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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!
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.
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 email@example.com (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 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.
One of two Email Service Providers that I use and recommend is MadMimi. Apart from having the best customer service I’ve ever had the pleasure dealing with, they have the most elegant, easy-to-use and powerfully simple email editor on the market.
Ever since the initial release of their service the creative crew at MadMimi have been steadily adding new features and improving this already great product.
The latest addition is the ability to add a set of icons that link to your favourite social networking sites. This simple feature will encourage your readers to connect with you on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and other networks. Just add your social media sites URLs and Mad Mimi will place specially designed icons to the bottom of your emails — no additional coding necessary!
Here’s a set of sites that are currently supported:
MadMimi is still free to use for lists of up to 100 contacts, and prices start at only $8/month for unlimited emails to up to 500 contacts. Test drive MadMimi today!
Check out also these related articles:
Cool New Tool for MadMimi
MadMimi Brings the Fun Back to Sending Email “Blasts”
I can’t say enough about how much lighter I feel knowing that Boris has my back for my website and my ezine updates. His constant thirst for self learning makes me count on him on a continuous basis because he always has something new to teach me. I have recommended Boris to many of my clients and will confidently and happily do so in the future without hesitation.
Boris’ Top qualities: Great Results, Good Value, High Integrity
Business Coach and Founder of the e-Spot™
Note: This testimonial was originally published as a recommendation on Linkedin
Please leave your own comment – Thanks!
When looking for a suitable Email Service Provider to provide you with the online system to manage your email marketing campaigns ask yourself these two questions:
This will narrow down your choices significantly. If you’d like to have people sign up on your website/blog/facebook to different lists and offer them different automated sequential messages (aka auto-responders) then my choice would be iContact – I use it myself and recommend it to my clients.
For the ultimate in ease of use, try MadMimi.com, I recommend them to my clients who are just starting out, with zero contacts on the list. MadMimi has the most easy-to-use interface of all the ESPs I’ve tried over the years. Their customer service is the best I’ve had the pleasure of dealing with, plus they keep adding features on a regular basis. MadMimi’s free account is a fully-featured one, but is limited to 100 contacts, and you can send as many messages as you want. Read my blog post MadMimi Brings the Fun Back to Sending Email “Blasts”
An interesting question regarding email subscribers vs. blog subscribers was asked recently on Linkedin. In a nutshell Lisa Bowen was wondering:
Can a blog-subscription email list be used for general company announcements and email newsletter blasts?
I personally separate the two types of subscribers and recommend that my clients do so as well. Although this practice may be perfectly legal under CAN-SPAM, I consider it not very ethical.
However, depending on how you phrase the ad copy in your pop-up, you may get away with it, e.g. if you say: “Sign up for updates from my blog and also receive my ezine.”
Be aware, though, that the spam issue is ultimately in the eyes of the subscriber.
Additionally, problems may arise when somebody opts out. Because these two lists are usually handled by two separate systems, you need to manually update one of them. Ideally, your email service provider would have some sort of RSS Feed plugin or connectivity. Email Service Provider MadMimi recently introduced this upgrade to their very slick email publishing platform. iContact has it, Aweber, too, I think. GetResponse also has a limited feature which allows you to send an automated email to your ezine subscribers announcing the new content is available on your blog, but it doesn’t actually deliver your blog content by email.
I use FeedBurner for handling email subscriptions to my blog and it can only collect the email address, not the name of the subscriber. This is just one of the reasons I wouldn’t use the blog subscribers list the same way I would any of my other confirmed opt-in email marketing lists.
What do you think? How do you let your blog subscibers mingle with the ezine subscribers?