GetResponse Blog - Email Marketing Tips http://blog.getresponse.com Fri, 21 Nov 2014 16:07:43 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.1 Email Success Profile: The Residual Entrepreneur http://blog.getresponse.com/email-success-profile-residual-entrepreneur.html http://blog.getresponse.com/email-success-profile-residual-entrepreneur.html#comments Fri, 21 Nov 2014 16:07:43 +0000 http://blog.getresponse.com/?p=18213 OK, maybe you’re not in show business, and Hollywood may seem a million miles away. But a fascinating trend has emerged in the arts, one that might give you a new slant on your business. Put aside notions of actors … Read more

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OK, maybe you’re not in show business, and Hollywood may seem a million miles away. But a fascinating trend has emerged in the arts, one that might give you a new slant on your business. Put aside notions of actors surviving as waiters so they can show up for auditions. You’re about to meet Michael Simpson Jr., a new breed in the entertainment business. Let’s see what we can learn from his business model.

The odds are against anyone who enters the film business. There’s not much of a middle class among actors. As you know, only a few make it big. The rest struggle for a while then move on to other pursuits.

 

Meet Michael Simpson Jr.

Like thousands of others, Michael struggled when he first arrived in Los Angeles, learning the ropes, building his resume and getting to know the right people. He wanted to find a way to prosper as he developed his show business career.

He didn’t settle for low-paying menial jobs. Instead he leveraged his skills and resources. For example, he discovered that he was a good networker, a skill he needed in order to find acting work. So he joined a sales organization and started building his own sales team, creating the largest sales force in the company.

Thanks to talent, strong desire, and survival instincts, Michael began to get more and more acting work. He wanted to help others succeed, so he started a coaching service to give actors insider knowledge of the film business. And he taught the principles of online business — principles that can help promote an acting career or any business. 

 

Getting serious about marketing

Professional skills are just the beginning. Yes, you must be able to deliver on your promises, whether that means fitting smoothly into an ensemble of actors or closing a sale. Equally important is the art of marketing  — the skill of telling a story that resonates with your audience and spreads.

The good news is that you no longer have to rely on newspapers, trade magazines, and other major media outlets to tell your story. Web technology gives anyone a place to explain their skills and experience. For Michael, this means he can showcase all of his businesses in one place.  And for a do-it-yourselfer who is willing to learn, the costs can be reasonable.

 

1. Socializing your business

MJS

Not so long ago, networking was a long and arduous process. Today, social media puts the world at your fingertips. Michael uses these tools to reach out to those who are traveling the same path and help build a community. As in all things, success builds on success. As you develop a reputation for helping others, more and more people reach out to you for help. Your network and your opportunities grow along with your reputation.

 

2. Making email the hub

When Michael was looking for an email marketing service, he took time to survey his choices. GetResponse emerged as the clear winner because it gave him everything he needed: tools for creating great-looking emails fast and an accurate autoresponder for delivering on schedule.

In only 60 days, Michael boosted his open rates by 300%. Now he has put his marketing on autopilot, knowing that every new subscriber will get the same great introduction to his business. And when he has questions, he knows he can rely on GetResponse customer service for fast, accurate answers.

 

3. Showcasing YOU

Michael is not only a fine actor, he’s also a musician, and rapper … oh, and an exceptional basketball player too. You never know what might catch the eye of an influential person, so Michael puts everything out there. On his website, you can watch a video of him in a live performance at a music club. Or see him on the court, slam dunking a basketball and hitting three-point jump shots. (The basketball video earned him a spot in a Nike commercial.) And he is open about the fact that he supplements his acting income with his sales skills. It’s all about being everything you can be.

 

Doing the work

When Michael first made his move into show business, he knew it would be a difficult journey. But he was determined not only to build a career but to find an enjoyable way of life. This meant using skills he already possessed and learning new ones too. Sure, it was a lot of work, but work he believed in. So he committed himself wholeheartedly — and encourages other ambitious people to do the same. There just aren’t any shortcuts to success.

 

Embracing a media model

What’s the takeaway for your business? In the eyes of the world, your online profile is the best and quickest way to get to know you. Smart entrepreneurs (and big businesses too) have become publishers. They tell their story using blogs, emails, video, images, and social media. The tools are easy to use and more affordable than ever. We’ll be watching Michael’s profile to see what happens next. We can’t wait to see how far he’ll go.

 

How about you?

Do you have a fascinating success story about your experiences as a GetResponse customer? Just send your write-up in an email to testimonials@getresponse.com. Who knows? We may decide to share your story with the world!

 

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21 Email Marketing Tips For Coaches http://blog.getresponse.com/21-email-marketing-tips-coaches.html http://blog.getresponse.com/21-email-marketing-tips-coaches.html#comments Thu, 20 Nov 2014 16:07:24 +0000 http://blog.getresponse.com/?p=18205 Every online marketer has a different approach, that is why we have decided to start a series for individual types of email marketers. Today, we start with coaches! There are a lot of coaches around. If you’re a coach, you … Read more

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Every online marketer has a different approach, that is why we have decided to start a series for individual types of email marketers. Today, we start with coaches! There are a lot of coaches around. If you’re a coach, you know this all too well. And while it might sound like I’m about to say “coaches are a dime a dozen”, I’m not. There’s a reason why there are so many coaches around. It’s because there’s a need for them!

Want to know what best business advice Eric Schmidt, Google’s Executive Chairman, ever got?: “Get a coach.” If someone of that caliber names having a coach as the secret of their success, maybe the rest of us should think twice before we say we don’t need a coach.

Executives need coaches, business owners need coaches… just about everybody needs or can benefit from having a coach. But despite the pressing need for them, coaches often have an especially hard time finding clients. That’s why we wanted to do this post on how email marketing can help you, coaches around the world.

Before we get into the email marketing best practices for coaches, let’s cover why coaches should be doing email marketing in the first place. It just so happens that email is almost perfectly suited to solve three of the most common challenges coaches face.

 

Coaches sell their expertise, their experience, and their perspective. That’s their “product”

It can be hard to quantify your expertise, and it is even harder to justify charging for it. This means coaching has a fairly long sales cycle: Someone has to not just find you, but like you and trust you before they even consider paying you for your services. You’re not going to sell an hour of your coaching services through a pay per click ad, and you certainly can’t successfully auction off an hour of your time on eBay. You have to build trust, and a lot of trust, to get paying clients.

Email is especially well suited to trust-building, because while you can’t sell an hour of your time via a pay per click ad, you can certainly “sell” a free ebook about how to overcome a specific problem that you specialize in helping people solve. Then you can send a series of follow up emails – an autoresponder – to build your relationship with this client.

What makes this a game-changer is that it can all be done on autopilot. You can be building relationships with an almost unlimited number of people all at the same time, all while you are doing other things, like working with actual paying clients. If you tried to do this long-term relationship building with each prospect individually, you’d end up earning about five cents per hour.

EM_Coaches

Your ideal coaching clients have to like your personal approach, your personal world view. They have to like you.

Have you heard of the book, “People Buy You” by Jeb Blount? It was originally written for sales people, but the title couldn’t be more relevant for coaches. Your ideal coaching clients are almost literally buying your personality and your worldview. But because of that, there are a lot of people who aren’t going to want to buy you.

You can’t be all things to all people, and your effectiveness as a coach comes directly from how well your hold your integrity. Because of that, the best coaches are the ultimate niche marketers. They are not just selling their services as a marketing coach, or a life coach, or a fitness coach. They’re selling their services as, for example, a female life coach with an edgy sense of humor and a background in finance who helps very small business owners in the service industry overcome their struggles with cash flow.

Now that’s a niche audience.

Maybe that is not a description of your coaching business, but if you are a coach, you’ve probably – hopefully – got a description of your services that’s just as specific. You know exactly what kind of clients will stay with you long-term and truly benefit from your help. Those are the kind of clients you started coaching for in the first place.

Here’s the good news: Email is one of the best tools going to both for attracting your ideal clients, and for screening out all those other people who may need coaching services, but need someone else’s coaching services. The people who do not resonate with your message will eventually unsubscribe. The people on the fence, who are not really ready to change or to commit to working with you, will just silently read your emails, but they’ll never contact you. And that’s a good thing.

Bad clients, clients that don’t fit or who can’t really afford you, or who won’t pay you – those clients are not good to have. Anyone who’s done coaching or consulting for a while can attest to how much damage a bad client can do. The smartest coaches are very, very picky about who they work with, because they know exactly how bad a bad client is.

Email is a fantastic way to screen out all the bad clients. The people who do reach out to you through your email list will know you, and know you well. They will have signed up for your brand of coaching. Literally.

 

Having an active email newsletter means you’re forced to publish

Whether you send out an email once a week or once a month, you’re required to sit down and write something.

Being forced to sit down and address your ideal audience does several good things. First, it makes you consider what your ideal clients really need to know. It lets you go past all the little day-to-day complaints and symptoms people struggle with, and focus on the underlying problems. In other words, it gives you a deeper perspective, and then forces you to articulate what you’ve learned.

This helps you, and it helps your clients. The work you put into publishing your emails helps you give your clients better answers. It helps you form your philosophy, which is a fancy word for your perspective. And that, as you may remember, is part of what people are paying you for.

Those are the three biggest “why”s behind email marketing for coaches. Here are some of the specifics of how. Many of these tips can be found on any email marketing best practices list, but this particular list is specifically selected and slanted to what coaches need to accomplish.

online_marketing

1) Offer a lead magnet or free report that solves a common problem.

Offer your site visitors an ebook or a checklist that would be irresistible to your ideal clients, and immediately start seeing your list become a source for business. You can think of this as a way to build your list, but you can also think of it as a screening mechanism: You know the people who sign up for your list are at least motivated to take this step. If your existing lead magnet is not doing well (for example, it’s getting less than a 2% opt-in rate), it may be because you aren’t offering a solution that people are motivated enough to solve.

 

2) Set up an autoresponder to continue the conversation.

As mentioned above, coaching services have a long sales cycle. You can certainly nurture leads through a weekly email newsletter, but it might work better to walk people through a series of emails specifically designed to take them from point A to point B in your “buying cycle”.

If you have trouble getting a weekly newsletter out, and autoresponder can be even more valuable. If you schedule your autoresponders to go out once a week, your readers might not even realize they’re on an autoresponder.  That makes for one less weekly marketing task for you.

 

3) Send a welcome email to new subscribers and ask them what they’re struggling with, or what their most pressing question is.

Include a short introduction to your work in this email, even if it’s just a list of your most popular articles or blog posts. Remember: They may never be as interested in you or your work as they are when they first sign up for your list. Capitalize on this by offering them your best content.

 

4) Try webinars or public speaking to build your email list.

Many marketing pros name webinars as the most effective list-building tactic they have. Whether you want to build your list or to show off your expertise, webinars are a great way to get in front of your audience and deliver value. And because coaching is so often a two-way conversation, hosting a webinar is a terrific way for you to experience first-hand what your audience responds to or not. The only better tactic might be public speaking.

 

5) Partner with other coaches by guest posting, doing webinars.

This is a spin off of the tactic above. If your list is small or you have trouble assembling a big enough audience to make a webinar worthwhile, partner with one of two other coaches or consultants. You’ll pool your marketing resources, your expertise and your audience. It’s a win for everyone.

 

6) Create more than one lead magnet/free report. Offer it near relevant content on your site.

You probably already know a lead magnet is a must-have list-building tool. But did you know it’s okay to have more than one? Your site visitors have more than one problem, as you know. How about offering more than one lead magnet?

 

7) Solicit feedback and stories from your subscribers as often as possible.

Coaching is give and take, so bring that into your emails. Whether you’re sending autoresponders or a weekly email message, actively seek feedback from your readers. A twist on this is to include testimonials from clients, or even just comments on your blog posts.

 

8) Consider adding a name field to your opt-in forms, and go the extra step to use personalization in your emails.

Personalization can be wildly effective. While other businesses might not want to get too personal, as a coach it’s your job to get personal.

 

9) Make it easy to unsubscribe – use a one-click unsubscribe, and make it effective immediately (if you’re using GetResponse, they’ve got this taken care of already).

This is just basic trust-building. Don’t hide your unsubscribe link, and don’t make people go through hoops to unsubscribe. Remember: As a coach, you really don’t want people on your list if they’re disengaged.

 

10) Send more than just text.

Videos and images will be important for you to connect with your audience. Always be professional, but it’s essential for you to show your personality. People want to get to know you.

 

11) Don’t use stifled language.

Write like you are talking to people. See our recent webinar with DJ Waldow about how to write more engaging email newsletters.

 

12) Use double opt-in, and customize the sign up process so that people are introduced to you in a positive way.

If you customize your double opt-in process, you’ll end up with a larger, and more engaged list. You’ll get fewer unsubscribes, and your subscribers will be more likely to open and click your messages.

 

13) Include a link in all your emails for people to ask questions, or to make requests for topics you should write about.

Your best ideas for content will come from the questions your readers ask. This feedback is so valuable that you might even consider offering a prize once a month for the best question.

 

14) Announce your upcoming newsletters in your Twitter feed, on LinkedIn and in your Facebook and Google Plus posts.

As you build and screen your audience, be sure to do it on all possible platforms. Have your Twitter followers read your emails, and your email readers follow you on Twitter.

 

15) Write about personal experiences where you can. This is exactly the kind of information about you that coaching clients want to know.

Stuck for ideas about what to include in your next email? It’s time to tell a personal story. Storytelling is one of the most powerful ways to convey a message, and because you’re a coach, people will be even more receptive to your stories.

 

16) Don’t think you’re bothering your subscribers with your emails.

Coaches are particularly susceptible to this belief. But remember: These people signed up for your list. They raised their hand to hear from you. If you don’t send email updates, you’re actually disappointing them.

 

17) Don’t be afraid to share your sources of inspiration, whether that’s other coaches, books, organizations, or anything else.

You won’t “lose” subscribers to these sources if you mention them, or if you link to them. You’ll be building your value with your subscribers by introducing them to new things. That’s exactly what they signed up for.

 

18) Try offering checklists or pdf guides at the end of every blog post you publish. Ask for an email address in exchange for the guide.

Think of these as mini-lead magnets. They work just as well.

 

19) Consider segmenting your list.

You can do this by segmenting out people who you’ve actually worked with versus people you haven’t, or by people who are local versus people who aren’t. If you offer slightly different solutions for your clients it might be helpful to offer them different email messages, too.

 

20) Every so often, give your subscribers exclusive content in your emails – content that is not available on your site or anywhere else.

This encourages them to pay attention to your emails, and to stay subscribed. You could even try offering a short-term discount on your coaching, with a coupon only for email subscribers.

 

21) Use GetResponse’s automation tools to create customized emails and paths through your content.

Did you know GetResponse can give you a list of people who clicked on a specific link in your email? And that you can then send a customized message just to those “clickers”? As a coach, this gives you the capability to create “choose your own adventure” type paths through your content. That means a more customized experience for your readers, and a way for you to leverage all the content you’ve created over the years.

 

Get ready for more

If you’re a coach, I hope this was helpful, let us know in the comments below which points you found particularly interesting. If you’re not, stay tuned for these upcoming posts: “Email Marketing Tips for Affiliates” and “Email Marketing Tips for Local Businesses”.

 

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How to Launch Your First Ecourse and Make It Sell Out http://blog.getresponse.com/launch-first-ecourse-make-sell.html http://blog.getresponse.com/launch-first-ecourse-make-sell.html#comments Wed, 19 Nov 2014 16:07:38 +0000 http://blog.getresponse.com/?p=18197 You spent months creating this fantastic online program. You invested countless hours creating the content, shooting the videos and getting them transcribed, and creating worksheets and handouts. Tell me if this sounds familiar. You know that said offer is of really … Read more

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You spent months creating this fantastic online program. You invested countless hours creating the content, shooting the videos and getting them transcribed, and creating worksheets and handouts. Tell me if this sounds familiar.

You know that said offer is of really high quality, it’s something that there is a demand for in the market, and have made sure that there is nothing quite like it. Sure there are competitive products but yours is much more practical, easy to implement, and takes the learning curve out of the whole process.

You think people will be signing up in droves. You think there is going to be stampede in a rush to purchase this ecourse. Sadly, none of this happens. You create your course and you put it up for sale and the results are far from what you were hoping for. They are heart breaking. They are soul crushing.

Maybe this situation has happened to you, or maybe you have heard a similar story from a number of new entrepreneurs and frankly it scares you. Sure you want to create your course, or update it, but you don’t want to take a chance unless there is some guarantee that this will work. Fear not, in today’s post, I’ll be teaching you how to launch your ecourse so it sells out. Let’s begin!

 

Phase 1: Research

If this is your first online program ever, you want to make sure you will be investing time and effort in creating something people actually want to buy.

This is actually the number one mistake people make that leads to their ecourse being a total flop. I would go as far as to say that even if you master all the remaining steps and execute them to a T, if you created something that there is no demand for, it will not sell well. No ifs and buts about it.

So, the first step is to research. This also holds true if you want to relaunch a course that didn’t do that well the first time around. You want to go back to the drawing board to make sure you didn’t imagine the demand in your excitement. That there is a real gap your course can fill.

Start by asking your own audience first. These are some of your most loyal fans so they are going to tell you the truth. Ask them what their biggest frustration is when it comes to your topic and what is one thing that would pay to get fixed.

Don’t stop there. Ask them what they have tried in the past to fix this problem and why it hasn’t worked. Tell them what frustrates them when it comes to all the existing solutions in the market right now.

You can ask all these questions in the form of a survey or by talking people one-on-one. If your audience is pretty small, there are other ways to discover market gap. You can join online communities and Facebook groups and start paying attention to what your ideal audience is talking about. You can also read comments by people on the leading blogs in your industry. You can also ask your friends who serve the same audience but in a different capacity if they would mind helping you out by running a survey or just allowing you to speak with a few people.

This step is crucial and if you nail this step, it is pretty much guaranteed that your launch is going to be successful. Congratulations on figuring this out.

Now on to the second phase …

 

Phase 2: Course creation and beta testing

At this stage you need to start putting the content together for your ecourse. If your ecourse or online program is badly executed, you will have trouble getting advance praise, reviews and testimonials from your beta testers. But when you nail this step, this will super charge your launch and sales process.

Start with your strengths and actual experience. Most coaches, consultants, and healers aren’t course creators. While they have experience working one-on-one, in groups or running workshops, they don’t necessarily have the experience of putting a training program together. If you have prior experience in this area, this is great. If not, I recommend working with a course design or instructional design expert.

They will help you create the outline, organize your material, choose the right information and structure your course. You will also gain insights into how adults learn and learn about the different types of learners such as visual, audio or kinaesthetic. A well-developed course will make you stand head and shoulders above the rest.

Now you want to test whether your course delivers what you promise or not. You need to hear from real humans who consume your content and see how they like it. Find out if they find anything confusing, if anything is hard to understand or implement and if there are any gaps in the process (remember, you are operating from the place of being an expert and are bound to miss some spots that newbies or beginners find it hard to execute).

You can recruit a group of beta testers for free or you can charge a low fee to do so, it just depends on the nature of your course and the relationship you have with your list. Sometimes in order for people to actually consume the content and take it seriously, you need to charge, otherwise they will not pay it the attention it deserves.

Got your beta testers? Great. Start dripping content to them and pay close attention to their feedback. They can also help you tweak the format. For example, they might tell you they prefer the content in written form or maybe they’ll encourage you to add some additional support like a private Facebook group.

The beauty of this round is that you can actually create the content as you go, based on the feedback you receive. And once the course is finished, ask your participants to document their thoughts. Ask them if you can use some portions as testimonials and once you put together a testimonial, ask for permission to use it in your marketing materials.

Once your ecourse is complete, you can get in touch with other people (movers and shakers in your industry) and ask them whether they’d be able to write a review for your ecourse. Mention the praise you have already received. Be proud – you have earned it.

audience

Phase 3: Pre-launch content

Once you are happy with how your course is coming along, you can start planning your pre-launch content.

