GetResponse Blog - Email Marketing Tips http://blog.getresponse.com Tue, 28 Jul 2015 14:23:29 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.2 Which Brands Are Rocking Periscope? http://blog.getresponse.com/which-brands-are-rocking-periscope.html http://blog.getresponse.com/which-brands-are-rocking-periscope.html#comments Tue, 28 Jul 2015 14:23:29 +0000 http://blog.getresponse.com/?p=20253 It’s only been 4 months since Periscope first surfaced, but in only that short period of time it has made waves across the internet. And so now we want to look at what brands did with it!I first wrote about … Read more

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It’s only been 4 months since Periscope first surfaced, but in only that short period of time it has made waves across the internet. And so now we want to look at what brands did with it!I first wrote about this new social network for this very blog back in May (see ‘How To Make The Most Out Of Periscope, Twitter’s New Video Streaming App’). At the time the platform was so new that all we could really do was speculate about how businesses and brands might use Periscope to promote themselves.

But now that we have the benefit of hindsight, we can take an overview at how marketers have been responding to this new network, how they’ve been using it, what lessons can learned and what tips we can take away.

 

What Is Periscope?

Just in case anyone’s missed it or have yet to discover it, Periscope is a live streaming video app that allows users to broadcast video to the Periscope network in real time. Any viewers of the live stream can ‘like’ or comment upon what they’re seeing. Once finished, videos remain on the network for 24 hours, and then disappear forever.

That’s it in a nutshell. You will notice, though, that what separates Periscope from other video streaming networks like YouTube or Vine, for instance, is the fact that it is live. This makes it a very unique platform for delivering content to fans and followers. Unlike with vlogs, followers can ask the broadcaster questions by leaving comments in real-time, which will appear on the broadcaster’s screen – essentially steering the direction of the content if the broadcaster chooses to answer these questions or otherwise respond to the live comments.

Broadcasters may also invite viewers to ask them to do something – for instance, musicians have been asked by fans to perform certain songs, and how-tos and tutorial videos can be interrupted by viewers wanting to know more about a certain process that is being explained to them.

There’s obviously oodles of potential with the platform, so which brands have been embracing it thus far, and how have they been using the network?

 

Adobe

In June, to celebrate the release of the creative software giant’s Creative Cloud, Adobe launched a 24-hour conversation on Periscope for users to see what’s new with the latest release, and to give fans a chance to chat with Adobe team members around the globe.

On the hour, every hour, for a whole 24 hours, 24 different members of the Adobe Creative Cloud team began a new broadcast. Here’s how they announced it on the Adobe blog:

“For 24 hours you can chat with 24 different members of our team (evangelists, product managers): We’ll discuss new features, explain the mobile-to-desktop workflow and CreativeSync technology, and give you the opportunity to meet and engage with the teams behind our applications and services—Adobe Photoshop CC, Adobe Illustrator CC, Adobe InDesign CC, Adobe Muse CC, Typekit, Adobe Stock—our mobile applications, and more.

We’ll travel around the globe. Beginning in Europe on June 17 at 11:00am CEST (5:00am ET), we’ll follow the sun to broadcast from the US, and complete our journey in Japan on June 18.”

What a great way to introduce a new product, and it’s something that anybody can do. Though SMEs might not quite have the global reach that the likes of Adobe does, it is nonetheless quite possible for your marketing team to organize a series of Periscopes that take place over a set amount of time, thereby giving your fans every opportunity to make themselves available to tune into one.

By creating a #hashtag and buzz on Twitter about it, you can start to make viewers feel included across both of these channels, as you welcome and respond to comments about each broadcast in 140 characters or less after each one goes live.

 

Spotify

The subscription-based music player app Spotify has been making great use of Periscope since its launch. Live music is best enjoyed – you guessed it – live. And Periscope is offering a unique way for bands to create one-off live performances, to which fans and viewers can respond and send requests in real-time.

Spotify recognised the potential of this very quickly, being one of the first brands to start experimenting with Periscope not long after its launch. Spotify first used Periscope to broadcast an impromptu concert with Connor O’Brien of the band Villagers, and has been using Periscope for similar promotions ever since.

Whilst it might not be new music that you are selling in your business, you will still nonetheless have something brand new that arrives occasionally, and you can use Periscope to give your excited fans a first ‘behind the scenes’ glimpse at your new wares.

Taco Bell

All sorts of brands are turning to social media these days, and you will be hard pressed to step into a restaurant which doesn’t recommend that you ‘follow us on Facebook’ on their menu.

Instagram, of course, is also a popular choice for food outlets, showcasing beautiful photographs of all the yummy food that’s getting served up. But Taco Bell has shown the world that Periscope can be used for the purposes of marketing high street outlets as well. As Restaurant News reported:

“Taco Bell revealed [on] Wednesday the offer of free Biscuit Tacos on May 5, or Cinco de Mayo. But the news of the giveaway wasn’t nearly as interesting as the way the brand announced it.

The social-media-savvy brand used Periscope, a new Twitter live-streaming mobile app, to make the announcement directly to fans. It showcased a new, albeit whistle-happy, social media channel for restaurant brands to explore in the ever-changing battle to engage younger guests.

Taco Bell’s Periscope broadcast featured Erica and Chris, two perky young presenters staged in a “Taco Bell News to Know” format straight from brand headquarters in Irvine, Calif.”

The brand literally created its very own news channel using Periscope. It’s fun, it has style, it’s a little silly, and a little bit of a parody of a real news channel – all in all, it’s something that is very entertaining to watch, and the brand uses it to announce actual brand news, and various giveaways that it might be promoting.

You don’t need to be a restaurant to do this either. Any brand selling any product or any service can do the same. And if you can do it well, and genuinely entertain lots and lots of people, then your channel could very well become the next Periscope sensation, and the awareness of your business could suddenly skyrocket.

How are your favourite brands using Periscope? Let us know in the comments below!

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How to Guest Blog for Business in 10 Steps http://blog.getresponse.com/how-to-guest-blog-for-business-in-10-steps.html http://blog.getresponse.com/how-to-guest-blog-for-business-in-10-steps.html#comments Mon, 27 Jul 2015 13:27:00 +0000 http://blog.getresponse.com/?p=20236 Have you ever thought about guest blogging for business? Or perhaps, you have been dabbling in it but not seeing any results? In today’s post, I am giving you my 10-step process for getting published on the leading blogs in your space, … Read more

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Have you ever thought about guest blogging for business? Or perhaps, you have been dabbling in it but not seeing any results? In today’s post, I am giving you my 10-step process for getting published on the leading blogs in your space, attracting readers and clients.

I have tried and tested this method myself and with hundreds of clients. I have taken the guess work out and made everything as clear as it can be.

Let’s get right into it!

 

Step #1 Decide on your goal

Why do you want to publish on other blogs? What’s the purpose behind it? Your job is to get super clear on it. There are two main reasons why you, as a business owner, would choose a blog to guest post on. One, it will build your credibility. Two, it will build your email list.

Now these two goals are not necessarily mutually exclusive and leading blogs in your particular industry can give you both of these results at the same time, but it is wise to choose one goal and treat the other outcome as the icing on the cake.

Blogs like Entrepreneur, Huffington Post, Forbes, Business Insider, and Lifehacker are great for raising your profile and give you the right to display those highly coveted ‘as-seen-on’ logos across your website.

Then you have industry specific blogs. For example, for a life coach blogs like Tiny Buddha, Pick Your Brain, The Daily Love, Mind Body Green, and Elephant Journal are great sources to potentially build your credibility and list, both. When your focus is on building your list, look for blogs that are run by a single owner, who write majority of their own content and their audience is super engaged.

 

Step #2 Make a list of target blogs

This step takes a fair amount of research. This is the step which people tend to keep procrastinating on. Business owners are busy overseeing their Facebook ads, sending promotional emails, or creating their next product which will always be more urgent and important than doing research which may or may not provide a great return on investment.

The way I get around this is that I give a list of about 30-40 blogs to my private clients so they can get started straightaway. Unfortunately, you will have to do the work so let me teach you how.

  1. I want you to make a list off the top of your head. Think about the leading blogs in your industry you follow. Add blogs that you recall from people talking about them in various Facebook groups or online forums you visit. And then also look at your own email subscriptions or RSS feed.
  2. Run some searches on Google. Look for relevant keyword based phrases such as Top 50 Personal Development Blogs, or Self-improvement Blogs that accept guest posts for example.
  3. Lastly, try going to alltop.com, a site that curates the best content as it appears on blogs. You also have an option to search for blogs using their search bar.

I recommend starting with a list of at least 50 blogs because most of the blogs won’t make suitable guest blogging targets. Let’s discuss why.

 

Step #3 Short list your targets

You will continue your research and dive even deeper here. Start by choosing one blog from your list. Your job at this stage to determine whether this blog accepts guest posts in the first place. Scrolling through their blog and see if you can locate any evidence of posts published by guest authors. You will often see it as ‘this is a post written by guest blogger …’

Another way to be sure is to spot their guest posting guidelines or write for us tabs, usually found on the navigation bar. Discard any blogs that don’t appear to publish any guest posts. Do not annoy the blogger by emailing them and asking if they do. Have a look around and find that out for yourself.

At this stage I would recommend creating a spreadsheet and start recording information such as blog’s title, URL, accept guest posts (check), guest post guidelines, popular ideas, relationship status, pitch sent, post status, etc.

to_do

Step #4 Pre-pitch process

As you are going through each blog, see if you locate their guest post guidelines and read through them. Make a note of if they want you to submit a completed post or send an idea for approval first. They might even say that guest posts are invitation only.

If you don’t see the guest blogging guidelines and they routinely publish guest blogs, check out their about or contact pages because sometimes the information can be listed there.

If they accept completed posts, move that blog up to the top. These blogs are relatively easier to write for. You don’t need to do much ‘pre-pitch’ process. Choosing the right idea is still very important and I will talk about that in a minute.

If they require you to submit an idea first, or if guest posts are invitation-only, then you need to warm them up. This is what I call the pre-pitch process. Your goal is for them to take you from ‘stranger’ category to ‘a valued reader/colleague’ one. You ideally want them to recognize your name in their inbox. So how do you do it?

Firstly, follow them on social media if you haven’t already. Then read a few blog posts written by them and leave a thoughtful comment. All bloggers read their comments even if they don’t reply to all of them. Interact with them on social media and share their stuff. Be helpful and show that you respect their work.

 

Step #5 Choose a winning idea

Now, regardless of the fact that if you are sending in a completed blog post that is ready to go, or if you are sending a blog idea, it is super important that you find out what will resonate with the blogger and their audience.

For this reason, I highly recommend that you go through 5-7 posts published on the blog. You don’t have to read them word for word but get a sense of what the blogger publishes and also what is getting popular.

Go through the reader comments. Which posts are receiving most of them? Where do you see the most social media engagement happening? These will give you clues into what their audience finds to be really useful.

Another way of doing this is to have a look at their most popular or best content listed on the sidebar. This may be latest favourites or evergreen content. After spending these 15-20 minutes you should have a pretty good idea of what will make a really great blog post submission. Your idea can make or break your pitch so don’t skimp on this step!

While you are at it, keep an open mind for ideas you can get after reading the comments. Can you do a follow up post? Can you create an in-depth post on something the blogger covered previously?

Now here is the most crucial part of idea selection process. You want to choose an idea that will appeal to their audience but also has something in common with what you talk about. If you pick something that is irrelevant to your own topic, the people who come to your website won’t be interested in your content. They won’t stick around or sign up because what you cover isn’t appealing to them. Got it?

Make a list of 2-3 ideas with potential.

 

Step #6 Draft your pitch

Do you know the most important part of the pitch? It’s the email subject line, which is actually the suggested headline of your blog post.

Once you have finalized an idea, spend some time coming up with a compelling headline for your blog post. Remember, benefit-driven or curiosity-invoking headlines work really well.

In your subject line, say something like Guest post: Your headline. If you have a really attention grabbing headline, it is bound to catch their eye. The rest of the pitch is just a matter of conveying this information in a cordial manner:

  • State your name and introduce yourself briefly.
  • Establish a point of connection. Say how much you love their blog/book or even better, a particular post they published recently.
  • Mention your idea and expand on it very briefly. 3-4 bullet points are enough.
  • Give links to some of your best work. If you have been published on other sites, name drop!
  • Ask them when you should send over the post. Reassure them that it is 100% original, unpublished and you are okay with revisions.
  • When sending a completed post, replace the idea pitch with something like ‘please find the post as attached in a word doc as well as html format’. You want to make it really easy for them.
  • Attach an image or two if they ask for it.

 

Step #7 Write your post

Do the best job you can. This is not to say that look for perfectionism but give it your best effort and know when to stop. The headline is very important so work on that. If this is not your strongest skills, ask someone to look it over, especially when approaching a popular blog.

Make your introduction engaging. Tell a story, state a startling statistic, make a shocking claim or start with a compelling quote. Ask a question that draws people in. If you lose readers here, all this hard work would have been for nothing.

Make your post scannable and easy to read. Use sub-headings, bullet points, bold, highlight and images to break up the text. Keep your paragraphs short and aim for clarity, not cleverness.

Link back to other articles published on their site. Bloggers love that. Give people a clear call to action. Ask a question or a comment. You might not be able to ask directly to sign up to your list but don’t worry, you can do that in your byline/author’s bio.

blogging

Step #8 Optimize your bio

So this is what it comes down to: all the hard work you have been doing, you want people to click on the link inside your author’s bio at the end of the post, come over to your blog and subscribe. How can you do that?

Tell them who you are and how you help them. Keep it concise. A single sentence works well. Then bring their attention to your freebie offer and say what it is. This can be something you put together especially for this audience, if that’s the case, say so. Your standard opt-in on your website works just as well.

Give them a link to click on. Direct this link to your squeeze page – a page created especially for people to opt in to your email list and receive the ethical bribe for taking this action. Don’t point the link to your home page or they might get distracted by all the other elements and forget to subscribe.

 

Step #9 Things to do after post goes live

After your post goes life, celebrate. Your hard work paid off, but don’t go slacking off. There is still work to be done.Share this post on every social media platform you are active on. If you know it will especially resonate with certain people, consider personally emailing it to them or tweeting at them. Go over to the blog, read comments and reply to them. Monitor your social media mentions and reply to them.

 

Step #10 Follow up

Whether your post gets published or not, do a follow up in either case. If your post gets published, write back and say thank you. Let them know that you have been sharing the post everywhere and ask if there is anything else you can do for them. Tell them you are looking forward to carrying the relationship forward and writing again for them.

If you don’t hear back after your pitch, follow up in about a week’s time. Don’t beg or cajole. Just let them know that you understand that they are busy and enquire if they had a chance to look over your idea/post.

Attach the post or include the original email to make it super convenient for them to check it out and respond.

 

How about you?

So there you have it. This is my 10-step guest blogging process that never fails. Why don’t you give it a try? And if you have already been pitching or even getting published and not seeing the results, can you now diagnose why that is? Leave us a comment.

Are you a marketer ready for a challenge? Got interesting ideas you’d like to share with thousands of readers around the world? Why don’t you write a guest post for GetResponse? If you think you have a topic that our audience would love to read pitch it to us via email and make sure to title the email “GetResponse blog post idea”

How to Guest Blog for Business in 10 Steps is a post from: GetResponse Blog - Email Marketing Tips

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Planning an Event: Exclusive Interview With Socialbakers http://blog.getresponse.com/planning-an-event-exclusive-interview-with-socialbakers.html http://blog.getresponse.com/planning-an-event-exclusive-interview-with-socialbakers.html#comments Fri, 24 Jul 2015 14:27:35 +0000 http://blog.getresponse.com/?p=20239 Whether you’re aiming to plan a huge event like Engage Prague or a small webinar, you need to think ahead. We really liked what Socialbakers created with Engage Prague 2015 and to inspire we decided to interview the masterminds themselves! … Read more

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Whether you’re aiming to plan a huge event like Engage Prague or a small webinar, you need to think ahead. We really liked what Socialbakers created with Engage Prague 2015 and to inspire we decided to interview the masterminds themselves!

 

What do you start with when planning an event? And how long before each event do you start planning?

With the smaller conferences, we usually start planning 3 to 6 months before each event. It all depends on the size and location. In some regions, where we have bigger teams and have done events there before, it’s easier to plan. When it comes to our biggest Engage conference, Engage Prague, right now we are already planning the one for May 2016. We usually look for speakers and the right venue at first. Once these are secured, we start with the communication.

 

When thinking of creative parts of events such as Engage Prague 2015, how do you come up with activities, fun surprises, or twitter related competitions?

It’s mostly teamwork. We usually come up with ideas during meetings, or we talk about ideas we’ve seen somewhere and how we could implement something similar into our events. Sometimes it will also come from our CEO, Jan Rezab, who’s great at thinking of really big and unconventional ideas, which we (try to) turn into reality.

 

The Engage events are growing more and more popular. What do you find most challenging when organizing such an event as Engage Prague 2015?

With Engage Prague 2015, the biggest challenge was to convince people to come from abroad. With that said, we also used the location to our advantage because it allowed people from around the world to travel and experience a new city. As the Engage brand grew stronger, we were able to secure really good names and brands as speakers, and that helped a lot. The production itself was another huge challenge as we’d never before done a 3-day event for 1000 people.

EngagePrague

Finding available (and fun) speakers like John Sculley or Lars Silberbauer Andersen is not always easy. How do you decide who to partner with, invite to speak, and convince to be apart of your event?

It’s usually our CEO, who approaches people he has met or seen speaking at events he goes to. Then we look among our clients, and since we have almost 3000 of them, we always find many with a good story to tell, even if they’re not big brands like Lego or Adidas. We are lucky enough that at this point we no longer need to do much convincing to get people to come. Our position now is much different than it was in 2012 when we held our first Engage conference.

 

We got a chance to be at the Engage Prague 2015 main event and we noticed that most people already knew each other from the workshops. How do you tackle the problem of those that weren’t able to be there for workshops and have limited time to network and get to know other marketers?

This year we organized an opening party the night before the main conference, because we knew that 99% of our attendees would already be in Prague. They had a chance to go out and mingle with each other. But this is always a slight issue, because there is often just not enough time to network during conferences. For next year, we will also facilitate more networking with the use of our event app.

 

Engage Prague was a smash hit, do you get a lot of feedback after such events? If so, does it become a part of your strategy for future events?

Yes, we received a tremendous amount of glowing feedback after Engage Prague. After every event, we go through all the feedback to learn what we can do better the next time. It’s very valuable for us to learn what people think. The event is for them after all.

 

Speaking of the future, are there any plans you can reveal for Engage Prague 2016? Also, thinking of how fast growing Engage is, where do you see it going in 2020?

We already have the dates for Engage Prague 2016: May 11-13. The plan is to make it even bigger and better. We will use the same format, so it will be two days of workshops and a one day conference. Our goal is to have 1500-2000 people in Prague. We hope to announce the first high profile speakers very soon. And there’s this joke within the company that by 2020, we will have the conference in the O2 Arena, which is the biggest venue in Prague (and probably in the Czech Republic as well).

