To really get the most out of your e-mail newsletter, you have to use certain techniques. ¬†There’s much more to it than just sending one out.
So what do you do? ¬†Follow these tips and everything’ll be okay:
1. ¬†Give your readers what they want. ¬†Vertical Response reports that Nielsen Norman Group survey results indicated more than 40% of respondents wanted to learn work-related news or company actions, be informed more about their personal hobbies and interests, learn about important events and deadlines, and of course, get special offers and discounts.
2. ¬†The goal of your newsletter should be to inform. ¬†If you want to discuss a promotion, either mention it casually at the end of your newsletter, or send a separate e-mail specifically for your promotion. ¬†Today, people want to feel that person-to-person connection with businesses, rather than being “sold to” all the time.
If you take time to nurture the relationship, eventually people will purchase from you. ¬†However, you just have to accept that day might not be today.
3. ¬†Make your newsletter simple and authentic. ¬†This isn’t the time to state your doctoral thesis. ¬†Businesses used to have a boring, formal approach. ¬†That comes from the business era from the 1950s – 1990s, but that doesn’t work for today’s average consumer.
Your newsletter should be addressed from the same person, or handful of people, every time. ¬†That way, when people get an e-mail from Joe Smith at Company X, they think, “Oh yeah. ¬†I like Joe. ¬†He’s a nice guy. ¬†I wonder what he has to say today?”
It’s okay to have a sense of humor, if that’s what fits your company. ¬†Just make sure you are consistent in your approach.
4. ¬†Developing a personality helps you stand out. ¬†How many millions of websites have you visited in your lifetime? ¬†Did you ever notice that for business websites, about 99% of them sound exactly the same? ¬†You could basically change the name, and the personality they have on their website would be very similar.
Having a sense of humor or some sort of personality that differentiates you from others is the core of successful newsletter marketing.
If you aren’t confident in your ability to write an original personality, then you can always hire a professional freelance writer.
5. ¬†Give your readers something for free. ¬†Hubspot regularly offers you something for free in its email newsletter. ¬†Its audience is marketers, so it creates free PowerPoint, infographic, and content calendar templates (and much more) that it distributes regularly.
However, you have to really know your market well, so take the time to get to know their needs (if you don’t already) and build something they can use for free.
So if you want to get more out of your newsletter, then that’s how you do it. ¬†Which tip could you implement? ¬†Let us know in the comments below:
Many small businesses struggle with the “me too” syndrome. ¬†You might think yours is different by being “full service,” but that’s not really being different.
It’s a crowded, hyperconnected world out there – so how do you truly stand out from the crowd?
1. ¬†Talk about the Same Thing in a Different Way
Your website design should have a truly unique theme to it. ¬†How many millions of websites have you clicked through in your lifetime, only to realize they all basically look the same (or at least most do)?
Doughnuts are in general pretty much the same thing over and over again, right? ¬†Voodoo Doughnuts, even though they’re the same sugary thing on the inside, look way different on the outside. ¬†Because they’re doing the same thing in a much, much different way, Voodoo Donuts keeps long lines of customers even until very late hours (2 AM).
Let that serve as your inspiration to truly do the same thing in a whole new way.
2. ¬†Use Copy with Personality
Besides graphic design, you should have a unique online personality too. ¬†It really takes the skills of a professional copywriter to develop written language that stands out from the crowd.
Instead of the same-old boring “professional” tone most businesses use, add a little bit of personality. ¬†You can choose your own! ¬†You could go for these types of approaches:
The important thing is to pick a personality that your market really wants to hear. ¬†99.9% of all businesses have the same old boring language on their websites.
3. ¬†Maintain Consistency Across all Channels
And better yet, if you can maintain that consistency from the digital world and extend it into your physical store or customer service departments – wow that makes a great impression. ¬†If you used a Western slang personality, make sure your customer service reps use that language in their customer interactions.
Can you see how this would make your business that much more interesting, even if you do the exact same thing as 1000 other businesses?
