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One of the world’s most respected email and direct marketing service providers, VerticalResponse, now offers flat-rate unlimited email sending service options by monthly subscription. This was announced on October 28.
Until this announcement, if you wanted to email your list of 6,000 opt-in subscribers it would have cost you $72 per send. Switching to one of VerticalResponse’s new unlimited email plans, you will be paying $72 per month and will be able to send unlimited emails to a list of up to 8,000 contacts. For some email marketers, this could mean a dramatic drop in per-email-cost.
VerticalResponse joins other Email Service Providers who offer unlimited sending options:
If you’re overwhelmed with all this choice, contact me and we can discuss your email marketing needs. I offer a free 20-min telephone consultation.
Alternatively, read my article: Learn How to Pick the Right Email Publishing System Provider.
Unlimited emails deal really works for email marketers who send either weekly or biweekly email newsletters, or regular email promotional offers.
Are you one of them?
Using email for your marketing purposes is very powerful, easy and (almost) free, and is still the most effective way to reach your customers/clients. However, sometimes it pays off to go off-line and use traditional methods for generating leads or new business.
Depending on how clean and fresh your lists are, you may be experiencing 80%-98% deliverability rates for your emails. But you must agree that nothing beats the deliverability of the good old post office!
What if you could combine the strengths of an online, automated system, which works very much like an Email Publishing System with the
Would you be interested in trying this almost perfect business-generating system?
About a year a go I discovered Send Out Cards, an online on-demand printing and delivery system that works very much like sending personalized email, only it prints,personalizes and mails real postcards and greeting cards in any quantity. You can send a dozen custom postcards for about 10 bucks including postage. When you send a greeting card in an envelope, you can even insert gifts such as Starbucks or Home Depot gift cards!
You can use this system to send automated, but personalized postcards and greeting cards. You can choose between thousands of great stock designs – humorous, retro, playful, business-like, your choice – or you can easily create your own designs as simply as uploading a digital photo and adding a voice bubble or a caption.
Recently, I used Send Out Cards to generate some leads for my Ezine Coaching Program. If you’ve ever used direct mail (DM), or at least read about it, you know that a decent DM campaign results in about 1% response rate, while 2% is considered exceptional. Well, my postcards generated close to 10% response rate!
I used Send Out Cards to set up a custom designed postcard (ah, the benefits of having an in-house graphic designer – me On the back of the card I have a simple marketing message, basically asking the prospect a few thought-provoking questions with a call to action to find the answers to those questions on my web site, with an offer to receive a free CD and printed report.
All of the copy on the back of the postcard is printed on-the-fly, personalized with the recipient’s name, and all of that using my own handwriting! Of course, I didn’t spend hours manually writing those postcards, I had my handwriting digitized so that my postcards appear to be hand-written.
For this particular postcard campaign I set up a special web site, with three different versions of the landing page. Why different versions of the landing page? Because I am split-testing them to see which one converts better – in other words, which page generates more subscribers.
Again, I am using my trusted Shopping Cart to manage and track the split-testing. This is so powerful, I am amazed every time I log in to my account – especially when I remember how we used to do it, many years ago with every DM piece having a little “ad code” and processing those responses in a spreadsheet! Wow. This is so much easier today.
To be able to track your off-line campaigns I recommend that you set up a special URL, e.g. www.yoursite.com/postcard, or even better, a unique web site. If you’re testing different postcards, have each card link to a different URL.
Using Send Out Cards is a great way to generate leads and especially repeat business from existing clients. However, one more great way to use Send Out Cards is to test different cards on a small sample of prospects (you can test the design, headline, copy, etc.) to see which one to use en masse, if you’re planning to ultimately send a large-scale mailing (1,000 or more cards).
Once you’ve nailed a winning card, then use a commercial printer to print your cards and a mail shop for personalization/sorting/mailing.
Extra tip: when mailing your own envelopes, try to use something to differentiate your envelope from the competition by using either an interesting sticker or enclose an object into your envelope. Anything that will make the recipient want to open it!
