Category Archives for Ads & Funnels

A Different Optin Strategy for Your Blog

How many of us have an optin box on our blog? It has been drilled into us over and over again, that if you are serious about your online presence for your business, you must have a list and a way for people to optin (join your list).

Benefits of a list are many:

  • Build a deeper relationship with your potential clients by keeping in touch.
  • Let people know about your events, activities and yes, your new products and services.
  • Joint venture with others to cross promote.

And that’s just a few of the reasons to have a list.

If you are new to email marketing, I have some earlier posts on the topic.

Some blogs’ optin offer a free report as a bribe in exchange for an email address. Others don’t offer anything at all, just a monthly newsletter.

What if we did something just a little different? Instead of a bribe (free report or video) or the promise of yet another unread newsletter, how about we re-purpose the optin box to invite questions?

Not only does this help build your list, but you can get a real sense of what questions people are interested in, helping you write more targeted blog posts. Eventually it might even help shape products and services that you might offer. Way better than writing a newsletter than may or may not be relevant to your audience.

Many autoresponder systems give you the ability to tailor the opt-in box to include custom fields, as a custom field is what is needed to add the question field to the optin box. I use aweber, and with that system, just look for the “Create New Field” button on the right when you are editing your web form. The hardest part for me was finding a form skinny enough to fit into my existing blog template. Once you have created your optin form, in most cases you can copy and paste the HTML code into a text widget in your blog (the widget menu can be found under “Appearance” in your WordPress dashboard).

Note that you need to let people know that you are adding them to your list, see my “ask a question” widget to the right for an example. I’ve also decided to make the optin a double optin process (the reader has to confirm their email address) just so it’s really clear what’s going on.

To give credit where credit is due, this cool idea is courtesy of Sylvie Fortin. Her website is workaholics4hire.com which provides outsourcing services

How I started my email list

The money is in the list. With a list you can build on your relationship with your clients so they are more likely to buy from you and also let them know of exciting products and services. For me, I wanted to keep in touch with my community and build my reputation as a web marketer, so what better way to do that than to create an email list with a monthly newsletter? To get myself into action on this goal, I had an networking event coming up so I decided to hand out postcards with a website URL where a free report was available for download when visitors opted into my email list.

To make this happen there was a number of components that I needed to build or configure to work together. The cost was just over $100 (mostly for the postcards). Use this blog post as a guide to build your your own!

Step 1: Create Your Offer To encourage people to opt into my list, I wrote a free report called “Five Ways to Make Your Website Googlicious”. Most website owners do not know much about SEO (search engine optimization), so my goal was to open their eyes on how they could make their website more search engine friendly.

Step 2: Create the postcard I used VistaPrint for creating the postcard. On their site (Advertising and Marketing –> Postcards), I found a template that I liked and added the text I needed. Your choices of templates are overwhelming but otherwise the process is straightforward. Cost: approx. $90 for 250 double sided glossy postcards

Step 3: Squeeze Page For the squeeze page, I bought the domain www.yoursuccessfulwebsite.com and recruited a bored college student to create a squeeze page out of a template we got for $9. I’m not happy with the template code, but it does the job. Since I hosted the site in a subdirectory in a bluehost.com account I already had, I didn’t have to buy additional hosting.

Finding Images On the postcard there is a picture of a person looking through a spyglass which aligned nicely with the messaging of the postcard which asked “Can Your Customers Find Your Website?”. To reinforce the messaging and as a memory jogger, I wanted to show a similar image on the website. I found one in istockphoto.com for a few dollars.

Image Tweaks for the non Graphically Inclined While everything looked great on a PC, I arrived at the seminar with my Mac laptop and found that that the header of the website was not displaying properly! For the just in time simple or last minute tweaks to images on my Macbook Pro I used Paintbrush which is a free download.

Step 4: Autoresponder / Email System Since I wanted a flexible autoresponder for multiple uses, I created an account at aweber. aweber is $19 a month for 500 contacts. If you just want to just email a newsletter to a list, you might consider icontact which is cheaper. Both will generate web form code that you can copy and paste into your squeeze page for your opt-in box.

Comments

  • Based on other freebies on the web and feedback I’ve received, I overdid it on the free report. In its current format, it’s 22 pages long and provides a lot of value. I probably should charge for it, however for now I’m going to keep it as free – you can get it at www.yoursuccessfulwebsite.com
  • Despite the lure of getting my website done for free, I might try a service like elance next time. Or since I am a do-it-myself type of person, find a better template.
  • I got lots of positive comments on the postcard. It definitely stood out, both in its size and coloring, compared to the business cards that most were handing out.
  • However, I did not get tremendous uptake on my free offer, about 7%, it would have been more lucrative to have a packaged service or product to sell and close people on the spot, however since I currently am not selling either, I’m happy with the results so far.
  • Be prepared to spend some time configuring aweber (or whichever ESP – email service provider you choose). There are multiple steps in opting into a list and you have to think about the experience for your visitor for each step. For example, where should your visitor be sent to after they have typed in their email address and name? What should you say in your welcome message when they join?
  • This one should be obvious, but I will say it again, test your websites in different browsers and both on a Mac and PC. Not only did the header look different on a Mac, but the opt-in box code from aweber looked different in IE (internet explorer) rather than firefox – requiring another fix.

I hope this overview helps you put together your own email list and opt-in web form. Good Luck!

Will Facebook replace Email Marketing?

With the recent announcement that Facebook’s weekly traffic has surpassed google’s, Facebook has become a force to be reckoned with. Well you already knew that, but really, it’s just not going away.

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The world’s largest walled garden does have a way for you to show your public face. Facebook fan pages have generated a ton of interest from businesses who want to use them for branding and customer engagement. Sometimes companies even partner with fans who have created a page as Coca-Cola recently did with coke lovers Dusty and Michael.

With a fan page you can virally get your message out there. When someone becomes a fan of your page, their network knows. With fan pages you can post updates and advertise events. So is the Facebook fan page a replacement for email marketing?

One development to watch, is that Facebook plans to issue 400 million email addresses to Facebook users. The email addresses would use your vanity Facebook name as an username, so that you would have a @facebook.com email address.

So is email marketing dead? Hard to say. But a system that provides a rich interaction with your clients via both fan page and soon via their email systems, could be very compelling, especially since it is all free!

GetResponse vs. AWeber – initial thoughts

A month ago I googled for GetResponse and AWeber product reviews. As the two top leading Autoresponders in the industry, I found that they both had fans and overall pretty decent reviews. The differentiation that initially jumped out at me, is that AWeber had slightly better deliverability stats and GetResponse was slightly cheaper. For 500 contacts, GetResponse will charge you $18 a month, AWeber $19. Both offer unlimited lists and autoresponders, detailed statistics and several types of opt in forms.  One thing that GetResponse offers that AWeber does not is surveys. Users gave AWeber higher marks for it’s reports. Other than that they appeared to be comparable. However there is nothing like comparing the two for yourself.

Recently, I got the chance to simultaneously spend time with both and compare them side by side. Here’s my impressions of the initial use of both products.

AWeber is more intuitive. For the initial user, AWeber has a handy wizard that steps you through the initial creation of your list, customizing the initial emails and generating the web form. In GetResponse, where lists are called campaigns, the setup was a little less intuitive, there isn’t that handy step by step wizard. For example, I had a lot of trouble locating the confirmation email (what is sent to your contacts to confirm they want to be on your list) to customize it. I wouldn’t have thought that it would be located under “languages”.

Both have a variety of choices of confirmation email message subjects that allow limited customization. AWeber allows further customization of the subject with manual review. GetResponse does not. Both allow customization of the template, which is good. I recently worked with another autoresponder that did not, which seemed unnecessarily limiting (with imports I consider being able to personalize the confirmation email an important way to remind the contact how you know them).

Regarding the always controversial topic of enforcing double opt-in (or confirmation), both allow you to turn off confirmation if you know where to look. GetResponse, in this cases, is a a little more intuitive and flexible (you can find this under contact settings), you can selectively turn it off for just email subscriptions for example. However in my account turning it off for import subscribers was greyed out, I guess they have had too much trouble with purchased lists. With AWeber the User Interface (menu option: “Confirmed opt-in”) infers you can only turn it off for Web Form Opt-Ins, however I did not confirm this.

Overall both AWeber and GetResponse are decent products and you can’t go significantly wrong with either one.

Don’t spam your list

Like many of you, I belong to a few business networking and education groups. They are a valuable source of potential leads, joint venture partnerships and even great ideas. So imagine my disappointment when one of the group’s members started spamming us with emails that was marketing speakers and websites with obvious affiliate links.

His facebook friend request? That got the “ignore” click. His emails? The delete button. His potential to provide a service to me? Nonexistent.

As a marketer he should really know better. With just a little education and use of the right tools, you can avoid following in his footsteps. As soon as you start using email to talk about your business and your services and products you need to avoid the “spammer” trap.

CAN-SPAM Act of 2003

In 2003, President Bush signed into law the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003. I think it is helpful to know what CAN-SPAM stands for: “Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography And Marketing”. The key is “Non-Solicited”. Just like you may not like uninvited salesman at your front door selling you vacuum cleaners, un-solicited marketing by email has the same taint to it …. and it’s illegal to boot.

While covering the CAN-SPAM Act in it’s entirety is beyond the scope of this article, here are the two things you need to know.

