Sunday, 29 May 2011

The importance of creating effective call to actions in your email marketing campaigns

Despite all the current buzz around social media and the importance of using Facebook and Twitter email marketing is still a vital part of successfully promoting your products and services over the web.  Maintaining  a viable link with your customers and potential customers is best served through a well thought out email marketing campaign.

When deciding the what and when parts of your campaign do not also forget the importance of a good Call To Action in your marketing efforts.  If you are sending out a special offer to your list then you need to have a compelling message in the headline to ensure that as many as possible open the email.  This headline should be your first call to action because unless you offer a good reason to open the email, no matter how engaging the content. it will be of absolutely no consequence.

So make sure you spend some time thinking of informative and engaging headlines for your email messages.  They can be humorous, informative, intriguing, time related or whatever you feel will get a positive response based on your understanding of your subscribers’ tastes and interests. 

Remember that the reader is not going to spend more than a few seconds reading the headline. So unless it specifically answers the question: “what is in it for me as a reader”  you are not going to get past first base.

Assuming the headline has provided a good reason for the subscriber to open your email the next stage is to ensure that the message it contains is relevant, punchy and rewards the reader for opening it.  If you have decided to include graphics in your email make sure that you also include anchor text as an alternative as many email providers automatically block graphic images. 

Make sure that your email includes relevant calls to action whether they are textual or graphical in nature.  You should assume that the reader will at least read the first paragraph so make sure  that there is a call to action here as well as in the middle and end of the email. 

Whilst everyone has seen “click here” as the most usual method of call to action you could be more informative by also explaining why they should take that action.  For instance you could make them an offer of a free e-book or access to a webinar as part of the call to action.  So rather than just a simple “click here” you could put “for a free trial of ..” “learn more about our  ..” “have a test drive of ..” 

If you offer a free trial  it is best practice to avoid also making an offer of an e-book for example in the same email.  Keep the message on track with a single compelling  call to action for a specific offer.

Create a sense of urgency where possible by placing a time limit on the offer you are making in your call to action.  Also retain your credibility by making sure that after the specific time is over the offer is no longer available.  Otherwise your offers will be seen as meaningless if you make an special offer to finish this week and two weeks later it  is still available.

Whatever methods you employ to improve your email marketing strategies remember to continue to keep track of your results.  Then test and test again to ensure that you are making the most of email marketing as a means of communication.

Sunday, 8 May 2011

The six step method of Internet Marketing

Recently I spent a couple of hours watching a web cast given by two well known and respected gurus of internet marketing.  One is from New Zealand and the other from the United States. The seminar was promoting a new course on internet marketing by the US guru.  He was formerly a chef who had worked long hours and not seen much return for his efforts.  However he loved to cook so that was some compensation for the long hours and low pay.  Now he is as successful internet marketer and guru earning in excess of $400,000 a year from his websites.  From the way the conversation was going he seemed to have followed the path of many successful gurus having spent a lot of time doing things the wrong way before finding success.

He bases his eventual road to success on the development of systems which are tried proven and tested.  He believes this  is  the way to achieve success at the highest level which is only achieved by 1% of internet marketers.  Part of the process is to develop websites which are niches only within well known market areas such as learning a skill, health, financial, hobbies, sports etc.  Whatever niche sites you create it is important to develop great content.  The business is based on publishing information and that information doesn’t necessarily have to be unique content.  The main thing is to ensure that whatever you publish to your website has been completely rewritten so that it is not just duplicate content.  One idea was to include quality information from YouTube which you could then write a synopsis on.  Google likes video as well as written content on websites according to the gurus.

The roads to success as an internet marketer are many as these two gurus have proven.  One believes in producing many websites in different niches whilst the other prefers to concentrate his efforts on just a select few.  Whichever method you choose they were both in agreement about the six step method of internet marketing.

Step 1: Choose a profitable Niche.

If you choose a large profitable niche you stand a better chance of success than if you choose a very specialist area.  Always choose quality products to promote as your long term reputation is dependent on what you offer to your audience.  Look for opportunities that give you good rewards and have a known high conversion rate. 

Step 2: Create a report relevant to your niche which is of high quality.  This report should be a minimum of twenty pages long and should contain good relevant information on your chosen niche.  The report can be produced by yourself or outsourced. 

Step 3:  Build a website with free content of approximately twenty quality articles to start with.  Then build a squeeze page to build a list of interested subscribers.   This step  involves setting up an account with an email auto responder facility.  The most well known is Aweber.   You can then set up an opt in box  on your website which will collect email addresses to enable you to build a list of interested and potential customers.

Step 4: You will need to create a series of emails to send to your list.  This could consist of newsletters with relevant and informative information on the niche.  In these newsletters you could also provide links to relevant offers that could be of value to your subscribers although this should be done as a soft sell option.  Interspersed with valuable content you should also send the occasional email which is purely promotional and is more of a hard sell.  Remembering that you are doing this as a business proposition.  Some on your list may unsubscribe but that is to be expected.  After all if they are only after free advice and nothing more then they are better off not being on your list.

Step 5: This is the most important and critical step of all.  Drive traffic to your squeeze page.  There are  many tried and proven methods of generating traffic to a website.  The most obvious and the quickest way is to use a paid method such as Adwords.  Your website can begin receiving traffic within hours and as long as you have a reasonable website, a good opt in box, squeeze page and series of credible emails you will be heading in the right direction.  For the longer term free organic traffic will provide a steady flow of visitors but this will involve some serious effort on your part.  This will involve all the ways of applying SEO which is another subject you will need to consider.

Step 6:  Rather than take your commissions and spend the revenue as soon as it comes in  the gurus suggest that you reinvest these earnings in building more websites and developing multiple streams of income. 

So in taking these six step you could follow the advice of the ex chef and build five or six good niche sites and develop them exclusively or take the advice of  the other internet marketing expert and build forty or fifty sites generating smaller but steady income flows.  One thing is certain both these gurus  are very successful at internet marketing  and following their advice and taking action is what we should all aspire to do.