Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Benefits of Email Marketing

You want to market your business, but offline advertising can be expensive and time-consuming. Email marketing, however, is exactly the opposite of that.

Whether you’re a local brick-and-mortar business or an online company, you can use email to send subscribers directly to your website or business for a speedy purchase. Emails allow you to reach more people for less, and your return can be exponential. 72% of respondents to an Econsultancy survey in early 2011 described email's return on investment as excellent or good.

Not only is your return on investment higher, AWeber has tools that make it so you don’t have to hire an expensive design firm or copywriter. And many parts of an email campaign are automated; it practically runs itself.


As a customer, you have access to all our features including:

Email Newsletters: You set the date and time you want your newsletter to
send out and we’ll get it delivered.

Autoresponders: Set up a sequence of emails to go out to your subscribers,
and we’ll automatically deliver your emails at the intervals specified.

Email Templates: Choose from over 150 easy to customize templates that
include single and multiple column designs.

Web Forms: Create a beautiful web form in 3 simple steps to start getting
subscribers from your website. Hundreds of web form templates, including
ones to match email templates.

Analytics: Find out who’s opening, who’s clicking, who’s downloading,
who’s buying and who’s viewing...and who’s not. You can use this
information to send broadcast messages to segments, allowing for more
relevant emails. You also have the ability to split test both broadcast
messages and web forms.

Apps: Extend the functionality of your AWeber account by using apps for
Facebook, Wordpress and more. You can also use the AWeber API to
create an app for your own personal use, or make one designed to be used
by thousands of businesses.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

3 Steps to More Sales By Split Testing

Take a look at that last promotion you sent. Go ahead, open it up.
How is your subject? Interesting enough to open? How about your call to action? So intriguing that you want to click it?
Good! But opens and clicks only measure interest. They’re not your end goal.
Your goal is to make sales. It’s the revenue from customer purchases that keeps you afloat. So a broadcast’s true worth can be measured in the sales it generates.
The trick is finding out how to put the message together in a way that prompts the most purchases. With a little setup, you can do this right in your AWeber account.

STEP 1:Set Up Sales Tracking

First, you’ll need to make sure you’re tracking the purchases subscribers are making in response to each broadcast.
You can do this with sales tracking. If you’ve already set this up, skip to step 2. If you haven’t yet, head over to our Knowledge Base and follow these steps.
Once you’re ready, it’s time for…

STEP 2:Tweak Your Promotional Broadcast

Start with your original broadcast design. The goal is to see if a different version will sell more, so you’ll need to create that other version.
To get started, take a look at:
  • Your call to action.Is your design eye-catching enough? Would different words be more compelling? Should it move above the fold (the point where readers need to scroll to see more)?
  • Your text-to-image ratio.Experts recommend a blend of 60% text to 40% images to illustrate your message while avoiding spam traps.
  • Your preheaderDo you have a whitelisting request? A link to your newsletter online? An unsubscribe link?
  • Your format.Are you using the best layout for your content? Or should you try one of these options instead?
  • Your images and copy.Are you presenting your product or service in the best possible light? Or would your readers respond better to something else?

STEP 3:Split Test For the Winning Design

To figure out which design will generate more sales, use the broadcast split testing feature in your account. This sends each version to a randomly selected, equally sized audience so you’ll get the most accurate results.
After the broadcasts go out, follow the QuickStats for each version to keep track of sales. (Just click on the subject on the Broadcast page to see how they’re doing.)
Once you have the winning version, you know what design to use for future promotions!

How Likely Are You to Follow These Steps?

Does setting up sales tracking and a split test sound like something you’re likely to do?
If it does, what changes do you think you’ll test? We’d love to hear about your results!
If not, what’s standing in your way?

Email is Serious Business

“Email is for serious business. Texting, Twitter and Facebook are for socializing.”

