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If you’ve been involved with online marketing I’m sure you’ve heard the saying ‘the money is in the list.’
The reason that marketers rave about the virtues of creating your own list is simply because it works.
Basically a list is simply a bunch of contacts who have, by supplying you with their email address, given you permission to send them messages.
Not so long ago, when the only way to communicate with your subscribers was through snail-mail, it cost a bundle to send out your message. At least $1 per person was the rule of thumb back then and now it would be far higher. Sending out to even a relatively small list of 1,000 could be a serious investment and so you had to sell very hard to get a return.
Now, with Email Newsletters, things are very different. You can send out to 10,000 people in a few clicks and it will cost you almost nothing. Email marketing is close to being free. In fact, with certain email marketing services, it is absolutely free — I recommend MadMimi.
That means that you need a far lower response rate, compared to snail-mail, to make a profit! It is not unusual to make thousands of dollars from a single mailing that takes you just a few minutes to write.
With your permission-based list there is nothing to stop you sending out to your list again and again.
But there is a catch.
People may willingly give you permission to email them, but you need to be able to catch their attention with quality content. And having caught their attention, you need to have established a trust between you so that your readers will happily follow your recommendations to buy the things you promote.
The old days of mail order selling to a list entailed sending out long, professionally written sales letters. Long sales letters definitely do not work in an email newsletter. Email newsletters, or e-zines, are not about hard selling, they are about entertaining, educating and pre-selling.
Pre-selling is the art of warming an audience up – making them desire the product you are recommending – so that they will take your advice and follow the link you provide to the product’s sales page. That’s where the selling takes place, not in your email newsletter. The link you use to send them to the sales page will be coded with your affiliate link and so when they do buy the product, you will get a commission credited to you. In Internet marketing, that commission is usually between 50% to 100%.
But as I said, your ability to get your readers to click on a link depends on the rapport you have built with them and the level of trust they have in you. People buy from people they know, like and trust.
Learn how to write an email newsletter the right way and online profits will come your way as fast as you can click on the send button in your auto-responder!
Canada’s Anti-Spam Law (CASL) is set to take effect on July 1, 2014. After years of preparation and consultation, Canada will get a modern, but very strict, anti-spam law.
One of the requirements for CASL will impose on any entity doing business in Canada is the proof of consent. Up until now, many Canadian businesses relied on so-called negative consent, or giving subscribers an option to opt-out from future mailings. The new law will force businesses to obtain permission first, and also continue to provide an easy-to-use mechanism for subscribers to remove themselves from a list.
The easiest way to handle consent (or “opt-in”), unsubscribes and other list-management tasks is to open an account with an Email Service Provider or ESP, such as Aweber, MadMimi or GetResponse. These services all provide basic and advanced list-management features, but they differ greatly in additional features, such as auto-responders, RSS-to-email, etc.
Most ESPs also offer Social Media integration, and some offer features that may not necessarily be considered as email-related, such as surveys, GetResponse offers surveys included in the basic package, other ESPs rely on 3rd party integration, such as SurveyMonkey.
In case you’re interested in sending simple email newsletters, MadMimi offers a free option, and you can have up to 2,500 subscribers in your lists. If you need to send more than 6 emails per month, you can upgrade to any of their paid packages.
Even with the added hassle of making sure you’re CASL-compliant, email marketing should still be one of the staples of your overall marketing strategy.
In case you need help in setting up your email marketing system please contact me.
Boris Mahovac RGD
Email Marketing Consultant
Email marketing is still one of the best ways to grow your business. In fact, according to the Direct Marketing Association latest statistics, email marketing still has the highest rate of return on investment (ROI) among all other marketing channels.
The trouble is, most solo professionals and small business owners don’t bother to learn how to do email marketing properly. The best solution is to use an online email marketing tool, such as Aweber. This is a service that helps you create an attractive email newsletter or flyer, manage your list, and what’s very important, your email marketing campaign will be following the law. If you’re in Canada, for example, very soon a bill will become law that will require senders to allow their subscriber to remove themselves from a list by clicking a link. Using email marketing software, such as Aweber, will make your life easier.
