Thursday, May 31, 2012

What's Your Social Currency Worth?

What's your social currency worth?

Your social currency is the value of your social networking influence. That is, how many of your friends trust you? And how deep is that trust within your friends' networks?

I've been doing some lurking on the various social networks lately, and noticing that I average about 2000 friends or followers on the most popular social networks. My Klout score is 56, and Pinterest members love my photos and repin them often.

But what does that mean?

How many of those social networking 'friends' actually trust me enough to buy from me if I promote something? How many of them will reach out to me if they need me to photograph their event (I also do event photography--family reunions, school reunions, parties, etc.)? Your social currency is the depth of influence your words, your status updates reach into your friends, your friends'-friends' networks.

Case in point, my sister in law Cathy, has a cooking business. She caters meals to local schools and sells lunches to hungry workers who have a taste for fine, healthy foods. She charges $5 per meal and does really well. I know because whenever she posts a picture of the meals for sale on any particular day, because I am subscribed to her updates, my smartphone blows up! My battery dies quickly from all the responses and orders she gets from hungry Facebook members. Even people who don't live in the St. Louis, Missouri area respond and ask things like can you "FedEx my order?" The responders are not just her friends, they are my friends, friends of friends of other friends. Cathy has a high social currency, her value is great.

That's because she has responded to a need, that is to eat, at a low price ($5) and she has great pictures to showcase her work. Now, Facebook helps her too, because each time someone posts something, whether it is a compliment on the food itself or the fact that a particular friend wishes they could get to St. Louis to enjoy the food, it is shared on that persons' page and all their friends see it too.

How far do your status updates reach?

My sister in law Cathy is a textbook example that social networking works, and she is using it the way it was intended to be used.

Let's go over the steps again:

1. She creates an affordable product 2. She stimulates emotion and desire by posting clear, engaging photos 3. She makes it accessible and easy to obtain

Notice any common denominators here? Ease of use, easy to get to, good to look at, appeal to emotion--the natural desire to eat, and networking.

Yes, good old fashioned networking still lives on Facebook and in social media networking.

If you want to take a look at what my sister does, click here for a look at the photos she posts on my page (by the way, she doesn't even have a Fan Page!)

Sometimes you can look far and wide and still not find your niche, then if you look in your backyard (or in the case of my sister in law, the kitchen), you can find a gold mine. What are you doing to increase your social currency and how much is it worth?

What do Free Reports, Whitepapers Have to do with Email Marketing?

Free Reports, Whitepapers and Email Marketing

As you've probably noticed I give away free reports each time you come to my blog. Partly because I want you to subscribe, but mainly because these reports are smart, relevant documents. If you read them sometime, you might just learn something. But, everywhere you go, every blog you visit, someone is giving something away, some kind of ebook that will help you become a better marketer, or a free report that will show you how to make $10,000 in one hour.

Well, I don't have those kind of pie in the sky offers, I'm more realistic than that. I have made lots of money online, never $10,000 in one hour, but I have made $6k -$7K in one month for over three years (2008-2011) using CPA marketing. It is not unrealistic, it can be done, if you understand the needs of people. Giving people what they want, when they want it is a trick that most marketers have not learned. Usually internet marketers remind most people of the used car salesman with greasy hair and a cheap suit, and quite frankly, people don't buy from that guy, and they won't buy from you either if you're that kind of marketer.

It's important to understand who your reader is, what they want, what they're looking for, and give it to them. My thinking is, two car salesman will not make any money if they are only trying to sell cars to one another. There are so many legitimate ways to make an income online, that it is not necessary to fall for scams and schemes. Blogging is one of the first ways to make money online just by including Google Adsense or other affiliate offers within the real estate of the blog and relying on traffic to earn an income for you.

However, most people won't click on an ad unless they find that ad of value or benefit to them. Remember, buying is an emotional action, and even though you're online advertising, people still respond to something that looks like them, acts like them, something they can relate to. That's why when you offer eboooks, free reports or whitepapers to people make sure you are giving the right audience the right product at the right time. Even so much as understanding the buying phase that reader is in, because let's face it, we're all consumers and we all make purchases everyday. The trick is understanding where that customer is in their 'buying cycle.'

I offer whitepapers and free reports from RevResponse. Why? Because they keep me from having to create an ftp product for download, and because these papers are well written by professionals like HubSpot, InfusionSoft, and other major companies. These companies are reputable, creditable and have enormous insight into internet marketing. I read and download many of them because it gives me a different perspective on online marketing as well as how I should do things. Basically, these whitepapers teach me how to market on the internet. I learned email marketing by reading what the major email clients like SendStream, Vertical Response and Aweber do to attract large clients. And you should too. So, the next time you visit my site, sign up for a free download and get a report or whitepaper. The first thing we must do is learn how to market on the internet and from what I've seen most internet marketers don't have a clue what they're doing. Many are just signing up for affiliate programs, and posting links on social media sites hoping for a sale. That's not marketing. Instead, that is like standing on a corner shouting at traffic as it goes by hoping someone will stop and listen to what you have to say.

