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5 ways to sell more with your emails

Email marketing is one of the most powerful and effective ways to sell…  just about anything.

But it only works when you do it right.

So here are 5 ways to get more sales from your email marketing:

1.      Stop trying to sell so hard.

This is counterintuitive but probably the best lesson you’ll ever learn from anyone about email marketing.

Yes, you need to sell to make a living, and yes this is ultimately your reason for writing the emails. But people are being bombarded day in day out by countless emails all trying the same hard-sell. And in the main, they’re sick and tired of it. There isn’t a slick, sneaky or secret copywriting technique they haven’t seen — and yawned at — a dozen times already this week.

2.      Get your emails opened and read.

Obvious, but easily missed, this one. Your subject line plays the same role as a headline does in your print ads or sales letters: it tells the reader, “hey, you need to read this because it’s going to benefit you“.

So clever and witty subject lines are out, and short, direct, specific and benefit-orientated subject lines are in. If your email is about saving money on washing-up liquid, then your subject line should be “How to save money on your washing up liquid“, and not “Are you being taken to the cleaners?

3.      Email regularly and often.

I email my list every week and my unsubscribe rate is very low.

Why?

Because I deliver quality content about marketing issues which are relevant to all businesses. If the content of your emails is irrelevant to your audience, your open rate will be low, your unsubscribe rate will be high and your sales rate will be abysmal.

4.      Offer real value

If your emails don’t contain valuable content and are just thinly-disguised sales-pitches, no one is going to buy from you.

Why?

Because your emails are your ambassadors. If your emails are low quality they won’t create the rapport and trust needed for people to decide to buy from you.

If your emails are slipshod and  poorly executed  isn’t it likely that your products or services will be the same.

5.      Remember the call to action

Remember the golden rule… if you want them to do something… tell them exactly what they need to do in terms even a child would understand.

Be clear and unambiguous. Tell them what to do, why they need to do it and to do it NOW. Simple — yet so few business owners do it.

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How To Write Email Subject Lines That Get Opened

Your email subject line is really important. Those few little words can be the difference between getting your email opened or not. While the only really important measure of your email success is sales generated, open rates are still important because unless your email is opened you certainly aren’t going to make any sales.

So how do you write successful subject lines
To get your email opened, your email must appeal to the reader therefore having a real understanding of your audience will help. If you can segment your database by their interests, you can then send them emails with subject lines tailored to their interests. As an example if you were a sports shop, you would want to segment your list into the different sports your audience are interested in ie football, running, cricket etc. Your subject line would then make it obvious that the email is about their favourite sport.

Appeal to their curiosity
I find that intriguing subject lines work well. Try to create subject lines that pique the readers’ curiosity so they think “ I wonder what that’s all about”. The converse of that is the emails you receive where the subject line merely states “Boring Co’s newsletter”. I mean really – who is going to be motivated to open that?

Be careful with humour
We all like to be amused. Well I do so I assume other people do as well. If your subject line brings a smile to people’s lips then you have a great chance of them opening the email. I’ve advised you to be cautious with humour because what you find amusing others may not and there’s always someone looking to be upset and offended, which could easily lead to people unsubscribing. Now whether you worry about these delicate flowers unsubscribing is up to you, but you get my point.

Avoid too much hype
You must be careful not to try to oversell in your subject line.

  • Avoid using all capital letters. On line using all capitals is the equivalent of shouting and none of us like to be shouted at.
  • Don’t use too much punctuation!!!!!!!!!! Again this looks to hypey and your audience is likely to be turned off.
  • Don’t try to sell too hard – words like Free, Sale and Discount are likely to result in your email ending up in the junk box which is obviously death to the success of any email.

So there you are – a quick guide to some of the do’s and don’ts of writing successful subject lines.Good luck.

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8 Tips To Ensure Your Small Business Success

1. Niche Your Audience

There is a lot of competition out there and it’s tough. The worst thing you can do is to try and sell to everybody. Unless you’re Coca Cola you can’t be relevant to everyone. Much better to identify a small target group so that you can target your messages to them with laser like precision. With more limited budgets this is far more effective.

2. Your website is not a brochure

Long gone are the days when you can view your website as “an online brochure” and you have one just because everybody else does. Small business websites need to earn their keep and generate business.

