that a large chunk of them use mobile phones as their primary devices. Unfortunately, reading emails on phones isn't that comfortable. But, not so when it comes to direct stories. In direct contrast, direct stories are a joy to watch on mobile phones. As a derivative of story content, they are perfectly suited for all mobile devices. Modern tools like StorifyMe make it easy to optimize them for different aspect ratios and to ensure that they are quick to load. This is another reason why incorporating direct stories into your email marketing will lead to positive results.
Engage with user-generated content
Another important factor in modern marketing is UGC. Marketing managers have long noticed that you simply cannot mimic the honesty that people perceive from UGC. If another user creates content about your brand, it is only natural that other users will find it more honest. Even if you, as a brand, are completely honest with your users, you still cannot compete with the perceived honesty of other users. But, what you can do is to use this honesty to your advantage.
The smart thing to do is to encourage recipients to share their stories or experiences related to your brand, product, or service. Keep in mind that direct stories are (or at least should be) quite easy to share. Therefore, if your users like what you've sent them, they should be able to quickly and easily share your story with their friends and family. They should also be able to create content of their own in order to revive your story or your brand.
As you can see, there are numerous ways in which you can optimize your email strategy with direct stories. The only limit is how well you understand direct stories as a tool, and how well you can incorporate them into your brand. When creating visual content, we would advise that you consult with a seasoned professional. Yes, modern tools make creating visual content fairly easy. But, it is still surprisingly difficult to give your visual content a distinct style that goes well with your brand. A good professional will help you create templates that you can later personalize for specific users. Tolls like StorifyMe make it surprisingly easy to both create story content and integrate it with emails. So, do yourself a favor and start off on the right foot by using the right tools and relying on the right professionals.