GetResponse Blog - Email Marketing Tips http://blog.getresponse.com Tue, 01 Sep 2015 13:47:42 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.2 Getting A Kick Out Of Kickstarter – How To Smash Your Target http://blog.getresponse.com/getting-a-kick-out-of-kickstarter-how-to-smash-your-target.html http://blog.getresponse.com/getting-a-kick-out-of-kickstarter-how-to-smash-your-target.html#comments Tue, 01 Sep 2015 13:47:42 +0000 http://blog.getresponse.com/?p=20600 Over the past 12 months I’ve found myself increasingly writing more and more about a financial revolution that is taking place right now as you read this. The umbrella term is ‘financial technology’ – or FinTech, as it is now … Read more

Getting A Kick Out Of Kickstarter – How To Smash Your Target is a post from: GetResponse Blog - Email Marketing Tips

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Over the past 12 months I’ve found myself increasingly writing more and more about a financial revolution that is taking place right now as you read this. The umbrella term is ‘financial technology’ – or FinTech, as it is now commonly known – and covers everything from electronic invoicing systems to advanced artificial customer relations to Apple Pay and BitCoin.

However, what I think is making the real impact in terms of 21st century FinTech is the branch that is known as ‘alternative finance’ – or AltFi, for short.

So let’s delve into this a moment…

 

What Is Alternative Finance?

Alternative finance basically describes any financial services that take place outside of the traditional banking system. Strictly speaking, this includes everything from pawn shops to borrowing £100 off your mum for a new microwave to passing the offering plate around church on a Sunday.

However, when you read about ‘alternative finance’ online or in the printed press, then what is normally being referred to is the large number of internet based platforms that have emerged over the past decade or so where much lending and borrowing takes place between businesses and private individuals – without a bank in sight.

 

The Different Types Of AltFi Platforms

There are actually many different types of alternative finance platforms that are now available. The two most common, however, are peer-2-peer (P2P) lending, and crowdfunding.

 

P2P Lending

Most of the P2P platforms generally work in the same way – cash-rich investors lend their money directly to businesses, normally via a P2P lending platform, which is there to provide matches between borrowers and lenders. Terms of repayment and interest are drawn up, and the borrower should offer assets as security should repayments become a problem.

 

Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding, however, can be said to come in 4 distinct forms – but what is it exactly? Sometimes referred to as ‘crowdlending’, crowdfunding describes the practise of an individual or organisation raising lots of small amounts of money from a large amount of investors (i.e. a crowd). Once again, the internet has made these platforms possible, and there are some – for example Kickstarter – that have become extremely popular over the past 5 years or more. But let’s take a look at the variations.

 

#1. Donation-based Crowdfunding

This is a type of crowdfunding that is mainly used by charities and community based products. As the name suggests, the funds pledged by backers of the project are donations, which means that backers do not expect to see a return on their pledge.

 

#2. Reward-based Crowdfunding

On these types of platforms, backers put their money into a project, not in return for cash, but for non-monetary rewards. For example, musicians trying to raise enough money to record a new studio album might reward their funders with a free copy of the finished record or free tickets to a live show. Kickstarter is a reward-based crowdfunding platform.

 

#3. Equity-based Crowdfunding

Similar to reward-based crowdfunding, with the difference being that funders receive a share in the company that they are financing in return for their cash.

 

#4. Debt-based Crowdfunding

Debt-based crowdfunding requires the borrower to repay all monies borrowed. Platforms of this kind will organise the borrowing, lending and repaying of the loan, and will often negotiate the terms of the loan and seek to provide securities for investors should the borrower default.

 

Getting A Kick Out Of Kickstarter

Ok, so there are your main options when seeking out alternative finance for your new business idea. The AltFi sector is enjoying a lot of attention at the moment since it has grown from strength to strength in the wake of the financial crisis that brought the global economy to its knees between 2007 and 2009. As you will no doubt realise, we still haven’t fully recovered from this meltdown – not least because the banks have largely been strapped with some rather burdensome regulations as a result, which has meant that their willingness and ability to lend to budding young startups and SMEs in general has been very much prohibited.

This has left a gap in the market that AltFi platforms have had much success in filling. Indeed, the likes of Kickstarter have proven to be so successful that you now have to be pretty savvy on the platform to gain the attention of the backers.

Kickstarter are pretty open about their successes. Since the company’s inception, nearly $2 billion has been pledged to successfully fund nearly 92,000 projects. Last year, more records were broken than ever before. $529 million was raised via Kickstarter in 2014 to fund 22,252 projects across a range of categories.

Kickstarter

As you can see, whatever your business, you can find funds on Kickstarter. But, in order to be successful and achieve your target (which, incidentally, if you don’t reach will result in receiving no funds at all), you’ve got to know how to make the most out of the platform.

So, here are 3 tips to smash your Kickstarter target:

 

3 Tips To Smash Your Target On Kickstarter

#1. Keep Your Target As Low As Possible

Ok, a little warning comes with this first tip. Say you need $20,000 to fund the development of your app – then $20,000 is where you have to set your goal.

If you have a crisis of confidence and think that you’ll only be able to raise $15,000 on Kickstarter, and think that $15,000 of $20,000 is better than $0 of $20,000 – then just be careful. Will you actually be able to get the development of your app completed with just $15,000? Because, if you can’t, you’re going to find yourself in some serious difficulties. As a creator, you will be legally obliged to ensure that all of your backers are in receipt of their rewards or otherwise refunded. So, if you’ve already spent the $15,000 but have nothing that’s finished to show for it, you will of course be in a position where you can’t deliver the reward (which, in this case, will probably have been a free download of the app), and you won’t have any money left to pay out refunds.

BUT!! Keeping your target as low as possible is still a great tip. This is because you will be more likely to exceed a low target than reach high one – and projects that reach their target quickly tend to get featured on the Kickstarter’s Popular Campaign pages.

 

#2. Shoot A Good Video

Long gone are the days on Kickstarter when you can just get away with making a ‘talking head’ video on your smartphone explaining what your finished product will do. In order to be successful, you need to take a little time to make a good video. Now, this doesn’t mean that you will have to launch a separate Kickstarter campaign to fund the production of something of Spielberg standard – but, a little effort on the script, a little lighting, and a well-crafted narrative where you really give backers a reason to pledge funds to you will make all the difference, and see you standing out from your rival creators. Also, a little humour goes a long way on Kickstarter promotional videos, and be sure to communicate the true value of your product. That is to say, not just what it is, but why and how it will enrich the lives of those who end up using it.

 

#3. Concentrate on Your Rewards System – Especially on The Smaller Rewards

Don’t create a rewards structure that’s too complicated. With Kickstarter, you can create different choices of how much backers can pledge – $5, $10, $25, $50, $100, $250, $500, $1000 (or whatever) – with a different reward for each.

However, as tempting as it might be to give people as many options as possible, it will pay in the end not to make things too complicated. Of course, not everyone will be able to afford a top tier pledge, nor will they want to, and so pay attention to the smaller rewards scheme. Make the rewards for $5 or $10 pledges really attractive, as these will soon add up. Then just skip right to the $50 pledge (the known ‘sweet spot’ for pledgers). Then, just stick to one or 2 mid-top range pledge options.

The reasoning behind this is simply because you want to make things as easy as possible for people to see if they want to pledge or not – with too much choice, you’re simply creating an options paralysis, and, just as with everything on the internet these days, people don’t have the patience with such things and will simply move on to see where else they might want to spend their money.

Have you used Kickstarter to fund a project in the past? What tips do you have for new users trying to reach their targets? Let us know in the comments below.

 

Getting A Kick Out Of Kickstarter – How To Smash Your Target is a post from: GetResponse Blog - Email Marketing Tips

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We Tweeted, We Campaigned, We Created a Case Study #CMWorld http://blog.getresponse.com/we-tweeted-we-campaigned-we-created-a-case-study-cmworld.html http://blog.getresponse.com/we-tweeted-we-campaigned-we-created-a-case-study-cmworld.html#comments Mon, 31 Aug 2015 14:37:36 +0000 http://blog.getresponse.com/?p=20588 We’re coming closer to Content Marketing World, every content marketers favorite event of the year. And as time closes in on us, we’re all trying our best to establish new “marketerships”, working with our companies to make sure others know … Read more

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We’re coming closer to Content Marketing World, every content marketers favorite event of the year. And as time closes in on us, we’re all trying our best to establish new “marketerships”, working with our companies to make sure others know we’re there. Aren’t we?

The truth is – last year, we wanted to pioneer something. Something that today seems so normal and obvious, but at that time was looked down upon. Which is why we want to share with you a case study – a case study about failing in theory, but gaining great insights in hindsight and improving a marketing strategy that worked.

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Pioneers

We wanted to reach as many as possible, letting them know we’ll be attending CMWorld – using automated tweets. You might be gasping right about now – but hear me out!

Twitter has 304 million active users monthly, that’s a staggering statistic. Now, imagine that of that 304 million – about 2,600 content marketers decided to show up in Cleveland, that’s exactly what happened. It’s not easy reaching and finding all those awesome people at once, and even though we can’t possibly get to know all of them, we wanted to reach at least some.

Working with Insightpool, we decided it would be a great idea to create a segment, a way for us to find and target people who were talking about Content Marketing World, usually using the #CMWorld hashtag. Insightpool helped us to find these people. Once we had a neat list of just a small percentage of the 2,600 – we created four to five personalized tweets.

We asked what they were looking forward to, who they wanted to see speak, if they were going at all, and for them to catch up with our team who will be there. Basically, we didn’t want sales, we didn’t pester for leads – we wanted to get to know people with whom we could start a conversation.

 

Automation, Conversation

Automating our personalized tweets was an awesome idea. Not because it took a load of work off our shoulders (well, maybe a little), but because it gave us a chance to start a conversation with a lot of people. Many marketers today, send a lot of unsolicited automated tweets, it’s a power that can easy turn dark.

We knew right away, that with each tweet sent, we had to reply personally. The thing to remember is that we are not robots, even if one sparks a conversation – we humans (or those that were suiting up for CMWorld) had to take each favorite, retweet, and reply into their hands.

This all sounds great, doesn’t it? What could possibly go wrong?

 

Here’s What We Learned

When sending out tweets to a group of people, avoid abusing a hashtag. Apparently, that’s what we did. You want to be noticed, but you definitely don’t want to spam the hashtag. You can take our word for it.

In your segments and conversation, plan out the times, amounts, and numbers of tweets sent. We hadn’t done do as much planning as we should have. In a way we figured they’d reach people and it will go from there. As we and Insightpool were creating something new, we had no idea what could be expected.

Most of all, in the midst of our CMWorld campaign, we forgot there are other tweets to be tweeted as well. But, since our stats were looking nice, the positivity raised us up to cloud nine. Until Lee Odden featured us in his session:

Keynote_LO

The campaign was stopped and we immediately sat down with Insightpool to look at the figures, tweets, and possible mistakes.

 

Redemption

Lee had a point, we did abuse the hashtag feed. Yet on the other hand, for a first ever targeted engagement campaign, we couldn’t complain – the results spoke for themselves!

engagement_cmworld

Our campaign lasted five days, and it got us quite a few conversations started and one free publicity review during the actual event. Was it the kind of publicity we wanted? Probably not. Did we learn from this campaign? We sure did!

 

The Takeaways

The great thing about mistakes is that they make you rethink your strategy and improve your actions. Social automation can bring great results if you do it right, so before you launch a Twitter outreach campaign, ask yourself these questions:

  • Who are we sending a tweet to? Select your target group with precise goals in mind and make sure every single person on the list should in fact be there. If you wouldn’t send a tweet to a someone outside of the campaign, remove them from the segment.
  • What time are we sending a tweet? Automation makes it easier to schedule tweets but they still should be sent at a time when the person can respond. Take into account their time zone as well as yours – make sure you’re able to send a timely reply if they respond to keep the conversation going.
  • How many times a day are we sending tweets? Don’t send too many, too often. Automation can be tempting, but the goal’s not to reach as many people as possible, but to start meaningful conversations. A few tweets a day will probably be enough. Take into account your regular Twitter communication as well, and other running campaigns, if applicable.
  • Does every tweet NEED to have the event hashtag? In some cases, using the hashtag can be useful if you think your tweet might start a discussion with other hashtag users – but you can safely assume that most of the personal tweets don’t. Only use it if you think others can actually benefit from the conversation.

These are questions that we now know absolutely have to be asked. What’s more, make sure there is always someone watching over the tweets. Even if they’re automated, they need a watchful eye. Don’t forget the goal: it’s not automation, it’s the conversation that follows.

Insightpool starts a conversation, and we take that spark further. We always knew that, but now we absolutely abide by it. In a way, I’d say I’m grateful for our little stumble, because it gave us the push to better our campaigns and to create strategies that have flow. Here’s a recent reply for this year’s CMWorld that kind of proves we’re headed in the right direction:

CMWorld_tweet

So, if you happen to get a tweet from @GetResponse, worry not and expect a reply from our team (hey, we even reply from our personal accounts!). And if you happen to hear Lee Odden speak this year, make sure to thank him for helping us make our campaigns better.

If you’d like to find us there, go ahead and send us a tweet at @sararuthw or @karolstefan and we’ll be sure to share a coffee and a donut with you.

See you at CMWorld!

We Tweeted, We Campaigned, We Created a Case Study #CMWorld is a post from: GetResponse Blog - Email Marketing Tips

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Are You Making The Most Out of Influencer Marketing? http://blog.getresponse.com/are-you-making-the-most-out-of-influencer-marketing.html http://blog.getresponse.com/are-you-making-the-most-out-of-influencer-marketing.html#comments Fri, 28 Aug 2015 15:07:20 +0000 http://blog.getresponse.com/?p=20572 One of your primary goals as a social media marketer is to expand your brand’s reach as far as possible. The others are to increase your credibility amongst your peers and followers in your industry, establish yourself as a thought … Read more

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One of your primary goals as a social media marketer is to expand your brand’s reach as far as possible. The others are to increase your credibility amongst your peers and followers in your industry, establish yourself as a thought leader, and of course to keep driving traffic, conversions and sales on your company’s website.

It’s no mean feat, and you’ve certainly got your work cut out for you – especially if you’re an SME or just beginning as a fresh and fledgling startup in this competitive online business environment that we all find ourselves in at present.

Indeed, the newer you are, the more daunting your primary goals will appear to be. No doubt you will be aware of your competitors and the extent of their online presence on social media. A quick search on Twitter may well uncover that some of your closest rivals already have a following amounting to a five or even six figure sum.

How on Earth do you catch them?

Well, I won’t mislead you here – growing a following of this size doesn’t happen over night. Don’t even think about buying followers from some dodgy looking tweet offering you “10,000 followers right now for just $5!!!”. Whilst you will most likely all of a sudden receive the agreed amount of followers, they invariably come from inactive accounts. That is to say that there is absolutely no merit in going down this route – sure, the number next your name on your profile page might be bigger than it was yesterday, but it will reap you absolutely zero engagement, and simply portray to your real followers that you are desperate – and this will do nothing for your credibility.

No. If you want to boost your online presence, then you’ve got to go about it the right way and the white (hat) way – and influencer marketing is one such method that you can quite legitimately use.

folds

What Is Influencer Marketing?

To understand influencer marketing, you’ve first got to get to grips with exactly what defines a ‘key influencer’ in social media terms.

Key influencers are quite simply the royalty of the social media world. They are usually bloggers or online journalists who have an extremely large following across their social networks, and – as you might suspect – have great influence in their industry.

As a writer, content strategist and social media marketer, the key influencers in my field are people like Jeff Bullas, Mari Smith and Guy Kawasaki. Indeed, these 3 are my heroes, as they are for many others in my industry. They have massive followings on social media that put my 176,000, quite simply, to shame.

When any of these guys post a new blog, write a new book, or otherwise make any noise at all anywhere online or off it, hundreds of thousands of people pay attention. And when they offer an opinion on a service or product (like yours), what they have to say can be very pivotal as to how the rest of the internet perceives that product from thereon.

 

How Key Influencers Can Benefit Your Business

It’s very important that you do everything you can to gain the attention of a key influencer – so long, that is, as you manage to do so in a positive way.

Key influencers are the individuals in your industry who can shape and influence your potential customers’ buying decisions. And so, the aim of the game with influencer marketing is to engage with these influencers, and build an online relationship with them in order that you may leverage their influence and credibility in a way that is beneficial to yours.

Let’s say you were a writer of horror fiction novels, for instance, and that you were trying to make headway self-publishing on Kindle. Just imagine if you were to manage to get an endorsement from the king of horror writing himself – @StephenKing. What do you think that would do to the sales of your latest release? Here are a couple of his latest tweets:

SK

SK2

 

As a fan of horror, I know that I’ve certainly bookmarked both of these recommendations in light of these tweets, as I’m sure many people like me will have done. Put simply, Mr King has done a service to both of these releases – and if you can get some of the key influencers in your particular niche to do something similar for you, then you will very quickly find your credibility skyrocketing, with your following, engagement and conversions not far behind.

 

Identifying Key Influencers

Ok, so your first task along the road to successful influencer marketing is to identify exactly who the key influencers in your industry are. You may well already be aware of some of them, but in order to cast your net as far and wide as you can, then you need to be catching the attention of as many influencers as possible.

Thankfully there are a number of online tools that can help you trace down and identify the key players in your industry who profess a great following and hold lots of influence.

 

3 Online Tools To Identify Key Influencers

  1. Traackrthis is not a free service, but nonetheless one of the best ones available. The Traackr team help you discover the key influencers in your market using keyword searches. They then help you begin an engagement with these people very quickly.
  2. Nimble ­– this is an influencer management tool that gives you detailed insight into all of your contacts with a single view – great for understanding these people’s influence on social media. It will also suggest contacts that you should make an effort to get in touch with based on the various keywords and industries that you identify as being important.
  3. Klout – this influencer tool is perhaps the most well-known of them all (though that’s not to suggest that it’s the best). Klout gives everyone on social media a “Klout score from 1-100”. The higher the number, the more impact the user is said to have. It’s also free to use, which obviously makes it attractive to a lot of SMEs.

list_building_2

Engaging With Key Influencers 

Once you have identified a working list of key influencers, the next stage is to prioritise them based on who you believe are the most relevant and who will have the most impact on your own campaign. Be sure to focus your efforts on just a few at a time – this will make things easier for you.

Now you want to gradually start to build a relationship with these people. And the first thing to do, of course, is to start following them on social media. But don’t stop there. Make yourself known to the influencers. Comment on their blog posts, retweet their tweets, like their Facebook posts. Put yourself on their radar.

However, there’s no real merit in being obsequious. Now, that’s not to say that you should be rude and start challenging every opinion that they put forward – but rather that if all you’re doing is sucking up and saying things like “Wow!! I LOVE your new blog. Really thought-provoking!! J”, then you’re not really selling yourself as someone who has something valuable and interesting to contribute.

A good way in is to ask the influencer questions concerning the content of his/her latest blog. Ask him/her to elaborate, or what they think about a theory that you have in relation to the content. Of course, be polite, and it won’t hurt one bit, actually, to tell them how much you liked their post – just don’t let sycophantism be the dominant force of your comments.

Hopefully, one or two of these influencers will ‘bite’ and start engaging with you regularly on social media. If you’re lucky, they’ll start using your first name (and if they do then you know you’ve hooked them). By this point you should notice that your following is increasing. Other members of the influencer’s following will have noticed your exchanges, and some will start following you too – so make sure you’re always producing great content so they all have a real reason to stay.

Now is the time that you can reach out to the key influencer a little more personally. Send them an email. Explain who you are in a little more detail (but not too much – keep it a nice short and sweet ‘elevator pitch’ about you and your business). What you will want to do at this stage is to try and get the influencer to contribute some content on your site in their name. This may be as simple as asking them to take part in a survey that you’re doing, or, even better, an interview for your blog, or, even better yet, write the foreword for your new eBook.

If you can get a key influencer on board even in just a small way – perhaps they start retweeting your blog posts, or commenting on your Facebook – then you will very quickly be gaining access to a brand new and well-established audience, who will indeed be influenced to start engaging more with you and your work. Your following, your reach and your credibility will soon grow, and leads and conversions will follow hot on their heels.

How do you utilise influencer marketing? Please let us know in the comments below.

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15 Reasons To Invest In Your Personal Brand On LinkedIn http://blog.getresponse.com/15-reasons-to-invest-in-your-personal-brand-on-linkedin.html http://blog.getresponse.com/15-reasons-to-invest-in-your-personal-brand-on-linkedin.html#comments Thu, 27 Aug 2015 13:53:31 +0000 http://blog.getresponse.com/?p=20562 People buy people. Always have, always will. That’s why the phrase “it’s not what you know it’s who you know” is as true now as it was 100 years ago. Today they are buying your personal brand. Think you don’t … Read more

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People buy people. Always have, always will. That’s why the phrase “it’s not what you know it’s who you know” is as true now as it was 100 years ago. Today they are buying your personal brand. Think you don’t need a personal brand? Think again!

