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5 Drip Campaign Mistakes to Avoid

Beyond • June 6, 2011

Email drip campaigns are one of the best ways to introduce new products to your subscribers. Giving your readers a little bit of information over time gets them excited about your new product without overwhelming them. Now, drip campaigns can be a bit tricky. Because the nature of a drip campaign involves sending multiple emails with a similar topic (e.g. your new product) there are some common pitfalls your need to watch out for to make sure that your campaign is successful. Here are a few of them. Sending Emails Too Close Together When your are getting your email drip campaign together it can be easy to get a bit overzealous. The whole point is to get the word out about your products and services, right? But you have to be careful. If you send your emails too close together you run the risk of coming across as spammy or annoying to the people you are trying to market to. Keep your emails generously spaced to make sure that they are welcomed in your subscriber\'s inbox. Oversending Oversending emails is just as bad as sending them too close together. You want people to open your emails and digest the information. Sending too many emails, just like sending emails too close together, can seem pushy, annoying and too close to spam for people to actually take interest. You have to trust in the content of your email and in the value of the product you are offering. More emails don’t equal higher sales. A great way to avoid this is to create your drip campaign with pre-programmed autoresponders that send on a schedule. Not Developing an Overall Theme The best email drip campaigns have a natural progression, not unlike a television series. They need a beginning, middle and end. If you are trying to market a new product, the first email in your drip campaign should be an introductory email that shows off the product for the very first time. Follow this up by an email full of tips on how to use the product and places it could come in handy. Your third email could be a video showing the product in action. Finish your campaign with some product testimonials from actual customers and, finally, throw in a coupon. Inappropriate Subject Lines In any email newsletter campaign, drip or otherwise, the subject line holds the most weight. As the first thing your newsletter subscriber sees, the subject line may be the most important part of your email. Subject lines have to be short, concise and (this is the hard part) directly related to the content of your email. Lack of Tracking If you really want to measure the success of your email marketing campaigns, you have to track the successes and the failures of your email. You have to see where they are strong and where they are lacking. Everyone that markets their business via email should be using Google Analytics to track the open and click-through rates as well as where people are going after they read your emails or visit your website. The more information you have about how people are responding to your emails, the more you can tailor your emails to your target audience. This is why Benchmark provides a comprehensive email metrics report for every campaign you send, complete with open rates, clicks, social stats, bounces and opens by location, all updated in real-time. If you wonder whether you are sending your emails too often, or sending too many, the best thing you can do is put yourself in the shoes of your subscribers. If you think you are sending too much, you are probably sending too much. Trust your instincts and you can’t go wrong.


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6 Solid Topics for Your Non-Profit Newsletter

Beyond • May 17, 2011

Running a non-profit organization is a rewarding albeit complicated job. A great deal of the work that goes into running a non-profit lies in convincing people that your organization is worth contributing to. There are a number of different ways to spread the word about the good deeds your non-profit can accomplish. A strong, creative email newsletter is one of the most inexpensive and effective ways to reach a wide, diverse audience. Here are a few tips on what you should include in your non-profit newsletter. Before and After Show your readers how your non-profit actively changes lives. If your organization builds homes for underprivileged families, give your readers before and after photos of a client’s living situation. Non-profits that place abandoned pets in new homes can ask the new owners for a short video or written piece that explains how their new addition has changed their lives. Get creative and your readers are sure to take notice. Give Them Some Options Give you readers an example of how easy it is to take part and make a difference. Make a list of ways people can contribute to help your organization achieve its goals. This could be anything from answering phones to licking envelopes to collecting signatures. Make sure that your readers know that while donating money helps, donating their time can be just as effective. Volunteer Profile It takes all kinds of people to make a non-profit run successfully. Why not showcase one of your volunteers in your newsletter to show your readers the different kinds of people that contribute. Ask your volunteer to explain what brought them to your organization, how they found it and how they feel they are making a difference in the lives of your clients. Interview an Expert The more informed the public is as to what your goals are and why your non-profit is helpful, the more likely they are to want to contribute. Interview an expert in your field and make sure to focus on how a non-profit like yours benefits your community. Upcoming Events Have a food drive coming up? Is your organization holding a charity dinner any time soon? Let your audience know the when and the where by adding a calendar of upcoming events to your newsletter. Make sure to include a phone number, email address or web page that your readers can go to to get more information about the event. History Everyone likes a good story. Tell your readers the beginnings of your non-profit, who started the organization and why. If you give your readers some insight into why your non-profit came into being, they may be inspired to take action themselves and start pitching in. The key to a successful non-profit newsletter is creativity. You need to engage your audience in interesting and entertaining ways while convincing them that you need their support to accomplish your mission.