The common theme among our essay submitters? Email is for businesses and grown-ups. Social networks are fun and cool; email is featureless and for official communication only.
When Generation Y wants to catch up with friends and build relationships, they do it on Facebook. Email is a “necessary evil” (as one candidate worded it) that only grown ups, teachers and businesses use.
Consequently, teens check their email accounts less frequently than their Facebook walls. “I tend to check my phone for text messages or look on Facebook to see if I have any notifications before checking my email,” writes a finalist.
Other students admitted to checking social networks several times a day while neglecting their email accounts for days or weeks unless they were expecting important messages from a teacher, college or employer.
The good news to take away is that even though teens are checking their email accounts less frequently, they expect to hear from your brand through their inbox.
  • “I only use email if I have to send my teachers an assignment or check for coupons.”
  • “I only receive emails from my school or stores sending me coupons.”
  • “I have multiple email accounts for different purposes. These include signing up for cards at stores that send me offers for cheaper products.”
Millennials may reserve email for business, but that means they’re still interested in inviting businesses into their inboxes to take advantage of promotions.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Top 10 Reasons to Have an Ezine

  1. Establish yourself as a trusted expert. People search online for information and will look to you, as a subject matter expert, to provide it to them. Every week (or whatever schedule works) provides an opportunity to build on this, while reinforcing your brand.
  2. Build a relationship with the people on your list. It's common knowledge that people like to buy from people they like. By using ezines to connect with readers in their homes, you can develop a relationship of familiarity and trust. Be sure to share a little about yourself or your company in every issue, whether it is an anecdote, event, or employee spotlight.
  3. Keep in touch with prospects and clients. Consideration should be given to eventually developing two ezines: one for prospects and one for clients, as each require different information. This is a great way to notify your readers of weekly specials or upcoming product launches, offer new articles or customer stories, and provide links (or urls) to updated FAQs, blogs and splash pages.
  4. Drive traffic to your website or blog. As noted in #3, remember to call attention to new blog posts or other changes to your website with links directly to those pages. Remind readers of your online newsletter archives. Promote special sales (maybe with discount coupon codes only for subscribers) with a link to the sales page. Use links to turn your ezines and newsletters into 'silent salespersons'– driving traffic to your website and building your lists around the clock.
  5. Build content on your website. Make a habit to adding your ezines and newsletters to your website in an archive area. This serves a several important purposes:
    • Visitors can read an issue or two to determine if your ezine will be of interest to them, which could help to increase sign-ups and potential sales.
    • If you optimize your article placements, you will not only make your website 'meatier', but you'll also bring new traffic from the search engines.
  6. Get feedback from your readers. Make it easy for you to stay in touch with prospects and customers and vice versa. Ask them to take action and comment on your articles and offers. Conduct polls and surveys. Start a 'Letters to the Editor' column in your ezine. Feedback allows you to fine tune your messages, target your marketing, and expand your product line. It's also great for relationship building!
  7. Develop an information product. If you deliver your newsletter once a week and include two articles, at the end of a year you'll have 104 well-researched articles in your portfolio! Pick the best-of-the-best and turn them into a bonus ebook for opting-in to your list, submit to download sites to build your list, or sell in PDF-format!
  8. Grow your mailing list. Let your ezine subscribers work for you. Be sure to remind your readers that it's okay to forward your newsletter to anyone they'd like. In addition, it's important to include sign-up instructions for those who received your ezine from viral marketing methods. A simple line titled, 'Get Your Own Copy of XXXXXX', with a link to your squeeze or opt-in page is all it takes!
  9. Gather demographic data. By offering surveys, feedback forms, and niche reports, you'll be able to get valuable information about your prospects and customers. Learn what makes your readers tick, how to better serve them, and how to give them what they want. Make sure they become repeat customers!
  10. Save money! All of the above benefits of publishing an ezine are free or almost free. The small cost of a top-rated ezine publishing system is nothing compared to the cost of brochures, business cards, advertising, direct mail, pay-per-click or other means of promotion. Not only that, but someone has to manage that production! Because your newsletter is delivered online, you can grow your list to be as large as you want without worrying about the expense. Bottom line − it's proven that email marketing is the most cost-effective marketing solution for companies just like yours!