This is another reason for your launch not getting you the results you hoped for – the fact that you did not warm up your email list enough to become receptive to what is coming up. Secondly, your pre-launch content will also help add more people to your email list so while you are releasing content for your launch, you are building your list at the same time.

The way you go about your launch content is that you plan a series of content (it can be a video series but it can just be a series of blog posts) to get your audience excited about your ecourse. You send than more content that you normally would, so if you email once a week, now you are switching to once every third day.

Most people get scared that once they start sending out more content, lot of people will be offended. Actually, only the people who are not a right fit for you and your business will get offended. They and the freebie seekers, these people are the ones who will unsubscribe at the hint of a product launch. And why does it matter anyway? Why should you care if all these people leave who were never going to buy from you? Your email list numbers should never be a vanity metric. By weeding out people who will never purchase, you are actually doing yourself a favour so you don’t expect unrealistic results.

If your business caters to different types of clients and customers, it makes sense to create a separate list for your launch. You can splinter some information from the actual course and create a highly specific, relevant freebie that people can get their hands on once they join this new list. Some people object to asking people to opt-in again when they are already on your list but think of it in this way, you are just asking them to reaffirm their relationship. You are just asking them to confirm that they are still interested in what you have to do. These are consistency and commitment principles of influence at play here.

Work off a pre-made launch plan. Think about how many pieces of content you will send. Think about the topics you will cover and how they will lend to the topic in the next post in the series. This ensures that if somebody discovers a piece of content somewhere along the middle, they will be interested in checking out the previous pieces as well. Play up to your strengths, if you are really good on video then go with talking head videos. If you are great at speaking, think about talking over slides. Master of word? Maybe the written format is the best option for you.

Lastly, give people sufficient time to absorb your content but not so long that they lose interest. You can’t go wrong with 7 days of pre-launch content.

 

Phase 4: Open cart (with a deadline)

As people follow the natural progression of your pre-launch content, you can lead them to your offer. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Your offer should be crystal clear. Tell people exactly what they are getting and at what price. Give them the benefits but also present a summary of what exactly are they getting. This might include your course material, video transcripts, worksheets, templates, checklists, handouts, personalized access, group coaching calls or private Facebook access. Just spell it out so they are 100% clear. Remember, confused minds don’t buy.
  • Give people a deadline to buy. Human beings are master procrastinators and you want them to take action now rather than later. You can employ persuasion principles of urgency and scarcity.
  • You can do an internal launch first where you open doors to the people on your list and give them early access at a special, subscriber only, discounted price. Tell them that the price goes up for public to create urgency and encourage people to enrol. If your course includes working one-on-one then that means you can only enrol so many people. There is natural scarcity here and not a manufactured one.

Once you have an open cart, you have two main things to do. First, you have to persuade as many people from the launch list to enrol and you do this by sending them enough reminders. Depending upon how long your cart stays open, you might be emailing every second day, and sending two emails on the last day. You will find that a large number of people will put off their decision at the last minute and will only jump in the last few hours. So send one email in the morning and one again, just a few hours before the enrolment closes.

Secondly, you have to keep working to attract new people to make your launch a success. So let’s look at the final piece of this launch puzzle.

SocialMedia

Phase 5: Social Media Promotion

You must be promoting your pre-launch and launch content at all times. It is vital that you attract new people to give your launch every chance of success.

Let’s have a quick look at the numbers. On average, 1-5% of the people on your launch list will register for your course. Now do the Math. If you want to enrol 60 people into your $500 online course, (assuming a conversion rate of 3%), you would need about 2000 people on your list have a 30K launch.

Keeping the numbers in mind also allows to shoot for realistic goals. So if you have 500 people on your list and you are expecting a 50K launch but you end up doing 10K, don’t think your launch failed. Your launch actually did pretty good. The problem is that you were expecting too much. If you want to achieve that kind of goals then you need to build that kind of list so building your email list should be a priority from day1. Actually to get that kind of numbers for your launch, start building your email list when your course is just in the conceptualization stage.

Start by being active on your Facebook page and all the social media platforms you are currently on. Hire someone to manage your social media presence if you can afford it. Plan a number of guest posts on the relevant blogs in your industry. Start connecting with influencers early on and try to get the posts scheduled round about the time of your launch for maximum impact.

Schedule webinars if that’s your thing. Run Facebook ads leading up to the landing page so people can sign up to your launch list, or promote your webinars through Facebook ads. You can even promote your pre-launch content via Facebook. Form strategic alliances with people who serve the same audiences but in a complimentary manner to you and who are not direct competitors.

 

Let the ecourse begin!

Remember, when you create a well-executed course there is a real demand for, warm up your list nicely and then make a compelling offer, your launch will give you the numbers you plan for. There is not rocket science but simple Math.

Unless you do something to sabotage your launch yourself like ask for an exorbitant price, or email poorly crafted launch content (which will be a reflection of your course) or create something nobody wants, you will have a success launch. So do the former and you’ll do just fine. Share with us in the comments below if you’ve ever created an ecourse. Or maybe you have some questions? Let us know!

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2 Startups from Web Summit 2014 http://blog.getresponse.com/2-startups-web-summit-2014.html http://blog.getresponse.com/2-startups-web-summit-2014.html#comments Tue, 18 Nov 2014 16:07:47 +0000 http://blog.getresponse.com/?p=18189 This year’s Web Summit was held once again in Dublin and I was lucky enough to be invited along. The event is the second biggest tech summit in the world and is now in its fourth year. The Summit saw … Read more

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This year’s Web Summit was held once again in Dublin and I was lucky enough to be invited along. The event is the second biggest tech summit in the world and is now in its fourth year. The Summit saw 22,000 attendees each day from 109 countries, had 2,160 exciting startups exhibiting for 700 investors and enjoyed talks by 614 of the world’s leading technology company representatives. Alongside the tech talks were entrepreneurs and public figures such as Bono discussing a wide range of technology and business related subjects.

For businesses interested in the latest that technology can offer when it comes to marketing, Big Data, the cloud, web design and apps (and more), it’s an event that’s definitely worth a visit. The sheer size of it was amazing and it had numerous speaker stages and areas in which startups could demonstrate their innovations. As well as the centre stage where most of the high profile speakers held discussions in front of 1000s of people, there were specialist areas for marketing, enterprise, building (development and coding), hardware and more.

 

Food & Night Summits

Additionally, the ‘Food Summit’ courtesy of Good Food Ireland provided complimentary food to all attendees and it was excellent to boot, not to mention carried out with extreme efficiency. At night, attendees were also treated to special events in and around the bars in the city for further networking opportunities.

So if you didn’t attend this year, think about going to the next one which will be held in Dublin in November 2015. If you sign up now, you can get tickets at the promotional 2 for 1 offer that’s currently being run.

I met and spoke to a lot of the exhibitors and there was a huge amount of great talent with some awesome products – let’s have a look at a few of them:

 

#1: Webydo

Webydo like the majority of the other exhibitors (aside from the big guys such as Google, Amazon, etc.) had a small space in which to showcase their wares but they did it well. I spoke to VP Creative Shelly Grizim who told me all about what they do. Webydo is a community led platform which allows businesses to create beautiful, responsive websites without the need for coding skills.

However, it’s not just for businesses but is aimed at graphics designers allowing them to build advanced sites with just a few clicks of a button on a WYSIWYG interface. You can sign up for a free site with 3GB storage, one site and hosting or prices start from $9 per month. According to the Webydo site, the idea is to take the process of converting graphical designs into code out of the equation so that designers can work faster without the hassle of coding.

You can design from a layout template, a design template or a blank page and once you’ve chosen which, you then just use the online editor to create the site before hitting publish – all sites come complete with an in-built CMS too.

 

Webydo’s WYSIWYG online editor

Webydo’s WYSIWYG online editor

The editor is simple to use and it’s ideal for small business owners with design experience as well as web designers that want to offer powerful sites to their clients without having to code the backend.

I was impressed with the whole thing. Now I’m back from the Summit and having a look around the site and a play with the editor, I remain impressed and would say that Webydo is one to watch in coming years.

 

#2: Stir Kinetics

I saw a demo of the Stir Kinetics desk whilst at the Summit on day 3. Firstly, it’s worth noting that there are now quite a lot of standing desks on the market now but none like this. It’s been proven that leading a sedentary lifestyle (sitting in an office chair all day, every day) is not good for your health. However, neither is standing all day so the key is movement; some time spent sitting, some standing and adopting different positions is the best approach.

 

Stir learns your habits and adjusts accordingly

Stir learns your habits and adjusts accordingly

Stir uses software that learns your habits and reminds you when it’s time to change position from sitting to standing and vice versa. The desk is aesthetically pleasing (Apple fans will adore it) too and has a touchscreen pad that allows you to access the software. It learns your patterns and optimizes movement for fitness and productivity. And if you’re not moving enough it lets you know with a soft up-down movement. The desk also has tidy little slots at the back where you can plug in your computer etc. so you only need have one wire to go to the mains to power all of your devices.

Having just written an article on standing desks and the surrounding subject, I found the concept very interesting. While research shows that sitting all day can shave a substantial slice off your life expectancy, it’s important that office workers realize that standing all day is no better for you. Stir is the first to come to market with a desk that allows you to do both and provides software to help you. The manufacturer has recently received $1.5m in seed funding to further fuel its adaptive workspace innovation and is currently taking orders on new desks for shipment in spring 2015 – the desk retails at $3,890, which is in line with other standing desks on the market.

 

PITCH Competition Winners

 

AI was represented heavily at the Summit but didn’t win the prizes

AI was represented heavily at the Summit but didn’t win the prizes

There were plenty more startups that I could write about that attended, such as the PITCH competition winners. This year the coveted BETA award went to Portuguese company Codacy, a code review automation app designed to make software development more efficient. The ALPHA award was won by UK company BaseStone, which makes software for the construction industry designed for better collaboration and simpler document control.

Well done to Paddy Cosgrove, the event organiser and host and to the excellent venue that is the Royal Dublin Society. Not to mention Good Food Ireland for serving great food exceptionally quickly to so many hungry people!

If you’d like me to cover more of the Web Summit in coming weeks then please do leave a comment in the field below – just let me know if you’d like to hear about some of the talks or the startups and I’ll be happy to fill you in!

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6 Email Insights From Usability Research: All You Need To Know http://blog.getresponse.com/6-email-insights-usability-research-need-know.html http://blog.getresponse.com/6-email-insights-usability-research-need-know.html#comments Mon, 17 Nov 2014 16:07:19 +0000 http://blog.getresponse.com/?p=18180 There are several ways to learn and improve your newsletter. I am a big fan of A/B testing, because it can give you real, usable results based on data. Usability research is a completely different game (and more expensive). Usability … Read more

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There are several ways to learn and improve your newsletter. I am a big fan of A/B testing, because it can give you real, usable results based on data. Usability research is a completely different game (and more expensive). Usability research can give a brand insight into the expectations and opinions that users have. In case of email marketing, a marketer would be looking at their own subscribers. What can we learn from usability research in email marketing?

The Dutch Direct Marketing Association recently published a usability research they did amongst 14 brands, supported by some data from eye tracking with the same group. Here are key six learnings they uncovered. I added my own conclusions because the ones in the research were a bit on the “not as informative” side. Let us begin!

.

1. Indexes are valued, not always helpful

An index is often used in larger newsletters that include a lot of items. By having an index the subscribers can scan and quickly go through the content of your email. The participants in the research said they valued an index, but it should directly link to the landing page. Some newsletters use anchor text that would normally let you scroll to the article inside the newsletter. That is not what they expect to happen. If your newsletter is already at the height of that item, it seems like nothing is happening.

Insight: Users say they like indexes because it lets them easily scan the content. But does that mean you should add one it might as well decrease your particular conversions! If you do add one, make sure it is linked directly to the landing page

 

2. Subject lines and the natural order of things

The users in the research were pretty clear about this one, they expected the subject line to reflect what they would find in the first article at the top of the email,. In one of the newsletters it wasn’t, this is perceived as confusing. The users wanted to read about the topic mentioned in the subject line, but had to look for it.

The explanation of the brand was viable enough; the first topic (launch of their mobile app) was important to highlight, but didn’t have the highest news-value and they used a different subject line,  because it might appeal more and persuade people to open.

Insight: The top of your newsletter will always get the most attention. Users go through the hierarchy of your email. Subject line and content are heavily connected, this is why a winning subject line in opens, isn’t guaranteed to give you the most clicks (or conversions). Experiment with the order of your content, subject lines and see what it does to your CTO (click to open rate).

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3. An introduction to Intro text

Have you ever seen these newsletters that have a big introduction text? Or one that starts off like “In this newsletter we have gathered interesting….. blablabla”. Users that participated in the this usability research mentioned that they did sometimes read the intro, but didn’t always see the (added) value of it.

Insight: think about the function of your intro text. A summary of items in the newsletter won’t cut it in my opinion, see the first point on indexes. But framing might do. Most of the time these intros should be cut, especially if there isn’t any value in them. If there is, see if you can dramatically decrease the size of your intro.

Startup Stock Photos

4. Body needs back

Users said that they would like to see the content “framed” with a border or by using a background colour so they would (instantly) know where the email stopped, adding to structure and a better overview. The brand gave an explanation, un-bordered was is part of their brand guidelines.

Insight: Focus your readers attention. Although i wouldn’t put this on my top-things-to-test-and-change list, it might help your users to drive attention towards the content. “It is in our Brand guidelines”  is not a convincing argument for not testing your email, although I understand this is a daily reality for some marketers.

 

5. Sender name needs to connect

In one case in this usability study, the sender and the subject line didn’t match. It was from ‘HB Care Hairstyle’, while the subject line mentioned skin products too. The users found this to be confusing and unappealing, saying they would open it faster if these were aligned. The brand immediately took that as a quick win and changed their sender name to ‘HB Care’ for future mailings.

Insight: Never underestimate the power of the Sender name and form address. this is the first thing that users see in their inbox, even before subject line and pre-header or snippet. You are free to change this to better reflect the content of your ongoing email campaigns, or even change it to fit with individual email campaigns. For instance think about the difference between transactional mails, marketing automation and event driven mails or series of emails.

 

6. Link to Landing pages

The importance of linking to the landing page from your index page is undisputed. Now the users also said that with some emails, they couldn’t easily find what they were looking for on the landing page while it was there.

Insight: Make sure your landing page is what is expected and directly offers the assurance that the subscriber is in the right place. Sometimes though there are multiple items on one page, Adding an anchor in the link to your lengthy landing page can direct them and scroll the page so that the topic is presented front and center.

Adding an anchor text is quite simple: First you add a small piece of code on the page itself. Say your page has multiple items on email marketing ;) And you wanted to get right to the part where you give tips on Sender name. You can add a little link inside the page looking like this:

<a name=”sendername”></a>

now you can link to that part directly by adding a hashtag and the name of your anchor at the end of your link. Try clicking on the link and you will see it works.

 

Use of usability research in email

Usability research just like other types of research needs to be used with care and seen in context. It is not an alternative to a professional email marketing audit or A/B testing. Remember your subscribers are not experts, that makes it both valuable and is a great tool for uncovering “hidden” insights. At the same time they are not experts, so what do they know beyond their own wants needs and experience? Simply taking what people (users) suggest and taking it as absolute truths, is not the way to go.

It is important to remember though that the research was a qualitative research; people were asked for their opinions and had more time to look at the emails inbox and landing pages. ). That is not the same situation as it is in real life of course. The outcomes for your own newsletter might be different, but very useful in adding new test and optimization ideas. In the comments below, share with us your insights and results!

6 Email Insights From Usability Research: All You Need To Know is a post from: GetResponse Blog - Email Marketing Tips

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Customer Journey – The Role of Email Marketing in the Buying Process http://blog.getresponse.com/customer-journey-role-email-marketing-buying-process.html http://blog.getresponse.com/customer-journey-role-email-marketing-buying-process.html#comments Fri, 14 Nov 2014 16:07:36 +0000 http://blog.getresponse.com/?p=18174 What is it that your customers really want from you? This simple question might confuse many email marketers. There are more and more advanced tools for collecting data, which allow us to track customer behavior (both online and offline), but … Read more

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What is it that your customers really want from you? This simple question might confuse many email marketers. There are more and more advanced tools for collecting data, which allow us to track customer behavior (both online and offline), but can we make proper use of it?

Use a customer journey map to find out what your customers want from you at various stages of the purchasing process. It will help you choose the best marketing solutions and design a perfect marketing strategy for your brand.

 

Customer journey

A customer journey map is one of these incredibly useful things when it comes to developing a marketing strategy that brings results.

The customer journey is the entire process of customer interaction with your brand. It starts when a person hears about your product for the first time, then goes through the phase of collecting information about it, choosing the right model or version, and making a purchase – ’til as a delighted customer they recommend your product to the people around.

Depending on the industry, type of product, and your target audience a customer journey map will look different. Try to define and carefully analyze all the touchpoints – your brand’s points of customer contact in order to better understand your customers’ journey.

 

How to prepare a customer journey map?

Recently I’ve read a step by step guide to building customer journey maps on the ConversionXL blog. The author points out that you should start the process of preparing a customer journey map by creating a customer persona – a research-based modeled representations of who your customers are.

Building customer personas can help improve the way you communicate with your customers, so it’s a good idea to devote sufficient time to this activity. The more precise the customer persona, the easier it is to define the touchpoints with your brand – each moment of interaction between the customer and your brand make an occasion for a certain marketing action.

Google has divided the customer journey into four stages (awareness, consideration, intent, and decision) and defined two roles of marketing channels. Depending on the chosen marketing channel it can either assist the customer in the path to purchase or serve as the last interaction – the final step before buying a product.

 

Where is email on the map?

Email is neither the first nor the last touchpoint between a customer and your brand in the path to purchase. However, it might be a powerful marketing tool before, during and after the purchase.

It enables you to build reputation as an industry expert, provides customers with unique product features,and the presents benefits of using your product. It helps to establish and nurture relationships with customers and it might encourage your subscribers to go to a website or a landing page that allows purchase.

  • Before the purchase you can present your offer. Make your customer remember your brand and know all the features that make your product different from the competition.
  • Send messages with an appropriate offer and a clear call to action that will encourage your subscribers to buy the product.
  • After the purchase you should carry on fostering the relationship between your brand and customers. Prepare campaigns inspiring loyalty and enthusiasm. Experiment, try to include non-standard actions – email marketing allows you to track your efforts, produce detailed statistics of your campaigns and optimize your strategy for your target audience.

CustomerJourney

Example touchpoints on a customer journey map

Let me give you an example of a path to purchase using an underdeveloped buyer persona – John (I definitely recommend to take time and thoroughly profile yours). Don’t worry, if the purchasing process of your product looks different – it’s just an example to show you how useful a customer journey map might be:

  1. John recognizes a certain want or need – he starts to look for products that will fulfill it.
  2. John researches and compares available products and services online.
  3. He comes across various websites. He is looking for reliable information on the particular product or service – he reads company blogs.
  4. John starts to develop a certain view on the products available on the market. However, he needs more information – he subscribes to a few promising newsletters.
  5. Based on the collected information he becomes more aware of his personal preferences. He can distinguish between the companies on the market and recognize the experts in the industry.
  6. At some point he is able to point out the product he is interested in.
  7. He is ready to make a purchase and waits for the right moment.
  8. He buys the product.
  9. He receives a thank you message with useful tips on how to use the product properly.
  10. After some time he receives a message encouraging him to share an opinion on the purchased product (that is a wonderful occasion to get valuable customer feedback – think carefully about what you want to ask).
  11. John receives another nugget of useful information about the product he had bought. No commercial content, only valuable information that turn a satisfied customer into a true fan of a brand.
  12. At the right time John receives information about related products and accessories that he might find interesting.
  13. From time to time he receives an individual promo code and a discount, each time he recommends the product to a friend.

 

Matching your customer’s needs and automation

Email allows you to segment your subscriber list and diversify your actions to meet the needs of each separated group. You can adjust your strategy to the preferences of certain groups and increase the efficiency of your email marketing campaigns.