So grab a free report or whitepaper, and don't be afraid to know what you don't know. You'll become more successful that way.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Track That Email Like A Bloodhound!

Conversion Rate Improvement Strategies When you send out a marketing email do you track it? Do you track it in real-time? Are you making note of the open-rate and the link-click rate? If you aren't doing those things then you need to start and you need to start yesterday!

Are you sending the same marketing email to your entire list? Is there just one email you send and it goes to every name on your list no matter what their age or reasons for buying the product might be? If you are doing that, you need to stop and you need to stop yesterday!

Behind each and every name and email address on your mailing list is a real live person. You will have people of different ages and who are at different points in their lives.

For example; you may have young mothers with small children, middle aged men or women who have been the victims of company down-sizing, as well as, older people who have retired from their professional lives.

Each of these groups of people may be interested in buying the product that you are promoting but they will be interested for different reasons. Maybe your product will save time.

That point will be important to both the young mothers and the middle ages people but it won't matter much to the older people. Maybe it has features that are interesting and useful.

Interesting and useful will be the main selling point for older people. Direct your message to the hearts and minds of the individuals you are selling to.

Track each and every email marketing campaign. Find out what is working, as well as, what isn't working. It could be that when you send out a marketing email there are many link-clicks.

That will be one that worked. It could also be that when you send out a marketing email you have a larger than usual opt-out rate. Don't do that one again.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Email Marketing Strategy: Ask For Permission Again

(it just might teach you something!)

Since most of us are using email marketing in conjunction with social media marketing, it is only fitting that we change the way we format our emails. In the past, emails were just marketing messages designed to make a sale, or create awareness. These emails still do that, however, the way we present the information has evolved. With the current trend of email based social media messaging, today’s email marketer must write content that favors engagement, that is, email messages that are designed to draw participation from the reader.

Engagement metrics the use of has been shown to improve email marketing revenue and email deliverability. You can do this by reducing or eliminating the amount of emails sent to inactive subscribers while increasing the amount of email messages sent to your most active subscribers.

“For instance, travel site Orbitz used a 3-email re-permission series to clean out subscribers who hadn’t opened or clicked in more than six months. Three percent said they wanted to continue receiving emails, 2% said they didn’t, and 95% didn’t respond. “We removed that 2% plus the 95% and all of our deliverability problems magically disappeared,” said Ted Wham, vice president of customer relationship marketing at Orbitz” {Engagement Based Emailing}.

Using this tactic, think of a re-permission series as a poll; you’re simply asking your subscribers do they want to continue to receive email marketing messages from you. This form of honest engagement with your email subscribers will allow you to clean up your email subscriber list, while also rediscovering inactive subscribers who may still want to receive your message, but stopped reading them because you started sending messages that were no longer valid to them. An email re-permission series challenges the email marketer to consistently create relevant content in order to stay top of mind for email list subscribers.

What email re-engagement strategies do you use? Share with us, we’d like to know!
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Tuesday, May 22, 2012

How does CAN-SPAM affect email marketing?

CAN SPAM and You

SPAM got to be such a major problem for so many people in this country that Congress actually had to do something about it. There was a lot of discussion (as well as just cussin) and email marketers were really afraid of what would happen to their businesses when this act was passed in 2003. There was, however, some lead time and email marketers set up opt-in lists to use rather than just sending our bulk unsolicited emails. It turned out that the CAN SPAM act was actually a blessing to legitimate email marketers.

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The ones that got hurt were the unscrupulous ones who sent out that awful porn and sexually explicit type emails to unsuspecting recipients when the act became the law of the land in January of 2004.

Before CAN SPAM, most people would find hundreds of emails in the inboxes each and every day. The ones from their friends and families were buried somewhere in the pile of unsolicited bulk emails. The emails from their friends and families, as well as, those from legitimate email marketers were all lumped together in one huge stack and people were far less than happy with the situation. The law that made email marketers create opt-in lists has actually turned out to be a very good thing. The emails that are sent are sent only to those who want to get them and are most likely to act on the messages included in them.

Of course, everybody still gets at least some SPAM everyday or almost everyday. The SPAMMERS simply change email addresses and continue to send SPAM but the problem is slowly coming under control which is a real boon to all email recipients as well as to legitimate email marketers. The penalties provided in the law are stiff and are a great deterrent to those who would like to send SPAM.