Top 15 Ways to Build Your Subscriber List

Email marketing can be profitable for any business, no matter what kind of product or service you offer. It is significantly cheaper than other advertising methods and, if done right, helps build loyalty and trust with customers. As a result, you generate more sales and more profits!
The foundation for successful email marketing is a targeted, permission-based email list. Marketers call contact lists their 'goldmine' because it can generate much of their sales revenue. If you've built up a list of opt-in subscribers that are qualified and interested in what you have to offer, then you've completed the first step and are on your way. Now it's time to 'mine' for gold!
Below you'll find several list-building and retention ideas that will help you get the best results from all your email marketing activities:
  1. Provide useful, relevant content. Your visitors will not give you their email addresses just because they can subscribe to your newsletter free of charge. You have to provide unique and valuable information that will be of interest or use to them.
  2. Add a subscription form to every page on your website. Make sure it stands out so it is easy to find. If it doesn't look cluttered, you may want to include more than one on some pages. For instance, if your opt-in form always appears in the top-left corner of your site, you may want to add one at the end of your most popular articles.
  3. Add subscription forms to your social media pages. Make sure that you don't waste this valuable source of revenue opportunities. Integrate your sign-up forms with Facebook and more!
  4. Make it easy for readers to sign up. The more information you request, the fewer people will opt-in. In most cases, a name and an email address should suffice. If it's not necessary, don't include it here. You can always survey them once they're customers! We do recommend that you provide a link to your Privacy Policy however.
  5. Publish a Privacy Policy. Let your readers know that they can be confident you will not share their information with others. The easiest way to do this is to set up a Privacy Policy web page and provide the link to it below your opt-in form. (Note: If you don't have one, put the words 'privacy policy generator' into a search engine and you should be able to find a suitable form to use.)
  6. Provide samples of your newsletters and Ezines. This lets potential subscribers review your materials before they sign up to determine if it's something they'd be interested in.
  7. Archive past newsletters and articles. An online library of past newsletters and articles is both appealing and useful to visitors and builds your credibility as an authority. In addition, if your articles are written with good SEO techniques in mind, they can increase traffic to your website through enhanced search engine positioning.
  8. Give gifts subscribers can actually use. Offer an opt-in bonus for joining your subscriber list! Write an ebook or provide a PDF business report, or even hire a programmer to create downloadable or web-based software. But don't limit yourself to offering gifts to opt-ins. Give them out when your readers fill out a survey, provide a testimonial, success story, or a great product idea. Let them know when they can expect the next gift offer. Everyone likes to get something for free! And if you pass out 'goodies' throughout the year, your subscribers will feel truly appreciated − and that's good for business!
  9. Ask your subscribers to pass it on. Word of mouth is a powerful viral technique that works great with email marketing. If your subscribers find your content interesting, amusing or informative, they'll probably share it with their friends. This can be a great source of new customers, so make sure to remind them to 'pass it on'.
  10. Let others reprint your newsletter as long as the content is not modified. If you're happy to share your content with the universe, then why not! Many webmasters and newsletter publishers are actively looking for high-quality content and, if they reprint your newsletter, you'll get new subscribers, and more traffic and links pointing to your site.
  11. Include a 'Sign Up' button in your newsletter. If you're using plain text instead of HTML, be sure to provide a text link to your subscription page. You may feel that this is not required because the subscriber is already on your list, but remember that readers will forward your newsletters to others, or reprint them online. Make it easy for them to subscribe!
  12. Add a squeeze page. A squeeze page has one goal − to acquire opt-ins and build your list. Think of it as a mini-sales letter to go along with your subscription or opt-in gift. It should feature a strong headline and a couple of powerful benefits that should make subscribers salivate to sign up! Once created, use a service such as WordTracker to find hundreds of targeted keywords, and promote your offer using pay-per-click advertising from Google, MSN and Yahoo. Now that should make a splash!
  13. Include testimonials on your squeeze page. This is crucial. Put one or two strong testimonials from satisfied customers on your squeeze page. This can be in any format, but you may find that multimedia (audio or video) is more 'believable' and inspires more people to action. To further enhance believability, get permission to use actual customer names, locations and/or urls (Don't use 'Bob K, FL'). Add a note inviting others to participate. After all, it's free publicity!
  14. Blog religiously. Blogging is a great way to communicate with prospects and potential customers, and creates a nice synergy with your email marketing. Be sure to include your newsletter sign-up form on each page of your blog. You can start a free blog at Blogger or WordPress.
  15. Post on other blogs. Post thoughtful comments and information on similar blogs with a link to your squeeze or opt-in pages. Also comment on others' blogs through trackbacks. In most cases, your comments will be posted on their blogs with a link back to your site. This is an easy way to generate new traffic and subscribers, and get your brand out there!

