GetResponse Blog - Email Marketing Tips http://blog.getresponse.com Fri, 29 May 2015 12:23:30 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.1.2 How Buyer Personas Personalize Marketing Automation http://blog.getresponse.com/how-buyer-personas-personalize-marketing-automation.html http://blog.getresponse.com/how-buyer-personas-personalize-marketing-automation.html#comments Fri, 29 May 2015 12:23:30 +0000 http://blog.getresponse.com/?p=19803 Mentioning personalization and marketing automation in the same breath may at first seem like a paradox — the former describes marketing on a one-to-one basis, while the latter refers to software that helps marketers scale. Closer examination reveals that the … Read more

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Mentioning personalization and marketing automation in the same breath may at first seem like a paradox — the former describes marketing on a one-to-one basis, while the latter refers to software that helps marketers scale.

Closer examination reveals that the two are linked in a significant way. Marketing automation software equips marketers with powerful targeting capabilities, thus allowing for more granular personalization of content, which most marketers know is critical to their success. So how do marketers personalize marketing automation, deliver relevant content that their customers want, and avoid sounding, well, like an automaton?

Using demographic data alone to broadly segment your market simply isn’t that useful anymore. Buyer personas that blend quantitative behavioral data with qualitative responses from customer interviews are now becoming the de facto way for marketers to target key segments of their customers.

Buyer personas combine data from a variety of sources to help marketers identify different segments of their audience. If personalization is the destination, then personas are the maps that help you get there.

Without any type of personalization, marketing automation can indeed make your brand sound like a robot. But when automation is used in tandem with personas, the software helps marketers create material that speaks to prospects on something very close to an individual level.

Practically speaking, this means personas play an integral role in shaping the type of content you feed your marketing automation software and the buyer journeys you build using your automation platform.

 

Speak to Individual Customer Challenges

Email drip campaigns are one of the most powerful features of marketing automation. Yet despite being able to segment, target, and time content delivery through these nurturing campaigns, nearly half of consumers report receiving irrelevant emails on a daily basis.

A better use of personas could alleviate this problem. Even though buyers may fall into the same customer segment, it doesn’t mean they have the same obstacles or even the same motivators.

Consider the differences in the main points of a chief marketing officer from an enterprise organization and a CMO from a small business. A study published in the Harvard Business Review found that the number of people involved in the purchasing process for business software is inversely proportional to the likelihood that the company will buy.

Why? Because creating consensus among diverse stakeholders is difficult, and discussions most often broke down around simply identifying a solution — much less choosing a vendor.

Too often business-to-business marketers and sales teams target one specific executive — in this case the CMO — and try to sell them on just the value of their specific product. In reality, these buyers need help creating consensus within their organization, and they need information about the broad value of the solution itself in order to convince their colleagues.

Because of these complications in team decision making, only a little over 50 percent of buyer groups with five members (the average is 5.4) end up agreeing on the type of solution they need. Compare that with the 81 percent of decisions made by a single buyer.

Without accurate personas, it’s all too easy to assume an enterprise CMO and a startup CMO are generally interested in the same content.

Lumping both groups of buyers into the same lead nurturing campaign will inevitably alienate one or the other.

Rather than use personas to develop content that speaks to the distinct needs of each buyer, automation is being used as a blunt instrument to promote content that’s too broad or simply irrelevant (it’s unlikely that the single-buyer CMO needs detailed strategies for building consensus).

automation

Develop an Accurate Buyer’s Journey

The buyer’s journey has been described as a three-legged stool, which is a metaphor for “getting the right content to the right people at the right time.”

This is confirmed by consumer sentiment: 61 percent of B2B buyers agreed that the winning vendor delivered a better mix of content appropriate to each stage of the purchasing funnel.

Using the travails of the enterprise CMO as a framework, marketers can use marketing automation — again, specifically with automated nurturing campaigns — to build buyers’ journeys that deliver consistently relevant messages at every touchpoint, and at every stage.

This is another area where the qualitative and quantitative aspects of personas work well with marketing automation. If building consensus is a pain point for enterprise buyers, a mix of interviews, surveys, and analytics will reveal at what point finding agreement is most difficult.

The previously mentioned HBR study found that for B2B buyers, the solution-identification stage was the most difficult obstacle. Software vendors too often focus on promoting the individual value of their brand, rather than helping prospects identify the type of solution that would best answer their problem.

This is a mismatch in the buying journey. Software vendors were jumping ahead to the final vendor-selection phase, which was off-putting to prospects who were in earlier stages of the funnel. This misalignment worked against the vendors because it worked against their customers.

Using personas will identify which buying stages need to be better filled for which type of prospects — in this example, creating a series of detailed pieces around the overall value of any email marketing software would be the best course of action.

Once that buying stage has been padded with content, frame a section of the lead nurturing campaign around that pain point, and deliver that content to prospects who fall into that stage of the buying funnel, rather than provide them with information they’ve already read (like identifying a problem) or information they’re not ready for.

Because buyers’ don’t always follow linear paths to achieving their goals, you should also use the dynamic content capabilities of your marketing automation system to ensure the next email that prospects receive is based on behavior, rather than solely their persona.

Using buyer personas to strategically match your content to the purchasing cycle of your customers can do wonders for your conversion rates — like a 50 percent increase in form completion rates.

 

Your Turn

This is only one example of how to using buyer personas with marketing automation, though the B2B software buyer is a growing audience, and an industry where a lot of marketers use automation. By creating and combining personas with automation software, you’ll be able to practice marketing that’s both data driven and empathetic to the day-to-day obstacles of your customers.

In other words, you’ll be able to get the best of both worlds: marketing that addresses individual needs while maintaining the ability to scale.

 

zach-watsonAbout the Author: Zach Watson is the content manager at TechnologyAdvice. He covers marketing automation, healthcare IT, business intelligence, and other emerging technology. Connect with him on LinkedIn.

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50 Google+ Accounts Every Marketer Should Follow http://blog.getresponse.com/50-google-accounts-every-marketer-should-follow.html http://blog.getresponse.com/50-google-accounts-every-marketer-should-follow.html#comments Thu, 28 May 2015 13:57:20 +0000 http://blog.getresponse.com/?p=19786 Google+ has a reputation for struggling to keep up with the other major social media platforms. However, at the moment it seems to be firmly holding its place. Social Media Examiner’s just published 2015 Social Media Marketing Industry Report ranks … Read more

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Google+ has a reputation for struggling to keep up with the other major social media platforms. However, at the moment it seems to be firmly holding its place. Social Media Examiner’s just published 2015 Social Media Marketing Industry Report ranks Google+ just ahead of YouTube and Pinterest in terms of adoption. It crushes Instagram, and leaves platforms like SlideShare, Vine, and Snapchat in the dust. 

CommonlyUseSocialPlatforms2015SocialMediaExaminer

Things may get even better. That same report says half the marketers surveyed plan to increase their activities of Big G’s social platform this coming year.

GooglePlusExpansion2

From the 2015 Social Media Marketing Industry Report published by Social Media Examiner. 3,700 marketers participated in the report’s research

We’ve done a few posts about Google+ over the last year or so. One of those posts was for people who had no Google+ presence, but wanted to at least gain a footing on the platform. Another post by Marya Jan expanded on that first installment by giving a clear 30-item to do list for expanding your presence, weaving Google+ into your other marketing efforts, and getting better results.

This post takes you another step deeper into Google+. It’s common on social media to get totally focused on getting your profile looking right, getting your posts looking good and building your platform. Many businesses get so focused on those tasks (which are very important, no doubt) that they forget to really participate.

Namely, they forget to follow anyone else. This is a huge missed opportunity, and a tad bit anti-social. So we thought it would help to get mingling by showing you about fifty different people to follow.  This list is skewed to affiliates, but if you’re a small local business, a solopreneur, a retailer or a SAAS company, there are some worthy people to follow in this list too. We’ve made notes on which people are appropriate for different kinds of marketers.

So without further ado, here are 50 Google+ accounts to follow, whether you’re in affiliate marketing or any other kind of digital marketing:

 

1) Guy Kawasaki

6,922,214 followers, for any marketer.

Guy Kawasaki has had as long and illustrious a career in marketing as anyone could hope for. It’s unlikely that you haven’t heard of him. He’s a huge fan of Google+.

GuyKawasaki

2) Mari Smith

236,963 followers, for any marketer who’s on social media.

Mari might well be the Queen of Facebook. If not, I don’t know who could be. She’s also endlessly knowledgeable about anything to do with social media or marketing.

 

3) Seth Godin

143,135 followers, for any marketer

Seth is a thought leader with a long list of best-sellers to his credit. He’s also a blogger and one of the most interesting social media practioners. Unfortunately, he hasn’t published a post on Google+ in over a year. I’m including him here anyway, simply because, well, he’s Seth Godin.

 

4) Chris Brogan

132,433 followers, for any marketer

Chris Brogan obviously has a huge Google+ presence, and a similarly influential voice across other social media platforms. But he’s also a big advocate of email marketing.

 

5) Ann Smarty

48,523 followers, for bloggers or anyone who wants more traffic

Ann is the founder of MyBlogU.com and MyBlogGuest.com. If you’re a blogger or just blog occasionally, you should be familiar with her work.

 

6) Anna Hoffman

35,070 followers, for any marketer

Anna knows a ton about SEO, Google+ and many other social media platforms. She also sends a helpful weekly roundup of what’s happened online in the last week.

 

7) Kristi Hines

33,152 followers, for bloggers, anyone who wants more traffic, and affiliates

Kristi Hines is one of the best bloggers anywhere. She’s an expert on SEO and can write about pretty much anything related to social media or Internet marketing with complete authority.

 

8) Neil Patel

31,082 followers, for affiliates or any marketer

Read and follow Neil if you want more traffic or more influence or more followers. Or just more returns from your efforts online.

 

9) Jay Baer

30,457 followers, for social media marketers and B2B or brand marketers

Jay Baer is a thought-leader and author, a social media expert of the first rate… and a vocal advocate of email marketing.

JayBaer

10) Lewis Howes

30,137 followers, for marketers who want inspiration and high-level marketing ideas

Lewis is the founder of The School of Greatness. He’s got a large, very loyal following on Google+ and elsewhere.

 

11) Amy Porterfield

22,974 followers, for anyone on Facebook

Amy’s expertise is on Facebook, but she’s more than marketer enough to have extremely valueable things to say about anything related to promoting online.

 

12) Jeff Bullas

21,716 followers, for affiliates, bloggers, and any other marketer

Jeff launched and runs one of the best Internet marketing blogs.

 

13) Pat Flynn

21,400 followers, for affiliates

Pay Flynn is all affiliate marketing. He’s a bit of a rockstar at it.

 

14) Ryan Deiss

19,956 followers for affiliates and information marketers

Ryan uses email heavily, but he also knows his way around social media and SEO, too. If you’re even thinking about doing any kind of information marketing, study his work.

 

15) Derek Halpern

18,916 followers, for any marketer, but especially good for solopreneurs and solo professionals

The ever-bold Derek Halpern makes fantastic marketing and marketing psychology videos. He’s also a list-building and blog-building expert.

 

16) Wade Harman

18,687 followers, for anyone on Google+

Wade’s expertise is Google+, so he’s a must-follow even though he appears to be quiet on the platform recently while he finishes a book. Just the animation on his Google+ page alone is worth the visit.

 

17) John Chow

12,196 followers, for affiliates

John is a titan of affiliate marketing. Unfortunately, he hasn’t updated his Google+ page in several months. But I included Seth Godin “because he’s Seth Godin.” John Chow is big enough in affiliate marketing to give him the same pass.

 

18) Shawn Collins

11,845 followers, for affiliates

Shawn makes the annual Affiliate Summit happen.

 

19) Melonie Dodaro

11,669 followers, for anyone on LinkedIn

Melonie is a LinkedIn expert, but her Google+ page is a really nice example of how to do this platform right.

 

20) Michael Dunlop

11,568 followers, for affiliates

Michael owns the affiliate training site IncomeDiary.com.

 

21) DJ Waldow

10,914 followers

DJ is an email marketing guy (he did a webinar for GetResponse) who also has a large following on Google+.

DJWaldow

22) Jon Morrow

10,472 followers, for anyone who blogs

Joh Morrow is from Copyblogger, but this is his own account. He’s somewhat on his own now, running one of the better blogs on blogging. Sadly, he’s another example of a marketer with a large following on Google+ who hasn’t updated his page in months. Still, it’s worth the follow.

 

23) Missy Ward

9,739 followers, for affiliates

Missy is also part of Affiliate Summit. She also has a very popular affiliate marketing blog.

 

24) Aaron Lee

9,718 followers, for affiliates

 

25) Kerry Butters

8,913 followers, for any marketer

Our own Kerry Butters writes about anything related to Internet marketing.

 

26) Francisco Rosales

7,696 followers, for social media marketers

Francisco is one of those smart social media marketers who figured out fast email is where the money is. He has a terrific blog that is must-read for any marketer.

 

27) Rosalind Gardner

6,920 followers, for affiliates

Rosalind has been around affiliate marketing as long as anyone anywhere.

RosalindGardner

28) Chris Ducker

6,809 followers, for small business marketers or marketing strategists

Chris is a little different than anyone else here, but he’s got a great Google+ page and a lot to teach.

 

29) Andrea Vahl

6,526 followers, for social media marketers

Andrea is one of the most sought-after social media marketers and speakers.

 

30) Noah Kagan

5,378 followers, for any marketer, but especially good for email marketers and affiliate marketers

Noah writes a lot about how to build lists. He also gives awesome discounts on cool Internet marketing and content creation tools.

 

31) Alexis Grant

5,128 followers, for affiliates, any marketer or writers

 

32) Heidi Cohen

4,932 followers, for any marketer but especially good for content marketers and social media marketers

 

33) Ramsay Taplin

4,628 followers, for affiliates and bloggers

 

34) Jeremy Schoemaker “Shoemoney”

4,490 followers, for affiliates

Shoemoney has taught thousands, maybe tens of thousands how to do affiliate marketing.

 

35) Ian Cleary

4,454 followers

Like marketing tools? Then you gotta see Ian’s site, RazorSocial.com.

IanCleary

36) Steve Scott

4,389 followers, for affiliates, bloggers and authors (especially Amazon Kindle authors)

 

37) Danny Inny

3,989 followers, for marketers who want to build an audience

 

38) Jamie Turner

3,887 followers, for any marketer

 

39) James Clear

3,350 followers, for marketers who like productivity tips (and email list building ideas)

 

40) Brian Dean

3,528 followers, for anyone who wants more traffic

If you want more traffic to your site, Brian Dean’s superb, free, detailed content is just the ticket.

 

41) Jon Loomer

3,383 followers, for Facebook marketers

JonLoomer

42) Kim Roach

3,281 followers, for any marketer

 

43) Pam Dyer

3,163 followers, for social media marketers

 

44) Yaro Starak

2,600 followers, for affiliate marketers

 

45) Darren Rowse/ProBlogger

2,045 followers, for affiliates and anyone who blogs

 

46) Henneke Duistermaat

1,887 followers, for anyone who writes

 

47) Barry Feldman

1,835 followers, for content marketers and copywriters

 

48) Jordie van Rijn

1,398 followers, for email marketers

Jordie writes blog posts for GetResponse at least once a month. He also maintains his own blog at Email Monday.com.

 

49) Scott Fox

961 followers, for affiliates or other marketers

 

50) Joanna Wiebe

846 followers, for A/B testing enthusiasts and copywriters

Joanna Wiebe recently wrote the ebook “How to Write Newsletters That Get Opened, Read and Clicked” for GetResponse.

 

Bonus:

51) Marya Jan

826 followers, for any marketer

Our own Marya Jan writes about email marketing, social media, and anything else a small business owner or solopreneur might need to know about promotion.

Know of anyone I missed? There’s got to be quite a few. Shout out their names in the comments. 

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10 Simple Actions to Make Your Discovery Calls Lead to Sales http://blog.getresponse.com/10-simple-actions-to-make-your-discovery-calls-lead-to-sales.html http://blog.getresponse.com/10-simple-actions-to-make-your-discovery-calls-lead-to-sales.html#comments Wed, 27 May 2015 13:23:06 +0000 http://blog.getresponse.com/?p=19780 Are you a coach, consultant or a service provider? Are you sick and tired of trying to get people on the phone (or Skype) to get them to work with you? Are your discovery calls not resulting in paid clients? … Read more

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Are you a coach, consultant or a service provider? Are you sick and tired of trying to get people on the phone (or Skype) to get them to work with you? Are your discovery calls not resulting in paid clients? This blog post is sure to help. 

Dig in and see which aspect of your discovery call you need to change. Or maybe you are approaching this in an entirely wrong way altogether. Let’s find out!

 

#1 Determine if they are a right fit

Think of a discovery as a meet-and-greet call where the entire goal of the call is to determine if you are a right fit for each other.

You won’t truly understand the importance of conducting discovery calls until you start working with a few clients who you should never have never said yes to. Trust me, this happens. Especially when you are a new coach and are very excited with filling your coaching practice, then you don’t pay real attention to the kind of people who show interest in working with you. You are keen to work with just about anyone.

It’s when the coaching begins, that you start seeing red flags. These people don’t turn up on time, reschedule forever and are late in paying invoices. Maybe there are personality clashes. They don’t take action and won’t seriously consider doing the things you advise on. Maybe they have a totally different philosophy when it comes to achieving their goals.

If you have doubts while speaking with these people or your gut is telling you to be careful, listen. You really don’t want to agree to work with someone and start resenting them the next time you see them.

You should have created an ideal client persona prior to getting on the call. Do you work with women, men, or it doesn’t matter. What about the age group? What about their income or industry level. What values are important to your client? What kind of temperament do you work best with?

Next look at your own style, strengths, and approach and communicate this on the call. Do you get straight to the point? Do you have a nurturing or no-nonsensical style of working? Do you only advise or tell them what to do? What happens if they don’t follow through? Making sure that you two are a perfect match will do wonders for their success.

 

#2 Make them free

Discovery calls should always be free.

The purpose of a discovery call is to get a person who is seriously interested in working with you to get a feel of what’s it like to do so (as I explained above). This person has probably spent some time consuming your free content. Maybe they have been on your list for a while. They have read your blogposts, watched your videos, and attended your webinars.

You are not looking to prove that you have got what it takes to get them the results you promise, there is an underlying assumption that they are already familiar with your work.

Maybe they have never coached with anyone before and so they want to make sure what the process looks like. Maybe they are not sure if they are making the right choice. This is a no-obligation call which they don’t have to pay for.

Don’t confuse a discovery session with a once-off coaching session which they pay for. Allow me to explain.

 

#3 Don’t coach on the call

Many people confuse discovery call with a free coaching session, but it is not.

When you offer a free discovery session, your primary goal is to assess if you are the right fit for the other person as I have explained above. You do not, and I repeat, do not coach on the call.

This is a mistake I made for the longest time. I would get people to book a free ‘clarity session’ with me and I spent the entire half an hour giving them tons of value. I would actually give them three things they could implement right now to improve things.

However, I failed to see that if I was telling them what to do, prior to working with me, I was essentially making myself redundant. If I told them their next steps and also how they would achieve them, I was basically giving away the farm and they were happy to go and work on that for a while. There was literally no need for them to hire me.

Do not confuse a once-off coaching session (which they pay for) and you working with them on a specific issue. These are often called a strategy session or a clarity call. People can usually book them using an online scheduler and you help them in a very specific area.

They might decide to buy a package to work with you on a strategy session, and you can certainly hope they will, but since they pay, you coach. That’s the difference between the two. Do not coach on a discovery call.

woman-hand-smartphone-desk

#4 Keep it short

This one is fairly simple, do not offer an hour long discovery call. These are way too long and you will run out of things to talk about, and feeling like you need to coach them. Trust me on this. Your discovery calls should be 20-30 minutes long which is plenty for getting a sense of the person you are talking to. Any longer and it will get awkward.

The beauty of keeping this call short is one, they understand that they only have a short amount of time with you and better get straight to the point. And two, they won’t launch into long monologues about their problem, and if they do, you can politely stop them saying you only have so much time together.

Because it is a short call, there is psychology at play here: they won’t feel obligated to sign up or feel guilty about taking up so much of your time. This even makes it easy to book a call knowing that even if they don’t book, they haven’t taken up hours of your time. This is a good thing, unless you want to be one of those sleazy, high pressure, hard-sell kind of marketers we all love to hate.

And finally keep in mind, you will not be converting all of these calls into business, only a percentage of people will book. This means you have to set time aside for discovery calls and actual time for coaching. 

