Category Archives: Email

Need Help Building A List? Tips For Online Marketers

Most marketers will tell you that building a list is one of the most effective ways to spend your time if you hope to make money online.

Despite this, countless people do not bother to even try, or, having looked at the work required, decide that the effort is just too much. If you have come to think this way, I would seriously suggest that you rethink your marketing strategies. An opt-in list of prospects is one of the most valuable assets you can build. Let’s look at that statement a little more closely.

I was talking to a friend and fellow marketer the other day, and we were discussing the relative merits of blogs and mailing lists. He runs a reasonably high traffic blog in the marketing and making money online niche and has built up a fairly decent subscriber base over the past couple of years. He is experienced and makes a full time living online, but, until recently had not focused too much on building a mailing list.

Recently, he changed his approach and began to build his own list and has been amazed by the difference in conversion rates that he has experienced. A mailing to his young list produced 40 sales from one email. A blog post on the subject of the same product produced 1 sale.

As you can imagine, he is now converted and a true believer in the power of owning a list.

This is all well and good, but the things that hold many people back from trying to build a list are often cost related. It costs money for a professional autoresponder – usually a monthly recurring charge, and it’s not always easy to persuade people to sign up for yet another list, and it’s no simple task to drive traffic to your opt-in forms either.

This is where maintaining a blog and your own website(s) becomes very important. Placing your opt-in form in as many places as possible will increase the chances of tempting new subscribers. You will need something to offer them in exchange for their information too and a free gift of some kind is usually the way to go.

It is a lot of work, and this is the other thing that puts a lot of people off. In terms of return on investment however, the work and the costs really are worthwhile.

There are plenty of free programs out there that claim to do the work for you, but, despite the best efforts of the program designers, most of them fall short for the end user and are really no substitute for your own list.

There is one solution that works very well for the beginner however. It does not require that you have an autoresponder (although if you do it provides for full integration) and you do not need to pay for the service.

It works on a very simple principle, that goes a step beyond traditional viral marketing. By using the system to build your list, you will also be helping others to build theirs. It sounds so simple it’s a wonder that not more people have caught on to it but the results can be quite impressive. The marketer who invests in the primary software and hosting stands to gain the most of course, as he or she will reap the benefits of the viral effect in spectacular fashion, but it doesn’t detract from the benefits for everyone else.

If you are still hesitant about building an opt-in list of your own, don’t put it off for too much longer, because the sooner you begin, the sooner you will see the rewards. I have helped many new marketers on the road to their first list and if you want to know more, you can pick up a free manual from our site.

Top 5 Tips For Effective Email Marketing

Over the past few years, research has continued to prove the benefits of e-mail marketing for business: low costs, high conversion rates and detailed tracking are all notable features. But e-mail marketing is becoming much more than just a tool for spammers and e-businesses. Consumers are becoming increasingly savvy on the differences between spam and permission-based emails, and more and more of them are accepting permission-based e-mail marketing as a positive replacement for direct mail.

The best news is that the majority of people who receive permission-based e-mails open, on average, 78% of them.

Jupiter Research reports effective email marketing campaigns can produce nine times the revenues and 18 times the profits of broadcast mailings. But crafting an effective business email is both an art and a science. Here is a list of factors, potential problems and effective solutions to keep in mind:

1. Spam! Spam! Spam! I don’t need any Viagra!
The average consumer receives more than 300 emails a week, 62% of which are spam. No wonder there’s such hostility towards the industry. But spam filters, bulk folders and “report spam” features are helping consumers become more at ease about the perils of spam. While 89% of users cited spam as a major concern in 2003, that number dropped to 85% in 2004, proportionally to an increase in the use of spam-fighting tools.

So as a permission-based business email marketer, what can you do? One tip is to remind your subscribers to add you to their “safe senders” list. The second, and most important, tactic is to make sure your email marketing service provider has a good relationship with ISPs. This will ensure that your email marketing campaigns go into your subscribers’ inboxes, not their junk mail folders. When choosing an email marketing software, make sure the company has strict anti-spam policies and complies with the guidelines of Can-Spam.

2. Images and formatting: Why do my emails look broken?
Broken email campaigns are an increasing concern among email marketers, especially since several companies and web-based email providers now block graphics as a measure to combat spam. In fact, according to ClickZ, 40% of email marketing messages delivered to inboxes are “broken.”

So what’s the solution? Some email marketing programs publish all your sent email campaigns to a secure location on the web (a location only original recipients of the email can access, thanks to encrypted technology that automatically authenticates the user). In some programs, the technology also ensures you can track your users’ behaviors, even if they are reading your email campaign at the secure web location.

3. Personalization and relevant content: In a business e-mail, one size does not fit all.
In a recent study by DoubleClick, email users were 72% more likely to respond to a business e-mail if its content was based on the interests they had specified. That number points out the absolute importance of allowing users to choose their own interest groups and have control over which business e-mails they receive. The most popular interest categories, according to the study, are coupons and household goods.

But you’re coupon is no good unless the user opens the email. Users in the study said the most compelling reason for them to open a business email is the name in the “from” field. So it’s a good idea to make sure your company name is clearly stated there. Another major factor is the “subject” line. Users cite discount offers and interesting news as the most compelling subject lines, followed by new product announcements and free shipping offers.