What follow up method really works?

Following up with each lead individually, multiple times, but at set intervals, and with pre-written messages, will dramatically increase sales! Others who use this same technique confirm that they have all at least doubled the sales of various products! In order to set this system up, though, you need to do some planning.
First, you’ll need to develop your follow up messages. If you’ve been marketing on the Internet for any length of time, then you should already have a first informative letter. Your second letter marks the beginning of the follow up process, and should go into more detail than the first letter. Fill this letter with details that you didn’t have the space to add to the first letter. Stress the BENEFITS of your products or services!

Your next 2-3 follow up messages should be rather short. Include lists of the benefits and potential uses of your products and services. Write each letter so that your prospects can skim the contents, and still see the full force of your message.
The next couple of follow up messages should create a sense of urgency in your prospect’s mind. Make a special offer, giving him a reason to order NOW instead of waiting any longer. After reading these follow up messages, your prospect should want to order immediately!
Phrase each of your final 1 or 2 follow up messages in the form of a question. Ask your prospect why he hasn’t yet placed an order? Try to get him to actually respond. Ask if the price is to high, the product isn’t the right color or doesn’t have the right features, or if he is looking for something else entirely. (By this time, it’s unlikely that this person will order from you. However, his feedback can help you modify your follow up letters or products, so that other prospects will order from you.)
The timing of your follow up letters is just as important as their content. You don’t want one prospect to receive a follow up the day after he gets your initial informative letter, while another prospect waits weeks for a follow up!
Always send an initial, informative letter as soon as it is requested, and send the first follow up 24 hours afterwards. You want your hot prospects to have information quickly, so that they can make informed buying decisions!
Send the next 2-3 follow up messages between 1 and 3 days apart. Your prospect is still hot, and is probably still shopping around! Tell him about the benefits of your products and services, as opposed to your competitors’. You will make the sale!
Send the final follow up messages later on. You certainly don’t want to annoy your prospect! Make sure that these last letters are at least 4 days apart.
Following up effectively seems complicated, but it doesn’t have to be! So many potential customers are lost because of poor follow up – don’t you want to be one of the few to get it right?

Consistent follow up gets results!

When I first started marketing and following up with prospects, I used a follow up method that I now call the “List Technique.” I had a large database containing the names and e-mail addresses of people who had specifically requested information about my products and services. These prospects had already received my first letter by the time they requested more information, so I used the company’s latest news as a follow up piece.
I would write follow up newsletters every now and then, and send them, in one mass mailing, to everyone who had previously requested information from me. While this probably did help me win a few additional orders, it wasn’t a very good follow up method. Why isn’t the “List Technique” very effective?
  • The List Technique isn’t consistent. Proponents of the List Technique tend to only send out follow up messages when their companies have “big news”.
  • List Technique messages don’t give the potential customer any additional information about the product or service in question. He can’t make a more informed buying decision after receiving a newsletter! If someone is wondering whether your company sells the best knick-knacks, what does he care that you’ve just moved your headquarters?
  • List Technique messages convey a “big list” mentality to your potential customers. When I used to write follow up messages using the List Technique, I was writing news bulletins to everyone I knew! I should have been sending a personal message to each individual who wanted to know more about my products.

Do Your Potential Customers Forget About You?

Your web business probably gets product inquiries from potential customers around the globe. Inquiries come via e-mail and your web site, and you try to send information to each hot prospect as quickly as you can. You know that you can drastically increase the likelihood of making a sale by satisfying each person’s need for information quickly!
But, after you’ve delivered that first bit of information to your prospect, do you send him any further information?
If you are like most Internet marketers, you don’t.
When you don’t follow that initial message with additional information later on, you let a valuable prospect slip from your grasp! This is a potential customer who may have been very interested in your products, but who lost your contact information, or was too busy to make a purchase when your first message reached him.
Often, a prospect will purposely put off making a purchase, to see if you find him important enough to follow up with later. When he doesn’t receive a follow up message from you, he will take his business elsewhere.