How to Increase Customer Signup Rates by Email

If you had a choice between email and Facebook for web marketing, which would you choose? I hope you chose email as it’s more effective for long-term customer engagement. Try to segment your customer list on Facebook and see how hard it is. But there is a problem with email.
aweber increase email subscribers

Email Marketing – Increase Signups By Checking Confirmations

Even though someone signups to your newsletter, that doesn’t mean they’ve actually signed up.
Sound confusing?
Here’s what’s happening and how to fix it.
When someone signups for your newsletter, the following happens:

  • On your website, they enter their email address and click Submit.
  • This sends a message to your email provider (I use aweber. You can get the $1 trial here).
  • Aweber sends a confirmation email to the person.
  • They have to confirm that they want to receive the newsletter.

This is where the problem occurs.

Email Marketing – Problems with Email Confirmations

The confirmation email will:

  • Go into their inbox. If it does they may click Confirm or ignore it. Maybe they’re too busy. Or…
  • Go into their spam folder. They never see it unless they check this folder. Or…
  • It never got to them as they’ve entered the wrong email address. For example, I see people enter

Hotmal instead of Hotmail
Gmial instead of Gmail
And so on…
How do you fix this?
You have a few options.
One of the things I like about aweber is that it shows me the number of people who have signed up but NOT confirmed yet.
In other words, they went to the site, entered their email, but (for whatever reason) haven’t confirmed.
And until they do, I can’t send them my blog posts, newsletters, special offers and so on…

Email Marketing – How to Rescue Lost Signups

Here’s what I do.

  • I give them four days to confirm. Why? If they signed up on Friday pm, they may not see it until Monday pm. So allow for this.
  • I send them a short email (from my personal business account).
  • I thank them for signing up and highlight that they have not confirmed yet.

Is there a problem we can help with? Did they get the email?
And then I leave it and wait for them to come back. I don’t chase them a second time.


You can use this technique to identify who has signed up but not confirmed.
Contact those who are in ‘limbo’ and use discretion. Many emails go to the spam folder. Remind then to add your email to their address book and your newsletter will get delivered.
What other problems have you had delivering emails? What tactic works best?

Aweber v MailChimp – which is best value for money?

Should you pay for aweber or take the free route with MailChimp? I have to admit I’m tempted to drop aweber and go with MailChimp. But I need to be careful. I have don’t this before and got burned. Here are some points to consider when switching email software. It’s not all about price.
mailchimp email software

Aweber v MailChimp

  • Price – Aweber starts at $1 but goes up depending on usage. I pay between 20-30 US per month. MailChimp is free (at least up to 2k users). What’s not to like.
  • Deliverability – if you’re sending large email lists, then you need to be aware that ISPs recognize some email software platforms better than others. Why does this matter? If they don’t know you, the email goes into the spam filter or blocked.
  • Track Record – My experience with aweber has been terrific. That’s why I still pay 🙂 I’d be concerned that a firm using a free business model could (possibly) have cash-flow issues that may impact me. And if they close down, what happens to my email list? Do I have to start all over again?
  • Education – On of the strengths of aweber is the very detailed tutorials (many videos) and knowledge base.
  • Knowledge Exchange – as many of the leading social media experts use aweber, see john chow, they share great tips and insights into how to optimize their email marketing plans. I don’t see this with MailChimp yet. Maybe I need to look harder.
  • Expertise – as Aweber has been in email marketing that much longer, I feel more confortable that with MailChimp. I ‘feel’ Aweber are more professional than MailChimp; not saying they are but it colors my thinking.

Aweber v MailChimp – How to Test

Saying that the price is an issue. No point pretending otherwise. Here’s what I’ve done. I setup a new account with MailChimp. This has (more or less) the same traffic as another site.
My plan is to compare both email lists and see what trends emerge?
If there is no major difference between the two… then maybe I will switch.
What do you think? What email software do you use?

Email v Facebook Conversion Rates

Should you invest your sales budget in email (old but proven) or Facebook (new and growing)? Research suggests that your budget would be better spent in email marketing than social media. But if we look at the results, different trends emerge that are more encouraging for Facebook marketing. Let’s take a look.
email marketing

Email v Facebook: ECommerce Opportunities

In Forrester Research’s Mulpuru report, “Will Facebook Ever Drive eCommerce?” her firm interviewed nearly two dozen technology vendors, retailers and marketers and found that they received little benefits from Facebook and other social networks.
The results shows that a social-network presence was less effective at customer acquisition and retention than e-mail and paid search.

Email v Facebook Clickthru Rates

  • Facebook metrics are a 1% click-through rate
  • E-mail marketing has an 11% click-through rate

Email v Facebook Conversion Rates

  • Facebook had a 2% conversion rate
  • E-mail had a 4% average conversion rate

Is Email marketing really better than Facebook?