3. You can’t ‘cheat’ Google – they’re smarter than you

A few years ago you may have got away with a bit of keyword stuffing or buying inbound links by the bucket load. Not any more. Google is focused on giving their customers the best results to their search and will rigorously analyse your site and your text for relevance. So focus on providing relevant, fresh and appealing content that will attract customers to your website.

4. Is traditional advertising right for you?

For most businesses these days, traditional advertising in local newspapers or magazines is rarely the best option. The costs are high and fixed, the targeting imprecise and you’re dealing with an increasingly sophisticated audience. If you’re dealing B to C where it’s difficult to get hold of prospects’ names and addresses it may still be relevant but proceed with caution and test on a small scale before you commit much money.

5. Blogging can be very powerful

Blogging is often overlooked as it demands significant input and because it’s not an overt sales medium. But it is a very powerful medium for demonstrating your expertise and is a great way to keep your website content fresh, which our good friend Google always appreciates.

6. The power of video

Today’s consumers are time strapped and want information fast. Many people, especially younger people are reading less and watching more. Video is a great mechanism for getting not only your message across but it also allows you to communicate your personality .

7. Facebook and Twitter may not be right for your business

Everyone’s become obsessed with social media. Every small business owner I work with says “Shouldn’t we be on Facebook and Twitter?” My response is always the same(how boring do I sound) If your audience are hanging out on social media then yes you should be part of the conversation. I mean it’s free and provides a quick and easy way to communicate with both customers and potential customers every day if you want. But if you serve an older demographic who are not spending their time on Facebook and Twitter then you’re wasting your time.

8. Make it mobile

The way people access the internet has changed and will go on changing. Web browsing from mobiles and tablets will outstrip PCs in the next few years. For certain categories such as mini cabs and restaurants it is absolutely vital but all of us need to make sure that our websites display effectively on these media. If it doesn’t you are potentially missing out on a large section of potential audience.

 

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Improve The Impact of Your Email Marketing

Let’s face it we’re all inundated with emails these days.

They come in various guises, from order confirmations, requests for feedback, promoting webinars or training courses or just straight forward selling emails..

So how do you make sure your emails get noticed?

If you’re not getting the results you’re hoping for from your email marketing, there are a whole range of things you should consider:

The Strategy

  • How have you determined whether your email was a success or failure and what have you benchmarked against?
  • Is email the right way to communicate with your audience?
  • Was your email part of an integrated campaign or was it a one off?
  • Did you make it clear what action you wanted your audience to take. If not how can you be surprised if they didn’t take it?

The Implementation

  • Where did you get your mailing list from? You’re always going to get better response rates from lists you’ve built yourself but I fully understand that this takes a considerable length of time and that sometimes you have no option but to buy a list.
    If that was the case then of course you’re going to get different results to mailing a list you’ve built yourself.
  • Did you segment the list and send content appropriate to the profile of each segment. The worst thing you can do is to send one generic email to a diverse recipient list as you’re likely to end up being relevant to no one.
  • Was the subject line relevant and interesting enough to entice them to open it? A boring subject line will result in a poor open rate. However open rates are not really the right measure of the effectiveness of an email. The only real measure is sales.
  • What about the layout? How attractive and easy to read was the email. Did you have large blocks of text or did you break the paragraphs up into easily consumable chunks?
  • Where in your email were your calls to action? At the top, in the middle, at the bottom or throughout the email? I mean you did have calls to action didn’t you?
  • When did you send it? Was it at a convenient time when the recipient is likely to be able to engage with your email?

Email marketing isn’t rocket science but nor is it just simply putting some text together, adding an image and pressing the send button!

When done correctly, email marketing is extremely effective and can generate some impressive ROI figures.

 

 

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When Should You Send Your Email Marketing

As with all marketing, timing is an important factor in the success of email marketing. We all know that the key to marketing is sending the right messages to the right people at the right time.

The time of day can make a big difference

While we can’t know each person’s individual circumstances, there are certain timings which are obvious whether for example that’s summer holidays in the first couple of months of the year or back to school during the summer.

