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Find Out Where Your Email Subscribers Really Come From

When you log in to any analytics tool, for instance HitSniffer or Google Analytics (or both if you're a super geek like me) you're greeted with an overwhelming amount of data. Having this wealth of information at your fingertips is awesome, but it can also hinder you.

When it comes to analytics – less is more. And by less I'm talking about segmenting your visitors like there's no tomorrow.

I've written before about how to create custom segments in Google Analytics so I won't repeat that (only link to it) however in this post I want to show you how to not be mislead when it comes to seeing where your email subscribers really come from.

[Read more…]

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Targeted Email Marketing: 4 Steps To Making it Work

Targeted email marketingEmail marketing, not unlike most direct marketing efforts, will only work if you put some thought behind it. Not doing so will ensure whatever time and effort you did put in is wasted.

Think about the email you've received today. Chances are, there were a few that missed the mark. Maybe they got your name or industry wrong or they mentioned tradeshow season in July, when for you it starts in September. Untargeted email campaigns are, unfortunately, very common.

There’s good news: targeting your email campaigns is easier than ever because of the technology available. With some assistance and a good plan you can target your emails and get a better response rate.

First, start by segmenting your audience properly. If you’ve gone through the process of setting up an inbound marketing campaign via your website, you have already done this part. However, if not, then segmenting your audience into actionable groups like, “ready to buy” or “frequent website visitor” versus just “customer” is the first step. Ideally, these segments will be set-up artfully, in a way that allows you to speak directly to a specific segment with a specific message.

Second, know that all emails are not created alike. Be prepared to create more than one at a time. You just segmented your customers—it should be easy for you to see that “frequent website visitors” need to be communicated to differently than a list of targets you purchased and don’t know anything about.

Third, choose an email program that allows you fully leverage the work you did in the first two steps. Meaning, it should allow you to create multiple campaigns and audiences at any given time. Timing is an important part of targeted email marketing. If you do not have the capability to create a campaign on demand for a specific audience, you are losing the strength behind the immediacy of email.

Fourth, measure your email results each time. It’s not enough anymore to see who opened your email—you have to be able to see who clicked on each link, whether or not they forwarded the information to someone else, if they downloaded an attachment or visited your website.

Also important – who didn’t open your email? Were there any bounce-backs? This information is just as important as knowing where the click-through traffic occurred.  You should be checking and fixing these errors immediately after every campaign. Ideally, you want less than 10 percent of your database to generate errors.

While it is hard to give exact success percentages because each campaign is different; be it a large or small campaign—if you make a thoughtful effort to target your emails to specific audiences, regularly measure the results, and tweak the content and contact database based on the information your research turns up—you’ve taken steps in the right direction. A good marketing consultant will also be able to tell you what success looks like for you specifically.

Just keep in mind: it should work more often than not. Special circumstances notwithstanding a targeted email marketing campaign will generate leads and drive traffic to your website.

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Hit the Internet Running: 9 Email Marketing Tips to Get You Going

Emails arriving nicely

Emails arriving nicely

Everywhere I go and everyone I talk to seems to talking about one thing, email marketing. It's the rage! We love it and everyone  knows someone that's making oodles of money with it.  Sure we have some idea of how it's done, but we might not have the sophistication of the big guys. I've decided it's time to understand it better and am bringing you a few email marketing tips that are the culmination of hours of research.

Before I get to the tips, I want to say that it's important have a clear and well-defined strategy to reach your goals. You're  going to need Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software to collect and maintain customer data. These are not options, they're the foundation that allows you to build a successful email marketing campaign. So now for the tips…

Tip #1: In email marketing NOTHING is as easy as it seems.

I see some email marketing offers and say to myself, “WOW that's easy.” The truth be told, it's a easy to do, but challenging to do well. If you do it well and you stand to make tons of money. Do it poorly, ineffectively and without any strategy, and it could actually cost you a bundle.

Tip #2 : Beware of FREE.

Invest in the resources you need to build a platform of success. Plan to pay for the help you need and buy quality resources to get you in the game. The competition is fierce and unless you have some money behind you, or superior know how, you might not even get near the race, let alone in the winner's circle.

Tip #3 : Looking good.