One of the best and most reliable business email marketing solutions on the market is GetResponse. Over the last few years this email marketing company has established itself as the tool of choice for creating, sending and tracking opt in email marketing campaigns such as email newsletters, promotions and surveys.
If you’re not happy with your existing email service provider, this would be a good time to consider switching as GetResponse currently runs a promotional campaign where the first 1000 new clients get a guaranteed prize, such as an iPad, Amazon Kindle, etc.
The feature that sets GetResponse apart from the competition (such as MadMimi, Aweber, etc.) is their built-in GetSubscribers service which you can use to purchase pre-qualified, double opt-in subscribers to your account. These days building your email list is becoming more difficult as people are increasingly more and more reluctant to subscribe to online offers and newsletters. GetResponse can build your list fast and for a very low cost with their GetSubscribers service. Check out Getresponse today for a chance to win one of 1000 guaranteed prizes.
If you host seminars, workshops or attend trade shows, these are great venues for collecting email addresses to build your list. Recently, there was a question on Linkedin about the proper use of double opt-in in such cases.
Perhaps in this case double opt-in is not required. Attendees will probably be given a form to fill out at the event. This form should clearly state that by giving their email address, they will be added to a list named “XYZ” owned by “Name”
If you choose double opt-in (also called confirmed opt-in), then make sure the FROM address is readily recognizable to the recipients, and that the subject line includes a reference to the event. Don’t use the typical subject line: “[firstname] please confirm your subscription,” instead, try something like: “[event-name]: your free bonus material” and then deliver the bonus material on the confirmation “thank you” page or by delivering it via auto-responder once the recipient confirms the subscription.
Don’t be afraid to use the word “free” and certainly do not try to obfuscate it like this: fre-e, f.r.e.e as that will certainly trigger spam filters more so than using the word in the open.
One key element of any successful email marketing campaign is content. If the follow up emails contain only advertising for your books, courses, etc. then most of the recipients will mark the emails as spam — even if you use double opt-in. It’s all about delivering what’s expected: if you say “monthly enewsletter on subject” then don’t send 27 other messages in a month that are purely promotional.
If you’re looking for an affordable business email marketing solution look no further than iContact. Over the last few years this email marketing company has established itself as the tool of choice for creating, sending and tracking opt in email marketing campaigns such as email newsletters, promotions and surveys.
If you’re not happy with your existing email service provider, this would be a good time to consider switching as iContact currently run their usual end-of-year discount campaign. With plans starting at just $8.46 per month (for annual accounts), and $9.95 per month (for monthly accounts), their pricing structure is very competitive, and if you upgrade your account from the free trial to a paid account you can now save up to 27%.
All you have to do is open a free trial account, then upgrade to a paid level and use the promo code “LOCKIN2010″ before December 31 and save 15% if you’re paying monthly, or save an additional 15% if you upgrade to an annual account, for a total of 27% savings.
A recent Marketing Sherpa article about average open rates published this interesting chart.
The research was compiled based on data from nearly 1,500 marketers. The chart compares the performance of B2B email newsletters to the performance of B2C e-newsletters in open rate, clickthrough rate and conversion rate.
The open rate is usually defined as the ratio between the number of registered opens to the number of emails sent. Some email service providers, as well as some marketers, take it to the next step and count only the number of emails delivered in the ratio. (See this post on email bounce rates)
The clickthrough rate (or CTR) is usually defined as the ratio between the number of clicks to the number of emails opened. For example, if an email was opened by 100 subscribers to an ezine, and 30 of those subscribers clicked on a link, then the CTR would be 30%.
The conversion rate is usually defined as the ratio between the number of conversions to the number of clicks. A conversion can be anything, such as a sale, request for more information, additional subscription, or anything that you may ask your subscribers to do. For example, if, of those 30 subscribers that clicked on a link, 3 purchased something, then the conversion rate would be 10%. (Some marketers would say it’s 3%)
Clickthrough and conversion rates are important indicators of email newsletter performance. As newsletter publishers we should track these statistics, making sure we always apply the same metrics.