 

Finally, is there any advice you can give our readers on how to promote an event? Maybe you have a favorite social media platform or tactic that never fails?

It all comes down to having great content that your audience really wants to hear. And when you engage people before the event, they will promote the event for you.

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We’d like to thank Klara Honzikova from Socialbakers for taking the time to answer our questions and for inspiring our readers! Check out Socialbakers and look out for Engage Prague 2016. Are you planning any big events in your business? Maybe you’re getting ready for a webinar? Let us know what your planning process is like, we’d love to also hear your thoughts about marketing events that changed your outlook on your work. Share in the comments below.

Image sources: Engage Prague 2015

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How to Write More Blog Posts, More Easily, In Less Time http://blog.getresponse.com/how-to-write-more-blog-posts-more-easily-in-less-time.html http://blog.getresponse.com/how-to-write-more-blog-posts-more-easily-in-less-time.html#comments Thu, 23 Jul 2015 13:57:39 +0000 http://blog.getresponse.com/?p=20231 Writing is hard for almost everyone. Novelists and poets especially seem to struggle for even a flash of inspiration. Fortunately, bloggers seem to have things a bit easier. Bloggers know their next blog post might come from a flash of … Read more

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Writing is hard for almost everyone. Novelists and poets especially seem to struggle for even a flash of inspiration. Fortunately, bloggers seem to have things a bit easier. Bloggers know their next blog post might come from a flash of inspiration, but most likely it will be the result of a process. A predictable, well-tested process. We work that process to get our posts done. Whether it’s hard or easy, writing is a skill. Skills can be learned. So if you struggle to write your blog posts or to write enough blog posts, take heart: You can get better. Blogging can get easier. And you’re definitely not alone. Every blogger has struggled to finish a post at least once.

 

Blog posts are a hot commodity

As a writing format, the blog post is in extremely high demand right now. There are several reasons for this. First, we’re in the heyday of content marketing, and content marketing requires – you guessed it – content. The blog post is one of the most commonly used content formats.

The other reason there’s so much demand for blog posts is, well, blogs. Blogs are hungry creatures. They need to be fed at least once a month, and usually once a week. If you’re undertaking a major content marketing project – like this blog, for instance – you may have a blog that needs fresh content every day.

 

The solopreneur’s blogging dilemma

If you’re a small shop or a solo professional, you’ve got extra pressure with your blog posts. While big companies can hire writers for their blogs, you can’t hire a stand-in writer as easily.

First of all, there’s the cost. Good bloggers – bloggers whose work is worth reading and sharing – are expensive. But that’s actually the easy part. The hard part is that because you’re a company of one, driven and defined by your own personal branding, you need blog posts that sound like you wrote them.

Usually that means you need to write the posts. Even if you could find someone who’s skilled enough to “ghost” your voice, they’d also need to be a subject expert at the level that you’re a subject expert. That will make them even more expensive. You’re usually better off boosting your blogging skills than trying to go out and hire that writer.

So how can you boost your blog skills? How can you write better posts, faster and easier than before? There are a bunch of ways to do this. Here are a few that work for me, plus a few more that other writers swear by. Try each of these out – really put them through their paces. In a few weeks you’ll have developed your blogging process far beyond what you struggle with now. You might even be churning out enough extra blog posts to guest post.

 

1) Have a list of post ideas at the ready

“I write only when inspiration strikes. Fortunately it strikes every morning at nine o’clock sharp.” That quote from W. Somerset Maugham gets a lot of play, but it deserves it. And we can leverage it to our purpose.

Sitting down at a blank screen might work for some, but most smart bloggers never get themselves into that uncomfortable position. Instead, they always know what they’re going to write about beforehand. This basically means they have

  1. A list of potential blog post topics at the ready
  2. An editorial calendar

Let’s focus on the list of post ideas for now. A list of 20-30 post ideas will save your bacon on days when “inspiration” is low. You gather this list in the brief moments when you do have inspiration. Then you squirrel away your inspiration in the form of your post ideas list.

A post ideas list can be as crude as a list of topics. It can also be more developed, with working headlines and maybe an opening sentence or two. It can include links to articles or research you want to include in the post, or it can have a crude outline of 2-5 key points. However you do it, and however detailed it is, just start building a post ideas list. This tip alone will probably cut your writing time down by 20% or more.

You’ll probably want some way to record and even organize your post ideas list. This can be as low-tech as the back of an envelope or as high-tech as an enterprise level content development system. I like something in the middle, like Trello. It’s free, endlessly flexible and terrific for organizing ideas.

Trello is based on the idea of boards. Each idea you want to track would be a card on those boards. You can also sort cards into columns. Here’s how it might look in action:

TrelloStoryIdeasBoard

 

This Trello board has a bunch of post ideas on it, sorted into five different columns for each major topic area.

A setup like this lets you capture posts ideas fast. It’s critical to have an easy and fast way to capture ideas. If your idea-capture system isn’t really easy and fast, you won’t use it as much. When you have an idea, sometimes you’ll think, “I don’t want to interrupt what I’m doing now, I’ll add that idea later.” And later never comes.

 

2) Have an editorial calendar

If you use an editorial calendar, try to keep it simple. Low-cost, effective calendars like CoSchedule are fine for most of us. If you’re working on a huge blog that has a full-fledged editor and a dozen writers, you might want a more robust system.

An editorial calendar helps you write better and faster. Why? Because if you know what you’ll be writing about a day or two days ahead of time, you’ll work faster when you do finally sit down to write. During those days before you actually write the post (while you’re driving, or cooking, or whatever) you’ll be thinking about it.

This pre-writing thinking can help a lot. It can give you a great opening sentence. It can let you remember some fabulous piece of information you want to include. It can give you time to think about what you really want to say, and what you really think about the topic.

So give yourself thinking time before writing time. You’ll end up needing less writing time.

 

3) Have a way to quickly capture research you find or ideas you have about each post

If you write blog posts that reference a lot of research, this can save you hours per post. And even if you don’t use research much, you probably like to use an example here and there. Having those resources at your fingertips saves a lot of time.

This is one requirement I have of any post ideas list technology. It has to be good at capturing content formats I’ll want to use in each post. Trello is very good at this. You can add links, an outline, a pdf, a video – whatever.  And it’s super-fast to add to the card.

Like your post ideas, your research-gathering has to work super-quick and super-easy or you won’t use it. You’ll say “I’ll add that later” because you’re in a rush, and later will never come. You’ll forget about that research until your post is due, and then – duh – you’ll waste 20 minutes finding that resource all over again.

Another way to find information you liked in the past is SnapBird. It’s a free Twitter tool that shows all your past tweets (or someone else’s past tweets). If you search by hashtag through your own tweets, you’ll find every article or piece of content you ever thought was worth sharing… that you added the hashtag to.

Having this library of research available adds enormous value to social media work and content curation work in general. Suddenly you’re not just stuffing content into a Twitter feed – you’re building an awesome database of every piece of content you ever liked, all searchable and sortable by hashtag.

 

4) Write every day

I mentioned earlier how writing is a skill. Skills get better with practice. Writing, too, gets better with practice. Writing every day will improve the speed at which you can finish blog posts. It will also make you a better writer.

Bloggers like Kevan Lee of Buffer report that it used to take him about 12 hours to write a post (an epic post, with tons of research, 2,000-3,000 words, and ample examples). After near daily practice for over a year, he dropped that time down to 3-4 hours. One of his colleagues, Belle Beth Cooper once needed 2 days or more to write a blog post. Within a few months she had pared that down to 4 hours.

 

5) Find your best time and place and conditions to write

Writing when you’re exhausted is awful. It also takes about three times longer to finish a post when you’re exhausted as it does when you’re fresh. Writing when you’re exhausted also has another peril: You’re more likely to make mistakes.

Writing in complete silence is torture for some, but required by others. Personally, I require quiet to write. But some people crave the background noise of a café so much that they actually use an app to fake it. Some people insist they have to write in the morning or it will never get done. Others write at night. Some people like to write in their offices. Others prefer a nice couch at home.

Whatever conditions you need to write at your best, get them. Let yourself have what you need to work. If it means you have to take a 30-minute nap before you can write a post, then do that. Need a coffee shop? Find one.

Stop telling yourself you have to write a certain way in a certain place at a certain time because somebody once told you that was how to write. Go write where and how you write best. Nobody else’s best practices matter. Don’t apologize about your ideal writing conditions. Just get the *&^% post done.

 

6) Find your writing process

As you start writing every day, you’ll realize each post goes through it’s paces. This is the process I mentioned in the opening. Everyone’s process is different, but once you’ve found yours, your blog writing will go far smoother.

The typical steps of my own writing process are below. I’m a Pomodoro method enthusiast, so basically I just chip away at posts one pomodoro at a time, working in short, focused bursts. I work in 35-minute long pomodoros now. I know that most posts will take me between five and eight pomodoros to write.

  • For the first 3-5 minutes, I think I’ve picked the wrong topic, I’ll never be able to write the post, I’m a failure and I should give up and die. This used to take longer than 3-5 minutes.
  • After the despair/freakout passes, I settle down and just force myself to write 500 words.
  • The next push is to 1,000 words, and then to 1,500 words.
  • By the time I’ve hit the basic word count for a post, I know I’m about half done time-wise.
  • I go back and worry over the intro paragraph, then read the entire post out loud, heavily rewriting sentences.
  • At some point I’ll just ignore the words and delve into images and examples.
  • When the post looks good and reads well, I’ll run it through the Hemingway app to simplify the writing further. I aim for a 6th-grade reading level.
  • Then I’ll put it through the free Grammarly app in the Chrome browser, just to try to find any editorial nitpicks.
  • Finally, before it’s officially done, I will read it out loud one more time.

That’s my blog-writing process. Yours will be different. The only way to find your process is to write a lot of posts.

writing

7) Use an outline

Many excellent writers swear by the outline. It’s especially helpful if you suffer from writer’s block. The power of the outline is basically to take what feels like a huge, difficult thing, and break it down into smaller, less-scary parts. To work an outline into a blog post, you start by just sitting down and writing out the main points of your post. Even if it’s just a skimpy list, it’s a start.

Then you go back and add sub-points to those main points. If those sub-points have details, you add those in as sub-sub points. Basically, with every new tier of information, you go into more detail. Each main point becomes a section of the post. Each sub-point becomes a paragraph. Each sub-sub point becomes a sentence.

Keep fleshing out the details until you’ve got the approximate length of your post. Then read your post back to yourself once or twice. Edit it until it flows well. Eventually, you’re done.

 

8) Use dictation

Many people find talking to be far easier than writing. If that’s you, consider dictating your blog posts.

If you can naturally speak in a way the opens the post, explains the problem and then provides the solution, that’s great. A lot of people can’t. Most people benefit from writing a short outline and then using that to frame their words.

To translate the spoken words to printed words, you’ve got a couple of options. You can use smartphone apps or a desktop-based software like Dragon Dictation. Or you can just record an audio file and get it transcribed at a place like Rev.com.

The average person speaks about 150 words per minute. So if you want a post of about 900 words, you’ll need to talk for about 6 minutes. Want a long-form post of 1,500 words? 10 minutes.

Of course, once you’ve done your talking and got your words made into text, you probably aren’t going to have something that’s ready to publish. It will need some editing. Maybe quite a bit of editing. You can do this yourself, or if you’re extremely short on time but not on money, you can hire someone.

 

9) Have a deadline

This one is hard, because you’ll probably need an editor, or at least someone you respect and/or fear. Some people can hold themselves to self-imposed deadlines, but some of us can’t. If you aren’t good at self-imposed deadlines, you could hire a coach or someone else to be your stand-in editor. Or you could use your laptop.

Unplugging your laptop and going to some secluded place to write can function as a deadline. You have until the laptop battery dies to finish your post. I used this technique on a plane once. It definitely worked.

 

Conclusion

Those are nine ways thousands of bloggers have managed to go from struggling to finish a post to publishing dozens of posts a month. Your own formula for better, faster, easier blog post writing may pull from several of these options. Everyone’s working process is different.

Even when you do find it, your blogging process may change over time. But once you’ve got a process, you’ll be fine. You’ll have something that can be improved, instead of just staring at that dreaded white screen. How do you handle your blogging? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

 

How to Write More Blog Posts, More Easily, In Less Time is a post from: GetResponse Blog - Email Marketing Tips

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Increase Email Opens by 23% with Intelligent Send Time Optimization http://blog.getresponse.com/increase-email-opens-by-23-with-intelligent-send-time-optimization.html http://blog.getresponse.com/increase-email-opens-by-23-with-intelligent-send-time-optimization.html#comments Wed, 22 Jul 2015 14:53:41 +0000 http://blog.getresponse.com/?p=20207 Email marketers keep asking themselves this question: what’s the best time to send an email? There are some helpful general answers. In fact, we did research and published an infographic about it. But here’s the best answer. It depends: on your subscribers, your niche, and … Read more

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Email marketers keep asking themselves this question: what’s the best time to send an email? There are some helpful general answers. In fact, we did research and published an infographic about it. But here’s the best answer. It depends: on your subscribers, your niche, and other factors. If you think this is bad news, think again. It’s great news — and the news just got better.

 

The perfect time to send email

Newsletter timing is an individual thing for each subscriber. People check their email at different times, on various devices, and while doing different things. Some of them check their inbox on their phone before they get out of bed (I used to be one of them — that is, when I had no kids.) Some check on their computer after they get to the office. Some most often engage with their emails in the evening, when their kids go to sleep. Et cetera, et cetera.

One thing is certain. We all have habits and daily routines — and we usually stick to them. But we’re also very different from each other. So it’s a challenge to take all these differences into account when sending emails to a large group of people and cater to the various habits of your subscribers. But not surprisingly, if you could do that, your results could dramatically improve.

And now you can. The key is:

 

Send time optimization

In recent months at GetResponse, we’ve done another research project to find out how the right timing can change reader engagement in email campaigns.

What we found out is what we expected. If you can track the times when your individual subscribers interact with your emails and then optimize the time you send newsletters, you can get better engagement and ultimately improve your results.

We’ve seen this happen with emails sent by our customers who were testing our latest feature — Perfect Timing. (More about it in a second.)

Here’s what we found. Our beta testers were able to optimize the send time of each individual email, so each subscriber would receive it in the exact time window when they were most likely to interact with email. We’ve seen email median unique open rates improve by 23% and click rates by 20%.*

 

Perfect timing

* The average increase in median unique click and open rates, for emails sent with the Perfect Timing feature. GetResponse comparative study, July 2015

 

How does it work?

In essence, Perfect Timing is intelligent send-time optimization at the subscriber level. It uses billions of pieces of data to build a profile of every subscriber in our system — a profile that includes the time window when they open and click most often.

In other words, we know what time of day each of your subscribers has interacted with your emails in the past. Using this past-performance data, we can predict when they will open and click your links in the future — and send your email to each subscriber at exactly that time.

The GetResponse system will wait from 0 to 23 hours before delivering your email to each individual subscriber to make sure the delivery occurs exactly during that “perfect timing” slot for every person on your list.

 

Some examples

Example #1:

Sue interacts with her email mostly in the evening. GetResponse has calculated Sue’s Perfect Time window to be between 7 PM and 8 PM. The system predicts that’s when she’s most likely to open emails and click links.

With Perfect Timing off, you might send her an email at 9 AM, and Sue’s mailbox would be buried in 10 hours of emails by the time she checks it at 7 PM. Or you could send her an email at 11 PM when she’s already in zzz mode.

With Perfect Timing turned on, GetResponse will deliver email to Sue between 7 PM and 8 PM, dramatically increasing the chances that she will open your email, read it, and click through.

 

Example #2:

Let’s say you have three subscribers:

  • John, with Perfect Timing 9-10 AM
  • Mike, with Perfect Timing 2-3 PM
  • Sue, with Perfect Timing 7-8 PM

 

So you send a newsletter at 9 AM with Perfect Timing turned on.

  • John is emailed immediately because 9 AM is his “perfect timing” slot.
  • Mike’s email is delayed 5 hours to hit his “sweet spot” at 2 PM.
  • Sue’s email is delayed 10 hours, so she receives it between 7 and 8 PM.

 

Finding your perfect timing

Send time optimization is the next step in personalizing your email communication. What’s great about it is that it takes no effort. It’s based on intelligent technology that learns from your subscribers’ activity over time. You simply switch it on.

And the results are promising.

The results I’ve cited in this post come from a group of GetResponse customers (around 5,000) who had early access to the Perfect Timing feature. Now we’re rolling it out to everyone. We’ll continue to track the results and publish a more robust report as we accumulate more data. And in the meantime, we encourage you to try it for yourself and see how it works for your subscribers.

Feel free to share your findings here!

Increase Email Opens by 23% with Intelligent Send Time Optimization is a post from: GetResponse Blog - Email Marketing Tips

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Don’t Make These Top 3 Twitter Mistakes! http://blog.getresponse.com/dont-make-these-top-3-twitter-mistakes.html http://blog.getresponse.com/dont-make-these-top-3-twitter-mistakes.html#comments Tue, 21 Jul 2015 14:37:21 +0000 http://blog.getresponse.com/?p=20202 Twitter is an amazing platform for the social media marketer for many, many reasons. Firstly, its brevity. Those 140 characters make tweets the perfect size for scrolling and browsing in today’s busy business world. Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn to a … Read more

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Twitter is an amazing platform for the social media marketer for many, many reasons. Firstly, its brevity. Those 140 characters make tweets the perfect size for scrolling and browsing in today’s busy business world. Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn to a certain extent can of course also be useful for staying up to date on what’s happening and what’s trending in the world of social media, but when you’re pressed for time on your coffee break, you can’t beat Twitter.

Secondly, the communities that you build can be of outstanding resource. As a content marketer, I make it my business to follow all the other content marketing obsessives that are out there, paying particular attention to the key influencers in the niche (see ‘The 3 Giants of Social Media And Their Most Important Teachings’), and building connections wherever I go.

Which brings me onto the third great thing about Twitter – networking. The more you have to say on Twitter, the more people have to say in response to it. Every now and again a really interesting conversation can begin, and before you know it you start building a relationship with a fellow professional whom you have never met, but one that can often last for years.

Fourthly, there are some outstanding articles that are put up as link posts on Twitter in a practically constant stream (and I should know, I make a significant contribution to that stream myself). If you’re following the right people, then you can set the little blue bird in flight at any point during the day and your news feed will instantly be filled with some of the best web writing that the internet has to offer. Blogs, videos, how-to demonstrations, tips, tutorials, breaking news – it’s all there for me every day when I sign in to my account.

 

Getting The Most Out Of Twitter

I’ve been in the content marketing game for a while now, so I’ve become pretty au fait with how the platform works (I write about it a lot, too, as the wilier amongst you will have noticed). I use Twitter both as a resource for networking and information, and also from a professional standpoint, where I market my own business, as well as the blogs that I write for other people’s businesses.

I don’t mind telling you that in order to become the quick-tweeting pro that I am now, I’ve made a lot of errors along the way. That is to say that I haven’t always been as praiseful of the platform as I am now – I used to find it tedious, quite frankly. But that was just because I wasn’t using it properly.

