Authority-Building Newsletters:
How We Helped Rankings.io Position as the SEO agency of choice

Authority Building Newsletters

Introduction

Service-based businesses face a unique marketing challenge that other businesses don't.

Like other businesses, you must convince leads that the product you provide (i.e. the service you offer) will get them the results they want.

But unlike other businesses, you also have to get those leads to buy into the idea of working with YOU and/or the people at your organization.

That's why building authority and nurturing relationships with leads is more important for service businesses than others.

Positioning yourself as an authority helps convince leads that working with you will get them the results they want.

And nurturing relationships with those leads builds familiarity and helps influence them to choose you over equally competent competitors.

Newsletters are one of the best marketing tools for building authority and relationships.

With a newsletter, you can introduce subscribers to the people behind your brand, position them as experts at what they do, and build an engaging relationship.

We helped our client Rankings.io build such a newsletter. Read on to find out how...

Client Background

Rankings.io is an SEO agency that helps Personal Injury law firms rank in Google and generate
organic leads from search marketing.

One of the ways they attract and nurture clients is through a newsletter that
teaches Personal Injury law firms about SEO and how Rankings.io uses it to help clients grow
their practice.

Though they'd already been sending out the newsletter before working with us, it wasn't quite getting the results they wanted. So, in July of 2020, they asked us to help optimize their newsletter to build authority and nurture relationships with subscribers.

Boosted Client

Goals

Rankings.io hired us to optimize their newsletter to achieve two primary goals

Boost SEO
Boost Authority

Being an authority in your niche means:

  • People in your niche recognize you.
  • People in your niche see you as a go-to expert.

To convince Personal Injury law firms to hire them, Rankings.io needed to position themselves as an authority on SEO and, more specifically, search marketing for Personal Injury law firms.

Since it's easier for people to recognize and relate to other people than a faceless brand, we decided to focus on presenting CEO Chris Dreyer as the go-to SEO expert for Personal Injury law firms.

It's not enough to say that you're an expert - you must demonstrate it by sharing valuable, educational content and proving you can get results. We did this in the newsletter by:

  • Sharing authority-building content from their blog.
  • Improving the presentation of that content so it emphasized the value subscribers would get from it.
  • Sharing case studies and proof of the results they've achieved for their clients.
  • Describing the methods Rankings.io uses to help their clients rank in search engines and drive organic leads.
  • And more...
Email Marketing Agencies
Build Relationships

Nurturing strong relationships with subscribers and leads is important.

The stronger your relationship, the more they trust you. The more they trust you, the greater the impact your marketing messages will have on them.

But a simpler way to look at it is this: if a prospective client is trying to choose between you and an equally competent competitor, they're likely to choose the person they're most familiar with. A newsletter is an opportunity to ensure you're that person.

Building strong relationships is all about generating engagement. Generating engagement is about frequency and depth.

You want to engage with subscribers frequently and consistently (by sending out your newsletter regularly).

But you also want to increase the depth of engagement by allowing subscribers to see and hear you (through images, video, podcasts, etc.) as well as inviting them to engage with you back.

We helped Rankings.io create a more engaging newsletter by:

  • Cleaning their subscriber list.
  • Increasing newsletter consistency.
  • Sharing images of and messages from Chris.
  • Sharing videos and webinars featuring Chris.
  • Inviting subscribers to engage with Chris as often as possible.
  • Optimizing their Welcome Email automation.
  • And more...

Campaign Improvements

In a moment, we'll break down all the changes we made to Rankings.io's newsletter.

But first, we need to go over three key aspects of creating high-engagement newsletters that we employed.

Keep Lists Clean

Rankings.io came to us with a list of about 18,500 subscribers. One of the first things we did was to purge about
3,000 inactive subscribers from their list.

People need to actually receive your emails in order to engage with them. And inactive subscribers can reduce your
email deliverability.

