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0 2008

One of the up and coming video trainings I plan to do will cover “Why you should never batch & blast”.
What’s batch and blast? It’s basically when you mail your entire list with no care for who in particular sees it. It’s like shouting to a crowd. Lots of people hear your message who may not care. You get a mix of engaged and unengaged. It’s one of the top trends that will likely disappear in future email marketing. Major email providers may even one day stop people from doing it.

What’s the big deal about mailing my ENTIRE email list?

Well, in the grand scheme of things, nothing dramatic. You just don’t get GREAT results. No matter what your subscriber database signed up for, there is a diverse group of people on that list. They all have dramatically different profiles, personalities, interests etc.

When a person chooses to start monitoring the actions of their list and creating ‘segments’, they start to see patterns and get very dramatically different results when sending stuff their audience WANTS.

How do I segment my list?
I never bothered to collect anything but their name and email address!

Valid question. So let’s say you have no time to monitor your list and watch what they open etc. Let’s also say you have not bothered to compare your analytics or figure out groupings of customers. Fear not! There’s an answer to get that data without breaking a sweat or doing any complex work!

RapLeaf.com – A service that easily lets you see the age, gender and zip code of your list!
Zip code is powerful. When you compare the US Census data against that data you can start to see zips that have higher or lower income brackets and maybe only mail to people who can afford a big ticket item! Maybe you want to run an event in your area but only mail people close by!
Gender goes without saying. Some offers definitely go well with men more than women or vice versa.
Age is another easy one. Naturally certain things appeal to younger people or can’t be bought by younger folks who have no credit card.

Attentive.ly – Lets you see the social networks your list is on. Say you want to email only your followers on Twitter? Easy! How about those on Facebook or LinkedIn. Perhaps you want to find out what time of day they post most often OR if they’re saying anything about you. You can with their service.

 

0 2161

Email marketing is without question the most powerful marketing method online. Yet, over the years email marketing has taken a beating in it’s PR department. It’s not as sexy as social. It’s not as exciting as ranking #1 on Google and the bravado that goes with that. It’s certainly not as controllable and adjustable as Pay Per Click can be… but it has so much more longevity and so much more power in the long run.

For those that read my posts regularly, you’ll know I spent the last year helping people build email servers. I also did consulting on deliverability issues and helped with re-engagement campaigns. In the last few months I’ve really put a heavy focus on a totally different area of email marketing..

Launches.

What’s a launch, you might ask? An email launch is a sequence of emails sent to a list to:

  1. Create trust
  2. Establish some new ideas
  3. Create a two way conversation with the list
  4. Generate excitement and anticipation
  5. Make a killer offer they can’t refuse
  6. Close the offer by a certain day

The real power of email (although there are many elements to it) is the simple power of being able to show up in the most precious coveted place in a user’s daily life. Statistically speaking 90% of users check their email at least once a day. That’s MORE than social and search. Basically, more users check email daily than anything else. Second maybe to text messages.

That’s what makes email more ideal for a series of messages than any other platform. It allows the publisher to slowly drip specifically targeted messages over a series of days that are trackable and quite likely to be opened if the subject message is timed right and the offer and materials follow a specific sequence… Basically if you know this audience really well and can guess what they might like or dislike you can be the pied piper and slowly bring them from one place to the next.

Email is powerful because you can reach users daily. It’s powerful because you can store their purchase data, their survey answers and data from 3rd parties. Data is available on their social networking usage, and all kind of other things.

Coming soon, watch on this site for a private forum that I’ll be opening up. I’ve decided that I’d like to start sharing far more private and powerful email resources and tips with a select group of people. Those people will get access to all this for a super cheap (Netflix cheap) price per month to a private community! If that sounds interesting, keep an eye on this site!

 

0 2351

Mailchimp is an incredibly popular email service, and one can’t help but WANT to like them due to the insanely easy to use interface and incredibly high deliverability they promise. Yet beyond that facade of smiles and kisses lurks a few things that are buried deep in their terms of service. Maybe not that deep, but still… when signing up for an email provider, few really read the fine print.

We expect some basic functions from any Aweber/iContact/Getresponse ESP (Email Service Provider) and we expect they’ll be able to be our go-to system for all things email when it comes to mailing our devout followers and business contacts. However, that’s not the Mailchimp I’ve come to know.

Nightmares.

#1. Affiliates
There’s been a few major media mentions of Mailchimp’s hate-on for affiliate marketing. Like it or hate it, Affiliate marketing is the 800lb gorilla of online marketing. It arguably drives a HUGE portion of all online sales. Yet right in Mailchimp’s terms of service, they strictly state they do not allow that type of marketing.

#2. Email Policies
Everyone knows that getting a high complaint rate is going to get you kicked off any ESP. No shocker there, that’s one of the major flaws of not owning your own email marketing server. I’ll even give them props for giving people severe warnings about high bounce rates. That’s fair. However, what shocked me in a last client mailing was that a high unsubscribe rate triggered an account lockdown! People that were specifically told to opt-out if they weren’t interested in the list.