I’m happy to say, though, that now I have overcome any annoyance that I might have once felt with Twitter, and I have also managed to get to grips with the functions, features and etiquette of the network as well in order to get the very best out of it.

In fact, my attitude has undergone a complete turnaround, and Twitter is now actually my favourite social media platform of the lot of them – and I have a working strategy in place that sees Twitter bring more new clients to my door than all of my other channels combined.

I want you to have a sterling Twitter strategy that works for you like this as well, but unfortunately there are no hard and fast rules that can be set up to work right across the board for any given business. However, there are some very common mistakes that people make (I know – I’ve made most of them myself at one point or another), and I list to you here the top 3 to avoid at all costs if you want to get the most out of your Twitter marketing campaign.

Twitter_mistakes

Mistake #1 – Automating Direct Messages

Automation is a great thing for scheduling tweets on Twitter – and absolutely nothing else. The ability to be able to line up a month’s worth of tweets (or even 6 months) in just a few minutes and schedule them to be posted intermittently over that period can be a real lifesaver for the social media marketer. Every time you publish a new blog, you just head over to Hootsuite, Buffer, or whatever your favourite scheduling tool happens to be, and set it to tweet 3 times a week for the next 4 weeks – job done.

However, some people – in fact a lot of people – have started automating their direct messages. What they do is set up a direct message to be sent out to their new followers. Usually they say something like: “Thanks for the follow, be sure to check out my website/Facebook/Google+/Instagram page too!”

Needless to say there is nothing remotely personal about this sort of message. In fact, the whole “social” side of social networking has vanished completely with these. I expect you’re like me – if you can see that someone has gone to the trouble of writing out a personalised direct message thanking me for the follow, I engage with it. Otherwise I just ignore them completely – and I certainly never, ever, ever check out their website, Facebook or anything else.

Don’t do this. Instead write out a personal reply for every follow that you get – don’t try and automate everything, for it is essentially no better than spamming.

 

Mistake #2 – Buying Followers

We’ve all seen those tweets – “10,000 followers instantly for just $5!! Buy now!!” Let’s get one thing straight – 10,000, 20,000, or 1 million followers doesn’t impress anyone, and if all the followers that you have are paid for and fake, then there’s no one out there to impress anyway.

The purpose of Twitter is not to show off to the world how popular you are (or pretend you are), but to build up an enthralled and engaged community of genuine leads who you hope to convert into paying customers.

Fake followers don’t have any money to spend, nor any means of typing out tweets to engage with your account. Your real followers will notice very quickly what you’ve done, and when they do, you will forgive them for unfollowing you en masse without hesitation – for obviously all you’re interested in is the number after your name, and not building genuine relationships on Twitter.

 

Mistake #3 – Being An Egg

There are so many small individual businesses out there who are still using the default ‘egg’ symbol in lieu of uploading a real photograph of themselves or image of their brand’s logo. Twitter is a social network, which means you have to give your profile some personality – and the default ‘egg’ doesn’t do this.

You need to show that you are engaged with the platform – and eggs, frankly, just give the impression that you are lackadaisical at best about “this whole Twitter nonsense”, let alone a bit of a technology dinosaur. Put simply, it gives a very bad first impression of your brand, and I for one never follow or engage with an ‘egg’, and you shouldn’t either – so don’t be one.

What has your Twitter experience been like? Do you use it in your social media marketing strategy? Share with us in the comments below!

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Nothing Lasts Forever (Including Email Permission) http://blog.getresponse.com/nothing-lasts-forever-including-email-permission.html http://blog.getresponse.com/nothing-lasts-forever-including-email-permission.html#comments Mon, 20 Jul 2015 13:03:50 +0000 http://blog.getresponse.com/?p=20191 So you think your list is permission-based because all recipients have given their consent to receive mailings from you. Permission has been given. Now you can e-mail them whenever you wish. Is it really as simple as that? Not really. … Read more

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So you think your list is permission-based because all recipients have given their consent to receive mailings from you. Permission has been given. Now you can e-mail them whenever you wish. Is it really as simple as that? Not really. Let’s face the truth, permission should never be taken for granted as the list can go stale faster than you think.

 

Permission is key

What makes your list legit is direct and explicit permission from a subscriber to be emailed by you. This allows you to email your list regarding a certain topic, product, or group of products that the subscriber expressed their interest in.

Permission is a very specific term and it is highly time sensitive, however, it seems that not many email marketers realize that or rather they prefer to forget about it. Nevertheless, you should remember that your subscribers are interested in your offer at a specific moment in time and their will should be honored and not overly extended.

 

Permission is not eternal

Many email marketers would probably maintain that permission given at any point in the past counts as permission to send. That’s true, CAN-SPAM would not categorize this as unsolicited emailing. Still, you should remember that the ones who decide about the spam rate of your messages are the recipients. If they cannot remember you, your company, or signing up to your mailing list, they will most likely mark your email as spam without even opening it.

Generating complaints is one factor but you should also remember that a stale list most probably contains numerous invalid addresses, emailing which can put your relationship with your email marketing vendor in trouble. Why is that? Because it might produce a large number of spam complaints, bounces, unsubscribes, therefore putting their deliverability at risk.

Let me walk you through this with an example scenario that I borrowed from my own experience. When I was pregnant, I subscribed to a few pregnancy goods related mailing lists. I did not keep track of all the sites that I had given my address to. Much to my surprise, I started receiving pregnancy mailings from one of the companies… When my daughter was already 6 months old and even thinking of another pregnancy was making me shiver.

Needless to say, I immediately unsubscribed, but if I was more forgetful or if I had a bad day, I would probably hit the spam complaint button. I certainly did ask for that type of mailings, but with time passing and me not being pregnant anymore, the sender’s  permission ‘expired’ a few months after it was given and no contact was made. Moreover, I had no way of unsubscribing in the meantime because no mailings were sent.

Of course, this example is quite extreme and one can argue that their mailing is justified for various reasons but you should always put yourself in your subscribers’ shoes and try to imagine their reaction to your mailing that is received after a long period of silence.

 

So, what is the expiration date?

Generally speaking, you should be really careful if you send to a list that has not been contacted at all, was built more than 3 months beforehand, or if you didn’t happen to send them an email for the last 6 months, you should not send it at all. The latter is a case when the permission has become stale.

You can allow yourself to be less strict time wise if we are talking about an existing list of subscribers that you have already contacted a few times but didn’t have a chance to send them an email in the last few months. In this case, you should think twice before you take the liberty of deciding that they are still awaiting your email after more than 6 months.

If you are not exactly sure if your list is still usable because of the time that has passed, or you can’t even recall how long it’s been since they were added to your list, or when was the last time you contacted them, I’d say you should consider letting them go. The loss that you may suffer as a result of a mailing gone bad can be greater than any benefits you might be anticipating.

Reconfirmation to keep your golden ratio

If you are not ready to let go and if you’re looking for other options that are in your favor, I would probably say that reconfirmation of such a list is the best method to remedy the situation. You will need to create a newsletter that gives your current subscribers a chance to decide if they want to remain on your list. Believe me, the most engaged ones will stay with you, increasing your email ROI and decreasing the complaints ratio (remember that it is the quality that counts, not the quantity!)

Such a message should include comprehensible information explaining the need for reconfirmation and a reminder of who you are. You will need to include a customized link for those who want to reconfirm their subscription and stay on your list. To make an impact you can, for example, offer a free incentive or a gift to those who will decide to remain on your list. You should make sure it is very clear that clicking this button or link is equal to reconfirming the subscription and remaining on your list while not taking any action will remove them from your list of subscribers.

Here’s a very basic example of such a message that will give you an idea of what a reconfirmation message looks like:

—————

Subject: [[firstname]] Please stay on my list – reconfirmation needed!

Hello [[firstname]],

You are receiving this message because you have visited my site example.com  and requested to be added to our mailing list on [[optin_date]].

We would like to make sure you still enjoy hearing from us.  To stay on our list simply click the link below:

http://example.com/thanks.html

We promise that you will not regret your decision!

If for some reason you do not wish to continue as our subscriber, please ignore this message and we will stop receiving e-mails from us.

————

You should of course edit the message to reflect an actual stay in touch request, however the reconfirmation link is a must.

Then, you can create a segment containing only those subscribers who clicked on the link and remove the ones who chose not to click. Voilà! Here’s your reconfirmed list of the most engaged subscribers!

All in all, the relationship with your subscribers is a lot like marriage. In order to be happy and successful it requires work, effort, and commitment from both sides. Don’t let go of the connection that you have with your list, keep them interested, do not let them forget who you are and keep a regular frequency of mailings as long as they are still looking forward to hearing from you!

We would also like to hear about your experiences with a list that permission has expired. Do you recommend any particular methods as the most efficient to revive such a list? Let us know in the comments below!

.

 

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How To Convert Subscribers With Sign-up Forms [Infographic] http://blog.getresponse.com/how-to-convert-subscribers-with-sign-up-forms-infographic.html http://blog.getresponse.com/how-to-convert-subscribers-with-sign-up-forms-infographic.html#comments Fri, 17 Jul 2015 13:17:58 +0000 http://blog.getresponse.com/?p=20177 Highly engaged subscribers are the core of all successful email marketing campaigns. Although building an email list may not always be an easy task, there are just so many methods and techniques, that every marketer should find something that fits … Read more

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Highly engaged subscribers are the core of all successful email marketing campaigns. Although building an email list may not always be an easy task, there are just so many methods and techniques, that every marketer should find something that fits his or her strategy and objectives.

To make your job easier – seeking out the holy grail of list building methods – we’ve teamed up with Email Monks and prepared an infographic that takes you through “the good, the bad and the ugly” email opt-in tactics.

 

Why is the time now for brands to better their opt-in workflow?

It may seem that nowadays e-marketers have it easy. They have the access to oh-so-many tools that make it simple to run a blog, establish social media presence, monitor and automate the communication, or even track online behavior. On top of that, according to data from Statista it seems that global website traffic has increased over 3x in the last 10 years. Wouldn’t that mean that with less effort marketers can achieve better results than before? Well, not quite.

It’s not the only trend we could observe in the last ten years. As we can learn from this data, the total number of websites has increased by more than 14x. In other words, although marketers have a much bigger arsenal of tools at hand these days, the overall level of competition has increased.

If you think about it for a second, it’s absolutely true. There are numbers of websites and marketers doing similar things. The same goes for products and services. Add to that price-comparison websites and other services that allow users to review everything they’ve ever purchased and you’ll come to an understanding that every single website visitor, prospect, and client are more valuable than ever.

 

What can be done?

So what can marketers do in such market conditions? The answer is simple: continue to generate website traffic and convert their visitors even more effectively and efficiently. What this means is that even more focus needs to be put on turning prospects into buyers, keeping them engaged and loyal for a longer period of time.

Marketers need to capture attention, spark interest, and convince audience to take action i.e. sign up to their newsletters. Once they’ve done that, they need to target them with meaningful and timely communication, using autoresponders, newsletters, ads, and all the necessary means.

How can they do that? By optimizing their opt-in flow and the whole onboarding process.

Now, we do know it’s easier said than done. That’s exactly why we’ve teamed up with Email Monks to help you out in this process. From the infographic below you’ll find out:

  • What are the most popular sign-up form formats
  • How do they work and what are their pros and cons
  • What are the best tactics to utilize when designing opt-in forms
  • Which practices to avoid if you don’t want to scare your audience away

See for yourself, which types of forms will work for you and how to design them effectively. Try out different approaches, observe your audiences’ reactions and optimize the opt-in process. You’ll soon notice that the resulting ROI is worth your time and additional effort.

 

But that’s not all!

Craving some more inspiration? We’ve added a special cheat sheet with creative ideas for mitigating the opt-in challenges. Download it here and learn some more tips on creating copy that will resonate with your audience.

So what other opt-in methods have you used this far? What makes your audience “click”? Share your thoughts in the comments section.

 

Email Opt-in Infographic: Convert subscribers like a pro

How To Convert Subscribers With Sign-up Forms [Infographic] is a post from: GetResponse Blog - Email Marketing Tips

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Does Your Website Make Any of These 10 Common Mistakes? http://blog.getresponse.com/does-your-website-make-any-of-these-10-common-mistakes.html http://blog.getresponse.com/does-your-website-make-any-of-these-10-common-mistakes.html#comments Thu, 16 Jul 2015 13:17:22 +0000 http://blog.getresponse.com/?p=20167 Your website should be home base for everything you do online. Social media is great, guest posts are great, and hey, your email list is really great. But it all comes back to your website. That’s where the magic happens … Read more

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Your website should be home base for everything you do online. Social media is great, guest posts are great, and hey, your email list is really great. But it all comes back to your website. That’s where the magic happens – the conversions.Unfortunately, there are some common mistakes that are costing millions of conversions on websites around the world. If you’re making any of the mistakes listed below, take heart. They’re all fixable mistakes. We’ve even given you the starting points on how to fix them.

 

1) Your website is slow

This can really hurt you. Even a fabulous site with world-class content can see terrible bounce rates and even worse conversion rates if it is slow. And by “slow”, I mean the pages take more than 3 seconds to load.

Conversion-Rate-by-Page-Load-Time

 

A few years ago Tagman discovered that each 1-second delay in page load times causes a 7% loss in conversions.

Not sure how long the pages on your site take to load? Check Pingdom’s Website Speed Test tool. Or even better, use Google’s analytics reports to see the speed stats on all the pages of your site at once. There’s a fairly advanced tutorial on how to do that here. Google’s own page on how to interpret the Site Speed reports is here. If Analytics terrifies you, these reports may be difficult to understand. But if you can work with it well enough to set up a goal, you’ll probably be able to make sense of these super-valuable reports.

Once you know how good or bad your site speed is, then head over to Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool to see what you need to do to speed your site up.

 

2) Your website isn’t mobile-friendly

Have you spent any time on your site via a smartphone recently? If not, go get a nice cup of coffee. While you leisurely drink it, try to use your website via your mobile phone for about 15-20 minutes. Try to read a post, navigate around, sign up for your email list, place an order, download a report, follow yourself on social media. You know, all the basic things people do on websites. Just do them on your phone.

Just keep a pen and paper nearby. You may find yourself wanting to take A LOT of notes. It’s usually a pretty big surprise what works or doesn’t work. And that’s even if you did make the smart choice and invested in a responsive design.

As you probably know, more than half the traffic on the web now is via mobile devices. Google itself laid down the law earlier this year with it’s “mobilegeddon” update.

 

3) Your pages aren’t optimized for search engines

You don’t need a Ph.D. in search engine optimization to get your pages to rank. You might want something like the plugin WordPress SEO by Yoast, though. Even if you’re on a Wix  or Magento site, there are a bunch of things you can do to make your site more easily found and read by the search engines. SEO absolute basics would include:

  • Optimize the title and meta description tags of all your pages
  • Don’t overuse keywords, but be conscious of them. Sprinkle your keywords throughout the text of your page, varying the keywords. Write for people first, search engines second. Keywords in filenames, directories and ALT tags are helpful.
  • Add noindex tags to pages you don’t want search engines to see
  • Installing both Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools. Then reading and understanding the reports.

 

4) You have no calls to action

In many ways, all of our marketing comes down to the call to action. All the content creation, the content promotion, the strategy, the planning and the advertising. But  according to a SCORE small business study done earlier this year, 70% of small business websites have no call to action. They never ask their visitors to do anything.

SCORECallToAction

This is the easiest fix in the world. Just make the ask! Your best choice for a call to action will depend on your business, but here are some actions to choose from:

  • To call you
  • To sign up for your newsletter
  • To place an order
  • To schedule an appointment
  • To visit your retail location
  • To download a report

 

5) Your site is text heavy

When I say “text heavy” I mean you’ve long, black and white columns of text with maybe one image per page. Text will never go away, but there’s no denying the thrall of the visual web. People just love pictures. To our reptilian brains, text will always seem hard to read. And so, almost subconsciously, we’ll always prefer images to words.

Often we’ll prefer moving images to still ones, too. That might be an animated gif in a blog post or an email, or an embedded video on a landing page.

If your website has less than two or three images per page, then it’s time to add some photos. Add some hearty serving of images on your site. You need a sprinkling of videos, too. Don’t forget about SlideShares either – they add a lot of interactivity, which can reduce bounce rates. Even an interactive image or two might help. Of course, there are also polls, and quizzes and tools. These have also been shown to not only keep visitors on a page, but increase their chances of coming back later, too.

InteractiveContentAnimatedGif_SMall

This interactive image from the website The Science of Us makes you click around to find out how people seated in different parts of a restaurant tend to order.

Sound like lots of work? Not really. It’s a snap to embed a YouTube video, Facebook post, or a SlideShare. Infographics are just images. And WordPress users have a ton of options with survey and quiz plugins.

So go get creative: Think outside the text box.

 

6) Your design looks stale and clunky

Fusty web design can cost you business. This doesn’t mean that you have to spend lots of money, or that your site has to win design awards. But if you know your site needs an update, invest. Especially (hint, hint) if your site isn’t mobile-friendly.

 

7) Your site is hard or impossible for you to edit easily

This is not one of the problems that typically gets mentioned when we talk about faulty websites, but I see this trip up small business owners all the time. Too many of them seem to get “stuck” with their websites. They are unable to change them or even make simple updates without it being A BIG DEAL.

Your website is yours. It should be under your control. If it’s scary for you to make a simple text edit to it, or if it takes hundreds of dollars to make even a simple teeny change, then there’s a problem. Perhaps it might be better for you to have a simpler website, but one that you could manage easier?

 

8) Your about page is lame, or you don’t clearly explain what you do

About pages are usually the most neglected page on a website. This stings, because they’re often the second most visited page on a site. Surprised? Maybe we shouldn’t be: The whole reason people go to websites is often just to learn more about a company or person.

When we don’t offer this information, it actually annoys people. The 2015 B2B Web Usability Report from Huff/KoMarketing actually discovered that the #1 reason B2B visitors leave a site is due to “lack of message”. What those survey respondents meant by “lack of message” is that they couldn’t tell what a company does. Ouch. That’s some pretty basic information.

AnnoyingWebsiteElements

 

9) You don’t know basic stats about your site

And you’re not tracking them, either. And so you’re breaking the law. Okay, Pearson’s Law: “That which is measured improves. That which is measured and reported improves exponentially.” So start measuring. And get clear about which metrics really matter to your business. I might vote for:

  • Unique visitor value
  • Conversion rate
  • Email opt-in rate
  • Unique visitors
  • Bounce rate

 

10) You haven’t updated your site in more than a week

This is probably the most fixable fault of the bunch. All it takes is a little free time. You’ve got plenty of that, right? :)

Seriously, though, we all need to keep our sites reasonably current. Maybe for you that’s a once-a-quarter blog post. Maybe it’s a daily blog post. Everybody’s business is different.

But do yourself a favor. If you’ve only got one thing updated on your site, make it the copyright date. It blows me away how many huge companies – smart companies, with sophisticated websites – forget to update the copyright in the footer of their webpages. And we notice. I notice. Google page evaluators notice.

So fix it.

 

Back to you

Those are the mistakes I see the most often. How about you? Got any pet peeve website mistakes you’d like us all to stop making? Tell us about them in the comments.