4. ¬†Constantly Monitor Your Brand Perception
This isn’t easy, and especially so if you are a small business. ¬†But, when you interact with your customers in person, ask them how they view your company. ¬†If they purchase, ask them why they did that. ¬†Send out surveys in your e-mail.
Do whatever it takes to really keep your fingers on the pulse of your market and their perception of your brand. ¬†Then you can learn how to talk to them in person and in copy.
And guess what? ¬†They’ll purchase more from you because they realize you understand what’s really going on with them.
There’s much more to getting your brand to stand out online, but that’s it for starters.
What else do you think would help? Let us know in the comments below:
Wow, it’s hard to believe we’re almost to the end of the year here! ¬†It’s flow by so fast. ¬†With that in mind, we’d like to take a look at the history of Thanksgiving Day, which often gets lost amidst the business of our lives and the chaotic Black Friday.
How it All Started
Dismayed with the state of European religious affairs in 1620, the Mayflower, which carried 102 passengers we now know as the Pilgrims took off for Plymouth, England for the mouth of the Hudson River. ¬†The treacherous trip took 66 days, and the Pilgrims ended up landing much farther north than they wanted at Cape Cod.
Winter back then wasn’t pleasant. ¬†Most of the Pilgrims remained aboard the ship, where they remained exposed to the cold winter. ¬†Scurvy (caused by a lack of vitamin C) and outbreaks of contagious disease plagued the Pilgrims.
About half of the original 102 inhabitants lived to see the Spring.
During the thaw of Spring, the survivors finally made their way to shore, where they were greeted by an Abenaki Indian who spoke English (almost sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it?). ¬† The Indian returned later on with Squanto, a member of the Pawtuxet tribe.
Squanto showed the starved and diseased Pilgrims how to grow corn, extract maple sap, fish, and identify poisonous plants. ¬†He also helped them become friends with the Wampanoag tribe, an alliance that would last 50 years. ¬†Sadly, it remains one of the few such alliances between European Colonists and a Native American tribe.
Finally, in November of 1621, after the Pilgrims harvested their first crop of corn, Governor William Bradford invited several Native American allies to a celebratory feast. ¬†Massasoit, chief of the Wampanoag, was among the attendees.
The feast lasted for three days. ¬†Deer meat was the primary meat available. ¬†Even though we celebrate Thanksgiving with pies, cakes, and desserts, the Pilgrims had virtually no sugar available so they likely had little of these foods at their feast.
How Thanksgiving Became a National Holiday…Eventually
The Pilgrims held a second celebration in 1623 after a long drought (they just didn’t get it easy, did they?). ¬†Throughout the rest of the New England area, thanksgiving celebrations like the one the Pilgrims held became commonplace.
The Continental Congress,which governed the US during the American Revolution, assigned a few days of thanksgiving each year. ¬†In 1789, George Washington officially proclaimed a day of Thanksgiving, which celebrated our country’s independence and signing of the Constitution.
New York became the first state, in 1817, to adopt an annual Thanksgiving holiday. ¬†In 1827, Sarah Joseph Hale (the author of “Mary Had a Little Lamb”) began a national campaign to establish an official Thanksgiving holiday. ¬†After 36 years of sending hundreds of letters to governors, senators, presidents, and other influential individuals, her request was finally honored by Abraham Lincoln in 1863.
What are You Thankful For?
There’s more history in this holiday than you thought, and the Pilgrims sure had it a lot rougher than we do today. ¬†Even though you may have some stresses going on in your life now, you have some good things happening too.
What are you thankful for in life right now? ¬†Let me know in the comments below:
In terms of value for the dollars you spend, no internet marketing tactic gives you a better ROI than e-mail marketing. ¬†It can take a while to build a list, but once you get it going, there’s no better customer than the pre-qualified leads you find in your e-commerce list.
Here are some tips to help you get more clicks in your e-mail:
1. ¬†Test the Living Heck out of Subject Lines
“John’s Plumbing December Newsletter” won’t get a ton of clicks. ¬†People want to know what’s in it for them. ¬†Start at least with something that tells people what they’re going to get by reading the e-mail.