Email marketing automation is another significant feature you should remember about. You can program most of your messages so that they are automatically sent at a certain time (e.g. subscriber’s birthday) or triggered by a certain action (e.g. purchase). This way you can reduce both the time necessary to manage a campaign and the workload – one person will be able to coordinate several email marketing campaigns.

 

Summary

A a well-designed customer journey map can be priceless. It will help you recognize which touchpoints require educational content and which ones need a product offer. If your resources are scarce, a customer journey map will help you distinguish the critical touchpoints – where certain actions must be taken – from the ones that can be handled later on.

Such a map can help you enormously with preparing an email marketing strategy that brings results. It will help you understand the purchasing process and make the best use of all your email marketing activities.

What is your experience with customer journey maps? Can you share some practical tips? Please leave your thoughts in the comment section below.

Customer Journey – The Role of Email Marketing in the Buying Process is a post from: GetResponse Blog - Email Marketing Tips

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7-Step Plan for Creating an Effective Content Marketing Strategy http://blog.getresponse.com/7-step-plan-creating-effective-content-marketing-strategy.html http://blog.getresponse.com/7-step-plan-creating-effective-content-marketing-strategy.html#comments Thu, 13 Nov 2014 16:07:49 +0000 http://blog.getresponse.com/?p=18162 “Have a plan, or plan to fail.” Ever heard that saying? It’s a tidy assessment of why strategy matters. Strategy is especially important for Internet marketers, because we can so easily and so quickly get caught up in the latest … Read more

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“Have a plan, or plan to fail.” Ever heard that saying? It’s a tidy assessment of why strategy matters. Strategy is especially important for Internet marketers, because we can so easily and so quickly get caught up in the latest shiny new marketing trick, or bogged down in long list of cool tools. 

There’s nothing wrong with cool tools, of course. I love cool tools. Everybody loves them. But with just tools and no strategy, we’re about as effective as a monkey with a hammer – there’s lots of noise and activity, but nothing much useful gets built.

That’s why strategy matters. And just so we start off with a clear understanding, let’s try to define the difference between strategies and tactics:

  • Strategies are the blueprints; tactics are the tools.
  • Strategies are like battle plans; tactics are the weapons you choose to execute those plans.

In football terms, a strategy would be to weaken the defense. The tactics would be a series of specific plays that interfere with how well the defensive players can do their jobs.

In content marketing, an overarching strategy would be to educate potential consumers about why your services are best. Tactics would be blog posts, webinars and an email newsletter. Each one of those tactics supports that education strategy. Notice that each one of those tactics also has a goal, and is designed from the start to accomplish that goal.

You can see why a strategy is so critical to marketing. Without a strategy, you’re just trying out tactic after tactic without any coordinated plan. Now, all that said, you may over time develop a working idea of what you’re aiming for, and that’s actually a rough version of a strategy. It’s just an undocumented strategy. Surprisingly, about half of all content marketers have an undocumented content marketing strategy, according to the Content Marketing Institute and Marketing Profs’ 2015 B2B and B2C Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends Reports.

 

2015_B2C_Research-Have-content-marketing-strategy

 

2015-b2b-research-content-marketing-strategy

While you can get away with an undocumented strategy, it’s easier and more effective to write out a strategy from the start, instead of hashing one together, bit by bit, as you go along. So let’s give you the fundamentals of how to develop an effective content marketing strategy for your business, based on your goals and the resources you have on hand now.

 

1) Define your business goals

To paraphrase the Spice Girls: “What do you want? What do you really, really want?”

Get specific about it. Maybe you want to double your income. Maybe you want to double your email list. Maybe you want to be on the cover of Forbes. Whatever it is, it’s got to be specific and measurable. Where do you want your business to be in three months? I recommend the relatively short three-month time frame, because it’s harder to put something off that’s only three months away. Something that’s a year away can make you feel like you’ve got enough time to waffle.

So whether it’s doubling your revenue, or doubling your profits, or getting more email subscribers, define it. All your content marketing efforts are going to be focused on this goal.

Now – a word to you overachievers who would like to have ten different business goals. You’ve got to limit your business goals to three items or less. Every additional goal means you’re taking focus off the other goals, and it is all too easy to fracture your focus down to nothing. So be ruthless. What one thing would completely change the game for your business?

 

2) Define your existing audience and your ideal audience

Now that you’ve defined what you’re going to do, define who you’re doing it for. I.e.: Who’s your ideal customer, client, or reader?

Once again, you’ll need to get specific. If you’re an affiliate, is your ideal reader a rank beginner, or are they more advanced? Are they budget-conscious, or more focused on having the best of everything? Are they technical, and love every diagram and diagnostic you can give them? Or do they want you to simplify what they should do down to a level where an eight year old could understand it?

Also ask yourself where your ideal customer or client tends to go online, and offline. Are there certain blogs they read? Certain online tools they use? You’ll also want to cover basic profile information like demographics, but don’t forget the psychographics, either: What does your ideal reader worry about? What do they aspire to? These are all critical pieces of information to craft your content around.

If you’re a B2B solopreneur or a small business, try to define what your ideal client looks like. Are they a business of 2-3 people, or 20-30 people? Do they tend to be a certain kind of business, like a professional service business (a law firm or an accountancy firm), or a retail establishment (clothing stores, building supplies)?

Another great way to define who your ideal client, customer or reader is can be to use the 80/20 rule. The 80/20 rule, also known as the Pareto Principle, is that 80% of your results come from 20% of your efforts. Adapt it for this exercise: Which 20% or your clients, customers or site visitors are creating 80% of your earnings? You want to find more people like them.

 

3) Determine what’s worked best in the past

Basically, this means doing a content audit. Now – don’t panic. Content audits are not like tax audits. They’re not a punishment, they don’t have to take forever, and they don’t have to be really boring.

There is actually a really cool tool (see… even strategy development involves tools) that gives you a decent content audit with no more work than a click of a button. It’s the Kapost content auditor tool.

Just enter your website URL here, and click the “Begin Free Audit” audit.

KapostContentAuditor

In a few minutes, you’ll get your results:

KapostContentAuditor2

Using this tool will help, but it won’t give you the kind of detailed audit you’ll really need.

What you want to do is

  • Get a list of all the pages on your site, including their URL and other metrics, like bounce rates, time on page, unique visitors and other stats. You can do this with a tool called Screaming Frog.
  • This is what the results look like after Screaming Frog has finished analyzing a site:

ScreamingFrog

If your site is small (like less than 100 pages) you can probably use the free version of Screaming Frog and get all your pages analyzed. If your site is larger, you might need either the paid version (approximately $125). You can also use a combination of Google Analytics, Google Webmaster tools, the bulk upload feature of SharedCount and BuzzStream’s tool to extract page titles and meta data. That will give you most of what Screaming Frog will show you, but with no charge for larger sites.

  • Next, you sort through all this information you’ve collected. This is the intimidating part of a content audit, so if you get stuck, just focus on your most-visited pages, and then focus on how those pages can be optimized to meet your business goals.
  • Review if there are any “holes” in your content – i.e., if there are any topics you should cover but haven’t. Also look at your content through the eyes of your customer or client, as they go through their journey from finding you, to trusting you, to buying from you. Ask yourself: Do they need any additional resources to make that journey easier? Do different kinds of customers need different kinds of content? Is that content easy for them to find? Is it updated and optimized?
  • After you’ve analyzed your content, run simple content analysis of 2-3 of your top competitors. Look for most shared content, where they rank in the search engine results, and which content marketing tactics they’re using .

There are a couple of nice website analysis tools that are great for seeing how you measure up against your competition. QuickSprout is very good. So are WooRank, Nibbler and Uberflip. Buffer published a great post reviewing these tools recently.

The most important thing about doing a content audit is to get enough information so you can see what needs to be improved, but not get so much information that you fall into “analysis paralysis”. Once again, the 80/20 rule can help: Figure out which pages account for 80% of your traffic. Optimize those first.

  1. At the end of your analysis, you want to know:
  2. Which pieces of content have performed best for you
  3. Are those pieces blog posts, guest posts? Slideshares?
  4. Which topics seem to get the most attention
  5. Which days or hours perform best
  6. Which content marketing efforts have gotten the most results, and which ones tanked

 

4) Determine what content marketing tactics might work that you haven’t tried yet

Now is the time for the shiny new marketing tactics. Have you been itching to do a podcast? Is it way past time you did a webinar? If there are 3-5 things you really want to try, and think would work great, now is the time to make your case for why they deserve your time and energy. This is also a great time to refer back to your analysis of your competitor’s content. Are they doing anything that seems to be working really well? Should you try that tactic?

 

5) Determine how much time and resources it will take to create the content you want, given the results you’ve been getting thus far

By now you know what you want to do. Now it’s time to define what it’s going to take to get it done. Spell all that out, down to things like how long it takes you to write a blog post and to promote it. Find out how much time and resources it will take to do what you want to do.

Take note that it’s going to take longer than you think. And when you tally all this up, you’re going to realize there aren’t enough hours in the day to get it all done. For the moment, that’s okay. For now, just figure out what it will take, all the way down to advertising budgets, or even hiring a virtual assistant.

 

6) Trim your plan down to fit the hours you actually have

Now you do the reality check. Because while we all want to publish two blog posts a week, do a podcast, guest post, write a book and become LinkedIn rock stars, most of us don’t have the time to do all that. We have to pick and choose.  So figure out what you can automate or streamline in your content creation and promotion. Then cut back your tasks until they fit into the hours you actually have.

Do not weep if you discover you barely have even five hours a week for all this content marketing stuff. For most solopreneurs, that’s about average. Small businesses can usually only muster 10-15 hours. That’s actually enough to get quite a lot done, especially if it is all focused on meeting your business goals.

Trello_cal-month

Trello is a free project management tool. It has a calendar view and can be synced with Google Calendar.

 

7) Plan out what your progress will look like, day by day, for the next three months

Don’t try to plan any further out than that. If all goes well, you’re going to learn so much in the next few months that you’ll need a new content marketing plan and strategy assessment in three months.

It is important to actually write out this plan. You can use a Google Drive calendar and spreadsheets if you want, or there are dozens of project management tools. At the moment, I’m using Trello combined with Google Calendar and a few Google spreadsheets, and it’s working very well. I also have a huge three foot by five foot calendar on my wall that shows the next six weeks of work. But that’s just me – do whatever works for you. One thing I have learned: Simple systems are almost always the easiest to maintain.

Finally, you execute your plan. If you’re a solopreneur, try to find an accountability partner, or a mastermind group. They can make all the difference. Now that you have the necessary 7 steps, share with us in the comments below what are your thoughts!

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How to Create Blog Content that Spreads like Wildfire http://blog.getresponse.com/create-blog-content-spreads-like-wildfire.html http://blog.getresponse.com/create-blog-content-spreads-like-wildfire.html#comments Wed, 12 Nov 2014 16:07:11 +0000 http://blog.getresponse.com/?p=18150 Let me guess, you are the proud owner of a small business, and your number one priority is to grow your business, make money and make a difference. Right? I mean you want to help other people and improve their lives … Read more

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Let me guess, you are the proud owner of a small business, and your number one priority is to grow your business, make money and make a difference. Right? I mean you want to help other people and improve their lives but you are also a business and your goal is to make money.

You are working really hard. There are so many things that go into growing a business. You need to maintain a professional looking website. You are collecting leads (capturing email addresses) at all times, you are creating new products or services. If you are a service based owner, you are working with clients and also looking for new ones to fill your schedule.

And people are telling you to blog? What nerve! Don’t they know how busy you are as a small business owner? You hardly have time to keep with the other million things that needs to be taken care in your business and on top of it, people expect you to blog?

Or, perhaps this scenario suits you better – you are a very busy small business owner, and you have a blog but it looks a bit like a ghost town. It certainly feels like one. There is hardly anybody to be seen and you are thinking what you are doing wrong. You wonder why you bother at all.

In this blog post, I am going to giving you very practical tips so you can create blog content that attracts the right person (the potential customer) and also is begging to be shared.

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Part A: Setting up your blog for success

Would you rather have one or two posts go viral, or publish content that does well on a regular basis? I am guessing you want to learn to create content that ticks all the boxes pretty much all the time. And you can’t do this unless you are 100% clear of why you are doing this in the first place. Let’s take a look.

You don’t need to become popular

First things first, I want you to get your perspective right. You are blogging because your blog is a marketing tool to collect leads. While it’s nice to get credit for all the awesome work you are doing, realize that your goal is not to become an Internet celebrity with a million Twitter followers and hundreds and thousands of Facebook fans. Once you take the pressure of yourself, you relax and all of a sudden this becomes an achievable goal.

Set some blogging goals

Now that you know you are not blogging to become popular, you need to set some goals for your blog content. Why? Because if you don’t, people won’t get a sense of what you are about and if it is worth subscribing to your blog, it shows and people don’t take you seriously. For instance, you might be a life coach and your goal is to get your first 1000 subscribers. Great. Now keep this in the mind when you are creating content so you stay on task and can actually track your progress.

Get super clear on your target audience

The number one reason why most blogs don’t get any traction is because the reader doesn’t feel like you are talking specifically to them. They don’t get this feeling that you know what it’s like to be them and don’t understand their worries, problems, frustrations, and hopes. The reason why you can’t connect with your audience is because you don’t know who you are targeting, this means your content doesn’t resonate. This also affects your bottom line too (how much money you make) so it is worth spending time on your target.

Create an ideal reader avatar or persona for your blog, go into enough detail so that you can picture this person in your head. Base all your content decisions keeping this person front and centre and you can’t go wrong.

Establish a publishing frequency

How many times could you commit to publishing a blog post? You want people to get used to hearing from you. You want them to get in the habit of opening your emails, reading your blog posts and sharing them. Consistency is crucial.

If you thought you had to blog every single day then you are dead wrong (and aren’t you glad to hear it?). It’s entirely up to you. Remember, you are not aiming for popularity, blogging is a means to an end. If you just create content for its own sake, not only will it not resonate with your audience, it will not get any traction. So, think about how many times you want to write and stick to it. I recommend once a week but every fortnight (once every two weeks) is the minimum you should aim for. Going for less than that is not going to be enough to bring back regular readers or new audiences.

Create an editorial calendar

Many people complain that they don’t know what to write about. They fear that they might have writer’s block and can’t come up with any ideas. The way you solve this problem is by making a list of all the content you are going to create.

Set aside some time, preferably 2 hours in your calendar for this task. Now sit down and brainstorm some topic categories. These can be fairly broad so don’t worry about nailing an idea now. Once you have a list of about 6-7 categories, start brainstorming ideas for each category. Think about your ideal reader and what would appeal to this person. If you are stuck, open a browser window and start looking at the leading blogs in your industry – the blogs you subscribe to. This will help with creative juices and ideas arrive thick and fast. Now just put them into slots in your calendar. (Remember, these are only ideas, you can swap them around, modify them or even kill them. You are not writing headlines at this stage.)

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Part B: Crafting a share-worthy blog post

Once you have gone through the initial steps, all that is left is to draft the post right. Here’s how you do this:

Sum up your post in one single compelling sentence

Unless you are doing a list post, of course. The problem with most blog posts are that they cover too many things and ultimately miss the mark on the very thing they promise. There is an easy solution to fix this. Write the gist of your blog post in a single sentence. Go on try it.

Think about the purpose of writing this post. What big benefit are you promising? What will your reader learn after reading it? Write it in one single sentence and no longer. The beauty of this process is that it gives you a working headline, and secondly it keeps you on track, so you don’t go off on a tangent. It keeps you on topic and your post is tight and easy to digest. It will ensure that there is coherence in your writing and your message flows.

Open with a bang

Most people focus on writing a compelling, attention grabbing headline which is the right thing to do, but they forget another important aspect of their blog post: The opening. A well written headline will get you the click but will it mean that the reader actually consumes your content?

You want the person to read the post and share it, headlines can do only so much. But worry not, writing a compelling intro is not a hard job – especially when you compare it to writing the headline. People will make a decision to read your post on the basis of your opening paragraph, how interesting, thought provoking, and generally engaging it is. So make it exactly that.

  • Ask a question
  • Make a shocking claim
  • State a startling fact or statistic
  • Start with a story

Make it as interesting as you can and set the standard for the post to come.

Make it conversational

Tell me, what sounds more interesting – a corporate manual or a best-selling novel? A technical guide to operating some machinery or a magazine article. For the vast majority of people, it’s the latter in both cases. Why? Because there is no mumbo-jumbo, gobbledygook or industry jargon that a layman can’t understand. Because they are written in a manner that is easy for the reader to understand.

In blog posts the way to stay interesting and engaging is to write in a conversational tone of voice. Write like you talk – only better. Meaning, write like you talk but edit it for clarity and conciseness so your message flows.

Address the reader. Use you and your instead of I, me and our. Use exclamatory expressions and contractions (isn’t instead of is not, I’ll instead of I will). Use a bit of slang and write at an eighth grade reading level. Use short words and short sentences and avoid being stuffy, boring and formal. Show off your personality and write in a consistent tone of voice.

Make it screen friendly

A lot of newbie bloggers make this mistake. They make it really hard to read on a screen and you know that people are not going to print off your blog post, they are reading it on their laptop, tablet or a mobile device. Make it really easy for them to consume it. People don’t share what they don’t appreciate.

Use sub-headings. Used bullets, numbered lists, italics and bold to highlight important information. Break up your paragraphs as it is hard to read large blocks of text on a screen. Include lots of white space and images to break up the text.

Don’t forget to edit

After you finish your post, leave it alone for at least 24 hours. Give it a look through the next day and you will see it with fresh eyes and more likely to catch all the mistakes and typos.

Look at the headline. Do you think it is a good one or can you do a better job? Read through your post – is it clear and explains everything well? Is there ambiguity anywhere? If so, fix it. Is your writing concise and to the point or do you ramble a lot. Is it useful? Did you give at least one practical tip for them to take action on? Read your post aloud for inconsistencies and poor phrasing. If your tongue stumbles over something, re-think it.

Lastly, link to older content so that new peeps can discover your ever green content. Keep a record of all your blog posts categorized by topic so that it is easy for you to link without having to click through older posts.

Follow the next steps

Is your work over when you publish your content? Not quite. There are still things to be done especially since you spent so much effort creating this content, you would want to make sure you get the best possible ROI.

  • After you publish, email it to your list. Don’t assume that your readers will know you have updated your blog. Most people don’t visit your blog every day. Email them and let them know either by giving them a snippet and a link or the full post. Again, remind them to take action. Ask them to leave a comment, share it on social media or share it with a friend.
  • Share it on various social media platforms and share it multiple times. People don’t get to see your updates before they are either not online when you are share, or they have too many updates so they miss yours. Share again.
  • Participate in your own community. If you want people to leave a comment, be present, respond to them and thank them for doing so.
  • Reach out to an influencer in your industry and ask them to share your post within their networks. Only do this when you truly feel your post is a masterpiece and a great fit for this person’s audience, and don’t make a habit of it.

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Final thoughts

Yes it is super important that your content gets read and shared. But what is even more important is to understand the logic behind it. Create content that is valuable to both you and your readers. For you, it helps meet business goals, for them, it helps solve a problem, or take them closer to fulfilling a desire.

And content that is truly helpful and is written in a way that connects deeply with your audience always works like magic.

Try it for yourself and share with us in the comments your thoughts!

 

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Designing The Perfect Mobile Landing Page http://blog.getresponse.com/designing-perfect-mobile-landing-page.html http://blog.getresponse.com/designing-perfect-mobile-landing-page.html#comments Tue, 11 Nov 2014 16:07:22 +0000 http://blog.getresponse.com/?p=18140 Landing pages are – or at least they’re supposed to be – one of the most powerful conversion tools in the online marketer’s arsenal. Done well, and that’s exactly what they are. Done badly, and they’ll generate more bounces than … Read more

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Landing pages are – or at least they’re supposed to be – one of the most powerful conversion tools in the online marketer’s arsenal. Done well, and that’s exactly what they are. Done badly, and they’ll generate more bounces than the NBA. Their effect needs to be instant – you literally have mere seconds for the landing page to load, seize the user’s attention and induce them to act. 