Here are 15 reasons why you need a personal brand:

  1. You already have a personal brand – if you don’t control it, it’s being shaped for you by other people. Your personal brand perception is out there, you can manage it or you can let others take it away from you. Up to you.
  2. If you want a new job then your personal brand will dictate whether you succeed or not. The first thing an HR director does is look at your LinkedIn profile. No photo, no summary page, and no updated job title/experience and you won’t even get an interview.
  3. If you want a promotion in your existing company you will stand more chance of getting it with an enhanced personal brand on LinkedIn. If your competition for that senior role has more recommendations on LinkedIn, has more connections on LinkedIn, and their profile altogether looks better they will probably beat you to that position.
  4. If you want to keep that client then you should focus on your personal brand – if you’re not and your client is being wooed by another service provider and their personal branding on LinkedIn is better than yours then you may just lose that client.
  5. If you want to win that new client then you must enhance your personal brand – if you don’t and they look at your LinkedIn profile and see nothing impressive, no thought leadership, no connections, no company page then social selling rules dictate that you will miss out and not even know about it.
  6. If you want to impress the media then you must show that you are a thought leader and demonstrate your accomplishments through your original posting and personal branding on LinkedIn. Are you someone they want to quote and interview?
  7. If you want investors then you need to give them reasons to invest. People invest in people just like they employ people or buy from people because of the person. If you have a fully rounded personal brand on LinkedIn that looks impressive and is backed up with substance as well as style then you are more likely to 1) get investors approaching you and 2) be welcomed with an open door when you approach investors. Why should someone invest in you if you can’t invest in yourself personally?
  8. If you want to reassure shareholders and keep them informed as to what you’re doing and how well you’re doing then having a personal brand that is full of confidence with updates as to how the company they are investing in is getting on then communicating this on LinkedIn through your personal profile is key.
  9. If you want to be an event speaker of any kind from speaking at a company event to speaking at a conference then you need to give the organizer of that event the confidence to choose you. If your personal brand on LinkedIn contains no speaking engagements or details of when you chaired an event successfully or recommendations from other event organisers then why should a future event organiser employ you? Add pictures, videos of you in action and list all the events that you have done and are doing. Confidence is everything in event speaking, for the organisers as well as the speakers. That confidence comes from a confident personal brand. They are banking on you satisfying their customers. They need to trust that you can.
  10. If you want to blog for a media brand then you have to demonstrate that you have the credibility and following to make a publisher allow you to blog for them and be exposed to their audience. They have to want you to publish for them. They are, after all, endorsing you by association. Therefore you should list out your writing experience and blogging experience on your LinkedIn profile and give people reasons why you are worthy of being their blogger.
  11. If you want employees or you want to keep existing employees then you have to have a personal brand worth following. All great leaders have great personal brands. Now that has changed from the battlefield and off line to social media, especially in a business context; LinkedIn. In a competitive world you need to impress and inspire your employees that it’s worth staying with you and you need to impress future employees that you’re worth following. A great personal brand can tick so many boxes when it comes this.
  12. If you want to be recommended and referred to by others then you need a personal brand on LinkedIn worth showing to other people. Remember your LinkedIn personal profile never sleeps, it’s being viewed 24/7 from people all around the world.
  13. If you want to be headhunted then it goes without saying that you need a great personal brand on LinkedIn. You profile should contain all your achievements, awards, associations, companies you have worked for, promotions you gained and innovative things that you have done. Are your keywords being picked up by Linkedin’s SEO (search engine optimisation)? If you don’t add your skills and experience then there are plenty of other people on LinkedIn who a headhunter can move onto who will show up in searches. There are many others who show all their achievements and give reasons why they should be picked ahead of you because of the way that they have communicated their personal brand on LinkedIn.
  14. LinkedIn SEO. Many people underestimate the power of the LinkedIn search platform. It works in the in the same way that Google and YouTube does. Keywords in your LinkedIn profile, achievements, recommendations, visits, credible links, content, posts, etc are all relevant in determining your position on LinkedIn searches. Don’t underestimate how LinkedIn works and how others use it to find you….or not as the case maybe!
  15. Google and SEO. You may have noticed that when you do a search on your own company or yourself that your LinkedIn personal profile and LinkedIn company page will appear next to or just below or sometimes even above your own website. This is a great asset, a great opportunity and potentially a great problem. If you have an incomplete company page on LinkedIn what does that say about you and your company? If you have an incomplete, sparse personal profile on LinkedIn and people find that on Google what does that say about your personal brand?

In summary, you are in charge of your own personal branding strategy. If you wish to achieve great things in the business world your personal brand is where it starts and LinkedIn is the catalyst for this.

If you don’t look after your own personal brand on LinkedIn then you are more likely to fail in your ambitions and your competitors are more likely to win. If you do look after your personal brand on LinkedIn then you are more likely to win and achieve all of your personal goals. It’s your choice. It’s never too late to start.

How is your LinkedIn game? Share your thoughts in the comment section below!

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ChrisJReedAbout the Author: Chris J. Reed is an official LinkedIn Power Profile. He is also a serial entrepreneur having created marketing businesses in both Europe and now in Asia Pacific with Black Marketing – enabling LinkedIn for you which now has offices in Singapore (HQ), ANZ, North America, China and Hong Kong, and the UK.

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How to Use Competitive Analysis for an Unfair Advantage http://blog.getresponse.com/how-to-use-competitive-analysis-for-an-unfair-advantage.html http://blog.getresponse.com/how-to-use-competitive-analysis-for-an-unfair-advantage.html#comments Wed, 26 Aug 2015 13:43:19 +0000 http://blog.getresponse.com/?p=20528 Ever heard of the “Blue Ocean Strategy”? It’s based on a book about how to carve out an entirely new segment of the market for your business. When you have properly executed the Blue Ocean Strategy, you have no real … Read more

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Ever heard of the “Blue Ocean Strategy”? It’s based on a book about how to carve out an entirely new segment of the market for your business. When you have properly executed the Blue Ocean Strategy, you have no real competition.

I love the idea of the Blue Ocean Strategy, but it’s an ideal I don’t see many businesses achieve. Most of us are keenly aware of our competition and keenly aware how much of it there is. Whether it’s a competing group of companies or viewpoints or technologies, pretty much every business I can think of has heaps of competition. Even Apple and Virgin Galactic. Even the drinkable book.

The good news is all that competition can help you. Sure, it helps you by keeping you sharp. That alone ups your game. But your competition is also a goldmine of market research. Your competition can teach you almost everything you need to know about how to understand your audience better, how to communicate with them better, and how to improve your business.

Your competitive research can be as complex or as simple as you’d like it to be. It can be free, or expensive. You could, conceivably, hire an entire department for corporate espionage. Or you could just spend about an hour a month online.

While this post is focused on digital businesses (or companies that do at least some of their business online), you’ll still get a lot of applicable tips if you’re a local business. Pretty much every tool listed here is free, and none of them requires any special skills to use.

giphy

 

The Quickie: How to do competitive analysis in 30 minutes or less

If you just want the 30-minute sweep, do this:

  1. Follow them on social media.
  2. Sign up for their email newsletter. Create a special folder for their emails so you can track what they send over time.
  3. Place an order, or become a customer some way. If they’re exclusively digital and generally only work one-on-one (so you’d have to become their client to follow this advice), try just buying an ebook or reading their website closely. If they’ve got a book, buy it. If they do webinars or have a podcast, sign up.
  4. Set up a Google Alert and track them on SocialMention. It’s a well-known trick to set up Google Alerts for your competitors’ company names and product names. And there’s a reason: It’s easy to do and free. But Google Alerts won’t get you every mention. Back it up a bit with SocialMention. SocialMention is limited to social media, like the name suggests, but it usually picks up far more than Google Alerts will. SocialMention

 

How to do more in-depth competitive research

1) See which content of theirs does best.

Head over to BuzzSumo. Enter your competitors’ company or blog address. You’ll get back which pieces of content have gotten the most exposure for them.

BuzzSumo

2) See who’s sharing their content.

From the view in BuzzSumo above (the one that’s the screenshot), click on “View Sharers”:

BuzzSUmo2

You’ll see who’s shared their content on Twitter. This is a choice list of potential influencers for you to reach out to.

BuzzSumo3

 

3) Notice which content formats they use the most.

Do they do any video marketing, or is everything they publish text? If you find that your competitors can’t link outside the text box, that’s a major opportunity. Fire up your smartphone and start recording videos.

If you see only a couple of infographics, or almost no images, that’s another win for you. People are extremely visual, whether we’re in B2B or B2C. So if your niche is light on visual content, rejoice. If you start making good visual content you can probably steal some eyeballs from your peers.

 

4) See how their website performs.

We’ve written a lot about website speed and being mobile-friendly lately. Those articles were focused on getting you up to speed with those issues. Now’s the time to see how you compare to other sites in your niche.

Here’s the Google Page Speed Insights Tool. Here’s the Google Mobile-Friendly Test

PageSpeed

 

5) Find out which social media platforms they have a presence on.

This can be really interesting, especially with the niche networks. While you and most of your competitors might be obsessed with Facebook and Twitter, another competitor might be crushing it on Tumblr, while another one is raking it in on YouTube.

The key here – as with any research – is to get the information you need, but nothing more. Here’s an example of what that might look like:

Competitor Most active platform Followers 1st platform 2nd most active platform Followers 2nd platform
Competitor #1 Facebook; post 3x per day 25K Pinterest: pin 3-4 times per day to 150 boards 30K
Competitor #2 Facebook: post 2x per day 13.5K Twitter: 8X per day 9K
Competitor #3 Pinterest: pin 1-2 times per day to 50 boards 4K Facebook: post 2x per day 5.5K
Competitor #4 Twitter: 12 tweets per day 45K Facebook: 3-4 posts per day 17K

Is there a lot of information left out here? Yup. But you want to keep your research lean and mean. Otherwise you risk getting lost in competitive research and never applying what you learn. You won’t earn anything extra until you apply it.

Speaking of applying this… while you’re looking at all those social media posts and shares and updates, steal every good idea you can to a list of blog post titles and social media update ideas. It’s a great way to add probably a hundred items to your content ideas list while you’re doing competitive research.

 

6) Check out their Facebook and Twitter accounts.

Once you know where they’re investing their time on social media, dig deeper. Fanpage Karma can teach you a ton about what’s working and not working for them on Facebook.

You can compare your audience to theirs with Fanpage Karma. After registration, a  free account will show you a slew of information, including:

  • Number of fans
  • Engagement
  • Posts per day
  • Average post length
  • Average time to respond
  • Growth rate
  • Best performing and worst performing posts
  • Most frequently used words, hashtags, and sources
  • Who their most active fans are
  • Their post engagement rate by time of day and day of the week
  • A graph of key metrics over time (anywhere from last week to years back)

FanpageKarmaEMS

For Twitter, it’s always fun to:

  • See who they’re following. Follow at least 10-50 of those people for your own account. These are the people they listen to, or they want to get to know better. Maybe you might want to know them better, too.
  • See who follows them. For this and the last bullet point, you may want a Twitter analytics tool. I still prefer FollowerWonk to just about anything else, but it’s paid. Twitonomy will give you lots of good info for free.
  • See how many of their followers are fake. Boy, can this be an eye-opener. Use Twitter Audit to find out if they’ve been cheating. Keep in mind it’s imperfect… inactive accounts are counted as fake.

TwitterAuditEMS

If they’re the LinkedIn type, check who they’re connected to and which groups they belong to.

 

7) See what they’re up to on pay per click and organic search.

Of all the suggestions here, this one is most likely to make you feel like you really do have an unfair advantage.

There are plenty of tools that show you how your competitors rank in search or what they’re doing in pay per click. Moz is one. MajesticSEO is another. But SpyFu shows you both search engine rankings and pay per click ads, budget, keywords and more. Unlike its equally good rival, SEMRush, you can get a lot of information from SpyFu for free.

Just a basic search of Eastern Mountain Sports on SpyFu gave me all this:

  • 87% of their traffic is organic; 13% is paid
  • Their estimated monthly pay per click budget
  • How many keywords they are bidding on
  • Who their top five organic search competitors are
  • Who their top five paid search competitors are
  • Their top ads
  • Their top keywords (organic and paid)
  • And much more

SpyFu

 

8) Run an SEO audit of their site with one of the free SEO audit tools.

There are two types of audits: SEO audits and content audits. There’s a lot of overlap between the two. There are many free online tools that let you do an audit with a click of a button. That’s a nice short cut given how the typical full-scale content or SEO audit can take a week to complete.

We don’t need that kind of microscope-level view. An automated audit is fine. All of these tools are interesting and good. Most of them have overlapping features:

SimilarWeb

 

Research, then do your own thing

Knowing what your competitors are doing gives you a significant edge. But I don’t want you to think you should just copy what they do. You should have slightly different “positioning” to make your content and your business stand out.

For the deep dive on how to differentiate yourself from the competition, read “Positioning” by Al Ries and Jack Trout. It’s a reasonably short book, and arguably one of the most influential marketing books written in the last 20 years.

For a shorter read (but still a good one), check out Kerry Butters’ post on this site, Crafting Differentiation: How To Separate Yourself From The Competition.

What do you think?

Are you tracking what your competitors are up to? What sort of information do you track? Tell us about it in the comments. Or just give us a shout out if you liked this post.

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Networking Does Work – You’re Just Doing It WRONG! http://blog.getresponse.com/networking-does-work-youre-just-doing-it-wrong.html http://blog.getresponse.com/networking-does-work-youre-just-doing-it-wrong.html#comments Tue, 25 Aug 2015 13:27:29 +0000 http://blog.getresponse.com/?p=20520 There is nothing more vital to the survival and success of any business than its ability to obtain clients. Yet many business owners unfortunately believe that if they have the right product or service, clients will seek them out to … Read more

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There is nothing more vital to the survival and success of any business than its ability to obtain clients. Yet many business owners unfortunately believe that if they have the right product or service, clients will seek them out to buy it. This couldn’t be further from the truth: year after year, decade after decade, I watch sadly as great businesses with amazing products and services close their doors while others, often not nearly as good, flourish and grow.

This problem is exacerbated by the fact that the most commonly sought out resource for assistance— the trusted business coach—is, in many cases, not equipped to help. In fact, I’ve worked with thousands of coaches and can go so far as to say that for many, obtaining new clients is their own number one problem. That is why it is so vital for the health and prosperity of our businesses and those of our clients that we learn and develop this critical skill.

In my 31 years I have been fortunate enough to have created five multi-million dollar successes and led countless clients to similar success. This reputation for growth has earned me the nickname “The Rapid Growth Guy.” As a result, my friends and colleagues continually ask me about my “secret” for accomplishing so much so quickly.

My answer unfortunately leads to more questions, since my “secret” is my ability to network. When I tell people this, they commonly say that they never gained anything from networking, and that I must have developed a network from an early age, therefore my advice simply isn’t applicable to them.

In early 2014, for the love of an amazing woman, I was forced to put this assertion to the test. I moved from Melbourne, Australia, where I had a vast network of colleagues, supporters, and media connections to Austin, Texas, leaving everything I knew and everyone who knew me well behind. I moved quite literally to the other side of the world, where apart from my lovely girlfriend, who was new to Austin herself, I didn’t know a soul.

Now, fewer than eighteen months later, I am invited to some of the city’s most prestigious events, citing my status as, “one of the most highly connected individuals in Austin” as the reason. I don’t share this with you to brag, only to highlight that you have no excuse: the reason you are not connected is because you currently don’t do what I will prescribe for you below.

Now I know the idea of networking may seem daunting to some, but don’t worry: it is not as intimidating as it seems, and a few actionable steps can have you networking successfully and landing both clients and opportunities in no time.

 

Basic Principles

1. Get in the Right Room

In June, Judy Robinett, a close personal friend and author of the best-selling book, How to Be a Power Connector, was a guest on my podcast Better Business Coach. During our talk she said, “The number one problem is that people are usually in the wrong room,” and she couldn’t be more correct. Think about the last few networking events you have been to: if you’re a coach, were you drawn to events where like-minded coaches were in attendance? Unfortunately, other coaches are not your customers; you will struggle to find clients when you only attend events that cater to your peers. Ultimately, you want to develop relationships with people who are either going to help you and/or who will hire you, and for that you need to get out of your comfort zone. I suggest going to one new and different networking event or function each week. When deciding the ideal location, consider where your clients and best supporters would hang out; whether they’re at a coffee club on Thursday morning, the opera on Friday night, or on the golf course every Sunday, your potential clients and supporters are out there.

 

2. Give Credit

.. and Glowing Recommendations—To Your Network When You Can – Trying to start a business can feel like scaling Mount Everest, so it’s a relief in those moments when you don’t have to climb on your own. Having a small group of people that refer and support you can be a critical help in this endeavor. Just as I cited Judy Robinett’s amazing insights on my podcast, you should look for opportunities to give credit to your network. A single selfless act can propel a stagnant network into a powerful team that works together for the success of each member. It can also have the nice side effect of helping you come across as generous, unselfish, and exhibiting qualities a client wants to see in all potential partners. networking

3. Identify the Sharers Vs. the Takers

Unfortunately there are many people in the world that will take advantage of a sharing and helpful you if you’re not careful. You want to avoid this because you’ll find that it makes you question every person’s intensions and causes you to become closed off to even the most fantastic opportunities. So, you need to create some rules for separating the sharers from the takers, such as:

  • I See Returns – Some people in my network are in the position to do a huge amount to propel me forward while others can offer very little, but that doesn’t mean I treat them any differently. I have a close friend whom I help with motivation and introductions because I believe in him and what he does. Though amazingly talented, he currently doesn’t have many ways to reciprocate; however, every opportunity he gets he goes out of his way to try. For instance, I recently invited him to sit in on a mastermind group I was involved in; I later discovered that he had taken tremendous notes and shared them with everyone in the group. This is the type of person whom you want on your team, and they exist at all levels of connection and celebrity.  Some people feel the need to reciprocate while others never realize that they should. You must be open to every new entrant into your network but learn to identify the difference and either form a close bond, or a firm boundary, quickly.
  • They Keep Commitments – Many people tell me they can do amazing things for me, and I like to stay open to everything; after all, not trusting anyone cuts you off from opportunity altogether. Learn to stay open-minded and grateful to each opportunity that comes your way; however, if you’re let down by someone early on, you must be willing to forget the energies you have invested in the relationship and quickly part ways.

 

4. Get Involved Strategically

You will learn that getting involved in the community is easy, but, if you’re not careful, it can consume all your time without providing anything in return. Recently, I spoke at the largest meet-up group here in Austin and was surprised to see a colleague of mine acting as the MC for this monthly event. Afterward, a few people whom I soon turned into paying clients came to speak with me. Seeing this my colleague was surprised; she told me that she had acted as MC for this event for months, and had yet to land a single client from it. She went on to say that people come to her for help, but they never seem to have money or expect the help for FREE. I asked her why she MC’ed the event regularly rather than speaking once, to which she replied, “Because they asked.”

The difference between my very talented colleague and I is that I utilize my networking time strategically. By speaking once I gained credibility, got my message across, showed high value, and gave people a way to engage with me further. Conversely, by volunteering to MC every month, she sent the message that she liked to help and was available to do so.

I’m not suggesting that you shouldn’t help the community; but rather, that you do so separately from building your business. I personally donate time every month to mentoring remote startup businesses that typically get no assistance. When I’m there, I don’t get upset that I don’t obtain clients; I’ve set aside this time to help, and if people do express interest in becoming a paying client, I tell them they are welcome to contact me about it later but now is not the time – I’m here to help. When I mean to volunteer, I do so without trying to build my business; the rest of the time, I’m strategically generating customers and connections.

 

5. Be Genuine

Remember that when you’re connecting with potential peers, it’s important to be authentic. If you do need assistance, be honest about your struggles rather than simply listing your successes: it’s the easiest way to get help. The things you’re doing well are probably clear, anyway; be just as clear regarding what you need. 

Also, don’t forget the basics of social encounters: give sincere complements, and when asking questions, truly listen to the answers.  Being authentic and truly interested will help you establish a connection with the other person as an individual, and will make them far more receptive when you do finally begin to talk about what you do.

 

Conclusion

This is certainly a lot of information to absorb, so focus on mastering one new skill at a time. Soon you’ll find yourself creating long lasting partnerships with individuals that will drive your success, and converting willing to buy customers with ease. If you’d like to learn more about mastering the art of networking, you’ll find plenty more great advice on my iTunes top-rated podcast Better Business Coach. So get off the sidelines and start networking your way to success today!

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Matthew_Pollard_ProfileAbout the Author: Matthew Pollard is the Rapid Growth Guy! With five multi-million-dollar business success stories to his name, and a prestigious Young Achiever Award, he has been characterized as a true differentiation, niche marketing, and sales systemization powerhouse. Find Matthew on Twitter!

