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12 Steps Toward Building an Email List That Yields ROI

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When building an email list, your goal should go beyond simply getting subscribers. To start seeing ROI from these subscribers, you want to build a list of people who are likely to become paying customers. This should be the end goal and focus at hand, as all too often, marketers and brands are blinded by big subscriber numbers and not the actual ROI and results that come from them.

A few ideas on how to improve your email results include deleting old email addresses to increase your open rate, asking your subscribers to opt in twice with an activation link to ensure that they’re interested, and including shareable content that will amplify your reach. The key is making every email and every subscriber count.

These 12 entrepreneurs from YEC offer their best advice for building an email list that will actually yield a solid return on investment.

1. Create a Highly Targeted Opt-In Offer

Building an email list starts with people filling out an opt-in form on your landing page. Your goal isn’t to simply get lots of subscribers but to get people who are likely to become customers. To do this, make your initial offer highly relevant and something that makes them want more. If it’s a report or e-book, it should provide value but also pre-sell the product you’re marketing. – Shawn Porat, Scorely

 

2. Make Every Email Count

When your email list is small, it’s easy to neglect your subscribers’ individual needs. Treat each customer interaction as if it’s your only chance to impress them because it could very much be your last if your marketing emails underwhelm your audience. Therefore, you’ll want to carefully segment your list and challenge yourself to create unique and valuable email content worth consuming. – Firas Kittaneh, Amerisleep

 

3. Delete Old Email Addresses

I used to think more email addresses were essential to create a great email list. Recently, we trimmed down our email lists tremendously by deleting the email addresses of those who don’t open up our emails for a predetermined amount of times. Our open rate has soared as a result and our spam rate has plummeted; we have a much better score with ESPs too! Main takeaway: More isn’t always better. – Elliot Bohm, Cardcash.com

 

4. Ensure Your Subscribers Are “Double Opt-Ins”

Whenever you start building an email list, make sure you list only “double opt-ins.” This means that after they put in their initial details (e.g. email address and name), they need to click an activation link sent to them by your autoresponder. This extra security step will avoid building up erroneous email addresses and is one way to really increase your list quality. – Alex Miller, Upgraded Points

 

5. Make Your Offer Clear

Avoid generic e-books and white papers. In order to build a list, you need subscribers that will potentially convert into sales. A list of 2,000 subscribers that all have buyer-intent is much more valuable than a list of 100,000 subscribers that are likely never going to buy from you. Calls-to-action and your “bribe” must be crystal clear and include something of value that will attract prospects. – Jonathan Long, Sexy Smile Kit

 

6. Create Shareable Bite-Sized Content

Create shareable bite-sized chunks of content that are relevant to your audience. With only eight seconds to capture a reader’s attention, choose topics that are informative and directly useful. Engaging information and easy to find sharing buttons will prompt your audience to share among their circles, which quickly amplifies your initial effort, building a better list and generating ROI faster. – Peggy Shell, Creative Alignments

 

7. Focus on a Specific Industry

We build our email list based upon the industry because that is more appealing to the reader. We first send out emails to a small group of around 100 subscribers and then measure the response. If we get a good response, we send emails out to the rest of the subscribers. If we don’t get, we adjust our content until we get one. – Piyush Jain, SIMpalm

 

8. Set Metrics to Measure

You won’t know your ROI if you don’t set some metrics about how many leads and sales you want to achieve from your email campaigns against the budget you have set and the resources you want to put toward it. Have a list of criteria to measure and the tools to measure so that you can shape how you approach finding people to put on your email list. – Zach Binder, Ranklab

 

9. Segment Your Lists

List segmentation. You want to know exactly where each of the emails in your mailing lists came from. You then want to create different email campaigns based on where each email came from and the type of customer that it belongs to. Sending generalized campaigns to your entire list is generally not the recommended way of doing email marketing anymore. You need to get specific. – Duran Inci, Optimum7

 

10. Get the Right Audience

The most important thing when building a list that converts is getting the right audience and targeting them. Know exactly who your ideal customer is and who is most likely to buy, then focus all your energy on building a list of those exact people. Often I see people build a list of “all entrepreneurs” when their target should be 2% of that – causing spam complaints and low ROE (return on email). – Jeremy Brandt, WeBuyHouses.com

 

11. Link “Giveaway” Ads to an Email Sign-Up

If a business pays for an ad, use that as an advantage to build an email list of the people who are interested in the company/products. Make sure that the landing page of the ad includes an email sign-up that is required before leaving the page. Use that email list to choose a “giveaway” winner and connect with customers moving forward. – Daisy Jing, Banish

 

12. Isolate Your Target Audience

Target audience matters. We had a giveaway with a company outside our field, which gave us many email addresses but few returning consumers. Buying random lists gets a lot of emails, but they might not be real or bring you people looking for your product. We focus on people who want our product and want to sign up with us. – Ashley Ferraro, Dona Jo, Inc.