Special offers work well. ¬†Also, make sure you indicate the e-mail is from the same source each and every time, and preferably an individual at your company (perhaps you). ¬†Personal connections sell better than ever, and if people feel like it’s you personally interacting with them, they’re going to buy more.
Better yet, encourage them to contact you directly, and when they do, address their concerns as best as you can.
2. ¬†Get all Your Social Sharing Icons in Your E-mail
Not only do these icons make your e-mail easier to share, they also build a heck of a lot more trust too. ¬†The more social sharing options you offer in your newsletter, the better click-through rates you get once people read your e-mail.
3. ¬†Segment Your List
Not everyone who subscribes to your list wants to hear the same thing. ¬†Instead of doing that, figure out who your market segments are and offer them multiple options for subscribing to your list.
Instead of getting stuff that annoys them, they’ll get what they want to hear from you. ¬†You’ll get more transactions, more leads, and better revenue once you have a firm grasp on your market segments.
4. ¬†Speaking of Personalization…
When you write your e-mail, make sure you include their first name at least a couple times throughout. ¬†That way, they feel like you are writing directly to them. ¬†In addition, make sure the offer is targeted toward the customer’s purchase history. ¬†They’ll be more likely to purchase again if you give them a relevant offer.
5. ¬†Focus on One Goal in Each E-mail
What is the one thing you want your customer to do in this e-mail? ¬†If you want them to make a purchase, create a killer call-to-action and explain all the details of the offer.
But stop right there!
Don’t include your website navigation or anything else. ¬†All the other fluff serves as a distraction.
Get it Down to a Science…
The internet is all about precision marketing, so no matter what you do, be it e-mail marketing or something else, make sure you test every little detail out. ¬†Small changes, like capitalizing a word, can dramatically increase your profits.
This blog article at least gives you a starting reference point for making changes to improve your profits.
It’s hard to keep the wheels of creativity turning, and sometimes you need a little help. ¬†So we’ve decided to present to you a few different content ideas to keep things fresh and interesting for your visitors:
1. ¬†List Posts
This is the most common type of post you’ll see on our blog. ¬†People like the predictability of a list post. ¬†You know you’re going to get 10, 7, or 5 items, for example.
2. ¬†Do an E-mail Interview
Hey – these are easy to do. ¬†All you do is ask questions and then present the entire interview on your blog. ¬†Best of all, it saves time and hassle because you don’t have to coordinate a time to discuss. ¬†And, if the person you’re interviewing has a blog of their own, you can ask them to promote it on their own blog, which gets yours traffic.
It’s a simple way you can use to get new, engaging content and targeted traffic.
3. ¬†Do a Q&A
Write down the most frequently asked questions by your customers, and then answer them in your blog. ¬†Not only is it interesting content, but when people ask those questions again in the future, you can send them to your blog post.
For maximum effectiveness, research the questions in Google Adwords and use the same wording as keyword searches. ¬†At least some of your questions should be used as keyword searches in Google.
4. ¬†Provide a List of Resources
If you run a blog about e-commerce, give your readers a list of all the various tools that help you market your e-commerce website. ¬†Make the list incredibly extensive so that it serves as basically the ultimate guide on the topic. ¬†That will make it both interesting and sharable via social media.
5. ¬†Create an Ultimate Product Usability Guide
For hot-selling products, create a guide that shows every possible function, feature, and use for a particular product. ¬†How many e-commerce websites do you think really do this?
That’s right, you’ll be one of the only ones, and that makes you stick out a ton online.
6. ¬†Create a Video
If you’re on a small budget, you don’t have to spend thousands on a video. ¬†A simple webcam or smartphone video will do. ¬†As long as the picture quality is decent and the audio clear, you’re okay.
Give customers a behind-the-scenes look at your company. ¬†Show them unique uses for a product, or features they might not necessarily know about.
The ways you can build content into your website are nearly limitless. ¬†Make sure your readers will love the content, and Google will too.
More than 2 million blog posts are written every day! ¬†So how do you get yours to stand out from the crowd?
