How To Refresh Your Email Campaigns For Success

Email SequenceOne of the great things about an autoresponder is that it can be used as a set and forget mechanism. Unfortunately that also means your emailed messages can be left for so long that they can become stale and irrelevant to your list. If you suspect you’re not getting the results you used to from your list or that there is room for improvement here are eight steps you can take to update and improve your email marketing.

1. React To Your Metrics

Study the metrics from your email marketing and see how well it is working. Are there emails that are not opened as often as others in your campaign? Try different headlines. Are there links that are clicked infrequently? Look into the information or offer the link leads to and decide if it’s still relevant to your audience and whether you can offer something better. Are there some subscribers who are engaged and some who are not? See if you can segment your list to encourage better engagement. And so on.

2. Ensure your promotions are still viable

If you’re promoting the same products and services via affiliate links that you were promoting last year, it’s important to check these are still available. The vendor may have changed the offer or discontinued it. Even if it remains unchanged you should review its relevance to your list. Over the past year you may have gained new insights into their needs and pain points. Look for offers that can help your list even more and add them to your campaign or swap them with the ones that are least successful.

3. Improve Your CTAs

Having decided what you will promote to your list you can look at the Calls To Action you are using. Events and developments in your niche over the past year may mean you could try a different approach. What worked a year ago might be old news today. You can also take a look at your metrics again to look at the effect of the CTAs you have in place now. See if there is a type of CTA that works best with your list and try to improve upon them so that you’ll get even better results.

4. Review Technology

Each year software is released that claims to improve list conversion and retention. Take a look at what is new that could make your landing pages easier to setup, change or convert. If you don’t use a video on your landing page this is the time to consider it. You need to stay informed about new technology and methods for building your list so you can decide whether to change or not.

5. Be Responsive

Most emails are now read using mobile devices. If your email marketing isn’t responsively designed, you could be missing out on most of your potential market. Even if your email marketing is based on responsive sites you must check that is also true about the web pages you ask your list to click through to see. Are they on responsive, mobile-friendly sites? If not, they need to be. If the sites are your own the solution is obvious. If your links lead to sites belonging to others it may be worth asking if they have plans to ugrade to responsive sites, especially if your conversions at their site have dropped.

6. Consider Refreshing Designs

Updating your artwork or the layout of your emails can be a good way to encourage your audience to take notice. Changing your graphics, logo, or changing the look and feel of the emails you send out can act as a relaunch and breathe new life into your email marketing campaigns

7. Update Your Segmentation Strategy

Many people don’t start segmenting their list until after their email campaigns have been running for a while. Some never segment. Often the first segmentation put in place is between buyers and non-buyers, but there is more you can do. Again, look to your metrics to see if there is an opportunity to provide more targeted messages. You can segment by product interest, topic interest, how responsive people are to offers, and more. You can get a better return on investment the more you segment your list because it will enable you to deliver the best message to each part of your audience.

8. Make Greater Use Of Social Media

You may already use social media in your marketing campaigns, but do you use it within your emails so your subscribers can help you get more subscribers? You should also be inviting your subscribers to join you on social media. If your audience is reading your emails and interacting with you on social media, you’ve got the best of both worlds and more chance of conversions.

If you’ve set up an email campaign you need to keep it fresh and relevant to your list if you want to get the most from it. Schedule to review your email marketing at least once a year, just like you get your car checked for roadworthiness. In both cases you’ll get better results from a well maintained machine.

7 Email Elements for Success

Figure pushing large email at signLike everything else online email has changed as technology has improved. Here I list some elements that contribute to an effective email. Some are basics that are simply best practice, others are an opportunity to make the most of advances online.

1. The subject line

This is the very first part of the email your readers will see. It’s sole job is to get a prospective reader to open your email. Therefore they should find it relevant and intriguing. It must also reflect the content they are about to read. People soon learn not to act on promises that are not delivered.

2. Writing Style

Write your email as if it was a letter to a friend. Let your personality show through in your writing. You’re trying to make a connection with your reader, not present an impersonal article in a magazine. Get this right and your readers will look forward to your next email and be eager to see what’s inside.

3. Responsive Design

Your readers are using all types of devices these days. They could be sitting at a desktop, relaxing with a tablet, or on the move with a smartphone. Present your email in a way that means they have to pinch and zoom or that has poor layout and they’ll be less inclined to read what you have to say. Use responsive design that displays your messages correctly no matter which device they are using.

4. Visual Elements

Faster technology and greater capacity means you can include images and video, making your email that much more interactive and interesting. You may already have received an email with a countdown timer that is acually counting down within the email. Think about how that engages the reader more than a piece of text telling them there’s just a couple of hours to go before an offer ends.