 

#5 Determine their problem

Get on the call and diagnose their problem. It may seem simplistic but people often seek coaching because of symptoms or surface problems.

For example, their product not selling is a surface problem, their actual problem is that they didn’t make the right offer to a big enough list. You, as a business coach, will educate them on what is causing their problem, and what they need to work on to get the results.

Another example, someone has not been able to lose the last 5 kg is a symptom. You need to diagnose the heart of the issue; what is it that is causing this problem?

Listen to the person talk and say what they need from you. Identify the problem. Are you the right person to help them overcome this and reach their goals or what they be better off working with somebody else? In that case, go ahead and refer them to a more suitable coach.

Look into their issue and see how much work it will take.

 

#6 Take them through your process

Take them through your process. Tell them what you will be working on. You don’t want to keep them in the dark. You want to get rid of any confusion as to how you will help them.

Also with every step you highlight, you give them confidence and hope. You inspire them, but most importantly you show the true value of working with you.

You may or may not have prices listed on your website. Even if you have, you’d be surprised to see many people book a call and discover that they didn’t expect to pay this amount.

The only (ethical) way to get them to agree to pay your rates is when they are able to see and get a clear idea of what happen over the next three months and know the exact results they are able to get. Tell them what will happen if they work with you. Take some time before you recommend a package so you don’t have to persuade them. The prospect convinces themselves.

 

#7 Get them committed

Get them to tell you exactly what they hope to achieve. Ask them to elaborate. By getting them to talk about their needs and the results they desire, you get them involved in the process.

By taking them through your process that will give them these results, you are painting a picture of the future. You are essentially saying to them, ‘Here’s what I can do for you. Are you ready to do it?”

You are slowly building commitment (Robert Cialdini). You are asking them to step up and show you that they are ready and willing to do this. They serious about working with you and won’t drop out or waste your time.

You are also saying while you know what needs to happen, it’s them who will make it happen. They have to do the actual work and if they don’t, nothing is guaranteed.

lead_generation

#8 Address objections

Keep it conversational and don’t turn it into a sales pitch. Your prospect is interested in working with you and this is why they have approached you. Ask what they need, put clarity on their issue, show what you can do for them and give them the next steps. In a perfect world, you will sign off every potential client but this doesn’t work like that.

Sometimes the prospect is not a right fit and that is okay. But sometimes you know you would absolutely love to work with them. You know in your heart that you can do so much and hopefully you communicated all that through your passion and a genuine, heartfelt desire to help them. But there still might be some objections you need to address (they are human after all).

Sometimes people come to you with limiting beliefs thinking if they are good enough, or would they be able to do it. You need to build their confidence throughout the call and assure them that it is totally possible. Other times, they are afraid to step out of their comfort zone, or scared of something specific such as technology, or speaking up, or showing up in public and need some reassurance.

The more confident, comfortable and inspired you make them feel, the more they want to work with you.

 

#9 Make a recommendation

At the end of your call, make a recommendation of what package will suit them the best. Explain to them what you will be working on, what they can look to accomplish every month and give them an estimate of how long it will take to reach their goals. At this point you are not making a hard sell, you shouldn’t have to.

In this free, short session, where you basically spent 10-15 minutes identifying the problem and then letting the person know what it is, you have created an enormous amount of trust with them. You have also managed to raise your credibility ten times over.

If they are the right person, they will jump at the chance of working with you. They know the problem, they know beforehand if they can afford you or not, they just wanted to hear from your personally to see if this is all true. Just give them the right option.

 

#10 Give them a call to action

Finally, give them the URL to your sales page, tell them where to click and how to book. If they still need any further information, give it to them. Don’t assume they know and understand everything.  Remove any confusion so they don’t hesitate. Show how excited you are to help them. And thank them for choosing to work with you.

 

Conclusion

If you are sincere and confident in your desire to help your ideal client, they can see it and they can feel it. There is no need for slimy or icky persuasion strategies.

Just follow the process I have highlighted and always display your genuine desire to be of service. And transform your discovery calls. I promise!

And if you have any questions, thoughts, or personal advice let us know in the comments below! 

10 Simple Actions to Make Your Discovery Calls Lead to Sales is a post from: GetResponse Blog - Email Marketing Tips

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3 Great Ways To Reward Your Social Followers http://blog.getresponse.com/3-great-ways-to-reward-your-social-followers.html http://blog.getresponse.com/3-great-ways-to-reward-your-social-followers.html#comments Tue, 26 May 2015 14:07:10 +0000 http://blog.getresponse.com/?p=19773 Social media marketing is a game of give and take. As a marketer, it might feel like you’re constantly giving – great blog content, witty tweets, alerts to breaking news, special offers, promotions. Indeed, you may even think from time … Read more

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Social media marketing is a game of give and take. As a marketer, it might feel like you’re constantly giving – great blog content, witty tweets, alerts to breaking news, special offers, promotions. Indeed, you may even think from time to time that you are giving your very soul to your keen and hungry followers on social media. 

But, those followers do give back, of course. They give back every time they click on one of your links, read your blog, like your Facebook post, or retweet one of your articles. And this is where the rewarding part of your job comes in – especially when some of those followers actually go one step further and leave a comment or even a question after a piece of content that you have lovingly provided for them. 

Yes, when you start to garner some real, meaningful engagement with your following, then that’s when you really start to take something away. It might only be that warm, fuzzy feeling inside your tummy as you realise that what you have just created has been useful for somebody out there – but, at the end of the day, that’s exactly what you’re doing this job for. 

 

Special Rewards For Special Followers

You may like this fuzzy feeling. You may really like it in fact (I know I do), and, as such, you might want to try and create it again for yourself. If your followers are appreciative, engaged and vocally grateful to you for posting up a blog three times a week, just think how happy you could make them if you gave your most loyal ones an actual, personalized reward for their dedication to your ongoing efforts.

Some of your followers, you will no doubt have noticed, will be far more frequently engaged in your output than others. Indeed, you might very well have one or two that could be truly described as ‘brand ambassadors’ out there. These people will in fact be doing a lot of your work for you – by which I mean that they will be singing the praises of your products and/or your brand across all of their social networks.

The truth of the matter is you’re being paid to market your company’s products, but your brand ambassador’s aren’t. Your followers expect any content that is produced under your company’s name to be naturally praising and proud of what you’re offering. But, your brand ambassadors and other followers don’t actually get anything out of it, and therefore, when all is said and done, these people are trusted more than you are by the rest of your following, simply because they have complete disinterest when harking happily about you. There’s nothing in it for them. They are not invested in you or your products, and so people trust that they’re telling the truth. 

reward_followers

3 Great Ways To Reward Your Social Followers

If you’re lucky enough you’ve worked hard enough to create an engaged and thriving community of social followers and perhaps even have a brand ambassador or 2, then you will probably be finding your job much more rewarding than you thought was possible. 

As such, you will want to reward your followers in return, and here are 3 great ways that you can do that. 

 

1. Exclusive Discounts and Coupons

Saying thank you on a tweet is one thing. Sending a personalised email is another. But, even greater than that (perhaps unsurprisingly) is the power of money. Giving your social followers exclusive discounts and coupons when they buy your products is a great way to generate follower interest – and will bring them coming back for more and more again and again. The perfect way to reward your following, and keep those sales and conversions nice and high as well. 

 

2. Help them Give Something Back

Another great move that some companies make is by helping their followers give something back. People like giving to charity, but they don’t always have the time or the organisation to set up something big themselves. So do it for them, and they can watch the overall figure grow and grow and grow and feel like they are a part of that. 

Another way to do this would be to do something like nononsense.com did a few years ago. No Nonsense are a company that produce hosiery and legwear, and they started a campaign called “Socks for America”, where the aim was to donate a million pairs of socks to needy children across the country. Every time someone became a fan of No Nonsense’s Facebook page, a pair of socks was donated in that person’s name to someone in need. 

 

3. Invite Your Followers To A Special Event

If you can give a group of your followers first, exclusive access to something – the launch of a new product, say – then this will be a great way to generate a buzz on social media about the event or the launch, as well as making your followers feel special. Furthermore, it will give them a chance to meet you in person, and this is invaluable for humanising your business, and furthering their engagement with you on social media in the future. 

How do you reward your loyal followers on social? Do you perhaps host content creation competitions, or involve your followers in your advertising and promotion efforts? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below. 

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Facebook Instant Articles: A Content Distribution Revolution? http://blog.getresponse.com/facebook-instant-articles-a-content-distribution-revolution.html http://blog.getresponse.com/facebook-instant-articles-a-content-distribution-revolution.html#comments Fri, 22 May 2015 15:07:03 +0000 http://blog.getresponse.com/?p=19761 Last week Facebook rolled out their latest feature for publishers — Instant Articles. It immediately started a discussion about the future of publishing and social media. Some warn publishers against using them and losing control over their content. Others say … Read more

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Last week Facebook rolled out their latest feature for publishers — Instant Articles. It immediately started a discussion about the future of publishing and social media. Some warn publishers against using them and losing control over their content. Others say this is already happening, so Instant Articles shouldn’t be treated as a threat. I decided to take a look at both sides and see what this is all about.

What are Instant Articles?

As the name suggests, these are fast, interactive articles that can be consumed by readers much quicker than before. Mobile readers especially ­­— as the feature is related to the Facebook mobile app and created with mobile readers in mind.

Instant Articles open in the Facebook mobile app instead of directing readers to outside sites using the Facebook browser. So Instant Articles will load much faster — ten times faster, as Facebook claims. (and it could seem like forever, waiting an average of 8 seconds to load an article while staring at your phone!)

Loading time is not the only novelty in Instant Articles. They also include a set of interactive features such as:

  • Zoom-in feature for photos by tilting your phone
  • Auto-play videos played while you scroll through stories
  • Interactive maps
  • Audio captions
  • Inline liking and commenting on individual parts of an article.

Looks pretty awesome, right? So where’s…

 

…The controversy

Remember when business pages were introduced on Facebook? The simple question was: would you swap your website for a Facebook page? And your answer was “of course not!” But why not?

Let me tell you why not. You should never lose control of your website. You wouldn’t want someone else — Facebook in this case — to decide who can see what you post (by changing the Edge Rank algorithm every now and again). And where would you be if Facebook suddenly decided your site violated Facebook policy and deleted it? What would you do then?

 

Control is key

Of course, you’ll never have absolute control over what you publish on the Internet (unless you keep it on your computer and show it to your friends yourself.) Google plays with your search results. Your hosting company has a big say in whether your readers can access your content. But still, you are the owner of your site.

On Facebook, you turn over control of your content and its distribution to Facebook (although Facebook says you actually keep it — more on that later).

 

control

 

It’s pretty much the same with Instant Articles.

When your article appears in the Facebook app, your readers never leave the network and no longer click through to your site. So even if Facebook claims that you keep control over the content, some say you’re giving your audience away to Facebook. (I’m not sure I can agree with that: your readers are already on Facebook in the first place, and Facebook is where they come from to your site, right?)

Of course, it’s clear that since they won’t land on your site, they won’t be able to click through to your other web pages. (But if they’re on their mobiles and simply click an article in their news feed, would they click through at all? Just wondering.)

I talked to our SEO manager about this yesterday. As an SEO guy, he very much opposes giving Facebook control over your content. As he put it, it’s a step from being “owned” by Google to being “owned” by Facebook, and Facebook has many more limitations. I agree, it is the next step — moving our content from search engines to social networks. But I’m not yet convinced that this will be as bad as he depicts — you know how SEO guys are ;)

It does seem that Instant Articles make the publisher of the content much less relevant. After all, people will be reading the articles on Facebook.

 

Are there any upsides?

There seem to be quite a few: increased engagement for one, thanks to all the interactive features. The reach of Facebook shouldn’t be undervalued (what portion of the traffic to your site comes from Facebook?)

And then there’s the improved experience for users who read the articles on the go. They might be more engaged than when reading the “traditional” way (and that’s assuming they don’t quit while the site is loading).

Facebook also allows publishers to use their own ads in the articles (at least, for now) and keep the revenue. This policy compensates for the fact that publishers can’t direct readers to pages that promote their products or services. Publishers will also be able to track data and traffic with comScore and other analytic tools.

 

Should you be worried?

Honestly, I would say — not yet. First of all, Facebook has rolled out the feature with 9 of the biggest publishers, such as the New York Times and the Guardian. They will make it available to more publishers in time and say they’ll listen to feedback closely. So it’s not something an average publisher or business should worry about yet.

 

But it is an important step in content distribution.

As always with Facebook, we can expect the feature to change and evolve over time. The potential risk is that, once Facebook lays their hands on your content, they will not let it go easily. And another issue might be that Facebook will probably favor the Instant Articles over “standard” ones. We see that happening with Facebook embedded video, which now gets much more reach – and engagement – than videos linked from YouTube and other video services.

In a short while, you may face a choice between handing your content to Facebook for the sake of better reach and engagement versus keeping control and losing a good deal of reach and traffic.

We might be in for a content distribution revolution here!

Will Instant Articles catch on? Let’s watch closely and see.

I’m curious what you think — let me know in the comments!

Facebook Instant Articles: A Content Distribution Revolution? is a post from: GetResponse Blog - Email Marketing Tips

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7 Creative Headline Hacks – And How To Apply Them http://blog.getresponse.com/7-creative-headline-hacks-and-how-to-apply-them.html http://blog.getresponse.com/7-creative-headline-hacks-and-how-to-apply-them.html#comments Thu, 21 May 2015 15:07:41 +0000 http://blog.getresponse.com/?p=19731 Do you really want to succeed as a blogger? Then post this quote from iconic copywriter and marketer David Ogilvy on your wall: “When you have written your headline, you have spent 80 cents out of your dollar.” Headlines make … Read more

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Do you really want to succeed as a blogger? Then post this quote from iconic copywriter and marketer David Ogilvy on your wall:

“When you have written your headline, you have spent 80 cents out of your dollar.”

Headlines make or break a post, an ebook or anything else they’re attached to. They’re especially critical on social media. Used properly, they can be magnets for search engine traffic.

While a bad headline can kill a post, the upside is that a little time spent on improving headlines can be extremely rewarding. The other good news is that because headlines are so important, there’s been a ton of research done on how to hone them. Smart content creators continually test their headlines and often report back with their results, so we have that data, too. Here’s just a few of the most effective tips all that research has revealed.

 

1) Use numbers.

This is one of the most widely known headline hacks and probably one of the most effective. Here’s a chart from Conductor to prove how effective numbers can be:

 

Conductor Overall Headline Preferences

Blog post headlines that start with or use numbers are called “listicles”. While listicles get a bad wrap sometimes, there’s no denying they work. This chart from BuzzStream and Fractl shows how different types of blog posts perform in terms of sharing. Listicles crush any other text format. They usually beat out even videos.

 

Buzzstream Fractl Content Type Shares

 

Want to kick your listicles up a notch? Use odd numbers, which have been shown to give a lift. Also consider using super specific numbers, like “117 Ideas” instead of “100 Ideas”.

You could take it even further: Try “117 ½ Ideas”. I have never seen a half symbol (or an emoji) used in a listicle title, but doing something for the very first time is the very acme of being creative.

 

2) Be specific.

Listicles leverage the power of specificity. “17 Ways to Run”, is more specific than “How to Run”. It narrows our focus. The specificity makes it sound just a wee bit easier. Our judgmental, lazy, impatient reptilian brains love making things easier

The way to be specific is to show your results. So instead of “How We Increased Opt-ins”, use “How We Increased Opt-ins by 312%”. Instead of “How I Got a Ton of Cold Calling Done”, use “How I Got Two Weeks Worth of Cold Calling Done Before Lunch”.

 

3) Talk to them directly.

Want to know one of the most fundamental copywriting tricks ever? The one word ace copywriters always use, and use heavily?

It’s “you”.

Adding “you” to headlines, social posts, blog openings, anything at all will give you (aha!) an edge.

Just make sure you’re talking to your audience in a way they can identify with. If you start writing things like “I know you’re a liar” or “I know you’re lazy” and your audience doesn’t actually think they are lazy liars, BOOM. Your strategy just blew up.

For more verification of the power of “you”, consider this list of the most popular words in viral headlines Kevan Lee put together for a Buffer post. “You” is the first word in the list that isn’t an article.

 

3. Buffer Most Popular Words in Viral Headlines4. Buffer Most Popular Words in Viral Headlines

 

4) Write 25 headlines.

Yes, I know you only need one. But writing 25 headlines will make you come up with a better headline than if you only wrote one.

This is a trick from Upworthy, a viral content powerhouse. Upworthy makes their writers craft 25 headlines for each post they write. Does that seem like overkill? Have you seen how crazy viral Upworthy posts are?

This trick works. It separates slacker bloggers from the elite. You can also fudge and just write ten headlines, or maybe 15 or 20 headlines. I’m a bit of a slacker myself – I usually write about 10 to 15 variations on a headline. It doesn’t take much time and it’s actually kind of fun. In terms of time investment, writing a slew of headlines is one of the best ways improve a post.

5. Upworthy SlideShare

A slide from Upworthy’s Slideshare, How to Make that One Thing Go Viral

 

5) Challenge convention.

Another way to say this is “Surprise Them”. However you say it, try to write headlines that are familiar enough to be recognized in the stream of content, but provocative enough to suggest you’re offering something new. With 2 million blog posts being written every day, we have to figure out something new to say, or figure out a way to say something old in a new way. Or we’re pretty much forgotten already.

There are a bunch of ways to add interest or surprise. Here are just a few:

  • Pair up two things that don’t usually go together (muscle cars and intuition, PPC and gardening)
  • Spin something viewed as positive as negative, or vice versa (“Why Buying a House Was the Worst Thing I’ve Ever Done)
  • Use a content gap. This is the Upworthy format of headlines that is basically

Phrase What Your Post is About + “and You Won’t Believe What Happened Next” = Headline

Is this too formulaic? Possibly. Is it almost always effective? Yup.

 

6) Use the classic five from journalism.

Who, what, where, how and why are power words. Use them in your headlines. They have built the structure of articles ever since newspapers hit paper. They work for blog posts and other online content, too. The power in these words borrows a little from our tip about being specific. Those five question words narrow things down fast.

 

7) Use a headline analysis tool.

As you may know, there are also some online tools that will score your headlines based on headlines “rules” and best practices the tool creators have applied. The two most popular headline analysis tools are CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer, and the Advanced Marketing Institute’s Emotional Marketing Value Headline Analyzer. Both tools are good, but they also have their limitations.

Here’s how both tools rated the most popular posts of 2014 from Buffer, Moz, Entrepreneur, LifeHacker and Psychology Today:

Most Popular Posts of 2014

Most Popular Posts of 2014Most Popular Posts of 2014

 

What the scores mean

The CoSchedule number is an overall score drawn from a number of calculations, and informed by CoSchedule’s own analysis of over a 1 million headlines. The grade refers to the headline’s word balance, “An analysis of the overall structure, grammar, and readability of your headline.” CoSchedule gives a bunch of other feedback about your title like SEO length, word count and more.

 

CoSchedule

The Emotional Headline Analyzer tool gives a percentage that’s supposed to be from zero to 100%, though one of the titles I tested came back with a 114.29% EMV.

As the tool states, “for comparison, most professional copywriters’ headlines will have 30%-40% EMV Words in their headlines, while the most gifted copywriters will have 50%-75% EMV words in headlines.”

 

EMVScore

 

What’s the most immediate takeaway from seeing the scores of these top-performing posts? It’s that you should take what tools tell you with a grain of salt.

Most of the top performing posts did okay with their headline tool scores. Many of them came in around mid-60s for the CoSchedule tool and around 20 to 40% for the EMV rating.

Several of the principles behind our headline hacks can be seen in the headline lists. Numbers, aka listicles, are sprinkled throughout for every site. Articles that start with “How” and “Why” appear a lot. There’s also many examples of headlines sporting the element of surprise.

What trends do you see in this list of top-performing posts? Tell us about them in the comments.

7 Creative Headline Hacks – And How To Apply Them is a post from: GetResponse Blog - Email Marketing Tips

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10 Simple Actions to Make Your E-course Sell Like Hotcakes http://blog.getresponse.com/10-simple-actions-to-make-your-e-course-sell-like-hotcakes.html http://blog.getresponse.com/10-simple-actions-to-make-your-e-course-sell-like-hotcakes.html#comments Wed, 20 May 2015 15:07:12 +0000 http://blog.getresponse.com/?p=19716 Are you looking to create your first online program? Or, are you frustrated because the one you launched last time didn’t do that well? I get it. We have all been there. And this is precisely why I wrote this … Read more

10 Simple Actions to Make Your E-course Sell Like Hotcakes is a post from: GetResponse Blog - Email Marketing Tips

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Are you looking to create your first online program? Or, are you frustrated because the one you launched last time didn’t do that well? I get it. We have all been there.