It’s not easy, but there is a methodology to it. ¬†Here’s what I do to set my blog articles apart from the rest:
1. ¬†Understand the Standard Convention
Most people think a blog article is 350-500 words long because that’s all most people are willing to read. ¬†That’s true – but only if your content is boring and disinteresting.
Most blog articles are around that length, and most contain very vague, generic information. ¬†This includes blog articles even on very big-name websites.
Now that you understand the standard blog article, you can write something a little different…
2. ¬†Develop an Amazing Title
“How to…” and list posts “5 Tips for…” are the go-to titles to use if you can’t think of anything else creative. ¬†To get people’s attention, however, it helps to stray even farther outside of that realm. ¬†Start a blog post like this: ¬†”Warning: ¬†5 Things Never to do with [Product Name]” or “The Ultimate Guide to: [Something important to your customers].”
Keep a list of these titles to refer back to later on. ¬†Feel free to take titles from other blogs you love to read and adapt them to your own blog. ¬†It’s perfectly okay to do, as long as you don’t plagiarize the entire article.
3. ¬†Make Your Post the Best One Out There on the Topic
If you sell football memorabilia, write a post on “The Ultimate Guide to Avoiding Fake Memorabilia.” ¬†But don’t just say it in the title – follow through with the concept in your article. ¬†Use pictures to show people what to look for. ¬†Give them statistics showing which items are the most commonly faked.
Don’t be afraid to write 1000 – 2000 words. ¬†As long as you make the content interesting, people will read it, regardless of length. ¬†And guess what? ¬†They’ll link to it too because it really is one of the best resources available on its topic online (free SEO).
You can enhance the authority of your post farther by citing other leading sources in your niche that others recognize. ¬†Google loves those external links as well because it views that as something a reputable website would do.
4. ¬†Don’t Forget a Call to Action
Throughout your post, make sure you link to products you can purchase. ¬†A good guideline to not scare away readers involves linking to your products about once every 500 words or so. ¬†That way they won’t think you’re just trying to write the post to sell.
And since you included links to relevant external sources, that builds credibility too.
Also, if you have other blog posts on similar topics your readers might want to check out, link to that at the end. ¬†Do everything in your power to keep them on-site without being obnoxious about it.
Do That, And the Rest Takes Care of Itself
If you follow the maxim of “providing the most incredibly valuable blog post available online,” then you’ll be okay. ¬†Don’t worry too much about the details. ¬†Your audience will love you and purchase from you, and Google will too!
On the web, you can measure as much or as little data as you want. ¬†Measure too much, and you spend all of your time calculating instead of driving real business value. ¬†Measure too little and you don’t get the insights you need to make better decisions.
So what in the heck do you measure?
For starters, you should check these things:
1. ¬†Bounce rate: ¬†This is the number of “one-and-dones.” ¬†These individuals either visited your website and left immediately, or visited just a single page and left right away thereafter. ¬†A good number is somewhere between 40-60%.
Take action: ¬†If your bounce rate is too high, that means your content isn’t in-depth enough, or it doesn’t speak properly to the people landing on that page. ¬†Write your content as detailed as it possibly can be, and include calls-to-action either to buy or to continue shopping elsewhere on your site.
2. ¬†Conversion rate: ¬†This is the number of people that take your desired action. ¬†Conversion rates can be things like newsletter signups, purchases, downloads of a white paper etc… ¬†Conversion rates vary by industry, but average is around 1%. ¬†2-3% or even more should be your goal.
Take action: ¬†If this number isn’t where you want it to be, you’ll have to research your market more. ¬†Consider what benefits they want from your products and services and discuss those in depth. ¬†Make sure those benefits appear in your headlines.
3. ¬†Revenue per landing page: ¬†Landing pages are targeted at particular market segments. ¬†Not only can you learn how much revenue each page drives, but you can understand what causes each market segment to buy.