5. Personalise and brand

Most emails you receive are based on a template provided by an autoresponder company. Think about how you can personalise and brand your messages to stand out from the crowd. It could be a unique signature, a tag line you use in every email, a logo, or something else that makes your emails instantly recognisable.

6. Segmentation

If you segment your list correctly your readers will be receiving messages that appear designed to address their needs and problems. People receive too many emails in a day to be bothered with someone who emails them daily but only sends something relevant to them once a month. Design your early email sequence to help isolate what your reader really wants to read about, and then send them the messages relevant to that interest.

7. Respond to metrics

Change the content and layout of your emails to see how your readers view them. Position clickable links near the top and bottom of your email and see which ones perform best. You may find most of your readers click on the top link, which could imply most of them use a preview pane to read their emails. Over time you will be able to design your messages based on how people view and interact with your emails.

Get the above email elements right and you’ll increase your chances of success with your email campaigns.

There are a couple of other areas that could be improved, though they are not directly related to your email content. One is how well your list building process gets your target audience to subscribe, including the ‘ethical bribe’ and landing page you use, and the other is the resources you link them to via your emails. Both will have an effect on the success of your emails.

5 Questions that can improve your landing page

Opt in formA landing page is where a visitor arrives at your site after clicking a link in an email or on another website. It is usually focused on getting the visitor to take one action, in most cases to submit their name and email details. Because of this focus there should not be any navigational menu or links to other pages. Essentially a visitor should have two options when they arrive at a landing page: fill in their details or leave.

The message on the page should be specifically for the visitor. The more appropriate the message the better your conversion rate will be. This means you should have a profile of your potential visitors. For example, what are they most interested in and are they likely to take immediate action to overcome a challenge? Where they are coming from gives a clue as to what is likely to be in your visitor’s mind at the time of arrival.

Here are 5 questions likely to occur to a visitor when they have arrived at your landing page. If you can provide answers that they will like the better the landing page’s conversion rate will be.

1. Where am I?

It should take just 3 seconds or less for the visitor to understand where they have arrived. They may have just clicked a banner ad or a link in an email. Ideally you should make it obvious that the page is related to the link. You could use a headline that matches the words in a text link they just used. If they just clicked on a banner ad use the same image on the page that was used in the ad.

You could use a logo or picture of yourself to quickly tell them who they are dealing with. Position it in the usual place, top left of the page. Make things easy and familiar for them. Don’t use any fancy fonts or unusual layouts. Don’t make them have to work hard to understand what’s going on.

The page should also quickly and clearly explain who you are, what the product is, and what it can do for them. If you have a USP that you can express in a short sentence put that in too.

2. What can I do here?

Make it clear what the visitor can do on the landing page. Remember they should usually have only one option, unless they decide to leave. Spell out that one option in clear and specific terms.

3. What am I being offered?

Ideally this should be explained above the fold. If it will take too much text consider using a graphic. After all a picture can be worth a thousand words. If you think your visitor will be unable to work out the offer in a matter of seconds consider simplifying the offer.

4. Why should I take the action I am being asked to take?

You have to persuade your visitor to take action. Mention the main benefits of your offer. If they will be able to achieve something quickly with your offer mention that too.

5. What is taking the action going to cost me?

Your visitor is likely to be aware that everything has a cost. They are expecting to be asked to pay something, whether it’s a financial cost, having to hand over their contact details, or to invest some time going through your content. Be honest about whatever the cost is.

If there is a financial cost to obtaining your offer be upfront about it. Prospects tend to be put off by the ‘hide and seek’ approach, where they have to scan the page a few times before they finally find the price hidden away in a paragraph.

Don’t pretend you’re not asking them for their contact details. They need to fill in a form in exchange for the benefits of your offer. You can spell this out or quickly suggest it with a submit button that says ‘Give me Access’ or something similar.

A landing page works best when it is targeted to a type of visitor and persuades those visitors to take a specific action. Address these five questions effectively and the better your landing page conversion rate will be.

Increase traffic and grow your list while sharing content on social media

One of the ways you can use sites like Facebook and Twitter is to share other people’s content. Share information that is relevant and of good quality and it can help you build a reputation for being someone with their finger on the pulse in your niche; the go-to person for the best recommendations and advice.

The downside of sending your social media readers to other people’s content is that they may not return. However, there is a tool that allows you to send people to great content while also creating the opportunity to direct them to your own website once they have consumed the content you recommended.

The tool is called Sniply and for a limited time you can use it free for an entire year. Usually it costs $300 for 5,000 clicks per month, but for now you just need to submit your email address to get access.

Sniply produces a pop-up that appears on the web page you’ve recommended on Facebook or Twitter. The colour and shape of the pop-up can be customised so it suggests your branding, and you also have a number of choices for where the pop-up appears on the screen.