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How Email List Hygiene Leads to a 308% Increase in CTR http://blog.getresponse.com/how-email-list-hygiene-leads-to-a-308-increase-in-ctr.html http://blog.getresponse.com/how-email-list-hygiene-leads-to-a-308-increase-in-ctr.html#comments Wed, 15 Jul 2015 14:27:11 +0000 http://blog.getresponse.com/?p=20154 Thanks to email list hygiene, that’s exactly what Vemma Europe’s results were. Not only that, their open rates increased by 120% as well! Which precisely why you should be managing your email list hygiene.It’s simple. Clients come and go. Some of … Read more

How Email List Hygiene Leads to a 308% Increase in CTR is a post from: GetResponse Blog - Email Marketing Tips

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Thanks to email list hygiene, that’s exactly what Vemma Europe’s results were. Not only that, their open rates increased by 120% as well! Which precisely why you should be managing your email list hygiene.It’s simple. Clients come and go. Some of them stay loyal while others become less interested in your offer and eventually become inactive. Continuing to endlessly contact them and trying to sell was never going to work out. Some marketers, however, need more convincing. Luckily, it’s easier to lead by an example. Here’s your chance to learn how an international company named Vemma Europe managed to increase their open and click-thru rates simply by managing their email list properly.

 

Challenge

Vemma Europe is known for trying out new approaches and taking ‘risks’ other marketers wouldn’t even consider. As you may recall, we’ve actually done a case study with them and worked together on an interesting email marketing campaigns that used personalization and generated an astonishing 73% Unique Open Rate.

This time however, they have stumbled upon a different challenge, which Konrad Pozorski, an Email Marketing Specialist from Vemma Europe cared to share with us:

The Senior Management decided to close some client accounts due to their lack of activity in the past 6 months. This meant that we, the Marketing Team, had to take additional steps to update the target groups and adjust our communication. 

Normally the CRM system would automatically send requests to the GetResponse API to update the subscribers data. This time however, the number of queries turned out to be too overwhelming (more than 140k!) and even though the clients’ email addresses have been cleared in the system, this wasn’t automatically reflected in our email marketing list.

As a Marketing Team we stood in front of a new challenge: manually clearing recipients to make sure that the communication we’re sending stays relevant so that we can focus on clients that are truly interested in what we have to offer. 

 

Solution

Using the GetResponse export feature Vemma Europes’s Marketing Team was able to export their entire client list into an excel sheet, which they could manually analyze and compare with the data stored in their system.

Fortunately, we always store our Clients’ ID in one of the GetResponse custom fields. This way we could pair those results with data from our system, and so we were able to update the status for all contacts.

In that moment, another challenge appeared. Having carefully analyzed the clients’ details, the team have found that “some” (about 5.000) of them have changed their email addresses so there was a slight mismatch between the data in both systems.

Since in GetResponse email addresses across the different campaigns have unique IDs they’ve decided to take the following 3 steps:

  1. Match Clients with updated emails by ID in order to transfer all custom fields using an excel formula (again, this was possible only because we hold our clients’ ID in GetResponse custom fields)
  2. Import new emails with all custom fields copied from “old” records to our subscribers list
  3. Delete the “old” records in GetResponse

Which they’ve summed up with:

Thank you, Excel, you’re an email marketer’s little helper

So after all, the Vemma Europe Marketing Team managed to update all the necessary data. The process involved comparing and updating recipients lists, their statuses, and email addresses for various Client IDs

vemma

Results

Having run and carefully monitored email marketing campaigns for a couple of weeks, the Vemma Europe Marketing Team generated a report that managed to clear any existing doubts about whether the decision was right. After all, nobody wants to say goodbye to his or her email list, right? Wrong. And their amazing results are here to back this theory up.

We’ve analyzed the results for all of our international markets. In some, like Italy, we managed to increase the Open Rate for our marketing communication up to an astonishing 71% and the Click-Through Rate to a remarkable 13.25%!

You should note that an average results for vitamin and supplement industry are 17.12% and 2.11% for open rates and CTR respectively. This puts the Vemma Europe results into an entirely different perspective.

The overall results throughout the European markets were great as well.
The average Open and Click-Through Rate of the newsletter that we’ve sent was 47% and 6% respectively. That’s one of the greatest results we have ever noticed.

That means we increased our Open Rate by 124%, and CTR by 308%. These are the kind of stats every on-line marketer loves :). 

It is worth mentioning, that the message that generated such results for Vemma Europe was their cyclic newsletter, which they send to their subscribers on a regular basis. Konrad Pozorski, Email Marketing Specialist for Vemma Europe sums up the experience in the following words:

This proves that tailored, great designed, and excellent written messages, sent to those willing to receive and engage with content, is what generates great effects.

 

Summing it up

This experience from Vemma Europe has taught us a few interesting things. One of them being that you should always, by all means, keep your recipients list clean, active, and engaged.

And you don’t need some advanced criteria to do that. In our case we only took the order activity under consideration and it was enough to raise our statistics to a cosmic level.

And how many subscribers we were left with – You may ask? Well, about 30%.

30%! Are you saying that I should get rid of 70% of my subscribers? Yes, If they do not want to interact with you! Yes, if they do not want to buy from you! And No! Because instead of getting rid of them, you just need to put them on a separate list. Based on your business, you can still contact them later with a separate re-activating communication. 

For example:

  • You may tell them how much you missed them
  • You may tell them that unfortunately you need to say goodbye to them, because of their inactivity. Unless…
  • You may offer them some extra incentives in exchange for…
  • You may prepare a special offer/discount to bring them back

So what do you think about this email marketing campaign? Was it risky? Yes. Was it challenging? Yes. Was it worth it? We’re pretty confident the Vemma Europe Team would say “Yes” again.

Have you got any similar experiences yourself? Thinking of reactivating your subscribers? Share your thoughts in the comments with the rest of the readers. 

How Email List Hygiene Leads to a 308% Increase in CTR is a post from: GetResponse Blog - Email Marketing Tips

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It’s All In The Mix: How To Create The Perfectly Blended Social Media Campaign http://blog.getresponse.com/its-all-in-the-mix-how-to-create-the-perfectly-blended-social-media-campaign.html http://blog.getresponse.com/its-all-in-the-mix-how-to-create-the-perfectly-blended-social-media-campaign.html#comments Tue, 14 Jul 2015 13:07:12 +0000 http://blog.getresponse.com/?p=20145 As with so many things in life, social media marketing is all about getting the balance just right. Too much of one thing and not enough of another can leave your campaigns seeming amateurish, annoying, or otherwise just tasteless or … Read more

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As with so many things in life, social media marketing is all about getting the balance just right. Too much of one thing and not enough of another can leave your campaigns seeming amateurish, annoying, or otherwise just tasteless or plain bad. Think about them in terms of cooking up a tasty broth for your loved ones – all of your ingredients need to be balanced perfectly to avoid disaster and please those hungry tummies.

Too much salt and the dish becomes unpalatable. Not enough liquid, and your broth will boil dry and burn on the pan. If you don’t use a good stock as the base, then there will simply be no meat to your offering (regardless of whether it’s a vegetarian option or not). Under season and the soup will be bland. Over season and it will be ghastly.

Balance. Success when cooking rests on balance – and so too does it when cooking up your next social campaign.

 

Marketing Campaigns: How Do You Like Yours Cooked?

The cooking analogy is nothing new, it seems. The Digital Marketing Agency Manchester recently produced the following infographic, where marketing strategies are compared with the degrees of ‘doneness’ in meat.

Many a time have us carnivores been asked: “And how do you like your steak cooked, sir/madam?”  We all have our preferences, of course, though most of us would agree that a ‘well done’ steak, well – it isn’t very well done at all, is it? No, it’s not – and the same holds true for social media marketing campaigns that are also ‘overcooked’.

marketingcampaign

 

Although not everybody enjoys their steak cooked to a medium doneness (I actually happen to prefer mine so pink that it’s practically mooing on the plate), the infographic nonetheless hits the nail perfectly on the head with regards to social campaigns.

If you’re hosting a banquet, then the best way to ensure that you are pleasing the most people as possible is to cook your meat medium. As carnivorous as I am, I don’t mind a steak that has been taken a little further along the cooking process than what would be described as ‘blue’ or ‘rare’. And those that normally insist on having theirs burnt to a crisp are in fact often pleasantly surprised by a juicy mouthful of meat, rather than th bone-dry one that they’re used to.

But, if you are loyal only to the extremes, then you please a few, but isolate many.

If you’re only rarely posting to your social media channels, then your followers who don’t like too many notifications from sites to which they are registered will be kept appeased (but, let’s face it, these people aren’t really going to be the ones where your custom comes from). But, on the other hand, if you constantly bombard all of your followers across Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and all the rest with updates every 5 minutes, then a significant proportion of your following is simply going to get fed up with you clogging up their news feeds, and you can expect a mass exodus to occur some time very soon.

 

Where, How Much, and How Often?

Treading the line is the name of the game – and it is a rather fine, unforgiving line, at that. With each year that ticks by, the task of the social media marketer gets ever more complicated. Brands big and small have now taken to digital platforms the world over, creating more competition in these spaces than ever before. Add to that the fact that more and more channels seem to be popping up each day, then it can seem like a dangerous minefield to tread when deciding which ones you should climb aback of, and which ones you should actively ignore.

Well, there’s no hard and fast answer to that, unfortunately. Whether it will be Minds that proves to be the next social network that takes off, or Ello, or whether it’s one of these 4 social networks that you’re probably not, but should be, using – choosing exactly where to focus your efforts is confusing at best.

But there are certainly 3 social networks that you simply cannot exist without:

  1. Facebook
  2. Twitter
  3. LinkedIn

In that order.

So let’s now consider those one at a time in an effort to determine how you may create a social presence akin to ‘medium doneness’ across these essential channels.

campaigning

Facebook

Facebook is perhaps the most social of all the social networks. By this I mean that it is frequented numerous times every day by users who use the platform to primarily get the gossip on what their friends are up to.

Of course, businesses use Facebook, and many people like to click on links to blogs, take tests to determine how much of a ‘good lover’ or ‘psychopath’ they are, or watch videos and read the news. But, first and foremost, Facebook is an arena where people are generally connected to their actual friends and relatives in the real world.

This means that they don’t particularly enjoy brands bombarding them with messages every time they log on. However, people use Facebook more than any other social network, and so you’d be a fool not to try and get their attention.

With this in mind, balance is key to Facebook. You should post no less than twice, and no more than four times a day here. Any more than this and you will begin to annoy your following – people can’t socialise properly when you’re pestering them to buy all the time. But, anything less than twice a day and you risk being lost and forgotten about.

Aim for blogs, videos and photos on Facebook, and be sure to engage very quickly with any comments, likes or shares that you achieve.

 

Twitter

By its very nature, the microblogging platform that is Twitter allows for a slightly more frequent posting.

What seems to work best for brands on Twitter is to not overload people’s feeds with endless promotions of products. Instead, links to interesting blogs and articles – that are bolstered with an enticing image – garner the most hits. Again, remember that Twitter is a social network. People don’t like being peddled to everywhere they go. If you overcook the sales pitches then people will start dining elsewhere, it’s as simple as that.

Between about 10 and 20 posts a day is about right for Twitter – though absolutely never post more than once an hour.

GIFs and videos work well, but by far the bulk of your tweets, if possible, should be in reply to any follows that you have gained, or to any mentions, retweets or favourites that you have received. This again puts us back into using the platform socially.

 

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a tricky one. Indeed, it is an unusual social network not least in the fact that it doesn’t even describe itself as being ‘social’. No, LinkedIn likes to consider itself as a professional network – and in fact that’s exactly what it is.

You need to have a presence on LinkedIn for all of your professional contacts if nothing else. But, there is huge marketing potential to be gained from the platform.

B2B readers should especially take note. LinkedIn is the perfect channel on which you can position yourself as an industry expert and thought leader. Professional people frequent LinkedIn, and so it is professional content – often blogs and articles – that you should be delivering.

But, importantly, you cannot bombard LinkedIn with your content. It’s just not the right place to do so, and in fact the unwritten etiquette suggests that once every other day – or once a day at a push – is plenty enough for LinkedIn.

How do you cook your social campaigns? Please share your thoughts below. 

It’s All In The Mix: How To Create The Perfectly Blended Social Media Campaign is a post from: GetResponse Blog - Email Marketing Tips

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Keeping Up With Your Personal Brand http://blog.getresponse.com/keeping-up-with-your-personal-brand.html http://blog.getresponse.com/keeping-up-with-your-personal-brand.html#comments Mon, 13 Jul 2015 13:47:07 +0000 http://blog.getresponse.com/?p=20138 What do you think of when you hear the word – brand? What about branding? Usually what comes to mind is the visual and ideological package in which we wrap, well… brands (businesses). However, in the dawn of personal trainers, … Read more

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What do you think of when you hear the word – brand? What about branding? Usually what comes to mind is the visual and ideological package in which we wrap, well… brands (businesses). However, in the dawn of personal trainers, lifestyle coaches, consultants, and gurus, the era of personal branding has risen.

If you’ve ever worked in a corporation you know exactly what the packaging process looks like. From what I like to call “team colors” all the way down to writing style, presence, gadgets, and branded sayings. A walking, talking company card. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not mocking business branding, in fact, I think it’s the greatest thing since cereal.

When you look at giants like Coca-Cola or Google, maybe even viralists like Buzzfeed – you’ll see how branded they are. From the stickers, campaigns, logos, their color palettes are known across the web, if not world. But how does that pertain to personal branding? It’s not like you can claim orange and tackle the world with your ingenious content marketing tips, we can’t all be Joe Pulizzi!

 

Setting Up Your Foundation

The foundation of every personal branding success is based on three principles:

  1. Your ambitions and goals
  2. The knowledge you possess
  3. Passion and personality that will inspire others

Looking 10 years forward, would you like people to think of you when a certain marketing aspect, business idea, or keyword comes up in a conversation? If so, that keyword is your goal. The next step is knowing whether you have the knowledge and expertise to talk about that goal. You can’t just passionately share lies, you need to inspire with the truth.

Joe Pulizzi is an advocate for the world of words – content marketing, hear us roar. He defined what he wants to talk about and what he wants to dig deeper into. Finally, with a passion burning bright orange, he inspired the marketing world to rise up and breed a generation of content crazy marketers.

 

The Art of Inspiring

Truth be told, you may not be able to coin orange anymore, but you can take a few tips from Joe Pulizzi. The king of content himself, knows how to make sure that he keeps a concise and consistent image. Google his name and you will see orange suits, CMWorld, or better yet a smiling ambassador of all things content-related.

Joe coined the term “content marketing” and he began an online revolution, he’s always smiling, always has a joke or two in his pocket, and he is not afraid to say what he thinks. Being real, and making orange the new “it” color is part of creating a bigger world of Content Marketing Institute, speaking events, or blogging for sites like Entrepreneur.

Across the board it’s the consistency. Creating a goal – content marketing, putting it in a nice package – a smiling guru in an orange suit, and sharing it with others to create a worldwide movement.

 

Building Up

Obviously creating an empire based solely on you and your knowledge is not an easy undertaking. However, with the right drive and attitude you can reach the top and hear the trumpets of glory. I’ve mentioned that your first and foremost steps are to define a goal and means of inspiration, but as I’ve said – that’s only your foundation. You also need a cornerstone:

  1. Staying true to who you are – you can’t be one person on Twitter, another on Instagram, and a third on LinkedIn. Only to then show up at an even and be an even different version of who you are and what you do. There has to be a backdrop of a consistent person, an honest presence that sticks to the principles and values that he or she markets.
  2. Keeping track of your online presence – social media is your mecca. Yeah you’ve got your colors, logos, and branded quotes, but do you keep up with the Joneses online? Do you share content that is relevant to your field and your audience?
  3. Knowing who you’re speaking to – audience, who are you sharing your nuggets of wisdom with? Who resonates with who you are and what you represent?
  4. Providing valuable content – all our favorite thought leaders are prominent Twitterers and LinkedIn or Facebook sharers. Unfortunately sending one tweet a day or posting a blog post once a month will not get you far. You have to appeal to the masses, and they like content!

social_media

Staying On Top

As much as you can pick and choose “your” colors and tone of voice, it’s nearly impossible to always stay on top of social media. With people tuning in from different timezones and demanding more than just random, occasional posts, you’d have to give up sleep to keep up. Furthermore, checking your stats, what works, what doesn’t is crucial in creating a successful personal brand.

Thankfully, more and more people go for automated tweets, scheduled posts, and analytics that provide you with much needed insights. Anyone who wants to become a valuable thought leader with a strong personal brand should automate and plan ahead. Of course, leave yourself some room for breaking news! Some great tools to help you organize your brand are:

Klout – In my opinion, the underdog. Not everyone uses it, some may still not have heard of it (although I don’t know how that’s possible), but it is a life saver when it comes to scheduling and tracking.

Based on your areas of interest, you will have a plethora of recommended articles (which you can of course share or schedule) and people to follow. It allows you to track various social networks that you’re on, shows you analytics, and helps you recognize what is working and what isn’t working.

My personal favorite is the scheduling tool. You can choose the day, month, if you go crazy – year, but most of all you have a link shortener, audience, AND (this is the best part) a recommendation of three different times of day that are best to post, on a chosen day of the week.

Trello / Wunderlist – You can’t just go ahead and post random things or write whatever you feel like. Keep track of blog post ideas, guest post articles you want to or are scheduled to write, important news that you feel is worth sharing.

Organize and create content calendars to help you keep track of all the incoming and outgoing content. Make sure that you keep a consistent and easy-to-follow schedule! If you need to keep yourself in-check, Wunderlist is a great app to help you create a to-do list.

Insightpool – A platform that will not only help you find your audience but also reach it. Automate direct messages for those that follow you, send content to a list of Twitterers that you feel will benefit from what you have to offer. Don’t keep everything to yourself, let people get “premium” or special content.

Mention – Social listening is very important in personal branding. Knowing what people think about you and your endeavors will allow you to pave the road towards a happy audience. Respond to blog posts or social media posts that talk about you!

 

In Conclusion

I feel like more and more of us marketers are starting to establish a personal brand. Whether you’re working in a company or are self-employed, there’s a growing demand for thought leaders. People who are working in their field, share their knowledge, falls and successes, and what they have accomplished using different campaigns and ideas.

People seek inspiration, someone who they can relate to and to whom they can say “Hey, if I work hard and follow your steps I might just succeed!”

Build your foundation and cast a strong cornerstone. Become a leader, inspirer, be someone who will tackle the hard questions and give simple answers. If you want to be that person, I strongly encourage you to also check out Quicksprout’s guide to personal branding to expand on what you might have already started.

Get your own pair of orange socks and start changing the world!

.