 

I hope you enjoyed this recent expert round up. If you did, also be sure to check out one of our larger round ups on “how to start a successful blog” with tips for 82 different industry experts. If you’d like to create a similar post like this one, also be sure to check out my full expert round up guide, that is simple enough for anyone to follow and also shows live examples of how other sites are creating these same types of posts to explode their online reach and brand power.

Zac Johnson is a online marketer with 15 years of experience and also a blogger at ZacJohnson.com, as well as the founder of BloggingTips.com. You can also follow me on Twitter and Facebook

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Successful Blogging: EXPERIENCE and Learn

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Do you know how people tell you to live and learn? Not the best advice. EXPERIENCE life and observe your lessons. THEN learn. Successful blogging is observing, learning then moving forward with those lessons firmly impressed on your mind. All that sweet blogging money only appears if you experience blogging by diving in, and blogging every single day for hours daily. After, you need to observe your experience. What did you learn? Take those lessons with you to succeed online. Living is useless unless you learn from experiences. EXPERIENCING blogging and learning from experiences separates successful bloggers from everybody else.

Let me explain…..

Me and my wife house sit in Brooklyn for 3 weeks now. The homeowners have a car. I need to move the car to find a new parking spot once weekly as alternate side of the street parking rules are in effect due to weekly street cleaning. The owners simply told me it’d be easy to find a spot early in the afternoon. Cool. But their advice did nothing to prepare me for the EXPERIENCE of actually trying to start the car, and find a new parking spot. I never used a key-less car before. I had no idea you need to press on the brake while pushing the start button because I had no experience doing so, and the owners did not give me instructions to do this. I know you place a key into ignition and turn it because that is my experience for 30 years as a driver. Anyway, 45 minutes later, I figured how to start the car. But wait! I had a new experience to…..experience. I had lessons to learn. Because after exiting the parking spot, I drove side streets for another 50 minutes before finding a spot. Frustrated and agitated, I learned a valuable lesson *from* my experience; change parking spots from one street side to another immediately after the street sweeper comes through. Cool.

But I had another lesson to learn. Traffic cops give tickets if you park on the alternate side before 1 PM; even if the street cleaner plowed through. Being burned by yesterday, I drove around for 90 minutes today to ensure I’d have an entire city block of open parking to choose from. OK; I also illegally parked on that open block for about 45 of those minutes. Why? Yesterday’s agitating experience told me it’s wiser and less time consuming to circle for 90 minutes to guarantee I get easy parking. Wait! I learned another lesson based on today’s experience. Never leave your parking spot at 11:30 AM when street cleaners move thru because you’ve 90 minutes to kill before legally parking on the alternate side. I asked a traffic cop. He offered the answer. More experience. Next week, I hop in the car only if the alternate side seems to fill up fast but based on prior experience, this only happens at about 12:50 PM, 10 minutes before the expiry time.

Blessed experience wins again. Life-wise. Blogging-wise. Seize it. Capitalize on it. Succeed. Blogging is no spectator sport.

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1 Blogging Lesson I Learned from Parking a Car in NYC

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Alternate side of the street parking day here in NYC. This means you need to move your car to the other side of the street for street cleaning. Cool. I heard it on the radio many times. First time I had to experience it in person, though. We house sit for a couple in Brooklyn. This couple owns a car. Cool. But the car did not start for a good hour because I did not know one steps on brakes while pressing key-less start buttons. Oh well. But after that, I drove around for 45 minutes looking for a new spot on the other side of the road because you get a nice ticket otherwise. No spots availed themselves for 45 minutes. I spoke to my wife. She told me cars need be parked 15 feet from fire hydrants. I was 5 feet away. Shoot. On returning to the car, a bus moved in front of me. I slid in to a parking spot. Phew. Relief.

What lesson did I learn? No matter how calm you THINK you are, agitation arises in you. Unless you’re enlightened. Alas I am not. I am a regular guy. Calm? Yep. But I routinely find events feeling uncomfortable to navigate. Sometimes, aka rarely, I experience events triggering deeper fears. Today was one such event. I did not flip out, scream, panic or throw a tantrum. I did however feel super agitated about needing to spend almost 2 hours driving around NYC and trying to start a key-less car because 2 hours are precious to me. I hate wasting time. Inefficient actions disgust me. BUT perfect place, perfect time. I needed this experience to trigger fears for feeling, hugging and clearing, to make me even more calm. No matter how much growth and success you experience, leveling up introduces you to new fears. Deeper fears. More unpleasant fears.

With deeper fears comes greater responsibility and even more success. I suspect if I do become a billionaire blogger how I’ll keep nudging into unpleasant-feeling fears along the way. But inspiring millions and making billions? Worth it. I am humble enough to know my calm demeanor a good 95% of the time may-does evolve into agitation some 5% of the time. Maybe less. Progress has been attained. Because I have not genuinely screamed at someone in about 1 year and I have been agitated like today about 5 times over the past year. I am calm most of the time. Agitation arises rarely because I am human and apt to be afraid of stuff. Sue me, LOL.

Be with fears as you grow. Energies arise. Anger. Terror. Horror at the future. Blanket disgust. Never resist these energies. I stumble across non-enlightened folks who hold self to enlightened standards. No way guys. Never be surprised at your getting angry or upset because only enlightened souls and repressed people never anger or feel agitated. Burying fear stifles your growth. Hugging fear accelerates your growth. You know I hug my fears. NYC parking agitation still subsiding now.