The research shows that B2C newsletters perform slightly better than B2B. How do your own results compare to these averages? Please comment and share your insights.
One of the benefits of using a dedicated email service provider (ESP) to send out your business email newsletter are the various statistics they will be able to provide to you. One of those you should pay particular attention to are
Your particular ESP may define these two slightly differently, but in essence, a bounce is an email address to which delivery of your email campaign was attempted but was unsuccessful.
Similarly the bounce rate is usually expressed as a percentage of undeliverable email addresses compared to the total number of emails in your list(s).
Hard Bounces: These are email addresses that are obsolete, expired, incorrect and will never be delivered to the intended recipient. Take a look at these as they may include obvious typos like firstname.lastname@example.org (instead of .com), which you can easily update and correct. Others are most likely expired and should be removed from your list, either manually, or, most likely, automatically by your ESP.
Soft Bounces: These are email accounts that bounce because of full mailboxes, their domain is temporarily down, or for some other technical reason they’re currently not able to receive email. Most ESPs will retry delivery to these accounts within 24-48 hours from the time of the original broadcast. Some ESPs will remove email accounts from your active list after 5 consecutive soft bounces.
General Bounces: The most common reason for this type of bounce is a firewall that prevents these accounts from receiving email from outside their network, such as in the case of corporations that block email from unknown sources. Again, most ESPs will retry delivery to these accounts.
As most ESPs will retry bounces (except for Hard Bounces) again within 24-48 hours, you don’t need to do much about them. Additionally, your ESP will suppress all hard bounces right away, and also those soft and general bounces which continue to fail.If the re-sending is successful, bounces will be cleared for future broadcasts
The only thing you need to do is to correct any typos in Hard Bounces, and make sure that the bounce rate is lower than 1%, as some ESPs may block your account if your email broadcasts continue to suffer from high bounce rates.
You may also be interested in reading these related articles:
Email List Maintenance – Keeping it Lean and Clean
Email Delivery: Resending an Email to Non-Openers
Over the years I’ve probably tried a dozen or so Email Service Providers, and for the last 2 years I’ve decided that iContact offers me the best mix of features for a very reasonable price.
If you are contemplating using Email Marketing to boost your business, sign up for a 15-day free trial of iContact — but hurry, their 30% off promotion ends June 30.
I’ll make the deal even sweeter for you: Sign up and upgrade your account by June 30, 2010, and I will send you my 3+3+3 Email Marketing Tips for Solopreneurs and for Small Business, a $37 value. This CD contains 3 separate presentations, each 60+ minute long, for a total of over 3 hours of instructions, tips and insights that I’ve acquired over the last 4 years as an Email Marketing Consultant (mp3 audio and PDF transcript both available). To qualify for my free CD offer you must open a new iContact account and upgrade it to a paid one, then send me your account number so I can verify that you’ve signed up using my affiliate link. If you’d like to receive a physical CD then please provide your postal address, otherwise you will receive a link to download the product online.
Why Choose iContact?
With iContact’s extensive features, you can easily create Email Messages, send them to your subscribers, clients, or members, and track their performance. When you apply Autoresponders to your email marketing campaign, you can stay in the forefront of your customer’s mind with automatic messages based on timed sequences or customer actions. Surveying provides you a platform to collect data from your customers and iContact provides you with the real-time results of your data.
Just recently I used the integrated survey tool to ask my networking group to vote on an important matter.
If you have a blog, take advantage of the articles you write by harnessing the RSS Feed. Your customers will immediately receive your most recent messages when they sign up for you RSS feed.
Over the years I’ve tried about a dozen or so Email Service Providers (ESPs), and now I regularly use iContact.
If you’re thinking of switching ESPs, or are considering getting into opt-in email marketing for your small business or solo practice, iContact is making your decision a bit easier with their June 2010 promotion: save 15% when you upgrade your account (you start with a free trial account), and save an additional 15% if you also pre-pay for a year of service, for a total of 30% savings. Use the promo code June2010 to save now!
I recommend iContact to my clients who are looking for a service that provides:
In case you’re considering switching, I offer a service that does that for you and is included in my “ESP Account Setup” service. Please see my services page for more information.