 

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Maintaining A Good Relationship With Your List: Deliverability Part IV http://blog.getresponse.com/maintaining-a-good-relationship-with-your-list-deliverability-part-iv.html http://blog.getresponse.com/maintaining-a-good-relationship-with-your-list-deliverability-part-iv.html#comments Mon, 24 Aug 2015 13:03:13 +0000 http://blog.getresponse.com/?p=20512 2 weeks ago I gave you advice on generating a list, so I assume you already have a list to work with 😉 1 week ago I gave you advice on how to take care of your list. Granted, most of … Read more

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2 weeks ago I gave you advice on generating a list, so I assume you already have a list to work with 😉 1 week ago I gave you advice on how to take care of your list. Granted, most of it was about removing contacts and I know you don’t really want to do that. I fully agree, you shouldn’t have to do that.To be clear, I’m not saying that you should just skip the hygiene part. On the contrary, I still think it’s one of the most important things you can do for your list. Then again the amount of email addresses you remove should be as small as possible. How do you do that? You keep your subscribers engaged, and that is what we are going to focus on here.

 

1. Identify yourself and the content

I stressed previously, how being recognizable can help you gain your subscribers’ trust during the subscription process. This also goes a long way when you are sending your messages.

Most people nowadays screen their emails based on subjects and they only read the ones they think will be interesting. Looking over the results of many of our customers I found that often a simple informative subject gives much better result than a flashy cryptic one, which basically does not tell anything and is designed to get people intrigued about the content – therefore opening the message. You can describe it as buying a specific product you need or a mystery box that may or may not have what you need. Most people will go for a sure deal.

Using a cryptic subject line can also easily backfire, if people do not find what they needed in a few tries they will simply give up on trying (feeling like they are wasting their time). They may also miss out on a promotion they are waiting for. Whereas informative subject lines will give all the info someone might need right then and there, and even if some emails will not meet their needs and stay unopened, people will still engage when they see something they need or want.

I don’t think I even have to explain why intentional misleading subject lines are one of the worst things you can do. I’ll just sum it up in once sentence: this trick will work to get an open only once, after that the tricked subscriber will never trust your message again.

Of course hiding yourself with a generic from address has a similar effect, especially with so many spammers out there using it A LOT. People just don’t trust these kind of senders anymore, that’s why it’s so important to always identify yourself in the from address to the point that your subscribers will not have ANY doubt that this message is from you. And if you decide on a from address, stick to it as long as you can (after all. most private whitelists rely on the senders’ from address).

I know that there are situations where you have to change your from address, and sometimes that change can in fact help you, but the mistake I see people often make is simply doing that without any heads-up to their customers.

If you do find yourself in that kind of situation make a little campaign around it, warn your subscribers beforehand that you are changing your from field, so they will recognize you after the change.

 

2. Send regularly

Habits are a big part of human nature. We like things to be organized and predictable (except if you are The Joker, he’s an agent of chaos 😉 ) and usually we have our weekly routines that we go through for years. Regular send outs should make it easy for you to become a part of that routine, making sure your subscribers will notice your messages. For those that are already hooked, it’s also easier to keep track of the messages you send. They already know when to expect them.

The biggest thing here, however, is that anti-spam algorithms love predictive senders as well, so once they recognize your pattern it should be a lot easier to get you message across. This is a Deliverability and ex-Compliance Specialist talking, who saw it on ohh so many occasions, once the algorithms of ISPs adjust to your sending pattern (usually no longer than 2-3 weeks) keeping your deliverability up becomes much easier.

 

3. Pull your subscribers in

Now here is something I see very rarely, but it’s always with a great effect. People love to see that their actions actually matter and becoming part of a conversation instead of being an idle listener can hook them on your emails for a long time.

This may be in form of a small gesture, like asking for an answer or feedback. Then, changing and diverting your emails based on user actions (ie. based on links they followed), you can make it possible for people to create the message they want to receive.

The idea behind it is to get subscribers involved, make it fun, make some kind of a game of it. This does take some work to setup and handle, but let’s face it: nothing in this world is for free. You invest your time, but the results you can get from it are fully worth it.

As for specific ideas this would make for a completely separate article. Maybe I can do it after this series is over, let me know in the comments below! Still it’s a great area to put your creativity to work 😉

idea_email

4. Keep on improving your content

Sometimes engagement issues come straight out of uninteresting and/or unengaging content, that is why it’s so important to always look for new solutions to improve your messages. Even if you think that your engagement rates are already quite high, they’re never so good that it can’t get better.

Most of you should be familiar with the idea of A/B testing, and the way I see it, it should be used with your every single send out – just remember to keep the changes small, and of course golden rule of testing: change only one thing at a time. To be clear I’m not talking about a big revolution in your content each time you send, but small simple things and steady improvement over time. Small steps are always easier to make, and they too will get you to where you are going.

Big changes may also confuse your subscribers, so it’s better to get them there steadily with small improvement in each message. It just makes it easier for them to adjust.

 

5. Reengagement

Once in a while, no matter what you do, some of your subscribers simply do not want to engage. You can’t really tell if it’s because they abandoned their email, if they don’t find your messages interesting, or they’re waiting for that one promotion to hook them up. Still keeping those addresses on your list reduces your overall engagement and as such decreasing the value of your list, so something has to be done about them.

Reengagement campaigns should be treated as a hail Mary pass, the last attempt to get them back, and if it fails – they are gone. Kind of like a reconfirmation campaign, however, you are a lot less limited with what can you send to your customers.

There are 3 key factors that you need to take into account here:

  • Timing
  • Form
  • Incentive

Timing dependents mostly on your sending schedule. Basically, the more often you send, the shorter you should wait with your reengagement. For example, if you send once a week you should not wait longer than 3 months, if you send once a month you can wait as long as one year.

The ideal option here is a triggered personal message. Working on the first example, the day your inactive content reaches 3 months, without any action he automatically gets a reengagement email. If you are not able to set that up, then you should go for a reengagement campaign every 3 moths on all inactive contacts at once. Of course if they still fail to engage, you should remove them from your list.

As for the form there is a number of different approaches. One thing I would advise here is: make a big change in the content. This is the one message that should stand out from the rest. It should be unique to the point that your subscriber automatically sees they received something different than your usual send out. Just to give you a few examples and ideas:

  • Go with different color sheet asking “were you waiting for a change?”, and then adapt your regular template to that
  • Contact them in a personalized manner as someone from the company staff, concerned about a customer and asking if everything is ok
  • Play it as a goodbye message with a hopeful plead to change your subscribers’ mind

I also noticed one more thing when helping our customers with their reengagement campaign, inactive contacts usually need some kind of an incentive that will help them decide to stay. A discount, a freebie, a gift basket. Something that shows that you appreciate them as your customers and are willing to fight for them, so if they still decide not to engage you can sincerely say to yourself “I tried my best”.

 

Next Up

This will conclude my tips on how to create and take care of your list. Next week we will start the content part of the series, talking more about what you should avoid in your content, thanks to my job title, I have quite an insight into what works and what doesn’t, so stay tuned!

… And if you want to catch up on our series:

Part One: Achieving the Best Deliverability Possible

Part Two: Lists, Dos and Don’ts of the List Generation Process

Part Three: Taking Care of Your List Over Time

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An Email Marketing Funnel For Planning Your Subscriber’s Journey http://blog.getresponse.com/use-the-email-marketing-funnel-and-plan-your-subscribers-journey.html http://blog.getresponse.com/use-the-email-marketing-funnel-and-plan-your-subscribers-journey.html#comments Fri, 21 Aug 2015 13:17:12 +0000 http://blog.getresponse.com/?p=20500 Successful email marketing is not about asking people to sign up and sending them promotional emails till they unsubscribe. It is a great opportunity to build unique relationships between your brand and subscribers. If you want to make the best … Read more

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Successful email marketing is not about asking people to sign up and sending them promotional emails till they unsubscribe. It is a great opportunity to build unique relationships between your brand and subscribers. If you want to make the best of your email marketing, change your mindset and think of the subscription process as a journey to becoming a loyal enthusiast of your brand.

This way you become a guide – your role is to look after your subscribers and help them move through subsequent stages of that journey. Make sure they are entertained and arrive safely at the intended destination.

We wanted to make your job a little bit easier and equip you with a map – an email marketing funnel, which is a graphic representation of a subscription process. Use it for planning the best route, mark all the attractions on the way, and check if everyone is heading in the right direction.

 

Subscription is a Journey

Effective email marketing is not a one-step process. It is an adventure that starts with filling out a sign-up form and continues through different phases of building a relationship. If you want to engage your audience and make the most of your actions, you need to recognize and address different subscriber’s needs at certain stages.

Eventually your subscribers become satisfied customers, obviously making a purchase is not the final destination. The journey goes on so you get a chance to retain delighted customers and turn them into brand advocates.

 

Know your audience

Get to know your audience before you start crafting an email marketing funnel tailored to their needs. Develop in-depth buyer personas – they will help you make better content decisions. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Why should anyone subscribe?
  • What’s in it for the subscriber?
  • How do engage them in the communication?

The answers will help you start off with a proper mindset and come up with interesting and useful content ideas.

 

Members only

What is the reason for anyone to subscribe to your mailing list? What do you offer in return for an email address? Does your email bring value or is it merely another way to promote the same content as across all your social media profiles.

Incentivize users to join your email marketing by offering unique content and special offers. Give them something that might not be found anywhere else. This way you will appreciate your subscribers’ trust, keep them interested for longer, and provide them a reason for promoting your content.

 

Remember your business goals

Let’s face it. The main role of an email marketing strategy is to help meet business goals. You need to know exactly where you business goes and align the email marketing strategy accordingly.

Analyze your business and determine the following:

  • Industry
  • Business model
  • Stage of growth
  • Business goals

Every piece of information will have an impact on the structure of the email marketing funnel in your company. Always keep your business goals in mind when designing the customer journey.

 

Make your own funnel

Relationships with customers differ from company to company. Your subscriber’s journey doesn’t need to be as long as in our template. You should use data and adjust it to your business reality. Analyze your business model, determine your business goals, and align your email marketing strategy accordingly.

Decide what you want to achieve and plan email marketing campaigns that will help you reach business goals. Avoid planning too many tasks – focus on the core activities without the risk of getting overwhelmed by too many things on you to-do list and compromising quality.

 

Quality vs. quantity

According to a recent Fractl and Buzzstream survey, people unsubscribe from emails either because they get too many email messages or the content is boring and repetitive:

Unsub

A fragment from the Unfollow Algorithm survey by BuzzStream and Fractl.

The funnel will allow you to see the specific needs at each stage of the subscription. You will be able to focus on preparing the right content at the right time. By sending relevant messages to your audience, you will increase the overall effectiveness of your email marketing campaigns and reduce email marketing list churn rate.

 

Choose KPIs to monitor success

Successful email marketers are data-driven. They collect and analyze data to check if their campaigns produce desired results. But if you want to use data to make better decisions, you need to know what kind of information you are looking for.

You can use the email marketing funnel to determine the right key performance indicators – measurable values that demonstrates how effectively you achieve key objectives. The clear structure of a funnel helps with aligning proper KPIs with each segment.

Take a look at your funnel and decide whether it’s the number of subscribers, click-through rate, number of downloads or return on investment that you want to measure.

Do you use email marketing funnel to support your email marketing strategy? Does it help with planning your email marketing campaigns? Leave a comment!

In the meantime, you can download our awesome Email Marketing Funnel PDF or you can check it out and share it below:

An Email Marketing Funnel For Planning Your Subscriber’s Journey is a post from: GetResponse Blog - Email Marketing Tips

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Is Your Website Mobile-Friendly? Is It Mobile-Friendly Enough? http://blog.getresponse.com/is-your-website-mobile-friendly-is-it-mobile-friendly-enough.html http://blog.getresponse.com/is-your-website-mobile-friendly-is-it-mobile-friendly-enough.html#comments Thu, 20 Aug 2015 14:27:46 +0000 http://blog.getresponse.com/?p=20481 Mobile use is growing every day. Fortunately, most marketers and small business owners are keenly aware of this. It’s hard not to be. Whether it’s “mobilegeddon”, or a new study on how consumers use their smartphones, mobile gets a lot … Read more

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Mobile use is growing every day. Fortunately, most marketers and small business owners are keenly aware of this. It’s hard not to be. Whether it’s “mobilegeddon”, or a new study on how consumers use their smartphones, mobile gets a lot of press. And it should. When Internet usage shifts from primarily being a desktop activity to primarily being a smartphone activity, that’s a big deal. But shifting from a “desktop first” to a “mobile first” mentality isn’t easy. Most small business owners barely have enough time to get basic marketing tasks done, much less keep up with how quickly their customers are embracing mobile.

 

The apocalypse that wasn’t: “Mobilegeddon”

The first thing to talk about with mobile is probably “mobilegeddon.” That’s the name of the algorithm update Google rolled out earlier this year. It was a simple update, targeted at sites that weren’t mobile friendly.

We published a post about mobilegeddon a few weeks before the update. The post was designed to give website owners a last minute mobile tune-up before the algorithm began rolling out on April 21st.

Now that the dust has settled on mobilegeddon, it’s not as big of a deal as it had sounded like it was going to be. We were bracing for something bigger than Panda, which almost wiped out entire industries overnight.

Fortunately, mobilegeddon wasn’t anywhere near as disastrous. But that doesn’t mean some sites weren’t affected. According to SEO agency Stone Temple Consulting, mobilegeddon did indeed cause some rumblings. Their post on the subject,  “Mobilegeddon: Nearly 50% of Non-Mobile Friendly URLs Dropped in Rank”, documents quite a lot of disruption from the update.

mobile-friendly-gains-and-losses

Stone Temple Consulting, a widely regarded SEO agency, tracked search engine rankings for the top ten results of 15,325 search queries both before and after mobilegeddon. This graph reflects the changes they saw.

As you can see, non-mobile friendly pages took a significant hit. But that chart doesn’t tell the entire story. For another view of it, here’s their visual representation of how the search engine results got tossed around:

mobile-friendly-urls-changeover

Now, please take note that this is just one study. Stone Temple saw more disruption than other sources have reported. One major marketing blog did their own study of mobilegeddon affects on sites that weren’t mobile friendly. They saw only a 5% drop in organic traffic for the sites they tracked.

But even Moz has reported minimal changes in the SERPs after mobilegeddon. Their final say on the update (at least for now) is that it’s hard to tell what happened. That’s in part because the update rolled out over several days. But it’s also hard to pinpoint any major changes… because they haven’t seen any major changes, just single digit shifts.

The SEO firm BrightEdge also did a study, and concluded the keywords and URLs they tracked showed “no meaningful change in the share of mobile-friendly URLs in the first 3 pages of the SERPs“.

 

Even murkier SEO

Just to add to the confusion, there was another algorithm update just after mobilegeddon. The “Quality” update, also known as “Phantom”, shook up the SERPS a bit.

 

Moving forward after mobilegeddon

So if mobilegeddon didn’t deserve its name, but we know our sites really do need to be mobile friendly, what should you do?

The best way to tell if your site is mobile friendly (in the eyes of Google) is to run it through Google’s mobile friendly test. Want to get specifics on how to interpret what the test tells you and how to fix the problems it finds? See our post published just before mobilegeddon rolled out.

If you passed Google’s mobile test (or even if you don’t) consider following these bits of advice to stay mobile friendly.

CWS_Mobilegeddon_ExcerptThis graphic is a segment of the infographic, Breaking Down Mobilegeddon and Responsive Website Design published by the inbound marketing agency CWS.

 

What actual customers think of mobile usability – particularly for local businesses

So if Google won’t crush your search engine traffic just because your site isn’t mobile-friendly, should you bother with mobile optimization at all? Yes. Here’s a chart of Internet activity from mobile devices versus desktops. As you can see (and as you probably know already), the Internet is now mobile first.

ComScoreGlobalMobileUsers

Mobile users now exceed desktop users. This graphic is a segment of the infographic, “The Importance of Mobile Marketing in 2015”, published by JBH Marketing & Smart Insights.

If you’re a local business, mobile matters even more. That’s because mobile searches often tend to be local searches. And all those searches result in a lot of business.

SCOREMobileForLocalBusinesses

This is a segment from the infographic, “Mobile Marketing” published by SCORE.org earlier this year.

How important mobile optimization is also depends on what type of business you’re in. BrightLocal’s 2015 local search survey asked respondents, “Which types of local business have you searched for on your mobile device?” Here’s how they answered:

chart-2

So if you’re a restaurant or a dentist, being mobile friendly may be more critical to you than if you are an accountant.

 

So how can you tell if your site is mobile friendly enough?

To make sure you’re not losing business from unhappy mobile visitors, you need to find out how many of your site’s visitors are using mobile devices. Fortunately, that’s a pretty simple Google Analytics task. To find out, log into your Google Analytics account, get yourself to the dashboard, and

1) Find “Audience” > “Mobile” > “Overview”.

GoogleAnalytics1

2) Click on Overview and you’ll immediately see what portion of your visitors are coming from desktop, mobile or tablet devices.

GoogleAnalytics2

Here’s a detailed view of this report from one of my sites:

GoogleAnalytics3

The first thing to notice here is the split of traffic among the different devices (the pink column). 60% of the traffic is coming from desktop users. 28% is coming from mobile users. Roughly 12% is coming from tablet users. That’s a bit more desktop users than I might have expected, but it’s not terribly far off the averages.

 

Do mobile users behave differently on this site?

Now that I know what percentage of visitors is coming from mobile devices, the next thing to determine is if they behave differently than desktop visitors. For instance, are the bounce rates different? Are the conversion rates different? If there’s a big difference, there might be a problem.

For bounce rates (the blue column in the table above), it seems I got lucky with this particular site. The bounce rate for mobile users is actually lower than the bounce rate for desktop users – by nearly 9%. Tablet users also seem to like the site. Those stats suggest this site is probably mobile-friendly enough. There may still be room for improvement, but it’s clearly not repelling mobile users.

The last thing to check here is the final results. For this little site, it’s the conversion rate for new email subscribers (the green column). For a retail site, it might be value per visitor. Again, mobile users seem pretty happy here – I’m getting a 1.3% conversion rate for new signups. That’s more than double what I’m getting from desktop users. Of course, with only 5 signups for each type of user, none of that is statistically significant. And an opt-in right of 1.3% is downright lame. But this is mostly an abandoned site I use to just try things out on. I’m sure your site’s stats look far better.

There is one last piece of evidence that this site is good for mobile users. It’s the time on site, aka “Avg. Session Duration”. It’s just to the left of the green column. It shows how session length for mobile users is over a third longer than for desktop users. Tablet users stay even longer.

 

What specific devices do people use most on this site?

Even with all the tools and reports we have, one of the best ways to tell if your site is mobile friendly is to actually use it on a mobile device. Ideally, you’ll also be using your site with the mobile device your site users are most likely to be viewing it on.

So how do you find out what device that is? Easy.

1) You go back to Analytics, to “Audience” > “Mobile” > “Devices”.

GoogleAnalyticsDevices1

2) You look at the report. It’s pretty straightforward.

GoogleAnalyticsDevices2-1

Here it is close up:

GoogleAnalyticsDevicesCloseUp

As you can see, the #1 device for this site is an Apple iPhone. Fortunately, I’ve got one, so I can use my site with the device most of my visitors are seeing it in.

 

Essential information for mobile sites

Those two Google Analytics reports are helpful, but you also need to know what information mobile users want most. The BrightLocal survey asked that question and got these results:

chart-4

Make sure you include all those details on your site. And don’t make them hard to find. Put the most wanted information in your site’s header area. Then fit the less popular information into the footer, or on a page that’s linked to in the footer.

 

Conclusion

We’ve covered a lot of different ground in this post, but here are the key takeaways:

  • Mobilegeddon doesn’t appear to have had earth-shaking effects, according to most sources.
  • Even if you didn’t get stung by the update, mobile usability is important to website visitors. It’s especially important to local business websites.
  • To see if your site is mobile-friendly, use the Google mobile-friendly assessment tool. Then follow up by looking at the Mobile Overview and Mobile Devices reports in your Google Analytics account.

What are your thoughts on how mobilegeddon rolled out? Do you worry about how well optimized your site/s are for mobile, or is it not a priority? Share your insights in the comments.

 

Is Your Website Mobile-Friendly? Is It Mobile-Friendly Enough? is a post from: GetResponse Blog - Email Marketing Tips

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21 Tips For Writing Emails Your Audience Can’t Wait to Open http://blog.getresponse.com/21-tips-for-writing-emails-your-audience-cant-wait-to-open.html http://blog.getresponse.com/21-tips-for-writing-emails-your-audience-cant-wait-to-open.html#comments Wed, 19 Aug 2015 14:17:07 +0000 http://blog.getresponse.com/?p=20473 Do you want to write emails that get a ton of opens, great engagement and are a joy to write? Do you want to send emails that your readers forward to other people? In this blog post, I am going to give … Read more

21 Tips For Writing Emails Your Audience Can’t Wait to Open is a post from: GetResponse Blog - Email Marketing Tips

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Do you want to write emails that get a ton of opens, great engagement and are a joy to write? Do you want to send emails that your readers forward to other people? In this blog post, I am going to give you my best tips on how to write emails that are simply brilliant. Emails that will have your readers looking forward to receiving more.