Inactive subscribers are usually fake or old email addresses that are no longer used. Sending emails to inactives
increases your bounce rate, which hurts your sender reputation and triggers spam filters to flag your IP. Many of your
emails will then end up in the spam folders of your real subscribers.

Which is why it's important to periodically purge your list of people who haven't opened your emails in a few months.
While you may end up purging some real people, if they're not engaging with your content then you're not really losing
much anyway.


Consistency
Is Key

Rankings.io has always shared great content in their newsletter. But before working with us, they were sending emails
infrequently.

If you want people to regularly engage with your content, then your content must be regular.

Creating a consistent newsletter involves two considerations:

  • Volume: You should be sending out newsletters frequently enough that subscribers regularly have something to engage with (but not so frequently as to overwhelm/annoy them).
  • Timing: Your newsletters should be predictable (i.e. sent out on the same day every week, month, quarter, etc.)

We helped Rankings.io increase their consistency and send out a newsletter every Tuesday.


Patience

It's also important to realize that building engagement isn't an overnight endeavor - it takes time.

For the first three months, we didn't see any concrete improvements in Rankings.io's newsletter engagement. But by being
consistent and persistent throughout the year, we increased their open rate by over 300% and clicks by over 1000%!

Welcome Emails

We helped them create a 4-part Welcome Email series that's optimized to
boost engagement and build authority.

Originally, Rankings.io was sending out just one Welcome Email.

Relationship-Nurturing Changes

Some of the relationship-nurturing changes we made include:

Email Booster

Personalized Emails

The old Welcome Email came from "The Rankings.io Team." But people are more likely to connect and engage with humans than with
faceless companies.

So the new Welcome Emails come from CEO Chris Dreyer. This helps recipients feel like they're building a relationship with him rather
than a brand.


Build Relationships with Customers

Told Subscribers What To Expect

Your Welcome Emails should build anticipation for your newsletter content by telling subscribers what kind of valuable content they
can expect to receive.

The old Rankings.io Welcome Email just gave subscribers a general idea of what to expect - "practical SEO tips" and "SEO news."

The new Welcome Email series gets more specific in a way that properly communicates the value of Rankings.io's newsletter
content:

  • Chris's take on legal marketing trends
  • Episodes of The Rankings Podcast containing interviews with elite lawyers
  • Marketing tips to help subscribers grow their firm

It also tells subscribers to look out for Welcome Email 2 and gives a small preview of what it contains.

Subscribers are more likely to engage with emails if they believe the content is valuable, know what to expect, and know when to
expect it.


Personalized emails

Invited Subscribers To Engage With Rankings.io

Priming subscribers for engagement means letting subscribers know when and how to contact you. The more specific you are, the
more likely they are to do it.

Welcome Email 1 immediately primes new subscribers for engagement by inviting them to contact Rankings.io to "talk about real
valuable rankings, traffic, and conversions!"

And every other email in the Welcome series invites subscribers to engage with them in some specific way (email 2 asks subscribers
/to introduce themselves; email 3 asks subscribers to reach out if they have questions about the content in the email; etc.).

Priming engagement lets subscribers know that your team is open to communication and gives them multiple options and
opportunities to do so.


Shared Video Content

Shared Video Content

Video is one of the best types of content for building engagement. Data shows that adding videos to emails can increase click rates
by 300%.

Videos also allow you to communicate important info in an easy-to-consume format that subscribers are more likely to enjoy.

And by including yourself or people from your company in your videos, you can help subscribers develop a stronger connection with
you and your team.

Authority-Boosting Changes

Some of the authority-boosting changes we made include

Shared Images Of CEO Chris Dreyer

As stated earlier, building authority is about getting people to recognize
you as an expert in your niche.

Rankings.io was already sharing valuable, authority-building content in their
newsletters. But we wanted people to associate that content with their CEO
Chris Dreyer. So we added images of him to every newsletter.

Shared Introductory Video

The second Welcome Email shares a video about how Chris got involved in
helping Personal Injury law firms generate clients with SEO.