Naturally they’re also an opt-in email service only. If customers have not opted to receive the emails, they’ll force you to reconfirm your list. They’re really not the place to clean your list. Yet another good case for having your own email server. Granted, you shouldn’t really use a commercial server for that either but at least you could mail your cleaning alongside your good list for a low overall complaint rate on a commercial server.

#3. Lies
I don’t like that they aren’t upfront with their policies and that folks basically have to signup and get in trouble or read the long winded terms of service to realize they’re a very strict sender. I don’t like that they’re other policies ARENT written down and you basically find them like trip wires. What I’m shocked about and really actually quite frustrated by is the lies they tell their customers.

They specifically stated in emails to one client that a high unsubscribe rate was something that ISPs would give them trouble for and could get them banned. Any commercial sender knows that the only place unsubs are recorded are within the email software (in this case Mailchimp) itself. The only thing ISPs actually see is hard and soft bounces and complaints.

No ISP cares about unsubscribes, they are simply users exercising their rights to remove themselves from a list. If you send an email out saying “We’re changing business directions and from now on we’re going to only sell left handed golf clubs, please unsubscribe if you prefer right handed” and you get a 12% unsubscribe rate… that might very well be a logical business move to differentiate yourself in your market.

 

0 2385

An email nurture campaign is a series of emails designed to slowly educate a freshly subscribed consumer on the product, or company.

Everyone should have a nurture campaign.

When a customer first visits your website and signs up for the newsletter.. they most likely have absolutely no idea who you are. They have no idea what your values are, what your goals are… or what your main goal is in creating the materials that you do.

It’s your chance to share your vision, your mission and why you do what you do. It’s your chance to connect with new customers (automatically when they join) and tell them about yourself. It increases customer loyalty.

A nurture campaign does a lot more than just teach someone about your products and the stuff you SELL. It allows them to learn about who you really are and gives you a chance to welcome them to the X family.

Define X… Just like in algebra! Well, except a lot less boring! Defining what your family or tribe is or represents is key.

 

 

0 2525

In an interesting move, Facebook is cancelling it’s email service where users once had theirname@facebook.com. Users who previously were able to send email to their Facebook email address will now see that mail forwarded to their login email address.

This is a pretty significan’t move for those who speculated a few years back that Facebook might dominate the email space and take on things like Gmail and Microsoft’s Outlook service. Some even speculated the death of email as a platform. When Facebook announced their email addresses for every user, they also removed users current email addresses from being visible on their platform. There was considerable outrage as well, as anyone who had their contacts sync’d with Facebook had inadvertently lost their contact’s original emails for Facebook email addresses.

fb changes

0 1292

As of 11am Pacific standard time, Aweber is down (confirmed via phone from 1-877-AWEBER1) and not responding. The website Is It Down Right Now? confirms this.

The system that collects email addresses via forms is also down. This outage is affecting everyone who uses their service and service API.

They’re currently experiencing a DOS (Denial Of Service) attack which is where a malicious person or group sends distributed requests at such a high rate of speed that their server cannot cope with all the responses and is unable to respond to any other user’s requests.

A way more nerdy and technical explanation of the topic is easily found here.

Have you ever considered self-hosted?

I think it would be worth pitching the concept of self-hosted servers with automated backups… Using Amazon, a piece of software like ARP-Reach and a service like Sendgrid.

We offer setup of those services. A self-hosted system is usually not an option for those with no technical background, however with Amazon offering it’s daily, weekly and monthly backups, you could always revert back to a day when it was working. It’s rarely down as it’s the same servers that run Reddit, Twitter and others.

ARP-Reach offers it’s own technical support and has a wealth of resources on it’s website for learning, and Send Grid’s live chat is always there to support too. So in that setup, it’s unlikely you’d ever be “alone”.

Good time to Backup

Once the service is back up (and it will be) it’s always a good reminder to backup your list. If you read the fine print on websites like Aweber, you’ll find they do not provide data security. Your list is the lifeblood of your business. Protect it and always backup.

0 2387

A San Francisco-based startup called Streak has developed a free Google Chrome browser extension that’s changing the email game: the extension lets email senders see when recipients open an email.

Using your gmail account and this installed tool, you can tell when people open your emails. Using the utility, an eye icon will appear when the user has read the email. Users on the other end do not have to have the extension installed for the feature to work.

This could be very handy when sending proposals, estimates, invoices or other such things.

    0 2707

    In breaking news, I won’t add much about this for now, but Google’s adding a prominent unsubscribe link to the top of emails automatically. I’ve previously mentioned this as an advanced strategy for email marketers looking to clean a list and worried about wrecking their current IP reputation by doing so. My suggestion made it so that users could clearly see the unsubscribe link at the top on volitile or ancient lists that hadn’t been mailed in a long time and hopefully drop the percentage that click the “spam” button.

    Google’s planning on adding this feature to the top of promotional messages for you if you’re on a current ESP that supports it.

    A link to signup to the program Google has started titled the Gmail Spam FBL enrollment is here.

    The tool was announced in front of an audience of email marketing professionals at an industry conference in San Francisco held by M3AAWG, an anti-abuse messaging group.