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5 Tactics that Can Improve Your Delivery Rate

Beyond • May 9, 2011

You have an online business. Of course, for your business to succeed you need a strong, comprehensive email marketing campaign. But, no matter how strong your email marketing campaign, there is no way you can completely control whether or not your email will make it to your target\'s inbox, or that it will be opened when it does. ISPs often change the way they block emails and your readers may have intense security filters set on their accounts. Even though the odds may seem stacked against you, don\'t get discouraged. Here are five tips that can help your email land in that inbox. 1. Spam Checkers Before you click that send button on your marketing email, make sure that you run it through a spam checker. Spam checkers scan you email for any spam \"triggers\" or \"red flag words\" that may prevent them from reaching their destination. Any email marketing service worth its salt should have one, and if you choose to do your email marketing without the help on an outside company, you can find a number of free spam checkers online. 2. Test, and Test Again Now that email is checked on smartphones and mobile devices as often as it is on laptops and desktops (if not more so), it\'s important to test your email on a few different devices and platforms. First of all, testing your email will make sure that it looks good on the screen. Emails that don\'t load properly almost always end up in the trash. More importantly, if there are any breaks in the layout code, a server may mistake your email for spam and send it right to the spam box. Always make sure that your emails are good to go before sending them to your entire email list. 3. More Testing: Subject Lines The email subject line may be the most important part of your campaign. It\'s the first thing that the reader sets their eyes on, and the first impression is always the most important. Steer clear of unnecessary punctuation. Depending on the person who is receiving the email and the spam filters they have set on their account, a single exclamation point, dollar sign or spammy word could kill your email. 4. Help Your Readers Help You Make it easy for your readers to whitelist you. The easier you make it for your audience to receive your emails, the more likely they are to keep opening them. Include a \"whitelist me\" link in your email that leads to a page on your site that shows your readers how to whitelist your emails on popular platforms like Google, Yahoo and Apple Mail. 5. Give Them Options While you may have put a lot of time and effort into making your email look sharp - pictures, video, a slick template - not everyone wants to be visually wowed. There are still a lot of meat and potatoes people out there who want their information delivered to them in the simplest of ways. Give these folks a text only option by adding a link at the top of your email that will direct them to a text only version of your campaign. Like I said, there is no way to guarantee that your email will reach its destination, but the more your refine your emails and learn to watch out for spammy words and red flags, the more often you\'ll hit your mark - and you can be sure your business will benefit.


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Affiliate Marketing: How to Set Up an Email Course

Beyond • March 18, 2011

A short email course that takes place over multiple installments does two things: it entices subscribers into buying products and delivers a wealth of product info in easily digestible segments. Email courses, set up as drip campaigns, can do everything from showcasing testimonials to teaching subscribers the best way to use what you’re selling. They\'re also a handy way to cure the subscriber fatigue that comes with hard-sell emails. As an affiliate marketer, your email course can be one of the most powerful weapons in your arsenal, provided you take the time to carefully plan out your segments and content. Here are five steps to creating the most effective email courses possible: Step 1: Choose a Featured Product The first step in creating your email course is deciding what product you are going to showcase in your emails. Once you have chosen a product, all of the emails in the course should revolve around that specific product. If you mention other products in the middle of your email course, you risk losing the attention of your audience. In other words, it’s best to keep things simple and focused. Step 2: Decide on Your Email Topics Go in with a plan. Make a list of email types involving the product you’re going to showcase. Here are some examples of topics you can use for your email campaigns. How-to Videos – How-to videos are a great way to introduce a new customer to a product and they also happen to be easy and inexpensive to make. Include visuals on how the product is used in a few real-life situations and you have a great, informative email to send to your subscribers. Product History – Let your prospective clients know how your product was created, where your product comes from and how it’s made. The more interesting you make your product sound, the more your audience will remember it when the time comes to buy. Testimonials - There are a wide variety of testimonials you can add to your email course to build customer trust in your business. Short video testimonials from past customers are always great, as are quotes and written success stories. Tip Sheets and FAQs – Think a few steps ahead. Are there questions that you get asked over and over again regarding your product? Include a Frequently Asked Questions list and put your customer\'s mind at ease. All of the ideas above can be made into an effective email. The more information customers have about your product, the more likely they will be to invest their hard earned money. Build Effective Landing Pages A landing page is a standalone page or a page on your site where a customer can get more information than what they read in your email. Remember, you want to get your customer’s attention with your email, but email by its nature lacks the space to give all your info. Instead, include links in your email to landing pages on or off your site. Make sure you give them an opportunity to purchase your product on each page. This will not only increase your sales but your site traffic as well. Find a Great Template The most effective affiliate emails are streamlined, concise and focused. You don’t want too many distracting images that can lure your customer’s attention away from the product you are offering them. Choose an email template and stick with it throughout your whole email course so customers can associate the template itself with the valuable information you’re giving them. Set Up Your Sequence The most efficient way to set up your email course is as a sequenced email campaign. Each email should be part of a sequence and sent on a designated date. Most email marketing providers should allow you to set up your sequence and just let it run. When all of your customers receive the information at the same time, you can compare when purchases are made and figure out what emails were most effective. A well-planned email course can bring in more business and even build more loyalty with customers.