This is no mere feat, especially when it comes to the mobile landing page, and, more and more, designing a landing page for the mobile platform is becoming every bit as important – if not even more important – than designing a landing page for the desk or laptop. According to eMarketer, the amount of smartphone users is expected to exceed 1.76 billion worldwide by the end of this year, up a massive 25% from 2013, and by 2017, more than one third of the world’s population will be smartphone users.

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This being the case, the mobile market is increasingly becoming the place where your marketing efforts need to be most heavily applied. It is from mobiles that your website is receiving an ever-enlarging amount of traffic, and, when those users arrive there at your landing page, you need to be making sure that it is working at optimum speed, design and functionality to convert.

 

So, what are the best practices?

 1. Headlines

For mobile screens, everything must be short and concise, and this goes for the headline as well. A maximum of 5 words is really what you should be working towards. It doesn’t really make a difference if your headline is a plain text or graphical format, but what it does need to do is to continue nicely on from the advert that the user clicked on in the first place. This is because your advert’s design obviously worked, and attracted the user, so use the same font or graphics for your headline on the landing page. This continuity from ad to landing page is proven to be successful, so make sure you employ it.

2. Logo

Your logo also needs to be included on your mobile landing page, and to this extent we hope that you considered the mobile screen when you designed your logo in the first place. A professionally designed logo will help your business no end, so just make sure when you have it made that the designer is aware that it will need to be down-scalable so that it is still crisp and sharp on the mobile screen. Although it is obviously true that a logo alone will not produce a sale (though also be aware that a badly designed one can lose you a sale), you still need to find room for it on your mobile landing page so that your users can confidently identify you.

3. Design Optimization

Your users need to be able to see everything they need to perform an action instantly on the mobile screen. The offer and the call to action especially need to be displayed before the fold. Think about it from your customers’ point of view. They will not want to be pinching the screen to zoom or spend several minutes scrolling up and down to find out what they are being asked to do.

Don’t be tempted either to try and fill every single pixel on the screen with imagery or text or any other distractions. Even with clearly visible calls to action, if there’s too much going on on the page, then it’s likely to put off a few customers who will begin to suspect that you’re willing to flog them any old thing to make a quick buck. Instead, think in minimalistic terms. With such a small screen at your disposal, allowing a little white space enables clear instruction, and that’s exactly what you want to use your mobile landing page for.

4. Calls To Action

Your call to action will most likely come in the shape of either a hyperlink, button or form. If using a form, then firstly you will want to try and keep it as short as possible so that it fits onto the screen before the fold – name and email address, what more do you need? Even if you insist on having a couple of extra boxes, just make sure that it is simple to fill out, that the screen will automatically zoom into it so the user can clearly see what he/she is doing, and that you don’t design your page so that the user needs to take an extra step or make an extra click to be taken to the form in the first place.

Buttons and hyperlinks need to stand out in contrast to the background colours. They need to be noticeable instantly, and any copy on your buttons should be kept to an absolute minimum. Whichever format your call to action takes, the visitor should always know exactly what they are being asked to do and what is the next step that they should take.

5. Loading Speed

Speed is everything for the mobile landing page. More visitors will bounce due to poor loading speeds than they will for any other reason. It is advised that your mobile landing pages are not built using Flash or other plugins that may take an age to load or not even be compatible with your customers’ devices. Using the .jpg format when possible is instead advised, and coding your mobile landing page using HTML5 and jQuery will increase loading speeds. All in all, you should aim to keep your pages to around 20 kilobytes.

6. Finally – A/B Test Every Element

The only way to be sure that your mobile landing page is working as hard as it can and creating the most conversions is to carry out some A/B testing. Always start with the major variations such as headline font and background colours, before refining your changes right down to the CTA button copy.

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Remember, even very small changes that might appear insignificant at first might contain the psychology to drastically affect those conversion rates, so leave no stone unturned, and test, test, and test again. Be sure to share with us in the comments below that have been your experiences with creating your mobile landing page and good luck!!

 

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7 Steps to Writing a Killer Customer Survey http://blog.getresponse.com/7-steps-writing-killer-customer-survey.html http://blog.getresponse.com/7-steps-writing-killer-customer-survey.html#comments Mon, 10 Nov 2014 16:07:02 +0000 http://blog.getresponse.com/?p=18134 Surveys are a great way to learn more from your subscribers. Knowing your subscribers can in turn improve service, products and the targeting of your marketing emails. Through a survey a marketer can gauge customer satisfaction, fuel legitimate follow-up contact and identify opportunities for sales. Those are … Read more

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Surveys are a great way to learn more from your subscribers. Knowing your subscribers can in turn improve service, products and the targeting of your marketing emails. Through a survey a marketer can gauge customer satisfaction, fuel legitimate follow-up contact and identify opportunities for sales. Those are some compelling outcomes! A solid customer survey starts with a great invitation. Here are 7 ways you can improve the success rates of your customer survey invitations. 

1. Send it from the right source

If your survey is sent through a survey tool or by a third-party research company, make sure you are using the right from name and send domain. The sender should be immediately recognisable, or it might seem like there is something off (or that you are cheap for using a free survey tool). Every survey tooling worth its salt should allow you to send those survey invitation emails through your own Email Service Provider, instantly taking care of that.

 

2. Pick the right type of survey

A survey is only a survey once you call it a survey. There are several kinds of interactions you can pick from, that also work with an invitation and allow you to gather customer data: It can also be a quiz, test, quick-scan, research or update of preferences. The survey questions can even be sneaked in as the “Next Best Action” behind a registration or purchase, so you have a choice.

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3. Set a deadline

The biggest number of opens are in the first hour after sending your message. You want the subscriber to act now, so insert a bit of urgency and set a deadline before which the survey should be completed and communicate it in the invitation.

 

4. Let them know the time to complete

A survey shouldn’t take ages to complete. Indicate the time to complete the survey in your invitation to decrease drop-off rates (people that start the survey, but don’t complete). The indication should be a precise number. Don’t say “approximately about a few minutes we think depending on your speed, trust us it is sort of shortish”, instead say “5 minutes” if that is the estimate and leave out the finesse. As a rule of the thumb a survey.

 

5. Let them know the topic and use of the survey

Make it clear from the start what the survey is about and what you will be using the outcomes for. (for instance improved customer service, improved segmentation). Informing them about the benefits for them is even better, which brings us to…

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6. Consider to add an incentive

Persuade subscribers to respond to the survey: Incentives can increase completed survey rates by 5- 20%. There are different kinds of incentives like a giveaway, discount on a next purchase or a prize draw. Bigger is not per se better there, increasing prize size doesn’t always translate into higher response rates. The costs of a more expensive incentive might just be wasted, not adding to the ROI of the campaign. The incentive should be valuable, but also not too big, so it will still seem (easily) attainable, but depending on your audience sometimes “Thank you” is all the incentive they need.

 

7. Resend and remind

Reminders are response boosters. Remember, your email will be opened while recipients are in all kinds of situations and context, certainly when they are opening on mobile. They might not be in the situation to respond directly. If your survey is important enough, send a reminder email to lift survey response rates.

 

Begin today!

A survey can provide a marketer with data and insights and your survey invitation is the gateway to a higher completion rate. A smart email marketer starts off using these best practices and from there on tests and improves his way to survey success. Let us know in the comments below what are your success stories with surveys. We would love to hear from you what worked best for your business!

 

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Email Success Profile: Vemma Nutrition Company http://blog.getresponse.com/email-success-profile-vemma-nutrition-company.html http://blog.getresponse.com/email-success-profile-vemma-nutrition-company.html#comments Fri, 07 Nov 2014 16:07:41 +0000 http://blog.getresponse.com/?p=18124 Sometimes you wonder how entrepreneurs accomplish so much. They start a company from scratch and build it into a profitable powerhouse. How do they do it? As GetResponse insiders, we’re often privileged to peek behind the curtain at the machinery … Read more

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Sometimes you wonder how entrepreneurs accomplish so much. They start a company from scratch and build it into a profitable powerhouse. How do they do it? As GetResponse insiders, we’re often privileged to peek behind the curtain at the machinery of success. Today (with Vemma’s permission) you’re about to catch a glimpse too. Are there takeaways you can duplicate in your business? Let’s ask Vemma CEO BK Boreyko.  

Vemma Nutrition Company has done more than develop great products. They’ve launched a branch of the wellness movement that is sweeping the globe, touching the lives of thousands.

CEO BK Boreyko is a born communicator. In person or in print, his words flow in a down-to-earth style that mesmerizes audiences. But he’s not a one-man show. Far from it. Company sales are driven by Affiliates — people from all walks of life who help spread the Vemma value message and generate sales.

 

The hidden danger of growth

Here’s the problem. Over the years, BK’s inspiring message has grown in complexity. Now there are new products. New ways for Affiliates to build their business. New promotional events. New ways to make a difference.

With such a huge work force, the company relies heavily on email, sending a steady stream of information to thousands of Affiliates. But how effective is it?

What you don’t know CAN hurt you. Sometimes you don’t notice a problem until it goes away. Sure, Vemma knew their messages often went unread, and response was sometimes spotty. But with the realistic attitude of a sales organization, they attributed it to varying levels of interest and commitment. As salespeople often say, “Some will, some won’t — so what!”

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GetResponse was invited to peek behind the curtain

When the GetResponse email marketing experts were brought in, their first task was to analyze existing systems. They tried not to smile too much as they glimpsed the scope of what they could do for Vemma.

The bounce rate was nearly 8%, a rate that would cause most Internet service providers to classify Vemma as spammers, even though they never used purchased lists. So they did a little spring cleaning.

Some problems were easy to spot. Here’s an example: joe78@yahoo@com. The incorrect use of the second @ symbol instead of a period means emails will bounce again and again until corrected or removed. And unsubscribes have to be handled promptly. If not, it’s a violation of the CAN-SPAM Act and can lead to substantial fines.

After correcting these an other technical problems, the bounce rate dropped from 8% to less than 1%.

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Now Vemma responds to complaints automatically

Sometimes people decide they’re no longer interested in receiving a brand’s messages. In the process of unsubscribing, they might thoughtlessly click a button that sends a complaint to their Internet service provider (ISP). That’s how a company’s reputation can go from good to bad — fast.

So GetResponse initiated a warm-up procedure to migrate Vemma’s marketing list gradually, to avoid spikes in the number of complaints. And if complaints popped up, Vemma received automatic notices from the ISP and responded instantly.

As a result, deliverability went from a lackluster 92% to a very acceptable 99.1% — in just a few weeks.

 

Vemma is a people business

It was great to get those quick victories. But email marketing is about more than technical wizardry. It’s about relationships.

For example: If BK Boreyko recognized one of his top Affiliates on the street and stopped for a chat about business, their conversation might be on a high level. But his conversation with a brand-new Affiliate might be quite different.

Email marketing works the same way. So our experts used the segmentation tool to identify groups of like subscribers. Then the marketing team designed custom campaigns to address the interests of each group.

The open rates tell the story. Open rates for untargeted messages were dismal — less than 10%. But subscribers opened targeted emails 54% of the time. That’s over five times more real people who felt their needs were being addressed.

 

If you don’t test, you don’t really know

BK would be the first to tell you that success depends on the results you create. And as the best email marketers admit, you can’t be certain of your results until you click the send button. That’s when you can find out who opens, who clicks, who shares on social media, and who buys.

So the Vemma marketing department created a learning loop: campaigns that could be tested, tweaked, and optimized.

The results speak for themselves: an improvement in click-through rates from about 1% to over 9%.

Better performance means greater impact. Marketers strive to create small improvements — sometimes just a few tenths of a percentage point. Why? Because small improvements, applied over time to a large list, can mean tremendous gains. But imagine the gains with improvements like these: 550% higher open rates and a 9-fold increase in click-through rates!

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Can your business experience gains like Vemma’s?

BK Boreyko talks about something he calls duplication. He urges Affiliates not to reinvent the wheel. Instead, he coaches them to find people who are producing great results then duplicate their results by duplicating their methods. Your results will vary depending on your starting point and lots of other variables. But with GetResponse, you’ve got the tools (and the support) that make better results possible.

Vemma has made great strides in improving their email marketing. More important, their message is getting out there. That means more Affiliates receiving information they need. More people attending meetings and events. And more people being helped by the wellness revolution. That’s good for Vemma, good for Affiliates, and good for the world.

Our thanks to BK and the Vemma team for sharing  their story. And thanks for inspiring us with your success.

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How about you?

Do you have a fascinating success story about your experiences as a GetResponse customer? Just send your write-up in an email to testimonials@getresponse.com. Who knows? We may decide to share your story with the world!

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What’s the Best Time and Day to Send an Email? http://blog.getresponse.com/whats-best-time-day-send-email.html http://blog.getresponse.com/whats-best-time-day-send-email.html#comments Thu, 06 Nov 2014 16:03:48 +0000 http://blog.getresponse.com/?p=18106 As email marketers, we’re always working to stay on peoples’ short list of emails worth opening. The best way to make that list is to create irresistible content, but there is another proven way to get more opens and engagement … Read more

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As email marketers, we’re always working to stay on peoples’ short list of emails worth opening. The best way to make that list is to create irresistible content, but there is another proven way to get more opens and engagement from the emails you send: Pick the right time to send them.

Fortunately, there’s a lot of research available for how to answer the perennial question of when to send emails. Unfortunately, it often comes to contradictory conclusions. Despite the contradictions, in this post we’ll walk through what several different studies have to say about when is the best time to send email. After that, I’ll show you how to really know when to send your emails.

The first piece of information I have for you does not directly answer the “when to send” question, but it demonstrates why this question is so important. The timespan when emails are read after they’ve been sent is surprisingly short, and because of how short most email messages’ lifespans are, it’s critical you sent them at the right time.
Here’s what we found out about email lifespans in our 2013 study of the best times to send emails:

EmailLifespan

Note that fact in the upper right hand corner of this image: “After 24 hours, an email’s chance of being opened drops below 1%”. Because of this, if you could only focus on one thing, or if you wanted a starting point for testing, start with which weekday to send your emails, not which hour of the day. It’s certainly worthwhile to try to hone your send times down to the optimal hour to send, but if you’re sending on the wrong day of the week, getting the hours right won’t overcome what you’ve lost by sending on the wrong day.

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Use time travel to control which hours your subscribers get your emails

While I’m on the topic of which hour to send, you should know that if you’re a GetResponse customer, you can use the “Time Travel” feature to tell our service when to deliver emails to people regardless of their time zone.

For example, if you were in the United States on the West Coast, you might be worried about which hour to send your emails, because your local subscribers would get your email at, say, 9am, but your East Coast subscribers would get it at noon. With Time Travel, you don’t have to worry about that. Time Travel is smart enough to figure out which time zones your subscribers are in, and can deliver your emails to them at whatever hour you want (say, 9am) whether they’re on the East Coast, the West Coast, or the Ivory Coast.

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4 studies on which times and weekdays to send email messages

So without further ado, here are some best times to send according to a few different studies:

According to Experian’s Email Marketing Quarterly Benchmark Study, Q4 2013, Sundays are the best day to send emails. They say the best time to send emails is from 8pm – 11:59PM.

ExperianQ42013Email

According to Dan Zarella’s research from his book, The Science of Marketing, the best days to send are Saturday and Sunday (though bounces and abuse reports also spike on Saturdays and Sundays). Dan’s data showed the best time to send is 6am, because that’s when open rates and click-through rates are highest… though 8pm to midnight also looks pretty good in these charts, too.

ZarellaClicksByDay

ZarellaOpensByDay

ZarellaClicksByHour

ZarellaOpensByHour

Harland Clarke Digital’s infographic, “Getting Digital: Engagement Habits of Today’s Email Recipient”, gives a snapshot of their analysis of over 1 billion campaigns sent from 2013-2014. The Harland Clarke analysis is interesting because it brings up the issue of which devices people to tend to read emails on. This introduces almost a third dimension of complexity into deciding which days and times are best to send. But if we look beyond that complexity, Harland Clarke did find Friday through Sundays to have the highest “render rate”, and also found evenings, 8-9pm to have the among the highest render rates, along with 3-4 pm, depending on device type.

HarlandClarkeEmailSendDays-USETHISDespite those three studies coming in with somewhat similar data, GetResponse actually found a different day of the week to be best. When we analyzed over 300 million of our customers’ messages in October of last year, we found Tuesday won for best open rates, while Fridays got the highest click-through rate.

GR102013Study_DaystoSend

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Test for best results

So how do you take all those different studies, which all came to different conclusions, and apply them to your list? Well, to really know what’s best for you and your list, you’ve got to test. Testing is admittedly harder than just reading a report, but if you can manage it, testing is by far the better option. What works as a best practice may work well for you, but there are no guarantees. You’ve got to test.

So how could you test? Well, if you’ve got a big enough list, you can do what large companies do and send out segments of your list at different times or different days of the week. Fortunately, you don’t need a huge list of 1 million subscribers to do this. Even 1,000 subscribers is usually enough to get reliable data, if you test carefully.

How well this will work for you does depend on how big your list is and how high your open and click through rates are. In other words, you need a big enough list to have statistically valid results. I’ll spare you the details about the statistics and just give you an example to show you why.

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How to test which day of the week to mail to a list of 1,000 subscribers

Let’s say you’ve got 1,000 subscribers, and you want to test whether it’s better to send emails on Tuesdays at 2pm or Thursdays at 2pm. To test that, you’d send the same email to half your subscribers (ie, to 500 of them) on Tuesday, and then mail the same email message to the second half of your subscribers (the remaining 500) on Thursday.

Here’s how the results of that might look:

results

Just from this data, it looks like Thursday is the better day. But is this enough clicks and opens to have statistically valid information – i.e., is this enough clicks and opens to prove Thursdays are better, or is Thursday looking better by chance, because we don’t have enough information?

Well, if we bring our results over to SplitTester.com, we can see there is actually enough information to “prove” Thursdays are better.

First, I put in the open rate and how many opens I got for each email segment (Tuesdays vs. Thursdays):

SplitTesterOpens1

Then I clicked “calculate” to see if I had a statistically valid winner. According to SplitTester.com, I do have a winner, and I can be 95% confident of the result:

SplitTesterOpens2

To measure the clicks results from the two email segments, I put in the clicks and the click-through data, like this:

SplitTesterClicks1
And this is the result I got:

SplitTesterClicks2
I can be 90% sure that Thursdays win for click-through rates. That’s good enough, but any less than that and I might be suspicious of the results. You want at least 90% confidence in your tests.

That’s great for one example, but if this was my email list, I’d run this test two or three times (ie, over two or three weeks) to make sure I was getting consistent proof that Thursdays are indeed better. I recommend you do that for your list, too. Also keep in mind that your test results may not be this easy to call. There was a big gap between Tuesdays and Thursday in the opens and click-through data I gave you. In real life, the results don’t always show a winner so clearly.

It may take even a full month to be able to tell which day is best, but at least you’ll have data to base your decision on, rather than guessing. And, though it may take a little work, you could definitely end up with 10-30% increases in your open-rates and click-through rates. That’s worth a few tests.

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41 Social Media Marketing Tips For Every Small Business Owner http://blog.getresponse.com/41-quick-social-media-marketing-tips-every-small-business-owner-know.html http://blog.getresponse.com/41-quick-social-media-marketing-tips-every-small-business-owner-know.html#comments Wed, 05 Nov 2014 16:03:42 +0000 http://blog.getresponse.com/?p=18097 If you are a small business owner, chances are you already are on social media. You may be spending some time on sites like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, or Google+. The sites you choose to spend the most time on … Read more

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If you are a small business owner, chances are you already are on social media. You may be spending some time on sites like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, or Google+. The sites you choose to spend the most time on will depend on a number of things such as your business type, your personal preference, and the kind of content that appeals to your ideal audience.

And the time you spend on your social media activities varies accordingly, depending on your personality as well as overall strategy.

It is entirely possible that you have a love-hate relationship with social media and your social media presence can be described as wildly inconsistent at best. This is because you have probably stretched yourself too thin. You are dabbling in all platforms but not spending enough time or effort to truly master one.

You need to start off with one or two sites and only move on to others once you have built a decent sized following with real engagement. In this post, I am going to walk you through some ways to leverage social media without having to chain yourself to the desk. Read through and then just pick one. Let’s begin.

 

Facebook

#1 Include Facebook as a core element of your social media strategy. According to research, about 36% of adults use only one social media site. And out of these, 83% use Facebook. Yes, your target audience is on Facebook and if you choose only one platform to be active on, start with Facebook.

#2 Create your business page and fill out your about section with a link to your website. Upload an appealing cover photo which is on brand. Add your own photo to your profile so people can instantly see who you are and connect with you.

#3 Create a content strategy for Facebook and post when most of your audience is online. Schedule your posts to get maximum exposure especially if you are a global brand. Also create an ideal persona of your ideal audience and use graph search to find out where they hang out. You can target fan pages of your competitors, create custom or lookalike audiences.

#4 Create content that drives maximum engagement. These includes images, quotes, videos, humorous shares, nostalgic content, questions, useful content, tips and tricks, and contests.

#5 Understand the lifespan of a Facebook post. You will receive most impressions in less than 2 hours and receive majority of engagement within 5 hours. Remember, not all posts are created equal. To maximize the chances of a post being seen by most fans, look into Facebook insights as most business pages have the same peak usage. If your reach is low, reposting can increase it.

#6 Create awesome, attention grabbing headlines. These are a pre-requisite for all social media platforms for content to perform well.

#7 Take advantage of Facebook ads. Organic reach is fantastic but don’t forget ads. These are inexpensive and can be laser targeted. Don’t just boost posts but use page post ads to get the best ROI. Aim to target mobile users to reach even more people.

#8 Use Facebook to collect leads and build your sales funnel rather selling directly to your audience. When running ads, collect email addresses instead of driving traffic to a sales page. Track your metrics at all times.

#9 Keep most of your content updates non-promotional. The vast majority of people use Facebook for personal reasons. They want to see photos and videos the most. This means you need to publish interesting content your audience will engage with.

#10 Join Facebook groups. Be of service as well as promote your products or services.

socialmedia_tips

Twitter

#11 Define your Twitter goals. For most businesses, being on Twitter means interaction with their customers and influencers, and to make their content spread like wildfire.

#12 Craft your bio well. Spend some time coming up with appropriate words to describe what you do and how you help your potential buyer. Include a link to your website and to your opt-in offer. Select a professional photograph that is well aligned with your overall branding.

#13 Select the people you want to follow. You can create Twitter lists so it is easy for you to follow and engage with people. Be sure to include influencers and key players in your industry so you can stay on trend.

#14 Grow your Twitter audience. Your number of followers will not increase on its own, you have to put effort into it. Firstly, engage with your followers – ask questions, respond, and retweet what they are saying. This will encourage them to share your tweets and attract new followers. Participate in Twitter chats. You can also engage with people who haven’t followed you yet and this will make them want to do so. Promote your twitter handle on your website, in your email signatures and elsewhere.

#15 Create a Twitter strategy. In order to be a success on Twitter, you need to pay attention to the different types of content you will be sharing and plan it accordingly. Use a scheduling software like Hootsuite or Buffer.

#16 Make the most of your tweets. Your tweets have a very short time span – about 20 minutes. Not all of your followers are online when you tweet out, and not all of the ones who are online will see your tweets, or even click on them. You can make your tweets stand out by adding an image, retweeting your content multiple times and adding an appropriate call to action. Add something different to your tweets every time you repeat a tweet. Share content tied to live world events.

#17 Use advanced tactics. Include relevant hashtags in your content so people actively looking for those will find your tweets. Mention people and contact them via email to see whether they would be interested in retweeting it to their followers. Include clicktotweet within your website content so people can share sound bites from your content.

 

Pinterest

#18 92% of Pinterest pinners are created by women and 80% users are females so if your target audience is primarily men, other platforms might suit you better. On the other hand, you can use Pinterest to appeal to women who have a big say in the purchasing decision.

#19 When it comes to Pinterest, your industry matters. If you are a business belonging to the Food & Drink, DIY or crafts or the home décor category, you are in luck as most of the photos that get pinned belong to these categories.

#20 Craft your about section carefully and include a link to your website (Pinterest is the second largest referrer of traffic today). Include the keywords in your boards’ names.

#21 Know your audience and what they look for on Pinterest. Pay attention to their tastes.

#22 Pay attention to the seasonal trends and create pins accordingly. Research shows that the pinning activity goes up in relation to world events and celebrations. Correlate your pins with the hot topic of the day

#23 Pinterest is hopping with activity in the evenings. It’s like a dessert, a special treat. Take advantage of that.

#24 Make your offerings beautiful. Needless to say, Pinterest is a highly visual medium. You can get away with blurry images or less than professional images on Facebook where it is more about connecting with friends and family, but on Pinterest you need highly professional images if you want a chance of getting any attention. Quality visuals count, rest goes into oblivion. Use the right size photos in the right place.

#25 Showcase your products in real life. Build stories around your products and show them in action. If your product isn’t hot, tie it to visually appealing topic such as clothes, food or landscapes.

#26 Include your prices. Research shows that pins with prices get 36% more likes.

tips_socialmedia

LinkedIn

#27 It is a great tool for B2B marketing. LinkedIn research shows that people spend 8 hours per week on seeking news on industry trends and news. This is great news if you cater to other businesses.

#28 Start with an effective company profile. Include your employee profiles if applicable. Use your profile to tell your corporate story.

#29 Know the type of content that does well on LinkedIn: Professional content that increase people’s knowledge and expertise, build their network and increase credibility and rank. Develop a tailored content strategy keeping this fact in mind. Long form content works like magic on LinkedIn. Aim to create content around the 2000 word mark to achieve best results and engagement. Also stick to the facts – nothing too provocative. Write content on LinkedIn top-10 topics.

#30 Focus on your audience. Create a marketing persona and connect with people in your network as well as those who are outside of it. Endorse people you respect. Build your LinkedIn group and promote it amongst your other networks.

#31 Create content aimed at someone with an eighth grade reading ability. People mistakenly assume that people on LinkedIn are more educated and ‘high register’ on average. This is not the case. Create your content that is fairly ‘easy’ to read and the post will fare much better in terms on likes, shares and comments.

#32 Short headlines are better suited to this medium. Avoid creating ultra-long titles. How-to and list headlines trump question headlines.

#33 Use images to skyrocket engagement. Avoid other forms of multimedia such as video or slides as it doesn’t generate the same results. Use bold and headings to make it easy to read on a screen.

#34 Pay attention to the timing. LinkedIn works within business hours and the best time to post is Tuesday and Thursday between 9 am – 11 am. Share professional content and post at least once daily.

#35 Promote your content across other platforms. Cross promote to attract even more eyeballs to your LinkedIn content. Don’t forget to add a call to action.

 

Google+

#36 Create a Google+ company page. Include links to your website and any other key info.

#37 Put some thought into creating circles and add the right people to the right circles. By doing this you will be able to share highly targeted content with people in certain circles (as well as with the public).

#38 Format your posts. You can format your posts in Google+ so take advantage of that. Use bold, numbered lists and bullet points. Use headings and sub-headings. Include lots of white space and make it as easy as possible to read on a screen.

#39 Write SEO friendly headlines. For your Google+ posts, make sure you write a compelling headline and include any keywords if possible to make full use of SEO rankings.

#40 Use images to increase engagement. Use hashtags.

#41 Join Google+ communities. People form communities to discuss topics they are passionate about. Be sure to join them.

 

Final Thoughts

Remember, in order to be successful on social media, you must treat it right. Make a date with the social media sites you are active on and show up.

Plan your content and create it in batches ahead of time. Allocate some time to check in twice a day and interact with your followers. Set up a timer if you get sucked into social media time and time ceases to exist or schedule into your daily planner of you forget that you need to give it some attention.

Good luck!

 

41 Social Media Marketing Tips For Every Small Business Owner is a post from: GetResponse Blog - Email Marketing Tips

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Movember Campaign: How to Grow a Successful Marketing ‘Stache http://blog.getresponse.com/movember-campaigns-grow-successful-marketing-stache.html http://blog.getresponse.com/movember-campaigns-grow-successful-marketing-stache.html#comments Tue, 04 Nov 2014 15:03:43 +0000 http://blog.getresponse.com/?p=18085 We’ve all heard of it, November + Mustache = Movember. We’ve also learned to laugh, appreciate, and take part in the great month of ‘stache cultivating. But as a marketer, have you learned a lesson or two how a simple … Read more

Movember Campaign: How to Grow a Successful Marketing ‘Stache is a post from: GetResponse Blog - Email Marketing Tips

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We’ve all heard of it, November + Mustache = Movember. We’ve also learned to laugh, appreciate, and take part in the great month of ‘stache cultivating. But as a marketer, have you learned a lesson or two how a simple cause campaign can help your business grow? This cause uses social media and word of mouth in a genius way! That’s why it is important for you to take a moment to focus on why the Movember Campaign is a brilliant example of online marketing.

What started in Australia in 2003 was as simple campaign “to change the face of men’s health” which grew into a giant with official campaigns in 21 countries, 4 million people raising awareness, and $559 million funds raised for the cause! All it took was an idea and understanding the power of social media.

 

Made in Movember

The Movember Foundation focuses on giving people a platform to talk about men’s health. There are only 5 rules:

  1. Come November 1st, you shave your face and register on the Foundation site.
  2. The entire month of November is then devoted to growing your glorious ‘stache
  3. You cannot cheat by growing just a beard or a goatee, you also can’t glue on a fake mustache!
  4. Use your new friend to talk about men’s health. If someone asks you “what’s that awkward shadow under your nose” – that’s your cue.
  5. Be a gentleman.

Those simple rules don’t require much. What they do is set up a platform for the men of the world to get creative by registering, talking about health, and by taking a picture of their growing shadow – it is an opportunity to raise awareness but most of all ask friends and family to donate to the cause. The Movember Foundation has a leaderboard where various individuals or groups can raise money, a very manly thing to do – document the ‘stache and become the leader in donations ;)

To prepare, The Movember Foundation has created an explainer video and has used a simple message that encourages Mo Bros and Mo Sistas to start preparing in October:

Behind that are social media reminders, hashtags, and more videos! Let’s dive into why you as a marketer should take a peek at their simple, yet effective strategy.

 

Go Viral or Go Home

In order for the campaign to be a success, people had to get involved. The specificity of this campaign is that is one month long. Does that mean that for the remaining 11 months of the year Movember is a dead end? Most definitely not. One of the founders of this cause once said that “the off season” is a great time to focus on the results and stories that come out of those raised funds. It is also an opportunity to share tips, information, and to talk about these issues that we we devote our November mustaches to.

1. YouTube

Wouldn’t you want to “shave the date” when you’re looking at handsome men shave their facial hair and telling you that they are undertaking this “challenge” in order to raise awareness for real issues?

What we as marketers can learn from the videos that The Movember Foundation makes is that it does not take much. At various times I’ve found myself looking at over-the-top videos that people put on their pages. To share an idea or to sell your product, you don’t necessarily need a giant budget with the end result of a Beyonce music video.

For example, this year the theme is Made in Movember, a simple video and a creative mind is all it took to prepare a simple message to round up the Gentlemen of the Earth:

 

Key Takeaway:

Do not get lost in making a bang. Viral videos become viral because of their simple idea. Focus on your cause, product, or service, think of your key demographic, and constantly research what their attitude towards your product is. If you have a giant brand with different customers make sure that you learn what key ideas overlap for all of those demographics. It is best to promote 3 important brand core values than 127 meaningless splashy slogans.

 

2. Instagram and Facebook

A ‘stache is an excellent thing to document and share with others. Movember has given people the opportunity to take pictures, hashtag, and spread their growing furry friends. It is unbelievable how many people take to sharing their more or less awkward mustaches! Even the ladies get in on the fun with fake mustaches. It is a humorous global marketing gem.

The Foundation has also taken to their Instagram and Facebook to share reminders:

It’s almost time to change the face of men’s health. Sign up today at Movember.com!

Kuva, jonka Movember (@movember) julkaisi laitteella

 

And to inspire others by sharing real stories of real men:

 

Key Takeaway:

Sharing customer stories, reminding people of upcoming events, inspiring to take part in a campaign – it can all be done with simple images. Don’t get lost in clip art, Comic Sans, and robotic messages. Let your brand be approachable, speak to your customers like a human being would, invite them in and remember about them. Sharing their testimonials is also a great way to engage people and inspire them to share their success stories with you and your community! Once you have established a relationship with your customers, you can also built upon that and increase you customer loyalty.

 

3. An Inviting Website

The Movember Foundations’ website is so simple and clean that it is almost hard not to click around in the various tabs. Leaderboards, awesome fundraising tips, FAQ’s, news, and what’s what? Oh! Sign up and donate buttons!

Key Takeaway:

That’s right, Movember is a way for people to donate but also to sign up and document their progress. Maybe your business is not one to share or document things, maybe you are just focusing on selling your product or service? Let people sign up, give out bonuses, send out newsletters that will invite people back to your website. Use email marketing as an extension of your relationship and a follow up to your product.

 

Research, Engage, Campaign.

We’ve already touched upon focusing on who your audience is and making sure that you reach out to them. However, you can also build upon your core values. For instance, Movember focuses on “growing ‘staches, raising funds and awareness” but it also develops various other aspects of being a man like masculinity, grooming, trends, and social behavior. These are themes that go hand in hand with their core values and can be used as a means to engage men of the world.

Here are 5 tips to make sure that you find your brand voice and that you use every opportunity to make it heard in the Internetosphere:

  1. Focusing on a niche: Whether it is a broad spectrum of people that can use your product or service or a very small niche that could use your various products or services.
  2. Universal idea or common goal: From a funny mustache to a pink ribbon, we all have a goal that can be represented in a simple way. Find the goal behind purchasing your product and use it to raise brand awareness.
  3. Themed stuff: Make sure that you create a hashtag, mascot, maybe even a slogan that people will connect to your brand.
  4. Partner up: Movember is a great way to take part in something bigger. Having your brand participate in a cause will not only do good but also let people know you are there and you too care.
  5. Seasonal opportunities: Shaving sets are suddenly being sent out to those who take part in Movember, whereas shaving cream and razor companies are offering a discount. Causes and holidays are an enormous opportunity to participate and grow a community of potential loyal customers. Are there any holidays around the corner? Begin planning your campaign!

 

Movember’s witty and minimalistic approach is worthy every marketers time. Take a deeper look at the mechanics behind this great cause and start planning your own campaigns. To quote the great Nick Offerman “A moustache tells folks that you’re willing to take the bull by the horns,” so tackle the bull and share with us in the comments what helps your marketing ‘stache grow!

 

swansonsmile

 

Movember Campaign: How to Grow a Successful Marketing ‘Stache is a post from: GetResponse Blog - Email Marketing Tips

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Handle Your Oops: 5 Types of Email Mistakes and How to Fix Them http://blog.getresponse.com/handle-oops-5-types-email-mistakes-fix.html http://blog.getresponse.com/handle-oops-5-types-email-mistakes-fix.html#comments Mon, 03 Nov 2014 15:03:53 +0000 http://blog.getresponse.com/?p=18040 It is inherent to our job that we send an email or two. Everybody that sends email marketing messages with a regular frequency will have a moment where the campaign slips up into an “Oops!” or “Doh!” Even if you … Read more

Handle Your Oops: 5 Types of Email Mistakes and How to Fix Them is a post from: GetResponse Blog - Email Marketing Tips

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It is inherent to our job that we send an email or two. Everybody that sends email marketing messages with a regular frequency will have a moment where the campaign slips up into an “Oops!” or “Doh!” Even if you test, test, test, tested your mails thoroughly, it is bound to happen sooner or later in your email career. We all make mistakes. Now you might think, we have outsourced our email marketing and our email agency is full-service and taking care of it. Think again. If we don’t make our mistakes ourselves, there is always someone else or a piece of technology to make them for us. Prevention is better than a cure, they say. So please avoid making mistakes in your newsletter as much as possible, but know there will be a time that Murphy’s law (everything that can go wrong, will at some point) goes into effect. Homer Simpson Now of course in case of a mistake you could sweat it out for the following days, hope for the best and that it will blow over. But in most situations, that is a pretty risky strategy. Best to step in and take control. There are several ways to go around handling “code red”. I outlined the steps to go through below.

Step 1: Can we limit the size of the problem?

It is always a good idea to try and keep the problem as small as possible, here are some ideas:

  • If the newsletter hasn’t been sent out to all contacts yet: Pause or stop it so less people receive it.
  • Can we fix the problem? Sometimes it is an easy fix to repair a landing page, link, or image that doesn’t display correctly. In that case, you are reducing the size of the problem too, limiting it to the people that acted or have seen your email before you fixed the problem and even without sending a second email.

 

Apology In all cases the problem should be fixed before sending out the next e-mail. If the problem is on your site or landing page, think about pausing other scheduled newsletters and maybe even your email drip campaigns.

Step 2: Go social

Whatever the problem was, jump behind your social media dashboard, monitoring tools or ask your customer service to keep a close eye. Mistakes can quickly be blown out of proportion. Be social savvy and defuse any remarks and answer questions about it on popular social media channels like Twitter and Facebook before they spread. Of course the more serious the Oops, the more important the social customer service is. Which brings us to the next step… Dr House

Step 3: The 5 levels of Oops

Now we have to ask ourselves, how serious was the problem and does it justify sending an oops / apology e-mail? What can go wrong? Everything. Sent out a test-email by mistake? Sent an email with wrong products or pricing? Here are the 5 levels of Oops.

  1. Oops level Green:  Mistakes the recipients will hardly notice or mind (e.g. minor spelling errors in your footer).
  2. Oops level Yellow: Something embarrassing or a small technical error (e.g. a broken image or wrong rendering).
  3. Oops level Orange: Missed revenue, darn! (site not available or links broken).
  4. Oops level Orange dash 2:  Orange could also be a case of “mistaken identity” where you selected the wrong list to send to.
  5. Red Alert: Something that is definitely a big mistake and could end up losing clients forever or seriously damaging your brand.

But before you think about sending an apology, lets reduce the scale some more.

Step 4: Select your “Oh So Sorry” segment

The second containment area is in the number of apology emails, we only need to send a correction or apology to those subscribers that received the original faulty email.

  • Limit your apology to those affected, so for instance if a link was broken, only send the apology to those that clicked on that particular link.
  • If a wrong group was emailed, see if there is any overlap with the group it was intended for. Those in the overlapping selection don’t need an apology mail.

 

Step 5: Telling the story of Sorry

Making a great apology email is actually quite a chore, the wording should be precisely right and of course there is the time pressure (plus any possible problem there was would need to be solved). The message should be in tune with your audience and the mistake that was made. Otherwise it might seem insincere and unauthentic and it might seem even opportunistic at times. In the next article I’ll give some examples of apology emails. Most would say to send out an apology as fast as you can, but don’t panic. Breathe in, breathe out. Panic only leads to rash decisions. Go through the normal quality checks you normally do. And go through the pre-launch email checklist before deploying your apology email.