When you get your landing pages designed, newsletter templates created and offer layouts completed, it's important to check it on other platforms. Send it to friends that use Macs and those running Unix operating system. Obviously, it should look good on all of them. This seems like a simple tip but I've seen many people be so wrapped up in those minute details that they skip this step. If you can't have a reasonably good design that looks right on the screen, your offer's virtually useless. Maybe it's time to seek professional development help.

Tip # 4 : Understand the customer.

Be sure to write an offer specifically with a customer in mind. Know who you are speaking to, what problems your trying to solve, and what questions they have. You'll have a better idea about this if you actually read their responses to your previous offers.

Tip #5 : All traffic is not created equally.

More traffic is good but the right traffic is better. Focus on those people who will fuel your bottom line. In order to attract more lucrative customers, you might want to increase your access to a larger pool. If so, it's time to hit the media. Having some articles published and appearing on a few news shows would undoubtedly increase your reach.

Tip #6 : Action!

A clear, easy to understand and right to the point call to action gets the best results. The simpler and more direct the better. Tell them exactly what you to do, when and how. “Click this button, NOW.”

Only add one call to action in each offer. Many email marketers report huge success by having the call to action appear in several places in the offer. The mistake some people make is to offer different call to actions in the same offer. Successful marketers know to repeat the SAME offer multiple times.

Tip # 7: Attention!

Once you have their attention, stay in front of them. Use your CRM to touch base on a regular schedule. Develop an email  marketing strategy to send out offers, invites and useful information to those on your list. The goal is to keep them engaged.

Tip # 8 : Spread the news

Newsletters are a good relationship development tool that helps email marketers engage current and potential customers. They incorporate many useful strategies including relationship marketing, information marketing, online marketing, and email marketing. They're great for increasing brand recognition and list building, Used properly, they're also a powerful opt-in tool.

Tip # 9 : Test and measure.

Those people who have made millions in the email marketing game have an unbelievable commitment to continuous improvement. They test then measure everything. This allows them to know what's working and what isn't immediately. They continue the test and measure cycle until they get it right, then start on something else. Without the test and measure cycle you won't know what's working and what isn't. If you don't know that, you won't be able to duplicate your successes or identify the cause of your failures.

I had lots of fun writing this blog. I hope you enjoyed it as well. I'm up for comment's, questions and to hear your thoughts. Thanks

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Finally True Personalized Marketing With Infusionsoft

New Paradigm

One of the holy grails a business can achieve is personalized marketing. Just because someone is interested in say blogging, doesn't necessarily mean they're interested in Twitter or LinkedIn. And this is where most email marketing systems fail services businesses.

If you offer more than one service or have a complex offering – something many entrepreneurs and small businesses do – then a single email sequence is going to send your leads information they don't want or care about. That can result in more unsubscribes – your lead numbers go down.

So what can you do to prevent this?

I'm not going to lie – it's non-trivial, and totally possible.

Failing With Email Marketing

Email marketing has never really worked for me. I offer multiple services, and trying to figure out how to better automate my sales process using email resulted in me slamming my head into a wall many, many times. Just when I thought I had a great sequence planned out that would take someone through the stages of keyword research, copywriting, search engine optimization, lead capture, analytics, and more, I hit a wall – I found some other part that was missing. Not to mention that the number of emails I would have to write would be enormous!

And frankly, I'd rather put the information on the blog here, for you, than in an email sequence that I may lose you in.

So what to do?

A Friend Lends A Hand

Years ago when I got into Internet Marketing there were a few big email marketing services that I knew about:

  • Constant Contact
  • MailChimp
  • AWeber
  • Infusionsoft

Contact Contact and MailChimp were used by many businesses, but the Internet Marketing crowd focused on AWeber and InfusionSoft. InfusionSoft was well out of my price range so I went with AWeber, and I've been using it ever since. But never in the way I wanted…

A Lesson From HubSpot

I was a HubSpot customer in early 2010 and learned a lot about inbound marketing from them. Frankly I think they have the best model of using content for lead generation. It goes a little something like this:

  1. They create a piece of content – guide, webinar, whatever
  2. They put that content behind an opt-in that has no automated sequence (the first big difference between most anything Internet Marketing)
  3. After you fill in the form you're contact record is entered into SalesForce and you're labeled as having requested that piece of content
  4. After some pre-determined combination or number of opt-in forms filled out, a sales person gives you a call or shoots you an email
  5. You're so sold on their method already that you become a customer.