Take action: ¬†If you’re not getting the revenue you want from your landing pages, that means you’re not telling your market segment what it really wants to hear in order to buy. ¬†Again, research your market segments, and make sure your landing pages clearly communicate your benefits. ¬†Analyze competitor websites to determine how they sell your market.
4. ¬†Avg. ¬†Time on Site: ¬†This number should be around 1:30 seconds – 2:00 minutes.
Take Action: ¬†If it’s substantially lower than that metric, then again you may not know your market as well as you think. ¬†You can also improve on-site time by adding diverse forms of content, ¬†as well as calls to action to continue reading or browsing other products and services.
5. ¬†% New Visits: ¬†For new sites, this number should be 75% or more in the early months. ¬†Once your site’s more established in people’s minds and the search engines, it will fall a little.
Take Action: ¬†If you’re not getting many new visits, it means your organic search marketing efforts aren’t working as well as they should be, and word-of-mouth isn’t spreading well. ¬†Focus on optimizing your website for more keywords, and make sure it’s the best, most in-depth stuff around. ¬†By making your website the best place it can be in your niche, you’re bound to attract new visitors.
If you don’t have these measured or set up in your analytics, make sure you measure and check them now. ¬†The sooner you understand what’s going, the sooner you can increase your conversion rate and get more revenues flowing.
Will it work or not?
That’s what most customers are wondering when they’re considering using your products or services. ¬†Fortunately, there are a number of techniques you can employ in order to reduce their risk and get them to buy.
It’s important to remember that you follow through when you say things to reduce their risk. ¬†Otherwise, your customers will feel cheated if things don’t work out, and that’s not good for your reputation.
1. ¬†Offer a money-back guarantee. ¬†When your customers are viewing your product or service, make it clear there’s no risk for them if the product doesn’t help them like they wanted. ¬†Say, “If you’re not happy with this product for any reason, return it within 30 days of purchase, and you’ll get a full refund.”
That way, they can only win.
2. ¬†Give a free trial. ¬†Let your customers access your digital products for a limited time, and completely for free. ¬†Better yet, don’t require any credit card information for signing up. ¬†Don’t disable any features – you want them to get a really good feel for how your product works.
3. ¬†Don’t require credit card information until it’s time to purchase. ¬†Will you really not bill your customers once their free trial ends? ¬†They’re still not sure, even if you say you won’t. ¬†Don’t require their credit card information until they actually make the purchase.
4. ¬†Use live chat. ¬†If your customers aren’t sure about something, then give them the opportunity to alleviate their concerns by speaking with your staff. ¬†But, make sure you have someone staffing the live chat 24/7, and put it only on your checkout page (not every page of your website).
Social proof. ¬†Use logos of your clients (with their permission), as well as logos of the BBB and other industry associations of which you are a part. ¬†The more, the better. ¬†And make sure you use a broad array of logos from big and small companies. ¬†Different customers trust different companies.
What about Abusive Customers?
Of course, your concern is, “If I offer a money-back guarantee, won’t someone buy a bunch of my products and ask for refunds all the time?”
You can bet there will be one or more individuals who do this. ¬†When it happens, follow the “Rule of 2.” ¬†The first time, they could have bought something they didn’t expect or that simply wasn’t up to their standards. ¬†The second time, they could be engaging in abusive behavior, but who knows, maybe it happened again.
But stop the refunds for that particular customer there!
Enjoy Higher Conversions
Now that you’ve reduced perceived risk in the eyes of your customers, you’ll make more sales. ¬†But don’t forget to A/B test everything…every website is different, and you’ll have to learn precisely what works at your own.
Before the internet, radio and television ads aimed at a broad mass of people. ¬†It wasn’t a personal experience by any means, but it worked during those times.
In the 2010s and beyond, people want a personal experience whenever they interact with companies because that’s what technology allows for.
Here are a few ways you can give your online store a more personal feel:
1. ¬†Reminder visitors about their abandoned shopping carts. ¬†2 out of every 3 shopping carts are abandoned. ¬†Collect your customer’s email addresses and send them 2-3 reminder emails that they abandoned their cart. ¬†You’ll be sure to make more customers, and more sales.