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How to Make Your Emails More Social Friendly

Beyond • March 17, 2011

It’s simple math. The more people who read your email newsletters, the more your client base will grow. Social networking sites are a great way to let the world know who you are and how great the service you provide is. The best part is increasing your emails\' \"shareability\" is a snap. Here are some helpful tips on how to combine your emails with the power of social networking. Make It Easy to Share Help your customers spread the word about your company. Add social sharing buttons to all of your emails. Customers are more likely to tweet or post about your business if you include the links for them; the more your newsletter spreads around the social networking world, the greater your odds for new customers. Archive It Just because an email has been sent doesn’t mean it has lost the ability to attract new business. Create a searchable archive of your old emails, and don’t forget social sharing links. This gives current customers a chance to see what they have missed in past emails and makes it easy to share content they find interesting. Also, archiving your emails can bring in new traffic through random keyword searches. Join a Community Find a social sharing forum, like the Benchmark Email Marketing Community, where you can upload your emails and newsletters. Your email will be available to anyone who visits that community, even if they come to it randomly, which means that just by joining, you have expanded your audience. Plus, your emails will be stored in HTML format and will be sure to look their best. Content Another way to make your emails more \"social friendly\" is to include more social content. People are more likely to share a video testimonial or a how-to article than an ad for your newest product or a price list. Be creative and keep the content interesting. Before you send an email to your subscribers, remove yourself from the equation. Think about what you would share with your friends if you received that email. If the answer is nothing, it may be time to change up your content. Make It Mobile Smartphones are becoming more popular every day. Take a look around you the next time you take the train to work or are waiting in line at the bank. Nearly everyone is staring at an iPhone or Blackberry. Now, emails have to be formatted for viewing on mobile phones - and the ones that work best on mobiles are short, to the point and aren’t too image heavy. Social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and Digg are powerful tools that can help expand your audience exponentially, as long as you know how to use them. Remember to make it easy for your subscribers to share and keep the content creative and you are sure to see your sales go up.


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How to Max Out Email’s Social and Search Engine Worth

Beyond • March 16, 2011

If social media and search engine optimization (SEO) make a powerful pair, adding email marketing to the mix makes a search engine-friendly trifecta. Unlike the static, boring email of yesteryear, today’s email has search engine staying power long after it shows up in the inbox. Write Top-Notch Content You can\'t expect people to spread the word about your business if they aren\'t excited themselves. Make sure your emails are well-formatted and easy to read, whether on a laptop, tablet or mobile device. One easy way to keep your email newsletter content interesting and increase site traffic: A teaser paragraph for every new article on your site. Simply add a “read more” link at the end of each one, pointing back to the article (and your site). Keywords Are Key Use keyword-rich text in your emails, referring to the main subject of your article. For example, if selling vintage G.I. Joe action figures, you want the phrase “vintage G.I Joe action figures” taking up around 3 to 4 percent of your text. Keep your keywords specific without making them too long. The more specific, the better your ranking will be. Keep Them Coming Start building your email list. This is where social media platforms come in handy. Give people an idea of what to expect when they sign up for your newsletter by including your most recent email’s topics in your Facebook and Twitter posts. Also, make sure that your profiles have obvious newsletter signup links. The more the social media world knows about what you are offering, the more they will want to subscribe to your newsletter. Keep Them Together All newsletters should be archived on your site so your audience can both refer back to and search them. That way, the email keeps working for you after it has been sent. Add social sharing links so your customers can send the newsletters to their friends with the click of a button. Remember, the most important things are to stay in touch with your audience and keep them wanting more. Countless e-businesses out there all vie for the same market, so use all the tools in your toolbox – email marketing, SEO, social networking – and use them creatively.