Emails that have a call-to-action – people are happy to execute. Let’s get straight into it!

 

#1 Determine who you are trying to reach

Your first job is to know exactly who you are writing to. Who is this person? What problem are you solving? What keeps them up at night? What are their biggest values? What are some of the things they can’t stand?

Knowing this person on a deeper level means your emails resonate on a deeper level. When you know how this person thinks, feels, or behaves, it makes it so much easier to wirte emails that make sense. These emails just work!

 

#2 Create relevant content

You can write about anything in an email but that won’t mean that the email will be read. You have to write content that your reader is truly interested in receiving – the content they signed up for in the first place.

Focus on your reader. What kind of things they want to hear about? What do they want to learn? What kind of content will rock their world? Content can be super useful and still not relevant to your audience. When you send emails that are full of value and are relevant at the same time, that’s when you get insanely high open rates.

If you are not sure about what to send, ask them. Survey them, ask them on social media and listen closely in Facebook groups and online forums.

 

#3 Nail your subject line

A subject line can make or break your email. This is no exaggeration. This is not the place to be clever, okay, maybe on a rare occasion this might work but for the most part, be clear.

You can invoke curiosity or be upfront about the benefit of reading your email. But you have to be useful and show urgency when required. The reader needs to know why they should click now as opposed to next week.

 

#4 Write to one person

Do not write emails as if you are writing to a large group of people. Think of your best, most loyal customer, client or reader and imagine writing to them. This will make a world of difference in your tone, connection and authenticity.

When you write pretending to write to one person, every single person feels as if you have written only to them. They don’t feel like you are mailing to your ‘list’ and don’t feel like a statistic.

Try it. You will be surprised at the kind of response you receive.

 

#5 Focus on one big idea

Do not send too much information, you will end up overwhelming your audience. Keep it simple. Decide on one big ideal for your email.

 

#6 Mix up your content

Don’t send out same type of content every time. Mix it up. You might want to write a personal email where you share something about your family, for example. If you came from a family vacation, you might like to share photos or other stories that would be meaningful for your reader.

You might send content and tie it to what’s happening around the world. You might create seasonal content, or capitalize on the popularity of a song, movie or a TV show.

You can also do behind the scenes type of content where you give people a sneak preview of your product creation process.

 

#7 Work on your intro

Just like any other piece of content, the lead or the introduction is super important.

The first few lines set the tone for your message. They also let your reader decide if they are going to go ahead and read it, scan it or bin it. And if they clicked to open it, it would be a shame to see it get binned.

emails

#8 Create high quality content

Every email you send should be of high quality. Whether you are writing an email of personal nature, sending out your newsletter or sending the blog post, the content must have value for the reader.

Spend some time creating excellent content and don’t rush to make it happen.

 

#9 Respect your audience’s time

I haven’t yet heard from someone who complained that they like to receive longer emails. Have you?

Gone are the days when people jumped up and dropped everything at the sound of a ‘you have got mail’ notification. These days, people are stressed out and have a love-hate kind of relationship going on with their email. Their dream is to reach ‘inbox zero’. This often means deleting emails without being read.

Your job to get straight to the point. Your job is to make sure your emails are as tight as possible and that every word counts. Stop rambling and remember that brevity is your best friend.

 

#10 Don’t sound like someone’s swipe copy

You know my biggest pet peeve when it comes to receiving email?

90% of the emails sound like they come from the same person. Meaning, people writing these emails are so influenced by the gurus in the industry that they are starting to sound just like them or they are just blindly using the templates provided by the experts. No, thank you.

Write the email only you would write. Choose the words as if you are speaking to a close friend. Inject your personality in your writing. Share your unique perspective with your audience.

It pays to have a distinctive voice so hone your skills. When somebody opens your emails on principle; when they open because they want to hear everything you have to say. Priceless!

 

#11 Don’t promote all the time

Don’t sell all the time (unless you are an ecommerce store). People will unsubscribe. Generally, aim to send purely educational or inspirational content for 60-70% of the time and promote rest of the time. It’s okay to include a link to your store or services page, but don’t turn every email into a pitch fest.

On the other hand, don’t hesitate to email every day when you are in launch mode. People expect to hear more from you. The email schedule changes and that is fine. Don’t promote all the time but don’t be too shy about it, either.

 

#12 Always proof read before you send

You want to appear every bit of professional you are. Don’t forget to edit and proof read your emails when they get sent out. Occasional typos are fine and make you appear human but do this repeatedly and people will stop taking you seriously.

Don’t be sloppy. Get someone else to do it for you if you want. Also, give people a clear call to action so people know what to do next.

 

#13 Ask your people to interact 

Email is a medium of communication, and communication takes place between two people. Don’t act like you don’t care what your audience thinks. Don’t treat your list as a broadcast-only platform.

When you write to your peeps, write as if you are writing to a close friend, and involve them in the communication.

Ask questions and show that you are genuinely interested in hearing their thoughts. Share stories and ask people to share theirs. Encourage people to take it further and share on your social media platforms so more people can join the conversation. Remember, email is not a monologue. Turn it into a dialogue and actively invite feedback so that your readers feel heard and appreciated.

 

#14 Don’t email too much

I would not advise sending emailing every day. I know some people make the case that if your readers love and appreciate you enough, they will stick around, and if they don’t, then they are not true fans in the first place. I beg to disagree.

It’s like saying my favourite TV shows should be on every day. No they shouldn’t. As much as I love them, I would probably get sick of them after two weeks. I would also begin to question the quality. I mean, can they really maintain the quality if they to produce a show every day? Plus, I am not talking one show here. Who has time to watch 5 shows every day?

I think you get the idea. Your email is fighting for attention not only with other emails but everything else. Stick to a decent schedule.

 

#15 Don’t be sporadic

And by decent schedule I don’t mean once every two months. By that time, the reader would have moved on, bought from a competitor or simply forgotten who you are and why they subscribed in a first place.

I highly recommend sending one email per week. This can be a personal email, a weekly newsletter, simply a link to a blog post or an occasional promotional email (unless you have reason to send more). Let people get used to seeing your name in their inbox every week.

Also to make it even easier to remember who you are, keep your branding consistent. Make sure you use the same fonts, colours and tone in your emails. And it never hurts to remind them in the end why they are receiving your emails.

 

#16 Make sure your emails are mobile responsive

A vast majority of people open up their emails on their smart phones or a tablet. Before hitting the send button, make sure your emails look how they are supposed to.

See that everything is aligned properly, that the text lines don’t stretch across the window. You will be able to see this easily in the preview pane of your email service provider and once you get elements right, you can save changes as a template to the user experience stays consistent.

 

#17 Don’t overdesign your emails

Make sure your design doesn’t compromise the reading experience. Don’t complicate things by adding unnecessary flashy elements to your emails, or making them hard to read.

Use simple formatting. Choose fonts that are easy to read, if you want to add images, make sure they are compelling and add something to your message, not for the sake of making your emails look pretty.

copywriting

#18 Give people a real address to respond to

Don’t you just hate it when you receive emails from someone with a do-not reply email address? When they say do not respond to this email because this email inbox is not monitored? Not cool.

You want to hear back from people. You want them to respond. Be a human and not a robot when you send emails. Give them an email address they can hit reply to. Use your real name in the sender’s field so people know there is a real person sending this email and it will be easier to write back to this person.

 

#19 Get your peeps looking forward to emails

One way to make sure that people click, open and read your emails is to give them a high quality, superior user experience every single time.

Consistency is key here. Consistency can be how you define it. It can be you sending your emails on the same day, at the same time, every week, or it can be consistency of exceptionally high quality content.

Do everything we talked about above. Get people used to the fact that your stuff is good and every time they click, they are rewarded.

 

#20 Don’t email people who didn’t opt in

Do not add people to your interest if they haven’t explicitly given you permission to do so.

This means no buying email addresses, no swapping contact details, no adding those who subscribed to a new list. Don’t add people to a different list if they signed up for a specific one. I would go as far as to say to ask for permission before you add your customers to your newsletter lists.

Sure, people can unsubscribe if they wish but it super annoying. Don’t do it.

 

#21 Pay attention to your analytics

Don’t get obsessed with your numbers but keep an eye on them. Look at your open rates. They tell you what kinds of things your readers are most interested in. See when you get unusually high email open rates. Was it the topic? Was it the subject line? Note your big successes so you can replicate them.

Also pay attention to when your open rates drop. Did you do anything differently? Or, did you just pick something to talk about that your readers are not interested in. Keeping these things in mind can help you write emails that your readers are keen to open so it is definitely worth paying attention to.

So there you have it. This is what works for me. Anything you would like to add to this list? Share in the comments below!

21 Tips For Writing Emails Your Audience Can’t Wait to Open is a post from: GetResponse Blog - Email Marketing Tips

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Are You Using These Best Free Visual Marketing Apps? http://blog.getresponse.com/are-you-using-these-best-free-visual-marketing-apps.html http://blog.getresponse.com/are-you-using-these-best-free-visual-marketing-apps.html#comments Tue, 18 Aug 2015 11:43:27 +0000 http://blog.getresponse.com/?p=20467 It’s important that your blog has its own style. Not just writing style, or style of content, but visual style as well. Indeed, with the visualization of social media, the way your blog and email campaigns look is just as … Read more

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It’s important that your blog has its own style. Not just writing style, or style of content, but visual style as well. Indeed, with the visualization of social media, the way your blog and email campaigns look is just as important as how they read. So much success is based expectations. Brands and individuals that tend to get the most followers are those that place a large amount of focus on consistency. Think of your favourite comedian, for example. He/she will no doubt have at least a 5 figure following on Twitter. And the content that this person produces will be comedy. This is what the comedian’s followers want and expect, and so that is what he/she delivers. If the comedian were to start posting tweets giving DIY tips, foodie reviews, or links to blogs on effective social media marketing, then his/her audience would be confused, disappointed, and would likely start to shrink very quickly.

For a similar reason, I, personally, tend to steer clear of writing jokes on the platform. Aside from the fact that I like to keep my A-material much closer to my chest, it’s simply not what my audience wants or expects from me (sorry, folks). No, I’m the tech and social media go-to gal – that’s my business, my brand, and my appeal.

I’m a blogger first and foremost. And when I contribute to blogs such as this, all of them invariably have built their reputation and success by establishing a very focused, unique style and sticking to it.

You will see from this very GetResponse blog, for instance, that a stunning photograph is used for all featured images, which is scaled to be precisely 650px wide and 180px tall. When you click on a post, you see that the blog also makes great use of white space for easy reading, will feature at least one more photographic image to break up the text, and delivers a visually pleasing blend of the brand’s logo colours sky blue and white.

It has a look, a feel, a style. You know that you’re on the GetResponse website even if you’ve arrived there by mistake – and that’s the very effect that you want to create for your own blog.

 

The Tools Of The Trade

When starting out, too many bloggers resort, not only to covering the same old material that was pretty much exhausted three years ago, but also to just opting for the most obvious and unoriginal free image that they can quickly find for adding a bit of colour to their blog. This just simply isn’t best practice.

No, when trying to make your blog visually appealing, you need to be a little bit creative in your approach, a little bit daring, and absolutely unique and consistent.

Your easiest option will be to go down the photographic route, as you can either access some of the numerous online catalogues of free-to use photos, or you can snap a few yourself even if you’ve just got a half-decent eye and a smartphone.

Your other option will be to create bespoke graphical images for each of your posts. This can actually be of great benefit in terms of establishing a particular style for your blog. Especially if you stick to a basic colour palette that you always use, or even create a little character that’s always hanging round to illustrate what your blog is about – like Social Media Examiner does, for instance.

sme

Either way, you will most likely encounter a problem when starting out. Firstly, such media tools that will be required to create such things are expensive. Secondly, most professional tools – such as the Adobe Creative suites, for instance – actually require you to spend another fortune in classes as you learn how to use them.

And finally, despite your best efforts, you may very well be not the most natural illustrator or photographer in the first place, which means that no matter how au fait you become with Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator, you’re never going to be able to create something particularly visually appealing anyway.

But, don’t be too hard on yourself – after all you’re a marketer, not an artist, and there just happens to be a whole swathe of great free tools that are available to you online that will have you producing some of the most unique and eye-catching visual material in no time. And below, I’ve listed the most favoured ones so you can get started immediately.

 

The Best Free Visual Marketing Apps

Skitch

From the brilliant Evernote comes Skitch, a free image editing tool that allows you to make all sorts of improvements and distortions from screenshots and other images. You can add text, objects and shapes to your images, and even ‘blur’ out anything confidential – such as if you were to include a screenshot of tweet in your blog, but wanted to keep the tweeter’s name hidden.

Canva

Canva is a great tool that any marketer can use to create stunning graphics extremely easily. If you can drag & drop, you can use Canva – it really is that simple. Your first couple of visits to the site might take you a little while whilst you rummage through all the available images and fonts and banners and functions and everything else that’s available to you. But, there is a very handy tutorial to get you going, and it’s generally intuitive to use.

Pixlr

If you’re after something that is a little simpler to use than the notoriously difficult Photoshop, then you should really check out Pixlr. The app is a lot more straightforward, though can still produce some very striking effects. Photoshop is a professional tool, not particularly designed to be user-friendly. And if you’re not a professional photographer or image creator, then Adobe’s flagship product will probably do more than you could ever possibly want it to anyway. Pixlr, on the other hand, is much more democratising, and will enable you to turn even the most boring of photos into something interesting, eye-catching and exciting.

Adobe Color

What used to be called Adobe Kuler is now Adobe Color CC. I don’t want this blog to sound like I’m trying to steer you away from all things Adobe, because I’m not – it’s just that for amateurs, Adobe tools are normally a step too far. But, for the purposes of creating your own unique colour scheme for the visual content on your blog, then Adobe Color CC is the tool for you. You don’t have to have an adobe account to use it, but, if you do, then you can import the colour schemes that you create into other Adobe Creative Suite design programs. Otherwise, you can use this tool to find and create the perfect colour balance for all of your visual content, and begin to create that recognisable style for your blog that is so important for your branding.

What are your favourite visual marketing tools and apps? Let us know in the comments below! 

Are You Using These Best Free Visual Marketing Apps? is a post from: GetResponse Blog - Email Marketing Tips

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Three Design Basics Every Marketer Should Know http://blog.getresponse.com/the-three-design-basics-every-marketer-should-know.html http://blog.getresponse.com/the-three-design-basics-every-marketer-should-know.html#comments Mon, 17 Aug 2015 14:17:50 +0000 http://blog.getresponse.com/?p=20450 Giving a prospect the nudge to visit your site isn’t just based on your slogan and ads. Enticing businesses need to have an equally enticing website. It’s no longer just about word of mouth, it’s also about the glories of … Read more

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Giving a prospect the nudge to visit your site isn’t just based on your slogan and ads. Enticing businesses need to have an equally enticing website. It’s no longer just about word of mouth, it’s also about the glories of good design. 

Marketing aside, as a business owner you need to put some trust in your design team. Your website would be nowhere without the Ai, Ps, and Id magicians. But great designers and superb tools aside (or free tools if you’re on a blogging budget) what happens when you don’t know how to create the branding/design foundation of your online business? What if you can’t make a decision or guide your team towards what you think would work?

These questions are the reason why I wanted to put together a little “design 101” – online marketer edition, featuring expert advice from Ivo Gabrowitsch and 99Designs.

 

The Right Images

Answer this honestly – do you use iStock images? Most of you will say yes, heck – I might even find myself looking through the generic stock photos once in a while. But the truth of the matter is that not everyone will get the Vince Vaughn cheesy “business” photos.

Start thinking about making your images awesome not 70’s iStock. You can go two routes:

  • Images
  • Illustrations

Images

Don’t give into the classic “smiling businessman, looking at a screen.” Can you show a fancy, hipster dude flipping through his iPad? Maybe a modern business-mom that’s strolling through the city? Think of your team, the people who are buying your product or service – they’re a diverse group of individuals – be courageous and show off diversity, happiness, colorful backgrounds, modern fashion, and contrast!

Your first bet is going the paid way, most of us are used to websites like iStock or Shutterstock. The great thing about these websites, and actually paying for the images, is that you can use faces. What does that mean? Well, if you want a smiling businessman or a happy family on your website – you buy a picture and you can use it, because you have the rights. But like I already mentioned, they’re really cheesy.

Which is why I’d like to give you an awesome alternative, it’s still a paid stock service but with a great modern vibe to it – Stocksy. It’s just all sorts of fancy! You can find the perfect image in a jiffy with a great search tool:

Stocksy

Your second favorite image route will be CC0 images. There’s a plentitude of websites that will help you find just the right image for free and with no need for attribution. However, these websites will take longer to sift through, they may not always have what you want, people are less frequently shown, and you will sometimes need to double check attribution rights.

One of my personal favorites is Pexels:

Pexels

A great gallery full of pictures! If you’re having a hard time looking through Photopin or Pixabay, where the images are necessarily artistic or modern, or you don’t have time to look through all the Google pages available to find the right CC0 website – check out The Stocks (which has collected most of the well-known CC0 sites), sign up for Death to Stock Photo, or rummage through this awesome Canva list of over 70 free stock image websites.

Illustrations

This one takes more time and an imaginative designer on your team. However, I’ve seen blogs and websites that really take illustrations to the next level. A great example of making a simple and illustrated website is SumAll:

SA

SumAll

As you can see, it only takes a bit of creative thinking and a designer that will take your thoughts and give them a look that will make your site all the more appealing (remember, no one wants boring long text… Studies show – we love visual content)

 

The Right Font

I’ve talked about typography in marketing in a previous post, but I also wondered how designers see typography in the digital marketing sphere.

So I asked Ivo Gabrowitsch from FontShop, a question that a lot of us have when we start putting together text: how can marketers make their content more interesting. Most of us use Helvetica, Arial, some will even go for serif fonts, but in your opinion as an expert, are there any other fonts that will look great in long format texts? Should marketers use different fonts for headers to create diversity? If so, what fonts could they use besides the ever popular Roboto, Lobster, or Avant Garde?

And here’s what he said:

“There are several approaches to look at this question. However, my first idea was to simply use some fresh new fonts, because what marketers need to promote is typically new as well and the chances are high that competitors have not used them yet either. There have been many top-notch typefaces released recently, both sans and serif that work well for long copy and work well as headline fonts too, especially when they are significantly different from each other.

So yes, marketers should use different fonts for headers. Depending on the particular content either a sans or a serif (also slab serif) works better for the copy. I’ve prepared a fontlist that only contains such typefaces. I selected only fonts that have been released in the last 3 years — which is pretty new in the world of type. I might add further fonts in the coming days. In our FontShop News section, we also have a series that recommends ‘Great Pairs’, which may be useful”

There you have it, use diversity, don’t afraid to go for the new to complement your products, and be bold in deciding on your headlines.

 

The Right Color

We’ve had a few great posts on colors in emails, but what about websites and blogs? How does color play a role in your virtual store front window?

99Designs has been working on color, I thought this was a great opportunity to find out what their research and work showed up. So I asked – why is choosing the right color for a cover or within text important in getting people’s attention and keeping it?

And here’s what they had to say:

“Choosing colors for a whitepaper or guide cover and within text is important in getting your customer’s attention and keeping it in three ways:

1. The color(s) you choose for your cover should complement your brand identity and speak to your target audience. While this piece may be a separate entity from your website, pick colors associated with your brand and site in order to create a consistent customer experience.

2. Use dominant learned associations of color to help influence the type of content you are providing. Colors convey a learned association and can evoke specific responses from your customers, both positive and negative. Align those associations to the message you are sending and ensure they resonate with your target audience and the brand you are trying to build. Let’s give a couple examples:

  • Pink is generally associated with nurturing, warmth and femininity – think Victoria’s Secret. Brown conveys seriousness, reliability, support and earthiness – think UPS. Using the color brown for Victoria’s Secret’s or pink for UPS’ marketing material may not have a negative connotation, but it likely won’t resonate with their core target audiences. However, if UPS wanted to join in on the fight against breast cancer, they would likely run a campaign using the color pink.
  • Or if you’re creating a piece about optimizing your landing page, a customer can find that daunting. You may think about using orange to help customers feel less overwhelmed, but instead more energetic or lively. Or think about using blue, which conveys confidence, trust and security.

For reference:

  • White – purity, cleanliness, and peace
  • Black – sophistication, dignity, and glamour
  • Red – strength, stimulation, excitement, danger
  • Yellow – friendliness, happiness, and cheerfulness
  • Green – nature and the outdoors
  • Blue – competence, trust, intelligence, and security
  • Brown – seriousness, reliability, support, earthiness
  • Orange – excitement, liveliness, and energy
  • Purple – dignity and authority
  • Pink – nurturing, warm, and soft (feminine)

 

3. Use the chosen accent color(s) throughout your whitepaper or guide to maintain design consistency, break up text through data visualization and help the reader move seamlessly through the document. The use of color can act as markers or visual cues to where your reader should be going next.”

 

Putting It All Together

There are various websites for inspiration (Fonts in Use or Logoed) and numerous sites with free creative tools (Marketbook), but at the end of the day you’re the online marketer – not necessarily the designer.

You may not design everything on your own, but you have to be in sync with your company’s vision, know how design ticks, be a decisive leader in how to visualize your business. How do you use these three foundation steps to create your brand and encourage customers to stay on your website? Share your thoughts in the comments!

 

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UX Principles to Increase Your Website’s Social Presence http://blog.getresponse.com/ux-principles-to-increase-your-websites-social-presence.html http://blog.getresponse.com/ux-principles-to-increase-your-websites-social-presence.html#comments Sun, 16 Aug 2015 13:15:45 +0000 http://blog.getresponse.com/?p=20441 Not all websites are created equal. Some grab users within minutes, while others completely flop. The first moments a person enters a website is detrimental are its success. In those pivotal seconds, users have an immediate need and are eager … Read more

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Not all websites are created equal. Some grab users within minutes, while others completely flop. The first moments a person enters a website is detrimental are its success. In those pivotal seconds, users have an immediate need and are eager to find a solution, experience features, and interact. If the site doesn’t meet their expectations in these moments, the user is likely gone forever.

So what makes a website fantastic enough to withstand the initial scrutiny? One simple but often overlooked factor is insightful UX design. UX design (or User Experience Design) is creating a product based on the actual needs and behaviors of the individuals who will use it. For most websites, great user experience is not only attributed to the design itself, but also the social experience the site can provide.

If a site is clunky, counterintuitive, and lacks interactive elements, the user experience is quite poor, and as a result, people will most likely press the dreaded “back” button. In contrast, when a site is sleek, well-organized, socially oriented, and involves very little action from the user – user experience is high and therefore, much more likely to engage users. So if you want your site to truly connect with your users, keep these UX tips in mind in order to provide the ultimate social experience:

 

1. Visually Emphasize your Blog

As you probably know, blogging is a quintessential social tool for any site. If your blog is a constant, reliable source of clear and valuable content, people will flock to it in order to educate themselves on the latest trends, tips, and news you provide. Furthermore, if you distinguish your brand as the number one resource for a specific topic, you can easily attain a readership so strong that they will live and breathe your brand. TedX is an excellent example of this. These two brands are so linked with their content and the knowledge they spread, that they have almost become synonymous with it.

As important as your content itself is, if it is not easily discoverable on your site, it doesn’t really do you much good. Therefore, Make sure your blog visually stands out by emphasizing it on your menu. It should never be placed under the “News” section. Instead, give it a proper and visually distinguished placement almost as distinct as your call-to-action. This way, you give your blog a stage to get noticed, the first step to building your credibility as a brand.

 

2. Designate Places for Discussions

Every UX designer knows that all elements of a site should be clear, easy to use, and accessible. This goes for your conversational features as well. Having a two-way discussion is a necessity for all websites. The fact is, people are much more willing to play an active role in your brand if there are ways for them to feel involved. Providing a comments section signifies to your users that the discussion is not over once the blog is read. Instead, they have the opportunity to add thoughts or even argue with the premise if they feel information is flawed.

To incorporate UX into this social element, make sure your comments section is strategically placed right under the blog itself. In addition, encouraging comments within the text of your blog gives your users further reason to notice and interact with this exciting feature. Remember, logic and ease of use is extremely important for social and nonsocial features alike, so make your comments section prominent in order to ensure it gives you the social credibility you deserve.

UX

 

3. Give A Personal Touch

With the creation of social networks, hiding behind the anonymity of the internet has lost its appeal. Many people have no problem putting their full name out there along with pictures of where they go and what they do. So give your users the option to get personal. Let them create a profile or identity card and upload a display picture. This way, when your users make comments on your blog or forum, they get recognition for their expertise, which in turn gives them a role and makes them feel important.

Take the personal element one step further by encouraging users that speak out frequently. Such actions give people more of an incentive to comment and greatly contributes to forming an online community. At the same time, it also provides your brand with a free spokesperson, which can only go to your benefit. Finally, get your users to talk to one another. While its great that your users interact with you, conversations that flourish without a push from you is the ultimate test of your site’s social prowess.

 

4. Actions Speak Louder than Words

We’re a society that craves constant activity. If we are not entertained, we will move on to the next best option. This is why your site needs to feature actionable elements such as easy sharing, a rating system, and “likes”.

Sharing gives your users the opportunity to connect with others. Since this personal connection is something  that is an inherent part of human nature, making this connection easier to attain gives your users more reason to become loyal to your site. So place your sharing mechanism prominently on your site and make sure it is easy to use. Monarch and Shareaholic are two of our favorites options for WordPress.

Additionally, rating systems and “likes” also give your users the opportunity to give further feedback on your content. This makes them feel involved in your online community while also entertaining them with actionable activities.

As you know, your onsite social features go hand-in-hand with user experience. Since your users are always looking for ways to connect and stay active online, providing them with easy and approachable ways to do so should be top priority. By infusing your site with onsite social elements, you bring activity, engagement, and community to your site without outsourcing these important resources elsewhere. This way, your site grows in credibility while also strengthening user-satisfaction and impact.

So, there you have it, four principles to better your website. Do you use UX in increasing your social presence? Share in the comments below! 

.

NadavAbout the Author: Nadav Shoval is the CEO & Co-Founder of Spot.IM, an on-site community that brings the power back to the publisher. Prior to Spot.IM, Nadav has developed and founded 4 technology startups. Nadav is a technology erudite and a sports addict.

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Taking Care of Your List Over Time: Deliverability Part III http://blog.getresponse.com/taking-care-of-your-list-over-time-deliverability-part-iii.html http://blog.getresponse.com/taking-care-of-your-list-over-time-deliverability-part-iii.html#comments Sat, 15 Aug 2015 15:27:32 +0000 http://blog.getresponse.com/?p=20435 Last week we covered the basics of list acquisition and the tricks you need to know to get engaging and trusting subscribers right from the start. But your work does not stop there, it’s only beginning.I’m still going to repeat … Read more

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Last week we covered the basics of list acquisition and the tricks you need to know to get engaging and trusting subscribers right from the start. But your work does not stop there, it’s only beginning.I’m still going to repeat myself, but you can’t be an email marketer without a list, and you can’t be a good email marketer without a good list. Starting off with good subscription practices is a great thing and can get you a top quality list, but you have to remember that in order for it to stay that way you also have to look after it.

From my point of view, while working in Compliance Department, list hygiene almost seemed like some kind of a mystical topic. It was rarely brought up by our customers, and when we brought it up they were often surprised that this is even a thing. We also did have a couple of customers that took the effort of looking after their list and it was always reflected in their results.

To this day I feel that list hygiene is one of the most underappreciated areas in email marketing. There is still a false belief that your list size determines its value, despite the numerous campaign showing that it’s the engagement metrics that actually matter. Following a simple example, I think you’ll all agree that having a list with 20,000 contacts with an average of 15,000 opens each send is a lot better than 100,000 list with an average of 2,000 opens.

Even the best list loses it’s value over time if not handled correctly, and the example above can easily be a list of the same email marketer, just over different periods of time.

Before we get into practical things I want to highlight one more thing – I will not be focusing on reengagement as this will be part of my next post (so keep out for it next week), today we’ll concentrate solely on the removing/leaving an address on the list.

So what are the things that you can and should do to make sure that your list quality stays high? Let’s start with the basic again:

 

1. Do not force your subscribers to stay on the list

This is one of the main mistakes I see some email marketers do, trying to hide the unsubscribe link, or making the unsubscribe process complex to discourage their subscribers from leaving. I already witnessed a lot of examples like that and take it from me: if someone wants to leave your list he will find a way to do so, and the harder you’ll make it for his the harder he will want to get you back.

Let’s face it, people leave. They can become disinterested in what previously may have been their hobby and switch to something else, they may not have the need for your product anymore, or they could even say “I don’t care anymore” and go off to live in the mountains. Bottom line whatever the reason is – you will lose some of your subscribers and the best you can do is to respect their decision to leave.

I also do not want you to think that you can’t do anything in order to fight for this customer, it’s just that there is a good way and a bad way to go about it. You are not able to force a change of mind in anybody, and if you try the effects will most likely be opposite of what you anticipated (we were all kids once and I’m sure most of you remember how you felt when your parent forbid or ordered you to do something).

A simple unsubscribe confirmation page saying: “We are sorry to see you leave, but we respect that and wish you the best wherever you go. In the future if we will be able to assist you again please remember our site/email address/us and we will be honored to work with you again” will give off a better vibe than asking “are you sure?” for the n-th time during the unsubscribe process.

 

2. Get rid of the dead weight

The first point covers the case when your subscribers are still active and full of life. Now lets take a look at the other side of the coin. I’m talking about those subscribers that do not show any signs of life what so ever. The do not open your messages, they do not follow you links, they don’t do anything. Each list has at least a few of those subscribers.

First let’s look at what might have caused it. There are 2 most popular reason for subscribers inactivity: abandoned email address or your messages are filtered out by subscribers private setting. Please keep in mind that we are talking here about complete inactivity – they did not engage at all with any of your messages for the last year or so.

Bottom line is there is a great chance here that the message, even though is delivered to an email address, does not reach any living person. Keeping those addresses on your list becomes pointless as they only increase your list size without contributing to any potential gain. Quite the opposite, by artificially increasing your list size they generate additional cost needed to maintain and send to your list. A simple action of just removing those addresses can increase your income by simply decreasing the cost your list generates without influencing the revenue you get from your sends.

This action is also quite smart from the Deliverability point of view. For the last few years I’m observing a trend in which ISPs start focusing more and more attention on the engagement metrics alone, so even if you have low negative factors (like complaints or invalid emails), but your engagement is very low as well, they will still see you as a spammer.

Acting of those kind of emails however, in my opinion, means you are already behind and you should never allow for any email address to be inactive for so long. It’s more of a scenario that you should start with if you did nothing in regards of list hygiene for a long amount of time, so if you follow the instructions in my next point you should not worry about this one again.

fashion-woman-cute-airport

3. Asking again is not a bad thing.

Reconfirmation is a hard topic to tackle. This is where I see the most friction in the Compliance and best practices vs marketing and revenue point of view. Still this is the best option to keep your list clean. Regular reconfirmation campaigns, if done correctly, will keep your list quality high with barely any influence on the revenue.

There is a lot of articles online talking about the reconfirmation campaigns and how they should be handled. Reading a lot of them in my time I always had the feeling that there is at least one thing that could be done better, but lets start from the top. So here are the points you need to remember when you plan every reconfirmation campaign:

  1. You can skip all active subscribers. Lets say you are doing reconfirmation campaigns every 3 months. There is no need for you to ask the permission from contacts that are already highly engaged in your mailings. They show they want to be on your list by that alone
  2. It’s nice to give some additional incent to stay on your list. Some kind of promotion, maybe a freebie, or whatever you think will work here. You can be  creative just remember my advice from the previous post – If you promise something you have to follow through, period
  3. Respect choices and don’t asking again and again thinking they might have made the wrong decision. Trust your subscribers – they do know exactly what they are doing and if someone does not reconfirm, respect that
  4. Include an option to resubscribe. This is the think I wrote was missing, in my opinion, from most of the articles I read about the reconfirmation process. And it’s very simple, really. Right under the visible reconfirmation link add equally visible information how they can resubscribe to your list after they are removed.

One of the most common arguments against reconfirmation is that someone may not find the email before they are removed. This one action solves the issue completely. If someone is removed from your list though that they can be back on your list in no time, and they will be back when they are ready to read your emails again.

Following those few easy steps and keeping the reconfirmation campaigns frequent (every 3 to 6 months), will keep the quality of your list sky high for ages, which will be also visible in your deliverability.

 

Suppression lists

There is an additional thing I want to share my opinion on with you, suppression lists. They have its uses, but list quality should not be one of them. This is also something I saw a lot on the compliance side of things, usually in cases when it did not work.

Marketer’s idea here was: in stead of removing the contacts lets suppress them as they may still be useful in the future. This assumption is wrong from its very foundation. As soon as you acknowledge that an email address is inactive and should be removed thinking that it might be good one day in the future is simply contradicting yourself. The moment you stop sending to this email the “distance” between the 2 of you is increasing, and if later on you send an email, the effects are usually even worse.

Keeping those emails on the list “just suppressed” also gives room for a possible mistake. It’s enough that you forgot to include the suppression list in one send, getting yourself in trouble with the ISPs and Compliance Department of the company you work with. Eliminating the possibility of a mistake before it happens can save you a lot of headaches in the future (and this one you can apply to everything).

So there you have it! As mentioned in the beginning, next week we will discuss how to reengage inactive contacts and keep the engagement of the active ones high at all times and with this we’ll complete the list part of the cycle giving you complete set of information on one of the most important areas of email marketing so stay tuned.

Until then, share with us in the comments below how you keep your list crisp and fresh!

Taking Care of Your List Over Time: Deliverability Part III is a post from: GetResponse Blog - Email Marketing Tips

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10 Data-Based Tips for Better Facebook Engagement http://blog.getresponse.com/10-data-based-tips-for-better-facebook-engagement.html http://blog.getresponse.com/10-data-based-tips-for-better-facebook-engagement.html#comments Thu, 13 Aug 2015 13:17:35 +0000 http://blog.getresponse.com/?p=20416 Facebook so completely dwarfs its competition that it’s often hard to show the magnitude of its dominance. The chart below, from comScore, is an example of this: Having trouble finding Facebook in that chart? Don’t worry. It’s not you. Comscore didn’t … Read more

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Facebook so completely dwarfs its competition that it’s often hard to show the magnitude of its dominance.

The chart below, from comScore, is an example of this:

chartofweek-060815

Having trouble finding Facebook in that chart? Don’t worry. It’s not you. Comscore didn’t include Facebook in the chart. Facebook’s audience penetration and engagement metrics would have been so far up and to the right that it would have skewed the chart and made it hard to read.

In other words, Facebook’s influence is so huge that it’s literally off the chart.

chartofweek-060815ADJLet’s toss legibility aside, shall we? Let’s see how this chart would look if we included Facebook.

That’s the chart. Seriously. Facebook reaches 81% of the total digital population. It has 230 billion minutes of user engagement. It’s engagement metrics float like a high altitude weather balloon over all the other social media platforms.

I can see why comScore wanted to leave Facebook out of their chart. Adding it does skew the data.

But actually, I think you only see the real story here when you add Facebook to the chart.

But there’s something more important going on here. More significant than a data geek messing about with charts.

It’s about how you spend your time.

As you know, social media has a reputation for being a time-waster. One of the biggest ways it becomes a time waster is when people try to be on too many platforms at once. This dilutes your focus. It often ends up getting you far fewer results than if you had put all that time into one platform.

If you had to focus on just one platform, you’d do well to focus on Facebook.

Now, that isn’t going apply to every business. If you’re in B2B, LinkedIn may be the best place for you. By far. There’s all sorts of qualifications I could put on why Facebook might not be the best choice for you if you’re only going to be on one platform.

But boy, look at that chart again. Facebook gets the lion’s share of engagement. It also gets the lion’s share of shares, according to ShareThis’s Q1 2015 Consumer Sharing Trends Report.

ShareThis-Top-Content-Sharing-Channels-by-Device-in-Q1-May2015

The problem is getting that engagement, whether it’s shares, likes, comments or more clicks. As you know all too well, you can put a lot of work into Facebook and not get much engagement at all.

To help you get more out of your work, and maybe to see your own Facebook metrics start going “up and to the right” as the biz dev people like to say, here are ten tips for getting more engagement on Facebook. They’re almost entirely based on recent marketing studies. I’ve also included examples where I could.

 

1. Use images 

Facebook gets more visual by the day. And while there’s an awful lot to talk about videos on Facebook, images still rule for engagement, at least according to most studies.

Adobe’s Digital Advertising Report, Q1 2015 puts images ahead of videos, and by quite a lot:

FacebookPostTypesInteractions

That’s also want Simply Measured found in their Q3 2014 Facebook Study:

SimplyMeasuredPostTypes

Of course, there are a lot of different kinds of images on Facebook. There are quotes. There are stock photos with fancy text overlays. There are photos of real people doing real things (instead of models posing). There are product shots and, of course, cat photos.

Marya Jan wrote a great post a few months ago titled 17 Ways to Create Content that Drives Engagement on Facebook. It includes advice on creating images, but also has excellent ideas for written content too. Check it out for ideas on what kind of images to use with your Facebook status updates.

 

2. Upload your videos directly to Facebook

Don’t link to them from YouTube. It will crush how many views you get. One study found that natively uploaded Facebook videos got 52 times more views than YouTube videos.

We wrote a whole post about this earlier this year. There are several really cool things you can do with videos on Facebook now. It’s time you tried a few. We’ve had great success with adding an “About us” video, and with creating an entire section of videos on our Facebook page.

GetResponseVideoFacebook

 

3. Write updates with 40 characters

According to SumAll and Buffer’s widely-shared infographic, “The Internet is a Zoo: The Ideal Length of Everything Online”, the magic character count for Facebook posts is 40 characters.

FacebookPostLengthCharacters

Here’s what a post with 46 characters looks like:

FB46Characters

Here’s what one with 172 characters looks like:

FB172characters

Don’t get too obsessed with writing updates that are exactly 40 characters. Just know that a half of a line or less generally does better. Some studies have said either really short updates or really long updates do best.

 

4. Use nouns and verbs when you write your descriptions

Social media scientist Dan Zarrella found a correlation between using nouns and verbs in Facebook posts and getting more social shares. If that sounds obvious at first, remember that there’s also adverbs and adjectives.

pos

Note that this won’t give you a huge lift – we’re talking 2%. But every bit helps.

Basically this is the old advice of writing teachers: Cut out the adverbs and adjectives to write more clearly and more powerfully. Another way to say that is, “Trim the fat”. You’ve only got 40 characters to work with anyways.

 

5. Add emoticons where appropriate

Sometimes, words don’t cut it. Only an emoticon will do. Emoticons also lend a little levity to your posts. And they’ve great for writing shorter updates. According to Super Spicy Media, emotions will get you more shares, comments and likes:

Graph Use these with some sense, though. Add a wink emoticon when you’re kidding. Add a heart when you want to send a little extra love. And test. Everything depends on your audience. An emoticon the Holland Lop Rabbit Club adores may not go over so well with the East Texas Volunteer Firefighters Association.

 

6. Ask for people’s opinions

This can be something like “which book cover do you like best?” or asking people to respond to a poll. If you’ve got a large enough following, you could ask people to submit photos or tips for a chance to win a prize. Whatever it is, ask your audience for their input. People love to help and to give their opinion on social media. Make that work for you.

AskingForFeedbackMetsHats

 

7. Use a call to action

Your audience needs to be prompted into action. You can’t just hope they’re psychic and will know what you want them to do. You have to ask.

A call to action makes that ask. It’s one of the most important elements of an effective Facebook update. It’s also what usually separates the marketers who are getting results (including engagement) from the marketers that are just posting streams of content no one ever sees.

How you phrase the call to action is especially important. TrackMaven learned that using the words “Share”, “Please” and “Like” in the call to action increased interactions by a third or more. Who wouldn’t want a third more results from just adding a simple phrase?

words-trackmaven-180614

 

8. Post more often

This one seems obvious, but I have had too many awkward conversations with small business owners who tell me they get no engagement on Facebook, only to discover they post updates to their page about every week or so.

You need to post at least every other day, and ideally 1-2 times per day. People just won’t interact with a Facebook page that looks like a ghost town.

There’s data to prove this. It’s not as recent as I’d like, but LikeAlyzer’s 2013 study showed posting about twice a day earned the most likes. The like ratio fell way down when pages posted less than once a day, and then fell even lower if they were posting every three days or less.

posting_consistency_affects_facebook_engagement

 

9. Post at the right time

Big caveat before I say one more thing: The best time for you to post on Facebook will be different than what I’m about to tell you. You need to go look in your Facebook Insights reports to see when you’re getting the highest engagement rates.

That said, Baraa Hamodi over at Optimizely wrote a really nice post recently about how he determined when the best time for him to post was (it was around 5pm EST Monday through Thursday). Other studies have found 1-4pm is best.

 

10. Pay for it

This is the last thing most small business owners want to hear, but it does belong on this list. Kerry Butters wrote an excellent post about whether or not Facebook advertising is worth it earlier this year on this blog.

Her conclusion? Facebook advertising can be worth it, but you have to do it right. And you need to manage your expectations.

 

What do you think?

What are you doing to boost engagement on your Facebook page? Have you tried any of the tactics listed here and not gotten good results? We wanna know! So give us a shout out in the comments. Tell us what you think.