2. ¬†E-mails should be addressed to their first name. ¬†Plus, once your customers are actually reading the content of the e-mail, their name should appear once or twice in the content. ¬†It feels like you are talking directly with them, not a large company talking down to them.
3. ¬†Use custom landing pages. ¬†Once you know more about your various market segments, make sure you customize landing pages specifically for each.
4. ¬†Customize your content to your buyer persona. ¬†All the copy on your website shouldn’t read like generic stuff that could go on any website. ¬†Instead, it should be directly targeted to your buyer persona, giving it a more personal feel.
5. ¬†Give your visitors power in your company’s operations. ¬†An example of this would be to allow them to decide which items you will be selling next. ¬†Not only is it more personal, but you get free market research too!
6. ¬†Get as much customer feedback as possible. ¬†Offer surveys, let them review products, or just give them a call every once in a while after they purchase. ¬†Whatever you do, you’re sure to make the experience feel more personal.
7. ¬†Use gamification. ¬†Americans love to accomplish things, and what better way to give them that feeling than by gamifying ¬†your website? ¬†They get instant rewards for interacting with your website and the opportunity to compete with and get ahead of other visitors.
8. ¬†Add a video with customer testimonials. ¬†Once you know your customer’s profile, add a video with someone matching that profile discussing how your company’s products and services helped them improve their lives.
9. ¬†Customize your marketing messages by channel. ¬†Who uses your website, social media channels, blog, and reads your e-mail newsletter? ¬†The demographics will be different for each. ¬†So, make sure you learn those differences and customize the messaging appropriately.
Mistakes are the stepping stone to success. ¬†Everybody makes them, but by watching the mistakes others make, you can save yourself time and money by avoiding them yourself.
Here are some of the most common mistakes and what to do about them:
1. ¬†Hiding Your Contact Information
Your customers need to have multiple easy ways to contact you. ¬†Your phone number, email, and/or contact form should be easily visible on any page.
2. ¬†Your Site Isn’t Friendly to all Major Browsers
No browser fully controls the market yet. ¬†A good percentage of people still use Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, and Google Chrome. ¬†Unfortunately, they all have their quirks. ¬†Make sure your website’s design looks perfect in all three.
3. ¬†Your Site Loads Slow
Load time is most important on your home page because that’s the page where most people land first. ¬†But, it’s not something to ignore at any of your other pages either. ¬†You should have a Google Pagespeed score of 90 or better for both mobile and desktop visitors.
4. ¬†Not Enough Product Information
We’ve discussed how to write effective product descriptions before. ¬†However, after you include the benefits, it’s still important to include the facts. ¬†In a physical store, customers can view the label. ¬†You still have to include that information later on in the product description.
5. ¬†Requiring an Account to Make Orders
Web users do not like this one bit. ¬†They don’t want yet another obstacle in their path to making an order. ¬†Your site needs to have a cookie that allows them to put items in their shopping cart. ¬†Give them the option to create an account after signing up instead. ¬†Your bottom line will thank you for it.
6. ¬†Poor Customer Service
Remember, most customers think they put their customers first, but they don’t in reality. ¬†Providing exceptional customer service by listening to customer concerns and successfully resolving is a great differentiator in the marketplace. ¬†Make sure you use something live so you can resolve their problem now. ¬†Use live chat or a phone number to provide that service.
¬† 7. ¬†Using Non-Targeted URLs
Your URLs should not be a mess of characters and numbers. ¬†They should be clean, descriptive, show the user where they are on the site, and include your keyword. ¬†That makes for a great experience for your users and Google.
8. ¬†Inadequate Site Search Engine
Your users should be able to easily search for any products on your site with a search engine. ¬†Yes, they can use Google to find stuff on your site. ¬†But, they won’t go to Google and come back to your site. ¬†Instead, they’ll leave and never come back.
Clean These Mistakes Up And Watch the Sales Roll In…
It really is that easy. ¬†You’ll always be fine-tuning your website, but you can take care of some of these mistakes right away and save yourself a ton of time and money in the long run.