Email is a great medium for building relationships whether that’s cementing relationships with existing customers or even building credibility over time with people you don’t know so well. It gives you the opportunity to remind people who have expressed an interest in your business that you’re there when they need you.

Email marketing specialists, Pure360, carried out a study of the best times to send emails and how open rates vary. The findings are based on analysis of 40,000 email campaigns sent by more than 140 companies between January and December 2012 and covering 24 business sectors.

One important point to make here is that open rates while important are not the be all and end all. Of course if 50% of your emails are opened then your chances of success are higher than if only 5% are opened but the only really important measures are sales and ROI.

What would you rather have – an email that was opened by 50% of recipients that generates nothing or one that was opened by 5% of recipients that generates £5000? Whether either of these scenarios is realistic is irrelevant but you get the point.

The best day of the week

As you would expect the day of the week that you send your emails impacts on open rates. If your business is concerned with leisure, travel or lifestyle products or services, the best days to send emails are Fridays or over the weekend when people are in relaxed, social and family mood and have time to think about personal things.

By the same token if you’re sending B2B emails, you should avoid Mondays or Fridays as lots of people aren’t in their offices on those days and those that are aren’t at their most receptive. Tuesdays to Thursdays are best. Personally I always send my emails on Wednesdays.

The best time of day

The secret here is to send your emails at a time of day when people are most likely to read and engage with them.

Historically I have sent mine first thing in the morning, working on the theory that the first thing that most people do every day is check their emails.

However there is now a school of thought that says that late afternoon is the best time of day. The thinking is that at this stage most meetings will have finished, people will be at their desks, clearing up and finishing off the last things they need to complete. Statistics show that 26% of emails sent at this time are opened which is 9% above the average.

The fact is that this is not a hard and fast science and the only way you’re going to know what’s the best time for you is by testing.

Keep your recipient database the same and trial sending emails at different times of the day and see what works best for you.

Good luck

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How To Realise Your Sales Potential for Just a Few Pennies…

We all know that staying in touch with our prospects and customers is vital to maximising our sales potential.

But, how many companies actually do it and how many of those do it effectively?

Today, it is cheaper and easier than it has ever been to stay in touch with your database by using email marketing.

However writing an email newsletter on a regular basis demands discipline and commitment. But when done well and in combination with other mediums, such as direct mail and telemarketing – it can unlock the massive sales potential sitting in your database.

Here are a few essential tips to help you with your email marketing:

1. Your List
Collect all the email addresses you can. Networking events, your website and exhibitions are all good sources of new prospects.

2. Your Website
Create an attractive offer on your website to encourage visitors to give you their email address in return for a valuable report or free gift.

3. Select a Good Email Broadcast Supplier
Do not send emails through your normal email account as you could quickly become identified as a spammer and ‘black listed’ by your ISP – compromising your everyday email account. With a professional supplier you get high delivery rates, an easy to use interface and valuable data on all aspects of the campaign.

4. Create Quality Content
Provide your list with content which will be of value to them. Give them solutions to their problems, industry information, special offers and information likely to make them pick up the phone to do business with you.

5. High Frequency
There is much debate about how often you should send emails. The best answer is as often as you can provide value to the recipients. If that’s once a week, once a fortnight or once a month that’s up to you. But the fact is the more often you email the more you will sell.

6. Single Subject Emails
You don’t have to wait until you have a full newsletter with several articles in it. Send each article separately. This allows you to ‘touch’ your list more frequently, therefore keeping you top of mind and the most likely to pick up any business available at the time.

7. Repeat Your Most Successful Sales Emails
Intersperse your information emails with emails which are overtly selling something. Once you have a sales email that works well, keep on repeating it regularly until it stops working or you find a better version.

8.Learn From Your Results
The great thing about most email marketing systems is the information that you get. You can see how many people open the email, how many click on your links and how many forward the email on to a friend. From this you can learn what subject matters appeal to your audience, what the most successful subject lines are and what other subjects are of interest to your readers. From this you can continually refine and improve your email marketing
Believe me, a well written client-focussed email newsletter sent to your clients is a great way to keep close to them, ensuring that they know what you’re doing for them – and letting them know you want to listen and respond to their needs.

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10 Vital Tips For Online Marketing Success

In 2011 an effective online marketing strategy is a vital part of your marketing armoury.