And this is precisely why I wrote this blog post. So that your e-course can become a best seller. I am serious.

Let’s get stuck into it!

 

#1 Start with the research

If you want your online course to sell, this is the step you cannot afford to skip. I don’t care how much you know in your heart that this is what your audience needs. What you should be concerned about is what they want and also are willing to pay for.

Meaning, it doesn’t really matter what they want, people need lot of things but they don’t necessarily want to buy. So what do you do? You find out what is it that they are happy to pay for. You see where the demand is. You find out if there is a gap in the market you can fill.

This takes some research but doesn’t require months. Firstly, turn to your own audience. What types of questions do you receive regularly? What sort of blog posts or social media updates get the most traction? This gives you good idea about what people want.

Secondly, look at the competition. Look at similar e-courses, workshops, tele-classes or paid workshops. If you find options, that is a good thing. You don’t want to create demand, you want to enter a market where plenty of people are already spending money. (If you don’t see any e-courses, go on Amazon to see if there are books on your topic that are actually getting sold). And then create yours.

 

#2 Choose a winning idea

After you see evidence of sufficient demand in your topic, start brainstorming course ideas. Contrary to popular belief that you need to start with the audience wants, I am going to recommend that you start with yourself. What do you want to teach?

If you choose to pick something that the audience wants, I see two problems with this approach. First, when you look at creating something, you are approaching it from a purely business point of view, while it may seem like a smart choice, it isn’t always. If you pick something and you don’t love the idea to bits, you will lose steam. And since we are talking online courses, when you are not feeling it, people can sense it.

So for informational products, it is even more important that you pick an idea you love first, and then add it to your short list if it meets the equally important second condition – it satisfies the market demand criteria.

The second problem with choosing something that market wants is this: so what if market wants it. The better question to ask is if you are able to get in front of them.

Have you got a decent sized list you can sell to? Then find out if they want it. If not, are you in a position to run Facebook ads? Have you got the time to guest post? Market demand won’t do you any good if you can reach them.

 

#3 Grow your email list

An idea you love to teach and has market demand? Check. Okay now before you start creating your online course, I want you to start growing your email list. You might have heard from other experts that you can launch your course and grow your list at the same time, and yes that’s certainly one way of doing it.

The reason why I don’t recommend this approach is because when you are launching an e-course, you will be going through a stressful and tense time period. You have spent all this time creating this e-course and you want to sell it. And there are no guarantees at this point so things are a little tense.

So do yourself a favour and start building your email list now, while you create your e-course. Digging deeper into this subject, you may be wondering how many people you should have before you launch.

I advise people to create their launch goals first and then decide if they need to grow their list (and nearly everybody does). So let’s say you are selling a $200 dollar course. And you want to make ten thousand dollars in this launch. You need 50 people to buy. And because a list on average converts at 1-5%, you need 1,000 people on your list at the minimum. Sure, if you have a great relationship with your list, your conversion rates will be high, so you might need fewer people.

 

#4 Create a system

You are not selling information. You are selling a result.

Information has become a commodity. It is available everywhere. People have become so used to having information at their fingertips that it’s no longer viable to sell useful information only. However, when you take the information and package it in a system that gives people results, now you are on to something.

People are not paying you for your expertise. They don’t care how many years you invested in becoming a credible expert. Your qualifications don’t mean anything to them. They could care less about your experience. Don’t believe me? I’ll send you a link from a guy who holds a PhD and ask you to go check him out. Would you buy something purely because he is so knowledgeable and because he gives away so much information? No. You will buy if he is selling you something that shows you how to create a result you desire.

Create a process that takes people from point A to B and people would be ten times more likely to buy the same information, packaged differently.

travel

 

#5 Choose a simple delivery format

Once your course is ready, you need to think about how you are going to deliver it to the participants. And if you are like most people, this is the part that keeps you stuck, sometimes even from building your course.

Many people have told me that they would love to create an online course or a workshop but they are too scared to deal with the techy parts. To make matters worse, they visit their favourite Facebook groups and ask which platform to use and get a long thread of responses citing their preferred option.

The first thing you need to realize is what your course will look like. Is it text based only? If so, the easiest way to deliver it is via email. Or, you can use a WordPress plugin to protect your content on a single location. Both options work.

If you have videos, you do need to host them on a secure server such as Vimeo Plus or Wistia. Then you can embed the links on a password protected page, alongside any other supplemental material and learning resources. This is by far the simplest way of delivering your course.

If you are offering quizzes that students must complete before accessing the next level, or you need forums, your needs are different. I would advise you to do your own research first and see whether Optimize Press Member, or Member Mouse, or Zippy Courses, or any other option would suit your needs best.

 

#6 Name it right

First, a disclaimer: I am really bad when it comes to naming courses. As soon as I need to name something, my creativity flies out the window so I am not the best person for advice.

That being said, I do think this step gives people a lot of grief – for no good reason. They drive themselves crazy trying to come up with the perfect name. I actually think that naming a course isn’t that hard (try naming a physical product). The name you choose for your current launch won’t be set in stone, and you can always change it for the subsequent one.

SONY DSCMy advice is to keep it simple and make it as descriptive of the course you are creating as you can. Remember, this is not a headline so keep it short.

For example, Naomi Dunford’s 12-month course about launches is called “Big Launch”. David Siteman Garland’s course where he teaches people how to interview others is titled ‘Create Awesome Interviews’. Derek Halpern teaches you how to get people to say yes to your products or services and call his program ‘Yes Engines’.

The best names call out to the right audience. They tell you or hint at the big result they provide. Plus they don’t really matter all that much. No one has ever bought a course or rejected one on the basis of its name alone. Don’t make it complicated.

 

#7 Price your course right

This is a topic I could spend hours talking about. There is so much to cover. But for our purposes, I am going to keep it short and sweet.

First of all, please remember that your pricing is just a marketing tool. It doesn’t have anything to do with your worth and everything with how much is it worth to the client.

So instead of thinking that you need to charge a high price because you spent years becoming an expert, think about the result your course will provide to the participant. Then think about how much value they would place on acquiring that result. Price accordingly.

That being said, there are other considerations that must be taken into account. How are you packaging your program? What sort of brand have you got? How will you be positioning it? Having a premium, highly sought-after brand means you can charge a premium price.

Are you somewhat new to the scene? Are you still building your credibility? People might not be ready to pay a higher price.

Finally, have you got what it takes to deliver results? Have you got testimonials and a track record of helping previous clients? The more confident you are in your ability to promise results, the higher a price tag you can put on your program.

 

#8 Do a beta round

If this is your first online course, consider doing a beta round first.

Now it is entirely up to you whether or not you want to call it that. You can simply charge a reduce price and offer a substantial discount for the first set of people who go through the course.

Be honest with them and tell them while you know your stuff, but you are delivering in this format for the first time. It might be entirely possible that you are teaching for the first time ever and you may or may not want to say that exactly but tell them you are looking to hearing their feedback and making it even better.

Don’t let people try it out for free because they won’t be invested and won’t take action to actually see for themselves if they are making any progress. Also let people know that they would get access to the program when it launches fully.

Pay attention to the feedback you receive. Be open to constructive criticism and make it better. This is how you create a program that becomes a best seller.

 

#9 Create a killer sales page

This is a huge topic but I would like to say a few things.

People create courses and complain only 7 people bought it. And when you ask them how many people actually saw their sales page, they are not sure. If 40 people actually landed on your sales page and 7 bought, that’s huge. Your sales page is fine. Your program is fine. You need to send more people to your sales page.

Your sales page is a problem if you are sending decent amounts of traffic to your sales page and it is not converting. Traffic in the thousands. Not hundreds (this number is not big enough to show any conclusive data).

Get a professional copywriter to tweak your sales page if you are worried but first send people to it before you declare it useless.

 

#10 Launch it

flight-sky-earth-space

Plan the launch sequence and you have done you job. Decide on when your program will launch and then work backwards. It doesn’t have to be a big, flashy launch and can be kept fairly low key if that’s what you prefer but you still need to warm people up and get them excited. Just announcing that your new e-course is up for sale is not enough. Start building a buzz.

Start telling people that you are working on this thing. Post updates on social media. Ask them questions. Take them behind the scenes and make them feel like a part of your creation process so they are looking forward to it.

Plan a few guest posts to get published around the time when your course comes out. And plan a series of pre-launch content. This can be 5-7 pieces of content depending on how big your course it. Open cart and give people on your email list an opportunity to buy early before you open to the main public.

Online courses have built in scarcity and urgency. People need to enroll because the class starts on a certain date and they can’t enroll after. If there is live teaching involved, or if you are grading certain elements of homework, you may want to restrict places. It’s all inherently built-in and you don’t have to fake it.

I am assuming your course itself is top notch.

You structure is clear and everything flows. You take people on the simplest path to success. When people take action, they see results.

So if you do everything else that I outlined in this blog post, there is no reason why your program won’t sell out.

Have you launched a program recently? How did it go? Tell us in the comments below!

10 Simple Actions to Make Your E-course Sell Like Hotcakes is a post from: GetResponse Blog - Email Marketing Tips

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Email Etiquette: Formal Or Informal? http://blog.getresponse.com/email-etiquette-formal-or-informal.html http://blog.getresponse.com/email-etiquette-formal-or-informal.html#comments Tue, 19 May 2015 15:07:15 +0000 http://blog.getresponse.com/?p=19700 Finding the right balance of formality when producing any form of content – be it for the web or not ­– is, and always has been, somewhat of a tight rope act. Social media has given rise to the informal … Read more

Email Etiquette: Formal Or Informal? is a post from: GetResponse Blog - Email Marketing Tips

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Finding the right balance of formality when producing any form of content – be it for the web or not ­– is, and always has been, somewhat of a tight rope act. Social media has given rise to the informal marketing tactic. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube – these are the modern day tools that we use to present the human side of our businesses to our followers and online audience. These are social networks, and so it is no surprise, really, that the type of content that works well for them are the less formal, almost casual, often humorous (though let’s not forget interesting and entertaining) posts that can very quickly garner the much coveted engagement that we are all after from our potential clients.

Indeed, social media marketing is as much about entertaining the masses as it is about flogging our wares to them. We hope that the former will enable the latter, and we market our brand in a way that we believe will capture the attentions (and ultimately the bucks) of our online following.

Blogs, too, it seems to have been largely accepted, are best off if they are left as informal as possible. I, for instance, do not shy away from using a sometimes overtly sarcastic tone in my blogs if I think that the subject matter will permit it. And, to be honest, I think that this works just fine. Indeed, it’s what we want and expect from a blog post. In fact, I would say that it is this balance that goes a long way to defining the art of blogging – the creation of informative, useful web articles that on the surface are delivered in a light-hearted, friendly, informal manner. Hmm, that’s a very similar description to the one that I would give for my favourite teachers right throughout my education. Blogs are great!!

But, this blog is not about blogs or social media. This blog is about emails, and the permissible level of formality that businesses should adopt when composing them.

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Email Etiquette

With emails, the question of formality is not quite so cut and dry. They are essentially – even if you’re sending out an email newsletter en masse – private correspondences between yourself and a subscriber.

And let’s think about that for a moment – the subscriber.

Subscribers are a level or two up from a Facebook or Twitter follower. Your subscribers have actually taken the time to fill out your sign up form, thusly forwarding an extended interest in your business, brand or product. These people, it might be fair to say, are slightly more serious about your company or your industry than a lot of your social media following will be.

Otherwise, the people that you will find on your email list will actually be customers of yours, and so these people have professed their level of dedication to you by a further degree again.

But, does this really make these people – your customers and other email subscribers – any more serious than any of your social media following? What I mean is – do these people expect a higher level of formality in the emails that you send them as compared to your hilarious and quirky tweets and Facebook posts that have made you such a hit on social media?

 

So – Formal or Informal?

Well, when you are sending out your email correspondence to your clients, be it for a newsletter, answer to a customer query, or any other message that you see fit to send, you are trying to make an impression that is somewhat different to the one that you are making on social media.

Social media marketing is by necessity and expectation of a less formal persuasion. But, with your emails, now is the time to show your potential customers and existing subscribers the true merit of your business, and, more often than not, this is performed best when striking a slightly more formal tone.

I emphasise slightly, because you don’t want to stray too far into the realms of the type of correspondence that you would expect to receive from a solicitor when things start to go awry in your personal life (or so I hear). You want to show your professionalism, yet still not lose that human touch that has attracted your social media followers to become email subscribers in the first place. As with the whole question of formality of address, it’s a question of balance. So, with that in mind, let’s now take a look at exactly what measures you can take to strike the perfect tone in your email correspondence with your subscribers.

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Tips On Getting The Balance Right

Address Recipients By Name

Always ensure that you address your recipients by using their name and his or her correct title. The highest compliment that you can pay to someone is to use their name, and your customers will feel like they are being dealt with on a personal level, rather than a generic one. And if you want to learn more about personalization, this guide will be helpful.

Identify Yourself

Your emails will probably be plastered with your logos and tag lines, but make sure that in the first line of your email that you identify yourself personally (i.e. use your name, rather than your company’s). Again this lends the personal touch, which is invaluable when it comes to customer relations.

State Your Intentions

Next, make sure that it is absolutely crystal clear exactly why it is that you are emailing. If it’s to alert your subscribers to a promotion, then state this clearly. If it’s to deliver some exclusive content, then make sure that is communicated at the start. People will very quickly lose interest in your emails if they can’t find what they’re about almost immediately after opening them.

Grammar And Punctuation

No excuses for slacking on these in your emails. Gaining subscribers is one of the hardest jobs of the social media marketer – but losing them is one of the easiest. Your email subscribers will not forgive you if your correspondence is poorly punctuated, spelt, or is covered in grammatical errors. They will lose faith in your business and unsubscribe. So, proof and proof again before hitting send.

Tone

Balance. Balance. Balance. Your emails are more formal than tweets, but mustn’t be so formal that they are a bore or even a challenge to read. They are your opportunity to show the professional side of your business, but mustn’t be overtly formal nonetheless. Depending on the type of your business, it might be appropriate to use the odd emoticon, but generally the advice is to leave these as tools for your social media correspondence :).

How formal do you think email correspondence should be? Shirt tucked in beneath a waistcoat, or elbows on the table and talking with your mouth full? Let us know in the comments below.

Email Etiquette: Formal Or Informal? is a post from: GetResponse Blog - Email Marketing Tips

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How Email Marketing and SEO Go Hand in Hand #FreebieMonday http://blog.getresponse.com/how-email-marketing-and-seo-go-hand-in-hand-freebiemonday.html http://blog.getresponse.com/how-email-marketing-and-seo-go-hand-in-hand-freebiemonday.html#comments Mon, 18 May 2015 16:00:45 +0000 http://blog.getresponse.com/?p=19689 Over the years email marketing and organic search have always been amongst the most popular channels used by marketers to build their business online. In the latest Email Marketing Census from Econsultancy, they have also been named as the highest … Read more

How Email Marketing and SEO Go Hand in Hand #FreebieMonday is a post from: GetResponse Blog - Email Marketing Tips

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Over the years email marketing and organic search have always been amongst the most popular channels used by marketers to build their business online. In the latest Email Marketing Census from Econsultancy, they have also been named as the highest ROI generating solutions. While mentioned together, SEO and email have typically been compared against each other, but hardly ever analyzed in combination. What you’ll find in this post are all the reasons why email and SEO should always go hand in hand. On top of that, we’ve added a free whitepaper on Email List Building Through SEO.

Online marketing budget

The allocation of online marketing budget can be a tough process to handle. If you don’t know your industry or competitors yet, marketing reports can be a great place to start your research.

If what you’re looking after is new visitors and potential leads then organic search, email marketing, ppc and social media are the channels you’ll want to take a closer look at. As presented in the below infographic put together by a company named Conductor, Email and Organic Search are the two activities that will get you the highest number of new website visitors.

marketing_channels

Email and organic search as the best channels for getting most visitors – fragment of an infographic by Conductor

When it comes to email, this belief goes in line with the latest findings from the National Client Email Report 2015 by DMA. Based on their study, the average ROI generated by email has jumped from $24.93 (reported in 2013) to $38 for every $1 dollar spent. What’s also important is that over a half of the respondents of this poll believe that their email marketing budget will increase in 2015.

 

Why SEO and email marketing should go hand in hand?

Just like SEO, email marketing is constantly evolving. Despite being the oldest online marketing channel, it’s swiftly moving into new areas and adapting to the ever-changing environment such as the growth of mobile usage, which amongst many things affects how users read and click through emails or even shop online.

Although very different, these two channels have a lot in common. And more importantly, they can reinforce each other to improve your online marketing efforts. Let’s see what lessons we can take from these two channels working together.

 

Subject line and preheader

Just like your website’s title and META description tags, your subject line and preheader are meant to create a great impression (often first) on your audience. These elements should explain briefly what is that you’re offering and how it’s the right answer to your subscribers’ needs.

They have to catch attention and spark interest in the minds of those that may or may not become your loyal readers or clients. If you don’t manage to convince them in the first few seconds, it’s more than likely that they won’t lend you their time in the future. And all that they’ll ever see regarding your offer is the subject line, preheader and from name.

 

Searchable content, images and alt-text

Unlike what some may think, your emails don’t have to end their lives the moment your subscriber moves on to another message. Just like individual websites or landing pages, users should be able to find your newsletters using search engines. They can do so, if you make sure that your messages go to an online email archive.

That’s not enough though. When designing your email campaigns make sure that you remember about the rules that matter for the SEO. That includes e.g. putting keywords inside of the email body, depending on textual content rather than only images, and providing them with ALT text so that users (and robots) can see what’s in your message without downloading the graphics.

Also! Don’t forget about the importance of hyperlinks inside of your emails. Choose carefully what websites you’re linking to and what call to actions you’re using. The wording and reputation of said sites can affect the likelihood of your emails (or websites) coming up in the search engine results for new audiences to discover your brand.

 

Attracting new leads

Typically, marketers think of SEO as the lead generation channel, whilst email marketing is more concerned about converting them from visitors into buyers. That may – but not necessarily – be true. Because, who else, other than your email subscribers and clients, knows your target audience and like-minded people better? Who else has the access to them and could influence their choice? Do you get what I am aiming at?

Adding social media icons and promoting social sharing can mean a great deal to building your brand online and attracting new audiences. By providing your existing subscribers with the right reasons to spread the word about your offer you can reach your target audience in an effective and very efficient way.

Thanks to social sharing icons, users that share similar traits and interests like your clients will get the chance to read your emails on Facebook, Twitter or any other place they see the link. If they fall in love with what they see, they’ll be able to easily join your list by filling out the form that’s placed next to the online version of your message. It’s that simple.

 

That’s just the beginning

So you might be wondering what you should do now, after having read this article. I’ve just shown you that email marketing and SEO although very different are also much alike. And most importantly, one can reinforce the other, making your online marketing more effective.

If you’d like to find out more about how organic search and email marketing go hand in hand don’t hesitate and download this free whitepaper named – Crash Course to Building Your Email List Through SEO.

What you’ll find there is plenty of tips and tricks on how your SEO activities affect your list building efforts. We’ll cover things like optimizing your website for the crawling robots, aligning content with your audiences’ intent or effective targeting of behavior to increase email list size and conversions.

Enjoy the read, download the free whitepaper,and share your thoughts with us in the comments below!

How Email Marketing and SEO Go Hand in Hand #FreebieMonday is a post from: GetResponse Blog - Email Marketing Tips

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Picking The Right Re-Engagement Tactics http://blog.getresponse.com/picking-the-right-re-engagement-tactics.html http://blog.getresponse.com/picking-the-right-re-engagement-tactics.html#comments Fri, 15 May 2015 14:07:02 +0000 http://blog.getresponse.com/?p=19522 If you think email attrition is unavoidable and re-engaging unnecessary, think again. Customers do lose interest in every aspect of life, and yes, that even includes your brand. But that interest can be re-kindled. When it comes to your brand, … Read more

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If you think email attrition is unavoidable and re-engaging unnecessary, think again. Customers do lose interest in every aspect of life, and yes, that even includes your brand. But that interest can be re-kindled. When it comes to your brand, it’s in your own best interests to make the effort to do so and minimize the inactive segment.