Add your picture (which could be your gravitar) to the pop-up, specify which page you want people to visit after they’ve read the content you recommended and it’s ready to use.

So now you can send your readers to other people’s websites while giving yourself the opportunity to redirect that traffic back to your own site. There are a number of ways you can use this opportunity. For example, you could have a line of text in the pop-up that says something like ‘Would you like to know how to…?’, while the button says ‘Yes’. When they click they are sent to a relevant blog post, an offer, or an opt-in page for a resource.

It seems a great opportunity and the only drawback I can see is if it is overused and readers become blind to it or resent its presence. Much like other pop-ups, yet admittedly they still work well enough to be considered a viable tool.

Once Sniply is set up and you’ve started to use it there is a dashboard that allows you to track how effective it is at sending people to your own pages. This a useful feature as it will enable you to decide whether it is working well enough for you to invest in once the free year subscription expires.

For more information see http://www.appsumo.com/sniply/

Writing an effective email sequence

Recently I have been working on the start of three autoresponder sequences in readiness for my product launch. One for the clients who buy my main product, one for those who buy the downsell and another for those who get the free ebook. I will also need another for those who buy the upsell, but that will be tied into the content of the upsell and should be easier to put together.

Before you start writing any emails it’s important to be clear about the specific purpose of the sequence. Usually it is to move prospects further into your sales funnel while establishing yourself as a helpful expert.

You can do this by providing case studies, testimonials, reliable advice, trust building anecdotes, etc. Decide on a period of time and allocate one of these topics plus others for each week. For example in week one you may introduce a benefit you offer, the next week mention results some of your customers are getting, the following week provide some useful information, and so on. If you don’t yet have customers or testimonials you’ll have to use the other options at the start of the sequence until you do have this type of material. You can also use some emails to send your readers to previous posts on your blog.

If there are evergreen products in your niche that you want to promote you can build them into the sequence. The ratio of promotions to useful content that you post is likely to be related to what your niche will tolerate, but some marketers insist that it’s a matter of managing your list’s expectations. However it is usually advised that you deliver more content than sales pitches.

Once you have identified the purpose of your autoresponder sequence combine this with your knowledge of your type of customer and start thinking about the ‘voice’ you are going to use in your emails. For example how you write emails aimed at a business man is going to be different from one’s aimed at retired people or parents.

Emails at the start of the sequence should be sent more frequently than those later on. For example you might send an email every couple of days and then spread them to one a week. There are essentially two reasons for this. When they have first signed up they are more likely to be interested in any promotions you send out. If you don’t communicate with them for a week or so at the start they may have forgotten who you are and why they joined your list and will be less likely to interact with you and more likely to unsubscribe.

Usually the start of a sequence is sent immediately and is a quick greeting, checking they have accessed the ethical bribe that you offered them at opt-in and telling them briefly what to expect next. You could mention how they can white list your emails so they don’t miss the content you’re about to send them and also help them by pointing out that a certain word or phrase will always be in your future email subject lines.

Once you have set up your sequence with this first email you can start planning the follow up messages.

One way you can plan these is to think about the journey they are going to share with you over the coming months. The way you enticed them to join your list should be an indication of their level of expertise. Think about how you can help them build on this. What should they be taught next? What should you show them in the next step, and so on? With this as a framework you should be able to start writing your email sequence.

Whatever the content, you need your emails to be read. Here are 3 tips for making this more likely.

1. Use attention-grabbing subject lines.

It’s likely your readers will be receiving a lot of emails each day. To help yours stand out try to come up with subject lines that engage your reader’s curiosity. Including a constant phrase in the subject line can help.

2. Use short paragraphs.

If your email appears to be dense with words your readers may decide it will take too long to read and move on to other emails.

Keep paragraphs short.

They can even be a single sentence!

3. Use numbers or bullets.

This is another way of condensing the content. Numbers and bullets can highlight where the main content of your message starts so it helps your reader if they are hoping to deal with their emails quickly.

Writing an effective email sequence is not always as easy as you might think. Hopefully the above has been of some help.

A Key to Giveaway Success?

To date I have taken part in eleven Giveaway events, offering my IM Cycle ebook (the one you can get at the right of this page) in exchange for contact details. In one of the events I had the opportunity to enter another product so I added an ebook related to using PLR content.

The results so far: fourteen people have signed up for the IM Cycle book and only one for the PLR content book. Not exactly outstanding results but we all have to start somewhere.

Last week I joined another giveaway event. This one has a social media focus so the ebooks I have to offer were not quite appropriate. Having seen what was popular on previous events I decided to create something related to Pinterest. However there are a number of ebooks available on the topic already so I decided to try something different.