10 Data-Based Tips for Better Facebook Engagement is a post from: GetResponse Blog - Email Marketing Tips

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4 Tools for Every Stage of the Blogging Process http://blog.getresponse.com/4-tools-for-every-stage-of-the-blogging-process.html http://blog.getresponse.com/4-tools-for-every-stage-of-the-blogging-process.html#comments Wed, 12 Aug 2015 13:37:20 +0000 http://blog.getresponse.com/?p=20408 “You’re just writing, how hard can it be?” Unfortunately, that’s what a lot of people think about content marketing. Everyone knows how to put pen to paper (or finger to keyboard), and that’s all there is to being a writer, right? … Read more

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“You’re just writing, how hard can it be?” Unfortunately, that’s what a lot of people think about content marketing. Everyone knows how to put pen to paper (or finger to keyboard), and that’s all there is to being a writer, right? Wrong. So, so wrong.Whether you’re writing a blog post or editing a whitepaper, it’s hard work. You can’t just say whatever you want to say, any way you want to say it.

A content marketer needs to string their words together as delicately as a diamond necklace. We need to worry about a thousand and a half different things, like:

  • The SEO value of your content’s title
  • How clickworthy and shareworthy that title is
  • Word count – too much or not enough?
  • Format & organization
  • Readability and how easy it is to scan
  • Brevity and clarity

And we actually have to entertain the person reading those words we “slapped together.”

Thankfully, one benefit of being a tool junkie like myself is that you always know the right tool to turn to. And the good news for you is that I’m not selfish enough to hold them close to the vest. Add these writing and editing tools to your arsenal to start producing better content:

 

1. Topic Selection: BLOGABOUT Blog Title Generator

Created by IMPACT Branding & Design, BlogAbout should be the first step in your content creation process. It will help you nail down your topic and working headline. Head over to the tool once you have a vague topic you want to write about.

BlogAbout

For example, let’s say I’ve decided to write a blog post about productivity tips. But that’s as far as I’ve gotten.

BlogAbout will help me determine what angle or approach to take by using fill-in-the-blanks. So once it gives me something like “Should You ________? __ Things to Consider First,” I can think about different topic keywords to fill in.

You can fill in the blanks right in the title generator. And if you don’t like the result, just click ‘refresh’ until you find something that fits. Any titles you want to develop into actual content, click the heart icon to save them. That’s my favorite feature – they’ll email you your titles at the end. No more forgetting brilliant ideas!

 

2. Headline Writing: CoSchedule Headline Analyzer

Now that you have a working title, it’s time to write a headline to inspire clicks, shares, and subscribes. For that, my favorite tool is CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer.

Like other headline analyzers, it looks at how much punch your word choice packs. But this one is specifically for blog post headlines. So it gets much more specific (and helpful) than generic analyzers.

CoSchedule shows how your headline will look in SERP results, helping you check the SEO value of your title. It also analyzes your word choice, headline structure, sentiment, keywords, and more.

CoSchedule

Have I mentioned how helpful it is?

It actually makes you a better writer. I know that my headlines have improved since using this daily. And I’m talking my original headlines, not ones that have already been optimized with CoSchedule’s help.

I used to type in my first idea and get blasted with a score in the “red zone.” I would struggle for a great headline. Switching a word here and there to try to come up with something good enough to publish. (I always try for scores of 65 or higher.)

But by doing that, I’ve learned a lot. I know what “power words” to use and where to place them for the biggest benefit. And my brain automatically places the most important words at the beginning and end. I guess I run through the analyzer’s steps in my head without realizing it.

Of course, be careful of having too much fun with this one. It’s important to know when “done is better than perfect.” Sure, you can try to write a headline 1 point higher, but is it worth the time for every title?

 

3. Writing Your Draft: Google Drive

WordPress is amazing, and using other content management systems makes me sad. But as amazing as it is for managing content, Google Drive is my favorite place to write.

Google Docs provides a simple and clean writing environment. It also doesn’t hurt that we’re all used to the “word processor look.” Google Docs feels familiar, friendly, and unintimidating. Perfect for productive, focused content creation.

But as basic as it looks, it can actually do a lot to help you write. For instance, inserting links. When you highlight text and click on the icon to add a link, Google tries to match up with the right URL. It won’t work for things like keyword-rich anchor text or obscure blog posts, but it makes linking to any homepage so easy. Look at how easy it is to link to GetResponse:
GoogleDriveYou can also use the research tool instead of constantly switching tabs. Turning it on adds a search panel to the side of your screen. There you can conduct Google searches for supporting examples, data, whatever you need.

Of course, since we’re talking about Google, there’s also a host of add-ons you can install for more power. For content marketing, you might want to install a workflow/approval add-on for team collaboration. There’s even an add-on to create WordPress drafts from Google Drive documents.

 

4. Making Edits: Hemingway App

The biggest editing mistake a writer can make? It’s thinking that editing is just cleaning up spelling, grammar, and typos. You’ve already made sure that you’ve said everything you needed to in your draft. But could you say it better?

Editing is where you should take a step back from the content and look at its overall effectiveness. Yes, that includes catching any typos or grammar mistakes. But it also means that your content is clear and concise, sounds like “talking” more than “writing,” and is easily scanned.

Hands down, this is the tool for that.

Named after the author known for his direct and concise writing style, Hemingway App will show you how to simplify your content. From hard to read sentences to unnecessary adverbs, it shows you the parts of your post that will slow the reader down.

Marketing copy such as blog posts should be written for an 8th grade reading level, tops. So aim for that when editing in Hemingway. You can also choose to set your own quotas for each of the different highlighting categories. I like to try to get to a 6th grade level.

Conclusion

Just because a blog post makes the points it needs to, and is grammatically correct, doesn’t mean it’s an effective piece of content. If you want your posts to better your business – drive signups and sales – you need to be methodical about your writing.

Build a toolbox of resources that will help you convey your thoughts in the best way possible. What do you use to get your blogging game on point? Share in the comments below!

.

brittany berger headshotAbout the Author: Brittany Berger is the Content & PR Manager at Mention, where she reads a lot and writes even more. She likes her media social and her Netflix non-stop. Connect with her on Twitter at @bberg1010.

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Defining Your Instagram Marketing Message http://blog.getresponse.com/defining-your-instagram-marketing-message.html http://blog.getresponse.com/defining-your-instagram-marketing-message.html#comments Tue, 11 Aug 2015 13:47:16 +0000 http://blog.getresponse.com/?p=20401 The popularity of Instagram is rising so rapidly that a lot of the stats that are out there on the internet are very quickly becoming outdated. But it’s always been the same with this very unique player on the social … Read more

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The popularity of Instagram is rising so rapidly that a lot of the stats that are out there on the internet are very quickly becoming outdated. But it’s always been the same with this very unique player on the social media stage – so let’s take a quick look at the history of Instagram’s growth. 

A Potted History Of The Growth Of Instagram

At just 3 months old, the Instagram community had grown to 1 million by December 2010, and, less than a year after its launch, the photo-sharing app saw its 150 millionth photo upload in August 2011.

By the time September came around in the same year, Instagram had grown to 10 million worldwide users, prompting Apple to name it the ‘iPhone App of the Year’. By July 2012, Instagram had 80 million users; in February 2013 it had 100 million; September 2013, 150 million. Today, that figure has doubled, and here are the full stats, straight from the horse’s mouth, Instagram.com:

Instagram

 

If you ever wanted to see some stats that speak for themselves, then here they are.

300 million users are sharing 70 million photos every single day, generating 2.5 billion daily likes. That is exemple of an extremely active and engaged community. And, what is more, users of the app are even more likely to be liking other people’s posts than they are creating posts themselves.

And this is not surprising. I’ve said it before on this blog, but it’s worth repeating – social media has become visual. And, as such, the likes of Instagram and Vine have taken off and are continuing to skyrocket away.

Indeed, if we think about the last 4 significant social media launches – first Pinterest, then Instagram, then Vine, and then finally Periscope – the one thing that they all have in common is that they are visually based platforms. Plenty of new networks continue to emerge, all claiming that they are going to be the next Facebook – I’m sure I don’t really need to be the one to tell you that they aren’t.

The problem is that we’ve already got a Facebook that works perfectly well, thank you very much, and the new contenders have, frankly, misaimed their focus.

With Pinterest, Instagram, Vine, Periscope, and even Snapchat for that matter, what we’ve seen time and time again is that in order to make a successful social network these days, you need to be focussed on the visual.

 

Defining Your Instagram Marketing Message

But, let’s not get hung up any further on which new social networks might or might not come out, and whether or not they’ll fail. We’ve got enough here already that are working and succeeding, and Instagram is one of the most popular of the lot.

So, how do you stand out on Instagram when there are more than 70 million new photos being shared every single day?

This is the pertinent question, which I am now going to give 3 strategically oriented tips in order to offer up an answer. Here goes…

#1. Determine Your Target Market

Ok, so we’ve established that Instagram is an incredibly popular platform – but amongst whom? Well, you might have already known, or otherwise surmised, that Instagram is in fact most popular amongst the younger generations.

According to E-consultancy, the figures break down like this:

  • In Q2 2014, 20% of internet users aged 16-64 had an Instagram account. This is up from 15% in Q2 2013.
  • The app is more popular among younger people, with usage at 41% among those aged 16-24 and at 35% among 24-34s.
  • 51% of users are male while, you guessed it, 49% are female.

This needs to be taken into consideration first and foremost when thinking about how you are going to define yourself on Instagram.

Ask yourself – which members of your audience are active on and engaged with Instagram? If you’re targeting a product at the younger generation, then you’re onto a winner with Instagram. But, if only a portion of your customer base is likely to be present on the platform, then you’re going to need to tread a little more cautiously.

Either way, you must remember one very important thing – Instagram, more than any other social network, is decidedly hip. Yes, Instagram is where the cool kids hang out. Ok, it’s a photo-sharing network, but it’s a very particular sort of photograph that you can expect to find on Instagram, and also of a very particular quality.

The platform isn’t really meant for family photographs and pictures of youngsters with their mates getting drunk at the weekend. Although there certainly are plenty of users who choose to post these sorts of images, they are generally frowned upon by the core Instagram community, and such people really should go back to Facebook to post such things.

No, Instagram, is all about the quality, the skill, the art and the wit of the photographic image, and you need to become au fait with this before you move onto the next step, which is…

 

#2. Develop A Content Strategy

You will get the most out of Instagram if you find fun and quirky ways of photographing your product being used in ways that are outside of its main function.

Take Oreo, for instance. In fact, I wrote about this in last week’s blog, but I make no bones about repeating myself here – and I may as well do it verbatim:

“Oreo is one brand that have got this completely nailed with their #playwithoreo hashtag. This is where the brand encourages their fans to come up with all sorts of weird and wonderful ways to use the Oreo cookies – usually by making artwork, fun recipes, or even by inventing games that can played using the cookies as rollers or counters or what have you.”

My point in last week’s post – as it is in this week’s – is that if you can come up with a content strategy that will empower your fan base to contribute to as well, then you’re onto an absolute winner.

Instagram, as I said, is a hip platform. And that means that Instagrammers are also hip, which is to say that they like to think of themselves as being cool, clever, and creative. So, give them an opportunity to shine, and get them creating their own content of your products in use.

 

#3. Develop A Signature Photo Style

Instagram, of course, is more than just a plain old camera app – it’s also a pretty nifty photo editing tool. With a range of cool filters and various wizardly editing functions, any old muppet with an iPhone can turn themselves into the next Rankin or Duane Michaels in next to no time.

Indeed, the simple-to-use editing tools on Instagram completely democratises the art of photography, and it’s not an exaggeration to say that practically anyone can make even the most banal of images look edgy and cool using Instagram.

But, in order to define yourself on the platform, you need to develop a style and stick to it. Now, this might be that you always use the same filter – low-fi, amaro, ludwig, etc. – when it comes to uploading your image. Or it might be that you decide that you’re going to go for the black and white shadowy look with your images, or that you’re going to make your mark with focus, tilt, or framing. Whatever it is, you have the chance to define yourself on Instagram, and whatever you choose will say a lot about your brand.

And perhaps the worst thing that you could do is to not be persistent in your style. You want your fans to be able to recognise one of your photos immediately, before they even see your logo attached to it.

And please note, this shouldn’t detract from your efforts to garner a stream of consumer created content. For your user created content, you need to create a hashtag, but for the stylish stuff, your hashtag should be your brand name, and possibly your tagline, and from there just try to ensure that you are publishing quality images again and again and again.

How does your brand define itself on Instagram? Share your thoughts in the comments below! 

Defining Your Instagram Marketing Message is a post from: GetResponse Blog - Email Marketing Tips

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Lists, Dos and Don’ts of the List Generation Process: Deliverability Part II http://blog.getresponse.com/lists-dos-and-donts-of-the-list-generation-process-deliverability-part-ii.html http://blog.getresponse.com/lists-dos-and-donts-of-the-list-generation-process-deliverability-part-ii.html#comments Mon, 10 Aug 2015 13:57:36 +0000 http://blog.getresponse.com/?p=20390 I already bragged about what our company does and in which fields we can jump in and take the weight off your shoulders, now lets go into the practical advice part. To be more precise, we are kicking of the guidelines part … Read more

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I already bragged about what our company does and in which fields we can jump in and take the weight off your shoulders, now lets go into the practical advice part. To be more precise, we are kicking of the guidelines part of the series, starting with the most important part of email marketing: the List.

Lets face it, without subscribers there is simply no email marketing. You can make the best looking, the most engaging, and the cleanest filter-wise message there is, but without anyone to send it to it will still accomplish nothing.

Most of you probably already have some kind of list that you already collected, this also needs upkeep from you to make sure it’s still good, but we will talk about it in my next post. For now lets just assume that you are just starting out and try to get your first subscribers, or you simply want to expand your list trying to add new people to it (always a good idea).

Let me also add that this article is written from the Compliance worker point of view. There will be no tip on what layout and colors that catch the eye or any of other marketing typical lingo. There is a lot of good tutorials out there that cover this part of the issue.

I am focusing on the general dos and don’ts to help you earn your subscribers trust and keep the happy from the very beginning, which will also keep you away from the Compliances’ cold and all-seeing eye 😉

 

Online Subscriptions

The easiest way to get new subscriptions is through your website with the use of either a registration form or newsletter subscription form (or maybe both). While doing that you should remember about a few things:

1. Claim your web-form and be open about what it is for

Your relationship with a subscriber starts right here: the web-form. You need to remember to start out on the right foot, so what is the natural thing you do when you meet someone? You introduce yourself.

If this is a full site then that issue is basically mitigated (they already know who you are), but if it’s a landing page you need to remember to include information about yourself. And I’m not talking about some small footnote. Make it visible, make it clear. After all, you want them to trust you, they can’t trust you if they do not know who you are.

There is also no need for you to hide why you ask for their email address. Be open and honest about it. Do not be afraid to say “I would like to send you emails”, it’s much better to get it out of the way here than for them to find out later when they actually do get the message.

This is a big issue with registration forms. You know the drill, you register on a site to get access to additional content and suddenly you start getting random messages. You did not sign up for it, that is not what you wanted. It’s a spam.

Now, you certainly do not want to leave this kind of expression, so make sure that you make it clear. If it’s a newsletter subscription form – describe it as such so your visitors can’t take it as anything else. If it’s a registration form make an additional clear statement that you will send them emails, in big shining letter so they can’t miss it ;), better yet – make it an additional option (and don’t feel limited to a sad little checkbox under the form, you can be much more creative than that).

One more very important thing here: remember to give some kind of description of the content your subscribers will be getting. Don’t make it a Jack in the Box kind of thing, again you do not have any reason to do so. After all, if they came to your site that means they are looking for something and so they should have easy access to finding out if you can provide what they’re looking for.

letter-mail-mailbox-postbox

2. Do not use it for any hidden purpose

Please take this to heart: if you try to trick your subscribers they will notice it as soon as they subscribe to your list, and they will not be happy. I’m sure you already had your share of experiences with angry customers and know how many issues they can cause. Now imagine a bunch of angry subscribers, we’re talking heavy damage to your reputation and deliverability that will take months, if not even years, to fully recover from.

To point out what do I mean by tricking subscribers, the most popular examples would be: sending content of a different nature than the one you advertised on your site and adding subscriber to multiple lists on single subscription.

As for the first example just don’t… ok? Plain and simple, there is never an excuse for doing that, you should never do that. Simply don’t.

If you want, for example, to advertise for a friend ‘s company there are much better ways to do so than just sending their content. Much better way to do so is to include it within your own content – it can be a reference in an email about your product (ie. Here is something that works great with what I have), or as an additional part of your email, but never ever as a standalone send.

Signing up to a multiple lists can also make you lose your subscriber’s trust very very fast. Imagine that you enter your email address in one web-form and suddenly you get multiple messages, what is the first thing you think? “they must have sold my email address to others”. Now that makes for a trust issue that is almost impossible to come back from.

I do realize that there is a lot of email marketers managing multiple lists with closely related products, and it’s an ideal situation to simply add one subscription. Someone can always unsubscribe from the lists if they didn’t want to end up on, right? Well, unfortunately at this time the damage is already done and if they will unsubscribe it will most probably be through a complaint – and from all lists.

Again, a simpler way to do lists is to let someone decide while they are signing up. If you manage multiple lists make the option to choose available at the web-from level. A simple check-box with a nice layout can still make for a very friendly looking web-form and spare your subscriber a surprising flood of email messages after his subscription.

 

3. Give your subscribers a choice

This is something I rarely see people do with it resulting in great effects. Different people like different things and while some of your subscribers will like short daily updates, others would prefer a complete weekly report. Others may have different preferences regarding the message color theme. I’m talking about small things that should be easy for you to manage through segments or campaigns.

This little trick gives your subscribers the feeling of power. Instead of being just a subscriber that is waiting patiently for the next message, they can call the shots here (at least to some degree :) ). This gives them more confidence and helps them remember you better.

Now I know that this one is kind of unorthodox from a typical marketing point of view (where all web-forms should be as simple as possible), but like I wrote, this is a Compliance point of view. You can later compare and chose the option that you feel more comfortable with.

 

4. Keep your word

All of this above is worth nothing if you do not follow through. I can not stress this enough, if you decide on the above solutions you need to make sure that you will in fact respect people’s decision and keep your promise. That’s the difference between getting a positive or negative effect from it. You must be aware that ignoring your subscribers’ choice does not make it as if you did not ask them at all. To your subscriber it means you lied to him and that’s the easiest way to make him turn on you.

There are 2 more things I would like to touch before I wrap this up:

Offline subscriptions

I know this is a thing, especially in stores, restaurants, hotels, or any other businesses where you have direct contact with your customers. And I get it, it’s simple to just ask for an email address, write it down on a piece of paper, and then upload it. Not to mention that it’s a great way to get new subscribers.

However, speaking from my own experience this method has one very big flaw: typos. With an online subscription mechanism you have automatic validation that can check (to some degree of course) if the given address is correct. You lose that with offline subscriptions. The number of typos on these kind of lists, being it a domain or the whole address itself, is really noticeable and sometimes can even cause the list to be rejected during the import process. Not to mention that you are losing potential engaging subscribers.

There is an easy solution. These days you can get a decent and cheap tablet, and set up a subscription app that should take you no longer than 5 minutes’ work. In stead of handing a piece of paper you just hand the tablet and if anything is wrong with the email address you will know it then and there.

The tablet does not have to be good, lets face it, you will be using it for this purpose only. Or if you don’t want to invest in that you can even do it with your smartphone.

Still take my word for it, as I did handle a number of cases with offline generated lists, it is worth the fuss.

 

Purchased Traffic

Now again this is something I had a lot of experience with, and to be completely honest I do not advise doing that at all. But again I understand that this is a valid practice that can help you get off the ground with your business, so I’ll simply leave you with one more advice:

Be careful who are you buying your traffic from. There are companies that are using scripted bots to provide you with subscriptions, so just as you think everything is going great what you will get are fake or harvested addresses. This can do a lot of damage to your account, worse case scenario it can even cause its termination, so again please be careful.

If you do in fact want to use this kind of service do a decent background check of the company and work only with ones you can actually confirm are good. I also recommend monitoring the traffic that goes through your page and if you notice something suspicious, check it out it right away (or terminate the deal if you can’t explain it).

This will complete the first part of my guide on how you can improve your marketing from the best practices point of view. Following those tips should keep you safe and far away from any compliance monitoring tools ☺ For next week I will prepare tips on what to do with your already collected list to make sure it stays at high quality so stay tuned.

To catch up, check out Part One. Have any thoughts or personal experience? Leave us a comment below, we’d love to know how you handle your lists.

