By Jon Rognerud
A practical "how-to" list for email marketing success, from small to large business.
Email marketing is easy (--ponder--) if you know how to do it. Wow, you have heard that one before, I'm sure. Is that not always the case - with almost anything? So, why even say it?
Because - in this case it is really true.
However, so many small businesses make it more complex than it is; they don't fully understand or grasp the impact of list building, what tools, services and techniques are available, and don't recognize what a successful campaign and its results can and will mean for their businesses.
We believe that a) simplicity of application, b) knowledge - and c) immediate action are the first steps to success. And, everything done in an ethical way - you got permission based marketing. Full speed ahead!
1. Get the legalities out of the way.
So, you should write and always provide a link to your privacy page. Starter text can be obtained from links below - and always make sure to review with your legal counsel for a final review. You will then include a link to it from your outgoing email campaigns.
Here are some places to start:
2. Your site must capture user via first name (last name) & email address.
Burn this into your head - make it your site requirement - day one. There are too many online businesses that forget this simple rule. It's a must. If you are reading this article, then you probably already realize the importance of mailing lists. Your audience is looking for good (relevant!) materials to solve problems in their life and business. Capture these visitors, and continue to provide this information and free information, you can grow your business by 1000% or more almost overnight, in some cases in any future mailing. It's super-important to have - and build a quality mailing list.
On your 'landing page' (sometimes called a sales page, gateway page, squeeze page, splash page) you should try to include this capture form on the "top of the fold" of your webpage. (Think of this as single sheet of paper, folded in half. The visitors will read the top portion first, from left to right - almost in an F-shaped order).
Therefore, make sure you:
Place this input form in a strategic location, "above the fold"
Make this coding your first priority for implementation - don't make it the last - or never (which many companies do)
3. Example Signup forms.
Search the internet for example sign up forms. A great technique is to look for companies that have this in their URL. Try this in Google (type into search box): allinurl: "free newsletter" (it will search any site that has this contained in the TITLE of the page).
Some examples of successful forms:
http://www.redhotcopy.com/workshop.htm - using interesting "slanted" pop-under and image (a black/white banana)
Note that you should always apply "up selling" techniques: links to other complimentary tools, software, articles & e-books.
In other words, give something away for free.
4. Popups, popunders, popup blockers & search engines.
Traditional popups (yes, the annoying ones) are banned from search engines like Google.
As of writing, you should use a pop-up box, and capture first name, last name & email. Don't make it an intrusive one though (it needs to follow your style sheet guidelines, in other words). Another way to go is to use what's called 'house-banners' -- ads that display compelling graphics, text - and uses your own local advertising system (example: double-click).
Here's what to do to capture interested visitors:
Apply a page that "slides" onto your page, and have it appear after 5 seconds.
Display this email form capture on all pages.
Only show it once, and only repeat 2-3 days later (assuming they come back). Many of the email marketing systems include this feature for you.
Annoying, but it works. I went from 5% signups a day a 75% increase overnight - only a few weeks back.
Tip: Make a note that the popup is from your site- not a partner site. (sometimes popups are thought to be from sponsors, make a note to your visitor that it's from you).
5. Do you have a newsletter you are trying to promote? Up-sell is the answer!
If you are promoting a newsletter, outside of just getting visitors to sign up, there are 3rd parties vendors that can help you publish and sell your newsletter. Throughout all campaigns, you must make sure to provide useful, relevant and unique content.
Some options for you:
Coregcomplete.com - get signups on thank you pages of other subscription forms this is a great way to promote your wares
Partner with companies you find, and call them up. Search for 'newsletter publishers' in Google.
When you write articles (yes, you should) - make sure to make a note in the "About Author" that you publish or have newsletters available.
TIP/Warning: Beware of commercial co-regs -- they typically have poor quality names and offers.
Jon Rognerud is a recognized authority on the subject of SEO and Online Marketing, and has spent over 10 years developing websites and marketing solutions for companies like Overture, Yahoo and Expedia.
His website, Los Angeles Search Marketing at http://www.microsaw.com, provides a wealth of informative articles, resources and complimentary email courses on everything you will ever need to know about SEO and Search Marketing. He lives with his family in Southern California.
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