The video accomplishes two authority-building objectives:

  • Familiarizes subscribers with Chris and his story (recognition).
  • Teaches subscribers about how Chris learned how to use SEO to generate
    clients for Personal Injury law firms (expertise).

Shared More Content From CEO Chris Dreyer

At the bottom of the first Welcome Email, we shared the positive ratings
Rankings.io has across multiple review sites.

High ratings demonstrates that Rankings.io has many satisfied clients. If
their clients are happy, then they must know what they're doing.

Shared Results They Achieved For Clients

The fourth email in the Welcome series shares some of the great results that
Rankings.io achieved for three of their clients.

This demonstrates that they've used their expertise to get tangible results that
their subscribers care about (i.e. increases in web traffic, yearly clients, and
monthly cases).

Newsletter Emails

Old Newsletter Email
New Newsletter Email

Each Rankings.io newsletter shares three pieces of content that help subscribers better understand SEO and how to use it to grow their practice.

While we kept that same format, we optimized the newsletter for engagement by adding:

  • More relevant and engaging images.
  • Content descriptions that better communicate the value of each piece of content.
  • More relevant CTAs.
  • A "To-Do List" section

Relationship-Nurturing Changes

Some of the engagement-nurturing changes we made include

Relevant CTAs

Used Relevant CTAs

In the old newsletter, each piece of content they shared used the same CTA: "Continue Reading."

We optimized the CTA's in the new newsletter to reflect the type of content being shared.

  • "Listen To Full Episode"
  • "Register Here"
  • "Check Out The Full Guide"

Relevant CTAs work better because they tell subscribers what kind of content to expect (article, video, podcast, etc.) and what you
want them to do. It may not seem like much, but it actually increases the likelihood that they'll follow-through.


Better and Relevant Images

Used Better, More Relevant Images

The images for the content in the old newsletter were the same: faded images with titles.

In the new newsletter, we used images that were more relevant and engaging.

Relevant, attractive images are more likely to grab subscribers' attention and get them to engage with your content.


Better Content Descriptions

Shared Better Content Descriptions

Each piece of content in the newsletter comes with a description of what it's about.

In the old newsletter, they just reused the introduction from the content itself as a description.

But we felt that we could generate more clicks by creating descriptions that better communicated what each piece of content is
about and why it's valuable.

So the new newsletter contains fuller descriptions that share the most intriguing elements of each piece of content, why they're
relevant, and how subscribers can benefit by consuming (reading, watching, listening to) them.


To-Do Lists

Added To Do Lists

At the end of each newsletter, we added a section called "The To-Do List." It contains three engagement-based tasks that we want
subscribers to do.

It may seem simple, but by outlining each of these actions separately, we increased the likelihood that subscribers would actually do them.

Doing so also helped us increase specific types of engagement by:

  • Influencing them to listen to the podcast and engage with our content
  • Inviting them to discuss their SEO problems with us
  • Inviting them to subscribe to Youtube channel

Authority-Boosting Changes

Some of the authority-boosting changes we made include

Shared Images
Of CEO Chris
Dreyer

We continued to include images of Chris Dreyer at the end of every newsletter. Subscribers constantly see his face and
associate him with the stellar content they receive.

Shared Ratings
From Online
Review Sites

All of the content contained in the newsletter works to boost Chris's and Rankings.io's authority because it teaches
subscribers practical SEO tips and how to use them to get results. The more content they consume, the more subscribers
will view Chris and the team as experts.

But the newsletter also incorporates more specific authority building content. For example, one of the newsletter shared
an episode of a podcast Chris did where he discusses his journey to becoming an SEO expert and how he helps Personal Injury law firms
"dominate first page rankings."

More Rankings.io Email Designs

To help you get a better idea of the kind of content Rankings.io shares in their newsletter (and perhaps generate some ideas for your own),
here are 12 more newsletters that were recently sent out to subscribers.

At InboxArmy, we strategize, design, and manage email automations that increase revenue for our clients. Talk with a member of our team to see how we can improve your email marketing results.

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