 

2 reasons why you need to re-engage

Let’s consider two reasons why you should have a re-engagement strategy in place to try and get your disinterested subscribers interested again. They are Brand Aware. Customers and subscribers are already warm leads. Once upon a time there was some kind of interest on their part. At some point they wanted to hear from you; that’s why they subscribed in the first place.

So they are not a cold, faceless @-sign, but real people that opted-in and once asked to get your emails in their inbox. It’s much easier (and often cheaper) to engage a contact with already a high level of Brand Awareness than to get a stranger interested, so it’s worth your effort to spark an interest once again.

Secondly, it’s good list hygiene. Keeping names on your email list “just because” can affect your deliverability as the ISPs see you repeatedly sending emails to people who never open them. Plus it can throw you off in looking at the analytics through averages. It’s better to focus efforts on a quality audience than a quantity one. Implementing a re-engagement strategy to weed the disinterested off of your list and get the interested ones back on board helps you maintain that quality list.

 

Understanding the difference between re-engaging and win-backs

There are different kinds of re-engagement efforts, just like there are different reasons why people lose interest in the first place, as you’ll see. So there are different ways to approach this, and they go by different names. Because marketers sometimes confuse re-engagement emails with win-back emails, let’s make sure we first understand the difference, because this difference will matter in a minute: A re-engagement email is used to get someone interested in your emails and your brand again, on an ongoing basis. A win-back email, on the other hand, is used to drive a purchase (after that purchase seemed lost).

 

Reasons for disengagement

You have to have a sense for why people lose interest in your emails before you start a re-engagement campaign, because you’ll need to target different segments accordingly, and because you need to stop doing the things causing the disinterest.

Although once-willing subscribers stop opening your emails for a myriad of reasons, four stand out to me:

  1. Bad content: Email is easy—sometimes too easy—and a lot of bad content goes from a marketer’s desk to a subscriber’s inbox. If people don’t like what you’re sending them, they will stop opening your emails.
  2. Too many emails: Often people lose interest in your brand because you send too many emails and they can’t (and/or don’t want to) keep up.
  3. Promises not kept: If your website promises something to subscribers and then doesn’t deliver, people will not only lose interest, but trust too. Deliver on the promises you make at signup time.
  4. They weren’t interested in the first place: Brands that use gimmicks and sweepstakes to garner subscribers usually suffer through a lot of attrition and inactives, because these people were never interested in the first place. If you want to try and give your list a boost with a sweepstake, maybe keep those subscribers in a separate list and try and convert them into “real” subscribers later.

You need to understand why people lose interest because you can’t message them all the same way. And as for that last reason, those that were never interested, you should probably kiss them goodbye without much effort at all.

The DMA email tracking study showed that 35% of consumers maintain separate addresses for marketing emails, and another 10% have a separate inbox just for spam reasons, which is where they park those gimmick-laden, sweepstakes-based subscription mails from brands they didn’t love or want to hear from in the first place…in other words, the “stuff I never read anyway” mailbox.

emails

What are they disengaging from?

In addition, to understand why various segments lose interest, you need to understand what they aren’t engaged with. They might not open your emails but they might be browsing your website, for example, or going to your brick-and-mortar store. They might be interacting with your brand on Facebook, but not your emails in the inbox. Or maybe they do open your emails but they don’t ever buy from you. As you can see, there are different kinds of inactive, requiring different messages.

Let’s use a Starbucks coffee analogy here, for the different kinds of disinterest and how we might approach these consumers.

  1. A tall: A tall order means the consumer who isn’t engaging with your emails, but still visits your website, store, and/or social media sites. This person is going to be the easiest to re-engage.
  2. A grande: This is a slightly bigger order. This person isn’t opening your emails nor are they visiting your website or engaging with your brand in any kind of way that you can measure. It’s going to take a bit more work and caffeine to get this subscriber back!
  3. A venti: This is a big order. This person is not interested at all. They don’t open your emails, engage with your brand, and they’ve never made a purchase. Winning this person back might be a fruitless endeavor, a big, tall drink of empty calories, because they have expressed zero interest beyond subscribing so far.

Now your job is to get their order right, just like Starbucks, and taking the right approach in re-engaging. Ask for different actions based on what kind of inactive you’re dealing with. Your strategy can include these different approaches for example:

  1. Asking them to update their preferences
  2. Getting them re-engaged with incentives
  3. Getting a sale
  4. Asking them to re-opt in before to cleanse the list

Starbucks

Email disengagement only

It might just be your emails are the problem. If a consumer has been on your website or Facebook page recently, they are still interacting with your brand, even if they aren’t interacting with your email. That means they still have potential value as a customer. Maybe they don’t engage with your email because it is not properly personalized, so encourage them to update their preferences. A simple reactivation email prompting them to update their preferences, for example, is a good place to start.

Why would we call such emails re-engagement emails? Because we want the consumer to once again engage with our brand— to open that email and the subsequent ones too. It’s not enough to get the disinterested subscriber to open one email. What we really want is consumers to stay active and start interacting and  stimulate purchasing again.

 

Website and email disengagement

On the other hand, there are users who don’t show email engagement or any other kind of engagement. Typically these inactives will present a bigger challenge. With these kinds of disinterested consumers, you are closer to a “letting go” situation, but remember the benefits of list hygiene to your deliverability and list quality. You have to (re)demonstrate your value to them. This email from Mint does a good job including testimonials from other users.

mint

Whatever you do, do it more than once

Whatever the segment you’re messaging and the approach you’re taking, be sure to use a series of emails, not just one. For a detailed example of segmenting audiences and doing a series of emails to each, see this CNET case study that MarketingSherpa published.

Although doing a series sounds like a lot of work, it’s not if you use automated emails to do the work for you. The actual investment to get an automated re-engagement series done is actually quite low, especially if you have the right tools and possibly even less of an effort with a great email marketing agency.

 

Be patient, keep them in escrow

Don’t drop people immediately after sending your re-engagement series. A Return Path study found it can be weeks or even months before someone takes action in response to a re-engagement campaign. Keep these in escrow on your main list folding them back into the program. But don’t drop them altogether until after a predetermined amount of time has past.

customer_lifecycle The best timing right before they disengage. This chart shows the a purchase cycle, you can think of your engagement in the same way. 

 

Be willing to let them go

Email database size is a meaningless KPI. The numbers that matter are the ones that show you how many people in your database are buying from you and how many are engaged with your emails. So, for those addresses that have plainly no value, let them go. Accept this is the final fate of some of your email database and focus your efforts on the email addresses that are worth your time and money.

What do you do to keep your customers engaged and interested? Share with us in the comments below! 

Picking The Right Re-Engagement Tactics is a post from: GetResponse Blog - Email Marketing Tips

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How to Fuse Marketing Automation with Social Media http://blog.getresponse.com/how-to-fuse-marketing-automation-with-social-media.html http://blog.getresponse.com/how-to-fuse-marketing-automation-with-social-media.html#comments Thu, 14 May 2015 14:17:33 +0000 http://blog.getresponse.com/?p=19678 There’s never been a better time to be a marketer. We can track almost every click a prospect makes. That means we know pretty much everything our clients or customers do online. We can then add insight to that knowledge … Read more

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There’s never been a better time to be a marketer. We can track almost every click a prospect makes. That means we know pretty much everything our clients or customers do online. We can then add insight to that knowledge by seeing what they say and like through social media, search and ecommerce.

Roll all that information together and you get what’s called “big data”. With big data, there’s the promise of making one to one marketing real. There’s even the possibility of automating that one to one marketing.

If you’ve never heard of one to one marketing, it came from the book “The One to One Future: Building Relationships One Customer at a Time“. “The One to One Future” was published all the way back in 1993 by Don Peppers and Martha Rogers. That’s five years before Google was even founded.

In their book, Peppers and Rogers described a new way to know what customers want. They also outlined the idea of creating customized marketing messages for each customer. It was a new idea at the time, and became a bit like the holy grail of direct marketing.

Fast forward twenty-two years. Here we are, talking about one to one marketing again. Terms like “dynamic content”, “personas” and “marketing automation” are all children of Peppers and Roger’s old book. Except now their ideas are no longer theory.

Their ideas aren’t reserved for huge, Fortune 500 companies, either. With a little planning and a bit of digital finesse, it’s possible for small companies to implement basic one to one marketing. Marketing automation and social media are the perfect tools to do it with.

 

What exactly is marketing automation?

According to Wikipedia, this is the definition of marketing automation:

Marketing automation refers to software platforms and technologies designed for marketing departments and organizations to more effectively market on multiple channels online (such as email, social media, websites, etc.) and automate repetitive tasks.

In simpler terms, marketing automation is software. It’s software that lets you automate different marketing tasks. Those marketing tasks aren’t limited to one platform or type of marketing. Marketing automation can be used for everything from lead generation (getting customers) to retention marketing (keeping customers).

Some companies can invest hundreds of thousands of dollars into their marketing automation platforms. They use complex software that can take weeks to set up and months to learn how to use. Some other companies just use email.

Yup, humble old email. It ends up being the workhorse of most marketing automation engines. That’s because email is one of the best tools to automate and customize marketing messages. Referring to marketing automation as only email is a bit of a simplification, but it provides a good starting framework. Many companies do use one other tool for their marketing automation. It’s social media.

 

Different levels of marketing automation

In a simplified definition, fusing marketing automation with social media is just fusing email marketing (specifically autoresponders) with social media. If you’re automating even some of your social media work with tools like Buffer or Hootsuite, you’re already using marketing automation with social media.

There’s one critical aspect too that separates basic, entry-level marketing automation from more sophisticated marketing automation. That’s customer personas. If you’re using personas, you’re not just sending the same messages to every customer or prospect. You’ll have broken out your customers or prospects into a few different groups. You’ll be sending customized emails and social media updates to each of those groups. The people in group 1 won’t be seeing the same emails and social media updates as the people in group 2.

It’s that segmentation that really marks the difference between just coordinating email marketing and social media, and having a true marketing automation machine.

social_media

The fine art of automating social media

There are issues around automating social media updates. It’s traditionally considered a no-no in social media, but pretty much every social media marketer everywhere does it. Just look to the popularity of social media software and management tools.

Without some automation, even a full-time social media manager could barely keep up with the posting schedule of even a small company. The manager would have to be up at 7am to send out that first tweet of the day, and still be up at 11pm to send out the last tweet. Keep that up day after day, and…, well, it’s just not realistic.

Smart social media managers schedule regular updates with the automation tools available. They spend the rest of their time doing other essential social media tasks. Those might include

  • Replying to feedback from their followers
  • Managing the customer service side of social media
  • Checking reports to see which posts have done best
  • Coordinating with the rest of their company to come up with great content for new updates and posts

 

Getting email and social media in sync

Hopefully, the social media manager is sitting right next to the email marketing staff. Or even better, they are the email marketing staff. That makes it easier to coordinate their social media work with their email marketing and vice versa.

They will probably employ tactics like this:

1) Actively build their email subscriber list with their social media work. They’ve done things like this to get those new subscribers:

  • They’ve added an email sign-up tab to their Facebook page
  • They announce upcoming email updates – with calls to action to join their list – on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn and anywhere else they’re active.
  • Their “about us” pages or user profiles include a link to join their email list.

2) They include social media content in their email updates. 

Customer feedback, popular posts, sweepstakes results – whatever’s been going on for the company’s social media accounts is okay to include in email updates. Don’t forget to add calls to action to follow you on social media, too.

3) They email-gate content on social media, or announce new content that requires an email signup. 

Whitepapers, webinars, ebooks, and more should all be announced on social media – and more than once. Consider taking small chunks of content from each email-gated asset. Use those chunks of content for your social media updates. Even a small serving of great information might be enough to tempt someone to sign up for more.

4) Their email newsletters include social sharing icons, and super-easy ways to follow the company on social media.

For more information about how effective social sharing icons in emails are for engagement, see our infographic, Social Sharing Boosts Email CTR By 158%.

5) When people first sign up for the email newsletters, the confirmation page urges them to also follow the company on social media.

If possible, the company also includes a prompt to follow them on social media on the final confirmation page when someone unsubscribes, too.

 

Syncing autoresponders with social media

So that’s how you’d fuse email marketing with social media. If you add the automation dimension – autoresponders – to all that, here’s what you might get:

1) A welcome series of autoresponder messages that introduces people to your best content, both on your site and on your main social media platforms. 

You could embed some automation rules into those email messages so that if someone clicked a specific link in those welcome messages (say, a link that talked about a specific problem) then you could use GetResponse’s automation features to pass anyone who clicked that link to a new campaign. That campaign could be another autoresponder or just a segmented list.

For more information on how to do this, see one of our earlier posts on marketing automation.

2) If someone downloaded a piece of gated content on a specific topic, you could add them to a special segment of your list. Or you could add them to a separate list so they got information related to that whitepaper. You could then send customized email updates to this interest-based list. 

For example, if you were an employment agency and someone downloaded a whitepaper about how to hire employees, you could add them to the “employers” list. Then you would only send them emails that included information and social media updates of interest to employers.

 

Even more customization and automation

That would get you to basic marketing automation. As mentioned before, to really make marketing automation sing, you need to have the automation, the targeted messaging, AND the different groups of customers or clients. Then each of those different groups has to be moved along the sales cycle.

Here’s an example: Even if you’ve got a list of employers, you wouldn’t want to send the same message to employers who just signed up for your list as you would to employers who had been on your list for months.

The solution? Just send the new subscribers a welcome email series. Set up triggers so once they download a whitepaper or do anything else you define, they get moved to a different list.

While it’s good to have these different phases of customer interest, don’t get too carried away with them. Some segmentation is good, but try to define your sales funnel in only 3-5 steps. Otherwise, your automation machine will get too complex.

automating

Sending one to one social media updates 

There’s one last step to setting up this automated, segmented marketing machine. That’s to send social media updates to different groups. Then you want to send the right social media updates to people in those groups as they move through the sales funnel.

This is a level of sophistication that most marketers skip. They won’t send individual updates to people. Instead, they’ll include a mix of updates in their social media streams. Different updates in those feeds will be of interest to different groups. For instance, every other update might be of interest to employers. And maybe every tenth update would be targeted to employers who just started following them.

This is not ideal, but it works. The way to take it to the next level would be to reach out to new followers on an individual basis. If you’ve got a large following, that could be hard. But if you’ve got a smaller following (maybe 100 new followers a week), it might be possible for a small team of sales staff to at least reach out with a customized welcome message. Then as soon as one of those new prospects clicks a link in that welcome message, your marketing automation system could add them to a specific list, designed to serve up whatever information their behavior suggests they are interested in.

 

Nobody said marketing automation was easy

Does that all seem like a lot of work? It is. But step back for a moment. Once this is all set up, you can move forward to optimizing it, testing it, making it better. Without the automation, you’d be forced to keep treading water, too busy to do anything but try to keep up with the constant messaging creation. Marketing automation systems are a lot of work, but the promise is there. And there are plenty of tools to help you make it easier.

How well is your marketing automation system working? Do you send customized messages to your social media followers? Tell us about what’s worked – and what hasn’t – in the comments.

How to Fuse Marketing Automation with Social Media is a post from: GetResponse Blog - Email Marketing Tips

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10 Simple Actions to Make Your Opt-in Convert Like Crazy http://blog.getresponse.com/10-simple-actions-to-make-your-opt-in-convert-like-crazy.html http://blog.getresponse.com/10-simple-actions-to-make-your-opt-in-convert-like-crazy.html#comments Wed, 13 May 2015 13:53:59 +0000 http://blog.getresponse.com/?p=19671 Are you looking to build your online business? You do know it all starts with an irresistible opt-in offer, right? The giveaway you use to entice people into handing over their email address in exchange for something truly valuable you … Read more

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Are you looking to build your online business? You do know it all starts with an irresistible opt-in offer, right? The giveaway you use to entice people into handing over their email address in exchange for something truly valuable you offer.

You might have heard different names for it: lead magnet, freebie offer, opt-in offer, or an ethical bribe. These are all used to describe a piece of content (or something tangible like a gift coupon or a discount for physical products) whose sole purpose is to build your email list.

You ask people to fill out a form with their name and email address with the promise of sending them something so irresistible that it makes for a no-brainer offer. So how do you actually create something like that? Well, glad you asked. This post will take you through my fail-proof process which has turned many business owners into very happy business owners. And when you apply these guidelines, you will be happy too.

Let’s begin!

 

#1 Identify the problem you want to solve

The whole process starts with identifying what you want to deliver to your audience. You want to know what is it that they will find to be highly valuable. This is a two part question. Firstly, you have to identify who your ideal audience is. If you think you can serve just about everybody then you don’t know who your target market is yet so define it first.

Are they primarily male or female? How old are they? What do they do? What problem are you solving for them in general? Find out some of the things that keep them up at night. The more specific you get, the easier it gets to come up with an offer that will be irresistible to this group of people.

The second part involves knowing what to offer. If you are not sure ask them. Do a survey, ask on your Facebook, email your existing audience – the people on your list. Drill deep to uncover their pain points. And then create something that addresses them.

 

#2 Make it specific and actionable

The easiest way to make your offer irresistible is to promise a clear result. And the way to promise a clear result is to make it specific and actionable. How to lose weight is generic but How to lose 5 kgs for your wedding is specific. Reduce clutter in your life is generic whereas Clear your office space in hour or less is specific – and actionable.

People often balk at the idea of creating something this specific but it is actually much easier to create one that is hyper focused rather than one that is a big, overarching topic.

Think about it for a second, what is easier? A 100 page ebook on buying your first home or a 5 page guide identifying the 10 biggest mistakes you need to avoid while investing in your first home.

Not only is it easier, it speaks directly to your audience. It tells them instantly that it will help them save time or money, or make more money, improve their health in anyway, or some impact on a specific area of their life. Do yourself a huge favour and choose a topic that is both specific and results-driven. You won’t regret it.

 

#3 Infuse your personality and branding

Another thing to keep in mind while creating your opt-in offer is to infuse your personality in your content. Because the next step for people to take is to buy one of your products or decide to work with you (and I’ll talk more about that next), get your people used to what’s it like learning from you.

For this reason I don’t recommend that you outsource this task. Don’t ask someone else to create a white paper, a report of an ebook for your business. Your readers will feel the disconnect after.

When there is uniformity of voice in your squeeze page copy, when the branding works with the rest of your website, people find it easier to transition. Compare that to a pdf as an opt-in where the written voice is totally different. When you follow up with these people, there will be jarring effect and you might even see people unsubscribe leading to low over all conversions.

optin

#4 Make sure it takes people on your sales path

As I was mentioning earlier, your opt-in should be strategic so it takes the people who sign up through your sales funnel.

They opt in and receive the freebie. Then you take them through a sequence of emails (via autoresponder) where you make an introductory, low dollar offer in the end. This way they will enter your sales funnel and you can upsell more higher priced or premium offerings later.

If they don’t buy, you can start the follow up sequence and/or make another offer soon. For all of this to work, make sure your opt-in is something that gets people closer to doing business with you. If it doesn’t, the conversions don’t mean anything.

 

#5 Choose the right format

Often people don’t give much thought to the format. They don’t understand that they actually have a number of options to choose from.

For example, you might offer an ebook, a PDF report, an email course delivered straight to your reader’s inbox via your email service provider – and these are some of the more obvious choices. You could also do cheat sheets, checklists, workbooks or printables. Finally a list of tools or resources, a case study, your personal swipe file, a quiz or access to Facebook group also make great lead magnets.

People don’t realize that they can also do an audio or a video format so an mp3 recording of an interview or a podcast, they can do a webinar or a video tutorial or a quick one-on-one call. You might even offer a live event recording.

The most important thing is to know what format your audience responds to you the most. And also the format you are most comfortable offering something in. If your audience digs your blog content, stick with the first set of options (written format). If they prefer audio or video, consider the second set. As long as you stay relevant to their needs, you’ll turn it into a compelling offer.

 

#6 Create a squeeze page

Gone are the days when anytime a blogger put out some free content, people were rushing to get their hands on it. Now the scene has changed and there is so much completion out there that you have to sell your free offer. Yes, you heard me right. You have to really sell people on taking you up on your opt-in offer.

You can’t just slap something together and expect people to line up for it. If you are life coach, there are thousands of other life coaches trying to woo people with their offers. Same goes whether you are a writer, designer, yoga teacher, therapist, career coach or any other service provider.

Create a simple landing page to encourage people to sign up to your list. Invite them in with a big, bold, benefit laden headline. You cannot afraid to be meek or play small here. And once you get their attention, you have got to keep it until they respond to your call to action.