Editor’s Note: Post originally taken from LinkedIn Articles

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20 Unmissable Tips for Using Periscope for Business http://blog.getresponse.com/20-unmissable-tips-for-using-periscope-for-business.html http://blog.getresponse.com/20-unmissable-tips-for-using-periscope-for-business.html#comments Fri, 10 Jul 2015 13:47:51 +0000 http://blog.getresponse.com/?p=20127 What is Periscope? Periscope is the latest social media platform which is the brainchild of Twitter. It is new, shiny, and growing like weeds.Basically, you download an app on your phone and begin live video streaming. People hop on your broadcast … Read more

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What is Periscope? Periscope is the latest social media platform which is the brainchild of Twitter. It is new, shiny, and growing like weeds.Basically, you download an app on your phone and begin live video streaming. People hop on your broadcast and can comment live and give you ‘hearts’. Simple.

So what is the fuss about? Is it the latest fad?

According to the latest stats released by Periscope, there are over 7 million registered on Periscope and 36 million+ broadcasts have been created in the past 3 months. That’s THREE MONTHS.

Yes. Periscope is exciting because it’s real, it’s live, and it’s raw. People are flocking to it and already using it to build or strengthen their brands and even drive business. Interested in doing that for yourself? Let’s explore.

 

#1 Make sure your Periscope handle is your name

In order to get started on Periscope, download the app, it works both on iOS and android.

Use your Twitter account to sign in to Periscope. It is super important to keep in mind that currently, you are not able to change your Periscope handle after you sign up, so if you want to change it to your name, or make it a bit more clear, do that prior to creating your account.

The reason you want to do this is because people greet you when you hop on to a live broadcast by addressing you by your name. If your title is hard to say, you are making it hard for them to give you shout-outs.

 

#2 Optimize your bio

You are able to change your bio on Periscope at any time. And it is a really good idea for you to say very clearly what is it that you do so people can decide if they want to follow you.

Also, on the broadcast when you see people’s comments, you have the ability to click on anyone’s name and see what they are all about. You’d be surprised to know how many people still make their bios creative, cryptic, and hard to understand.

Secondly, your bios are searchable, meaning people can search for terms in the search box and find you. Put relevant keywords in your bio. Lastly, when you put your website URL be sure to use http://yoursite.com so that it becomes a live link when people watch replays on the web.

Upload a photo if you haven’t already. It gives people a chance to know who you are and connect with you on the spot.

 

#3 Craft a killer title

Just like any other social media platform, choosing an intriguing and value-laden headline for your broadcast is super important. Although this platform is very new, nonetheless, you are competing with others when you go live.

Say clearly what you will be talking about. Build curiosity if your topic naturally lends itself to it but don’t go creating super-hypey, link-baitey titles that scream ‘you won’t believe what I found’ or ‘check this out and see the biggest ….’. Not cool.

Use a few hashtags in your title. At the moment, hashtags are not searchable on Periscope but they are searchable on Twitter and as you broadcast you will have people coming to you via Twitter. Also by choosing relevant hashtags like #business #entrepreneurship #socialmedia #design, you discourage creepers and trolls from joining your broadcast and throwing you off with lewd comments.

Don’t use more than 2 or 3 hashtags or they will lose their effectiveness. Also use emojis in your title to make it stand out and look interesting.

 

#4 Set yourself up for success 

Before you begin your broadcast, put your phone on Do Not Disturb or aeroplane mode (and turn on the WIFI). This way your broadcast won’t stop as soon as you receive a phone call or a notification.

Do a camera check. Make sure you look presentable and the lighting is fairly decent. You don’t need fancy lighting equipment or an expensive mic. The beauty of Periscope is that your videos don’t have to be polished. That makes it a levelling field for everyone.

I highly recommend that you purchase a tripod for your phone so the footage is not wobbly and won’t give people a headache trying to catch your broadcast.

Position your camera so it is at eye level. You don’t want people looking up your nose. Since you will be reading the comments, be fairly close to the camera and try not to bend every time you read something.

Lastly, if you are nervous, do a rehearsal. Rehearse your intro. Practise introducing yourself and welcoming people until you feel confident. Then hit the red start broadcast button.

 

#5 Optimize your thumbnail

When you begin, the first thing your camera sees becomes the thumbnail for your Periscope broadcast and replay so point your camera at something interesting when you start. Don’t be looking at a boring wall or at your feet.

You may even want to create a nice graphic with the title of your Periscope and start there. Another way is to start with a story. Focus on a meaningful object and start talking as soon as you begin for 30-40 secs as people join.

Make sure you tick the Twitter bird so it auto tweets that you are live. This is useful because people can now watch you live on the web, they don’t need to download the app to do that.

If you are out and about in a public place, turn your location services on so people can find you via global search on the app (even if they don’t follow you yet). However, I’d advise against doing that when you are at home for safety reasons.

When you are ready to begin, simply double tap on your screen to flip the camera.

 

#6 Be prepared

In order to deliver value and keep people till the end, be prepared. Don’t try and come up with the perfect topic. Pick anything you feel like talking about.

Plan your show. Jot down a few bullet points if you have to and keep them nearby. This will also give you tons of confidence before you begin because you know what you will be talking about.

Build anticipation for your show by teasing people a little bit. Don’t give everything away at the moment, reveal your information as you go.

On Periscope you will be interacting with your viewers and you will get distracted. You will possibly go off on a tangent while responding to somebody’s comment. Keep a list of notes in front of you (one worded ones work really well) to remind you if you lose your train of thought.

view_persicope

#7 Start talking immediately

As soon as you begin your broadcast, start talking immediately. Even if you have only a few viewers or no viewers. The reason being, when you stop broadcasting, there will be a replay available for the next twenty four hours (unless you delete it).

When people click on the replay, you don’t want them looking at you doing nothing, looking confused or just waiting for people to show up. They will stop watching. Present as if you are talking to a group of people even if you can’t see anyone joining you.

Another thing you can do is to announce your broadcast in advance. For example. If you are going live in 10minutes, tell people that. This may help in getting more people to view you live.

Say hi and introduce yourself. Tell people what you do and what you will be talking about.

 

#8 Interact with people

Do not talk at people, talk to them. Have a conversation and make them a part of your broadcast. You are not presenting a webinar where 80% is about giving content and 20% is about interaction and Q/A. On Periscope it’s all about the interaction.

When you start, welcome people who are joining you live. Say hi to them individually. Ask people where they are joining you from. If you get any questions, answer them when appropriate.

Doing a Periscope broadcast can be tricky. As a broadcaster, you are at risk of losing your train of thought as you begin reading comments but it’s okay. You can come back to it if it’s important. If completely stumped, consult your notes and move on.

Ask them questions. Have a discussion. This aspect of Periscope makes it really unique so take advantage of it. Plan your scopes for sure be prepared to take it in a different direction. It’s totally fine.

 

#9 Be real

Talk as if you are talking to a friend.

Show people around. People love to see behind the scenes and sneak peeks. Don’t be afraid to get personal. It’s totally okay for a spouse or your kids to make an appearance. People love that.

Periscope is fantastic for building your Know, Like, and Trust factor.

When you show up on a scope, people get to see who you are. They get to see how you do things. They see that you are not perfect and relate to you that much more. Introduce yourself couple of times during the show so the new people know who you are. Appreciate the love.

 

#10 Give value

Educate, entertain, or empower. Mix up your content. Do a straight how-to content or do a scope where you show people your favourite Italian restaurant. Do a book review or make an offer. Do a Q/A scope where you answer questions or a live coaching/critique session. Direct people to relevant blogposts on your site when appropriate.

At the moment there are no fast forward controls on replays so keep that in mind. Tons of people will watch your replays because of the time difference and they can’t forward your scope. Keep it tight and keep moving. Get to the point quickly.

 

#11 Ask people for hearts and shares

One really fun feature of Periscope is that viewers can give you hearts when they like what you are saying. Viewers are assigned a different coloured profile every time they hop on to a broadcast and their hearts carry the same colour. They can tap anywhere on the screen to give you hearts.

Don’t be afraid to ask for hearts. Hearts indicate how popular your scopes are. Some people have hundreds and thousands, even millions of hearts on Periscope.

Ask people to click on the little person icon on bottom right of the screen (which shows how many viewers are live) and share the broadcast. This will give different options to share such as on Twitter or with their own followers.

You can run heart competitions if you want. The prize might be that you follow the person who hearted the most, or a social media shout out.

 

#12 Create a strategy to deal with trolls

Occasionally you will see trolls, creepers or spammers come in your broadcast. They will be nasty or just make purvy comments. Decide early on how you want to deal with them. The easiest way is to just block them live. Click on their profile and block. You can also respond to them and/or make fun of what they said if that’s your style, or just ignore.

As your audience size builds, this problem will hopefully minimize as your true fans will hop in and trolls won’t get a chance to get in quick enough to leave a comment (only first 100 live viewers can comment.)

 

#13 Ask people to join your list

Ask people to join your list every now and then. Presently, there is no way to share links on Periscope. There are couple of ways to get around that and share your link:

  • Ask someone to type it in the comments.
  • Write it on a piece of paper and hold it up real close to the camera.
  • Ask people to take a screenshot.

You can even create a link that you only share on Periscope to track how many people are getting on your list as a result of periscoping.

Remember to tell people what they actually get out of subscribing.

smartphone-notebook-technology-calendar

#14 End right

Do a quick recap of what you said. Thank people for coming and staying till the end. Thank people for giving hearts. Remember to save your broadcast to your camera roll so you can repurpose the content and upload on different places such as YouTube, your Facebook page, or your group.

 

#15 Be strategic in your Periscope marketing

Create one scope every day. Your replays last for 24 hours only which means there is urgency built in. This also means that if you go without scoping for 24 hours, all the new people who check you out will not have a replay to check you out. You will lose potential followers and leads as a result.

  • Build your following by broadcasting often. Some people broadcast 3-5 times per day. Do what fits your schedule.
  • Comment on other people’s scopes. Click on other comments and check out their profiles and use reply feature to interact with them. Keep it honest. You will get followers as a result.
  • Watch other people’s broadcasts but be yourself. Don’t copy anyone’s style. People want to see the real you.
  • Create content that is in line with your business goals. Create content that doesn’t hurt your brand and attracts your ideal audience.
  • Pay attention to questions people are asking and for popular topics. Do your own take on them.

 

#16 Understand the nature of Periscope

When you are in a middle of a broadcast and you see the number of people dropping, don’t be alarmed.

Don’t think that your content sucks or you are doing a lousy job. It is the nature of this app that people drop in and out. They are tuning in live while commuting to and from work. They are catching you live while making dinner, or feeding their children. They hop on as they are waiting for a client session in 5 minutes.

Don’t take it personally. Keep going. You can actually go longer than planned when you have loads of viewers online. And you can cut it short also if almost everyone drops off.

 

#17 Introverts can do this

If you are an introvert, you will love the freedom to get online when you want it and interact with people on your terms. You need time to recharge so it is perfectly okay for you to leave early if you are an introvert. Nobody will mind.

 

#18 It takes time to build an audience

Like any other social media, it will take some time to build your audience on Periscope.

Don’t forget that people who built large followings on Periscope very quickly happen to have large audiences on other social media platforms. If you have one, it will be easier. Keep at it. Be consistent and the right people will find you.

 

#19 Learn from your replays

Watch how you performed. Make a note of things to improve and don’t be too hard on yourself. Aim for incremental improvement. Remember you are in for a long haul.

If you don’t like how it went, if it was especially bad, or if you were thrown off by creepers, you can delete the replay.

 

#20 Have a flash sale

Lots of people are getting client enquiries and making sales directly on Periscope. So can you. Create a special offer for your Periscope viewers only and tell them it will be live only for 24 hours (as long as the replay is up).

Give them a big discount on an existing package or program or create a brand new one. Be clear, get to the point fast and give them the link to buy. Boom!

So there you have it. Everything I told you is true as of now. Things may change as new updates come out but really, this is all you need to know now to get on Periscope and start broadcasting. Happy scoping and share your experiences with us, in the comments below!

20 Unmissable Tips for Using Periscope for Business is a post from: GetResponse Blog - Email Marketing Tips

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Why Email is the #1 Customer Retention Tool http://blog.getresponse.com/why-email-is-the-1-customer-retention-tool.html http://blog.getresponse.com/why-email-is-the-1-customer-retention-tool.html#comments Thu, 09 Jul 2015 13:07:40 +0000 http://blog.getresponse.com/?p=20119 Too many of us are missing the boat. We are so focused on finding new customers, growing our lists, getting more traffic, and finding more followers that we neglect a fortune’s worth of business right under our noses: Our existing … Read more

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Too many of us are missing the boat. We are so focused on finding new customers, growing our lists, getting more traffic, and finding more followers that we neglect a fortune’s worth of business right under our noses: Our existing customers. This applies to both B2B and B2C businesses. It applies to freelancers, bloggers, ecommerce sites, SAAS companies and even local shops. It applies to everybody. If you want more profits, the single best group to go get them from is your current customers.

It’s easier to sell more to your current customers than it is to go out and find more new customers. Doubt it? Consider this study of ecommerce sites done by RJ Metrics published just last month. It’s a B2C example, but it’s also a lesson for all of us.

The chart below, pulled from the studies’ results, shows how likely someone is to make another purchase after their second to tenth purchase. As you can see, there’s a 32% chance your first time customers will order a second time.

Now, do you have a 32% conversion rate for new customers on your website? Probably not. Do you get a 32% conversion rate from promotional emails to your new subscribers, from your social media, or from your SEO traffic? Probably not again. And yet, sitting there, on your computer, you have a list of customers that you could get a 32% conversion rate from: Your buyers list.

According to the study, 32% is only the starting point. Get them to order that second time and they’re 53% likely to place a third order. Get them to place even more orders, and you roll that one-time prospect into someone who has an 83% likihood to order from you again by the time they’ve placed that 10th order.

RJMetrics-E-Commerce-Customers-Repeat-Purchase-Probability-June2015

 

Great huh? There’s clearly every reason to give your existing customers, especially your first time buyers, quite a bit more of your marketing love. But how? Ends up somebody just recently answered that. Not too long ago Gigaom Research did a survey asking marketers which tactic they liked best for customer retention. And the winner was…

Email!

MostEffectiveTacticsGigaom

 

Chart is from Figure 6 of Gigaom Research’s Report “Workhorses and Dark Horses – Digital Tactics for Customer Acquisition”

I realize some of you might think we might be biased about how awesome email is, given that we’re an email marketing company. Well, maybe you’re right. But there’s a truckload of data supporting our bias. And when it comes to retention marketing, we can make a particularly strong case of why email is #1.

So why is email so good at retention? Well, it’s for most of the reasons that makes email effective for any other kind of marketing. But just looking at it from the context of retention, here’s why email rocks:

It’s extremely affordable

Even a small-scale email program can communicate with its customers for a fraction of a penny per email. That makes for a super-high return on investment. Compare it to retargeting ad budgets, much less print advertising or ppc advertising. Many pay per click keywords cost $10 or more per click. With email marketing and even a 10% click-through rate, you can get clicks for less than a penny each. Try to get that on AdWords these days.

It’s personalized

You can send emails to customers based on past purchases. Or their birthday. Or their gender, their geography, their browsing habits or however long it’s been since they placed an order. Heck, you can even send to them based on which links they’ve clicked in your emails.

You can customize the emails they get at a level that would make a direct mail marketer green with envy. Even online display ads can’t come close to the level of customization and personalization that email can offer.

It’s timely

The formula that ruled old-school direct marketing for decades was recency/frequency/monetary, also known as RFM analysis. It refers to the three attributes that make people most likely to buy: How recently they just bought from you (recency), how often they buy from you (frequency) and how much they’ve spent (monetary).

For this particular point about timeliness, we’re interested in being able to optimize our marketing based on how recently someone bought. The shorter a time that is, the more likely they are to buy from you again. Email marketing lets you send them something special and enticing about a week after their order. You’ll get about three times the orders if you send those  second promotions promptly than if you wait and mail months later.

It’s the preferred channel for commercial messages

You’ve seen this chart before in other posts, but I love it so much I have to include it again. People want to get their promotional messages in their inbox. Really. MarketingSherpa asked them “In which of the following ways, if any, would you prefer companies to communicate with you?” This is how they answered:

chartofweek-02-03-15-lp

 

How 2,057 American adults responded to the question, “In which of the following ways, if any, would you prefer companies to communicate with you?” Respondents were asked to select all choices that applied. Survey was run from January 21 to 23, 2015.

It’s easy to use

You don’t need advanced coding skills or a lot of training to create nice, effective emails. And if you do run into any snags, your email service provider is standing by to help (we’re available 24/7 via chat or email).

Look at how well email did in Ascend2’s December 2014 survey of which digital marketing tactics were most effective and most difficult. Email came in first for effectiveness, and last for difficulty. Does it get any better than that?

Ascend2-Most-Effective-Difficult-Digital-Marketing-Tactics-Sept2014

 

Email is easy to test

We’ve written a lot about the benefits of testing your emails here. We’ll keep writing about it. Whether you use the features in your GetResponse account or you use a third party tool for testing, we urge you to try it out.

Testing is not only easy, it’s also almost free, and with email you can get your results back extremely fast. That means you can run more tests, and thus have more opportunities for improvement.

 

Five types of customer retention emails

Okay, okay. So we’ve sung the praises of email to the rafters. You get it. Now, how do you actually go about using this magical marketing technique?

Glad you asked. These five types of emails are proven retention drivers:

1) Cart abandonment emails.

You will have to hook up your site’s shopping cart software with GetResponse for this to work, but it’s usually not too hard. Our systems sync with Zoho, Shopify, Sugar, BigCommerce, PayPal, Google Checkout, Amazon Payments and ClickBank, among others. Many of our larger clients use cart abandonment emails and get great results with them.

2) Purchase follow up emails.

The most common purchase follow up emails you’ll see are for customer feedback requests. This one Drs Foster and Smith sent me is a good example.

LeaveReviewEmail

 

You can also send a follow up email suggesting similar products, or products (or services) that someone might need after they’ve started using what they initially bought.

Or you can just send them a support email that shows them how to use what they bought. Or an email that asks if they need any help. Of course, there’s also the classic upsell email, tempting your buyer into getting the next level up of service. Information products, in particular, benefit from the follow up “do you need any help” emails. Often they’re an opportunity to sell one-on-one consulting work.

3) Welcome emails.

Yup – you can start the retention efforts even before your customers have ever bought anything. Welcome emails work because they strike while the iron is hot, at the time when your new subscriber is most interested in your company. Ideal content for a welcome email might be your best-selling products, or your most popular content.

Several studies have not only shown that welcome emails get extremely high engagement rates, but that they contribute to long-term open, click and purchase rates. The welcome email is one of your best opportunities to start making a long-term, high-value, repeat customer out of new subscribers. Don’t miss the boat.

4) Reactivation campaigns.

These can be used to re-activate past buyers as well as to re-activate lasped subscribers. Either way, don’t expect miracles from your reactivation campaigns – if you get 10% of your reactivation list to respond, you’ve done great.

Despite the low response rates, it is still very worthwhile to try to get these people back, especially if they once were buyers. Years ago, when I was working at a book catalog, we would send reactivation emails that promoted inventory we wanted to get rid of. Not only were the items on sale, but they were at fire sale prices. It was a triple win – we got 25% click-through rates on a regular basis, we won back well more than 10% of the lapsed customers, and we made space in the warehouse. A good deal, indeed!

5) Your standard ole weekly newsletter – with helpful, relevant content.