Lists, Dos and Don’ts of the List Generation Process: Deliverability Part II is a post from: GetResponse Blog - Email Marketing Tips

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11 Essential Marketing Apps for Small Business Owners http://blog.getresponse.com/11-essential-marketing-apps-for-small-business-owners.html http://blog.getresponse.com/11-essential-marketing-apps-for-small-business-owners.html#comments Fri, 07 Aug 2015 13:37:07 +0000 http://blog.getresponse.com/?p=20371 Many small business owners have conflicted feelings about marketing. They know they need to be doing it, but all the different types of marketing and approaches to marketing can make it overwhelming.  And then there’s the price. Small business owners … Read more

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Many small business owners have conflicted feelings about marketing. They know they need to be doing it, but all the different types of marketing and approaches to marketing can make it overwhelming.  And then there’s the price. Small business owners are a frugal lot. They have to be. And marketing can be expensive. Marketing mistakes are even more expensive. The combination of being short on time and on money is tough. But there’s yet another layer to the problem. It’s the classic friction small business owners face between the work of running their business versus the work they went into business to do. Pizza guys want to make pizza – not run AdWords campaigns. Florists want to arrange flowers – not master SEO.

Fortunately, we live in a world with apps. And many small business owners have figured out that they can save themselves a nice chunk of time by using them. That’s what the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council discovered when they ran the survey for their report, “Saving Time and Money With Mobile Apps”.

According to that report, “78 percent of these small business owners believe that their company’s use of mobile apps saves time for the owner. On a weekly basis, these small business owners estimate that they save an average of 5.6 hours (a median of 4.0 hours) due to their firm’s use of mobile apps.”

4-5 hours! That’s half a day each week. That’s a huge win for a time-pressed small business owner. To help you free up half a day in your week, we assembled a short list of essential marketing apps for small business owners. These cover all the basic marketing tasks, with one or two added in for marketing outsourcing and marketing project management.

 

1. Trello

TrelloappADJMarketing involves a lot of project management. Trello makes that easier. The feature that really helps with marketing tasks is the checklist you can add to cards.

If you create a checklist for your most common marketing tasks, you can save time and reduce errors. They’re also helpful for managing employees.

Some checklist-friendly tasks might be:

For Android you can click here, and for iOS here.

 

2. Yelp

YelpJust last week I met a small business owner who thinks it is more important for her to have a presence on Yelp than it is to have a website. While I don’t agree with that, her assertion shows how critical Yelp is to local businesses. Ignore it at your peril.

Fortunately, having it in app form makes it easy to edit and update your Yelp account. You an also check and respond to reviews, too.

For Android you can click here, and for iOS here.

 

 

3. Facebook Pages Manager

If yFB_pagesou’re a small local business that caters to consumers (rather than businesses) there’s no other platform you should be on more than Facebook. And while thealgorithm changes have made it harder to see a ROI from Facebook, it’s still pretty much essential. Your customers expect you to be there.

This is the official Facebook app. Having it on your phone just might make you more likely to take a photo from your business, or maybe just capture a smile of a customer who just got exactly what they wanted. In other words, if you can make it easier to build a better Facebook page, you’re more likely to get results from it.

For Android click here, and for iOS click here.

 

4. Twitter

TwitterTwitter is less important for small local businesses, but it should definitely be part of the mix. And, like all these other apps, you’re far more likely to use it if it’s in your back pocket.

For Android  click here, and for iOS click here.

 

5. LinkedIn

LinkedInappIf you’re in B2B, this is the place to be. Whether you want to follow up with a prospect or contribute to a group discussion, this is a nice app to have on hand. Many small B2B businesses get a sizable chunk of client work from LinkedIn. And the more active you are, the more likely you are to see some of that action.

For Android click here, and for iOS click here.

 

6. Fiverr 

fiverrWhy add Fiverr to this list? Because it’s a great way to get small, simple marketing tasks done for very affordable prices – like $20-30 for a logo nice enough to actually use. Once you’ve found three or four Fiverr pros who can help you with routine, repeating tasks like

  • designing an ebook cover
  • converting an epic blog post into a SlideShare
  • writing a few product descriptions
  • editing a video

then you can outsource that work without worry. Given how short on time most small business owners are, that’s quite a deal.

For Android click here, and for iOS click here.

 

7. Perka 

PerkaOne of the most frequently used marketing tactics for a local business is a loyalty program. Usually these are fulfilled with business card-sized punch cards. The way they work is every time you go to the sandwich shop, or the nail salon, or the coffee shop, you get your card punched. When your card is all punched up, you get a free sandwich, or free coffee, or you get your nails done for free.

Perka takes that tried and true model and makes it digital. They do seem to still be ironing out some quirks with the app, but this is definitely something to try if your business has a punch card program.

Best part? It’s free.

For Android click here, and for iOS click here.

 

8. Kanvas 

KanvasThis is an image creation app at it’s most basic, but it can also do overlays, collages, animated gifs, videos, drawings, slideshows – the list goes on and on. It also uploads seamlessly to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, YouTube and many other platforms. If you need images or video for anything and can’t get to a laptop to make them, add this to your app arsenal.

For Android click here, and for iOS click here.

 

 

9. AdWords 

If you’re doing any pay per click advertising, you’re probably doing it with AdWords. Local businesses often decide to add a little oomph to their website traffic with this channel. Trouble is, it’s pricey. And there are no refunds. I’ve seen small businesses blow an entire year’s worth of marketing budget in one month due to a runaway AdWords account.

Don’t let that be you. Keep close track of your AdWords account by having this app on hand at all times. You can check your daily spend, get campaign suggestions, edit your budget and much more.

For Android click here, for iOS (AdWords Express only) click here.

adwords_app_cropped

 

10. Google My Business app

GoogleMyBusiness-on-the-goI don’t have to tell you how important Google is. If you’re a local business you know. Local businesses that are well-optimized for local searches can clean up, especially if their reviews look good and their Google My Business site is correctly filled out.

The Google My Business app will let you do nearly everything you could do from a desktop. It’s an excellent way to check your profile, stats and any new reviews while you’ve got a minute or two of downtime – like while you’re waiting in line at the post office.

For Android click here, and for iOS click here.

 

11. The GetResponse app

GR_appOf course, you’ve got to have your email marketing planned out, too. If you’re on the go and want to check how the morning’s email promotion did, it’s a few clicks away if you’ve got the GetResponse app installed. You can also see dashboard stats, check how your list is growing. You can also see individual emails in an autoresponder series and thumbnails of past emails.

So go fire up your GetResponse app and have at it. Maybe the stats from your last email have gone up since you last checked them…

For Android click here, and for iOS click here.

 

Back to you

That covers the essential apps, but it’s not every one. Did I maybe miss your favorite marketing app? If any of your favorite apps aren’t mentioned here, please, give us a shout out in the comments. Make your contribution to this list.

 

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How to Make Your Sign-up Forms Smart, Simple, and Lovable http://blog.getresponse.com/how-to-make-your-sign-up-forms-smart-simple-and-lovable.html http://blog.getresponse.com/how-to-make-your-sign-up-forms-smart-simple-and-lovable.html#comments Thu, 06 Aug 2015 15:59:51 +0000 http://blog.getresponse.com/?p=20315 Growth hackers, online marketers, entrepreneurs, web designers – we’re all trying to find the silver bullet that will grow our list and maximize conversions. At the end of the day, these numbers have a huge impact on how effective our … Read more

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Growth hackers, online marketers, entrepreneurs, web designers – we’re all trying to find the silver bullet that will grow our list and maximize conversions. At the end of the day, these numbers have a huge impact on how effective our marketing activities are. OK, but is there an ultimate tip for a successful form?

Since we’ve just launched our brand new form builder (more details in the post), we’ve decided to put together some best practices and cool tips that can help you improve your sign-up process.

 

So we asked marketers on Twitter…

… about their tips for a successful sign-up form. And we got some very interesting feedback.

 

Use pop-ups

Daniel Hebert

Daniel Hebert @DanielGHebertDigital Marketing Manager at

 

Pop-ups and lightboxes are highly effective in minimizing bounce rate and growing your list. Why? Because they help engage visitors and keep their attention. Together with smart copy, attractive design, and a good incentive, they can be a conversion optimizer’s secret weapon.

If you’re using GetResponse, you can now use one of our new List Builder Apps to create smart pop-ups and lightboxes that respond to visitor actions. These include:

  • Scroll boxes that are great for blogs and pages with a lot of text. They’ll make it easier to turn blog readers into subscribers.
  • Download boxes that allow you to share your e-books and other content in return for an email address.
  • Exit pop-ups help minimize bounces, and might give you that last chance to convince your visitors to stay connected.
  • Shake boxes, image boxes, and fixed bars at the top of your page help capture the eyes of the busiest visitors.

 

For more sign-up form examples and tips check this in-depth infographic.

 

Keep it simple and light

David Materazzi

, Online Marketing Consultant

 

Make it short and sweet. Ask for necessary information but don’t overwhelm your visitors with too many fields – this might discourage them from signing up. Start with the crucial data and build your subscribers’ profiles as you go, asking them questions, sending surveys or tracking their behavior.

And then…

Mike RuddMike Rudd ‏@MarketingMikeRMarketing Manager for

Who doesn’t like light designs and natural language? To make your forms lovable, try different form types and layouts. If you’re not a designer and want to create top-notch sign-up forms, you can try the GetResponse List Builder Wizard with 500+ form templates, different formats and categories such as newsletter sign-up, order, and feedback forms.

 

Test your form

Sachin Uppal

SachinUppal ‏@sachinuppal, Startup Marketer
 
Marketers often associate A/B testing only with landing pages. Some split-test their newsletters, but few test their sign-up forms. You can dramatically increase conversions by testing your form’s headline, design, call to action, or number of fields.

Marketing Experiments have shown that reducing the number of fields on a newsletter sign-up form from 13 to 3 drove an 816% growth in the subscribe rate. The numbers speak for themselves.

The good news for GetResponse users is that the new List Builder Wizard allows you to A/B test your forms, so you always know what approach works best for your audience.

 

Make it personal

Rohan Ayyar

Rohan Ayyar @searchrook, Expert in SEO, analytics, UX, CRO
 
If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a face is worth millions. Research conducted by Econsultancy showed that adding an image of a face next to a review generated a 22% increase in the product page add-to-basket conversion rate. Why? Using an image adds credibility to the review, because customers can relate better to faces than to names or no data at all.

If you’re using a form creator, choose one that allows you to customize your forms as you wish and add images to your sign-up forms
 

Incentivize

Richard Joseph

Richard Joseph @007richierich, International Project Manager, Social Media and Marketing Manager

Gareth Simpson

Gareth Simpson ‏@SimpsonGareth, Digital Marketing Manager

That was by far one of the most popular tips (just next to keeping it short). Think of what your competitors offer for a sign-up, and then beat their offer! Whether it’s a T-shirt, gift card, or free report — make sure it’s valuable to your subscribers. When you offer something of high value, they’ll not only fill out the form but also return to your site. A download box will help you share your high-quality content and collect new subscribers quickly and easily.

Consider collecting more data to help you build subscriber profiles. For full control over subscriber info, you can try the new GetResponse Custom Fields.

 

And more!

Here’s a bunch of more tips we received. Hope you find these useful. Remember to give their authors a shout out on Twitter if you find their advice especially helpful!

Britney Muller

, Entrepreneur

Eric McMillan

, Digital marketing and lead generation expert

Martijn Scheijbeler

, Leading Growth, SEO & Analytics

Craig Sullivan

Craig Sullivan @OptimiseOrDieConversion Optimisation Expert

Josh Druck

Josh Druck @JoshDruck, Marketing Ops Manager

Thomas Evans

Thomas Evans @td_evans, Conversion Rate Optimisation Expert

 

Still looking for a silver bullet?

Simply choose the right tools, squeeze the most out of them, and give your users nothing less than you would expect to receive on a similar site.

Let us know which tip is your favorite. And if you have tips of your own, share them in our comments – we might just put together another post very soon!

 

For more on GetResponse Forms, click here.

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Top 4 Free Strategies to Build Your Email List with 1000 People http://blog.getresponse.com/top-4-free-strategies-to-build-your-email-list-with-1000-people.html http://blog.getresponse.com/top-4-free-strategies-to-build-your-email-list-with-1000-people.html#comments Wed, 05 Aug 2015 13:17:23 +0000 http://blog.getresponse.com/?p=20308 Do you think building an email list is very hard, complicated, or expensive? Do you feel like you need to spend hundreds, if not thousands of dollars on Facebook ads to build your email list? Or, buy expensive webinar software? Or … Read more

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Do you think building an email list is very hard, complicated, or expensive? Do you feel like you need to spend hundreds, if not thousands of dollars on Facebook ads to build your email list? Or, buy expensive webinar software? Or hire people to produce video for your YouTube channel?

Think you need to spend tons of money to create or get your opt-in professionally designed? Or, perhaps you fear you’ll have to spend hours creating content, going to networking events, or building relationships with the influencers.

Let me tell you something, all of these strategies work. There are more. In fact, there are a hundred different ways to build your email list. However, the question you should be asking yourself is, how will you pay to get traffic and convert them. Time or money?

Allow me to explain.

In order to build your email list, you need to send traffic (people) to a landing page and offer a freebie. This is the standard practice, nothing wrong with that. What you need to find out is whether you are going to pay for this traffic with money, or with time (Because there is no such thing as free traffic, you either invest money or time).

So think about the stage your business is in. Are you completely new to business with no products, services or a list? Or maybe you have been in business for a few years, or moving your real-life business to online, have a few hundred people on your list and can afford to invest in paid traffic?

If you are starting for scratch, you don’t have to make list building a complicated or expensive process. And this is precisely why I am going to tell you my top 4 strategies that you can start using today to build your list for free.

 

#1 Facebook Groups

As Facebook groups are becoming more and more popular, they are also becoming hubs of business networking. You can start your own Facebook group and build a thriving community. Some of the people in your group will become your biggest fans and advocates and generate great word of mouth for you.

But first let’s look at how Facebook groups are different from Facebook pages. Facebook pages are maintained by brands, celebrities, and public figures and anyone can see all the activity and become a fan by liking the page.

Closed or private Facebook groups are much more intimate than a business page where people come together to share opinions on a common topic. People have to join to see the content and need an invitation to do so. Other members can also invite people to join but may need a moderator to approve.

Members can start threads of their own, which they can’t do on a business page. In fact, there are no threads on a business page, just a stream of posts. People engaging are acting like ‘fans’ as opposed to the members of your Facebook group who feel like a group of insiders. When people engage with the content in a group, their Facebook friends won’t see their activity unless they are a member also.

All the members are listed and can be seen by others. They can also send each other messages. Members can also upload images and other documents listed under ‘files’ section.

In order for your group to be successful, you need to take an active role in building this group. You need to behave as a leader, start conversations, reply to people, and remove spammers or inappropriate threads. You also need to set rules for your group. Would you allow self-promotion? If so, how often? Would you allow third-party links? You need to think about these things so people feel safe and welcome in your community.

As a business owner, you might want to break news in your group first, make special offers and generally have a closer relationship with the members. So how do you use your own Facebook group to build your list? Promote your Facebook group. You can promote this in other groups, on your webinars, even to your own list to make the connection stronger.

Lastly, become a part of other Facebook groups. Look for groups of interest and where your ideal client or customer would hang out. Join and be of service, help people with their questions and link to useful blog posts. People will start tagging you and seeking you out. You will build your list organically.

Promote occasionally. That’s fine.

 

#2 Webinars

Do you know the two biggest webinar blocks – things that are stopping you from presenting a webinar? Cost and technology.

People think that holding webinars are expensive. That technology costs a lot and it is hard to figure out. Not true. The free option for webinars is simply using google hangouts and embedding a link on a page on your website to send people to. However, there are inexpensive options as well. You can buy plugins for once off cost, with or without yearly updates.

If you are not very techy, you can hire someone to walk you through the entire process. There are people who will provide a service to set up everything for you and even sit on the webinar for a glitch free experience. You might doing this once or twice or until you are confident presenting on your own.

Once you create your webinar sign up page using your webinar software features or other option such as Leadpages. Start with a bold headline that promises a clear benefit of attending your webinar and speaks directly to your audience’s pain points.

Include a few teaser bullets to sell you on the importance of attending it. Finally ask for them to sign up. Make sure you tell people they will receive the recording if they can’t turn up live (due to time differences or other commitments) but they will need to sign up for that.

Now it’s time to promote your webinar. Promote to your own list and ask them to share. Promote on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+, or Instagram. Share in Facebook groups.

Check out this post I wrote earlier. It’s called 10 Simple Actions to Make Your First Webinar a Success. You’ll learn everything to do just that.

email_list

#3 Periscope

What is Periscope? Don’t be disheartened if you don’t know what Periscope is. Periscope is an app (for Andriod and iphone, both) that is causing a big stir in social media. It only came out a few months back and it has already getting people very excited.

Periscope is basically a live video streaming app, and the beauty of this app is that it is free, and you don’t need any fancy equipment or a crew to get started. In fact, the thing that people are loving about Periscope is how real it is. You don’t even need to put makeup on (if you are a girl), just turn it on and interact with people showing up live.

Live, real-time interaction is the best part of Periscope. So you hop on and start broadcasting. You will see people join your live broadcast and they will be able to leave comments, give you ‘hearts’ by tapping on their screen and also share your broadcast with their followers or on Twitter.

This strategy is for you if you are a natural on camera. If you already record videos or if you are a podcaster. Your personality will shine here and attract followers to you.

So how do you use Periscope to build your email list? Well, just like any other platform, you have to give highly useful content. So start by planning your scopes. It is perfectly fine to talk about business as well as your personal life. In fact, people want to know more about you, so show them that you are human too.

Periscope is great for building trust. If you have a lively personality, people get a sense of you instantly and like you. But don’t leave it at that, ask people to join your email list.

Because Periscope is so new, there aren’t many analytics or stats available so try sending people to a specific page to track your numbers. Mention your opt-in link a few times or ask people to type in the chat box. Write the URL on a post-it or a piece of paper and hold it up for people to see or take screenshots of.

Add your sign up link (starting with http://..) to your Periscope bio as it becomes clickable when people catch your replay on the web. The connection building aspect of this platform is like no other. The informal and off the cuff nature is what makes it so special and people will check you out and visit your website if they like you. Definitely worth looking into.

Check out this post I wrote earlier which talks about all things Periscope.

 

#4 Guest Blogging

I built my business on the back of guest blogging. I built my first 3,000 subscribers solely from blogging on the leading blogs in my industry. Sure, it took me time but didn’t cost a cent. I have helped clients build highly responsive email lists with guest blogging, so saying I am a huge advocate is a bit of an understatement.

The people who join your list as a result of reading your content on an authority site tend to be highly superior quality leads. They have already consumed your content, came over to your website to check you out, like what they see and sign up.

Here is a post that I wrote earlier that will teach you how to create a highly effective guest blogging strategy for business. It’s called How to Guest Blog for Business in 10 Steps and I highly recommend you check it out.

Make sure you choose your guest blog topic wisely. You want to choose something that will be useful to the host blogger’s audience but also highlights your expertise and what you have to offer on your blog. This way when people decide to come over and check you out, they find your content interesting. They don’t leave because what you talk about doesn’t interest them.

Make full use of your byline. Normally you are not allowed to link to your offerings or your within the body of the body of the blog post itself, but you will have your author bio published after your post.

Say what you do and include a link to your opt-in offer. Don’t forget to say what it is because it is super unimportant and will entice the right person into clicking. Don’t take them to your home page otherwise they won’t know where to look and what to do next.

Link to your squeeze page which highlights the benefits of signing up to your list. Don’t ask for too many details. Don’t make your visitors jump through any hoops. They are here, they are keen, make it easy for them. Give them a clear call to action.

 

#5 Get Response List Building Program

I’m also going to give you one more bonus strategy. Join the Get Response List building Program and attract up to 10,000 subscribers – for free. You can either achieve this goal in 90 days by investing a few hours or 180 days by investing 1.5 hour per day.

If you are not a Get Response member yet, they have a great 30-day free trial offer so do check it out.

There you have it. What is your favourite free list building strategy? Leave a comment and let us know.

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Making Your Email Coupons Work Harder http://blog.getresponse.com/making-your-email-coupons-work-harder.html http://blog.getresponse.com/making-your-email-coupons-work-harder.html#comments Tue, 04 Aug 2015 13:55:26 +0000 http://blog.getresponse.com/?p=20297 Coupons have been around since the late 19th century, ever since Coca Cola offered a free drink coupon back in 1887. More recently, email marketers are making good use of coupons too. But as with all things email, there is … Read more

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Coupons have been around since the late 19th century, ever since Coca Cola offered a free drink coupon back in 1887. More recently, email marketers are making good use of coupons too. But as with all things email, there is always room for improvement.
If you’re one of those email marketers using coupons, what do you do when your emailed coupons go unused? Keep on reading for some insight into emailed coupons, how to maximize their return, and how to handle the “coupon abandoners.”

 

Email is the most popular source for coupons

As this chart shows, email is by far the most popular source for consumers looking for coupons, as 71% say they find coupons in emails sent to them by retailers. Not only does that indicate that consumers are receptive to coupons sent via email, but these numbers also appear to show they like to get coupons from brands they like this way.