After the headline comes your list of teaser bullets. These give details of what to expect from your offer itself. Really flesh those out and sell your reader on it. Finally finish with a call to action and the sign up box for them to fill out. Hopefully by this time they are dying to hear what you have to say. Well done!

One more tip: try adding a solid testimonial or as-seen-on logos on your squeeze page. Build up your credibility, especially if you are driving cold traffic towards it and it will be magic!

 

#7 Don’t ask for unnecessary information

Make it really easy for people to get on your list. Don’t be like those companies who ask you your name (first and last), your street address, the size of your company, the number of employees, your annual income, etc. Unless you are a company who sells physical products or have a very good reason of asking. You don’t want people jumping through hoops to get on your list.

Double opt-in or not? Jury is out on this one. Go with your gut. For me, when I am spending money on Facebook ads or getting paid traffic, I don’t get people to confirm their email address. They have clicked on the page, filled out the information, why make them check their email and go through one more step, especially when you are paying for each click. And don’t forget there is chance your confirmation email might end up in their spam folder.

On my website though, I stick with the double opt-in to weed out spammers and bots. Works for me.

email

#8 Display your opt-in form on the right places

Finally the easiest way to supercharge your opt-in is to place the sign-up forms in all the right places. And what are those right places? Glad you asked.

Firstly, you want to put up a sign-up form somewhere near your header banner where it is nicely front and center. When people arrive on your website, this is the first thing they see so it’s really easy for them to subscribe. You do need someone to code this one in for you. If you can’t do that then consider adding a hello bar at the top.

Secondly if you have a blog-style homepage, add a sign-up form on top of your sidebar. Your goal is that people should have a place to sign up without having to scroll down. So at least one form above the fold.

Add sign-up forms to the about page, any other landing pages and after every blog post because not everybody will see your homepage first. Also, for somebody to finish reading your blog post, the likelihood of them signing up has now gone up tremendously.

 

#9 Attract the right audience

Drive the right kind of traffic to increase your conversions. If you are engaging in guest blogging, be careful about the kinds of blogs you choose. First think about the kinds of places your ideal audience hangs out at and make a list. Go to alltop.com and look for new blogs that these people might be reading.

Targeting these blogs mean you are getting in front of the perfect audiences. When you link to your freebie offer, you will see the highest number of clicks and the warmest traffic coming over to your site.

If you are running Facebook ads, be strategic about the copy, the image and the call to action. Webinars are great for promoting on Facebook using Facebook ads, but really you can promote any kind of opt-in offer whether it is a cheat sheet, a checklist or an ebook.

When you right super targeted traffic to your website, your conversions go through the roof. This is when you know you are doing a phenomenal job.

 

#10 Test your offer

By testing I don’t necessarily mean split-testing which is to say don’t worry about testing this button colour vs that button colour, or this headline vs that. Unless you are getting traffic in hundreds and thousands, these things generally don’t make that much of a difference to your bottom line.

By testing I mean test different offers. If you create an offer, and it doesn’t do that well, don’t feel like you have to stick to it forever. You are allowed to change it. Experiment with the content. Maybe there are too many offers similar to yours in the market already. Maybe your audience just wants something different to what everybody seems to be offering.

Experiment with the format. Maybe they want a video tutorial rather than an mp3. Maybe they want something short and sweet like a cheat sheet and not a 7-part email course. You can actually have different opt-ins on different pages. The opt-in police won’t come and grab you.

 

Your turn

Leave me a comment and tell me about your opt-in offer.Have you got one? What it’s about? How well is it converting for you? If you don’t have one, why not?

Nobody has ever been able to convince me yet why not offering anything is a good idea (unless you are Marie Forleo, because by that time you can get away with not offering anything). But until you are at that stage, I want you to entice your visitors with something.

So tell me then, what have you got?

10 Simple Actions to Make Your Opt-in Convert Like Crazy is a post from: GetResponse Blog - Email Marketing Tips

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The Top 5 Best Scheduling Tools http://blog.getresponse.com/the-top-5-best-scheduling-tools.html http://blog.getresponse.com/the-top-5-best-scheduling-tools.html#comments Tue, 12 May 2015 14:07:12 +0000 http://blog.getresponse.com/?p=19664 Are you on Twitter? Are you on Facebook? What about Google+? Instagram? Tumblr? LinkedIn? Pinterest? As a social media marketer you will more than likely be answering yes to all of the above. And that’s not to mention YouTube, Vine, … Read more

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Are you on Twitter? Are you on Facebook? What about Google+? Instagram? Tumblr? LinkedIn? Pinterest? As a social media marketer you will more than likely be answering yes to all of the above. And that’s not to mention YouTube, Vine, your email campaigns or your blog either. 

Online marketing has become a game of so many pieces that it seems that only an octopus would be able to handle it comfortably. When you’re replying to a post on Facebook, are you missing a Twitter trend? As you upload your latest behind the scenes pic to Instagram, are you forgetting to favourite a reply on Pinterest?

Juggling your social media accounts can indeed be more than tricky – it might even be literally impossible to successfully catch and throw every single ball that drops your way.

And, whilst you’re getting lost in thank yous, replies, and follows, you can often realise that the best time to send out your tweets just ticked by 45 minutes ago.

If we had to do it all ourselves then no doubt none of our companies would be in the positions that they are today. But, thankfully, we don’t. Just as the world of marketing has evolved to place heavy and significant emphasis on the social side of the equation, so too have the online tools to help to make the management of our social accounts so much easier.

Yes, scheduling tools are the godsends that we can all count our lucky stars for. Now we can spend half an hour setting up a line of tweets to go out at regular intervals for the next 6 months or more, click the button and forget about them. There are even tools that can sync together all of our social media accounts so that we can monitor, manage and update them all from one very convenient location.

If you haven’t started to tap into these online tools and resources yet, then you must be on the verge of a very serious breakdown, and so I urge you for your own sanity to take a look at some of the scheduling tools that we have outlined for you below – they will save both your time and your brain no end. Here they are…

scheduling_sm

The Top 5 Best Scheduling Tools

1. HootSuite

Where would so many companies be without HootSuite? It has to be one of the very best management tools, especially for Twitter (though it will help you no end with Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn and others too). From a single dashboard you can start scheduling your posts months in advance, and will even be able to produce some pretty smart looking analytics reports ready for presentation.

HootSuite is a freemium tool, so if you’ve got fewer than 5 accounts to manage then you’re good to go with the free version, but to be honest the pro and enterprise plans won’t set you back too much either. Definitely worth checking out.

 

2. SocialOomph

SocialOomph is a great tool if you’re looking to save time on some of the more laborious tasks of your social media marketing routines, and therefore increase your productivity in other areas.

If you’re just after Twitter scheduling, then SocialOomph is available to use for an unlimited amount of accounts for free – and you will also be able to take advantage of some of the software’s other offerings such as keyword tracking and extensions of your Twitter profiles.

But, if you upgrade to the pro version, you will unlock Facebook features, be able to configure the system to follow your new followers, and much more besides.

 

3. Buffer

Buffer is a great tool that allows you to queue up all of your posts to go out one after another at set intervals across many of your social network accounts – Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn and Pinterest.

Similar to HootSuite (and indeed preferred by some), Buffer is the tool that will help you schedule a long series of posts across all of your social platforms in one hit, negating the need for you to continuously go back to micro-manage your publishing times.

 

4. IFTTT

IFTTT will save you hours of time on your scheduling and sharing and other social media tasks that you just cannot avoid. Any major network can be connected or channelled together so sharing across your social media accounts can be automated.

For example, you can configure the system so that a tweet is sent out every time you publish a new blog post. IFTTT also works very well in sync with HootSuite and Buffer, and even enhances those already hard-working tools for you, and therefore an absolute must-have in your social media marketing arsenal.

 

5. LaterBro

A lesser known scheduling tool, but nonetheless still an incredibly effective one. Simply sign in using either your Facebook or Twitter account (or ideally both) and from there you can start scheduling your posts to both platforms instantly.

For Facebook, you can set up a queue of status updates – complete with links and images if you wish (you do) – for the coming days in one sitting, and then let LaterBro do the rest (though don’t forget to do the same with your Twitter account as well).

One drawback to LaterBro, however, is the fact that it imposes a limit on the word count of your Facebook posts – so if you’re prone to cases of textual diarrhoea (I think there’s an app that can cure that) on social, then this might not be the right choice for you.

What’s your favourite scheduling tool? Let us know in the comments below. 

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Stop Chasing The Social Stream – Exclusive Guest Post By Andrew Davis http://blog.getresponse.com/stop-chasing-the-social-stream-exclusive-guest-post-by-andrew-davis.html http://blog.getresponse.com/stop-chasing-the-social-stream-exclusive-guest-post-by-andrew-davis.html#comments Mon, 11 May 2015 13:47:16 +0000 http://blog.getresponse.com/?p=19639 Entertain me for a few seconds. Let’s go back to 1997, a time when there were no social media. A time with no YouTube. A time when you had to rely on traditional media to access an audience. Remember those … Read more

Stop Chasing The Social Stream – Exclusive Guest Post By Andrew Davis is a post from: GetResponse Blog - Email Marketing Tips

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Entertain me for a few seconds. Let’s go back to 1997, a time when there were no social media. A time with no YouTube. A time when you had to rely on traditional media to access an audience.

Remember those days? Now, watch this video:

That is Rachael Ray. The very same Rachael Ray from the Food Network’s mega-success 30 Minute Meals. Today, almost two decades after that video aired, Rachael Ray has a media and product empire. What made Rachael Ray’s content so appealing, so addictive? Why did Rachael Ray cut through all the other cooking show content to become a mega success?

It’s simple, really. Rachael Ray had a hook.

 

Cutting through commodity content

We live in an information overload age. Content is created today at an unbelievable pace. The vast majority of that content is called “commodity content.” Commodity content is the raw material of the online world. It’s the generic blog posts and newsletter content we are all churning out. Ironically, the most successful online content creators aren’t creating commodity content. Instead, they rise above the fray by creating content designed to build a relationship with their audience. They create content that is unique. They do the same thing Rachael Ray did in 1997; they create content with a hook.

 

What’s a hook?

A hook is a simple twist on a familiar theme designed to ensnare or entrap your audience. Television producers are notoriously good at creating content with a smart hook. What’s Rachael Ray’s hook? 30 Minute Meals. Even in the late 1990’s there were lots of cooking shows on television, but Rachael had a novel idea. What if she could prepare a meal in real-time over the course of a thirty-minute cooking show? That’s the hook. 30 Minute Meals turns a generic cooking show (commodity content) into something that the audience falls in love with. I want you to think like Rachael Ray. Create content with a hook.

 

Stop chasing the social stream

There’s a problem with most of the content we’re creating in today’s online world: it’s unbelievably inconsistent. Just take a look at your web analytics. So many of us are chasing the next spike. We’re working extremely hard to create the next piece of content that our audience consumes and shares with fervor.

 

Treat your content as a product

Creating content with a hook allows you to cut through the clutter. It enables you to create content that your audience wants to subscribe to. A hook provides consistency. Instead of chasing the social stream, we can now focus on being part of the information our audience wants to consume on a regular basis. A hook helps you treat your content as a product.

What if?

What if we created less content and saw bigger success? What if we stopped chasing views and likes and shares and instead focused on building an ever-growing opt-in audience? What if we got out of the commodity content game?

Ask yourself

What’s my hook? How can I create content with a simple twist on a familiar theme? What’s my 30 Minute Meals? And share with us in the comments below!

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Drew_0073About Andrew: Davis’ 20-year career has taken him from local television to The Today Show. He’s worked for The Muppets in New York, written for Charles Kuralt and marketed for tiny start-ups as well as Fortune 500 brands. In 2001, Andrew Davis co-founded Tippingpoint Labs, where he changed the way publishers think and how brands market their products. His most recent book, Brandscaping: Unleashing the Power of Partnerships hit shelves in September, 2012. Check out his website to learn more!

 

Learn even more!

Take a look at your email marketing, is it grabbing your consumers attention? Do you have the right hook? Maybe you need more information and inspiration?

Take part in an exclusive webinar with Andrew Davis – HOOKED: How Clever Brands Create Addictive Content, on Thursday May 14, 2015 10:00 am EST.

You’ll learn five simple secrets to creating a hook. But it doesn’t stop there! Andrew will teach you what he learned while working for The Muppets and how you can apply that in your opt-in content strategy. Save your spot!

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4 Analytics Dashboards to Dominate Your Email Strategy http://blog.getresponse.com/4-analytics-dashboards-to-dominate-your-email-strategy.html http://blog.getresponse.com/4-analytics-dashboards-to-dominate-your-email-strategy.html#comments Fri, 08 May 2015 14:03:36 +0000 http://blog.getresponse.com/?p=19640 Let’s start with what you already know … gathering data is essential to developing a successful email marketing strategy. This means, it’s tempting to think more data equals better results.  The problem is converting your data from analytics to action … Read more

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Let’s start with what you already know … gathering data is essential to developing a successful email marketing strategy. This means, it’s tempting to think more data equals better results. 

The problem is converting your data from analytics to action is hard, especially if you don’t know what to pay attention to and look for. On top of that, if you’re not ready to integrate your data, then all the figures in the world won’t help you move forward.

In fact, too much data can be far more paralyzing then too little. So, when it comes to dominating your email strategy, four dashboards are absolutely essential:

  1. Your Newsletter
  2. Your Segments
  3. Your Goal
  4. Your All-in-One

 

1.  Your Newsletter

Want to find out what time of the day, week or month your newsletter is most read? Want to compare two different subject lines? Want to view these email statistics in an array of different email accounts like Yahoo and Gmail?

Well, an email newsletter dashboard like the two below will give you an immediate return on investment (ROI) because you’ll be able to easily analyze and study your metrics over time, compare autoresponder statistics, evaluate social media figures, and produce smart reports that can be observed in Yahoo, Gmail, Outlook and even over mobile.

GR

Image Credit: GetResponse

Here are three tips for turning your newsletter dashboard into action:

  • First, determine when subscribers view your emails. Then, configure your preferences to match that time and send your emails during peak hours or days.
  • Second, A/B test both individual email campaigns as well as separate campaigns to find out what emails have the highest rates of success. Note the specific subject lines with the highest open rates as well as the calls-to-action (CTA) that generate the most clicks. Once you discover what’s working, then you can optimize the rest of your emails according to those results.
  • Third, find out if your email campaign is garnering an ROI. By “tagging” your campaigns, you can calculate how many sales and sign-ups your website is getting through a link in your email itself.

 

2.  Your Segments

A general newsletter dashboard is a great starting point. But what’s missing?

The answer: segmentation.

Whether it’s gender or geography, behaviors or browsers, segmentation allows you to personalize your email strategy based on your audience themselves. Studies have shown that one-click segmentation can be drastically improve your conversion rates as much as 39%.

Here’s an example of what your segments dashboard should look like:

  • Opens
  • Unique Opens
  • Clicks
  • Bounces
  • Unsubscriptions

How do you turn segmentation data into action? Two tips …

  • Customers versus prospects: Customers are far more valuable than prospects. By separating the two, you can send “up sale” or “new product” offers to your current customers while sending “entry level” products, along with content marketing, to you prospects.
  • Active versus inactive: Over a period of time, subscribers often get inactive and disengaged. You can separate your email lists into subscribers who are active in your emails and subscribers who haven’t looked at your messages in months. Inactive customers can be a goldmine if you use simple, direct, and short personal emails to connect with them.

 

3.  Your Goal

Still, discovering what specific marketing tactic is succeeding can be challenging, especially when it comes to your bottom-line.

This is why Google Analytics Goals, also known as funnels, are integral to dominating your email strategy. Without this type of dashboard, you might have a good understanding of your email stats themselves – like open rates, CTRs, and unsubscribe rates.

But what’s actually bringing in money?

The funnel below always you to see where you customers are coming from – i.e., from another page or from your email campaign – and then discover what the drop off rate is for specific stages of your buying process.

MoreVisibility

Image Credit: MoreVisibility

Moreover, these funnels can pinpoint other valuable insights, including which content marketing pieces drive action, what browsers visitors are using, and where the sticking points are.

Here are three tips using a goal dashboard:

  • If you have sent out a series of varying emails and you have several objectives in mind, including the number of new subscribers, then you can locate which ones are meeting your aims and which ones need to be improved upon.
  • When it comes to engaging your audience and building a relationship, the length of time a visitor stays on your website is key. This dashboard’s analytics tools can certainly be a tremendous aid because you can gage how and why visitors are staying longer on your webpage.
  • Are you a brick-and-mortar furniture store in the middle of New York City? Well, you wouldn’t necessarily want customers from Paris. This means that you should optimize your emails to cater to the needs of New Yorker recipients instead of potential Parisian prospects. Analytics can determine what part of the world your visitors are coming from.

 

4. Your All-in-One

Jumping from one dashboard to the next is a headache. Not only is it frustrating, it is also inefficient, time-consuming and even costly. An all-in-one dashboard not only allows you to coordinate all your email marketing, it also brings in valuable data on your sales, finances, social media, lead generation, search positioning, and more.

This is why an all-in-one analytics dashboard like this one produced by Cyfe is nonnegotiable.

Cyfe

Image Credit: Cyfe

With this all-in-one dashboard, you can track:

  • revenue (top left),
  • segmentation by geography (top center),
  • sales funnels (left middle),
  • keyword rankings (middle center),
  • email campaigns (bottom left),
  • subscriber rate (bottom right), and even
  • social media mentions (top right).

Not only that, but having all of your analytics in one place can allow you to create custom reports on either historical or real-time data as well as combine your social media marketing with onsite performance and even project management..

Here are three tips for maximizing all-in-one dashboard:

  • If you want to be more popular on social media then it’s a clever move to highlight your various social media pages in your emails in the Postscript. This can definitely improve your social network standing.
  • As previously noted, every email to a subscriber or client should be personalized. This dashboard helps doing this by understanding geography and subscription dates. Without this type of data then you’ll just be sending off a generic email template.
  • How many people came to your website based upon an email? You can determine this with this dashboard and calculate how effective your email strategy is in terms of clicks, views and links.

 

Dominate …

Data overload is paralyzing, headache-inducing, and stressful.

That’s why focusing on these four dashboards won’t just save you time and effort … but will actually enable you to dominate your email marketing.

  1. Your Newsletter
  2. Your Segments
  3. Your Goal
  4. Your All-in-One

Pick your favorite, start dominating today, and share your thoughts in the comments below!

 


daniel_bioAuthor Bio: Daniel is a freelance writer who happens to be an internet marketing, web development and web design aficionado. When he’s not writing he probably researches the latest trends in the web design and development scene to keep up to date for his various projects.

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9 Questions To Ask Yourself Before You Launch a New Site http://blog.getresponse.com/9-questions-to-ask-yourself-before-you-launch-a-new-site.html http://blog.getresponse.com/9-questions-to-ask-yourself-before-you-launch-a-new-site.html#comments Thu, 07 May 2015 13:17:20 +0000 http://blog.getresponse.com/?p=19631 How many websites do you have? If you’re just starting out, it may be only one. But if you’ve been in business for a while, it could be one, or two, or ten. Many affiliates, authors, coaches, and solopreneurs have … Read more

9 Questions To Ask Yourself Before You Launch a New Site is a post from: GetResponse Blog - Email Marketing Tips

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How many websites do you have? If you’re just starting out, it may be only one. But if you’ve been in business for a while, it could be one, or two, or ten. Many affiliates, authors, coaches, and solopreneurs have more than one website. Maybe they launched that second site for a second business. Maybe it was for an event. Maybe it was even for an offsite blog.

Some business owners want to spin off a new site every few months. They have a new idea for a new business angle: They want a new site. They decide to write a book: New site. They want to launch a membership program: New site.

Whatever the reasons, before they know it, they’ve got a whole collection of websites. Each website has a slightly different purpose. Each site may also have it’s own social media accounts, it’s own blog, it’s own mailing list. Each site also has it’s own to do list. It’s own overhead.

Adding a new website can sound like a good thing, but it also has some serious drawbacks. It splinters your focus, and doubles or triples your workload. Having more than one site can also make it darn near impossible to adjust your overarching business strategy.

One business owner I helped had so many sites that even long-term staff barely knew how many sites there were. They often didn’t know which sites had important content assets. And as a result of all those sites, the sales funnel passed through a maze of different sites and links. This made tracking a nightmare. It pretty much killed any hope of SEO rankings.