4. Click-through and conversion: Show me the money!
So the user has opened your email and read the content. Great. But where’s the sale? There’s good news here. For one, consumers are increasingly likely to make purchases as a direct result of a business email campaign. One-third of users in the DoubleClick study had purchased something by clicking a link on an email. Another 42% clicked on an email link for more information, then purchased the product at a later time. Second, online couponing is booming: 73% of consumers have redeemed an online coupon for an online purchase, and 59% have redeemed an online coupon offline.

In terms of industries, the top performers are travel, hardware/software, electronics, apparel, food, home furnishings, gifts/flowers and sporting goods. All companies sending business emails in those categories said between 71% and 80% of recipients have purchased their products because of an email campaign.

There’s no need to fret if your company doesn’t fit in to one of those industries. The overall landscape for email marketing conversions is looking brighter every day. The average click-to-purchase rate has increased nearly 30% since 2004 and the average orders-per-email-delivered rate has increased more than 18% since last year.

5. Stats tracking: Who are my real consumers?
E-mail marketing is an increasingly popular tool in effective CRM, and it’s about time more businesses recognize that. First off, if your provider’s email services for business do not include detailed, real-time tracking, you’re getting a raw deal. Real-time tracking is now an industry standard, and it’s highly valuable, as it allows you to see the exact moment a user opens your campaign, clicks on your link and makes that purchase. Studying your users can help you improve your communications efforts, so each campaign performs better than the last (several email service providers also let you compare the performance of your campaigns).

But many marketers are still in the dark. According to a recent WebTrends research, only 5% of marketers are very confident in the measurement of their online marketing efforts, while 26% admit they’re “flying blind.” WebTrends says the low confidence comes from a lack of knowledge when it comes to measurement, which means there’s still a lot of work to be done.

In email marketing, a blind shot won’t take you very far. But if you aim properly by following these essential rules of play, you should soon be reaping the same major results as so many online and offline businesses.

Auto Responders: The Marketers Magic Trick

Imagine if John (an avid poker player) visits your website. You sell a book that helps him improve his poker game. He’s highly interested in what you have to offer, but he’s just not ready to purchase yet. He’s still recovering from that extended holiday and needs to pay off the credit card that he maxed out playing poker online.

He sees a form on your site asking if he’d like more detailed information, and so he fills in his name and email address. Within seconds an email is sent to John with a short summary of the benefits offered by your book and a couple of useful tips he can use right away.

A few days later, John receives another email that goes something like this:

“Hey John, I know you’re quite busy, especially with the holiday period coming to an end, but I just wanted to get in touch with you to let you know we’ve got a special coming up for that ‘How to win at poker’ handbook you’ve always wanted.”

John’s forgotten that he’d been looking to buy a book like this and this email reminds him that he needs to improve his game. John adds buying the handbook to his “To Do” list and goes about his daily business.

Another few days later, John receives another email; again, reminding him that the special is about to end alongside another juicy tip that’s in the book. John realizes he doesnít have much time now, and goes off to purchase your “How to win at poker” handbook.

Every email sent to John was automated. You didn’t have to wait for him to subscribe, you didn’t have to personally address John, nor did you have to send him an email every few days.

The example above shows how a series of auto responder emails can be used as a powerful ìhands offî marketing tool for your web site.

Now, take a few minutes and think to yourself, “How can I use auto responders on my web site?”

No, seriously. Stop and think. This simple exercise could easily add another stream of revenue to your web site that you didn’t know existed.

But I don’t sell anything online!

Auto responders can work for ANY business. You don’t need to be selling something online for them to work. For example, letís pretend you have a hair styling business. You cater towards young men looking for a modern, attractive hair style. Part of your service includes helping them select a hair style that greatly enhances their facial features and gets them the compliments they’re after from the ladies.

On your website, you setup a simple form, something like: “Guys, get the hair style that’ll get you noticed. Free email report shows you how.”

Once John’s filled in the form, he gets an email with a summary of tips about the type of hair style suited for men with different features. It also mentions that you’re an expert in this field and your salon regularly helps men go from dud to stud in less than an hour.

A few days later, John receives yet another tip — this time on how washing his hair with a different shampoo can lead to different results. John starts to see how much of an expert you are, but also how much he’d rather just pay someone to take care of all this for him. He hasn’t got much time now since he’s started killing those poker sites. And so off he goes to call and make an appointment at your salon.

What else should I know?

The content in your auto responders need to be useful. Whilst including marketing hype purely about your product and services can work if there is a strong interest, you’ll usually need to provide relevant tips and information to keep your subscriber engaged and ready to pull out their wallet when need be.

You should opt to use autoresponder software that offers personalization, which includes the ability to address John by his first name, as that greatly increases response rates.

Finally, you should TEST your auto responders. Make sure they aren’t trapped by spam filters, make sure the subscribers are receiving the auto responders in the order they’re meant to be and so forth.

Armed with this new knowledge, you should be able to add an additional stream of revenue that could do some serious boosting to your profits. Some online businesses use this single marketing strategy as the sole way of getting new clients. They do this because it works!

Now, have you decided how you’re going to use auto responders for your business?