Sometimes, retention just means staying in touch. So just keep “talking” to your prospects. Send them great emails tailored to their interests. Offer them exclusive content that’s worth their very precious time. These are all great ways of building your relationship with them, and that’s the very acme of retention marketing. Stay top of mind and you’ve got a shot at staying top of wallet, too.

Want extra credit? Segment and personalize your emails based on each subscriber’s clicks.

Back to you

What email marketing techniques are you using to keep your existing buyers or subscribers engaged? What other kinds of retention marketing emails are you thinking of sending? Tell us about your ideas in the comments.

 

Why Email is the #1 Customer Retention Tool is a post from: GetResponse Blog - Email Marketing Tips

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Sign it Right: Tips to Create an Effective Email Signature http://blog.getresponse.com/sign-it-right-tips-to-create-an-effective-email-signature.html http://blog.getresponse.com/sign-it-right-tips-to-create-an-effective-email-signature.html#comments Wed, 08 Jul 2015 13:37:14 +0000 http://blog.getresponse.com/?p=19926 Email signature has always been not only a matter of business etiquette, but the way to represent the company or individual, give necessary information to your addressee. As social media became the popular source for communication, emails with their specific … Read more

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Email signature has always been not only a matter of business etiquette, but the way to represent the company or individual, give necessary information to your addressee. As social media became the popular source for communication, emails with their specific ‘rules’ were lost in the shuffle.

Too often, email signatures get overlooked and correspondence through traditional email becomes something of an afterthought. These days it’s not uncommon for many company representatives to send responses with no email signature or with just the name – something which was seen as being absolutely unacceptable only a few years ago. Have email signatures become obsolete in the age of tweets, posts and pins?

 

Email Signature Still Matters

When email signatures were originally developed, they were simply an easy way for people to include their name and contact details at the tail end of an email.  But, since then, it’s evolved into something akin to an electronic business card. Generally speaking, people don’t want to go back to your website in order to find out who they need to speak with or how to reach that person best.  Instead, they refer back to the email and scan to the bottom, looking for the details we’ve become used to knowing will be there. It’s an easy, reliable and consistent way to ensure your customers know how to reach you and a way for them to go back and refer to the specific people who have helped them.

 

Beware of Mistakes!

Email signatures should contain more than a person’s direct contact details. They should also include information about the company and businesses. But in your effort to be unique and stand out with your signature, you can make one of the following common mistakes.

1. Forgetting About the Small Screen

Today more and more people use their email on the go which means your signature needs to be easily read on the small screen and easily accessed by a thumb instead of a mouse pointer. Fonts that compress the clickable space on a link can make it difficult for people to interact which often translates into business lost. Use serif fonts in 11 or 14 point so they are more compatible with manual swiping and touch screen tapping.

 

2. Image Overload

Using images as a part of an email signature is becoming increasingly common but it can also pose a problem. Some email clients automatically remove embedded graphics in emails as a security feature which means people will never see your details if you only include them in your graphics. Photos can also detract from your email if they are especially bright, distracting or large in relation to the rest of your sign off. Using a company logo is fine, but don’t rely on graphics to relay your information.

 

3. Wrong Use of HTML

Using HTML can be a nice way to add a bit of personality to an email signature but, as with graphics, it’s important not to overdo it, and to test the signature across different email clients and operating systems to determine how it will be seen by clients, customers and the public.

 

4. Clashing Colors

Adding color to an email signature is a common practice but sometimes people go overboard and use colors which may look good in your own email client but which aren’t well supported on the web. What looks like a nice, rich salmon color on your screen could easily become a garish neon pink on someone else’s.

 

5. Links Overload

You might be tempted to include links for all your social media or a direct link to your blog as a part of your signature but too many links and lines of text is a surefire way to turn readers away.  Instead, include links to relevant social media or a specific and current blog post. Worried about what exactly to include due to diverse customer needs? Create several email signatures which can be swapped out easily through drop-down menus in most email clients.

 

6. One Signatures For All

Swapping out email signatures for direct emails is one thing, but also consider the signatures you use on group replies, forum posts and other online interactions. Formal emails give you the most leeway but all other signatures should be kept as brief and discrete as possible. There’s no need to include your full mailing address, phone number and social media links when chiming in on group discussions via email or when posting replies or topics on message boards. In those cases, simply use your most basic forms of contact including your name, email address and phone number.

 

7. When in Doubt, Call in the Pros 

With so many potential pitfalls to creating an effective email, it’s easy to see why some people think they won’t bother. But an effective email signature can improve your business and your interaction with present and potential customers.  As a result, there are a number of freelancers and dedicated companies who work to create email signatures for companies.

email_signature

Quick Tips For Your Signature

Creating an effective email signature can help spread the word about you and your company, build strong relationships with customers or partners, and help people learn more about your online presence. Creating this type of signature requires a bit of planning, some tweaking and testing across different email clients and computer platforms, making it a service well worth investing in for many companies.

Simply put, ‘less is more’ is the name of the game when it comes to email signatures.  They are meant to be simple and effective to leave your details with others and not something that will distract or detract from your overall message. If all you want is to convey your contact details, these three simple rules will get the job done:

  • Use text only and keep lines less than 72 characters long.  Many email clients have an 80 character cut off so this will prevent awkward wrapping.
  • Limit text to 5 lines or less.  Combine contact details, such as your phone numbers or full address onto one line by separating them with pipes ( | ) or a hyphen ( – )
  • If you use a logo, keep it in under 50 x 50 pixels and keep it limited to one or two web compatible colors.  This will ensure it loads quickly and doesn’t distract from the rest of your email.

Email signature should not be overlooked, as it is a finishing touch of your email, and can influence the general impression from your email. So it is worth to take time and make it look professional. Follow the rules and sign it right!

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photoAbout the author: Haley Osborne is a copywriter and contributing blogger at EssayTigers.com, a professional writing service. Haley is also an expert in content and email marketing, as well as business writing. You may contact her via Facebook or Google+

 

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Your Header Image – Choosing The Right Stock Photo For Your Blog http://blog.getresponse.com/your-header-image-choosing-the-right-stock-photo-for-your-blog.html http://blog.getresponse.com/your-header-image-choosing-the-right-stock-photo-for-your-blog.html#comments Tue, 07 Jul 2015 13:37:30 +0000 http://blog.getresponse.com/?p=20104 “A blog can waffle on for a thousand words, but the header image must explain it all at a glance.” Hmm, as neat as that sounds, it’s not entirely true. That’s not a quote I’ve taken from anywhere – I just … Read more

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“A blog can waffle on for a thousand words, but the header image must explain it all at a glance.” Hmm, as neat as that sounds, it’s not entirely true. That’s not a quote I’ve taken from anywhere – I just came up it with to get going. In fact, I don’t believe that’s the purpose for your header image or featured image of your blog post at all. 

The picture that appears at the top of your blog post should not be trying to ‘sum-up’ the contents of the blog. Rather, it should be working to complement the title of the blog, as a means to entice people to click on the link and read it.

 

The Idiosyncrasy Of The Blog Post

Blogs are an unusual form – or rather they are idiosyncratic. They are not news articles. They are not sales pitches. They are not short stories, opinion columns, or charitable pleas.

No, they very much sit within their own niche. Blogs are about your customers, clients, and other people that are interested in your industry, of which you are just a tiny part. They are there to add value to a product or service that you are selling on your website, and are often designed to give advice, and actionable tips that readers can take away and use themselves.

But, whatever they are – more and more blogs are becoming a visual format. A blog without any images at all is quite frankly boring to look at on a web page – and I for one tend to click away if there isn’t a few pictures livening things up. And I’m sure I’m not alone.

Put simply, humans are visual creatures, and so we are attracted to images. Indeed, according to Heidi Cohen:

  • 94% more total views on average are attracted by content containing compelling images than content without images.
  • 67% of consumers consider clear, detailed images to be very important and carry even more weight than the product information, full description, and customer ratings.
  • 60% of consumers are more likely to consider or contact a business whose images appear in local search results.
  • 37% increase in engagement is experienced when Facebook posts include photographs.
  • 14% increase in pageviews are seen when press releases contain a photograph. (They climb to 48% when both photographs and videos are included.)

 

What Sort Of Images?

The trick with featured images for your blog posts is that they shouldn’t be too obvious. They should of course be relevant to the topic, but nonetheless slightly (and I do mean slightly) abstract. In fact, some of the best images for blog posts have a certain amount of poeticism about them.

For example, I once wrote a blog about designing for web pages above and below the fold, and I chose the following image:

folds

 

Now, obviously ‘the fold’ in question has to do with what’s displayed on a web browser – everything ‘above the fold’ is what users can see before having to scroll down the page to view ‘what’s below the fold’. It has nothing to do with paper or origami.

But that’s the beauty of the featured blog post photograph – you don’t have to be too literal, just compelling.

I could have, for instance, opted for something very literal, such as this:

above_the_fold

 

Although the above image is perhaps a little more illustrative of what the actual blog post is actually about, it’ just not eye-catching enough. It’s a little too informative and not entertaining, not exciting, not visually appealing. It’s boring, frankly, and would give the impression that the accompanying blog post will be boring also.

Now, that’s not to say that the above image is wholly inappropriate – on the contrary, it is illustrative of some of the points that the blog post made, and so it played a very suitable role in the body of the blog post. But as a featured, click-enticing header image… no. It doesn’t work. I wouldn’t click on it – would you?

 

Where To Find Stock Images

Your budget may not allow you to hire your own photographer, and you of course may not have the time, the resources or the skill to create images of the quality that you will require.

But that’s what stock photo libraries are for. These are catalogues of images that you can either buy from the internet, or otherwise use for free.

I must admit that I’m a massive fan of pixabay.com for finding some great, free, high-quality stock photos. But, bootstrapbay.com has a rather nifty list of 15 sites with amazing stock photos, all of which can be used for free.

 

The Legalities

Obviously when you’re using images that you find on the web, you do not own the images, and so that means that whichever pictures that you choose should be free from any copyright restrictions – otherwise you could find yourself being sued.

Look for images that are licensed under the creative commons public domain dedication.

CreativeCommons

 

Another good resource for searching for free-to-use images is of course Google – though you will have to use an advanced search (though this is quite simple).

Simply type your search into Google, select ‘Images’ and hit ‘Search’. Once the collection of images has been returned, you now want to click on ‘Search tools’, located just beneath the search bar, and then, from the drop-down menu, select ‘Labelled for reuse’. Hit ‘Search’ again, and this time you will be returned a collection of images, all of which you can use on your own blog for free.

 

Some Further Tips For Selecting The Right Stock Photo

Ok, so now you know the sort of thing that you’re looking for in your header image photo, you know where to look for these photos, and how to ensure that the photos that you are selecting are legal and free to use – but, that’s not everything.

When choosing photos, you also need to consider the following:

Quality

Image quality needs to be of a high standard. You can get away with a few illustrative screenshots in the body of your blog post, but for the header image, quality counts. Nothing blurred, fuzzy, or pixelated will suffice.

Consistency

Once you’ve chosen a style for the images on your blog, you need to stick to it. You can’t have serious, ‘poetic’ photos one day, and then switch to silly cartoons the next. Consistency is key, and it must keep in-tune with the overall feel and design of your website.

Be Original

As a blogger, you probably read plenty of blogs. And, if you do, you will no doubt come across the same old image for the same old thing again and again and again. Now, obviously you will from time to time create blog posts, the topics of which will have been covered by bloggers before you (this post for instance, is not the first one that has ever been written on the subject of the stock photo) – but this doesn’t mean that you should use the same images that those others have.

People who read blogs like to see that the author has put in a little effort to think of something a little interesting for the header image – and they will not be tolerant of those who have obviously raided the stock photo library and plumped for the same thing that every other person has. Be original, that’s the key. Poetic, thoughtful, and slightly abstract – and legal, of course.

Do you know of any great stock photo catalogues that our readers might benefit from? Please share your secrets in the comments below. 

 

Your Header Image – Choosing The Right Stock Photo For Your Blog is a post from: GetResponse Blog - Email Marketing Tips

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Using Psychology to Drive Conversion in Your Emails #FreebieMonday http://blog.getresponse.com/using-psychology-to-drive-conversion-in-your-emails-freebiemonday.html http://blog.getresponse.com/using-psychology-to-drive-conversion-in-your-emails-freebiemonday.html#comments Mon, 06 Jul 2015 13:29:22 +0000 http://blog.getresponse.com/?p=20096 Creating effective email marketing campaigns requires innovation, planning, and sometimes a little creative psychology. To get your customers attention you need to think like them, literally – think. Which is why we created this whitepaper, to help you get started! … Read more

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Creating effective email marketing campaigns requires innovation, planning, and sometimes a little creative psychology. To get your customers attention you need to think like them, literally – think. Which is why we created this whitepaper, to help you get started!

What is ‘creative thinking’? It’s taking a step back and seeing your emails as an opportunity to follow up, encourage, or even inspire your customer to share your product with others. There are nine areas on which you can focus:

  1. Commitment – When a customer buys something on your website, give some sort of an incentive to follow up. When a shopper asks for an item, or looks for one that’s out of stock, send them an email letting them know it’s there. They will get the nudge and come back for more.
  2. Effort – Offering a service or a product in more than one version? Maybe you have a part one and part two to offer? Either way, when a customer starts putting in the effort to use your product, send them an email with new things to develop what they’ve already learned/used on your website.
  3. Persistence – A fairly simple example of persistency is sending an email with an item that a shopper has left in their cart. Going beyond that – targeted ads are a great way to remind customers of your business.
  4. Novelty – Have a new product? Tell your subscribers! Nothing excites people more than getting a chance at first dibs on a new item or an upcoming sale!
  5. Reciprocity – You take and you give back. Add a bonus, send a special discount code, offer people a sign-up where they will gain access to exclusive content. When people receive, they are more likely to give back – as they will feel a connection and maybe even an obligation to do so.
  6. Fear – This trigger may sound a bit morbid, but it’s one that works well. “Last chance sale” or “almost out of stock” emails can get consumers moving and onto your website to buy before in demand products disappear.
  7. Vanity – Appreciating people and telling them how great they are is an excellent to get into their hearts… And to get your product on their mind. Give someone a pat on the back for how well they’ve done or for achieving something thanks to your product.
  8. Storytelling – Create a “chain of events” within the content that you send. Get your readers and customers engaged by sharing editorial content, by allowing people to get to know you or your company. This creates an environment in which people will feel safer and closer to your brand, therefore they are more likely to buy from you.
  9. Results – This is one that a lot of people forget about. So, let us go into detail below!

 

Results and Conversion

Do you share your statistics, data, or successes with your customers? When was the last time you let your consumers know that you are going up the proverbial ladder of greatness? Sharing this type of information is not necessarily about bragging, it’s about people knowing that they’re in the right hands.

Most companies test, check, and learn from their accomplishments and minor fails. However, the data they compile is just left on on a shelf for no one to use, it’s like hogging a sack of precious knowledge. As a marketer or business owner, you need to realize that sharing your knowledge puts you on a pedestal of influence.

With the data you possess, you can create a whole bundle of content! There are a few types of ways that you can share what you know:

  • Whitepaper
  • Guide
  • Webinar
  • Newsletter series
  • Blog post
  • Infographic

Give people recommendations based on what you know, allow your customers to see it put in action by talking about a case study – or personal experience. Sharing your experience and letting people know how your product changed thanks to methods and services that you applied, will get their attention! Others will want to be like you to get the results that you have.

 

Psychology Driven Conversion

The word psychology may sound a little sciency, but in reality it’s about knowing your customers and thinking of ways that could trigger a reaction on their part. As a marketer you have to know your customer personas, know what content your subscribers want to see, and understand what triggers conversion.

The driving force behind every campaign is a “plan of attack.” Does your customer respond better to “Last Minute Sale!” (Fear), “We’ve increased our sales by 20%” (Results), or “With our product your engagement increased, take a look at how you can keep that going.” (Vanity)?

Think like your customer, test what they respond to, and create campaigns that will blow their minds. If you’d like to know more, download our free whitepaper “Think Like Your Audience: 9 Conversion Triggers in Email” and take a look at some great examples of emails that trigger an emotion and a reaction! Share with us in the comments below some of your ideas on how you can use psychology to trigger conversion. 

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Happy Independence Day! Email #Infographic http://blog.getresponse.com/happy-independence-day-email-infographic.html http://blog.getresponse.com/happy-independence-day-email-infographic.html#comments Fri, 03 Jul 2015 13:37:41 +0000 http://blog.getresponse.com/?p=20088 Tomorrow we celebrate a beautiful day – 4th of July. Between the hot dogs, fireworks, celebratory picnics, and family time there is room for us marketers to show off our red, white, and blue in our compelling emails. What do … Read more

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Tomorrow we celebrate a beautiful day – 4th of July. Between the hot dogs, fireworks, celebratory picnics, and family time there is room for us marketers to show off our red, white, and blue in our compelling emails.

What do I mean by compelling emails? Independence Day is a time when a lot of marketers send email greetings, show off new holiday products/services, or maybe they’d like their customers to know that there is a special 4th of July sale going on. Whatever the reason, amongst all these “Independence Day Sale!” and “Happy 4th if July!” your email might get lost if you don’t have the right subject line.

 

Title Me Right

1. Personalized Titles

4th of July is one of my favorite holidays, but there are just so many emails sent during that time, it’s just impossible to look at ALL the emails that land in ones inbox. You don’t want to get lost in the crowd of similar titles. In our research we looked at last year’s emails from 1st – 4th July and we noticed that personalized titles were doing just a bit better.

Think of it this way, when you open your inbox, would you rather see a generic “Happy 4th of July” or will you go straight to “Hey _____, Have a Happy Independence Day!”?

You’d probably go for the second one, right? Well then, your customers are more likely to think that way too! People no longer look for generic, everything has to personalized, from our smartphone cases, all the way down to our emails.

2. Longer Titles

Interestingly enough, longer subject lines were more successful. The average subject line during those days, had about 40-60 characters, which gives you enough room for a name and a “Happy _____” – but again, that’s kind of generic, right/? We have found that emails that had better open and click-through rates, also had above average word counts. Some of the better headlines had even up to 120 characters (that’s like a really good tweet)!

In a way this point ties in with our first one – say a little more than just a holiday greeting, add some flair, make your title the one that stands out right away!

3. Interesting Titles

What else makes titles go from generic to wow? A good joke, a silly saying, or perhaps an innovative and weird subject line. Don’t go off the rockers here, but let your imagination go at least a little outside the box.

This is a beautiful American holiday. FREEDOM is heard throughout the land. What comes to your mind when you think of America and Independence Day? Can any of that tie in with what you’re offering to your clients? Can you make an analogy, perhaps you DO sell the All American Dream?

As a marketer you have to think about ways to make yourself stand out. If you show your customers that you are willing to think of a great way to make your product, All American on such a holiday, it shows that you know how to make your business versatile. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of such a great community?

 

Title Me Successful

Whether you want to let your customers know about your holiday sale or you just simply want to send them holiday greetings – do it from the heart. The more thought out your actions are, the better the results. Get rid of the generic titles and the boring, regular ones.