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Monday, May 14, 2012

Build Your Email List For Lifelong Rewards

Build it or Buy it

Email marketers must have opt-in lists in order to pursue their selling goals and operate their email marketing business.

Since the CAN SPAM Act became law in 2004 it is against the law to send bulk marketing emails without the express consent of the recipients so opt-in lists are a must.

Building an opt-in list from scratch is a lot of just plain old hard work. It is a time consuming task.

Building an opt-in list means that articles must be written and submitted to articles banks. It means that opt-in incentives must be created or purchased.

It means that the email marketer is going to have to spend many of his waking hours dreaming up ways to increase his opt-in list. Wow! That sounds HARD!

When faced with the task of list building, many email marketers fall prey to those who assure them that all of that hard work simply isnt necessary.

Email marketers are told that they can just buy an opt-in list and save themselves all that work and trouble.

Buying a list can be very tempting but it really is a temptation that should be resisted.

Bought opt-in lists dont contain the names and email addresses of your best prospects, for sure, but what kind of names and email addresses are actually on these lists?

Most of them are names and email addresses of people who accidentally opted in. Those are the names on the single opt-in lists.

The double opt-in lists are supposed t be names of people who opted in on purpose and then verified by a return email that they did, in fact, opt in. Wait a minute! Who do you know that really loves getting an inbox full of marketing emails everyday? Mostly the names on these double opt-in lists belong to people who belong to CAN SPAM watch-dog groups.

The fact is that nobody can give you permission to send email to an address other the person who owns the address and then they must specifically give that permission to you. Everything else is SPAM.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

What is B2B Email Marketing?

B2B Email Marketing

B2B (Business to Business) email marketing is a bit different than B2C (Business to Customer) email marketing.

If your email marketing business focuses on products and services that are only of interest to other Internet marketers or other online businesses, you need to be certain that you are not over-doing your email marketing letters.

Business oriented people see email marketing as a tool that can be useful but can also become not useful and even intrusive. People who are operating businesses online are extremely busy people.

Each day their email inboxes are full to the point of overflow. They have a monstrous number of requests and demands on their time, effort and energy.

The marketing emails that you send to those who own their own Internet businesses or who work as purchasing agents for online businesses will not be amused if you send them long epistles extolling the advantages of a product.

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They will be even less amused if you send these long emails everyday or more than once a day. These business people do know how to find the opt-out button and they will find it and use it.

Marketing emails that are sent to online businesses need to be extremely more than 200 words. They need to make the point quickly and they need to be very easy for the recipients to SCAN...they will not be read...they will just be scanned.

Use bullet points. Make your case for their need to buy your product and how it can save them time, effort, energy or make their jobs easier in some way.

How your product can increase sales for the company they represent or increase sales of the products they sell themselves will also be noticed and possibly acted upon. All others will be deleted!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

No Job? That's Ok, Entrepreneurs See Opportunity

Featured FREE Resource:

by Docstoc. Browse more infographics.

America, as we all know, is “the land of the free and the home of the brave.” It’s also the land of the entrepreneur.

This is abundantly clear from recent statistics published by the Kauffman Index of Entrepreneurial Activity. More than half-a-million new businesses are created in the United States every month—543,000 new businesses, to be exact. This added up to a total of more than 6.5 million new businesses started in the U.S. in 2011.

The U.S. has been widely viewed as the best place in the world to start a new business since we rose to become the world’s dominant economic power in the years following World War II. Despite the major economic downturn of a few years ago and the inconsistent recovery, this perception has only grown in recent years.

In fact, many experts attribute the current boom in entrepreneurship at least in part to the recession and large number of corporate layoffs. Rather than join millions of other unemployed individuals just looking for another job, many have decided to start their own businesses instead.

Pink Slip = Entrepreneurial Opportunity

For many of these corporate refugees, a pink slip represented an opportunity to fulfill their long-suppressed entrepreneurial dreams. Some decided to turn their hobby or passion into a full-blown business, while others acted on an idea they had been noodling for years.

One recent example of the new 21st century entrepreneurialism is Instagram, a technology company started in San Francisco in October of 2010 that was acquired by Facebook last month for $1 billion—that’s less than two years after the company’s launch! The acquisition of Instagram is Facebook’s largest so far.

Concurring Statistics

The results of the Small Business Survival Index 2011, which is published annually by the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council and ranks state policy climates for entrepreneurship, closely mirror those of the Kaufmann Index. Texas, Colorado and Arizona are all listed among the top 15 states in terms of their friendliness to small business and entrepreneurship.

