After Offers Review

One of our newer hosts in the internet marketing vertical did a good write up about how After Offers helped him monetize his free newsletter.

He also addresses some concerns he had and how he evaluated using the service:

http://www.selfmadebusinessman.com/2014/09/06/after-offers/

$100 and 90 Days

I was recently asked, along with many other online entrepreneurs, what advice I would give to someone if they had just $100 and 90 days to start an online business.

Here’s my answer and that of other online marketers:

http://www.startupbros.com/successful-business-100-dollars

The Lies Email Marketing Experts Are Telling You

I wrote a guest post titled, “5 Email Marketing Myths People Still Think Are True” over at Brad Stafford’s website.

It surprises me that some “experts” are still promoting email marketing strategies that simply don’t work anymore.

In the article I go through five of the most egregious and explain the reality behind the theory.

Webinar TipsHere’s our system for the ultimate webinar registration path. You’ll see how we get more email newsletter subscribers and generate more revenue at the same time.

This was done in the online investing and trading vertical, but the strategy is the same for every industry.

Webinars are popular sales tools these days, but for many online entrepreneurs who understand the value of email marketing and autoresponders, they present a problem. You want prospects sent by your marketing partners to sign up for your webinar, but you also want them to become subscribers of your email newsletter. Sure, you can ask them to subscribe to your email list during the webinar, but few will do it, even with a great e-book or free report as a “carrot.”

Many email marketing services, like the one we use, Aweber, do not allow uploads of email lists. Getting a spreadsheet after the webinar with a list of registrants is nice, but what can you do with them? Occasionally, you may be able to talk your service into allowing you to upload a list, but they will still require the user to double opt-in. I’ve personally found the success rate when doing so to be very low – in the neighborhood of 10-15% will click your opt-in confirmation link. There’s often just too much time that passes between when they signed up for the webinar and when you finally get the registration list in Excel after the webinar ends. That strong connection has weakened with time, and if there were multiple speakers at the online event and the attendees are getting multiple follow-up emails, yours may be lost pile of other messages they are receiving.

Even if you are the only presenter and you have paid or traded for marketing that event, it’s important to accomplish both tasks at the same time. Actually, I would encourage you to accomplish three things at the same time with every webinar registration:

1. Sign them up for the webinar with your webinar service provider
2. Sign them up for your email newsletter, and
3. Monetize that sign up immediately

Here’s how we do each step:

1. Sign them up for the webinar
We use GoToWebinar by Citrix for our webinars. Their system is rock-solid and it’s easy to export registrant and attendee reports after the webinar, but as I previously explained, that’s problematic for us. Every webinar platform has their positives and negatives (the chat function in GoToWebinar leaves a lot to be desired) but for us it works well.

We use an independent plugin called Webinar Optin that allows us to create our own registration pages on our own site and add the registrant to our Aweber email list at the same time. The plugin actually takes the information from an Aweber opt-in form and sends that information (usually name and email) to GoToWebinar in the background to register them for the webinar you designate.

Another benefit of using the optin plugin is that you can actually just designate one name field or even just an email field alone as required to register. Hardcore opt-in marketers will argue that the more information you ask for (even a single name field) will result in lower conversions. For those folks, an email is all they want to ask for and all they need for their email newsletter. This plugin will simply put a “dash” in the first and last name fields for GoToWebinar.

You’ll go from this:

GoToWebinarRegistration

To this:

EmailOnlyWebinar

Which do you think gets better conversion? Not only is the form now on your own site with your own branding, but you control how much information you want them to provide to register.

2. Get the user to double opt-in to your newsletter
If you don’t use double opt-in with your email newsletter, this step is unnecessary, but I recommend you always use double opt-in. Your list may be smaller but it will perform many times better than a single opt-in list. Most email newsletter services charge for more emails, so I’ll take a list of 5,000 double opt-in subscribers over 10,000 single opt-ins every time. That list of 5,000 double opt-ins will almost always kick the pants off the list of 10,000 in terms of performance.

Here’s the trick to get the subscriber to confirm their subscription to your newsletter.

a. Create a separate list in Aweber just for subscribers who join your email list while signing up for a webinar using the Webinar Optin plugin.
b. Turn off the confirmation message that GoToWebinar sends to the registrants.
c. Include text on the sign up form that only those who register and confirm will receive the webinar recording
d. Inform the registrant on your “thank you” page that they need to confirm their RSVP in order to get the webinar login link.

WebinarThankYou

e. Make the subject line of your confirmation email is, “Confirm your RSVP to the Webinar”
f. Include language in the body of the email that clicking the confirmation link confirms their webinar registration and subscribes them to your newsletter

ConfirmFirst500

We have found this results in 80-90% optin and confirmation rate for the email newsletter. Our normal confirmation rate for our standard email newsletter subscription path is about 40%.