Your subscribers will appreciate the innovative touch and in turn they will follow through on incentives that you send their way.

A Happy 4th of July from us here at GetResponse, and enjoy our 4th of July Email Infographic! And remember to share with us in the comments below, how your business celebrates this day.

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10 Ways to Get More Engagement from Your Social Media Posts http://blog.getresponse.com/10-ways-to-get-more-engagement-from-your-social-media-posts.html http://blog.getresponse.com/10-ways-to-get-more-engagement-from-your-social-media-posts.html#comments Thu, 02 Jul 2015 13:47:34 +0000 http://blog.getresponse.com/?p=20073 Ever heard this old adage from real estate: “location, location, location”? Well, social media marketers have their own version of that saying. It’s “engagement, engagement, engagement”. Engagement is the most important metric for evaluating social media success. When marketers sit down to … Read more

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Ever heard this old adage from real estate: “location, location, location”? Well, social media marketers have their own version of that saying. It’s “engagement, engagement, engagement”. Engagement is the most important metric for evaluating social media success. When marketers sit down to access the success of their social media, it’s no longer audience size that matters. It’s not revenue or leads or website traffic. It’s engagement. At least that’s what TrustRadius found when they surveyed marketers earlier this year for their 2015 Social Media Marketing Trends report.

SocialMediaSuccessMetricsTrustRadius

 

When we talk about engagement, what exactly do we mean?

In the chart above, engagement is “likes, shares, etc”. For some context, in email marketing engagement means opens, clicks, forwards and saving to a folder. For the sake of simplicity, I’m going to define engagement as when someone does something with your content.

The marketers at Tuvel have actually broken out different levels of engagement. I could quibble with a thing or two in this chart, but it provides an excellent framework to show how not all engagement actions are equal:

5LevelsSocialMediaEngagement1

Many of us don’t count “engagement” until our audience members have reached the 3rd level in, unfortunately named “engagement” by Tuvel. Level 3 engagement is just reading the content or watching a video. The user is interacting with our content, but they haven’t shared it with anyone. That’s level 4 – when they take a tweet of ours and retweet it to their audience, or they share a blog post or a Facebook update. Level 5 is when they start talking to us: They send a tweet, comment on a post, or post on your Facebook wall.

 

Nurturing your prospects through different levels of engagement

This brings up an interesting idea about how to nurture people through your sales funnel on social media. As I wrote in another post, one of the best ways to fix a broken sales funnel is to break it down into pieces, then get each piece to work.

These five levels of engagement are granular enough that they might help you get more out of your social media nurturing. For example, instead of hoping for people to go from following you to buying your service, you could try to get them to go from following to reading, from reading to sharing, from sharing to commenting, and then from commenting to buying. That’s a more natural progression.

It’s also more steps – and thus more work. But if the leapfrogging from follows to buying isn’t working, breaking things down like into the five levels of engagement might help.

But how exactly should we do this? Glad you asked. There are probably dozens of techniques to coax your followers into becoming more engaged, but these ten approaches cover most of them.

 

1. Tune into WIIFM.

WIIFM is “what’s in it for me?” You want to tune into it because that’s where your audience and your prospective audience’s heads are at. Remember – these people are not your mother. They are not automatically delighted with your content, no matter how hard you worked on it or how awesome you think it is. They are tuned into their own problems. They are focused on finding solutions to those problems. If your social media updates don’t solve problems – aren’t useful or entertaining – it’s almost as if they can’t hear you.

 

2. Ask for comments, feedback, shares, and more.

This is dicey advice. A lot of people are uncomfortable with asking for shares. Even I’m kinda jittery about it. But I believe this works. In fact, I know it works. Dan Zarrella proved it:

ask_for_retweets

Truth be told, asking for shares and other engagement signals can be done incorrectly. It can come off as weird, pushy or rude. So when in doubt, don’t ask. But do try it out here and there. Asking for feedback at the end of blog posts is a good place to start. Even a simple “what do you think?” at the end of a Facebook post is a good opening for a conversation. For more ideas on how to get people talking, see Kerry Butters’s widely shared post, How to Build Genuine Social Media Conversations.

 

3. Use your analytics data.

Unless you just started out on social media, you’ve got a bank of data to raid for information about what to post. Go check that. Find your top five posts, then your worst five posts. See any trends? Make more posts like the five best ones. Stop making posts like the five worst ones.

 

4. Post your content at the right time.

Here’s a nice table of best times and days to post on different social media platforms. It’s based on data from Quick Sprout from earlier this year.

best-days-times-social-media-chart

While I love charts and studies about when is the best time to post, take them with a grain of salt. You need to test what the right time to post for you is. That said, the times the studies suggest are a good place to start.

 

5. Honor the foibles of each social media platform.

Don’t blast the same update out to all your social media accounts. I know it’s tempting, but take the time to format each update for each platform. Remember, Facebook is a completely different animal than LinkedIn. Twitter behaves very  differently than Google+. It makes no sense to post the same thing, in the same format, to each platform.

If it’s just impossible for you to invest that much time for each update, ask yourself: Do you absolutely, positively, have to be on every one of those platforms? If you cut the worst-performing platform, would that give you enough time to do a better job on the platforms that are already working?

 

6. Use images – the right images.

It’s social media 101 to tell you that images get more engagement on social media. Let’s take things a step further. Should you share stock photos? Maybe, if you add an interesting text overlay. What about animated gifs? Well, those seem to do well, according to Social Fresh and Quick Sprout:

top-blog-post-image-types

Images of actual people have also been shown to attract more attention than stock photos. If you’re in a how-to niche, consider creating a series of steps made into one image – kind of a visual tutorial. Those often get unusually high share counts.

 

7. Write good headlines.

A headline makes or breaks a post. That’s a blog post or Facebook post, or any other content format that’s got a headline. Follow these rules if they help you write an irresistible headline. Ignore them if they don’t.

  • Use “You”.
  • Use numbers, especially odd numbers.
  • Ask a question (especially if it’s a question your audience has asked).
  • Don’t write clickbait headlines (deceptive headlines that misrepresent what the content is about).
  • Write several headlines (like up to 20). Then pick the best one.

Want a tool that is amazingly helpful for generating headline ideas? Check out BuzzSumo. Want another tool that analyzes your headline to see how well it might do? Try CoSchedule’s headline analyzer.

 

8. Offer a quiz.

Quizzes are some of the most viral content out there. And not only do you get the rush of exposure from the quiz itself, but then you get to announce the final results of the quiz in a blog post or another piece of content. Each question of the quiz could be spun into social media updates on every platform. That makes for lots of content.

Quiz

Bonus idea: Contests work well, too.

 

9. Partner with a non-profit.

Use the same trick multinational companies have been leveraging for decades: Partner with a feel-good organization to improve your reputation. Even if your company already has a good rep, partnering up with the right nonprofit can’t do anything but make things better.

But does this work on social media? You bet. Especially if you can support an event or two with the nonprofit. Each event is a bonanza of social media photo ops and feel-good moments.

ASPCAEvent

 

10. Leverage a trend on social media.

If you’re super-fast, you can be like the Oreo cookies social marketers and “dunk in the dark” when the SuperBowl lost power. If you’re a little slower on the uptake, find a trend like the ice bucket challenge, or play off of something like Movember. There are plenty of opportunities. Every holiday is a chance to reach a larger audience.

Movember

That’s just the start of all the ways you could get more engagement with your social media posts. I didn’t even get to gamification or other major trends.

But what about you? What have you done lately that boosted engagement with social media content? Come on… tell us about it in the comments. Dive into some of that Level five engagement. 

 

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The World is Just Better With Gmail’s “Undo Send” Option http://blog.getresponse.com/the-world-is-just-better-with-gmails-undo-send-option.html http://blog.getresponse.com/the-world-is-just-better-with-gmails-undo-send-option.html#comments Tue, 30 Jun 2015 17:47:34 +0000 http://blog.getresponse.com/?p=20056 Have you ever sent an important email to your boss and instead of signing off “best” you ended your mail with an ingenious “vest”? We’ve all been there, from spelling mistakes to forgetting an attachment, and Gmail finally heard our … Read more

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Have you ever sent an important email to your boss and instead of signing off “best” you ended your mail with an ingenious “vest”? We’ve all been there, from spelling mistakes to forgetting an attachment, and Gmail finally heard our cries!

I can only imagine how many people a day cried out when they sent an email that just plain well, embarrassed them. And with each spelling mistake, horrible address mixup, forgotten attachment, and ridiculous autocorrect mishap, we have been heard.

Gmail has made our online world just that much easier! Setting up your “undo send” option is fairly easy as well! Just how easy? Two-step easy (well, three-step if you count save):

  1. In your inbox, find the gear on your right and click on “settings”
  2. Once you are taken to your settings, in the “general” tab scroll down until you see “Undo Send”
    undo-send
  3. Click and save!

Isn’t that better? No more facepalms and “my bad” emails! Enjoy the undo option!

gmail_undo

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The Importance Of Responsive Design in Emails http://blog.getresponse.com/the-importance-of-responsive-design-in-emails.html http://blog.getresponse.com/the-importance-of-responsive-design-in-emails.html#comments Tue, 30 Jun 2015 13:47:22 +0000 http://blog.getresponse.com/?p=20047 It’s a busy world that we live in, and technology is proving to be both the perpetuator of the busyness, as well as the relief. All things tech make the workaday job go faster, smoother, more streamlined and more convenient. But … Read more

The Importance Of Responsive Design in Emails is a post from: GetResponse Blog - Email Marketing Tips

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It’s a busy world that we live in, and technology is proving to be both the perpetuator of the busyness, as well as the relief. All things tech make the workaday job go faster, smoother, more streamlined and more convenient. But with this great enhancement of efficiency, there is just more and more to do.

Marketers around the globe have found that it is more than possible to keep up a healthy, lively and engaged presence on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Instagram – all before lunchtime, leaving the rest of the afternoon to worry about YouTube, Vine, blogging, Tumblr. and, of course, the email marketing campaign.

The reach of the social media marketer is now enormous. The channels available to us myriad, diverse, and each one unique. Various audiences frequent these various digital haunts – and more and more they are doing so via their mobiles.

I suspect that you’re the same. When you get up in the morning, what’s the first thing you do? Check your smartphone, right? Right.

You browse through the morning’s headlines, have a quick check on Facebook to see what your (less busy) friends were up to last night, fire up your Twitter app to see what’s trending on the digital airwaves, and then finally log on to your emails to see what’s most pressing in the day ahead.

 

Mobile Emails

Yes, this is effectively when you start work for the day. Before you’ve even had a shower, brushed your teeth, eaten breakfast or visited the toilet. You’re on your email.

Maybe it’s your work email – but, while you’re there, you must certainly take at least a quick look at your personal emails. And when you do, you will see that marketers like yourself around the globe have already been up and hard at it, and have sent you some of the latest offers from their respective companies.

You know now that your working day has started.

 

You Are Not Alone

In this day and age we live on our smartphones. Indeed, they have proven to be the most favoured method for internet access for users. In case you missed it, the crossover happened in 2014, as this visualization from comScore shows:

comscore

The rise in both consumer and company adoption of mobile has had a significant impact on marketing. No longer is it good enough to create all content with only the desktop screen in mind. Now it is imperative that everything the marketer creates be optimized for the mobile screen as well.

It’s been more than 3 months now since Google rolled out its mobile-friendly algorithm update – meaning that mobile-friendliness is now a ranking factor in Google search. Google, the undisputed giant of the internet, created this update in response to what users want and expect in this modern era of internet browsing.

“As more people use mobile devices to access the internet, our algorithms have to adapt to these usage patterns,” so said Google on their Webmaster Central Blog back in February when announcing that the update was coming.

This was inevitable, of course. Just like me and you, 80% of internet users now own a smartphone, and we use it to perform practically every internet task that comes our way – including viewing our emails.

devices

 

The Importance Of Responsively Designed Emails

Back in 2011, mobile made up just 8% of email opens. By 2014, this had jumped up 500%, with 53% of emails now being opened on mobile.

Add to this the following statistics, taken from an infographic by litmus.com:

litmus

 

The Advantages Of Responsive Email Design

Your emails may look outstanding on a desktop – but if they don’t cut the mustard on mobile, then users will simply hit ‘delete’, or, even worse, ‘unsubscribe’.

A survey conducted by BlueHornet has revealed that if an email is not optimized for mobile, over 80% of recipients delete it and another 30% unsubscribe. Additionally, over 63% of consumers are interested to make a purchase if they find an email looks good on their mobile devices.

Let’s now take a look at the further benefits of responsive email design and what it can do for your conversion rates:

1. Enhanced UX

User experience (UX) is of vital importance to all methods of marketing, but none more so than on mobile. As we have seen, the majority of people now check their emails via their smartphones – further proof, if any were needed, that we’re living in an exceptionally busy world these days. We like to check our emails on the move, not sat behind our desks.

And so, when it comes to UX for emails, we don’t want to have to pinch our screens or zoom in to view the content. If there’s a contact number, then we want to be able to simply click it to make a call, rather than copy and paste the number into our contacts. We want big call to action (CTA) buttons, so that we are confident that we have hit the right part of the screen when committing to making a purchase. We don’t want clutter. We want the text to be legible. We don’t want to scroll horizontally. We want all the images to download perfectly and instantly. And if we have all of these things, then we are much more likely to open up the next email (and the next, and the next) that we receive from the company in question.

2. Increased Conversions

If there’s one thing that’s guaranteed to affect your conversion rates, then it’s poorly designed emails and landing pages. If they are not optimized for the mobile screen, then you can wave goodbye to yet another customer (and another, and another).

If you get the responsive design of your emails down to a fine art, then you can expect your sales to increase as well. Once people have become confident that your emails are the perfect channel through which they can access the purchase pages of your (responsively designed) website, then they will be happy to continue to do so in the future. Think about it, people are generally seated and relaxed when they’re browsing the web on their mobiles – what better time to encourage them to make a purchase?

3. Higher Click-To-Open Rate

A recent study by MarketingProfs has revealed that responsive emails have a 21% higher click-to-open rate (11.9%) than non-responsive ones (9.8%). For this reason alone you should be making immediate moves to make sure that all of your emails are responsive.

How effective to you find responsively designed emails? Let us know in the comments below. 

The Importance Of Responsive Design in Emails is a post from: GetResponse Blog - Email Marketing Tips

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The Hidden Power of the Survey Email http://blog.getresponse.com/the-hidden-power-of-the-survey-email.html http://blog.getresponse.com/the-hidden-power-of-the-survey-email.html#comments Mon, 29 Jun 2015 13:43:28 +0000 http://blog.getresponse.com/?p=19930 Marketers use a wide variety of approaches to reach prospects and customers via email. According to the 2015 National client email report by the DMA, newsletters, welcome messages, and customer surveys remain the top three ways for email marketers to … Read more

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Marketers use a wide variety of approaches to reach prospects and customers via email. According to the 2015 National client email report by the DMA, newsletters, welcome messages, and customer surveys remain the top three ways for email marketers to achieve their campaign objectives. Let’s zoom in on the third most popular type of email: the customer survey.

research

The 2014 drop in popularity of surveys could potentially mark a shift from surveys towards using behavioral data—such as click behavior and page visits—to build customer profiles or even for use by email recommendation engines.

But at the same time I also expect that surveys are simply underused and not recognized for their immense versatility. Many marketers aren’t taking full advantage of the “power of the ask”. Although it is still number 3 on the list of most powerful email types the DMA.

 

The hidden power of a survey email

When you think about survey emails, you are typically thinking about learning more about customer preferences and sentiment. But survey emails can be more than an information-gathering tool. It can be used as a vital part of an email marketing strategy. Although the word “survey” might conjure up questions around gathering data about customers for more targeted marketing later on down the line, survey emails can effectively be used in many different ways for marketing, among them:

  1. Show appreciation and build brand loyalty
  2. Improvement of the customer experience and services
  3. Learn about the customer
  4. For quality assurance
  5. For (crowd)sourcing inspiration
  6. Sell and generate additional revenue

 

Showing appreciation and building brand loyalty

A survey email can be an excellent way to strengthen customer relationships and increase loyalty to a brand by expressing appreciation and even making customers feel special. This Nasty Gal email builds on brand to subscriber relationship, acknowledging  the recipient as one of their best customers that they want to get to know better.

nasty_gal

The customer gets to feel special, while the brand gets customer input. And customers are probably more likely to participate because of that feeling of being special and included, so much so that Nasty Gal doesn’t offer an incentive for participating: Exclusivity and appreciation is how you treat your VIPs, and that can be incentive enough.

 

Improve the customer experience and services

Marketers are concerned with the overall satisfaction rate with their brand, the website and the customer service. Survey emails can help to gather information about customers’ experiences and perceptions, so brands can keep on improving.

It’s also a feel good for the consumer to be asked for an opinion, making it a huge win- win. The brand gets genuine customer input in order to improve their service, products or marketing, and the consumer gets a chance to be heard…and sometimes a chance to win too, as in this survey email from Farfetch.

farfetch

In this mail, the brand asks customers to take a survey as Farfetch gathers information before improving their website. Customers who participate in the survey get a chance to win a voucher to spend with the brand.

 

For quality assurance

A survey email is also an effective way to get immediate feedback, asking for information while the experience is still fresh in the customer’s mind and therefore accurate. This Naked Pizza email follows up after a meal offering customers a chance to comment on the pizza right away. The leading text is perhaps a little too subjective for what is supposed to be a survey email (“deliciously”? “excellent”? “feel great”?), but the customer’s input can be immediate.

This Orbitz email is also a good follow-up survey email, although in this case it’s less quality assurance for the brand (Orbitz) and more giving input on a place the customer visited on a trip, in order to provide feedback for other travelers.

In this mobile receipt, Swamp Rabbit Café and Grocery takes the immediacy of customer feedback to a whole new level, by simply asking for input on the experience with a smiley face and a frowny face right there on the receipt.

 

Zazzle: Learning more about the customer

Gathering more data for targeted and segmented email marketing later on, is probably the most common reason for using customer surveys. That’s because the more one knows about one’s customers, the more targeted email marketing can be. Although they are more likely to share their preferences and profile information, still customers generally do not like to hand over masses and masses of data at the beginning stages of the relationship with a brand.

Surveys can help to gather more data later on, once the relationship has started and a brand has gained some trust with that customer. That’s when a customer survey can be used to ask those questions that aren’t appropriate to ask at the very early stages of the relationship, when someone is just subscribing or making their first purchase

This email from Zazzle asks for quite a bit of information. It is framed in a “help us to help you” kind of way, by promising the  data that will in turn lead to better, more targeted emails. You see some open fields in the questionnaire, these are great for getting more detailed feedback / answers that you didn’t think of before.

zazzle

(source Emailmarketingrules.com)

 

Review your questions before sending out any survey!

A marketer should always review the questions they are about to ask. What you as a marketer do with the information once we have it? But also: what is the best way to gather that information?

Questions like “What is your favorite time to open our emails?” or “Do you open our emails on a phone?” like Zazzle asked, what will they be able to do with that information?