The states that are the most entrepreneur-friendly, as measured by the Small Business Survival Index, tend to make public policy decisions that are beneficial for small businesses with regard to taxes, government spending and debt, health care policies, energy and various regulatory costs, and private property rights.

Texas has consistently ranked at or near the top of the Small Business Survival Index for years. “Public policy in Texas is much friendlier to business than it is in most other states,” notes Raymond J. Keating, chief economist at the Small Business and Entrepreneurial Council and author of the Small Business Survival Index.

Friday, May 11, 2012

How to Write Great Subject Lines - Business Email Secrets

Rather than making email obsolete, widespread use of social media has in many ways made email an even more powerful marketing channel. Here's a free ebook The Definitive Guide to Integrating Social Media and Email and a video below to show you how to write great email subject lines.

First off, social media usage actually makes consumers even more engaged with their email inbox. Plus social media users are likely to share their email-delivered content with their personal networks. That's additional juice for email campaigns.

In the new eBook The Definitive Guide to Integrating Social Media and Email, find out how to: Discover where your social media audience is

Use social networks to grow your email list

Use email to grow social followers and expand your reach

Develop the right content approach for each channel

Tie it all together for integrated campaigns

Monitor metrics and measure results

Start making email and social media complementary marketing channels, and boost your campaign ROI.

Download your copy of The Definitive Guide to Integrating Social Media and Email now!

Here's a great video on how to write great email subject lines. Presented by Jason Nazar, co-founder and CEO of Docstoc.

Jason Nazar, co-founder and CEO of Docstoc talks about email subject lines. Learn how to write a subject that will catch a reader’s attention, and make them more likely to open your email first.

Use the recipient's name to help get their attention Include random characters to make the email stand out Create a misleading subject line to raise awareness Use the heading "Important-" or "Response required-" Paste the entire body of your email in the subject line.

Download your copy of The Definitive Guide to Integrating Social Media and Email now!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Article Writing and the Email Marketer

You have got to have an opt-in list if you are an email marketer. There simply is no other choice.

After Congress passed the CAN SPAM Act and it became law in 2004, you cannot legally send bulk marketing emails without the express consent of the recipients. If you do, you will be fined heavily.

The law provides fines for up to $11,000 per incident. So...there you have it! You either have an opt-in list or you will have to find another way to make a living.

One of the best ways to build your opt-in list is to write and market articles.

Each time an article that you have written and submitted to an article bank for use by other website owners and ezine publishers, every name on their lists are exposed to a link to your website.

If the articles are good and filled with relevant information, they can produce much traffic and many new opt-in subscribers.

It isn't hard to write a marketable article. Marketable articles are short...only 300 to 400 words.

The key ingredients are a title that in attention getting and contains the relevant key words, a fist line that causes the reader to keep reading and a whole first paragraph that provides important information that is relevant to the reader.

Your resource box at the end of the article is the part that is most important to you. You need to have your full name, your contact information and, most importantly, a link to your website included in the resource box.

Get free ebook - 100 Awesome Marketing Stats, Charts, and Graphs and start analyzing.

Once you drive traffic to your website, you then have the opportunity to entice them into opting into your mailing list.

There are many list building and traffic driving techniques available. One of the better and more effective ones is the writing and marketing of articles.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

An Email Marketers Dream

Once upon a time, an email marketer, who had worked very hard all day, went to bed and he was so tired that he immediately fell into a deep sleep.

As sleep took him over, he was transported into dream land where he had a wonderful dream.

In his dream, he sent out an absolutely perfect marketing email. It was so well-written that it actually glowed.

He programmed this perfect email into his perfect autoresponder and was notified that there was no wait time at all.

The message was sent out immediately. There was a 100% delivery rate! He was ecstatic. It just kept getting better.

He went to his tracking pages and found that every single email that he had sent had been opened.

Not only had they been opened....the sales link in every email had been clicked on. He couldnt believe his eyes! A sale had been made to every recipient of his perfect email. SNAP!

Its too bad but that really was just a very nice dream. It isnt ever going to happen like that out here in the real world of email marketing. There are, however, things that can be done to make it come partially true.

Remember that this dream started with a perfect email marketing message.

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The better and more concise a marketing email message is, the better the link clicks will be. The more times the links are clicked the more sales there will be.

Our imaginary dreamer did two important things right. He wrote a good marketing email and then he tracked his results.

Both of these things can really help to make any email marketers dreams come true but dont expect that 100% sales rate...that is just a dream.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Webinars Big Listbuilders for the Email Marketer

Webinars are big business on the Internet. There are hundreds of webinars held everyday on every topic that one can imagine.