You can start to see why we love doing webinars as a way to get email newsletter subscribers. If you really want to play hardball, you can remove the registrations from GoToWebinar that do not confirm their RSVP before the first reminder email goes out. We don’t go that far though, and actually everyone that signs up ends up getting the webinar login link when the first reminder email goes out. But that’s OK with us. If they haven’t confirmed their email address by then, they likely aren’t going to bother attending the webinar anyway or have used a 3rd or 4th tier email that they never check.

Note: We’ve been testing a newer webinar platform called Meeting Burner that has Aweber support built in (no plugin needed to register for the webinar and subscribe to your email list simultaneously). However, they don’t offer the option for turning off the automatic confirmation email, and that is likely to reduce the confirmation rate to the newsletter. That subscriber opt-in path is very important to us so, for now, it’s a deal breaker for us and we haven’t switched over yet, though we love some of the other features they offer that GoToWebinar does not.

3. Monetize that sign up immediately
Webinar sign ups are a great time to show After Offers on your thank you page. The user has taken action to get information about your topic – let’s show them a few offers that are complementary to your own website and ask them if they’d like more information.

They get pointed to other resources that are of interest and you get paid every time they say “yes!” to one or more offers. You can put After Offers on both the “thank you” page and the confirmation page the user is directed to when they click the link in the confirmation email. We find that while more users choose offers the first time they see the offers, they often select others on the confirmation page (the rotation will likely show them different offers the second time around) or decide to select offers the second time they see them after they chose not to on the thank you page.

Not having After Offers in both places leaves money on the table! (Don’t worry, our duplicate-checking function will keep the same lead from going to an offer twice.)

You can easily set up custom “thank you” and confirmation pages in Aweber for your webinar list (and most other email list providers offer this as well). From there it’s a simple matter of “cut and paste” to add your AfterOffers code to those pages. (Haven’t joined yet? Get started!)

Here is a PDF outlining how to set custom thank you and confirmation pages in Aweber. That PDF also demonstrates how to forward subscriber data to your After Offers form. Other emails services have similar methods.

“Thank you” page example:

ThankYouPageOffers

Confirmation page example:

ConfirmationPageOffers

Doing all three steps in the same path will give you more webinar attendees, more email newsletter subscribers and bigger checks each month from AfterOffers.com!

You’ll find yourself scheduling more webinars. Everyone wins.

Using Feedburner as Your Email List? Oh boy…

Don't use Feedburner for Email I see it way too frequently. Bloggers who rely on Feedburner to maintain their “email list” are making a huge mistake and the faster you correct it, the better off you’ll be.

First, let’s clear something up. Using Feedburner as your “email marketing” isn’t email marketing at all. Sure, it will email people every time you add a blog post, but email marketing is so much more than that. That’s the subject for a different post, but suffice it to say, if all you have now is emails in Feedburner, you’re missing out on 90% of the benefits true, permission-based email marketing has to offer.

You’re putting your most valuable asset in the control and hands of a company that can delete that service at any time.

Remember Google Reader? Gone.

And if Feedburner is next, you risk losing your entire list. Many believe Feedburner will be on the chopping block sometime in the future. Why keep the RSS feed product if you don’t even think the Reader is important enough to support?

My recommendation is to download the email addresses of everyone who has joined through feedburner before they dump it, and get those subscribers to double opt-in again at another list service when you import them into Aweber, GetResponse, FeedBlitz, etc.

The transition can be tricky but the sooner you do it, the better. Phil Hollows of Feedblitz wrote a terrific post about this subject.

Feedburner is free. I get it. But the saying, “you get what you pay for” couldn’t apply more than here.

Whether you consider your blog a hobby or a business, make a plan to transition as soon as possible to a true email list management service. The longer you wait, the more painful it will be.

Q: How Often Should I Email My List?

2percentThere are two types of website owners who have an email list:

1) New list owners who are so afraid of “unsubscribes” that they rarely email their list. When they do so, they give everything away for free because they think asking their subscribers to buy something, will offend people. They also believe that if they give everything away for free for a long time, when they finally do sell something, everyone will love it and buy it because they are so thankful that you have given them everything for free in the past.

2) List owners who have finally realized that #1 is nonsense.

Fact: Every email you send will result in unsubscribes, no matter much great free stuff you offer.

You could tell people in one email that in the next email you will be sending them a link to a free $100 Amazon gift certificate, and 2% of your list will unsubscribe.

So I ask you, do you actually want to get paid for your hard work and knowledge or have zero unsubscribes? You simply can’t have both.

I recently came across The School of Greatness podcast from Lewis Howes. In a terrific episode, he interviews a successful online entrepreneur, Derek Halpern.

Derek mentions in the podcast that when he emailed his list three times, five times, and seven times to promote his product, the same percentage of people unsubscribed from his list during the campaign.