First off, that type of behavioral data can be gathered by looking at the open statistics. (assuming they have email marketing software that is able to do what they need). But then? Send a mobile optimized version to them at the time the individual is most likely to open? With all the mobile email opens nowadays, you should be sending out a mobile optimized version to everybody anyway. This might the biggest takeaway of the article: before you send out the survey, review the questions + possible answers for usability later on.

 

Getting (crowd sourced) inspiration

Brands can also make their subscribers part of their creative teams by using survey emails to ask for ideas and input. For example, MOO uses a survey email to seek suggestions for the MOOsletter, asking subscribers for the kinds of content they want to receive.

This is an excellent way to achieve three different goals: 1) staying top of mind in the subscriber’s inbox, 2) making the subscriber feel valued by asking for input, and 3) generating article ideas that subscribers are truly interested in without spending hours, days or even weeks generating article ideas on their own.

moo

The constant opportunity to be marketing is one commonality to note among all of these different ways to do survey emails. Regardless of the intent of the email on the surface, every survey email has the potential to keep a brand top of mind, deepen engagement at the inbox level (thereby improving deliverability), and make a sale.

 


Sell and increase your revenue

A survey email can work as a way to generate additional sales too. This Taylor Stitch survey email is well done on two levels (in addition to being attractive in design). On the one hand, the idea of an annual survey tells customers this is not an ad hoc seeking out of opinions, but a regular part of how this brand does business. Which is a pretty good idea. There will always be changes in data and likes and dislikes. To update even the personal info and preferences, a periodical survey can be a great instrument. Not all data will be as up-to-date after a while!

On the other hand – and this was what I was getting to, below the survey the recipient finds products to buy, shown by on-brand, stylish photos. It’s a chance to sell more in a survey email—while the mail is also genuinely asking for input too.

Selling more can also happen by including an incentive for participating in the survey. BlueFly does that in their email, offering $20 off an order of $100 or more just for doing the survey. Then there’s this Moosejaw email that’s all about the incentive, with a huge “free $10” in the email, and tiny type about the survey. You can understand that this is might actually be nothing more than a smart sales tactic.

moosejaw

Survey your email marketing strategy

Survey emails are undoubtedly underappreciated and underused by most marketers. They are a powerful tactic that is easy for any marketer to employ, and as you have seen to achieve multiple goals.  The DMA email client report puts survey emails on number 3 on the list of most powerful email types. So make sure you make the most out of the “power of the ask”.  Are customer surveys already a part of your email marketing strategy? What was the last survey you sent out?

The Hidden Power of the Survey Email is a post from: GetResponse Blog - Email Marketing Tips

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Tips for Building a Better Internal Link Profile http://blog.getresponse.com/tips-for-building-a-better-internal-link-profile.html http://blog.getresponse.com/tips-for-building-a-better-internal-link-profile.html#comments Fri, 26 Jun 2015 13:27:04 +0000 http://blog.getresponse.com/?p=19928 Maybe now is the time to understand the difference between earning links and building links. It seems that for the last year or so, the trend has shifted from having to build links – to having to earn them with … Read more

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Maybe now is the time to understand the difference between earning links and building links. It seems that for the last year or so, the trend has shifted from having to build links – to having to earn them with outstanding content. The concept was already introduced a long time ago, but at the time nobody paid much attention to it. These days, good web design and quality of content are the main factors writers and journalists take into consideration when trying to fetch the links from across the web.

With that in mind, building links is still possible, both from external sources, but also from internal. The benefits of internal link building can be immense, but throwing links to your favorite content all over the place is not going to make much of an impression; not on search engines, neither on real people. It’s all about architecture of your links, right? Well, not always.

Internal link building, when done right, can help you to manage the actual traffic that comes to your site internally, meaning that you can create separate pages and drive traffic to them just with internal links, which can be very beneficial if you’re working within a tightly-sealed niche market. With that in mind, here are five tips to help you get started with building a better internal link profile.

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1. Pages with the most links

Every website has a most linked-to page, probably quite a few of them if we begin to inspect them using a 3rd party app. Ahrefs, Majestic SEO and Open Site Explorer are just a few of the tools we can use to analyze our most linked-to pages. Once you’ve got an idea of the pages with most link juice flowing to them, it’s time to make some edits.

The best way to approach these posts is by including a few of your lesser-known website pages in these posts, do it in the form of a related post, a quote coming from the other post, or a blatant banner — explaining what you’re trying to promote. Why not get the most out of pages that are already performing well?

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2. Quantity of internal pages

One thing to remember is that if you wish to build a solid internal linking strategy, you will need to have a good amount of internal pages to work with. Having 20 pages all inter-connected, linking back to each other, is only going to signal that you’re trying to promote the same stuff over and over; as it is right now, search engines are more clever than this. It has been long talked about as to why a business needs to invest in a content marketing strategy.

A content marketing strategy will allow you to diversify your content, organized by categories and sub-categories, within which we can begin to build our internal link profile that will connect our content in a natural way.

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3. Relevant content, relevant links

To expand on the above, it’s of utmost importance to link your pages in a way that signals that they’re somehow related to each other. You don’t want to be creating internal links based on two different pages — where one of the pages talks about how to create vegetable juice, and the other talks about how to change a tire for your car. You get the point.

The more of your internal links signal of relevance, the easier it is to build yourself as an authority on the web. Search engines reward relevancy, highly. (I guess it makes it easier for them to differentiate between good quality sites, and poor quality sites.)

Relevant pages include: homepage links, navigation links, menu links, related links in the sidebar and footer, and within the content itself.

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4. Breadcrumbs

Yes, those tiny little navigation links below/above the title of the content, they’re actually great little tools for creating more relevancy in your pages, and allowing both search engines and users to see where each individual piece of content is coming from. Not only does it allow you to create a more flowing environment between your pages, using specific plugins/modifications will allow you to also add anchor text to your breadcrumbs, really strengthening that internal linking strategy.

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5. It’s not just content

While everything on your website can be considered content, articles and blog posts will usually have more power behind influencing the ranking of other internal pages, based on factors such as social involvement and the size of the pages.

However, your business pages, such as About, Privacy Policy and Terms of Service are also good places to scout for internal linking possibilities. Usually, these pages will already be linked to from every page on your website, so why not tap into the potential of adding a few links to them as well.

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Keep Track of It All

All of the above tips are going to strengthen your internal linking strategy immensely, it will help search engine robots to truly understand your site and your content, and because this method is so often overlooked by amateurs and people who don’t care about search engine optimization, you’re going to get a slight advantage over other businesses and individuals who work within that niche. My last advice is to keep track of it all.

Meaning, it’s a good idea to keep a record of all the things you’re changing and adjusting — it could be as simple as a WordPress draft in which you keep track of all the internal links you make, or you could use something like Evernote to keep notes, even a personal journal written by a pen will do. So as long as you know what links to what yourself, otherwise the risk of making your site seem spammy can increase.

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Alex_IAbout the Author: Alex Ivanovs is an expert blogger on technology, business and web development; having been working within all three fields for over a decade. His writing and insights can be found over at CodeCondo — a quickly evolving platform for designers and developers.

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What Have You Done For Me Lately? Why Subscribers Unsubscribe http://blog.getresponse.com/what-have-you-done-for-me-lately-why-subscribers-unsubscribe.html http://blog.getresponse.com/what-have-you-done-for-me-lately-why-subscribers-unsubscribe.html#comments Thu, 25 Jun 2015 14:24:59 +0000 http://blog.getresponse.com/?p=20008 Has anyone unsubscribed from your list lately? If no one has, you probably either have a super-tiny list or no list at all. Because every marketer – every single one – loses subscribers. We lose subscribers all the time. No … Read more

What Have You Done For Me Lately? Why Subscribers Unsubscribe is a post from: GetResponse Blog - Email Marketing Tips

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Has anyone unsubscribed from your list lately? If no one has, you probably either have a super-tiny list or no list at all. Because every marketer – every single one – loses subscribers. We lose subscribers all the time. No matter how hard you try and how long you work, some people are just going to fall off your list now and then. It’s the facts of life… or at least the facts of email marketing. While it’s a bummer to get any unsubscribes, so long as your unsubscribe rate stays below about half a percent, you’re not doing too bad. Just keep this in mind: If half a percent is a decent unsubscribe rate, and your list has 200 people, every time you send an email at least one of them will unsubscribe. Ouch.

Fortunately, there’s no reason to settle with even a “decent” unsubscribe rate. You worked hard to get those people on your list. You’d like to keep them. We’d like you to keep them, too. So here are the most common reasons people unsubscribe, along with what you can do to counteract each one.

 

1) Information overload

They get too many emails from you.

In email marketing research studies of why people unsubscribe, “too many emails” usually gets the #1 spot for why people unsubscribe. Sending emails too often is a sure way to drive people off your list.

So how often is too often? Ah… it depends on your list. But there is some general data available. In January of this year MarketingSherpa asked 2,000 U.S. adults about their email frequency preferences. Here’s how those survey respondents answered the question “How often, if ever, would you like to receive promotional emails (e.g., coupons, sales notifications) from companies that you do business with?”

chartofweek-02-10-15-lp

Admittedly, the answers are spread around. But clearly most people want to hear from companies via email roughly once a week or once a month. And actually most email marketing best practice guides recommend mailing at least once a month. Here’s why: Any less and people will forget who you are.

But given that we’re talking about why people unsubscribe, what we’re really concerned about is sending too much email. It’s hard to say exactly how much is too much, but here are some guidelines:

  • Twice a day is too much. Even in the height of holiday marketing, even if you’re a big retailer with good engagement rates. Sending emails twice a day is going to drive up your unsubscribe rate.
  • Once a day is probably too much. Now, there are a lot of exceptions to this. I bet you can rattle off at least five different emails you get every day and love. But it’s hard to pull off. You’ve got to be delivering excellent, useful, high-quality content to mail every day. And if you pitch something for people to buy, do it no more than once or twice a week, and hopefully less.

If you are sending a sales email every day (and you can afford to test this), see what happens if you drop to twice a week or once a week. Even a two-week trial can be interesting. And, conversely, if you’re a retailer mailing only once a week, consider trying twice a week. Your unsubscribe rate may tick up a little, but if you can generate 30% or 40% more sales, maybe that’s worth a few unsubscribes.

In addition to testing frequency, you can also try an “opt-down” prompt, like this:

OptDown

Or you can send an entire email dedicated to the opt-down, like this:

FewerEmailsAlexisGrant

I’ve seen this kind of dedicated opt-down email from a number of marketing experts recently, including Danny Iny and Chris Brogan. It’s a good way to hold on to some of your subscribers.

 

They get too many emails in general.

Your subscriber may have opted out simply because they get too many emails. Most of us feel like we get too much email. You only have to look at the huge field of inbox management tools available to see how big the need for managing and  reducing emails is.

While this sounds like a legitimate reason to lose someone, it’s really just a surface cause. If you lose a subscriber because they’re getting too many emails in general, you’re actually losing them because your emails aren’t good enough to make their cut. They probably aren’t unsubscribing from every single email they get – they’re just thinning the herd a bit. And alas, your emails are one of the messages to get thinned.

Opting out from too many emails is basically the long-term version of the morning’s email cull. That’s when your subscriber sits down at their computer, opens their email client and discovers they have, say, 214 emails to weed through. They immediately begin a hasty cull, deleting as many of them as they can. All the unnecessary emails get culled. Hopefully, the emails you send aren’t considered “unnecessary”.

This brings us directly to the next reason why your emails might not be good enough to keep. It’s also the next most common reason people unsubscribe.

 

2) Your emails aren’t relevant

Emails that aren’t relevant are probably the second most common reason people unsubscribe. This is interesting – it reminds me of the consumer’s definition of spam: Email they don’t want or aren’t interested in. By definition, if your emails aren’t relevant to your audience, they probably aren’t interested in them.

The best way to get around this is to segment your list. You there are a bunch of ways to do that. You can segment based on:

  • interests people select when they sign up
  • which links people have clicked in your emails
  • which online resources (ebooks, on-demand webinars, etc) people have downloaded
  • participation in online events (like a webinar)
  • how often people click on your emails (aka frequency of interaction)
  • geography
  • overlay data (like income level, psychographics, etc)

That’s just a starter list. There are almost endless ways to segment.

 

Sometimes, they just gotta go

While it is possible to slice and dice your email list so you deliver more relevant information, keep in mind that sometimes people just gotta go. Interests change.

Even if you’re delivering super-relevant information, it’s possible that eventually some of your subscribers will just exhaust their interest in your subject. And that’s okay. Because of the blogging you do, and the content marketing and SEO, and all your list building work, there will always be new people discovering your work.

 

How to see why people have unsubscribed from your list in your GetResponse account

We’ve covered the common causes for unsubscribes. But what about your list? Why are people unsubscribing from your list? Fortunately, there’s an easy way to find that out. By default, when someone unsubscribes from a GetResponse email list, the system asks them why they’re leaving. So to find out why people are leaving your list, all you have to do is to just find that report.

Here’s how: Go to the “Statistics” tab in your GetResponse account. Choose “Email Analytics” from the drop-down menu, like this:

WhyUnSubReport1

On the next page, navigate to one of your email campaigns. Click the “Unsubscribed” section of the report and you’ll see how people responded to the exit survey they filled out before unsubscribing. Here’s what that report looks like:

WhyUnSubReport2

Armed with this information, hopefully you can adjust your email marketing and retain more subscribers. Or, if you’re well below the .5% unsubscribe rate, you can just sit back and admire your awesomeness.

 

What about you?

Why do you unsubscribe from email lists? Why do you think people unsubscribe from your list? Have you run any tests for unsubscribe rates? We want to know how managing unsubscribes is going for you. Feel free to tell us about it in the comments.

 

What Have You Done For Me Lately? Why Subscribers Unsubscribe is a post from: GetResponse Blog - Email Marketing Tips

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6 Reasons Transparency Can Engage More Readers http://blog.getresponse.com/6-reasons-transparency-can-engage-more-readers.html http://blog.getresponse.com/6-reasons-transparency-can-engage-more-readers.html#comments Wed, 24 Jun 2015 13:47:32 +0000 http://blog.getresponse.com/?p=19996 Today, accessing information is quicker than ever. It’s never been easier to figure out the details of people, events or even companies. After all, we’re in the internet age— where almost everything is available online and where people can find … Read more

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Today, accessing information is quicker than ever. It’s never been easier to figure out the details of people, events or even companies. After all, we’re in the internet age— where almost everything is available online and where people can find a myriad of facts by utilizing a simple search term.

Between social media sites, news outlets, and search engines, the level of transparency that people are expecting, both as employees and clients, has never been higher. Although this can be a challenge, it’s also something that company’s can utilize to help them to truly connect with their customers like never before.

While the exact level of transparency that a company chooses depends on their business, culture and structure, there is definitely a benefit to being open and honest with ones readers, including customers and prospects. More specifically, this can equate to creating a solid foundation of trust that can affect everything from customer lifecycle longevity to closing initial deals.

But the real question is, how can this transparency help your brand and in the end, engage even more readers? There are a number of ways, including:

 

1. Building a Sense of Trust

Think about the best types of relationships in your life. Usually, it’s much more than just a great connection.You trust in their decisions and who they are— that they’re honest, open and will tell you whatever needs to be said if there’s a need for it to be communicated. In this same way, as a brand, a sense of trust is built with your readers when you let them into your story. By extending a similar courtesy as you would to your friends or even colleagues— as well as being open about your wins, challenges and struggles— you’ll not only build stronger relationships, you’ll give your readers the desire to hear more.

 

2. You’re Telling Your Own Story

By taking control and writing about your journey— whether that means discussing challenges you’ve faced as a business, exciting accomplishments or obstacles you’ve overcome— you’re telling your story by the person(s) that know best. Whether your goal is to connect with more customers, prospects or even employees, your audience will respond more strongly to something that is written utilizing a firsthand account. In other words, what has affected you and how, straight from the horse’s mouth. Not only does this make your writing more appealing, it also allows you to share and describe your experiences in a way that only you can.

 

3. People Connect with Real

Especially when it comes to business, your audience wants to hear specifics. That means data, case studies, and a number of examples that can help them to make more informed decisions and learn from your accomplishments and struggles in the past. Regardless of the subject matter, people can tell when something is crafted for PR value, simply to take up space or solely to promote your brand. They want to hear about actual people, places and events— all of which can help to garner more consistent readership and even subscribers.

 

4. Valuable Advice

When you tell your own story and freely discuss problems you’ve faced, issues you’ve overcome, the things you’ve done right, and what you wish you would have done differently, you have the ability to tell a complete story. What’s more, the story that you tell becomes that much more compelling because you’re utilizing your own journey to offer up examples and results. Beyond that, you can give other companies, customers and colleagues great advice that could have only come from experiencing things yourself. Ultimately, this is the content that they’ll want to read regularly and more, that they won’t be able to find anywhere else.

 

5. People Want More

Not only do people want a higher level of transparency, they’re starting to expect it. The fact is, if you’re being honest and engaging, of course your audience will want to hear more. This can include additional information about what you’re experiencing, future plans, overcoming obstacles, etc. Look at the best blogs, newsletters, or marketing collateral out there— one of the things they’ll probably all have in common? An aim to truly bring value to the table for their readers, giving them more of what they want and delivering engaging content to keep their audience coming back for more. By giving people the inside scoop and insight into what it’s like to be your shoes, you’ll not only create a greater capacity to connect, your audience will be more apt to tune in next time.

 

6. Transparency Means Thought-Leadership

In the end, no matter what industry you’re in, being a thought-leader in your space will always be the ultimate goal. After all, more ideas and innovative thinking is what moves the needle for companies, attracting additional site visitors, helping with more conversions and increasing your number of regular readers. By being willing to share your journey as a business, you have the ability to back up any thoughts, ideas or changes you’ve made in your business with your own data. Likewise, being transparent allows you to deliver new ideas and analysis on the state of your industry with an insight that many others are either unwilling to share or unable to provide.

open_book

An Open Book

Let’s face it— being a completely open book is a pretty challenging task, and one that few companies have decided to embark on at that. But gaining the trust of your readership and maintaining strong relationships doesn’t have to be an all or nothing feat. As a company, it’s imperative that each business make the decision about how open they’re willing to be and whether or not it’s a fit for them.

Just remember, being transparent and forthcoming about everything from accomplishments to PR nightmares can end up working in your favor. Most people respect when someone takes responsibility for the decisions that they make and more, when they hear it from the source first.

So whether you have a list with thousands of blog subscribers, or are trying to get steady email blasts in circulation for your brand, consider transparency. Not only can it help to create a strong foundation with your readers, it can be leveraged to pave the way for open and honest conversations in every facet of your business. How do you create an “open book” conversation in your business? Tell us in the comments below!

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ChavezAbout the Author: Crystal Chavez has been in digital marketing for over 5 years. She’s currently the Marketing Manager for Hivewyre, a FLAT digital ad co-op in Scottsdale, Arizona. By contributing anonymous data about what shoppers browse, Hivewyre co-op members work together to form a powerful data source of what in-market consumers actually want. For more information, visit www.hivewyre.com and follow them on Twitter at @Hivewyre. 

6 Reasons Transparency Can Engage More Readers is a post from: GetResponse Blog - Email Marketing Tips

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