Attendance at a webinar can be anywhere from a few dollars to hundreds of dollars depending upon the topic and the speakers.

Some think that a webinar is difficult to pull off and a very expensive proposition to boot. Neither of those assumptions are accurate.

Actually a webinar is one of the cheapest of products that can be produced and sold on the internet and all that is really required is a bridge line, a subject and one or more speakers who are well versed on the topic to be discussed.

If you want a recording of the webinar that costs extra and if you want a transcript of the call, that is an extra cost as well.

But both a recording and a transcript can become products that can be sold.

Marketing a webinar to an email marketing opt-in list takes some planning.

The first thing is, you dont want to blind side your recipients by announcing a webinar that will take place the same day that they first hear about it from you.

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You need to prepare your opt-in list for the upcoming event and give them ample notice of the date, the time, the topic and who the speakers will be. Three or even four prior notice emails are not too many.

People will need time to free up their time in order to attend. They will need more than one opportunity to pre-register for the event.

The one other thing that is needed for a is a good and detailed outline of the topic to be discussed and the order in which points will be discussed.

Copies of this outline need to be provided to all speakers, hosts, and narrators of the webinar well in advance of the event.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

5 Ways to Succeed at Email Marketing

Success is a beautiful word! Success at email marketing is a beautiful phrase. There are so many ways to fail at email marketing....thats the bad news.

The good news is that there are techniques available that, if not guarantee success, at least increase the odds and put them in your favor. 1.Build your list. Dont even consider buying a list. Build your list from scratch. Yes, it will take time but once you get a list going to will actually self-propagate and it will be a list of names of real customers and real prospective customers. Use all of the available techniques and your list will be your most valuable asset. A long and impressive list of real prospects opens doors for you that will otherwise remain closed.

Grow your business with email marketing!

2.When you send your marketing emails to your list be certain that they are formatted in such a way that all email delivery systems will deliver them in readable form. Use NotePad to compose your messages so that you have only ACSII characters and be sure that your lines are never longer than 65 characters.

3.Never, ever word-wrap links. Plain text email delivery systems will deliver word-wrapped links without the link. Always type out full website addresses.

4.Never promote more than one product or service per marketing email. Keep your emails short. 300 to 400 words long is long enough for a marketing email. Be certain that all of the links in your marketing email work and that every word is spelled correctly. Double check your grammar, as well.

5.Dont over-do sending marketing emails. Remember that these people who opted into your mailing list gave you permission to email them but they didnt give you permission to pester them to death with marketing messages.

(Try any of these email clients. They all do free trials. I've used Aweber in the past, but right now I use SendStream to showcase my Diabetes News Online newsletter. I haven't used Vertical Response yet, but they seem like they have an awesome support team. My recommendation is try them out, give them a test run, and see which one you like better.

Can You Have More Sales, Too?
Helping over 102,000+ businesses like yours raise profits and build customer relationships using AWeber's opt-in email marketing software for over 10 years.
Take a Free Test Drive today!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

5 Ways to Grow Your List

Grow your business with email marketing

You must make your opt-in mailing list grow. It will either grow or it will die. That is just the way that email marketing is.

The customers that bought from you once will more than likely buy from you again and maybe they will buy several more times but they will not re-buy products that they have already purchased.

In order to sell you first products again, you need new blood on your mailing list.

There are many ways to make your email list grow. You can even make it self-propagating by using viral marketing methods like including jokes, free games or utilities and quizzes in your newsletters.

Those are proven viral marketing techniques that work and ones that will cause your list to help grow your list by sharing with their friends, neighbors, families and coworkers. Its your job to give them a reason to share.

Five proven list growing techniques are:

1.Write and market articles which are relevant to your products and services. These articles need to be no more than 300 to 400 words long. They need to have your key words included in an attention getting title. Your resource box needs to contain your name, contact information and a link to your website that is NOT word-wrapped. 2.Write and market ebooks. These ebooks need be no longer than 10 to 12 pages long. Titles need to contain your key words and be attention getting.

A link to your website should be included on every page of your ebook as well as in your resource box.

3.Post to blogs and forums that have topics that relate to the products and services that you sell. This is were those who are most likely to buy your products and service can be found gathered under one roof on the Internet. Do NOT use articles that you have written to market as blog posts and do not use blog posts as articles to market.

4.Find link exchange partners. Exchanging links with websites that sell products and services that are complimentary to but not identical to your products and services can increase your website traffic and help build your opt-in list.

5.Do what you need to do to get a well-established email marketer to do a joint venture with you even if that means giving them 100% of the profit from a product you own for the sole purpose of building your opt-in list.

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