Finally, once you have your products or services you’d like others to promote, and you have a system in place to track visitors, sales and affiliate commissions, you’re now ready to start promoting your affiliate program.
A good place to start is a list of your own clients or customers. If your clients promote your stuff, their credibility is going to be very high, since they’ve purchased from you, so they can talk from first-hand experience. You may even consider running a closed-door affiliate program by only allowing your clients/customers to be a part of it. A good example of such closed programs is Audio Acrobat (for recording and hosting audio and video online) and SendOutCards (to send automated postcards and greeting cards – the real ones, with a stamp and all).
Obviously, you’ll want to have your affiliate program featured on your web site and in your ezine for example.
In case you’re looking for products & services related to email marketing, you may want to join my own affiliate program, it pays up to 50% commission on products and 10% on services.
Promoting your affiliate program is like building a list: you can use the same tactics and strategies. Try visiting and contributing to online forums and blogs where your potential affiliate partners hang out. Write articles. Run a pay-per-click campaign. Contact people of influence you think may be interested in promoting your stuff. To get on their good books, buy their product or attend their seminars, then contact them by phone or send them an evaluation copy of your product by post.
Once you’ve recruited a bunch of interested affiliates, who have access to lists of thousands of people you may find that you don’t need to promote your affiliate program that much anymore as your affiliate partners may be just the ticket for your business’ success!
It’s bonus time!
Last couple of weeks I’ve been busy writing, recording, sound-editing, re-writing, and then re-recording my new special report: “The 4 Biggest Mistakes to Avoid in Marketing Your Small Business.” It’s now ready in audio format you can listen to on line, or download an MP3 to your PC. I personally prefer to listen to this kind of educational materials in my car.
This is a very common practice, especially with those businesses that deal with clients mostly off line, such as retailers or dentists. When a new customer walks in to your shop or practice, you can ask him to sign up for your email newsletter. You then enter that information to your database, and then regularly upload the new information to your ESP account.
Uploading these new subscribers shouldn’t be a problem, however, you may run into difficulties updating email addresses of your existing clients who are already receiving your ezine. Ideally, your subscribers should update their own information on line, using your ESP’s forms and tools (that’s one of the reasons you pay that monthly fee, right?). However, sometimes, customers feel more comfortable giving you their new email address over the phone, or more likely, in person, while they are making another purchase, or visiting your place of business.
The problem here lies in the fact that most ESPs track your subscribers by their email address, not their name, or some other identifier. Because of this, updating an email address of an existing subscriber may be tricky.
If you’re using 1ShoppingCart, Aweber or GetResponse, uploading a list containing new email addresses will trigger a “confirmation email” to be sent to those new subscribers.
Since you’re only updating existing subscribers’ data, you will have to do it by hand, one by one by manually searching for the subscribers whose address needs updating and then entering the new address directly.
However, if you’re using Constant Contact, and you have double opt-in turned off, you can upload your “new” and existing subscribers. If you accidentally upload some of the old subscribers who have opted out on line, that’s not going to be a problem since Constant Contact maintains a Do Not Mail list, and those addresses will not be added to your list.
This is an off line method of building your list, but you will be driving traffic to your web site, where your prospects can sign up. You will achieve best results if you can find a newspaper or magazine whose readership is your target market. For example, if you were a matchmaker you could place a classified ad in the “Personals” section of your local newspaper.
Bonus tip: Start small (i.e. cheap) to polish your ad, then work up to display ads which are more expensive.
Make sure you track the effectiveness of each of these marketing techniques. I recommend you use ad-tracking software, which allows you to assign a unique “ID” to each article, listing, or classified ad. This way you will be able to track your subscribers, see where they are coming from, how many are converting to clients, etc. This kind of information can help you eliminate marketing strategies that do not work, so that you can concentrate on the ones that do.
If you’d like to add ad-tracking features to your existing Email System Provider, I recommend HyperTracker.