But that wasn’t the worst part. The real problem was that because the business owner had invested so much in those satellite sites, he didn’t want to let them go. The sites were barely profitable and represented a huge overhead, but he could never quite commit or get clear enough about his business mission to kill them, or to even consolidate them. So he just kept investing more and more in them just to keep them on life support.

The sites drained staff resources and kept him hazy and distracted from finding the true engine of his business – it’s true core competency. And his business was going down. He was caught on a hamster wheel of managing all those little sites. Meanwhile, they drained his bank account and distracted him from what he really needed to do for his business.

I have made this same mistake. There are so many opportunities online, sometimes you can feel like a kid in a candy store. It’s hard to pick just one thing. But focus is precious. In fact, I’d argue focus is even more precious than time.

The risk, of course, is that your focus will paint you into a corner. But this is why startup CEOs tend to chant “fail faster”. It means you shouldn’t sacrifice your focus. Keep using it, but find out what works or doesn’t work as fast as possible. That way you can redirect your focus on to the next thing that has the highest likelihood of becoming a success.

Of course, there are times when it is a good idea to launch a new site – when you do want a completely separate online presence. In those cases, it is worth the extra work to launch a new website.

To give you some guidelines on when to create a new site and when to just expand your existing website, we’ve developed this list of questions to ask yourself before you launch a new site. Hopefully these questions will help you make the right decision for your business.

 

1) Does this new project deserve its own business license?

If your new product or idea or business is different enough from your existing business to justify a new business license, you may have hit one of the few instances when it is a good idea to launch a new site. Needing a new business license or a DBA (Doing Business As) Certificate suggests enough of a different entity to justify a new site. This is a good question to ask yourself to determine if you’ve just got a new product or a truly new business.

 

2) Is this an entirely different business model?

This one is trickier. Even if it is a different business model (like a coaching program versus an affiliate content site) you may still have something that just deserves a new section on your existing website, not a new site of its own.

 

3) How much more work is this going to create?

Do you think you’re going to launch a new site and start creating double the content, do double the social media work and double your promotion work? If so, are you ready to double your staff? Are you ready to squeeze in double the working hours?

Some business owners are painfully unrealistic about how their staff can “just squeeze in a little more” or how they can “just add a few more hours of work over the weekend”. Often those “just a few hours more” don’t exist.

launching

4) Where is this new site going to be in the next two years?

If often takes two years for new sites to become profitable. In fact, that’s the typical gestation period. Doubt it? Jay Baer took two years to see a profit for his blog, and he’s one of the most talented bloggers and content marketers in the industry.

So ask yourself: What will success look like for this new website? Do you have a break-even date? Do you have an idea of when even a little money will start coming in? Is it realistic?

 

5) Do you have the resources and time to put two years of work into this before you see a profit?

If not, at what point are you going to pull the plug?

NB: Answering this question is an excellent way to tell whether you’re launching a hobby or a business. It’s fine to have a hobby, but call it that. Don’t treat businesses like hobbies, or vice versa.

 

6) Is this new site for a completely different audience?

If you’ve got even one-third of your new audience overlapping with your old one, consider just adding a new section to your existing website.

There is an interesting way to frame all new business ventures: By their audience. Some experts say, “Find the right audience, and all your business problems are 50% solved.”

Finding the right business audience means more than just targeting a demographic. It would also mean narrowing a demographic down to psychographics (how people think), their income, their information consumption habits and the specific problems they face.

It’s no small order. But get your audience and you’re golden. Find the right audience first, and then figure out what to sell them. If you later find another thing to sell them, you may or may not want to launch a new business.

 

7) Are there technical reasons why this new site or project has to have its own website?

This doesn’t happen a lot, but there are instances where you might be tempted to create a new site rather than try to fuse it to an existing framework. This often happens when new owners are adding a blog to their site. They get tempted to just set up a free blog on another site and link it to their main site.

It’s a mistake. You should always set up a blog so it’s hosted on your site. It’s pretty much never a good idea to have a blog hosted on another site unless you are completely terrified of WordPress and have no skills whatsoever with it. Then it might be easiest to just set up an account on WordPress.org. But for the rest of you (95% of you), even those who have barely any WordPress skills: Your blog needs to be hosted on your site.

 

8) Does this have to be done?

Is launching this new site really the absolute best use of your time? Or are you spinning off a new project to entertain yourself and distract yourself? Are you doing this to avoid making tough choices about your core business?

 

9) Is there any possible way to make this fit into your existing business? Even in an ugly way?

This is the planning equivalent of an ugly first draft in writing. Even if it would be a Frankenstein-like business model, what would your Frankensite look like? How might your Frankenbiz run? Just trying this as a thought exercise often clarifies a decision.

Launching a new site is a huge commitment. It’s a bit like taking home a new puppy – cute, exciting – but with a lot of care and love and attention required after the initial thrill. Think carefully before you start launching sites willy-nilly. It’s one of the worst mistakes I see Internet entrepreneurs make.

Do you have more than one website? Is it working for you? How much extra work does it take to manage? Do you ever wish you had just stuck to one website? Tell us about it in the comments.

9 Questions To Ask Yourself Before You Launch a New Site is a post from: GetResponse Blog - Email Marketing Tips

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10 Simple Actions to Make Your First Webinar A Success http://blog.getresponse.com/10-simple-actions-to-make-your-first-webinar-a-success.html http://blog.getresponse.com/10-simple-actions-to-make-your-first-webinar-a-success.html#comments Wed, 06 May 2015 14:07:05 +0000 http://blog.getresponse.com/?p=19599 I have been wanting to hold a webinar for ages. For one whole year to be exact. In the beginning of 2014, I caught the webinar bug. That was when I first became fascinated with the idea of presenting webinars. … Read more

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I have been wanting to hold a webinar for ages. For one whole year to be exact. In the beginning of 2014, I caught the webinar bug. That was when I first became fascinated with the idea of presenting webinars.

Amy Porterfield, the queen of Facebook advertising was the one who I wanted to be like. She has mastered the art of presenting webinars that hook you from the beginning and make you stay till the end. The fact that she has a charming personality adds to it but the medium she credits her business success to, is webinars.

Come to think of it, webinars are great because they are the closest thing to attending a live workshop and being in the same room with the presenter. You get to hear them live and ask questions if you want. Webinars can be video-based where the presenter talks straight to the camera, or they be a slide-based presentation or a combination of both. They have become the hottest thing to build you email list. They are rated very highly by attendees and by those who watch replays as a tool that gives them great value.

But what about the presenters? How do they like it? The people who are pros like Amy, Lewis Howes and others love it. But there are countless others, like you and I, who want to present but are too scared to do so.

Firstly there are mindset issues to deal with. Why are you scared to present in the first place? These vary greatly and is another blog post altogether. Then there is fear of unknown. Not knowing what it takes to hold a successful webinar can keep you stuck and unable to move forward, so in this blog post I am going to teach you everything you need to know in order to do your first webinar. No more, no less.

 

#1 Know your purpose

Before you want to start, think about why you want to create this particular webinar.

Webinars are great for accomplishing many things. They are fantastic for getting in front of your audience and creating rapport. They are great for building authority and trust. They work really well for building your email list.

You can use webinars to sell a product or service. You can also use webinars platform to launch an ecourse or group coaching program. For most people who are just starting out, I would advise to keep things simple. Start your webinar to create a deeper relationship with your audience and build your email list.

Do not complicate things by trying to sell on a live webinar. Firstly, you will find only few people attending it live (not your fault but that’s just the way it is) so it not worth it. Secondly, it takes some serious skill to conduct a sales webinar and convert people  into customers.

For now just concentrate on delivering high quality content and make them pitch-free.

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#2 Identify your audience

Decide who this webinar is for. What do you want them to get out of the webinar? What will they learn? What are some of the takeaways they will leave with? Spend some time honing your audience. The better you understand your audience, the more relevant your presentation will be.

For your first few webinars, I highly recommend that you create them for your own email list and I will explain this next. So think about your ideal customer/client profile you have created in your business and create a presentation that they will find useful.

When you have a clear picture of the person most likely to find value in your webinar and attend live, your inner confidence skyrockets. You create and present knowing that you can add so much value to this person’s life.

 

#3 Create an irresistible title

What do you do when you want to write a headline for a piece of content that you want to do really well? You spend time coming up with the right headline. You create a benefit-laden or curiosity-invoking headline.

In your webinar, you want to put time into this aspect, as well. This is hugely important. Your headline will grab your readers’ attention. It has the power to hook them in and make them read the rest of the copy on your sign-up page. You want it to be as compelling as possible.

For a webinar, I recommend a straight, benefit-laden headline. And make it really specific. You want to tell your reader exactly what they will get out of it.

webinar_tips

#4 Create a high converting sign-up page

This might not be the task you need to worry about the most while you are trying to present your first webinar but still it is important. Plus, it doesn’t really take that long to do a good job and the benefits are huge.

Firstly, think about headline of your webinar sign up page. You can ask a question that gets people to think about their pain points, or you even modify your title of the webinar. Something similar to a headline on a sales page.

Again, the job of the headline is to grab the attention of your ideal audience – people who are most likely to find the information useful and make an effort to attend the webinar live or watch the replay.

You want it to be specific enough so that you discourage freebie seekers. These are the people who like to sign up to email lists just for the purpose of collecting freebies and then don’t even open them. Think of these people like hoarders – people who have the fear of missing out. These will also bring your conversions down because they were never really interested in the first place.

Add some bullets to explain the benefits of attending and a clear call to action.

 

#5 Promote to the right people

For your first webinar, promote it to the people who already like you and are likely to forgive any rookie mistakes.

Promote to your list and send more than one email. People are busy and it is always good to remind them. Be upfront with them and tell them this is your first webinar and they will appreciate the honesty.

Promote on your Facebook page and also in any Facebook groups you are on. Do not invest in Facebook advertising at this stage. Get some experience of running webinars first.

 

#6 Create a stellar presentation

This part of the process might take you the longest. From at least 3-4 hours to a few days, depending on how big your topic is. Which brings me to the first point: Choose a short topic for your presentation.

Trust me, not only is it easy to fill seats with highly specific topics, it is much easier to plan and have people stay till the end. If your presentation goes overtime, and it most likely will, you start rushing and you want to avoid that from the beginning.

The ideal duration for an educational webinar is 60 minutes. Allocate ten minutes for the introduction, about 40 minutes for actual teaching and 10 minutes for Q/A. You can ask people to send you questions in advance. If you don’t have any questions, you can either finish a little early or be more relaxed with your teaching. Both are fine.

Structure your information well. Take people from point A to point B in a logical sequence. Add examples to make your points clear. Give them actionable items or steps they can start putting to use immediately. You can also give them a worksheet or a PDF to take notes on. You can send them the slides of the presentation after, it’s totally up to you.

 

#7 Think of it as practice

Now I want you to take the pressure off yourself. If you are doing a webinar for the first time, or even if you tried it once and it didn’t go as planned, try to think of it as a practice run.

Do not promote it too heavily. Do not run Facebook ads. I’d rather have you make any rookie mistakes with people who already love and support you. If you have an email list, promote it to them. This will also tell you if your idea is good and may spark some product ideas as well. Remember that this is your first time and things may go wrong. A lot of people report having technical difficulties. But if you know what you are doing, you can fix those easily.

People are disappointed that only a handful of people turn up (if they are lucky). People have known to present to an empty room because they promised to send out a replay. Don’t be disheartened. As your reputation builds, you will find more people attending your webinars live. Just breathe. This won’t make or break you.

 

#8 Do a test run

Before you actually present, I want you to test things out before. You are probably using the platform of your choice for the first time. Test that all the emails go out. The worse thing that can happen is the people don’t get the reminders and don’t turn up even though they really wanted to.

Test your registration page is working. Ask a family member to hop on a different computer or a tablet and test that everything works by setting up a test webinar. If you are using Google hangouts, go through the process of starting a hangout, embedding the code on your site and starting the presentation.

If you are doing video, make sure that the lighting is good. That your camera is slightly above eye level and practice looking into the camera and switching between video and slides.

 

#9 Get support in place

There is a number of technical things involved in setting up and running a webinar. If you are not very techy, instead of driving yourself insane trying to figure this out on your own, get some help. People now offer webinar set-up service. They also test everything for you. The best thing is that you can hire them to sit on your webinar.

They will look at the live questions that come in and let you know while you concentrate on delivering your presentation. This is especially handy because there is a lag between when you ask the question, when your attendees type in and when you actually see it. They keep an eye out for questions so you don’t get distracted. This is super helpful when you are new at this.

These people will also alert you to the fact is something goes wrong. For example, sometimes people stop seeing the video or complain that they slides are fuzzy. They’ll tell you so you can inform them that they either refresh their screen or just wait to see if it sorts itself out.

webinars

#10 Start on the right foot

Start the webinar on time. You don’t want to keep people waiting who turn upon time. You can and you should turn up at least 5-7 minutes early to set things up. You will see people already coming in and do your sound/video check then.

Introduce yourself. Welcome people and ask where they are coming from. Tell them you plan to start on time but wait a few minutes to allow people to come in. If you have a support person, they will let you know if there is any issue. If not, you are ready to begin your presentation.

You might think that it will feel a bit weird talking to your computer and it might but as soon as you start seeing those live messages come in where people start saying hi and where they are from, you know this is happening in real time.

Take a deep breath and start presenting. Don’t be afraid to tell people this is your first webinar. Wanna know what happened when I told people I was nervous? I got messages like ‘you are doing an excellent job, keep going’, and ‘you are doing just fine’. Phew!

 

So, what about me?

As I said in the beginning of the post that I have been wanting to do this for ages. So did I take my own advice or am I just saying like this to pump you up? Of course I did! I will be presenting my fourth webinar this month. They have not been perfect but I am getting better as I do more and more. People have given me fantastic feedback as well.

Enjoy and have fun. You have practiced this. You have the support. You know your material. You have people cheering you on. So what am I saying? I am saying you got this! Let us know in the comments below if you still have any questions, or maybe advice of your own! 

10 Simple Actions to Make Your First Webinar A Success is a post from: GetResponse Blog - Email Marketing Tips

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How To Make The Most Out Of Periscope, Twitter’s New Video Streaming App http://blog.getresponse.com/how-to-make-the-most-out-of-periscope-twitters-new-video-streaming-app.html http://blog.getresponse.com/how-to-make-the-most-out-of-periscope-twitters-new-video-streaming-app.html#comments Tue, 05 May 2015 14:37:03 +0000 http://blog.getresponse.com/?p=19589 There’s a new trend in social media – #Periscope. If you haven’t heard of it yet, then where have you been!!?? you will probably have questions that resemble the following: What is it? What does it do? Can I use … Read more

How To Make The Most Out Of Periscope, Twitter’s New Video Streaming App is a post from: GetResponse Blog - Email Marketing Tips

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There’s a new trend in social media – #Periscope. If you haven’t heard of it yet, then where have you been!!?? you will probably have questions that resemble the following:

  1. What is it?
  2. What does it do?
  3. Can I use it as part of my social media marketing strategy?

Well, firstly, let’s answer that last question first – yes you can (and should). But we’ll get to that a little later as I feel it pertinent to answer questions 1 and 2 before we go any further. Here goes…

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What Is Periscope And What Does It Do?

Periscope is the brand new Twitter-owned live streaming video app that lets you upload video to the internet in real-time. What is more – if that wasn’t cool enough already – it also allows users (or perhaps they’ll end up being called ‘scopers’) who are watching the stream to respond and leave comments, also in real-time.

Released at the end of March this year, it’s already proving to be extremely popular online, and in many cases rising above the direct competition.

For it’s not the first app of it’s kind, you understand. Meerkat is the main rival, also released in March this year. But, since Twitter own Periscope, and both apps are primarily designed to be shared specifically on that platform, then one does suspect that Periscope will end up winning out. (Social Media Examiner put the pair through their comparative paces in a recent blog post if you want further insight into how these two similar products pit against one another).

Indeed, despite the fact that Periscope appears to have been rushed out (it does lack some pretty basic functionality to be perfectly honest), the move was obviously designed primarily to halt any early growth of Meerkat – and it worked.

Periscope was launched on a Thursday. By that Sunday it was already a huge hit – creeping into the top-30 chart on Apple’s App Store, by which time Meerkat had slipped down to a pitiful 523 (bgr.com).

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Who Is Periscope For?

It’s hard to pinpoint at first (but needless to say there are already emerging the narcissistic masses who feel that their moment has finally come as they broadcast live to the world the contents of their fridge). In fact, the true use and value of Periscope probably hasn’t even been discovered/invented yet. This is both good and bad news.

The good news is that there aren’t any ‘rules’ or etiquette to the platform yet. In fact, you could very well be the person who sets the trend for how people use this brand new social media tool long, long into the future. You could build your career on it.

But the bad news is that, since it’ so new, there’s not a lot of existing innovative users/brands out there to take inspiration from. And in fact, even if you download the app right now and start trying to find some decent people to follow, you will encounter difficulties.

Search/browsing/discovery is not yet fully formed and functional, and so finding something interesting to watch is actually quite hard. There are no categories as yet – music, sport, etc. – which is a shame (though we hope that these will come eventually).

So, at the moment, while we’re all just getting to grips with the thing, and as we’re waiting for updates that will iron out the wrinkles that are inevitable with any new product, the time is now perfect to make some waves with it. You’ve really got the chance to stand out here on something new, and maybe even set the trend for how marketers are going to use this brand new social media in the future.

We’ve been having a play with it, and have come up with a few ideas for how to make the most of Periscope in its early stages of existence, and how you might use it to promote your brand.

videos

3 Tips To Start Making The Most Out Of Periscope

1. Come Up With A Catchy Title For Your Broadcasts

With Periscope you get to give your broadcasts a title before you start filming. Users of the platform will be scrolling through a lot of profile pictures, deciding what to watch (if anything). So, in order to capture their attentions, chose a really nifty title that will really grab their interest amongst all the other junk that they’re scrolling through – make them want to tune in and know more about what you’re doing.

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2. Get The Timing Right

This will of course be difficult at first. But, that’s why you’ve got to experiment. You will want to be broadcasting at various different times of the day at first and making a note of your engagement levels as you go along. Over time, you should see a pattern emerging, so you will know, generally speaking, when the best time will be to broadcast to your growing audience.

In the same vein, if you can come up with a truly innovative concept for a string of great ‘Scopes’ (they might end up being called that – who knows?), then you should be able to dictate to your audience exactly when they should tune in next to catch them going live.

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3. Make Your Broadcasts Available On Twitter

Periscope gives users the option of sharing their broadcast on Twitter. At the moment, this is still just in the form of a link, which will include the title that you have given your broadcast. But, currently, this is the best way to start drawing in some of your Twitter following over to Periscope. Your broadcasts will be available for 24 hours after you finish filming and then disappear. When users click on the link after this 24 hour period then they will be directed to a page where they will be encouraged to sign up for Periscope and download the app.

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Final Word – Remember It’s Live!!

Ok, so Periscope is new. There’s no doubt that it’s cool, and will almost certainly prove to be popular – especially as the product improves (which it desperately needs to do) over the coming months.

But, in the meantime, while you’re coming up with and perfecting your Periscope campaigns, I think that the best advice I can give you is to try and make sure that you’re making use of the fact that Periscope is live.

Ask yourself every time you start to broadcast – why am I using Periscope here and not YouTube? What’s so special about what I’m filming that it works better live?

If your answer is ‘nothing’, then you will be missing the point of the social media. So, more than any other medium perhaps, start making your marketing reactive to what’s happening right now, and jump on those trends in a way that has simply never been possible before.

Good luck. We’re all looking forward to finding you on the new platform as you single-handedly invent the most effective marketing method for it. Have fun!!

Are you using Periscope yet? How are you finding it? What are your suggestions for social media marketing campaigns? Let us know in the comments below. 

How To Make The Most Out Of Periscope, Twitter’s New Video Streaming App is a post from: GetResponse Blog - Email Marketing Tips

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Tips for a Loving Mother’s Day Campaign [Infographic] http://blog.getresponse.com/tips-for-a-loving-mothers-day-campaign-infographic.html http://blog.getresponse.com/tips-for-a-loving-mothers-day-campaign-infographic.html#comments Mon, 04 May 2015 13:17:41 +0000 http://blog.getresponse.com/?p=19584 Email marketing is all about cherishing relationships and Mother’s Day is another opportunity to prove it. Most people would like to give their Mom something unique, so it’s a chance for your brand to come up with a great offer … Read more

Tips for a Loving Mother’s Day Campaign [Infographic] is a post from: GetResponse Blog - Email Marketing Tips

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Email marketing is all about cherishing relationships and Mother’s Day is another opportunity to prove it. Most people would like to give their Mom something unique, so it’s a chance for your brand to come up with a great offer and once again exceed customer’s expectations.

