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Archive of ‘email marketing’ category

How To Fail At List Building

With more marketers who’ve traditionally relied on Pay Per Click, Social MEdia and Search Engine Optmization jumping on the listbuilding bandwagon, trying to start up a newsletter and get readers and visitors to opt-in to a mailing list, it’s a positive, yet at the same time negative trend for the industry.

listbuilding

The benefits of a list are easy to see, zero acquisition cost and the ability to build an ongoing relationship with your list members.

Treat them right and a healthy list will generate a comfortable income for you.

Conservative estimates put the value of a list at $1 per list member per month.

In simple terms, each member is worth $1 per month or $12 a year. Multiply that by the number of members in your list, with some list owners having lists of upwards of 100,000 members and you get the idea of the potential and lucrative possibility of having a great list.

The relationship building element is where a number of marketers can experience pitfalls however.

I recently joined a self-improvement giveaway with a few hundred products to be given away free.

So I opted in to a mailing list and was sent to the download page.

This is when the problems began…

To receive each product, I needed to opt-in to that particular author’s mailing list.

With the giveaway touting itself to give away more than a hundred “gifts”, this potentially meant having to opt in to more than 100 mailing lists, just to get a free MP3 recording or PDF report.

After the 2nd opt-in, I gave up. So much for that “giveaway”.

Here is why I think the opt-in failed:

  • Failure to follow the “Pay It Forward” concept: Have you eaten at a restaurant where you are asked to pay before the food arrives? It happens in fast food restaurants, but I think you will be taken aback at a 5 star restaurant which asks for your credit card before you’re even shown to your seat. Likewise, if you ask for an email even before you’ve shown your product, it’s the online equivalent of the restaurant example.
  • Overestimating Your Brand power: Depending on your preferences, you will likely follow a leader or role model in your market, it might be someone like Warren Buffett for stock investing, Donald Trump for real estate, or Gene Simmons if you’re looking to start a music business. If one of my role models had an offer, I’d probably give up my name and email address to get the report. If Joe Blow “guru” asked for it, the trust and credibility is nowhere near what I’d expect.
  • Misconception that Quantity Trumps Quality: Again, the unsophisticated will have the idea that “more is better”. Does getting more food at a buffet mean that you will have better quality food? Not really. Handmade Swiss watches are limited in quantity because there’s no way a human craftsman can compete with a machine punching out 100 watches per hour. Likewise, getting 200 reports will likely not be as beneficial as getting one quality product. If there’s 1 takeaway from list building, it’s always to deliver quality, quality and quality.

So what’s the solution, having deconstructed, destroyed and annhilated the giveaway campaign, what’s a good mechanism to build a list?

I’d suggest having a simple download page to give away your product. If you feel so include, you can include an opt-in box to provide updates and revisions to website visitors who’re interested.

Further, and this is the important step, include at the end of your report, an option to opt-in to your list. Chances are that someone who has made it to the end of your report and takes the effort to opt-in to your list, will be more qualified and more positive than someone who had been forced to opt-in to your list in order to get your report of unknown quality.

For more emailing and list building tips, take a look at “Permission Marketing” by Seth Godin.

For a quality autoresponder service, check out Aweber.

Also check out Friday Podcast with Aweber’s Education Marketing Manager Justin Premick “Email Marketing Tips“.

Is Social Proof The Magic Bullet To Increasing Opt-In Rates?

Email solutions provider Aweber has been adding a slew of new features to their autoresponder service, including email analytics and stats, and more recently, a widget-like chicklet to display the number of members on your list.

The question is: What effect does it have on your email list opt-in rates and is it significant?

email deliverability

Displaying your number of subscribers would make sense if you have achieved critical mass in your niche market. For a celebrity/entertainment Perez Hilton-type blog, I’d think at least 10,000 is a good number. For a specialized niche like Dog Training, a list size of 1,000 qualified customers (not leads! Or mere readers) might be the sweet spot.

I think displaying the raw number of subscribers is a good idea for mass consumer type blogs, because there’s a groupthink (or “sheep” mentality) that says “if 100,000 people are on the Britney Spears list, then it must be good to join in…”).

As an astute marketer, I’d think the power of (more…)

Analytics-enhanced Aweber Autoresponder Service Accompanied by Huge Price Increase

I signed up with Aweber for my email marketing solution when I started out 2 years ago and have been generally happy with their deliverability rates.

In a recent Friday Podcast, Aweber education marketing manager Justin Premick alluded to some forthcoming enhancements to their services and it looks like they made the announcement today.