The secret

You can also look on the bright side. Depending on the nature of the mistake, a well-placed apology mail might even outperform your normal email newsletter. It brings variety to your email program, something that breaks the mould and stands out. Should you make a mistake on purpose then? Well…   if you do, it will be our little secret. Secret

Handle Your Oops: 5 Types of Email Mistakes and How to Fix Them is a post from: GetResponse Blog - Email Marketing Tips

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Getting Long-Term Results in a Short Holiday Selling Season #FreePDF http://blog.getresponse.com/getting-long-term-results-short-holiday-selling-season.html http://blog.getresponse.com/getting-long-term-results-short-holiday-selling-season.html#comments Fri, 31 Oct 2014 15:00:33 +0000 http://blog.getresponse.com/?p=18048 You try to plan early. But the Christmas season seems to appear out of nowhere, followed by a frantic rush to grab sales. Before you know it — the season is over. Is there a way to use the holiday selling … Read more

Getting Long-Term Results in a Short Holiday Selling Season #FreePDF is a post from: GetResponse Blog - Email Marketing Tips

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You try to plan early. But the Christmas season seems to appear out of nowhere, followed by a frantic rush to grab sales. Before you know it — the season is over. Is there a way to use the holiday selling season to improve year-round business too? There is, and we’ve got some tips and a helpful resource to get you going.

A Nielsen holiday forecast notes that 2014 has been a tough year, especially for retailers. But with recent improvements in consumer confidence, lower gas prices, and overall job gains, the season should be a good one — maybe not a record-breaker, but a solid opportunity for sales.

But just for a moment, lift your vision past the holiday rush. Let’s talk about how to kill two birds with one stone: to maximize end-of-year sales and set up your business for a brighter 2015. Here are some objectives you can work toward at any time of the year, even during the hectic holiday season.

 

Grab the procrastinators

You know who they are, those marketing-list lurkers who never seem to reach for their wallet. At this time of year you’ve got a powerful weapon in the fight against procrastination. As the hard deadline of December 25 approaches, there will be nowhere to hide ;)

Use the segmentation tool to isolate those who rarely open your emails and never buy. Then create a great offer and use it to tease these reluctant subscribers. Dream up a subject line (about 55 characters) that promises a deal they’d be crazy to pass up. Those who don’t open can receive the same email again, this time with an even more urgent, compelling subject line.

To instill more urgency, send emails that include a subject-line countdown: “Sale ends in 3 days” or “Only 37 left in stock.” You can end the series with a “Lowest prices of the season” offer or “One-day blow-out.”

If all else fails, empathize with the procrastinator. Maybe they just can’t make up their mind or have trouble finding the right gift. So offer them a gift certificate, attractively packaged and delivered straight to the recipient.

 

Christmas tree

 

Show existing customers you care.

At the other end of the spectrum are the customers whose loyalty you’ve earned — no small feat. Your worst move would be to treat true-hearted fans as if they’re just part of the pack. Your best move is to use the holidays to cultivate a family feeling.

These loyal followers look forward to hearing from you. So continue to send them your best stuff: attractive offers, fascinating content, or both. Don’t change your formula during the holidays. Give them more of what they love.

Use segmentation to identify your best customers. Sometimes they’re not the most vocal. (Unhappy customers tend to make themselves well-known, and not in a good way.) Good customers are the ones who open your emails consistently, click your links, and buy.

As you identify commonalities (what they like to read, what makes them click, what they love to buy) look for cross-selling opportunities. Segmentation lets these customers know you’ve thought about them deeply and care about their needs and desires.

Demonstrate that you’re willing to repay loyalty. You could offer discounts on multiple sales or insider deals for longtime customers only. Or maybe they’d love a custom thank-you page that singles them out for special attention.

 

Use the holiday shopping season to build your list.

Take a tip from brick-and-mortar retailers who advertise door-busters — popular items offered in limited quantities at giveaway prices. The special gets them in door and includes an opportunity for other (more profitable) sales. For online retailers, this means grabbing their email address, building a relationship, and sending offers.

If SEO drives visitors to your website, you can show subscriber-only offers and require them enter their email address to get the featured special. Use a custom sign-up form to automatically add them to the campaign of your choice — one that introduces your entire line of goods over time.

At checkout time, redirect the buyer to an add-on item, available if they subscribe. This after-sell idea can also be used for a product registration page. Include a suggestion that they subscribe to receive offers for more great products, like the one they just purchased.

Free shipping is an expensive giveaway but might be worth it in exchange for the customer’s email address. Or offer a free upgrade to faster shipping — for new subscribers only.

 

Quality matters more than quantity.

Email marketing seems like a numbers game, and it is. But don’t be too concerned about the occasional unsubscribe during the holiday season. Most people know they’ll receive more emails during the holidays, and they’re OK with it. In fact, they need your ideas. If a few people unsubscribe, maybe they weren’t your ideal customers anyway. Silently wish them well — and move on.

 

Download our free Holiday Email Marketing Playbook

Working on these areas will help you grab today’s sales and grow your year-round business too. It takes planning, but it’s worth it. For more ideas, grab our brand-new Holiday Email Marketing Playbook. To download your free copy, click the image below. And enjoy!

 

Holiday Email Marketing Playbook

 

Getting Long-Term Results in a Short Holiday Selling Season #FreePDF is a post from: GetResponse Blog - Email Marketing Tips

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How To Set Up A Goal In Google Analytics: Why It’s the Most Important Thing You’ll Do This Month http://blog.getresponse.com/set-goal-google-analytics-important-thing-youll-month.html http://blog.getresponse.com/set-goal-google-analytics-important-thing-youll-month.html#comments Thu, 30 Oct 2014 15:07:30 +0000 http://blog.getresponse.com/?p=18027 Most marketers are optimists. We hear about how marketing tactics and strategies have worked for others, and we believe, or at least hope, they’ll work for us. The bad news is, though, they may not work. In fact, most of … Read more

How To Set Up A Goal In Google Analytics: Why It’s the Most Important Thing You’ll Do This Month is a post from: GetResponse Blog - Email Marketing Tips

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Most marketers are optimists. We hear about how marketing tactics and strategies have worked for others, and we believe, or at least hope, they’ll work for us. The bad news is, though, they may not work. In fact, most of them don’t work. We’d be lucky (and rich) if even half of the marketing tactics we use were working as well we hope they do. 

Surely you’ve heard the old quote from Henry Ford, the automaker: “I know only half of my advertising works. The problem is, I don’t know which half.” And Henry was lucky – he had a breakout product people were mad to have, in a time when there was far, far less advertising than there is now. And he was, after all, Henry Ford.

Even if you’re a hopeless optimist, it’s important to have proof your marketing efforts are working. Bosses like to see proof, as do investors and even ourselves in a fragile moment. Almost any entrepreneur will be gripped by worry or insecurity at some point, and it’s nice to have verifiable data to go back to in those moments, just to prove to yourself that what you’re doing is working, and you don’t have to panic, and you’re not about to fail.

There’s another happier reason to track your marketing efforts. Even if you are the exception, and most of what you try works, there’s always room for improvement. Getting a 30% opt-in rate on that landing page? Why not get a 40% opt-in rate? Got pages with less than a 60% bounce rate? Why not aim for less than 50%? Even the rock stars of marketing can improve… and it’s that focus on constant improvement that made most of them into rock stars in the first place.

So if tracking our marketing efforts is a good idea, how do we do that? Easy. All you need is a Google Analytics account (it’s free), and the knowledge of how to set up what are called “goals”.

 

What Analytics Goals can track

Google Analytics goals let you do all sorts of powerful things. You can track how many people:

  1. Viewed a specific page. This is good for email signups when you’re sending people to a final confirmation page.
  2. Triggered an event (like watching a video or interacting with an online tool)
  3. Stayed on your site for a specific length of time. This is helpful if you sell advertising, or if you want to test how to increase the engagement level of your site.
  4. Viewed more than one page on your site. This is a good way to see which efforts are reducing your bounce rate, for example.

Analytics goals will give you valuable insights about your website, like

  • Which part of the world people come from when they take specific actions on your site. For instance, say you’re a retail brick and mortar chain with sites around Paris. You only want to be optimizing your site for visitors who can actually go to your stores. You wouldn’t want to optimize your site for visitors from, say, Canada, unless you get business from tourists.
  • Which websites people are coming from to get to your site (and what they do when they’re there). This can be helpful for your guest blogging efforts. If you’ve got a goal set up on your site for tracking when someone subscribes to your email newsletter, then you’ll be able to see which guest blog posts resulted in the most new email subscribers. This will give you valuable information about where to guest blog, and where to stop guest blogging.
  • Which browsers visitors are using and other technical details about their Internet setup. To use the email signup example again, if you’re seeing an opt-in rate from desktop users of 4%, but the opt-in rate from mobile devices is only 1%, then clearly your opt-in forms need to be made more mobile-friendly, aka more “responsive”.

 

How to set up a goal in Google Analytics

One of the best things about goals is that they’re free to set up, and they’re also fairly easy to set up. Once you know what to do, it’s about a five minute task to create a new goal. Here’s all you have to do:

1) Log into your Google Analytics account, then go to “Admin” in the top navigation row.

 

CreateGoal1

 

2) Then click “Goals” in the third column on the next page. Make sure the two columns to the left, titled “Account” and “Property” have the correct site selected.

CreateGoal2

 

3) Click the red “New Goal” button.

CreateGoal3

 

4) Choose which goal set up is correct for what you want to track.

 

CreateGoal4

I’m going to choose the “Custom” for this example, because I want to track how often visitors complete an email signup and download their free report. If they view the download page, that’s a completed goal (aka a “conversion”).

I could have chosen is “Media Play”, right above “Custom”, if I wanted to track who viewed a video on my site. If you wanted to track a different action, like if someone signed up for your affiliate program, you’d select “Become a partner” under the Revenue section.

5) Enter a goal description. Hint: Be nice to yourself. Make it something you’ll easily understand six months from now, and that you’ll be able to distinguish from other goals you might set up.

 

CreateGoal-GoalDescription

 

6) Specify what the download page is. Then (this is optional) define how much each download is worth to you. Take note that if your download page is
http://yoursite.com/yourdownloadpage.html”, you’ll want to just enter “/yourdownloadpage.html” in this field. Don’t add the full URL or the goal won’t track properly.

 

CreateGoal-GoalDetails

If you want, you can also specify how much each action is worth to you. For example, if you know each email subscriber is worth $2 to you, then enter that in the value field and click it to be “on”. That $2 value will be reflected in many of your Google analytics reports going forward and can give you valuable information about where you’re earning money, and where you’re losing it.

Next, you can define the funnel – the series of pages people have to go through to get to the download page. This is optional (and more complicated) but it can give you some very interesting information. To use our example of tracking new email subscribers, if you were using double opt-in, you could use funnel steps to see how many people see

  1. The first page of your signup sequence, after they’ve entered their email address and clicked “submit”.
  2. The final confirmation page, after they’ve clicked the link in your confirmation email.

That would be a two-step funnel, which is pretty simple. It might look like this:

 

Funnelexample

After your funnel information is filled out (if you choose to use a funnel), you can click “Verify this Goal” to see how many times your new goal has been completed in the last week.

7) Finally, click the blue “Create Goal” button. You’ll be brought back to the “View Goals” page of your Analytics account, where you can see all the goals you’ve created. If all went well, your goal will be included in that list, and will be marked that the recording is on.

 

CreateGoalfinal

Now you can see which of your marketing tactics will trigger this goal. In other words, you’ll be able to tell which marketing efforts are working, and which aren’t. Henry Ford would be jealous.

Are you tracking your marketing results with Google Analytics goals, or something else? Let us know in the comments.

How To Set Up A Goal In Google Analytics: Why It’s the Most Important Thing You’ll Do This Month is a post from: GetResponse Blog - Email Marketing Tips

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5 Things Your Sales Page Must Do To Convert Like Crazy  http://blog.getresponse.com/5-things-sales-page-must-convert-like-crazy.html http://blog.getresponse.com/5-things-sales-page-must-convert-like-crazy.html#comments Wed, 29 Oct 2014 15:07:04 +0000 http://blog.getresponse.com/?p=18021 It takes a long time to write a sales page. It takes an excruciatingly long time to write a sales page if you don’t know what you are doing, and hoping for a miracle when you hit publish. Let’s get something straight. … Read more

5 Things Your Sales Page Must Do To Convert Like Crazy  is a post from: GetResponse Blog - Email Marketing Tips

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It takes a long time to write a sales page. It takes an excruciatingly long time to write a sales page if you don’t know what you are doing, and hoping for a miracle when you hit publish. Let’s get something straight. You are not a copywriter – I get it. You are a small business owner (a coach, consultant, trainer, artist, designer, web developer, or someone who sells physical products).

You may even be a highly esteemed writer. You have published in all sorts of literary magazines but let me tell you, you are no better than the other guys when it comes to copywriting. In fact, you may even be at a disadvantage because of the way you have been taught to write.

And this is what you are not: a company with deep pockets. So I am guessing hiring a copywriter is not an option (if it is, great. You don’t need to read this post).

Still with me? Good. Let me teach you make sure the sales page you have written will bring you the results you hope you achieve. Let’s find out if your page is up to snuff and will do everything you need for it to do.

Let’s get started …

#1 Call out your audience

The first thing I want you to do is to pick up your sales page after you have given it a rest. This way you can have a look at it with fresh eyes and spot the gaps. Got it?

Look at the headline and the sub-headline. And maybe the first few lines or the lead to your sales page. Does it call out your audience?

When a potential client or customer takes an initial glance at your sales page, do they know this is for THEM? That they are in the right place and it absolutely applies to them.

Your headline and sub-heading must speak directly to a potential client and make a big promise. As soon as they read those words, they should immediately know that the product or service you are selling will cater to their specific needs and helping them in solving a problem, fulfilling a desire or get closer to their goals.

If they are confused, if they don’t see themselves as somebody who will benefit from reading it, they will click away – fast. This is the first objective your sales page should meet. Let people know who the page is for AND who it isn’t for.

Don’t write ‘Are you looking someone to succeed in life?’ Nobody knows who you are targeting here. This is way too broad. What type of success? In relationships? Work? Don’t say’ Attention spiritual seekers’. Again, very ambiguous.

How about addressing women who are about to give birth for the first time. You are either one or not. How about small businesses looking to go from 6 figures to 7? How about people who want to create an online video course?

Now the reader knows exactly the person you are talking to. And if that’s them – they are staying put.

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#2 Agitate the problem

No, I am not asking that you twist the knife where it hurts the most. What I am saying is you need to educate the customer and make a compelling case for your offering.

The reader of your sales page will not become a buyer unless they can see that you know exactly how it feels to be in their shoes, understand them completely and know them better than they know themselves. Unless they see that you get them. You want to identify the problem they have, in the language they use.

Ideally, you should have done your research and know very well the kinds of words and phrases your ideal customer uses. Maybe you have a blog and you have been a very good listener and reading people’s comments and how they describe their issues. Maybe you hang out in Facebook groups where your ideal client or customer hangs out. Perhaps you have interviewed a few people to find out what really keeps them up at 3 a.m.

Look at the page and see whether you have done a great job of identifying the problem – the surface problem and the underlying issues (the root causes). This is where you will differentiate yourself from the rest.

You see your client or customer only sees the outward problem. They might not even know why it exist in the first place. They might have an idea or might be totally clueless. It is your job to inform them. Your sales copy should bring the problem to light (in an empathetic manner, of course) AND tell them why this problem exists.

If they are overweight, what is the real problem? If they are jobless, what can’t they really find a job? If they don’t have a girlfriend, what’s the reason? Your sales page must educate them because they don’t know.

And when you educate your audience right through your offer, you’ll find that it will help them relax. They get something of value even if they don’t buy anything this time around but they will remember you, refer you and could possibly even come back to purchase in the near future.

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#3 Paint a picture of a bright future

So now you have spent some time talking about the problem and educating the prospect why they have it in the first place. But don’t spend too long on it. You don’t want to depress your prospect or make them feel like their situation is hopeless. You want to do the opposite. Don’t dwell on it.

Your job is to tell the prospect that although they have a problem, but you have a solution. In fact, if you do the earlier bit right, this is the natural next step. Your copy will flow smoothly into it.

Let’s assume you work with small children of speech difficulties. You address the parents in your sales page and empathize with them that how hard it is to see your child struggling because they don’t talk. Then you tell them why it is exactly so.

What do you think the parent is wondering next? “Okay, great, now I know what’s contributing to my child’s lack of speech so what can I do next?’

Of course they have been with you this far. You have their attention. You have spoken to the core of their problem. Now they want to know what’s possible. They want to find out what sort of results can they hope for and how YOU can help them.

This is your cue. You can start talking about what is possible for this child – or for target market. You will tell them what they can expect. You tell them all the benefits. You paint a beautiful picture of the future. You want to tell them that their child will speak one day. That he will have conversations with them and their friends. They will get to hear their child’s beautiful voice.

If the prospect isn’t making any money in their business, they will start soon when they hire you to redesign their website. Show them what’s it like to wake up and see dozens of new subscribers and new orders that came in overnight.

You also want to make it clear that if their problem is left alone, it is not going to get better on its own. It will actually become worse. They don’t hire a web designer and they are leaving money on the table every day while becoming increasingly frustrated and doubting their own success. And the only way they can prevent this from happening is when they take the action and purchase the solution you provide.

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#4 Answer every question they have

This is also known as addressing your prospect’s objections. And they have tons.

Now this gets a whole lot easier if you have done a few things prior to driving traffic to your page. Meaning, you have taken the time to develop a relationship with your audience and built trust. You also did a proper launch sequence prior to announcing your product.

When you send warm traffic to your sales page (people who know you and have been exposed to your content for a while), these people are already pre-sold. You don’t have to do a hard sell. If they fit your target audience and your product is exactly what they need, at the right price point, they will purchase.

But when it comes to driving cold traffic to your sales page, that’s where the effectiveness of your sales page comes into play. How good of a sales page you have got will determine the number of conversions (sales) you get.

So what type of questions are your prospects asking?

It’s simple really. It’s the type of questions you would be asking if you are looking at a sales page for something you are interested in buying for yourself. Just reverse the situation and think from the perspective of a buyer.

  • Is this product right for me? Will it work for me? Will it take too much time and effort?
  • Will it require for me to know certain things? (Technology in case of digital products, for example.)
  • Will it do what it promises to do? Is it worth the price tag? 
  • Who has it helped so far? Can I see some of these people and their comments?

People are essentially thinking how much of a risk it is to purchase from you. And you need to address every single objection they have.

You can reduce the risk by using elements such as testimonials and money back guarantee (what your customers or clients say about you is way more powerful than what you say about yourself).

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#5 Give them a reason to take action – now

No matter how great your sales page is, if your offer doesn’t have a deadline, people are not going to take action.

People are masters of procrastination, especially when it comes to making decisions which will force them to acknowledge a problem, their own shortcomings, take responsibility and say yes to something that requires work and hard work. You want them to take action while they are still high on the possibility. Here are three ways to do it.

Firstly, make sure your offer is extremely clear. You don’t want to confuse people because you know confused minds don’t buy. Spell out the features as well as the benefits. Clearly state all the deliverables. What do they actually purchase when they buy your coaching package, training program or physical product? Tell them exactly what comes inside the box and at what price. Leave no room for ambiguity or error.

Secondly, you want them to make a decision, one way or the other, preferably one that ends with clicking the buy button. For this remind them that this offer is not available forever.

Make use of elements such as scarcity and urgency. If you have a class and you can only teach 50 people at one time, tell them so. If you are doing a beta launch and only a certain number of units are available for purchase, let them know. If the price goes up, or there are limited quantities available, or if the bonuses go away on a certain date, people want to know. This will help them decide. (Be authentic. Whenever you are building scarcity or urgency, don’t make things up or you will damage your reputation.)

Lastly, give them a very clear, bold call to action. Display a big buy now button and summarize your offer right there so there is no confusion. You want to minimize cart abandonment as much as possible. Ask for the sale with confidence and remind people they must take action now.

Remember, you are telling a story on your sales page.

Always ask yourself this question: Why should my audience care?

Every word on your sales page should be written with this question in mind. From someone who has no idea about who you are and what you can do to help them, to taking them to a point where they take out their wallets – it needs some finesse. But you can do it.

Connect with your target audience, maintain this level of connection and trust and show them what a no-brainer your offer really is, and you are golden.

Congratulations. Your sales page is ready to do its job.