I produced what I am calling the Pinterest Kit. This is a collection of 30 images that people can use with their blog posts and also put on Pinterest to get some traffic. Rather like the image I used with last weeks post.

The Social Media Giveaway Event started on Monday. I acquired ten confirmed subscribes in less than 24 hours. That has risen to 17 by today with no unsubscribes. In other words I have more than doubled my list in only four days.

So why am I getting more subscribers? Well I believe it’s because firstly I targeted a topic that’s popular at the moment. Secondly I provided something different, not just another ebook. Thirdly what I did provide was of practical use. The kit is a resource that can be used immediately and that has identified some blog post topics that should be of interest to readers. It also includes details of the method I used to create the images so they can make their own.

With these points in mind I’ll be brainstorming other resources I could offer in subsequent giveaway events. This is basically how you build a business. Notice what’s working and focus on increasing the value you offer to improve your results.

Have you experienced this chain of events where you tried something different, noticed it getting results and then focused on it? How has it helped your online business? I’d love to hear how you’ve progressed online and how you are doing.

David

P.S. If you’d like a copy of the Pinterest Kit just go here

Giveaways – Now and Then

As I’ve mentioned before I tried building a list using Giveaways back in 2010. At the time I was advised to use PLR products or ones that had Master Resell Rights, and not to pay to upgrade until I had about 50 people on my list.

This year I’m trying again and I’ve turned the above advice on its head.

I’ve written my own book to offer as a giveaway and I’ve started to pay for one or two upgrades. This means I can list more than one product and can also set up ads and special offers.

So, has it made a difference?

In 2010 I tried Giveaways for nearly two months, taking part in five events. This year I’ve been involved in nine Giveaways in just over three weeks. Five of them are still running and there are more starting in the next few weeks. (There’s definitely more being run than two years ago, which we can take as a testament to their effectiveness in list building.)

Below you can see part of a screenshot from my Aweber account where this year’s giveaway list is in blue, just above my 2010 list.

Equal subscriber results

Since I’ve equalled the results I had two years ago in less than half the time it seems this year’s tactics are the ones to go with.

If you’re involved in or thinking of taking part in Giveaways I hope this little insight has been useful.

David

The List Building Process

Offering a free product is an accepted way to build a list. Your prospects get a free ebook, report, membership or video in exchange for their contact details. Since this is the main way I’m currently trying to build my list I thought I’d show you the process I’ve set up.

You can see the process starts with driving traffic to a squeeze page. Currently I’m using Giveaway events to drive most of the traffic.

The squeeze page is based around an opt-in form where people can enter their name and email address. They will receive access to the free book once they have confirmed their opt-in.

Once they have entered these details they are sent to a stop page. Essentially this just tells the prospect to look for a confirmation email in their inbox.

The confirmation email reminds them of my offer and informs them that I also intend to send them helpful, informative emails after they have downloaded the free ebook. There is a link in the confirmation email that enables them to confirm they really do want receive the ebook and join my list.

It is possible they will decide not to confirm and join my list, but that also means they will not receive the link to the free ebook. Since this is what attracted their attention in the first place hopefully only a few prospects will not confirm.

Having joined my list they then receive an email with a link to the ebook download page. Now they are on my list they will also receive further emails from me via an autoresponder.

That’s the basic process. Of course there is room for improvement. For example, I could offer more than one ebook or include another offer on the download page. However that’s for later. For now I’m just sticking to basics and building my list.

Giving Giveaways Another Go

Giveaway events are where internet marketers allow prospects to download a product as a free gift (usually an ebook, a membership or software) in exchange for their contact details via an opt-in form.

The gifts are pooled together on one event site and every product contributor then recommends the Giveaway Event to their own mailing lists. Done correctly this results in lots of visitors going to the event site and lots of people joining lists.

Before you join an Event as a gift contributor you should have prepared four things.

  1. A gift to give away.
  2. A squeeze page where your prospects can opt-in.
  3. A download page where they can get your gift.
  4. At least one or two messages set up in an autoresponder for your prospects to receive once they have opted in.

I tried this back in 2010 but ran into the Catch-22 problem of not having a list or knowing other potential contributors to promote to. The gift listings in these Events can run to over ten pages and most Giveaway Events will place your gift in the earlier pages the more promotion you do.

Consequently this can be a slow-start method of list building. If you don’t already have a list and therefore no one to promote to your gift ends up in the later pages that are not always visited.

It can be a little frustrating but you have to remember that everyone started with a list of zero.

Remember, starting small will give you small results, but try to concentrate on growing daily and focus on the bigger picture. You’ll get there faster by following good advice and leveraging what you have.

If you’re interested in Giveaway Events you can find a list of upcoming events here.

If you have any comments or experience of Giveaways I’d love to hear from you.

David