If you look down further on the chart, you’ll see another answer: “in emails sent to me by coupon and deal sites.” Less than half of the survey respondents find their coupons that way, which indicates to me a preference for coupons that come directly from brands, not from coupon sites. Consumers seem to want to go looking for coupons too, as the number of people who said they found coupons by visiting retailer websites was 55% 
graph-1The takeaway here? If you’re not using emailed coupons yet, you should be, because your customers want to see those coupons from you in their inboxes. And you want to see the increased sales, right?

There is another benefit to email coupons besides sales, however, and that’s the data you can uncover and use to your advantage when marketing with coupons.

 

 

Tracking coupon results to find other opportunities

By measuring coupon redemption and using personalized coupons to do so, you can track the coupon redemption on a person-by-person basis. When you stay digital (e-commerce) this is actually quite easy to do, but when people go offline and into the real world with those coupons, it takes more effort to track that data. To do so, personalized coupons can include a customer number or a personal barcode – even an email address can be used to track individual redemptions offline.

 

How to know your email coupon was a success

To see how we can improve upon our coupon use, we first have to define success and determine how to measure it. What metrics do you use when evaluating a coupon email? Maybe the number of emails opened, links clicked on, or the number of coupons printed. While these numbers give some insight into how your emailed coupons performed, they don’t tell you anything about the end result of your campaign. So choose you metrics wisely when evaluating the complete campaign.

Ironically, it turns out that a lot of retailers fail to measure the actual redemption of emailed coupons, making the statistics look good by themselves but not delivering any insight into the redemption results.

 

Printed coupons don’t equal used coupons

In addition, using email statistics only for in-store redemption is misleading. From all the coupons that are printed, only a small percentage of them will be taken to a store and redeemed. That number might be as low as 15-25%. The coupons get forgotten or lost, or they might expire before being used. Don’t assume a printed coupon is a redeemed coupon.

And don’t make printing the coupon as a pdf the only option. Like this email example by A.C MOORE that links to a pdf coupon. It might be a bad idea, especially given the growing numbers of people checking email on mobile devices. This approach essentially means the 50% of people checking email on a mobile device probably won’t be using your coupon if they think they need to print it out (which probably isn’t that isn’t that necessary).

ACmoore

Optimal use of email coupons

Email coupons can work very well as a promotional tool, especially when sent to a list of already interested subscribers. Coupons can be even more effective when they are personalized by product preferences.

Obviously, you can offer a more attractive coupon if you know what your recipient likes. As a part of your event driven email marketing it is possible to use coupon emails triggered based on an individual’s behavior.

Did someone browse through a particular product category on your website? Then send them an email with a coupon for that category. Is someone consistently clicking on specific service or product? Send them an even more targeted offer with a coupon.

A lot of money gets left on the table though, as coupons are often used as a one-time email send, and those can easily be overlooked by the recipient.

 

Send reminders, a series, or an abandoned coupon email

Just because you send a coupon doesn’t guarantee it will get redeemed however. And just because you send it doesn’t mean it will get used right away either. Although a coupon can trigger an immediate purchase, plenty of consumers typically hold on to a coupon until they are ready to buy as this chart below shows. Only 28% of the respondents using a computer redeemed the coupon right away, and 40% of them didn’t redeem the coupon until several days later. (Note here that the 31% of smartphone users who redeemed a coupon right away probably weren’t redeeming a pdf coupon!)

graph-2So what about those overlooked emails? Sending a follow up email reminder in a series of emails can greatly increase coupon redemption. A reminder can be in the form of an email asking for more attention to the first deal, usually with an emphasis on the offer’s expiration date, which can create a sense of urgency. Like this example by Kohl’s where the friends and family sale Ends Today.

Kohls-email

The same mechanisms work when you use a post-minder, where you send an email after the deal ”expired” but with a time extension or else a different deal.

Normally, reminder mails should be sent only to the people that didn’t take advantage of your offer just yet. This includes the non-openers, non-clickers and non-printers (in the case of printed coupons). But that is not the most interesting group, it turns out…

 

People who abandon your coupon

Remember those 75% to 85% of customers who printed your coupon but didn’t redeem it (yet)? They took the time and effort to print the coupon, but then abandoned it. That means they are very likely to be the most smoking hot prospects you can find, because they are almost ready to buy. You can use the tracking information you collected from individual coupon redemption to mine this golden group. After you’ve identified the printed but not redeemed group, you can execute your abandoned coupon program.

 

What to do with the abandoned coupon group?

Send them a reminder or a series of emails, or re-market to them later. Your message can be blunt, like “Did you forget to redeem your coupon?” or you can be subtle. Your message will determine how successful you are, so use whatever works best for you and your brand. Following up coupon abandoners with a reminder email is a great opportunity to boost the metrics that matter. And in this case, the metric that matters is coupon use!

Do you offer coupons? Maybe you’re planning to, share your thoughts and ideas with us in the comments below. 

Making Your Email Coupons Work Harder is a post from: GetResponse Blog - Email Marketing Tips

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Crafting Differentiation: How To Separate Yourself From The Competition http://blog.getresponse.com/crafting-differentiation-how-to-separate-yourself-from-the-competition.html http://blog.getresponse.com/crafting-differentiation-how-to-separate-yourself-from-the-competition.html#comments Mon, 03 Aug 2015 14:27:10 +0000 http://blog.getresponse.com/?p=20289 You may have thought when that light bulb popped up above your head a few months or few years ago that you had finally tapped into something that no one had ever thought of before. However, since you started to … Read more

Crafting Differentiation: How To Separate Yourself From The Competition is a post from: GetResponse Blog - Email Marketing Tips

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You may have thought when that light bulb popped up above your head a few months or few years ago that you had finally tapped into something that no one had ever thought of before. However, since you started to do a little research, you have no doubt found that there are already similar companies out there that offer the same sorts of things that you do. Shucks. But, even if there aren’t – if you’ve genuinely discovered a true gap in the market and currently doing all you can to exploit it, the simple fact is that it won’t be long before a few other wily entrepreneurs out there will want to take a slice of that action away from you for themselves.

This is inevitable – and in fact, it’s a good thing, especially from a consumer point of view.

When one company holds the monopoly over a certain sector or area of consumer sales, there is no pressure on that company to do everything it can to continue to prove its worth. Such things become commoditised, and, with no competition, it’s the consumer that loses out.

Look what happened to the MP3 player industry, for example. Apple managed to pretty much wipe out all of the competition with its iPod range. Now, I’m not saying that Apple products aren’t brilliant, because they are – but without a meaningful competitor, Apple could, did and do charge pretty much what they want for their iPods.

 

We Can’t All Be Apple

Be that as it may, the truth of the matter is that not everyone who starts up a business is going to able to have the same market penetration as the likes of a giant like Apple – as much as we’d all (secretly) like to.

No, for the overwhelming majority of startups and SMEs, we’re going to be facing some stiff competition for our services and wares throughout the whole lifespan of our businesses.

If the truth be told, often founders of companies who have a great idea or a great product that they want to take to market, although they are undeniably great inventors and innovators, they aren’t always the best business people and marketers. That is to say that entrepreneurs are not always the best differentiators.

Having a great new product or service that you want to sell is one thing – but convincing the paying public of that is something else entirely.

And the trick is learning how to differentiate yourself from the competition in marketing campaigns. This means that you have to make yourself stand out, you have to separate yourself from everything else that’s out there and cut through the clamour of the marketplace. Only this way will you catch people’s attention, and often the only way to do this is by differentiating your brand through marketing.

So, with this in mind, we’ve got three top tips to help you do just that.

 

1. Get Inventive On Instagram

I’ve found myself writing a lot about Instagram marketing recently. Social media has gone visual – there is no doubt about that any longer. People want an image when they’re scrolling through news feeds – even on primarily text-based networks like LinkedIn and Twitter (though of course, now you’d be a fool not to accompany your tweets with an image – but that’s for another blog post…).

Perhaps this is most clearly demonstrated with the popularity of Instagram. Instagram is all about the image. In fact that’s the only thing that it’s about, besides a few hashtags – you can’t even link your posts back to your website. Indeed, this means that your Instagram following has to be completely engaged with you on the platform itself. And the best way to do that is to get your following to start creating content of their own.

Oreo is one brand that have got this completely nailed with their #playwithoreo hashtag. This is where the brand encourages their fans to come up with all sorts of weird and wonderful ways to use the Oreo cookies – usually by making artwork, fun recipes, or even by inventing games that can played using the cookies as rollers or counters or what have you. Here are just a few examples:

oreo_1

oreo_2

This is great stuff – fans are absolutely 100% engaged with the brand, are creating their own content, and followers have real reason to keep coming back to the page for more. Think about this technique – how could you get your followers doing something similar with one of your products? It will certainly make you stand out from the crowd.

 

2. Collaborate With Someone From Another Industry

Not to keep blowing on the Oreo horn – but, in my opinion, when Cadbury and Oreo came together they invented what is possibly the nicest bar of chocolate of all time….

oreo_3

Ok – it doesn’t have to be a product that you can eat. It can be anything at all.

Take Patagonia, for example. Recently, the high-end clothing retailer partnered with eBay to create a site where people are encouraged to sell their second hand Patagonia clothing to one another.

The possibilities are really endless. If you’re developing websites, then why not form a partnership with a respected blogging house, so you can then offer your clients not only the best new websites, but the best content to adorn them when they’re up and running. Whatever you can think of that will add value to your existing product, you can really start to differentiate yourself from the competition by making a deal with someone from another industry to make you (both) stand out.

 

3. Vigorously Target A Particular Demographic

Too many startups think that they have something that will appeal to everyone, and thusly come up with some very woolly marketing campaigns that, in their efforts to please as many different people as possible, are so non-committal that they end up pleasing no one.

Don’t let this be you. Think about what you’re trying to sell – who is your target market, really? Don’t be vague, just be right.

Let’s say you’ve just started distilling some of the finest bourbon to have ever come out of the Scottish Highlands. It’s a fancy, sophisticated drink for which you are going to charge a fancy, sophisticated price. So it’s no good at creating any marketing material at all that is targeted to student drinkers, who just want to get as drunk as they can by spending as little as they can. It just won’t work – not even a little bit.

Similarly, you also don’t want to try and spread yourself too thin. If you’re a web designer, again, for instance – you know you have the skills to pretty much put together any website that your clients want, but you know that really you have the best skills at building e-commerce stores on low budgets. So, sell that quality. Make that your speciality, and you will very soon start to appeal to a very particular type of customer, and you can start building your reputation from there.

How do you make yourself stand out from the competition? Got any tips or tricks that you think our readers might find useful? Please share in the comments below. 

Crafting Differentiation: How To Separate Yourself From The Competition is a post from: GetResponse Blog - Email Marketing Tips

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Solutions to Common Issues While Coding in WordPress http://blog.getresponse.com/solution-to-common-issues-while-coding-in-wordpress.html http://blog.getresponse.com/solution-to-common-issues-while-coding-in-wordpress.html#comments Fri, 31 Jul 2015 13:30:45 +0000 http://blog.getresponse.com/?p=20283 A web developer and designer always want to work on WordPress. It is one of the great CMS platforms, where you can develop a top-notch website with ease. But sometimes, it becomes just a bit too complicated to handle it … Read more

Solutions to Common Issues While Coding in WordPress is a post from: GetResponse Blog - Email Marketing Tips

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A web developer and designer always want to work on WordPress. It is one of the great CMS platforms, where you can develop a top-notch website with ease. But sometimes, it becomes just a bit too complicated to handle it due to some common issues that exist while writing the coding.Relying on the nature of your WordPress blog, most of the times you’ll want to use some sort of code like HTML, PHP, and CSS within your posts. The biggest challenge is to enable the code to look as code without ruining the structure of the rest of the post.

In this blog, we are going to solve the 10 common issues while coding in WordPress.

In the WordPress default editor, you can see the two options: HTML or Visual. When you see the Visual editor, the code will look the same as ordinary text. Thus, it will convert a < character into &It. It will save the code from being elucidated by a web browser.

Compared to HTML code, none of these characters is transformed. So, if you use both the HTML and CSS, then this code WILL be accepted by your browser. It can create a mess with your layout. Therefore, it is necessary to find the solutions that can help you while writing code in a WP site.

 

Let’s highlight some common problems:

1. Try to Use <code> in your Posts: You can represent the code, using the <code> tag in the posts. For an example: <code>sample text</code>. With this sample, the text will appear like a code sample but the situation gets complicated if you use an actual code.

This is how it looks written in code, in your text tab:
sample text

2. Transform some part of the code into character entities: If you use this code: <code><div id=”menu1”></code>, then WordPress might assume that the code written between the <code> tags is for formatting. It could create a real problem in your layout.

In order, to solve this issue, you need to convert the symbols into the HTML codes. For example, the “<” symbol cab be transformed into &It;. After doing this, your code would be entered as: <code>&It;div id =”menu1”&gt;<code>.

3. Write URL’s within Paragraphs: If you pen down text for a link like this: http:/xyz.net/?page_id=1, then WordPress will convert the text into a link. If you want to solve this, you need to change the slashes “/” into extended characters.

Then you have to write the code like this:

<code>http:&#45;&#45;xyz.net&#45;?page_id=1</code> 

4. You can use the <pre> Tag: Usually, the <pre> tag asks the browser to use a monospaced font and to represent what is lurking inside the <pre> tags. If your text is long, then you will need to put breaks or the text will disappear from the page:

For instance:

 <pre>

body {

            font:10px Arial Narrow;

            letter-spacing:2px;

}

</pre>

 5. Issues with Code: One of the common problems that exists is the use of quotes in the text. However, you can solve this problem by using the <pre> or <code> tags. But, you can also replace the quotes with their corresponding character entities. So, the code is written as: <div id=”footer”>

You can rewrite it as: &lt;div id: &quot;footer &quot; &gt;

6. Apply Pastebin to your code: If you want to style your code for WordPress, then copy the code into Pastebin.

7. Convert the code into an image: You can use Techsmith SnagIt to develop a screen capture of the code. In fact, you can upload the image in the post. It will not encounter any of the issues.

For example: when a screen capture retains code highlighting, then it may also create a microscopic result withs lengthy text. It is simply fixed by optimizing the user interface then copying the text.

8. Utilize GitHub Gist: With this, you can simply share the code with others.

Give the name to the file, select the language and paste in the code, keep the ACE editor enabled, select the style of indent, and click on Create secret Gist or you can also Create Public Gist.

9. Use HTML Codes: You can check out the HTML Codes page for different characters and symbols.

10. Make a use of Fun Character Entities: You may have seen odd symbols that pop ups again and again on many WordPress sites. These symbols appear mostly in the navigation links. The symbols are called HTML character entities. They are produced by a strange looking code on the web page. Usually, these pieces of codes are interpreted by your browser as symbols.

 

Conclusion

Hopefully, the tips and solutions mentioned in this blog post will help you while coding your WordPress site. However, placing your code in order to showcase properly in WordPress is complicated. So despite our tips and simple solutions, there might always be a hurdle as coding requires quite some patience.

If you have any thoughts, solutions of your own – we’d love to hear them. Let us know in the comments below!

.

Lucy-BarretAuthor Bio: Lucy Barret is a WordPress Developer at WPGeeks Ltd., a WordPress Development Company. She handles all major PSD to WordPress conversion projects with her team of experienced developers.

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Achieving the Best Deliverability Possible: Part I http://blog.getresponse.com/achieving-the-best-deliverability-possible-part-i.html http://blog.getresponse.com/achieving-the-best-deliverability-possible-part-i.html#comments Thu, 30 Jul 2015 13:17:47 +0000 http://blog.getresponse.com/?p=20275 In the ever changing world of email marketing one has to be on their toes to keep up with all the requirements and standards that are introduced by ISPs and AntiSpam organizations as they battle to eliminate spam, phishing and … Read more

Achieving the Best Deliverability Possible: Part I is a post from: GetResponse Blog - Email Marketing Tips

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In the ever changing world of email marketing one has to be on their toes to keep up with all the requirements and standards that are introduced by ISPs and AntiSpam organizations as they battle to eliminate spam, phishing and other kind of unwanted emails from regular Joe’s mailboxes.

As a result some senders are caught in the crossfire of the everlasting arms race that spammers and non-spammers are at. Right? This is why we’re starting part one of our series with an important question – What is deliverability all about and what is an ESP for?

 

What is this series for?

This will be a cycle of articles that will point out one by one the most crucial aspects of email marketing that are in your, as in the senders, hands. Our goal is to teach you enough for you to be able to keep the highest deliverability you can get by identifying issues with your content or your list, long before they can become serious enough to make an actual impact.

We will be covering the most important parts of list generation and maintenance, the influence your content has on the delivery, and what you as a sender can also do outside of it all to make sure that you will leave a good impression with both, your subscribers and ISPs.

I would also like to add here that this series is not your typical marketing point of view cycle that’s supposed to skyrocket your opens. It’s written from the Deliverability and Compliance point of view, so we will be focusing much more on what kind of behaviors can get you in trouble and which of them will help you get better inbox rates (improving your open and click rates by simply delivering every single message).

 

Let me send my email!

Senders often turn to ESPs to avoid the hustle of all the technical setup and upkeep of a  mailing structure. They are often lured in by promises of high deliverability without lifting a finger but, and I speak as an ESP employee, don’t let them fool you. The times when ESP’s could take up all deliverability issues on their shoulders, and resolve them regardless of actions on their customer side, are long gone.

The truth is that even the best ESP with the cleanest channels will not be able to deliver a spammer anymore and if they somehow do, I can promise you, they will not do it for long. ISPs are putting more and more responsibility on the actual sender, to the degree that we already are experiencing a scenario in which for 2 simultaneous sends from the same IP one is accepted and the other one is blocked.

So with that in mind you can ask yourself: “Why do I even need an ESP then?”. The answer is simple, we cannot do everything for you but we do help you a lot :) So allow me to brag a bit about what we do:

 

SPF, DKIM, DMARC, and all that technical mumbo-jumbo

As I mentioned before, the technical aspect of email is changing fast due to the arms race. You, however, do not have to worry about that. It is our job to be up to date with all the technical requirements, whether it’s global authentication methods like SPF, DKIM, or DMARK, or a technology so far used by a single ISP, like Yahoo’s Require-Recipient-Valid-Since, we got that covered for you.

bounces

Bounces, Feedback Loops, and Unsubscribes

Each list can contain some bad email addresses, weather your subscriber made a typo and gave you a wrong email address, someone forgot they subscribed, or they are simply not interested in your emails anymore. If you keep those addresses on your list they can become and issue and lower your results, or even get your account terminated. That’s why it is so important to remove those addresses as soon as you get this kind of information. Lucky for you ( 😉 ) GetResponse does that automatically and in a jiffy.

You can be sure that every time we find a bad email address (invalid email bounce) or someone decides to leave your list (whether it will be with an unsubscribe link in your message or through a built-in unsubscribe function in Gmail that we are also integrated with), they will be removed from your list in a matter of seconds.

Thanks to multiple established Feedback Loops we also get notifications when someone marks your message as spam, and so we instantly remove this subscriber as well.

 

Good relations with ISPs

Whenever there is an issue it’s much easier to solve it if you know who you are solving it with. After over 17 years in the business GetResponse already has a build up and recognizable brand, which we use to represent you and to mitigate issues as soon as they appear.

We also participate in numerous initiatives like M3AAWG, EEC, and ESPC, where we can exchange knowledge with all other companies from the industry and make sure that nothing will pass you (as our customer) by.

 

State of the art tools

We make sure that your emails are sent through using the possible best solutions that are currently on the market. These include world-class Message System’s, Mail Transfer Agents capable of sending out millions of emails in record time.

We also use a top notch monitoring tool provided by Return Path, that helps us keep better track of what is going within our channels. This includes inbox placement solutions that tell us which campaigns land in target inboxes and which end up in junk folders, they also help diagnose any related problems.

 

Permission-based email marketing only!

This would be the most important part, that all of the points I made above lead to. We believe that permission is key, and since we want to award all good senders with the best possible delivery, we put the same effort in keeping all the bad apples away. With a world class, anti abuse system called Hydra (that we developed in-house) we are able to analyze huge amounts of data in three shakes of a lamb’s tail, or simply put – quickly.

With the best experts in our Compliance Department and the power of automated Hydra analytics we are able to a prevent spammer (or careless marketers) from using our platform before they even have the chance to send out their message, keeping our reputation high and delivery rates even higher.

 

That’s us

Now getting back to you. Next week we will start with one of the most fundamental parts of Email Marketing which is the list generation process. We will help you get an better understanding of what you can, should, and should not do while trying to get new subscribers on your list. So till then may your opens be high and complaint rate low!

And as always, if you have questions or some advice of your own please let us know in the comments below! We’d love to know what you think.

Achieving the Best Deliverability Possible: Part I is a post from: GetResponse Blog - Email Marketing Tips

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