5 Things Your Sales Page Must Do To Convert Like Crazy  is a post from: GetResponse Blog - Email Marketing Tips

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How to Build Genuine Social Media Conversations http://blog.getresponse.com/build-genuine-social-media-conversations.html http://blog.getresponse.com/build-genuine-social-media-conversations.html#comments Tue, 28 Oct 2014 15:07:19 +0000 http://blog.getresponse.com/?p=18015 Social media has opened up a plethora of new ways to build meaningful relationships with your fans and followers. From sharing blog posts to posting behind-the-scenes videos, your fans are able to start to conceive the ‘human side’ of your … Read more

How to Build Genuine Social Media Conversations is a post from: GetResponse Blog - Email Marketing Tips

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Social media has opened up a plethora of new ways to build meaningful relationships with your fans and followers. From sharing blog posts to posting behind-the-scenes videos, your fans are able to start to conceive the ‘human side’ of your company, rather than being simply a faceless brand from which they purchase products and/or services. 

Of course, that’s the thing about social and one that some businesses appear to miss: it’s called SOCIAL media for a reason. It’s not enough to simply get together a profile page and post content, unless you’re an international brand or regularly produce viral content, you have to get social and work for engagement.

However, this engagement will only become meaningful – and indeed maximised and maintained – if you return it. Despite all the various means through which you can utilise social media to stimulate your fans’ interest in your brand, the most meaningful means of engagement at your disposal as a marketer is in your willingness to build conversations with your engaged followers.

Of course, it’s not always simple to gain engagement in the first instance. It takes work and a certain amount of hard manual labour to actually gain followers who are willing to interact – if you don’t first, they never will either. While many marketers use scheduling software to take the ‘grunt’ out of social media management, there’s no substitution for a personal thank you or a well thought-out reply to a question.

If you want a genuine relationship with your fans, then you must engage and build your online community through conversation – and this means being open and transparent and harboring no hidden agenda. This will lead to better relationships, and will almost undoubtedly convert into higher sales and bigger turnover; below are a few tips for how to go about it.

 

Use Your Fans’ First Names

People instantly feel a deeper connection with you when you address them by their first name, and the same holds true for online conversations on social media. The use of first names in conversation engages the fans on a personal and human level, and this can do wonders for their feeling of value.

Indeed, the same goes for when you sign off a comment yourself. Use your first name, if appropriate to do so, or otherwise the name of your team. This works because your followers will feel like they are connecting with a real person, rather than just a faceless corporation, and indeed helps to build trust throughout your network.

 

User Generated Content (UGC)

One of the beauties of social media is that everything you do, your fans can too, and this applies to the use of your products. You’ll probably find that some of your fans will be eager to show you (and thus the rest of your following) exactly how they are using your product, either by a series of photographs or a video. These, in fact, can be even more powerful than spending lots of money on advertising, and of course infinitely more valuable in this respect.

There are other ways too to encourage the production of UGC. It may be appropriate to your business, for instance, to ask them to post photos of their work desk, or the view outside their office window.

Another thing that you can do is ask for reviews on your Facebook page and Google Places. Of course, you do risk bad reviews, sometimes it’s inevitable and we’ve all had them – my business received one after a user left spam on the page and was asked to remove it. However, it disappeared soon after I appealed to Facebook about it with details so I assume that the social network removed it, despite no communication to confirm this. My point is though is that if you’re a reputable company, you’ve nothing to fear from user reviews aside and they can really help prove your company ethics as it gives you an opportunity to address customer issues in an area where you can really prove that your customer service rocks!

Startup Stock Photo

Ask Fans For Input

Since your fans will almost by definition be users of your services or product (or at least the potential users of it) then it makes sense to ask them for their input as to how you should proceed with your future offerings, and indeed ask for feedback on your past ones.

This sort of feedback will be invaluable, especially if you have managed to cultivate a friendly, open and honest community through which your followers feel as if they can trust you. These fans are your targeted audience precisely, so by understanding how they engage with your product and how they think it could be improved will reflect exactly those who are the most likely to be purchasing it in the future.

Personalization is something that’s become popular in marketing circles for a good reason – people respond, so ensure that you tailor offers for each social network. You can also use remarketing to target those fans who have visited your website. Perhaps you’ve found that some fans have been to the site and abandoned the shopping cart. Using Facebook Web Custom Audiences you can add a simple tracking code to your site and then retarget specific groups with specialized adverts and special offers.

Social media has been a real game-changer for business and Facebook is the biggest of them all. Marketing on Facebook can be tricky, especially when it comes to reach, and it can be expensive for advertising. However, remarketing works well on Facebook and is something to consider and if you really interact with your audience and gain that magic engagement, you’ll be flying in no time.

When it comes to the other social networks, the same basic principles apply, aside from perhaps LinkedIn. Twitter of course doesn’t give you much space to play with so it pays to be succinct and Pinterest can be a great conversation starter simply because it’s so visual. Twitter advertising and analytics are highly useful too, especially the former, which I find to be much more effective than Facebook’s. Pinterest has also recently introduced all-new analytics, which are much more powerful than the previous ones and can really help you to target your users effectively by showing you exactly what they’re looking at and re-pinning.

Social media has given small businesses especially an opportunity to connect with a large audience and boost business. The best thing about it is that unless you advertise, it is of course free. Whilst it’s ideal to have the budget to advertise, some of don’t, so we can instead use the free tools at our disposal to enable growth and really get to know our customers on level we’ve never managed before.

How to Build Genuine Social Media Conversations is a post from: GetResponse Blog - Email Marketing Tips

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17 Ways to Create Content that Drives Engagement on Facebook http://blog.getresponse.com/17-ways-create-content-drives-engagement-facebook.html http://blog.getresponse.com/17-ways-create-content-drives-engagement-facebook.html#comments Mon, 27 Oct 2014 15:07:17 +0000 http://blog.getresponse.com/?p=18007 Your ideal client and customer is on Facebook – that is true for most businesses. Yes, your fans and non-fans, they are already spending time on Facebook. They use it for personal reasons. They spend time following what their real life friends … Read more

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Your ideal client and customer is on Facebook – that is true for most businesses. Yes, your fans and non-fans, they are already spending time on Facebook. They use it for personal reasons. They spend time following what their real life friends and family are up to, clicking on ads, engaging in groups and following business they buy from. And if you capture their attention, these people can be a big help spread the word about your brand. 

You just have to get their attention which is easier said than done – and getting even harder by the minute.

With the way the Facebook algorithm works, people are only seeing updates if they have previously engaged with you or your content. That means as a business owner, you are left with only two choices. You can either pay to play – run ads on Facebook or boost your posts, or you can publish the type of content that naturally get people talking, liking and sharing.

In this post we are looking at ways you can organically grow your Facebook likes and engagement. Let’s dive in.

Be human

#1 Quotes

Quotes are one of the easiest way to get a like or share on Facebook. A quote says something about you. It speaks about your values, opinions and outlook on life. It gets pay to put their hand up and elicit this ‘I feel the same way’ response.

Picture quotes (quotes overlayed on an image) work even better. It is very hard to not engage with a quote. Just try and not click the like button next time you see an inspiring quote in your feed, or a quote that is your all-time favourite.

#2 Images

When you are scrolling through your Facebook feed, what normally stops you and catches your attention? A photo. Facebook gives them a lot of space so they are big, colourful and eye catching when they appear in your feed. Any business would be a fool not to use images on their page.

A picture is indeed worth a thousand words – or a thousand likes on Facebook. But make sure you have a strategy behind the images you choose. Try including familiar images that people begin to associate with your brand. Be sure to add your brand identifier such as a logo or a shortened link to the text so people can follow it your page.

Hard pressed to find relevant, interesting photos that haven’t been done to death in your industry? Try creating your own visuals using Canva or Pic Monkey. Or simply ask someone to do it for you. Your unique images will also help you stand out from the crowd.

Be funny

#3 Jokes and Comic strips

You are not a humorous brand? No worries. But you do laugh at jokes other tell? Well, you can spread a little cheer yourself.

Funny pictures, comics and humorous one-liners are highly shareable content. You don’t have to post this all the time but every now and then if you bring a smile to a fan, you deepen your relationship with them. Plus, they share it with their friends and bring you new fans and increase your reach.

Just post a picture of a cute kid or kitten with a funny caption and see what happens.

Ask your audience

#4 Questions and polls

Asking your audience question is one of the easiest ways to get engagement. However, if you just started your page or don’t have too many likes, it will be difficult for you to get interaction this way. It is preferable to build some useful content first and get people in the habit of expecting actionable content from you before you try to ask questions.

You can ask your audience any question you want so long it relates to your brand. You can ask multiple choice questions and make it really easy for them to answer or you can ask open ended questions to start great discussions.

Try posing a question at the start of a standard update where you simply link to your latest blog post.

#5 Fill in the blanks and captions

Fill in the banks are great for creativity sparks flying. These are often fun and don’t require people to think too hard. You can ask people to describe in one word and choose something that will appeal to your target audience. Here are some examples:

  • My biggest pet peeve about (your topic) is ____________________.
  • (Your topic) reminds me of ________________________________.
  • Tell us in one word. Today I am most grateful for _______________.
  • My most favourite ice cream flavour is________________________.
  • When my child is not eating, I ______________________________.
  • If I had the biggest marketing budget, I would __________________.

A slightly different way to engage people is to post a photo and ask people to caption it. The aim is also bring a bit of fun into people’s lives and of course engage with your content.

The trick is to choose the right photo – something interesting that would make people want to say something. You can use funny pictures of animals or small children, or spell bounding landscapes or pictures of people ‘Humans of New York’ style.

The status update is 90% visual and 10% text and it works great for short videos as well.

#6 Remember when?

Nostalgia is great fodder for engagement. Ask people a question about something that takes them back in time and brings up fond memories.

  • “Remember the days of Hammer pants? Do you want them back?”
  • “Name the first favourite 80s song that comes to mind.”
  • “Remember when you stepped out of the house with no means to stay in touch with others?”

You can ask anything. You can refer to anything that will invoke memories and emotions. This is a fantastic way to get likes and shares on your page.

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#7 Crowd source the answer

Somebody ask you a tough question? Do you face an issue you have trouble solving? Ask your audience for help. Here are some examples to get you going:

  • I want to start juicing, can you recommend the best site for beginners?
  • A reader wants to find an affordable accommodation in a particular city – can you help?
  • Most people today are overwhelmed with social media. What is your best tip to avoid it?

Not only do you get tons of engagement, you give shout outs to your fans and most loyal followers (often the most loyal ones ask questions, don’t they?).

Be useful

#8 Takeaway from a blog post

Instead of just linking to your latest blog post, you can lead with the main takeaway of the article. Start with the a-ha moment or the big insight and then give the link. People would be more inclined to click on the link. By the same token, you can ask a question that you then answer in the blog post. It makes your regular, ‘boring’ updates more interesting.

#9 Theme or event based content

Pay attention to what is happening around you. If there is a major holiday coming up, chances are your fans are going to a part of it. Football final or finale of the hottest show on TV? You bet your fans are keen.

Post some content specifically created for a particular theme, holiday or a sporting event. Find and share timely content and you will see your engagement skyrocket.

#10 Top Tips

Tips are great because they are short, to the point and highly actionable.

Your readers are sure to devour them if you post highly relevant, super useful tips. You can pair them with an attention grabbing image or create one specifically using Pic Monkey or Canva but they are also fine as text-based updates.

Tips that are highly practical in nature and can be implemented in a short amount of time work really well.

#11 Little known ways to do something

You can post short status updates of a few sentences showing people new ways to do something or solve a problem.

The most interesting thing about this update is the tip doesn’t have to be ground-breaking or earth shattering so don’t spend hours racking your brain to come up with something. As long it is helpful it is fine.

There will always be people who weren’t aware of it and there will be some who knew about it and still engage with your posts saying things like ‘I already knew that’. All’s good. Here are some examples:

  • One little known way to extend the life of your fragrance – store it in your fridge. 
  • One little known way to increase your email open rate – resend to those who didn’t open them the first time.

#12 Most popular content

Every blog should have some evergreen content published. Firstly, it is great for search engine rankings and will bring you a steady stream of traffic. Secondly, first time visitors to your site are greatly interested in discovering your foundational content and start on the right foot.

On Facebook, you can post your evergreen or most popular content multiple times. You can schedule it so it goes on automatically. Remember, not everybody has seen all your social media updates. It’s wise to repeat this content but make sure you change the format. One time, it can be an image post, the other time it can be a provocative questions linking to the link. This type pf content is fantastic for priming your new audience.

#13 Book recommendations

Don’t forget book recommendations.

What’s the latest book you have read that you can’t stop raving about? Do an image post or ask your audience if they have read it and if so, what their thoughts are.

This type of post can be purely personal where you share any kind of book – fiction, classic or any other topic, or it can be strategic where you highlight something that your future clients or customers are bound to found useful and will thank you for.

Be a business

#14 Promotional posts

I know I said earlier to put up pictures of cute kittens and babies but don’t go overboard. Remember, you are a business after all.

It is perfectly fine to post status updates of promotional kind. You can announce upcoming products, share posts where you take readers behind the scenes or promote discounts. Just make sure that you maintain a ratio of 80% (personal and educational) to 20% (promotional), unless you are a pure ecommerce website and people only like your page to hear about the deals and discounts. Even then you will benefit from posts where you are just connecting with your audience.

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#15 Contests

Have you run a contest on Facebook? If not, try it and you might be surprised.

Contests are great because everybody wants to win and because of their inherent ‘fun’ nature. People enter the contest and will often check back your page to see if they have fun. They will also share it if you award extra points for sharing and not ‘minimize’ their own chances of success. You can create different types of contest from sweepstakes to more complex ones (there are apps available to do this so don’t stress about the techy part.)

Remember to choose prizes that will appeal to your target market. If you decide to give an ipad or iphone, you might get hundreds or even thousands of entries but are these people ultimately valuable to you?

#16 Features and mentions

Have you gotten any amazing press lately? Did you make it on Oprah? Did you have a picture taken with an influencer in your industry?

Go ahead and flaunt it. You have earned the right to do so and if you have been doing everything right, you will see your audience celebrate your wins as if they are their own.

#17 Client success story or employee shout outs

Don’t forget to highlight your best clients and customers.  Have they gotten great results using your product or service? Did you receive a fantastic testimonial that made you jump with joy?

Your Facebook book page is a really good place to bring some attention to these well-deserving folks. Take pictures of your employees receiving an award, dealing with others and simply doing their job. Talk about their hobbies or unique passions so your fans and followers can relate to you and your business even more.

Lastly remember engagement happens when both parties play. Pay attention to the times when most of your fans are online and jump in. Reply to their comments and add to the conversation.

Ultimately a successful Facebook promotion relies on a maintaining a consistent presence and making sure that the conversation is always moving forward. Readers and fans need to see that their input is valuable and their engagement is highly appreciated so don’t be shy to let them know.

17 Ways to Create Content that Drives Engagement on Facebook is a post from: GetResponse Blog - Email Marketing Tips

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8 UX Tips to Boost Your Landing Page Conversion Rate #Infographic http://blog.getresponse.com/8-ux-tips-boost-landing-page-conversion-rate-infographic.html http://blog.getresponse.com/8-ux-tips-boost-landing-page-conversion-rate-infographic.html#comments Fri, 24 Oct 2014 15:07:13 +0000 http://blog.getresponse.com/?p=18001 Marketers are at constant competition when it comes to the landing page conversion rate. But there is still a lot of room for improvement especially when User Experience is concerned. Take these 8 basic tips and squeeze the most conversion out … Read more

8 UX Tips to Boost Your Landing Page Conversion Rate #Infographic is a post from: GetResponse Blog - Email Marketing Tips

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Marketers are at constant competition when it comes to the landing page conversion rateBut there is still a lot of room for improvement especially when User Experience is concerned. Take these 8 basic tips and squeeze the most conversion out of your landing page right away.

 

Make Your Site’s Purpose Clear

Explain the purpose of your site in the tagline under your logo.

Don’t make your users think. Start with a tagline that describes who you are and what you do. It pays off, especially for the brands that are not recognised worldwide.

Onboarding Experience Matters

When a person enters your site it doesn’t necessarily mean the person will use your site.

The user should be introduced to your landing page and presented with clear steps in order to stay. The process of familiarizing users with your site is called onboarding.

Engage with your Users

The days of one-way communication are gone. People are tired of being told what to do and want to be listened to. Here comes the engagement part. There are several techniques of a two-way communication, one of which is gamifying user experience. Add elements of gamification (WISELY) e.g. show progress, levels, give badges, points and hook your user with good onboarding.

Content is King

Writing copy that converts is an art, but you don’t have to be an artist to know basic rules. The sad truth is that most people don’t read entire text, they scan it. Make sure you provide killer headline, informative subheadline, powerful images and visible call to action button. Converting landing pages present user’s benefits, NOT company’s profits.

Say Thanks!

Hurray! A visitor not only came to your site but also gave you his email address = completed a conversion. Many sites finish their communication with the visitor at this stage. You can go one step further and do what people normally do in the real world – say thank you. A Thank-you page is where users are taken after completing a conversion. It is also where you can continue your relationship with the user, which can result in future conversion.

Give thanks for a little and you will find a lot. 

- Hansa Proverb

Start Running A/B Tests

A/B testing is more than a buzz term. It is an effective method of measuring and optimising your landing page. Checking the two versions of your landing page (A and B) makes it clear which one converts better. There are various elements you can test: headlines, call to action’s, web form’s type of fields and length, product pricing, images, amount of text and many more. There are no fixed answer what converts best. Test and see what works best in your unique situation.

…pay attention to what users do, not what they say

- Jakob Nielsen

Create Responsive Landing Pages

It is no secret that the number of mobile users is growing. A study from Google reveals that 73% of mobile searches trigger additional actions and conversions and 81% of mobile researches are driven by speed and convenience. Mobile-friendly sites turn visitors into customers.

Web design is responsive design. Responsive web design is web design, done right. 

— Andy Clarke

Check and Analyze Your Site’s Statistics

Winning landing pages undergo constant optimization. Measuring and analyzing site’s statistics allows to maximise effectiveness and optimize return on investment (ROI). Understanding landing page statistics saves dollars spent on online marketing.

I know that half my ad dollars are wasted, I just don’t know which half – John Wanamaker

8 UX Tips to Boost Your Landing Page Conversion Rate #Infographic is a post from: GetResponse Blog - Email Marketing Tips

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A Gut-Wrenching Groupon Blunder You Must Avoid http://blog.getresponse.com/gut-wrenching-groupon-blunder-must-avoid.html http://blog.getresponse.com/gut-wrenching-groupon-blunder-must-avoid.html#comments Thu, 23 Oct 2014 15:07:53 +0000 http://blog.getresponse.com/?p=17996 Maybe you’ve heard about Groupon disasters. For example, an ad delivers an overwhelming flood of new customers but results in a net loss. That’s the gut-wrenching part. On the other hand, new people learn about your business. But your ad … Read more

A Gut-Wrenching Groupon Blunder You Must Avoid is a post from: GetResponse Blog - Email Marketing Tips

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Maybe you’ve heard about Groupon disasters. For example, an ad delivers an overwhelming flood of new customers but results in a net loss. That’s the gut-wrenching part. On the other hand, new people learn about your business. But your ad may attract only cherry-pickers — people who grab your great deal but never come back for more. So is Groupon worthwhile? As you’re about to find out, there’s a smarter play — and it’s an easy one.

My wife noticed a Groupon for a seafood restaurant. We both love seafood, and it looked like a great deal, so we grabbed it.

 

How did it go?

The restaurant was an easy 10-minute drive and had plenty of parking. The atmosphere was relaxed and pleasant. Quiet music played in the background. Our waitress was friendly and attentive. The menu had lots of appealing dishes, and the prices were reasonable. Our meal arrived promptly, and the food turned out to be delicious. We considered dessert… but we mustered our willpower and declined.

 

What did the restaurant accomplish?