If you’re not getting to grips with online marketing, you can be sure your competitors will and this will give them a significant advantage.

This isn’t to say that all your marketing should be on line but that your on line marketing strategy and off line marketing strategy should work together and complement each other.

Here is a brief overview of 10 areas of online marketing activity which you need to become familiar with in order to increase your chances of success:

  1. Effective Landing Pages
    Many websites fail to ‘grab’ and convert visitors because either they haven’t created specific landing pages, or fail to direct traffic to the most appropriate landing page. This results in a ‘bounce’ – the visitor doesn’t find information relevant to their search and ‘bounces’ back to Google to select another site.

    Creating landing pages – one product or service per page – that are highly relevant to specific searches is the key to making your search engine optimisation and pay per click work and to converting visitors into customers.

  2. Calls to Action
    Calls to action are vital within e-marketing and on websites.
    If your website objective is to generate leads, build your prospect database or make sales, then as well as providing compelling reasons for customers to choose your product or service, you must ‘ask for the order’ via a call to action.
  3. High Quality Information
    People come to websites looking for information and for solutions to their problems. Therefore if you provide high quality, up to date, authoritative information you are putting yourself in pole position to win their custom.
    Additionally Google will reward high quality content with better search engine rankings.
  4. Visitor Signup.
    The reality is that the chance of someone buying from you on their first visit to your website is slim. However as part of your e-marketing if you can get their contact details you will then be able to market to them.
    To get their contact information therefore you have to offer them something of value. A free download or report is the standard offering. If however you can be more creative and offer something more original you are likely to get a better response rate.
  5. Autoresponders.
    It often takes between 5 and 8 contacts before a prospect is willing to say yes to whatever it is you’re offering.
    For this reason you need to use autoresponders. An autoresponder automatically sends an email when for example a prospect signs up to an offer as discussed in point 4.
    An automated campaign of sequentially appropriate emails will nurture your prospects, providing them with more and more reasons to buy until some of them become customers.
  6. Search Engine Optimisation.
    However wonderful you website might be, if it’s not being found by potential customers it’s of little use to you. It is therefore critical your website is search engine friendly. When the search engine spiders crawl your website, the text they see must be written in such a way that they can understand exactly what each page is about in order to present it as an appropriate match to a searcher.

    The criteria the search engines use to rank websites is constantly changing. However there are certain constants that they look for such as back links from authoritative sites which still remain very important.
    SEO is a very specialist area and one which you will need to talk to an expert about.

  7. Pay Per Click
    If your goal is to quickly drive traffic to your site, then PPC is one of the fastest ways to achieve it.
    The great thing about PPC is that it is immediate. You can set yourself up and start driving traffic to your site within a matter of an hour or two. The downside is that it is also easy to spend a lot of money and get little in return.
    The best advice is to either use the services of an expert or to use a very limited budget initially until you discover what does and doesn’t work.
  8. Social Media
    While a lot of people debate the value of social media, there are hundreds of millions of people using these platforms. If your potential customers are conversing online why would you not want to participate..
    Before you get heavily involved you should identify which of the sites you are going to get involved in.
    Additionally you must be clear what you are hoping to achieve with social media and how you’re going to integrate it with your other marketing.
  9. Online Directories.
    There are two good reasons for using online directories. The first is that by submitting your website to directories you will build the number of links to your website, improving your SEO. The second is that by subscribing to (and sometimes paying for) listings and links in high-traffic, relevant and industry specific directories, you can drive quality traffic to your website.
  10. Email Marketing
    While email marketing isn’t technically online marketing, it is a key part of the digital marketing arsenal.
    The great thing about email marketing is that you can communicate at the touch of a button with thousands of people. The bad thing about it is that those people can delete you at the touch of another button.
    This highlights two key points. The first is that you need to get into people’s in boxes. If the subject line sounds like spam it will be treated like spam. The second point is that you will need a high quality, opted in list, both for legality reasons and to get a respectable opening rate. If people know you and respect you, they are likely to open your emails.

These 10 points really only skim the surface of online marketing. The purpose is to highlight the sort of areas you will need to become familiar with to make sure that your business takes advantage of the online revolution.