Here are some of the enhanced email analystics tools:

  • See exactly when subscribers open your message so you can focus on the right time to send your message.
  • Send a broadcast to only subscribers who didn’t open or click on your previous broadcast.
  • Send a broadcast to only subscribers who did click on your order page, but didn’t order.
  • See which subscribers are responding to your campaigns — which messages they’re opening, which links they’re visiting, and where on your website they’re going after clicking through.
  • Target subscribers by sending broadcasts to only those who responded (or didn’t respond) by clicking or opening a specific message or link.
  • Track revenue generated by campaigns and subscribers to see which subscribers and campaigns are making you money.

Together with click tracking, campaign reporting, email tracking, email ROI reporting and other features.

The old package cost $179.40 for 10,000 list members for a year. The analytics-enhanced service costs $69 per month for 10,000 list members.

With about a 362% increase in their prices, email marketers will have to decide if they need the enhanced analytics functions.

In an exchange between marketer Kevin Riley and Aweber founder/CEO Tom Kulzer, Kevin mentioned in a twitter update that existing customers can choose to remain on their existing plan.

Are the enhanced analytics going to be worth the upgrade?

I’m keen to hear some feedback from other marketers before making a decision.

 

10,000 in Your List…Now What?

One of my friends mentioned that he’s built a list of 10,000 opt-in members into his mailing list within a period of 7 days…so what’s he supposed to do now, he asks.

I don’t think any responsible email marketer will give advice before finding out more information.

For example, how was the list built? Using PPC? Expired domain traffic? Co-reg traffic? Via opt-ins through Squidoo or HubPages? Via an article directory? As a result of a follow up/update list after buying a product (either an affiliate product or your own product).

Each of these channels comes with it’s own level of permission – and if you’re a permission-based marketer, you’ll realized that someone who’s just bought something from you has a higher level of loyalty and stickiness, compared to someone who’s just downloaded a free report off your site.

So back to the 10,000 mailing list – determine the source of list/lead generation is important. Are they emotionally invested in you? Have they spent money purchasing something you offer? Called into one of your teleseminars and stayed the full duration because they found the information compelling? Are they merely curious strangers? Or evangelists for your brand (also known as “raving fans”).

Once you’ve sorted that out, you need to figure out the demographics of your list too. What’s their (more…)

Increase Your Online Income With Email Marketing

During the recent Affiliate Summit West, I met Justin Premick who’s Education Marketing Manager at email marketing solutions company Aweber.

I think I’m doing more than 90% of the affiliates out there when it comes to incorporating email marketing as part of my SEO-based marketing campaigns, but some of the tips that Justin shared with me during the few minutes we talked before the Blue Man Group performance at the Affiliate Bash at Tao gave me a couple of ideas to test out in my campaign.

So I was looking forward to chatting with Justin when he agreed to come on as a guest on this week’s Friday Podcast. Some of the ideas and behind-the-scene stuff that goes on at your autoresponder operator will surprise you, and I uncovered some killer tips to use autoresponders to enhance conversions in your affiliate AND CPA marketing campaigns.

It was definitely worth waking up at 3am this morning (3pm EST Tuesday) to chat with Justin and the interview will be posted this Friday.

If you aren’t already using email marketing in conjunction with a PPC or SEO marketing campaign, you could be leaving quite a bit of cash on the table…

Here’re some tips which will help you get started:

  • Content is and should be packaged differently across multiple platforms

Seems obvious, but you need to tailor your content to suit the medium you’re publishing the content on.

On a website you have the benefit of space and the ability to use multimedia generously (audio, video, graphics), while in the context of email marketing, people are used to seeing bite-sized chunks of info.

So unless it’s very compelling, it’s generally not a good idea to send out a 5-page email. Even if it does get read, you can expect to see a dropoff if you consistently send out long emails.

  • Permission-based marketing

This was one of the major points during our discussion – email marketing is very much “relationship marketing” which plays by a different set of rules when compared to pricing/bidding strategies of PPC or the search engine algorithmn trustrank/pagerank strategies of SEO.

“Permission Marketing” by Seth Godin is a great primer. To check out 4 free chapters, visit Seth’s blog.

The reality is that even if (more…)

Are Webmail Storage Quotas Redundant?

The last time I checked my Gmail quota (actually just a few minutes ago), I was just using 45 megabytes of my 3,373 megabyte quota. So are email quotas irrelevant?

If that’s not enough, over at the Gmail blog, they’ve just mentioned “More Gmail Storage for All

In my opinion, it’s been a brutally effective marketing campaign with the other free email marketing services like Hotmail and Yahoo! Mail upping their 20megabyte and 100megabyte quotas to try to match the (current) market leader.

Will you be able to exhaust it all?

Not likely, unless you’re (more…)