  • You must give the receiver of your email a way to tell you they don’t want any more emails from you. This is calling “opting out” and usually done by providing an “unsubscribe” link.
  • You must honor the removal request within 10 days according the Act(but really it needs to happen a lot sooner than that).

Many privacy activists felt the CAN-SPAM Act was ineffectual and didn’t go far enough. Some went so far to call it the “I can spam Act”. For these reasons the ESPs (more on what that is in a moment) that legitimate businesses use set a higher standard. The removals happen quickly, usually within 24 hours. And many businesses take advantage of the “double opt-in” feature and send invitations for you join their list before even one marketing email is sent. That perfect client you met at last week’s business event may need a reminder to remember you, and an invitation to continue the conversation by joining your list is a graceful way to keep you in the forefront of their mind.

What are ESPs?

ESPs are email service providers. There are a number of excellent ones on the market, and for a monthly fee they will store your contact list, send the emails for you, help you build in your opt-in box or link, and handle all the details of email marketing, such as complying with the CAN-SPAM Act by: 1) automatically generating the unsubscribe link in each email you send through their tools and then 2) doing the right thing when someone clicks on it.

Some of the ESPs even enforce the “double opt-in” feature, where any existing list of contacts you upload into their system will be sent an email asking permission to be placed in their system. While it can be painful to lose those contacts that don’t respond, your resulting list will be of higher quality.

If you remember one thing from this article, it is that you want to do Permission based email marketing. You always want to have a user’s permission before sending them an email.

If that business network member had gone through a few extra steps to have an unsubscribe link in his email, I would have thought so much higher of him. And maybe I would have even clicked on one of his links, earning him a commission.

Email Marketing Campaigns, And Strategy

4 Ways To Get Your Opt In Subscribers To Trust You Quickly

While the rest of the world have developed many barriers and protections to keep their e-mail accounts spam-free, there are also those that subscribe to mails that promotes their products, services and their site. email marketing software, This is mainly because these subscribes wants to know more about what these sites are offering and can be beneficial for them. They expect to get be kept posted on what they are interested in and what are new in the market or field they have chosen.

Businesses would be so lucky to have these kinds of customers; the basic element needed to get these types of people is trust. When your customers trust you they will reward you with their loyalty. Many internet users have gone to great lengths in protecting their email accounts from spam mail. Some free-mail internet providers and internet service providers offer spam protection while there are also some internet based companies that screen your mails for you.

With an opt-in mail list, the mails you send containing your promotional materials such as newsletters, catalogs and marketingintegrated marketing, media will go through. Your intended recipient will be able to read and view what you have sent making it a successful transfer of information. To be able to be allowed to do so, you will need permission from your recipient, to get this permission; you need to be able to get their trust. With the great lack of disregard for privacy in the internet, getting the trust of an internet user you don’t personally know is a big achievement.

To build a good opt-in list you need people to trust you, for a faster and quicker build up, you need to get your opt-in subscribers to trust you quickly. The faster you build your opt-in list the faster word about your site and company gets to be spread. The bigger the scope of your opt-in list the more traffic you get spelling more profits. Its easy math if you thin about it. Getting the numbers is not that simple though, or maybe it is?

– Getting the trust of your clientele shouldn’t be so hard especially if you do have a legitimate business. Getting your customers trust should be based upon your expertise. People rely on other people who know what they are talking about. Garner all the knowledge and information about your business. Ell, frankly if you decide to go into a business most probably you have an interest in it. Like how many basketball payers become coaches, you don’t really venture into something you don’t have any interest in..

– Show your clients that you know what you are talking about. Provide them with helpful hints and guidelines that pertain to what you are selling. Talk about how to install a roof if you’re into hardware products or provide articles on insurance settlements if you’re a settlement lawyer. You don’t have to be a big corporation to make use of an opt-in list. If your customers see you as someone who knows what he is doing and saying, they will trust you quickly.

– Be true to your customers, if you want to hype up your products and services, provide guarantees. The more satisfied customers you get, the bigger probability there is that they will recommend you. Generally, people will trust someone they know, when that someone recommends you then you’re a shoo-in. They will go to your site and check it for themselves and be given a chance to experience what the other shave experienced from you, so make sure to be consistent in the service you provide.

– Another tip in getting a customer to trust you quickly is to provide them an escape hatch. Show them that you are not there to trap them. Keep a clean list that would enable them to unsubscribe anytime they want. Elaborate your web form by providing informationemail marketing, on how to unsubscribe from the list. Guarantee them that they can let go of the service when ever they want to. Many are wary that they may be stuck for life and would have to abandon their email accounts when they get pestered with spam.

Remember that when you get the trust of your clients don’t lose that trust. Because if you do anything with their email addresses like sell them or give them out, you will lose many members of your list as ell as potential members. The true quickest way to gain the trust of your subscribers is when you are recommended by someone they trust.