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5 Types of Testimonials to Use in Your Email Newsletters

Beyond • March 14, 2011

You have a good product. You have a substantial email list. Now all you need are the sales. One question that internet shoppers often ask themselves before committing to buy a product is, \"Is this business credible?\" What can you do to show a prospective client that you and your business are trustworthy? Simple. Add a testimonial to your marketing emails. Here are a few of the different kinds of testimonials you can add to your email marketing plan to gain the trust of your audience and increase your sales. Success Stories If you are thinking of adding a testimonial to your email, a good place to start is with a personal story from one of your customers. This could be anything from a short quote from a satisfied customer to an anecdote written by a customer describing how your product or service has helped them. Do you know a customer who has used one of your products in an interesting way? Ask them if they would mind contributing a testimonial. Video Testimonials A video testimonial is a short video, usually thirty seconds to two minutes long, that features a satisfied customer singing the praises of your business. They tend to be entertaining and memorable and are quite effective when it comes to connecting with prospective clients. Video email testimonials add a human element to your newsletter that most internet marketing strategies lack. When it comes to the testimonial itself, honesty is best. Remember, you are trying to build a relationship with your prospective client, and all good relationships are built on trust. Reviews There are a number of sites out there on which reviews are posted about almost every product imaginable: Amazon.com, Epinions.com and ConsumerReports.org are just a few examples. Search these sites for positive reviews on the product or products you sell and include them in your email. Remember, just because you didn’t actually sell the product doesn’t mean you can’t use the review. Just be sure to include a link back to whatever site you borrowed the review from. Social Networks Is a product you sell trending on Twitter? Is your business’s Facebook page covered in positive comments relating to your products or commending your dedication to customer service? Keep an eye out on all the social media platforms you subscribe to for praise about you and your products. Positive remarks are easy to garner from the social media world and beef up testimonial emails nicely. Lists Search the internet for any \"best of\" or \"top 10\" lists that feature your product. The higher up on the list your product is, the better. People like to see how the product they are about to invest in stands up to the competition. The point of a testimonial is to inspire confidence in what you’re selling and lists are a fantastic way to do it. A well placed testimonial is an ideal way to encourage your prospective clients to trust your business and your brand. Remember to be creative in how you use your testimonials, and most importantly, be honest. Trust is what keeps customers coming back for more.


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Coding with Caution: 7 Ways to Protect Your Eyesight

Beyond • March 2, 2011

You’re a few hundred lines short of code and your deadline is approaching faster than you can say \"analytics.\" You’re retouching a photo for the 20th time because your client can’t decide if he prefers the logo with or without the lightning bolt. It’s late at night and you’re slogging through invoices, your face three inches from the monitor. We’ve all been there and unfortunately, so have our eyes. If you’ve ever had pounding headaches, blurred vision and neck pain, it’s not from that ill-advised trip to Burning Man, it’s Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS), an unfortunate byproduct of working with code. Whether email marketing, HTML coding or just typing in the office, how do you prevent this painful and annoying problem? Follow these seven tips to preserve your vision, body and maybe even a bit of sanity. Clean Your Monitor This may sound elementary but it really makes a difference. At the start of your workday, before you write a single line of code, make sure your screen is as clean as a whistle. Dust, fingerprints and random smudges can be hard to spot, mostly because you’re probably used to them being there. But if you don’t clean that screen, you’re putting unnecessary strain on your eyes by forcing them to cut through all that goo. Sit Up, Don’t Slouch Another easy way to take care of your peepers? Pay attention to your body. Your screen should be 20 to 24 inches from your eyes and the center of your screen 10 to 15 degrees below your eyes. This position should keep your head and neck comfy during those long hours of work. Increase Contrast, Decrease Brightness Most of us have the brightness on our screens cranked all the way up, and it’s a common misconception that a bright screen will help you stay awake if you get sleepy. But the unfortunate part is if your screen is more lamp than monitor, you’re doing damage to your retinas. Having your screen too dark is equally as bad as having it too bright. On that note, make sure to up the contrast of your monitor so it’s easier to distinguish letters and numbers. And, oh yeah, kick up that font size while you’re at it. Light Up the Room Whether you work in a stuffy office or in the comfort of your own home, the way your workspace is lit is of utmost importance. Off the bat, avoid harsh, bright lights if you can, use bulbs of a lower wattage and use lamps whenever possible. If you get most of your light from the sun, lower the blinds and set your desk so that windows are on either side of you rather than behind or in front of you. Blink More Often This may sound silly, but studies show that people who work in front of computers blink up to five times less than normal. Blinking keeps the eyes moist and prevents fatigue and doing it more often is especially important when working in drafty environments. Use the 20-20-20 Rule Every 20 minutes, look away from your screen and focus on something 20 feet away for about 20 seconds. If you’re locked in a windowless dungeon with no chance of escape, visualize an object 20 feet away and focus on it. This easy to remember trick will lessen the stress on the focusing muscles in your eyes and reduce your risk of strain (and possibly glasses). Take a Break Your boss may not want you to know this, but it is in your best interest to take a break every now and again. NIOSH (The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health) suggests at least four five-minute breaks and two 15-minute breaks every day. These little breathers will increase your output in the long run, killing the stress, fatigue and eye strain that accompany constant and often time-sensitive computer work. Most people find that their vision falters at some point in their life, but working in front of a monitor can certainly speed up the process. You may not be able to stave off the deterioration of your eyesight permanently, but using these tips can certainly help you delay it.


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