He sold more when emailing seven times, but got the same number of unsubscribes when he emailed three times.

The lesson: Email your list often. I recommend at least three times per week and preferably daily. The clock is ticking the moment a new subscriber joins your list. Every day that goes by your open rates will decrease. It’s just a fact of email marketing these days. Your best chance of getting someone to read your email is in the first ten days.

Don’t wait. Ask for the sale and do it soon.

How To Automatically BCC Gmail Emails

UPDATE: Gmail Auto BCC Chrome Extension 4.6 has been added to the Chrome Web Store.

Auto BCC Gmail for Chrome, Firefox and Safari is here. Automatically BCC different emails for different (or individual) “from” accounts – even in the new Compose window. With this one you have to click “Compose” after installation for the extension to grab all your “from” accounts first. I’ll be doing a video soon to explain, but directions below.

I have been looking for a solution to automatically BCC any outgoing email or reply in Gmail within the Chrome browser (PC or Mac) and Mac Safari. So I had a developer build a Chrome, Firefox and Safari extension for me that automatically adds an email address to the BCC field in Gmail.

Being the capitalist entrepreneur I am, this goes against everything I believe in, but I’m giving it away for free (for now). No promises I won’t charge for it in the future.

Chrome: download it from the Chrome Web Store here: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/hfjgikgjcgdhlklibkcobckkhklaeodd

1. This extension only works in the Chrome browser (both Windows/Mac)

2. The extension runs locally on your computer so it won’t be active when you login to Gmail on your mobile phone or tablet.

– Install the extension
– Close Chrome and Re-open Chrome
– Go to Gmail
– Click “Compose” once to tell the extension to grab all “from” accounts
– Discard that compose
– Go to Chrome Settings > Extensions
– find the autoBCC extension and click on “Options”
– enter email to BCC automatically for each “from” account
(add multiple emails to BCC by separating with a comma and space.
Example: abc@gmail.com, xyz@gmail.com)
– click “Save”
– refresh Gmail page (important)
– drink some Orangina while BCC’ing awesomely

BCC Gmail in Safari:
Download the Auto BCC Gmail in Safari extension
(right click and “Save As” or “Save Link As”)

To install and set the BCC Gmail in Safari:
– find where you saved the safari extension and double click on it to install it
– go into Safari > Preferences > Extensions
– find the extension autoBcc and enter the email address you want to BCC on every email.
– Refresh Gmail page

BCC Gmail in firefox:
Download the Auto BCC Gmail for Firefox
(right click and “Save As” or “Save Link As”)

Feel free to add a comment or question below. But understand this if free – and when it comes to support, you get what you pay for!

How CNET Cleans Their Email List (and Why You Should Too)

MarketingSherpa.com has posted another great case study video from their Email Summit.

This one explains how CNET works to reconnect with inactive subscribers, then deletes those that fail to re-engage in order to clean their list and keep open and click rates high.

It’s a rookie mistake to only worry about your total subscriber number. Why care about a list of 100,000 subscribers if only 2 or 3 percent open your messages? I’ll take a list of 1,000 active users over a list of 100,000 users any day.

Having subscribers on your list that haven’t opened or clicked on a link in your newsletter only costs you money and increases the chances the ISP will start to categorize your emails as SPAM when your undeliverable percentages begin to rise.

Be willing to clean your list regularly and you’ll find that you can make more money with a more engaged audience.

Content Marketing Best Practices

MarketingSherpa, a case study website I’ve followed and read for many years, has posted an excellent class about how to do effective content marketing.

According to the MarketingSherpa 2012 Lead Generation Benchmark Report, content marketing was indicated as one of the most difficult, yet most effective, forms of marketing. In this MarketingSherpa webinar, Daniel Burstein, Director of Editorial Content, and Jessica Lorenz, Visual Storyteller, both of MECLABS, explained how MarketingExperiments, sister company to MarketingSherpa, saw a 232% increase in blog traffic.

As you’ll learn from the examples they highlight, it’s not enough to just churn out volumes of content. In fact, you’re probably working way too hard for too little payoff. Instead, create the right content that will give you the best chance of attracting your future and current customers.

Of course, once you have their attention and their respect, it’s the perfect time to ask for their email address.

How To Maximize Open Rates of Your Marketing Emails

I find myself using YouTube more and more as a primary search engine for anything “how to” related these days.

One of the things I just came across was a two-video series on how to increase your open rates. DigitalMarketerPro did a nice job of explaining the concept of the “soap opera” email strategy, something I first heard about at AutoresponderMadness.com.

Simplified, the strategy says you should never end one email without teasing the next. It reduces the number of people who unsubscribe and subsequently increases the open rate for the next email.

They are short videos – both under two minutes. Check it out:

and Part 2: