Email Marketing 101

Email Marketing 101

apple laptop on brown tableEmail marketing is still the most effective form of online marketing. It’s one of the few marketing methods that gets you up close and personal with your audience on an individual basis. Some marketers think they should give up on email marketing but nothing could be further than the truth. The money is still in the list and that’s not changing anytime soon. But, there are some tricks of the trade.

 

Know Your Audience

Study your target audience so that you can create personas that describe who your individual audience is. For instance, maybe your target audience are mothers of children between the ages of 11 and 14, who home school and are housewives with a family income of $80,000 per year. If you know this information you can know a lot of things about your audience, such as the types of products or services they need as well as how much they can afford to pay for them.

Understand the Point of Your List

Is the point of your list to sell a particular product? Is the point of your list to teach and inform your subscribers about your services and how they can benefit from them? Do you know the point of your list? If you do, stick to the point of it so that your subscribers know what they’re singing up for. You can segment your audience as they purchase something or take various actions so that you can market other items and services to them.

Build Your List

In order to build your list, create an eCourse, or give away something like an eReport, or simply create a sign-up form and ask visitors who come to your website to sign up to stay up to date. Promote your list at every opportunity in order to get targeted subscribers. Ensure that the information you provide speaks to your audience in a way that resonates with them that this is something they need.

Send Your List Members Regular Information

Once you have members on your list, it’s important to keep sending them information. The information you send them must be relevant, targeted and useful. It must also be sent on a regular basis. If you don’t communicate with your list often, they might forget that they signed up and then think you’re sending them spam when you’re not.

Also make sure the information you send to your list has a meaning. It should lead your subscribers back to content on your website, or to products and services that you recommend or created.

 

Check Your Metrics

chart-1545734_640Pay attention to the numbers. Check open rates, click-through rates, and conversion rates of every email that you send. Every email that you send needs a reason, and that is how you know what metrics to look at. If your reason is to send them to your website to read an informative blog post, check to see if it worked. If your reason was to tell your list about an affiliate product you believe your audience needs, check conversion rates.

Repeat

Keep doing what works, and change what doesn’t. You’ll discover what works by studying the metrics and testing different scenarios. This is called A/B testing. For instance, you might send the same email with two different subject lines to half of your list, or a small portion of your list, to see which one gets opened the most. Then what works the most should be done over again.

key-951783_640As you build your list, and use your list, your traffic will go up – as will your income. Keep building your list with your targeted audience; keep sending them relevant information, and you’ll soon discover that your most valuable online asset is your email list. Due to the value of it, it’s important to practice good list hygiene, deleting inactive subscribers periodically.

Do you think email marketing is dead? Some people think so but I don’t.  What are your thoughts?

Why Generation Z Matters

This morning, I listened to a podcast from the “Social Media Social Hour with Tyler J. Anderson” on my iPhone.

Today’s edpisode was about “Marketing to Generation Z: What Marketers Need To Know”.   Are you wondering what’s Generation Z means?  Call me silly, but this was the first time I heard the term “Generation Z”.  It refers to young  people who were born in the late 1990s and under 20 years of age as of today.

Tyler’s guest for this podcast episode is Connor Blakley.  Connor is only 17 years old who has a lot to share about how to market to his age group.

Why Generation Z Matters

According to Connor, marketing to Generation Z is different than marketing to millennials and older folks.  Connor summed up why today’s teens are different from the previous Generation Y (aka Millennials).

Since they were cute little toddlers, Gen Zs were exposed to digital information.  They grew with iPads, gameboys and iPhones and have probably started using them since they were toddlers.   I love the term that Connor used and that he refers to their generation as “Digitally Native”.

cartoon of teen with light bulb idea above his head

Most teens today, like Connor, are not at all trusting of any brands.  They don’t mind if their clothes are not “branded” loudly and don’t like to be a walking advertisement for popular brands! They’re not easily influenced with today’s advertising and “don’t buy into all that stuff.”

 

Teens today quickly analyze and form in their heads if a brand is trusting or interesting enough to capture their attention.  And it only takes them a few seconds to make a decision.

Marketing to Generation Z will be trickier because they’re educated and intelligent kids. They are highly skeptical of the way advertising has been used. Let’s just say they need more convincing natively.

Pay attention to the conversations from Generation Z and try to get insight on how they think, the words they use and create a marketing plan around them. As marketers, we need to expand our awareness and relevance for our young audiences.

To listen to the full episode of Marketing to Generation Z, see below.  I’m not an affiliate and no compensation was paid for writing this blog.

Here’s the link for the podcast to listen online:  http://casualfridays.com/marketers-need-know-marketing-generation-z/


 

Help Your Business Soar with a Virtual Assistant

As a business owner who’s wearing all the “hats”, it can be very overwhelming at times.  You get bogged down with doing everything from marketing, to answering emails, researching and managing your daily tasks.

Have you ever thought of outsourcing some of those tasks to a Virtual Assistant (VA)?

From its earliest beginnings of this industry, entrepreneurs were hiring VAs for their general administrative tasks such as  returning calls to prospects, managing emails, typing correspondence, file management, and other services.

Today, there are more VAs who possess specialized skills and offer technology support along with the general office tasks.  Business owners are learning to work more efficiently and smarter by outsourcing some of the time-consuming tasks to virtual assistants.  They are outsourcing tasks such as handling their social media, maintaining their membership websites, strategy for marketing, and doing research for special projects.

There are VAs that only offer web design, social media services, webinars, video editing,  in legal industries, real-estate, medical and security fields. Some of these VAs are licensed or certified when working with sensitive data while others will sign NDAs.

Successful entrepreneurs such as Michael Hyatt and  Tim Ferris use and/or have VAs to help with their tasks.  ( I’m  their fan and I “follow” both of them.) Tim Ferris wrote the book, “The 4-Hour Workweek“, and mentions he hires VAs.

Even highly successful bloggers use VAs!

Hiring a VA, is going to change your business forever, in the best way possible. Hiring a VA is like hacking your business; you can get better results in less time than if you were trying to do it all on your own.

That’s an snippet of a wonderful website I just stumbled on a few minutes ago, written by Indigo Colton.  Indigo writes a blog titled: “5 Reasons Your Business Needs A Virtual Assistant”.  You can read more about it here.

Figure out what you need a VA to do for you first.  Then start “shopping for your new VA”.  Remember, VA’s are not employees.  Think of them as consultants or freelancers.  They are business owners like you and care about your success.  You can “test drive” a new VA to see how you both get along and how well your VA communicates and responds to you.  Be sure to check their work at first. Then, if things work out, stick with the VA.  The longer a VA stays with you, the better he/she will understand your business and even give you ideas to expand and grow your revenue.

10 Tips to Streamline Your Work Tasks with Project Management

10 Project Management Tips to Streamline Your Work Tasks

Most people think that you should only use project management for big projects. However, I found this to be untrue.

Project management for everyday tasks is an essential component for organizing your business but also for organizing your life as well.  It really helps with tracking your progress and reminders of what needs to get done each day, without relying on memory, which may cause added stress in your life but also a time waster.

I used to write everything in a spiral notebook, a planner-calendar and on post-it notes. Next thing I know my desk is cluttered with paper everywhere!

Here are 10 reasons to consider on why you need to get organized and start using a project management system:

Time Management in tiles

  1. Helps You Understand Your Daily Scope – The scope of a project is what has to be done to call any one project complete.  When you look at your day there are many tasks that must be done on a daily, weekly or monthly basis to consider your work complete. Using project management will help you accomplish this smoothly.
  1. Track Long Term Projects – By seeing project management goals in mind, you can better keep track of long-term projects.
  1. Keep Track of Resources – Minding the budget and other resources takes daily attention to detail, and using project management procedures to keep track of them works like a charm. Send reminders to balance your books, or to buy new trash bags, and you will feel so much more organized.
  1. Avoid Forgetting Recurring Tasks – Even if you only do something every quarter, having a reminder set up in advance will help you avoid forgetting it. Plus checking off completion of daily tasks feels productive.
  1. Assists with Daily Lists Prioritizing – One look at your calendar or task management system can help you prioritize your day better. It’s so easy to forget even the smallest tasks that seem unimportant, but those little tasks add up!
  1. Creates an Environment of Success – Being super organized might sound boring but the more organized you are, the more successful you will feel and in control. People who are good at planning and organizing, are naturally more efficient with their time than those who are not.
  1. Feeling of Accomplishment – If you get organized and use a good systems, you’ll feel like you’ve accomplished something in your day.
  1. Less Stress – Stress is a serious problem and can cause poor health. Being more organized cuts down on your stress drastically. If you’re not good at being the project manager, use tools to help you manage your projects or hire someone to help you, like a Virtual Assistant and outsource this project.
  1. Provide More Time – The biggest thing a project management can do is provide time to spend doing the things you want to do, whether it’s spending the afternoon with your child, attend workshops, or going on a short vacation.
  1. Assists with Delegation – If you use project management for everyday tasks, you’ll get a better idea of what tasks you need to delegate or not delegate. You’ll have a much more accurate view of your day.

One of my top goals for the New Year, is to get more organized, especially with client projects.  I have tried a few different management tools and finally settled on two that I really like and use everyday.  I will be writing about which ones I tried and my thoughts and review on their ease of use and learning curves.

Do you have a favorite project management tool you just absolutely love? Share your experience with us, we’d love to hear your story! Thanks!

17 Things You Need to Test Regularly

lady's hand typing on laptopThe entire point of copywriting is to boost sales. Even if you write copy with the objective of getting more newsletter sign-ups, the entire point is still to boost sales. But, how do you know if what you’re doing is working? You’re writing, and hiring, and writing some more – but do you even know if all the work you’re doing is paying off? The best way to know is to test, test, test. Here’s a list of things you need to test regularly.

1. Your Headlines – How do you know a particular headline works over another? You conduct an A/B test. Make two slightly different headlines and send each headline to half your list. Which performs better?

2. Your Offer – If you’re not sure about your offer, try testing more than one offer. Like the A/B testing mentioned above, only change something small, and send each to half your list. Or if it’s a sales page, put both up, and see which performs better.

3. Your Copy Format – Are you considering where the reader is reading the copy? If your audience is reading on a mobile device, is the copy format effective? How do you know? Test it.

4. Snippets of Your Copy – If you have a long sales page, you can take snippets of the copy and reuse it on social media or other places to see what the response to the words are.

5. New Products – This doesn’t mean create new products, but test out new products such as project management systems, social media marketing automation, email marketing programs and more. Stay on the cutting edge by regularly spending a small time testing new products.

6. Graphics – Are your graphics the right graphics to use for your particular audience? If you’re not sure, conduct more A/B testing. Change nothing but the graphics and see how it affects conversion rates.

7. Functionality – Of course, you should test how your websites function. Does the checkout process run smoothly for your customers? Is something hanging them up along the way to prevent making a purchase?

8. Audience Responsiveness – Are you posting your heart out on Facebook but no one is responding, even though people are reading? If you’re not sure why, ask them.

9. Accuracy – Your copy should be well studied to be accurate. Don’t post false information either on purpose or by accident. Check your sources and check your facts.

10. Complexity – You don’t want things to be too hard for your reader to understand. If you’re using too many big words, change them to small words. Speak directly to your audience, not over them.

11. What’s in It for Me – Remember the fundamental test for effective copywriting. It doesn’t matter what platform you’re posting the copywriting on; your audience wants to know what’s in it for them. If the copy doesn’t answer that, start over.

12. Double Entendres – Sometimes double entendres are okay, but sometimes they can be disastrous. Be very careful with accidentally posting something that really means something else, especially if it’s controversial or dirty.

13. Spelling – Yes, spelling matters. Even on Facebook.

14. Sequence – If you post something that has a sequence, such as creating a recipe, or steps to accomplish something technical, does it flow in the right order? Ask someone who knows nothing about the topic to read it to test if it works or not.

15. Clarity – One of the most important aspects of copywriting is to ensure that what you are trying to impart to the reader makes sense. You don’t want to accidentally offend someone with your words. Read and re-read, and have others read for clarity.

16. Above the Fold – No matter what medium you’re putting your copy on – whether it’s print, webpages, or social media, the important stuff needs to go at the top, or you need explicit directions to scroll down to read more.

17. Originality – Is the copy original? There are a lot of ways to test this out such as with Grammarly or Copyscape. You want your words to feel familiar to the reader, but you don’t want them to be copied.

Links:
Grammarly – http://www.grammarly.com/
Copyscape – http://www.copyscape.com/

Since the entire point is to boost sales your first thought might be to look at your sales numbers, but you would not be looking deep enough. Plus, if you don’t look at a variety of factors and perform several tests, you may very well continue wasting time on activities with no payoff, or you might stop doing some that are paying off.