Within 4 years they've amassed more than 4,000 customers and millions in funding from companies including SalesForce and Google. A single blog post can garner hundreds of tweets, Facebook shares, and LinkedIn shares.

Now, you don't need to be an MIT graduate to see how well that works.

I left HubSpot because I was able to duplicate many of their features using a combination of WordPress and online tools including email marketing (a feature they lacked when I was a customer and still isn't on their pricing page). But I've never been able to perform lead capture and nurturing to the level I wanted.

Until now…

Making The Switch To InfusionSoft

Patrick Allmond is a good friend of mine and we've been masterminding marketing goodness for months. At one point he signed up for InfusionSoft and promptly began teasing me with the level of tracking you can do with it.

Finally I heard enough and after he spent an hour showing me the app – doing the sales job for InfusionSoft – I signed up.

And it is awesome.

Links Mentioned

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The Greatest Failure Of The Autoresponder For Empire Builders

Email Pouring From ComputerUnless you're building one-topic niche sites or have a blog that laser focuses on just one specific aspect of your industry – a so-called micro-niche – then your email autoresponder is going to fail you, big time. The main reason? Inflexibility.

In case you aren't familiar with the term “autoresponder,” in email marketing jargon it's a series of emails automatically sent to a subscriber on an email list. The entire sequence is pre-written and each email is scheduled to go out at a certain interval. This is one of the top ways to do affiliate marketing, with the premise being:

  1. Get someone onto your email list by offering an ethical bribe such as an ebook in exchange for their email address, and the permission to send them messages
  2. Use an autoresponder to automatically email messages – some with pure content and some with sales messages – to the subscriber

In the case of affiliate offers, a sequence might coincide with the free ebook, and lead to a pitch for a larger paid version of the ebook. Here's a screenshot of a sequence I'm working on for one of my niche sites:

Rob Autoresponder Example

Oooh look at those classic email marketing subject lines!

Outside of Internet Marketing email lists take the form of newsletters and company updates, typically without the “auto” part.

It's nothing new – all of this has been around for years, and email isn't going anywhere as a popular form of communication, especially in business. But, and this is a big but, an email autoresponder, or any email list has a major flaw…

And Then Fail Happens

For many businesses, it's completely inflexible.

Let's pretend and say you're a business coach. As a business coach, how many aspects of someone's business do you help with? One, two, a metric-ton? For the coaches I've met and worked with it's more on the tonnage side. So how would you set up a autoresponder in this case?

Option #1 is to create a sequence that goes out for who knows how long and takes the person from one topic to another to another, covering various aspects of the business as you go.

Option #2 is to skip it altogether and send out emails on an on-going basis. This would provide fresh information, but it wouldn't be automated.

Neither of these options is appealing as you have a lot of other things to do. And what's more, it doesn't help in terms of measurable lead generation – knowing what information you're providing that people are most interested in.

So what to do?

The List Goes Bye Bye

It's time to transform that email list into something different. That something different needs to do three things:

  1. Provide multiple opt-in offers
  2. Track who opts in to what offer
  3. Scale up with your product and service offerings

And here's why.

Your business is multifaceted, but not everyone that comes across it wants the same information. Using the business coach example, some people might want advice about finance while others need sales training. If you presented a sales ebook to the former and a finance video the later, neither would sign up for your list – you are missing out on lead opportunities. And that's not good.

In upcoming posts you'll see how to set up system that meets all of the above criteria and more. But until then…

What Do You Think?

Are you using an email autoresponder in your business? Is it as flexible as you need it to be?

Let's talk about this below in the comments.

I'll see you there.

Find out how to connect with you next customer at the right time

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How To Track Email Marketing With Google Analytics

Email is a great tool for communication, marketing, and sales. When used effectively, it can generate not only additional traffic to your site, but also more long-term customers who will refer your business.

Getting people to your site and subscribed is one thing. Knowing which traffic methods convert best is another.

Do you know which are working for you?

Here’s how to use a combination of Google Analytics and AWeber to track email marketing efforts, and find out exactly where your email subscribers come from.

A Tale Of A Form And Two Pages

In order to set this all up, you’ll need to create a web form in AWeber. You do this by:

  1. Logging in to your account
  2. Selecting the list you want to create a form for
  3. Click on the Web Forms link in the main navigation
  4. Click the Create Web Form button
  5. The wizard will walk you through the steps of formatting the form

Here’s the very important part: in step 2, you want to use a custom page for the thank you page.