For whatever reason, we haven’t been back. So it was a great dining experience for us, but for the restaurant… not so much. Why? To get our business, they had to offer a substantial discount and split a portion of their revenue (50/50) with Groupon. Oh, the pain… the pain!

 

What did the restaurant do wrong?

If you’re a GetResponse customer, their mistake is as easy to spot as the claws on a lobster: they never asked for our email address.So they have no way to follow up. No way to lure us back. No way to build a relationship. Except to offer another (probably unprofitable) Groupon deal. How can a brick-and-mortar business grab email addresses?

Low-tech solutions still work, especially in a retail business.

  1. Set up a business-card fishbowl near the cash register with a sign advertising a weekly drawing for a  prize: maybe a discount, special dessert, or free drink.
  2. Here’s one your staff will love — a server contest. Waiters and waitresses win a prize by collecting email addresses from their customers.

Hi-tech methods work too.

  1. This one looks fancy, but it’s as easy as nibbling on a fantail shrimp. Put a card with a QR code on each table. Smartphone users will know what to do. The code can direct them to a web page with a special incentive… and a sign-up form, of course.
  2. Want to really impress them with your tech savvy? Download Forms on the Go to your iPad or Android tablet. Patrons can enter their email address on the spot.
  3. And here’s another solution that will appeal to cellphone users — the Join By Text integration. A table card invites them to text a code to receive weekly deals and special offers.

How does this lead to more sales?

Now you’ve got their email address. Even if you lost money on the Groupon deal, you’ve got the opportunity to earn their business for a lifetime.

  1. Create a special newsletter campaign. Special offers work great. But for more profitable sales, try themes: Bring-the-Kids Night featuring fun foods; Dinner-and-a-Movie Night in partnership with a local cinema; or Lovers-Only Night featuring candlelight, champagne, and sinfully delicious desserts.
  2. Set up an autoresponder series to invite new subscribers to return again and again. Tempt them with coupons they can download.
  3. Use the segmentation tool to find out who downloaded your coupon, and then send them a similar offer soon. Equally important, find out who didn’t click. Send them something different, or change the subject line and send the same offer again. This time, maybe they’ll bite.
  4. Encourage patrons to brag about you on social media. Include a mouth-watering pic of your signature specialty, with social media icons nearby.
  5. Create a landing page where patrons can find out your current special offers, special events, and news. Be sure to include a sign-up form and invite them to subscribe.

 

Does this really work?

These tried-and-true techniques work in any consumer-based business, especially retail. And they can be a lot more profitable than a succession of Groupons (or similar coupon-distribution services).

You may need to experiment to find a winning formula. But after you nail it, you can use it as a control for testing and tweaking new ideas. Soon you’ll have a thriving email marketing program and a loyal customer base.

DeathtoStock_Wired2

Should you continue using Groupon?

Think of Groupon as a lead-generation strategy. If you get new people in the door with a break-even or small loss, you’re halfway there. Then use email marketing to build a relationship. Soon you’ll have the option to wean your business off Groupon.

So dream up a Groupon for your restaurant or other retail business. And be sure to grab their email addresses. Your results will be… positively yummy.

Let’s hear it for Groupon! Do you have a Groupon horror story? Or did your ad hit a home run? C’mon, share a taste of your experience.

A Gut-Wrenching Groupon Blunder You Must Avoid is a post from: GetResponse Blog - Email Marketing Tips

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Get a Feature Box: It’ll Be the Most Effective Opt-in Form on Your Site http://blog.getresponse.com/get-feature-box-itll-effective-opt-form-site.html http://blog.getresponse.com/get-feature-box-itll-effective-opt-form-site.html#comments Wed, 22 Oct 2014 15:07:26 +0000 http://blog.getresponse.com/?p=17984 One of the best ways to grow your email list is to add a feature box to the homepage of your site. A feature box is a full width email opt-in box. It usually offers some kind of lead magnet … Read more

Get a Feature Box: It’ll Be the Most Effective Opt-in Form on Your Site is a post from: GetResponse Blog - Email Marketing Tips

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One of the best ways to grow your email list is to add a feature box to the homepage of your site. A feature box is a full width email opt-in box. It usually offers some kind of lead magnet to incite people to sign up for your list. 

Here’s an example of a feature box below. Everything inside the blue box is the feature box:

 

MarieForleoFullPageEDITED

Resistance to Feature Boxes

Now, some of you might be a little uncomfortable with feature boxes. Usually, this is because of one of two reasons:

  1. The feature box is going to take up the most valuable real estate on your website.
  2. It seems invasive and pushy to ask for an email address right when people get to your homepage.

Here are two ways to change your perspective on both those issues:

1) There’s no denying it: The feature box will take up the most valuable piece of real estate on your site. It’s on the home page above the scroll line, for goodness sake. That’s about as valuable as you can get.

But here’s the deal: The feature box is worth using the best real estate on your site. Remember why you wanted to build an email list in the first place? Remember how most of your website visitors come to your site, and then never come back again… unless you can get their email address? Remember how email marketing earns $28 for every dollar spent?

Unless you’re offering a free trial of your software, or some other core business functionality in that space, adding a feature box is actually the best use of this real estate. You’re going to get far more returns by using this space for an opt-in box, compared to, say, using it to announce your latest blog post.

2) If it feels like you’re being too pushy to ask for an email address in this space, take a look at what you’re offering in exchange for that email address. Take a look at your lead magnet.

If you’ve got hesitations about adding a feature box, the real underlying problem may be that you don’t feel like your lead magnet is good enough. So really, what you’ve got hesitations about is your lead magnet. So change that – make a better lead magnet, or offer something truly extraordinary in exchange for people’s email addresses. But don’t shy away from using a feature box because it’s too invasive.

Remember – the world needs what you’re offering. What you’re offering is going to help people, and make their lives better and easier. If you don’t believe that, you’ve got bigger problems than what to do with the space on your home page.

 

Feature boxes get higher opt-in rates – and more emails – than any other form on your site

Here’s a chart showing where the email opt-ins for the Social Mouths blog come from. The feature box has the highest opt-in rate of any other opt-in form, though the Facebook tab does come in at a close second.

signup_form_performance

 

This graph shows what percent of email opt-ins each form on the Social Mouths blog gets. I see similar rates to what Social Mouths gets on my sites. Here’s a feature box on one of my smaller sites:

ConsignmentStoreFeatureBox

 

The opt-in rate for this feature box is more than three times the opt-in rate of the upper right hand opt-in form on the same site, and with the same opt-in offer, copy and button.

The opt-in rate for this feature box is more than 3 times the rate of the opt-in box I have in the upper right hand corner of the site, in the navigation bar. The right top navigation opt-in has all the same copy, and the same opt-in button. But because of where the upper right opt-in box is on the page, I think people tend to tune it out, and not see it, like banner ads near the top of a page. That’s one of the reasons feature boxes work so very well: People don’t tune them out.

 

How to add a feature box to your site

If you have enough skills with WordPress, you can edit the home page of your website to create a full-width feature box. Some WordPress themes are pre-designed to create a feature box, like Marketer’s Delight, which works on the Thesis framework, or the Generate Pro Theme from StudioPress if you’re using the Genesis framework.

GenerateProTheme

 

The Generate Pro theme from StudioPress includes a “built-in” feature box.

But what if you don’t want to change your WordPress theme, and you don’t want to spend hours editing the template of your site? No problem. Just use a plugin to create your feature box.

If you’ve got no budget to spend on yet one more plugin, there’s a great option:

 

PlugMatter Plugin 

 

PlugmatterFree

This is the free version of the PlugMatter opt-in box WordPress plugin. This is a free, easily customized feature box that you can get set up in less than an hour. It is considerably more intuitive to use than other feature box plugins I’ve tested.

Plugmatter Lite will also adjust itself to mobile devices (i.e., it’s “responsive”) and it comes with a couple of different feature box templates. It works seamlessly with GetResponse. If you want more features (like A/B split-testing), you can upgrade to the paid versions.

 

Hybrid Connect 

HybridConnectEditorView

 

This is the dashboard of a Hybrid Connect set up on a live site. Hybrid Connect is a paid plugin that lets you create feature boxes and almost a dozen other kinds of opt-in boxes quickly. It’s $49 for a single site license. I’ve used this plugin on two different sites and been very happy with it.

If you want to do A/B split-testing, it’s great (and the $49 you’ll pay for Hybrid Connect is cheaper than the $57 you’d need to spend for the Plugmatter plan that gives you A/B split-testing).  The video tutorials make configuring it super-easy and support is quite fast. If you’ve got a little bit of budget to spend on your site, this is a good choice. Oh yes – and of course it works with GetResponse.

 

OptinMonster

OptinMonster-Review-Form-Themes-Original

A sample pop-up made by the OptinMonster plugin.

Optin Monster is very similar to Hybrid Connect, and the two are basically each other’s fiercest competitors. Their prices look almost identical – Optin Monster is $49 for use on one site, just like Hybrid Connect – until you check what opt-in forms you’ll get. Then Optin Monster becomes almost four times as expensive. However, many email experts rave about this plugin, and it certainly converts well. If you’ve got the budget, it’s a solid choice. The Exit Intent feature is particularly interesting.

So that’s the 404 on feature boxes – what they are, why they’re great and how to set one up. Do you have a feature box on your site? How’s it converting compared to your other opt-in boxes? Or if you’re still holding back on adding a feature box, what’s giving you cold feet? Let us know in the comments.

Get a Feature Box: It’ll Be the Most Effective Opt-in Form on Your Site is a post from: GetResponse Blog - Email Marketing Tips

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Optimizing Your Content for Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter http://blog.getresponse.com/optimizing-content-facebook-linkedin-twitter.html http://blog.getresponse.com/optimizing-content-facebook-linkedin-twitter.html#comments Tue, 21 Oct 2014 15:07:17 +0000 http://blog.getresponse.com/?p=17976 When it comes to social media marketing, there’s a lot of balls that you have to keep juggling to keep all of your followers engaged across all of your different platforms. Indeed, this is very much because the users of … Read more

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When it comes to social media marketing, there’s a lot of balls that you have to keep juggling to keep all of your followers engaged across all of your different platforms. Indeed, this is very much because the users of each generally expect very different things from their different social networks, and understanding what’s appropriate for one and not for another is key to continuing to reach as many of them as possible.

Social media marketing is essential these days, not just an option. But all of your platforms work in very different ways, and attract very different types of audiences all with very various expectations. So let’s take a look 3 of the top social networks, and start to consider what works best for each.

We’ll begin with the biggest – Facebook.

 

Facebook

Facebook is the biggest social network going with well over a billion users now worldwide. In fact, it’s pretty much safe to assume that no matter what other social networks your fans have found you on, they’ll almost certainly be watching you on Facebook as well.

One of the beauties of Facebook is that it offers a variety of ways to share content with your followers, and indeed, utilizing all of these different methods is key to keeping your Facebook followers interested. Facebook users don’t want to see the same posts over and over and over again, they want variety – visuals, videos, links, articles, graphs and infographics. On Facebook you must be posting all of these things and more.

One of the main reasons for this, in fact, is that Facebook has recently made some changes that affect which of your fans will see which specific content you post. According to Facebook Marketing Expert Mari Smith, “The way Facebook’s Edgerank algorithm works is that each piece of content – whether posted via a personal profile or fan page – passes through a three-part filter and has a different score for each user or fan. In other words, we all see content from fan pages differently.”

This means that, according to how your fans behave generally on Facebook, i.e. what sort of content they most usually ‘like’ or click on, those fans will be more likely to be presented with those specific types of posts in their news feeds. If they like watching videos, then Facebook will give them yours to watch, and if they don’t like infographics then, no matter how many you produce and post on the network, the likelihood is that they won’t appear in those particular fans’ feeds. So, for Facebook, it’s certainly variety that holds the key if you want to reach and appeal to as many of your fans as possible.

Quick tips for Facebook:

  • Mix it up as much as possible, use plenty of images and don’t be afraid to use your sense of humour. Facebook users enjoy sharing ‘funny’ memes so give them what they want.
  • Make use of Facebook Insights to see what your audience is engaging with the most.
  • Ask questions to prompt engagement.
  • Run competitions and special offers and ensure that they’re just for that audience.
  • Use Web Custom Audiences to target certain users with special offers.

 

LinkedIn

LinkedIn promotes itself as a professional social network, and that’s exactly what it is. This means you must consider your tone carefully when posting content on the site – it’s inhabited by professionals, and so an expert, authoritative and informative tone is always in order.

LinkedIn is the place to try and attract the interests of key influencers in your industry. Indeed, this can in fact be one of the main benefits of the site – rather than targeting your own fans and followers, LinkedIn can often be the gateway to alert key authority figures in your field to your work, who will then pass on what you’re doing to their own dedicated following.

As such, generally speaking, it is more towards the written word that LinkedIn posts should lean. Video advertisements and ‘cool’ company snaps aren’t really what is appreciated by the users of the site. Rather, links to informative blog posts and articles that can be discussed by users in a professional manner is what is most likely to work best for your business here. LinkedIn is the perfect place in fact to promote yourself as a thought leader and authority in your field, so always ensure that you engage with any discussions over your content enthusiastically and intelligently whenever you can.

Quick tips for LinkedIn:

  • On your LinkedIn profile use a good head and shoulders shot, no photos of your wedding or kids, keep it strictly professional.
  • Get involved with discussion groups on the site for your industry to get your name out there.
  • Use your logo and company colours to construct the company page and ensure that all employees use it and discussion groups to further raise the company profile.
  • Use LinkedIn to publish your thoughts on current happenings in the industry to encourage discussion.

optimization

Twitter

Twitter is the fast-action social network where you will want to be posting perhaps as many as 10 or even 20 original tweets a day. A lot of companies use the platform as a place to post links to their other content around the web – blog posts, for example, or product pages being one of the most usual.

However, though you must certainly use Twitter to these ends, you should nonetheless not shy away from composing original tweets that in essence will become the running commentary and ‘voice’ of your company on the platform. The beauty of a tweet is in its brevity – but that can also make it quite a challenge to hit the right note every time you post something. You’ll want to use Twitter, and particularly hashtags, to post your comments and opinions on current industry events that relate to your business.

Indeed, it’s even a good idea to try and be one of the first that brings any breaking industry news to your followers, even if it is just a link and you’re not providing the content yourself. This puts you in position as an industry authority, as a company who’s interested in what is happening elsewhere in your field, and not solely interested in your own ends. Tweeters like this. They want to be able to engage with you and your tweets, so make sure that you are using the platform in a way that enables this and stirs discussion.

Quick tips for Twitter:

  • Engage with your audience personally. Whilst you can use scheduling software to put out your tweets at certain times, there’s no substitution for a personal thank you when your followers retweet you.
  • Use a URL shortener to give you more room when it comes to the character count.
  • Use images that give context to your tweet when sharing blog posts and articles.
  • Get a great header made up with your company logo and details on.

No matter which social media you’re most active on, it’s always important that you tailor your content posts to each, and consider carefully your audience in all areas. Facebook allows for a certain amount of informality, though you must be prolific in the types of content that you post in order to reach as many different types of user as possible.

LinkedIn is the serious professional of the bunch, and Twitter the witty one with the provocative one-liners. They each have their specific uses and all must be utilised, however, to ensure that you are engaging as widely and as thoroughly as you can.

Optimizing Your Content for Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter is a post from: GetResponse Blog - Email Marketing Tips

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How to Promote a New Product Using Email Marketing http://blog.getresponse.com/promote-new-product-using-email-marketing.html http://blog.getresponse.com/promote-new-product-using-email-marketing.html#comments Mon, 20 Oct 2014 15:07:48 +0000 http://blog.getresponse.com/?p=17968 You’re excited about your new product or service. But a question creeps into the back of your mind. Will it sell? If it does, you’re a genius. If not, well… Fortunately, you’ve embraced email — the most profitable form of … Read more

How to Promote a New Product Using Email Marketing is a post from: GetResponse Blog - Email Marketing Tips

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You’re excited about your new product or service. But a question creeps into the back of your mind. Will it sell? If it does, you’re a genius. If not, well… Fortunately, you’ve embraced email — the most profitable form of marketing — and that gives you a head start. Today’s post covers all the basics you need to get your product launch off to a great start.

It’s exciting to introduce a new product. Some companies (e.g. Apple) provoke tremendous interest with every bit of information about upcoming products, not only among loyal customers but everyone who is familiar with the brand.

Email marketing enables you to build an efficient campaign to inform your market and promote your product. With good planning and execution, you can target your campaign to the right subscribers and deliver your messages at the right time.

 

1. Include time for preparation

For an efficient email marketing campaign, start planning well before the official launch.

Start with email marketing activities designed to familiarize your subscribers with your upcoming product or service. Explain in detail who your offer is for, present the specific problems it solves, and show all the benefits for the user.

A well-planned campaign should:

  • Gradually disclose information about key features
  • Arouse interest among prospects
  • Build anticipation for the launch
  • Motivate subscribers to want to buy your product

 

2. Design your message exclusively for the new product

Set a precise goal before you start writing copy and designing a template. Ask yourself: what is the purpose of the message? The goal should always be linked directly to the new product or a service.

Decide whether the message should:

  • Inform subscribers about the benefits of using your product
  • Show its functionalities
  • Explain how your product or service solves a problem
  • Increase sales with a promotional offer
  • Build brand awareness and strengthen image

As you prepare an informative message, you can refer to industry news and current trends that are relevant to your product. Include appropriate fragments of articles and links to useful external sources. Educate your subscribers about how your product solves a common problem.

Remember that the product is a novelty, so make it the focus of your message. Don’t include information about older products or solutions that your subscribers are already familiar with. Message impact will increase dramatically if it focuses on a single issue and contains a single call to action.

For example, if the subject line is “Explore the surprising features of the WYZ camera”, make sure your message is dedicated to features that might be considered surprising.

 

3. Present the new product or service from every angle

Are you introducing a product that’s versatile enough for many different uses? Don’t worry — you can create an email series, with each message explaining a different use.

For presenting features and benefits, the message should be short and simple. More people will read your message, and it will be more comprehensible and memorable. Direct each message to a particular group of recipients. Present features, advantages and benefits that match their specific needs and expectations. List segmentation can help you use email marketing to the fullest. For greatest efficiency, send a dedicated message to each subscriber group.

To learn more, read the following article about proper list segmentation.

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4. Solicit external reviews

External reviews and opinions have a huge impact on marketing message credibility. Consider sending a demo version of your product or service to influencers in your industry. Ask them to test and review your product. Opinions of satisfied customers may help other subscribers make up their mind about your solution.

Contact with bloggers might be helpful. If you’re wondering how to incorporate bloggers into your marketing strategy, read the following blog post about forming relationships with bloggers.

5. Prepare a special offer for subscribers only

Email marketing is an exceptional way to stay in touch with your customers. With properly executed  email marketing activities, it’s possible to create long-lasting subscriber relationships built on trust. Double opt-in subscription ensures that only people who are truly interested in receiving your messages subscribe to your newsletter. Your email list becomes an elite club.

Show subscribers you care by sending a unique offer they can’t find anywhere else. For example, you could offer a freebie to all subscribers who buy the product via a link in your message. Or send them a unique promotional code they can use when they purchase.

To reduce the range of your promotional offer, use subscriber information to isolate a particular segment for special appreciation, such as the first ten subscribers or the five people with the highest click-through rate (people who clicked the links in your message most frequently).

 

6. Diversify your marketing

If you distribute information consistently on several platforms, you’ll generate more buzz and increase brand awareness. So remember to use several channels to promote your content. This will increase the range and overall efficiency of any campaign.

Each channel is different and has a distinctive user group. Depending on the nature of your business and the product or service you’re promoting, you can use Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram or Pinterest.

To learn more about promoting on social media, check out these posts. You’ll learn how to use Facebook ads to grow your mailing list, how to promote your business on LinkedIn and  how to get started with Instagram.

Do you have experience promoting a new product or service with email marketing? Please share your story in the comment section below.

How to Promote a New Product Using Email Marketing is a post from: GetResponse Blog - Email Marketing Tips

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