    0 3278

    Persuasion is a powerful thing, and in email there’s no exception. In fact, if you can’t persuasde in some way or another, you can’t effectively lead anyone to do anything. Buy something, go some place, or listen to you about anything.

    Here are some ways to lead someone some place.

    #1. Pain

    People will do anything to avoid pain, so you have to think about where in your copy to mention or include the pain. This is like twisting the knife in their gut with their own challenges. Maybe it’s all the ways they’ve tried to solve the problem other than the way you’re about to tell them. Maybe it’s all the money they’ve spent or time they’ve spent! Maybe it’s the embarassment or pride they’ve lost solving it another way. Think of the pain – describe it.

    #2. Sell the promise of what life will be like after they have your product or solution. Imagine your life is so much easier now. Imagine all that embarassment you’ve saved yourself, or all the time you’ll have back. What will you do with those thousands of saved dollars? What can you do now that you couldn’t before? Imagine life at the beach, with a lady massaging your back as you sip on a glass of…ahh.. the benefits!

    #3. Cliff hangers

    A cliff hanger is where you leave something incomplete. You butter them up and then leave them there.. wanting MORE! But the more doesn’t come until they buy or wait till the next email, or video or whatever it might be. Ohh cliff hangers can leave everyone begging.

    #4. Anticipation

    Similar to the previous except people may know a lot about what they’re expecting, but only certain key elements. Like an Apple launch you’d set a date and then sort of tease the high level details about it leading up to that date. Give away all the what, but the HOW is in that release on Feb 24th!

    #5. Jealousy

    So.. everyone else in the industry already has one of these, but you don’t… Yes jealousy is a real human emotion that you can tango with. Don’t mess with it too much though unless you’re sure that people really are jealous of what others are doing. But you can unpack this more – especially in niches that appeal to guys. Example… Can you imagine the other guys in the harbour that already have this? Their boats SHINE compared to the other boats. They’re already out there enjoying this, getting all the women and relaxing while other guys (like you) scrub their boats until their fingers bleed!

    #6. Fear

    Perhaps the biggest motivator in the history of man, has to be fear. Fear of loss, fear of the unknown and many other fears. No doubt if you’ve done your research on your niche you know what your audience fears. You know what bothers them and keeps them up at night. What are they really scared of? How can you capitalize on that to show them that your product makes them forget that fear, or helps them eliminate it completely? Humans will go to great lengths to solve fears.

    #7. Trusted authorities

    From Oprah to Dr. Oz, the world is covered with authorities that just about anyone would trust if they said something. I strongly recommend using quotes from famous and trusted people to backup any story to further persuade.

    0 2647

    Do you need a drip email campaign? Do you know what one is? Perhaps you’ve got a foggy idea but you’re not sure. Let’s dive in and discuss what one is, how it benefits you and why you should consider setting one up.

    What is a drip marketing campaign?

    Rather than pouring everything onto someone, a drip system simply gives it to them in small easily digested parts. Usually in a logical sequence to cause an emotional response or a sales response. This is done with an autoresponder series. Someone fills out a form indicating they’re interested in something and the system sends a sequence of messages designed to drip on them over time.

    Let’s discuss the reasons that drip campaigns work, and why you should consider setting one up, or contacting an expert to set one up for you.

    #1. Nobody trusts you the first time they meet you.

    Many experts agree that it’s often 7 contacts to a sale. Maybe some prospects are less or more contacts, but regardless… few kiss on the first date or buy on the first click. Truth is, without email you’re going to have to pay to get them back to your website 5-6 more times before they buy… unless you have an automated campaign designed to keep you top of mind until they finally decide to buy from you.

    #2. It gives you a chance to provide value

    In just one email, you’re not likely to accomplish much, but in a series you can easily give someone so much value by giving them little snippets of advice. You can send them articles, links, videos and basically prove you’re there to help them and not just spam their inbox.

    #3. You may not hit the inbox every time

    Depending on Gmail’s rules, their own spam filters or.. the current status of your deliverability challenges.. you may not reach the inbox with every email, but a series of 7 over several months are quite likely to hit the inbox a few times at least. No matter how bad your setup might be.

    #4. It gives prospects a chance to preview your quality

    Let’s be honest, not everyone’s idea of ‘fluff’ is the same as the next guy. What I think of as fluff might be more than enough content to the next guy. I’m pretty harsh with my view of fluff. If every bullet point isn’t actionable, I think it’s fluff. Regardless, once a prospect sees the kind of stuff you give away FREE, it’s a clear sign of what your paid stuff must be like.

    #5. Prospects can get to know your style

    Everybody has personality types that rub them the wrong way like nails on a chalk board or petting a cat backwards. Humor styles, communication styles and visuals are NOT liked by all groups. There’s one group out there, however, that resonate perfectly with just YOU. Just like Bob Marley to rastafarians and the Beatles to certain teenagers… there’s an audience that loves your style. Let those who don’t unsubscribe.

    #6. They give you a chance to read your audience

    What people open (subject lines) and what they click on  (inner email content) is a clear indication of what kind of things resonate with your email readers. Remember to keep an eye on this and even consider segmenting people who open emails about A vs B topic.