AWeber Custom Thank You Page

AWeber Custom Thank You Page

We’ll talk later about what specifically you want on that custom thank you page, but for now know that you should have one set up.

This is not our final landing page, but I want you to know what you need one of these if you’re serious about building your email lists.

So with the lecture out of the way, let’s look at the second page we need.

When you first set up your list, you have the option of creating a custom success page. If you don’t fill this out I think AWeber sends you to a thank you page that they created. Frankly I’m not sure as I’ve always had a success page, so don’t chance it.

This success page is the crucial page to have – it’s how we know if people are converting, and what we’ll use for our analytics.

Here’s how to set it up:

  1. Create a custom thank you page on your site and nicely thank the people for subscribing. Take note of the URL.
  2. Log into AWeber and select your list.
  3. In the main navigation, go to My Lists -> List Settings -> Confirmed Opt-In
  4. At the bottom add the URL of the page you just created

You should have something like this:

AWeber Succcess Page

AWeber Succcess Page

Now that we have that all in place, log in to your Google Analytics account and get ready to have a goal.

You Gots To Have Goals

AWeber does a great job of providing tons of metrics on our web forms – how many view it got, how many people subscribed to which one, split testing, and much more.

What it doesn’t tell us is specifically where those people come from. For that we turn to the omnipotent Google Analytics (GA).

After you log in to GA and select the site, click on Goals over there on the left.

Google Analytics Goals

Google Analytics Goals

Click on that link and once on the Goals Overview page click the Set Up Goals And Funnels link at the bottom.

On your profile page the goals section is in the middle, so not to fret if you don’t immediately see it. I clicked on the page a few times before I noticed it there, and then I made another cup of coffee. Anyhow…

Set up your first goal by clicking on the first one on the list.

The Goal Link

The Goal Link

I don’t get too fancy here when naming things so I’m just going to call name my goal newsletter signup. What a brainiac I am 😛

Leave active goal and the goal position alone for now, and select “URL Destination” for the Goal Type.

Under Goal Details change the match type to be Exact Match, and enter in the URL of your thank you page, the same URL that you put as your success page in AWeber.

Leave Case Sensitive unchecked, and if this goal is worth money to you, enter in a dollar figure.

Here’s what the full form looks like for me:

Google Analytics Goal Form Filled

Google Analytics Goal Form Filled

If you want to go ninja you can even create a goal funnel to see if people follow the exact path through your site to complete the signup. I typically leave this alone for most of my forms as I typically have my signup forms on the top right of every page.

No funnel fits that.

Once you have the form filled out click the save button and you’re good.

Recommendation: I highly recommend that you put the goals overview on your GA dashboard so it’s one of the first metrics you see whenever you log in.

It’s All About Conversions

I’m a big fan of metrics and I measure everything possible. With this set up not only do we see how our forms are converting, we can track back using Google Analytics to see which traffic sources generated more conversions.

And that’s what it’s all about – conversions of one form or another.

Once you start seeing conversions you’ll get a nice little chart like this one from one of my web apps:

Goals Overview

Goals Overview

But Where Are Conversions Coming From?

That would be good to know wouldn’t it.

To see what traffic sources are converting at what percentages do this:

  1. Click on the Traffic Sources link on the left inside GA
  2. Select All Traffic Sources
  3. Click on Goal Set 1 (or whatever goal you want)
  4. Observe the metrics goodness

Here’s what it looks like:

Traffic Sources And Conversions

Traffic Sources And Conversions

Sorry competitors I’m not going to tell you where my traffic comes from. NANA!!!!

Sorry…

So sort by Goal Conversion Rate to see which traffic sources convert the best.

Then you know what to do – more of what works.

AWeber + Google Analytics = Pure Awesome

I'm a fan of pure awesome, and this is it. Two very easy to use tools combine to help you truly see where your traffic is coming from, how well it's converting, and what elements work best to make those conversions happen.

I highly suggest you start doing this if you aren’t already. It took a total of 15 minutes to set this all up, and look what you get from that short amount of time.

So a question for you:

Question: how are you tracking your email conversions?

Let’s discuss it in the comments.