According to the latest statistics there are 85.4 million Moms in the U.S. alone, so a Mother’s Day campaign should be one of the major events of your marketing calendar. Today I wanted to share a few tips on how to prepare an effective Mother’s Day email marketing campaign.

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Do you know what Moms want to get?

Before you start preparing your offer, here is a top 10 list of what Moms would like to receive for Mother’s Day according to Statistic Brain:

  1. Something Homemade
  2. Dinner
  3. Greeting Card
  4. Gift Cards
  5. Flowers
  6. Jewelry
  7. Books
  8. Spa
  9. Clothing
  10. Music

However the list does not include the ultimate present according to Dr. Gail Gross – the gift of time. A Mom’s Time Out is the moment only for herself when she can de-stress and restore energy.

However it’s not just about the Mom’s. Little things mean a lot and a proper campaign could go a long way with consumers. Incentivize your customer’s decision with discounts, special offers, and bonus gifts.

Try to get more out of the holiday by offering bundles e.g., Mother + Mother-in-law special – choose one item and the second will be 30% off. You can also take it a step further and with two purchases, offer free shipping on Mother’s Day products.

Make sure you start promoting your campaign and start creating landing pages and sending out newsletters. Also, it is good to give your customers reminders, after all some of us are forgetful and might not remember what day is Mother’s Day!

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Help your customers choose what’s best

Everyone wants to offer something unique on this day. Home-made gifts are so popular because their preparation requires effort and therefore they feel personal.

Offer personalization – involve your customers in the process and allow them to prepare a perfect gift.

You will find more information in the infographic below. Use these 7 tips to design an email marketing campaign that will help your customers celebrate this special day and put a smile on every Mother’s face:

Tips for a Loving Mother’s Day Campaign [Infographic] is a post from: GetResponse Blog - Email Marketing Tips

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10 Challenges To Tackle While Optimizing An E-Commerce Website http://blog.getresponse.com/10-challenges-to-tackle-while-optimizing-an-e-commerce-website.html http://blog.getresponse.com/10-challenges-to-tackle-while-optimizing-an-e-commerce-website.html#comments Fri, 01 May 2015 13:47:32 +0000 http://blog.getresponse.com/?p=19560 When we talk about successful businesses, e-stores are always there on the list. The reason behind this is very clear: we are living in a virtual era, where almost every single task is being performed online.  According to Statista, it … Read more

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When we talk about successful businesses, e-stores are always there on the list. The reason behind this is very clear: we are living in a virtual era, where almost every single task is being performed online. 

According to Statista, it has been confirmed that e-commerce is rapidly growing popular in the B2C arena, with sales amounting to more than 1.2 trillion US dollars in 2013 alone. At the same time, retail sales attributable to the Internet are also booming.

retail_sales

The current generation does not believe in putting in a lot of physical effort to make purchases. With the expansion of technology, consumers can make a large purchase with a single touch. This is evident in the fact that, between 2010 and 2018, the number of digital shoppers is going to increase drastically.

digital_shoppers

E-commerce has become a buzzword in digital marketing. Don’t worry, I’m not going to discuss why e-commerce is important – the internet is already filled with such information. I will just prove some facts with a few authentic stats.

The bright side of the e-commerce industry is that millions of business owners are picking it up as a profession. On the other hand, many business owners neglect the importance of ecommerce website planning and optimization. The optimization of an e-commerce website is quite different from that of a regular website – with e-commerce having become a huge and highly competitive industry, cutting-edge knowledge is required to stay competitive. Therefore, it is important that your website is properly optimized.

Let’s discuss the common challenges you will come across while optimizing an e-commerce website.

 

1. Lack of Interaction with Designers and Developers 

Most business owners hire professionals to design and code their e-commerce websites. When the website structure is ready to go live, it is handed over to search specialists for its optimization. The problem arises here, when SEO specialists ask owners to re-design the structure because it is not convertible, increasing the business’ costs.

This lack of interaction with designers and developers is a big problem; hence, the entire website structure should be made under the guidance of an SEO specialist. That specialist should be capable of finalizing a design that can generate leads, and is up to e-commerce standards.

 

2. Content Uniqueness

Compared to regular websites, e-commerce websites contain less content. The kind of content mainly depends on the product display and design; but it is usually in the form of product descriptions. As an SEO specialist, you need to make sure that the descriptions are not being copied and are purely unique.

Here is a great example of content uniqueness in the screenshot below. Due to having multiple colors of a product, the system generates multiple URLs for the same product. But both the URLs are having different product descriptions.

floral_sundress

 

3. Keywords Research and Analysis

Keywords research is like a map that can help you find a treasure; yet most SEO specialists spend less time on it, selecting keywords randomly. The reason is that they have limited time, so they spend more time on link building and less on keywords research.

But once you do keywords research correctly, it will ease the overall link building process. For this, it is important to know whether the keywords you are selecting are convertible.

 

4. Avoid Broken Links

Broken links have always been a harmful factor for both static and dynamic websites. The possibility of broken links in an e-commerce website is generally high as compared to the ordinary websites. Either if the product is out of stock or unavailable that certain page gets broken.We can’t display a 404 page to our beloved customers. If in-case the product is unavailable it should be redirected to main category page.

 

5. Proper Link Building Strategy

Most of the link builders make the same mistake when it comes to building backlinks for an e-store. I have worked with many e-commerce clients and I have learned a lot of things when it comes to link building strategy. You might get shocked but its truth that most of the SEOs are still following the outdated SEO methods for building links even for e-commerce website, they focuses on bookmarking, submitting directories, etc … Such a big LOL!

As far as my experience is concerned, I mainly focus on guest posting, getting product reviews from bloggers, submitting products to the online stores like Amazon and Ebay, coupon submission, infographic, and presentation submission. These methods should be mainly use to build trust among your perspective customers as result your link will automatically get qualitative :)

While building links, you should always target the right blogs or any other platform where you are going to build links. Try to focus more on your home and category pages for link building rather than product pages. The reason is that when you target a product page and suppose that product is out of stock as a result it will become a 404 page or might be redirected to any other page. But your efforts that make to build links for that specific page will be wasted.

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6. Keywords Targeting 

It is common that bunch of keywords are being targeted on a single page of an e-commerce website. It is important have an occurrence of all these keywords in your titles and meta descriptions. Don’t stuff them, use them creatively to give a natural look ;)

 

7. Utilization of Image ALT Text

In most online marketing campaigns, ALT text is being underestimated. But it is the most powerful way of getting links. Confused? Let me explain: As we know, ALT text is used for image optimization; if your product’s image is properly optimized, it will start appearing in image search results.

Most bloggers find images via Google images, and use it in their blog posts. As a result, they provide links in the form of image sources. This is how you can gain links through image optimization.

fashion_blogs

 

8. Get a Convertible Blog

As I discussed above, the e-commerce industry usually has a large volume of keywords. In such a case, a blog is the best option to point tertiary keywords on your blog. It is a proven technique, and will definitely provide you good rankings in the SERPs in the long run. It is also used as a point of attraction for getting links naturally on other platforms.

 

9. Implement Schema Markup

In most digital agencies, SEOs don’t know about Schema Markup. Update schema code in the first place, in order to identify data about product reviews, manufacturer and aggregate ratings.

All these are factors and challenges that must be considered while optimizing an e-commerce website. All the above techniques can boost your rankings in the SERPs as well as increase your website traffic.  I know you guys are thinking that I have only stated 9 factors, while one is missing. Let’s learn the last factor from some of our industry experts and know what they think!

 

10. What is the biggest challenge while optimizing an E-commerce Website?

Ted Ives (SEO at TedIves.com)

Ted_IvesGenerating really good unique product descriptions.  If the site gets most of its data from a partner feed, it’s important to have as much of it be as different as possible – which is a balancing act because you want it to be accurate and in compliance with the partners standards!

 

 

Moosa Hemani (Inbound Strategist at SETalks)

Moosa_HemaniI am not sure if this comes under optimization or not, but this is very important from the conversion point of view. I have seen tons of different clients who either do not have a mobile website or have a bad-looking one, and when you suggest they change it and invest in the mobile version, they tend to say no.

One of the biggest challenges is to tell them how important mobile is for them and how they can seriously improve their conversions with mobile. I am in the middle of writing a post about it as well, and here is the one graphic from the post that will tell you how much traffic one of my clients is getting from mobiles and tablets (keeping in mind that, at the moment, they don’t have a mobile website ready).

Analytics shows that 44.55% of the traffic is coming from mobiles and tablets, and as they don’t have a mobile website, imagine the kind of conversion they are missing out on, only because they don’t have a mobile website at the moment.

What ecommerce businesses need to understand is that mobile technology is growing. So if your data tells you to invest in mobile, just go with it as this will have a direct impact on your conversions and offer a greater ROI.

 

Bill Sebald (Founder and SEO at Greenlane Search Marketing LLC)

Bill_SebaldI find the biggest problem today is still the same problem I faced in the early 2000’s, as database-driven platforms started to become popular.  Instead of advancing with SEO best practices, they focused on scalability through rapid development.  The result was often a buggy mess of orphaned pages and duplicate content.  Today some of our eComm clients are on more sophisticated platforms, but many are still on bloated enterprise platforms with thin templates. It’s my opinion that while Google got better/smarter/stronger at figuring out how bloated a site is, as well as more capable of crawling, they also got less interested in these messy sites. I’ve seen eComm (and other huge database driven sites) take a sudden nose dive, unrelated to any penalty, after a few “high URL count” GWT warnings. As if Google said, “that’s it – now that we know what a mess you are, we’re tired of spending the electricity on you.”

So the biggest problem is still the bloated URLs – which leads to duplicate content, index bloat, wrong pages ranking, good pages never getting discovered or favored, and a bad user experience. Thus, the biggest challenge is actually “pulling the weeds”. The more the issues caused by a sloppy CMS or catalog manager, the more waves of weed killer you have to add.  For some big eCommerce sites, that’s a lot of resources and cost. Coordinating those efforts, and pushing through implementation, is always a huge challenge.

 

In a Nutshell

Summarizing my whole concept with a conclusion that while working on any ecommerce website you need to play very efficiently. Because its not as simple as most of the marketers think. Sometimes, your single mistake can waste your whole effort. Follow the techniques discussed in the article and follow the advice from our experts, you’ll definitely get hell out of it. And in the meantime, share in the comments below what challenges and solutions you have encountered yourself! 

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headshotAbout the author: Abbas Rajani is an Inbound and SEO Strategist at Pac and Copy Plus and a digital marketing blogger for Visiblup. Follow @abbas_rajani for more updates.

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9 Excuses That Keep You From Hiring A Business Coach http://blog.getresponse.com/9-excuses-that-keep-you-from-hiring-a-business-coach.html http://blog.getresponse.com/9-excuses-that-keep-you-from-hiring-a-business-coach.html#comments Thu, 30 Apr 2015 14:37:35 +0000 http://blog.getresponse.com/?p=19552 Have you ever thought about hiring a business coach? If you have, what stopped you from going ahead with this plan? And if you haven’t, what made you do that? I bet there are bunch of reasons you can come … Read more

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Have you ever thought about hiring a business coach? If you have, what stopped you from going ahead with this plan? And if you haven’t, what made you do that? I bet there are bunch of reasons you can come up with right now to convince me why hiring a coach is not an option for you. From things like ‘coaches are only for rich people’, ‘only losers hire coaches’ to ‘you don’t really need a coach’, I have heard it all. And in today’s blog post, I am going to bust these myths (excuses) one by one.

Let the fun begin.

 

#1 Coaches are very expensive

The biggest reason that keep new entrepreneurs from hiring a business coach is also the most common one: the cost. People think that business coaches cost thousands of dollars and they are not totally wrong. However, I am also going to tell you that there are other options available as well.

Firstly, you don’t have to work with elite coaches to begin with. Nobody is asking you to hire Tony Robbins or any other coach who charges ten thousand dollars per month. Like everything else in life, there are coaches available at every price point. Go ahead and look for coaches you can afford. Price is not an indicator of their expertise.

You can find reasonably priced coaches who are extremely good at what they do and they have made a conscious decision to keep their prices affordable because they want to help more people.

On the other hand, some coaches charge a lot because they have built profitable brands, are published authors or simply offer high level expertise you don’t need. If you are struggling to make five thousand dollars per month, you don’t need to hire someone who works with 7-figure businesses and charge accordingly.

My point is fairly simple. You can find a coach to fit your budget. Investing in coaching is an investment in yourself. Just like going to college or a graduate school where you pay thousands of dollars upfront because you know it is an investment, hiring a coach needs to be considered as one too because it is one.

 

#2 With all the free information, why hire a coach?

Some people are hesitant to hire coaches on principle. They refused to buy any paid programs or ebooks, and they think they can do just fine without hiring a coach. Because there is so much free information available on the Internet that there is no need to hire one.

If you are one of those people, I’d like to challenge you on that. You don’t hire a coach because they give you more information. You don’t hire a coach because they provide you with more content, links or resources. You hire a coach because you need someone to help you go from point A to point B.

All the information in the world is useless if you can’t make sense of it and apply it. Sometimes you don’t know how to do this on your own and you need someone to hold your hand through the process.

You hire a coach because you can get too close to the problem, lose perspective or overly complicate it. This is why brand strategists help their clients nail their brands while they get stuck when it comes to building their own.

You hire a coach because you might be very good at you do but not so good at promoting yourself. This is why career coaches are fantastic at helping their clients find jobs but don’t know how to find clients. This is why because nutritionists are great at helping their clients but find it very hard to articulate what they do and market themselves.

You hire a coach because they keep you accountable, keep you motivated and keep you moving. Let me know the next time you need a critique of your promotional email and how you got Google to do that.

business

#3 You want to make your own mistakes first

Some business owners who just started are not ready to hire a business coach because they need to make all the mistakes on their own. I am not joking. People refuse to hire a business coach because they have heard that it takes a few years, working really hard in a trenches to build a business. They think they have to pay the price.

They refuse to think about the possibility of a coach reducing the learning curve for them and shorten the building-the-business cycle. They are hell bent upon reinventing the wheel. Deep down they feel that maybe, just maybe, they can do it on their own and don’t need to hire somebody after all.

Yes, it is very much possible and it will take years. Why won’t you take years off, learn from all the mistakes they have made or their clients have made and get to your goal faster? Do yourself a favour and get someone to reduce your sweat equity.

 

#4 You had a bad experience before

You might be reluctant in hiring a coach because you hired someone before and it wasn’t a good experience. You hired somebody before and they turned out to be nothing like what they promised. You didn’t get the personalized attention, they kept canceling or rescheduling, or worse, you feel like they scammed you. They built up a big hype and you fell for it.

Ouch! That’s not a good place to be in for sure but do not write off coaches just yet. If it didn’t work out before, it doesn’t mean it won’t work the next time. If you want to try again, I highly recommend that you do your homework.

I want you to get in touch with their clients and explore a bit more about their experience. I want to ask people for referrals and not necessarily hire somebody based on their marketing materials alone (they would have hired an experienced copywriter to do that).

Always book in a discovery session to get a sense of what they are like. Make sure you are a great fit and trust your gut. Your intuition is very strong and it will help you make the right decision.

Try not to lock yourself into long contracts. Try working with someone for a couple of months to see how it goes. I am sorry that you had a bad experience previously but with due diligence and research you will find someone who is a perfect fit for you.

 

#5 You can do it on your own

Are you someone who thinks that people who hire coaches are losers? Do you turn your nose up at someone who works with a coach?

Let me tell you the kind of people who work with coaches. People who are go-getters, smart and ready to invest in themselves because they understand the value. The most successful athletes, sportsmen, entertainers and leaders have their own coaches.

So if you are not giving coaches a chance because of your ego, you are making big mistake. Maybe you grew up in a household where everybody was encouraged to do everything on their own? And I am not saying this is a bad thing. However this becomes an issue when you become too proud or stubborn to accept help.

And what about the things you are not naturally good at? Or the things you are not trained to do or haven’t got any experience in? It would make sense to hire someone to help you who has been through where you are now, isn’t it?

You have skills and strengths. You also have weaknesses and areas which you might want to outsource. Unfortunately, you can’t outsource your business. You are in charge. What you can do is to hire someone to take you to your goals quicker.

 

#6 You will find time to do this on your own

Some people are not ready to work with a coach because they truly believe if they give it some time, they can make it work. They feel all they need is some time and they are good.

This excuse a relative of I-can-do-it-myself excuse. But the reality is that they never find the time. The only way to find time is to come with a plan to focus. And clearly you don’t have a plan or you would have executed it by now. A coach will help you come up with a plan that works.

coaching_business

#7 You are not ready to hire one

Some people want to hire coaches, they really do. But they don’t hire one now. They keep putting it off. The reason being that they are embarrassed by how (bad) things are. They haven’t told anyone what a hard time they are having. And they certainly aren’t ready to admit this to a coach.

The problem with this approach is that you are not seeing the coach as an ally. You are thinking of them as somebody you need to prove something to. You feel like you need to get good at it first before you can ask for help.

I can understand it but the thing is this is holding you back. In order to move forward, you need to be brave enough to hear and handle the truth. Developing a thicker skin isn’t a bad thing at all.

You don’t need to create systems, your coach will help you do that. You don’t need to perfect everything before you hire somebody. They are going to help you do that. They will be there for you to take the right actions and save you time, effort and tears doing things you don’t even need.

 

#8 You have your friends to bounce off ideas

You might think because you have friends and family to talk about your business you don’t really need a coach. How’s that working for you?

The thing is that you can’t get the level of expert advice from your friends unless they are in business themselves and further ahead of you. Even them it doesn’t mean they have the experience to guide you. If something worked for them, it might not necessarily work for you.

And when you talk to your friends or family you also run the risk of hearing advice that might actually be harmful to you. When you are feeling down or low and you need to hear some words of encouragement, your friends can’t necessarily give you that. They haven’t been there. They don’t know what to tell you.

And then there are friends or family who love to you bring you down. These are the people who are quick to point out that a very low percentage of businesses actually make it, that the vast majority of them fail within the first year, and that quick to remind you that there hasn’t been any business owners in the family.

 

#9 You are not ready to do the work

This is something you won’t hear from anyone. Even if they know it deep down, they will never admit it. They will never say it to anyone.

People find it much easier to buy ebooks, webinars, tutorials and online programs but they back off when it comes to investing in a coach. Even if they know how valuable it is to do that. The reason is very simple: they are not 100% committed.

Think about it, why is it easier to buy an inexpensive gym membership than work with a personal trainer. Because you can put away the membership but the personal trainer shows up and make you do the work.

You can’t hold it off once you have invested. You can tell yourself you will do it somebody. You can’t buy the ebook or the ecourse and make a promise to use it someday. You get a coach, you do the work. And as much as it hurts to hear this, if you are not ready to hire one, you are not ready to do the work.

 

So there you have it

Here is the list of my top excuses I hear people come up with all the time. Some of them are more obvious and easy to spot. Some of them will surprise you. You didn’t even know they existed. Some are quite painful to hear. The question now becomes what are you going to do about this? Did I change your mind at all? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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17 Affiliate Marketing Twitter Feeds You Should Follow http://blog.getresponse.com/17-affiliate-marketing-twitter-feeds-you-should-follow.html http://blog.getresponse.com/17-affiliate-marketing-twitter-feeds-you-should-follow.html#comments Wed, 29 Apr 2015 13:17:07 +0000 http://blog.getresponse.com/?p=19543 Over the weekend I learned that my neighbor wants to become an affiliate marketer. He’s a contractor. Though he earns a good living through his work, he’s been learning WordPress and would like to take a shot at building an … Read more

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Over the weekend I learned that my neighbor wants to become an affiliate marketer. He’s a contractor. Though he earns a good living through his work, he’s been learning WordPress and would like to take a shot at building an affiliate site. It got me thinking. There is an ocean of information available for how to do affiliate marketing, but there are not a lot of affiliate trainers I trust enough to recommend to my neighbor. 

This mistrust was verified when I was checking for who has the most influential Twitter account for the hashtag #affiliatemarketing. Two of the top five accounts had been suspended by Twitter. Two others were… well, let’s just say they were not really directly related to affiliate marketing.

This is exactly why I came up with only a few names of affiliate marketers I trusted enough to endorse for my neighbor. It’s great to have all this information available, but you’d be wise to take much of it with a grain of salt.