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5 Greatest Landing Page Optimization Tools For Your Blog

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landing page optimization tools

Landing pages can steal people’s attention. And if you play your cards right, these pages hold the ticket to attracting more customers.

However, let’s be clear:

Landing pages are double-edged swords. While they can help you, they can also harm you — unless you’ve optimized them accordingly.

So if you know your landing page needs work, why not get around it?

Well, there are plenty reasons for this, and there are also many landing page plugins that can help to further critique your LPs as well.

As you go through this article, you’ll find five landing page optimization tools for your blog. With them, you can revamp your landing page then have it increase conversions and your blog’s income.

Unbounce

Unbounce - landing page optimization tools

Optimizing landing pages is not possible if you haven’t built them yet. So to construct great landing pages, the tool for you is Unbounce.

And Effin Amazing, a Florida-based agency that specializes in analytics and growth, will tell you all about the tool’s power.

When one of its clients, Chupa Mobile, asked for help generating new leads, Effin Amazing used Unbounce. The team’s idea for its client involved a lead nurturing strategy and a content calendar. That and Effin Amazing wanted to get it done as quickly as possible.

True, it was a rather ambitious plan. However, it was realistic. And get this:

The marketing agency reached its goal. Chupa Mobile was satisfied with its landing page. It also began generating dozens of new leads. Plus, it also walked away with a 44% increase in conversions.

Crazy Egg

Electronic Arts is a successful media company that knows that Crazy Egg lets you set up an A/B test in minutes. It also knows that the tool features Visitor Insights and Heatmaps. Both of which provide information about user behavior on landing pages. So before launching SimCity 5 in 2013, it set up an A/B testing process to maximize revenue.

Crazy Egg

For the control version of its landing page, it merely focuses on promoting the simulation game. While on the other version, the company offers a 20% discount.

Here’s the control version of its landing page:

Crazy Egg - SimCity5Control

Here’s the variation:

Crazy Egg - SimCity5Variation

After a while, the media company discovered that its landing page’s variation was a hit. Compared to the version that brings an incentive into the table, the landing page design without a 20% discount performed 43.4% better.

Google Analytics

Google Analytics

If you combine Google Analytics and Google Adwords, a powerful tool is in your hands. You can use it to track landing page performance to haul in leads even after they exit your site.

To demonstrate the power of Analytics, let’s explore Marketo’s conversion increase that happened after using the tool.

So here’s the story:

As a go-to company for many B2B and B2C folks when it comes to marketing and automation, Marketo’s goal is to help its clients improve conversions. And to reach that goal, the plan was to use Analytics and real-time personalization.

So it took its clients’ website data such as industry vertical and top products. Then it merged all of it with the user behavior data it got from Google Analytics.

Because of what the analytics tool reveals, Marketo provided audiences with relevant data. From what it gathered, it also created topnotch remarketing campaigns. The fruits of the marketing company’s labor? A 10x conversion rate improvement for its clients!

Thrive Architect

Thrive Architect

Thrive Architect is a WordPress page builder. And if you’re searching for a tool that can help you create visually impressive, high-converting landing pages, it’s the tool you need.

Take it from Louise Hendon. She is a solopreneur who uses Thrive Architect to whip up topnotch landing pages for Nourishing Brands. That’s why, over the years, she succeeded in building a sizeable six-figure business.

An upside is this:

Thrive Architect features a drag-and-drop interface that lets you build your page quickly. If you want detailed instructions on how to use the page builder, this article from ProfitBlitz will come to your rescue.

Pingdom

Pingdom

Did you know that Refinery29, a globally recognized brand for smart, creative women, uses Pingdom? And because the tool provides insights about how to increase page loading speed, the brand welcomes 36 million monthly visits.

So if your landing page loads slowly, Pingdom can help you. The tool works by taking your site out for a spin and pointing you to the root of the problem.

The excellent news is Pingdom is free and easy-to-use. All you must do is paste your site’s URL where the tool specifies, and you’re good to go.

To see it work in action, let’s check the page loading speed of a random site. For this, let’s go with Goliath National Bank’s website. So let’s paste its URL on the appropriate field and click START TEST.

Pingdom - Example

After the tool is done with the analysis, scroll down the same page to see the results.

Pingdom - Results

And if you scroll down some more, you’ll find suggestions on how to improve page performance. If you want a detailed explanation on how to improve page performance, expand the suggestion.

Pingdom - How to Improve Page Performance

Final Thoughts

Put yourself in a potential customer’s shoes and think of a landing page as a gateway to something unknown. Now, if someone herded you toward this gateway, would you want to see what’s on the other side of the fence if the entry point is dreary?

Chances are, you won’t. By the looks of it, choosing to pursue the dark path won’t lead to anywhere promising.

Remember, creating landing pages and creating landing pages that convert are two different things. So as you build your landing pages, make sure to implement nothing but the best landing page optimization practices.

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