As I thought about it a bit more, a few more names came to mind. All these marketers are people I trust enough to educate someone I know and like, and they’ve all got awesome Twitter feeds. If you aren’t following these people already, start now. Oh – and there’s this thing called Google +, too. Most of them have a presence on that platform as well.

 

1) Jeff Bullas @jeffbullas

The owner and creator of one of best blogs about Internet marketing, Jeff includes affiliate marketing tips in his posts. He also has a regular stream of guest bloggers, and his entire operation is a textbook case study in how to do affiliate marketing right. He’s also, of course, really strong on social media, which can be a little tricky for affiliate marketers sometimes.

 

2) Jeremy Schoemaker @shoemoney

Shoemoney has been around for so long and helped so many that I couldn’t possibly leave him off this list. Maybe his approach is not for everyone, but he is actually earning a living – and a lavish one – from affiliate marketing. He’s also savvy to how powerful email marketing is.

 

3) John Chow @JohnChow

Another titan of affiliate marketing, John has been around long enough to see empires rise and fall. He reportedly “took his blog from making zero to over $40,000 per month in just 2 years”. His blog covers basics like outsourcing and how to get more traffic. Then every once in awhile he’ll do a whole post on his latest expensive new car.

 

4) Shawn Collins @affiliatetip

Shawn Collins is the guy behind AffiliateTip.com, a well-trafficked and well-regarded blog. He’s also one of the co-founders of The Affiliate Summit. You can’t get too deep into affiliate marketing to not run into his name and his work.

 

5) Missy Ward @MissyWard

Missy is the other co-founder of the Affiliate Summit. She has been an affiliate marketer since 1999 and maintains an active blog about affiliate marketing. It’s  good for beginners but also has insights even advanced marketers can benefit from.

 

6) Darren Rowse @problogger

Darren runs the essential site ProBlogger.com, where he teaches people how to make money blogging. He’s written several great books on the subject, including how to radically improve your blog in 30 days. There’s a lot of focus on creating great, useful content first, then developing an audience, and then selling to them.

 

7) Scott Fox @Scott_Fox 

OK – so Scott Fox doesn’t call it “affiliate marketing” (many gurus don’t). He calls it “Lifestyle Entrepreneurship”. Whatever he calls it, it’s affiliate marketing and he definitely knows how to do it. Fox has a ton of followers on Twitter, earns lots of zeros, and gets hundreds of reviews for his books.

 

8) Rosalind Gardner @RosalindGardner

“The Queen of Affiliate Marketing” and author of “Make a Fortune Promoting Other People’s Stuff Online: How Affiliate Marketing Can Make You Rich”. Rosalind truly is one of the best in affiliate marketing. She was one of the first people to really make a living doing actual, legitimate content-driven affiliate marketing. She’s been teaching people how to follow in her footsteps even since. Rosalind was an air traffic controller before she went into affiliate marketing, so there’s no shrinking from the technical side of things. She explains everything very clearly.

mountain

 

9) Michael Dunlop @IncomeDiary

Michael Dunlop has a smaller following, and it not quite as massive a presence as earlier people on this list, but his site Income Diary gets a lot of readers and goes into the nuts and bolts of making an affiliate marketing business work – from shopping carts and SEO to strategy and partnerships.

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10) Ramsay Taplin @BlogTyrant

Follow for super-smart blogging and online earning (including affiliate marketing) advice. Ramsay writes about list building a fair amount, too, which is one of the secret tricks of surviving as an affiliate.

Take note that he is a blogger, and all blogger. If you’re desperately trying to figure out a way to do affiliate marketing without a website, you may not find much here. Of course, if you are trying to do affiliate marketing without a website, you’ve got about a .3% chance of success.

 

11) Alexis Grant @alexisgrant

Alexis Grant is an affiliate marketer, but she’s got other business models running too. She runs a content creation company, a site for writers, and has a bunch of training programs and other excellent resources. But she also does a lot of affiliate marketing, and she reveals her earnings, which is extremely interesting. Check out her recent post, Affiliate Sales: A Realistic Guide for Earning Revenue From Your Website.

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12) Steve Scott @stevescott1

Steve Scott is known more for Kindle publishing than for affiliate marketing, but he’s written several books about affiliate marketing, he’s got a whole site about it, and he earns a handsome income doing it. His books are also perfect examples of how to earn affiliate income from publishing Kindle books – a double win.

 

13) Nick Loper @nloper

Nick is the owner and founder of Side Hustle Nation, an awesome example of how to do a blog right. He includes affiliate marketing as a viable side hustle, but he also writes about alternatives to affiliate marketing like a tiny service business or other ways to earn cash part-time.

 

14) Pat Flynn  @PatFlynn

Pat is one of the current rock stars of affiliate marketing, and for good reason. If you haven’t read his stuff or listened to his podcast, you’re past due.

 

15) Terry Dean @TerryDean

Terry has been around as long as anyone. He’s got rock-solid experience and has had it for decades, building dozens of “lifestyle businesses” and teaching thousands of others how to do it too. His approach is less brash than some others, but this is absolutely somebody who knows what it really takes to earn a living online. Terry will show you how to build a real business, not just an affiliate click scheme.

 

16) Eric Nagel @ericnagel

Eric might be a little confusing for beginners, and he has his days of being a little cranky, but his focus on not wasting time is essential to the success of any affiliate marketer. If you do want some diversion, his blog is highly readable. You won’t be wasting your time while you read it, though you might still be procrastinating.

 

17) Charles Ngo  @Dr_Ngo

His Twitter bio says “Legendary affiliate marketer”. And is he legendary? Well, to quite a few people he is. Charles has done rather well with affiliate marketing. As his website says, “Within his first few months of learning affiliate marketing, he was able to turn $4,000 into $1,000,000+ in profit.” Now he offers training to others.

 

That’s definitely not an exhaustive list of affiliate marketers you could follow on Twitter, but it will get you started. I’m sure you’ve got a few favorites as well. Give a shout out for them (or even for yourself) in the comments below!

 

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Devising Your LinkedIn Marketing Strategy http://blog.getresponse.com/devising-your-linkedin-marketing-strategy.html http://blog.getresponse.com/devising-your-linkedin-marketing-strategy.html#comments Tue, 28 Apr 2015 14:17:51 +0000 http://blog.getresponse.com/?p=19530 LinkedIn is a very niche social network. In fact, even calling it a social network doesn’t feel quite right. It’s a professional network, and it always has been. Whilst it’s not at all hard to see why the likes of … Read more

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LinkedIn is a very niche social network. In fact, even calling it a social network doesn’t feel quite right. It’s a professional network, and it always has been. Whilst it’s not at all hard to see why the likes of Facebook and Twitter have become so immensely popular right across the board – from schoolchildren to their teachers, headmasters, and grandparents – LinkedIn, on the other hand, is something else entirely. 

LinkedIn is not where you post photos of your best friend’s stag do. Nor is it where you share amusing videos of nunchuk ninjas falling over. And still not is it the platform for organising parties, creating profiles for your favourite pets, or even wishing your sister a happy birthday.

No LinkedIn is the social professional network for professional people. But what does that mean exactly – to be professional?

Well, in LinkedIn terms, it means that you occupy a specific profession. That is to say, that since I’m a social media marketer and blogger, then those are the professions around which I am supposed to be building my profile and making connections on LinkedIn. If I were a web designer, then it would be my designs, my qualifications and accolades that would make up my profile, and my network would most likely be made up of connections to other web designers, as well as photographers, bloggers, developers, and graphic designers as well.

Whereas Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, Instagram, Vine and all the rest can arguably be described as networks that you interact with when you’ve taken off your work suit for the day, LinkedIn is the social network that you turn to for everything concerning your day job/occupation/profession/career/whatever you want to call it.

To put it another way, if you get caught on Facebook whilst you’re supposed to be doing work at the office, then you can reasonably expect some sort of disciplinary action to be taken, whereas if you get caught on LinkedIn in the same scenario, then you might even find yourself up for promotion in the not too distant future.

Unless of course you’re a social media marketer, that is. Us lucky folks get to mess around on all of the social networks all day long and no one bats an eyelid – aren’t we just the lucky ones, ay?

 

Your LinkedIn Marketing Strategy

Since LinkedIn is such a niche environment, then the social media strategy that you use for the likes of Facebook and Twitter – where there is most definitely an almost ‘anything goes’, informal approach to online organic marketing – will simply not translate across to the more formal realms of LinkedIn.

Those amusing posts that appeal to so many on Facebook will most likely go down like a lead balloon on LinkedIn. The platforms are just so distinctly disparate – which means that you content and your strategy needs to be too.

There are plenty of blog posts on the internet already that give you a good starting point to making your presence known on LinkedIn, so I won’t go into too much detail about that here. What I will say though is that in order for your LinkedIn page to be taken seriously amongst your fellow professionals, then you will need to do the following:

  • Firstly, build a very strong company page on LinkedIn. This page you should be treated almost as if it were your prime website itself, and it should include a very detailed About section (and, since this is a professional network, then you can arguably pay even more attention to this than you can on your website – make it as detailed as you can), a comprehensive list of all of your products and services, and list of job opportunities. Now invite all of your employees to follow your page, as well as your customers, clients, partners and related industry professionals.
  • Secondly, create a LinkedIn Group that is set up to share and discuss topics specifically related to your industry. Make sure you choose an appropriate name for the group, and that you use keywords in the title and the group’s description in order to attract as many relevant people as possible. You will also want to draw up a Group Policy that outlines the rules for discussion, who may join the group, if you want to permit members to post job opportunities etc. Now all you have to do is make sure that you lead your group, and not let it lose momentum.

linkedin

Content – Thought Leadership Only

Being a professional network for professional people, LinkedIn is the perfect platform on which you can aim to try and position yourself as a thought leader. Serious, meaningful, intelligent, well-researched, and inspiring/provocative articles is the name of the game for promoting your LinkedIn company profile and igniting some heated debate in your LinkedIn group.

Great thought leadership articles on LinkedIn are ideal for nurturing some key professional relationships, which will do no end of good to your future business deals, not to mention your reputation. It will also help to generate some real interest in your company, and you will no doubt be able to convert group members into subscribers on your actual site.

 

Spying On Your Competition

Let’s not be shy here – stalking isn’t only the reserve of the lonely-hearted exes on Facebook. Real marketing sharks like to secretly sniff around those out-of-bounds profiles on LinkedIn too.

There is all sorts of information you can glean for your competitors’ profiles. For example, you might be interested in knowing just how big your main rival’s marketing squad is in comparison to yours (size doesn’t matter, of course, but it might be quite revealing to see how the rest are allocating their funds and resources). To do this, just head into LinkedIn, search for the competing company’s name and include job titles with marketing and communications as keywords. You should be returned with a list of people, which you can manually scrutinise (perhaps with a calculator and a notepad).

With this information you can really get to know what you’re up against. Will you need to dedicate more resources to marketing going forward, hire more people or reshuffle your existing team? LinkedIn personal profiles also usually list where people have worked in the past, so you will also be able to go back and see who has left your rival’s company, and thusly determine the churn rate. Have your team been in the job too long? Perhaps it’s time for some fresh blood.

How does your company use LinkedIn? Let us know in the comments below. 

Devising Your LinkedIn Marketing Strategy is a post from: GetResponse Blog - Email Marketing Tips

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Lead Generation For Beginners #FreebieMonday http://blog.getresponse.com/lead-generation-for-beginners-freebiemonday.html http://blog.getresponse.com/lead-generation-for-beginners-freebiemonday.html#comments Mon, 27 Apr 2015 14:17:50 +0000 http://blog.getresponse.com/?p=19510 Over the past year or so you probably heard the term “Content is king” echo through the internet. What’s more, you most likely already know that content is a sure way to generate email leads. While it is true that … Read more

Lead Generation For Beginners #FreebieMonday is a post from: GetResponse Blog - Email Marketing Tips

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Over the past year or so you probably heard the term “Content is king” echo through the internet. What’s more, you most likely already know that content is a sure way to generate email leads. While it is true that content is your key to success, there are also other ways that you can lock down your leads. 

However to reach that success, tracking content consumption is what makes sure that you don’t just create random leads, but that you get quality prospects. Idio wrote about the importance of quality over quantity, but how does one go for quality? Research showed that what a prospect reads before he becomes a lead is hugely influential in understanding their needs, which in turn impacts your marketing strategies – helping you reach the right customer whose needs are met.

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Quality Reads

Top-notch content could be anything from guides, webinars, blog posts, or whitepapers that are made available to potential prospects either after sign-up or through “pay with a tweet.”

However to amplify the reach of that content or to get even more leads through them, you should start bartering:

bartering

What exactly is bartering? It is the exchange of goods or services. This type of cooperation can be beneficial to both parties. Normally people exchange goods, but in content, you can trade your skills and knowledge. As you saw in the above excerpt of the Lead Generation Checklist For Beginners, you can get a plug from a well-known list owner just being a part of their content.

Essentially, this is guest posting on steroids. Of course you could just write a guest post and add a link to your website in the bio, but what if you took bartering a step further?

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Quality Sells

Online marketers are usually experts in their field, their knowledge (And last name) could draw in substantial amounts of leads. Both you and owners of big lists can be promoted. Discounts or different forms of cooperation are a great way to build a qualified list of new prospects.

Webinars

A sure way to sell you product, increase traffic to your website, and most of all – skyrocket your lead generation is through a webinar.

Not only are you targeting specific people, who want to spend their time on hearing more about what you can do for them, but you are also generating QUALITY leads. Now, take that and multiply it by inviting a guest speaker who is a leader in their field? You can offer them your services and in return they speak for your audience.

Thought leaders have big lists and if they will appear on your website, so will their followers. And if they like what they see, surely you can count on those leads. Also, through webinars you create a super targeted list, you can use that list to create customer-specific products.

Discounts

Maybe webinars are not your thing, that’s ok! Get in touch with owners of big lists and offer discounts to their subscribers. They can promote your business by sharing the news that you are offering an exclusive discount for that specific group of people. Isn’t that easy?

Discounts can go both ways. A known marketer might promote you on their website or social media by letting you write for their blog or newsletter, while you can share a discount to their services on your website. It is all about trading. What can you offer? What can someone gain though that offer?

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Quality Leads

Sponsoring other’s content by giving it away as freebie in your newsletter, offering a discount on your services though special offer sign-ups, or creating buzz by being promoted by thought leaders are great ways to get your business out there.

However, it is not just about getting people to hear about you. You have to make sure that once they come to your page they see that you offer valuable goods and leave their contact information. Use a clear sign-up form, make sure that your subscribe button is visible and attractive, create a customer loyalty program, link to sample issues to give subscribers a taste of what they can gain by signing-up.

lead-generation-checklist-for-beginnersThese are just a few of many ideas to help you generate a great list! If you are still in need of inspiration, download the entire Lead Generation Checklist For Beginners for free as part of our #FreebieMonday and start checking off for success. Share with us in the comments below how many points you checked off with ease and what others you might add to your checklist.

Lead Generation For Beginners #FreebieMonday is a post from: GetResponse Blog - Email Marketing Tips

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A Retailer’s Guide to Growing a High Quality Mailing List http://blog.getresponse.com/a-retailers-guide-to-growing-a-high-quality-mailing-list.html http://blog.getresponse.com/a-retailers-guide-to-growing-a-high-quality-mailing-list.html#comments Fri, 24 Apr 2015 14:03:23 +0000 http://blog.getresponse.com/?p=19443 Email marketing starts with a list! A high quality mailing list, means a more captive audience, higher open and click through rates, and most importantly there’s more chance the audience will take you up on your call-to-action. Of course, it’s … Read more

A Retailer’s Guide to Growing a High Quality Mailing List is a post from: GetResponse Blog - Email Marketing Tips

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Email marketing starts with a list! A high quality mailing list, means a more captive audience, higher open and click through rates, and most importantly there’s more chance the audience will take you up on your call-to-action.

Of course, it’s not all in the list. Targeted and relevant email campaigns are a must have for successful email marketing. But that too, starts with your list. A mindfully created list has the data in it to help you segment your audience and create targeted and personalized emails that are relevant to each segments’ interests and preferences.

So how do you build a quality mailing list that has all this useful data? All you need to do is make sure your collecting the email addresses of the right audience and the list will build itself.

 

Your customers are your best audience

Your customers want to hear from you. If they love what you’re offering in-store or online, chances are they will want to receive updates from you. In fact, the probability of selling to an existing customer is 60-70% [Marketing Metrics]. Compare that to a promotion sent to a potential customer, at less than 1% [Kiss Metrics]. So the answer to a quality mailing list is that it should be made up of your customers – the customers who already buy from you.

building_list

3 sure fire ways to grow a mailing list of your actual customers:

1. Online store

If you have an eCommere store you likely already require an email address from customers, as part of your purchase process. Customers who buy from you online are tech savy and big users of email, making them your perfect audience. Plus, you’re collecting it anyway – you might as well be using it.

  • Make sure you have an email opt-in checkbox. It’s a good idea to have this pre-checked. They can opt-out it if they don’t want to hear from you.
  • Include a consent statement in your terms and conditions for email newsletters and marketing. It’s a good idea to check your country’s legal requirements around this and make sure you adhere to them.
  • Now that you have their email address, use it. Send them a little thank you offer for their purchase. 10% off their next purchase might prompt them to go back online and purchase that pair of shoes that they were umming-and-ahhing about. Not to mention, a nice little surprise in one of your first emails is a great way to increase engagement with your future emails.
  • And keep using it. Keep your customers engaged and updated with new stock, promotions, and products they may be interested in. Consistency is key. Decide how often you are going to email customers, and stick to it.
  • Get personal. If you collect their name, use it. The email will feel much more thoughtful and personal. Use merge tags to insert your customers’ names into the email body or subject line.

Productivity tip: MailSync automatically syncs your eCommerce customer database to your GetResponse mailing list. Meaning, you don’t have to waste time exporting and importing CSVs. It’s always up-to-date, so you don’t have to worry about customers missing out on your emails.

 

2. Newsletter subscription

While they are browsing your website, make sure they can see a newsletter subscription form. This is a great way to capture the details of potential customers, who want to hear from you. They may not have made a purchase yet. But, because they are volunteering their details they are likely to make for a captive audience.

  • Convert them to an actual customer early. They like your products, otherwise they wouldn’t have signed up for your newsletter. Send them a promotion to help them make their first purchase. Once they’ve bought from you once, they are more likely to buy from you again [Consumer Insights Group].
  • Give them what they signed up for. They signed up for your newsletter. So, make sure you wrap any marketing promotions or product updates up in the form of a newsletter.

 

3. In-store

Train your staff to ask every customer if they want to join your mailing list, while they are making a purchase. Your staff are already talking to customers over the counter, so they don’t have to go out of the way to ask for a name and email address. But, make sure they are properly trained to ask in the right way. Yes there is a wrong way! These are your customers’ personal details. It’s important to make them feel comfortable giving them away.

  • Tell them why you are collecting their details – Let them know that they will receive email updates on new stock and promotions. 90% of consumers prefer email updates, over social media announcements [Nielsen Norman Group].
  • Give them something in exchange – Ask if they want to join your loyalty program and let them know what rewards they could earn, in exchange for their email address. If they are getting something out of it, they are more likely to give away their details.
  • You’ve got their name, so use it in conversation – “Enjoy the rest of your day, Chester”. They will feel connected to you on a more personal level. Now, when your email comes, they are more likely to remember you, and open it.
  • Make it fast and easy – People are time-poor and frustration will ruin their shopping experience. Choose a point-of-sale that has the capability to add customers to the sale. That way, you can collect email addresses without holding them up, fumbling through paper, or switching screens or devices.

Productivity tip: If you’re using your point-of-sale to collect customer email addresses, MailSync is a useful tool that automatically syncs the customer data you collect to your GetResponse mailing list. Meaning, you don’t have to waste time exporting and importing CSVs. It’s all done for you.

Growing a quality customer database can seem like a big task, but it doesn’t have to be. Once you have the right tools set up, you’ll find you can actually automate the process. Using MailSync and GetResponse is a great place to start. Once you’ve set up MailSync, you can forget about importing and exporting CSVs, and instead, you can focus on creating great email campaigns. For more useful tips and everything a retailer needs to know to get started with email marketing, check out this helpful infographic.

 

NatashaAbout the Author: Natasha Mazey is a retail loyalty and marketing expert at MailSync. Helping retailers of all sizes deliver a better customer experience, connect with customers, and build loyal relationships with smart marketing.

 

 

A Retailer’s Guide to Growing a High Quality Mailing List is a post from: GetResponse Blog - Email Marketing Tips

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