My interpretation of this is as follows:

  • Email marketing is established
  • Consumers are familiar with Email marketing campaigns and respond more positively
  • Email marketing software is more sophisticated after decades of refinement
  • Email marketing software allows you to segment customers in ways Facebook cannot
  • Email marketing campaigns can be scheduled in ways that allow you to acquire customers in different time zones etc
  • Email marketing allows you to upsell other products

This doesn’t mean email marketing is better. Rather it’s been around longer, has evolved in the last ten years, and critically plugs into back office applications.
Facebook can do none of these… yet!

Why Facebook marketing doesn’t work

Facebook’s problem, she said, is that few people go there for shopping-related activities. “You go to Facebook to find other people, not to find a product.”
I’m not sure. I feel that once the tools are there, we’ll start to use it for:

  • Instant purchases
  • Gift giving
  • Donations
  • Special features, e.g. Secure surfing
  • Games

Businesses that run on “flash sales” or limited-time sales are also well suited for Facebook, she said.
Once Facebook starts to integrate into back office applications, such as Oracle, Sap, Salesforce, WebSphere, it can merge data sets with other marketing databases and leverage the results.
Right now, that’s hard to do. But at the rates it’s growing, I anticipate this integration in the near future.
What do you think? Is email really more powerful than social media or do you see a change on the horizon?

Should You Send Full Or Partial Blog Posts To Your Email Newsletter?

One of the dilemmas when using email is deciding if you should send the entire blog post in the email or just an extract. I do both on different sites as my readers have different preferences. Recently, I moved to AWeber as it lets me send extracts (teasers) via email and then encourage them to visit the website. Of course, you can also send the full email to the website as we’ll show next.

One of the dilemmas when using email is deciding if you should send the entire blog post in the email or just an extract. I do both on different sites as my readers have different preferences. Recently, I moved to AWeber as it lets me send extracts (teasers) via email and then encourage them to visit the website. Of course, you can also send the full email to the website as we’ll show next.

Send Entire or Extract Blog Posts to Newsletters?

One of the hidden features in AWeber is the ability to send an excerpt of the blog post to an email newsletter or send the entire email to your blog.
Like we said, one of the nice features of AWeber is the ability to connect your emails to your blog. In other words, every time you send out an email, it becomes a blog post.
And you can turn it around.
Every blog post can be sent out as an email!
In order to have all content shown in your email newsletter, make these changes:

  1. Log into AWeber
  2. Open your blog newsletter template
  3. Find the string {!rss_item_description}
  4. Replace it with {!rss_item_content}
  5. Save it.

Aweber will now send out the entire blog post to your email subscribers.
This is ideal if you want to ‘tease’ readers into visiting your site, which is ideal if you want to get them to take action on your site, for example, buy products from your webstore or to increase the traffic to the site.
Remember to Test
The {!rss_item_content} merges the HTML and images from your blog post into the newsletter. Make sure to test your newsletter to make sure the HTML displays correctly in Yahoo, Gmail, Hotmail and other email clients.
Note: Aweber lets you send out test emails that don’t appear on the blog.

Difference Between AWeber and Feedburner?

They are both great in their own ways. I use Feedburner for sites where I want to keep things simple, reduce costs and automate the publishing process.
But when you want more advanced features, such as emails to be blog posts blog posts to be emails, then sign up for the trial version of AWeber and see how it works.
For me, it’s made a huge difference with email marketing campaigns as it helps with upselling, split testing, and sending out special offers to my subscribers that don’t appear on the blog. That element of exclusivity really helps when you’re nurturing your customers.
What other tools let you do this? Maybe there are ways to do this with Feedburner that I’m not aware of. Let me know if you have any ideas.
And I guess this brings us back to the question: should you send full or partial blog posts to your email newsletters?

Are You Making These 17 Emails Marketing Mistakes?

   By jomcleay
In the last sixteen years, email has helped me win more business than any other tool. It’s turned cautious readers into enthusiastic buyers. It’s brought in prospective customers from the edge and driven repeat traffic to the money pages. Here are some of the mistakes I’ve made and how to get around them.

Emails Mistakes To Avoid

One of the dilemmas for web marketers is how to know what their customers really want. Email is one of the best ways to form a strong relationship with your readers.
It’s an inexact science. Everyone has an opinion. Here are some of mine!

1. Plain Text v HTML

Some of world’s biggest web marketers send out plan text emails. John Chow and Yaro Starak are two good examples. I’ve experimented with this format and have to say that it does seem to work, well, for certain types of content.
If your readers are after tutorials, for example, plain text will be fine. If it’s a Fashion newsletter or something up-market, then a splash of color is in order.
Plain text is also very powerful as the reader is ‘forced’ to read the text. Maybe guided is a better word but you get the idea. There’s nothing to distract them. Click-throughs can be very high if you use plain text with a single call to action.

2. Size Matters… kinda

The word count of your emails, and possibly the number of images, may also affect how readers respond. Some prefer short, snappy emails. Think Seth Godin’s pithy observations.
Others prefer long, detailed articles. ProBlogger and CopyBlogger are both, on average, 800-1000 words per post.
Some of this depends on your readership. If you’re sending 3 more emails per week, they may prefer short posts and/or abstracts.
But not always…

3. Use Abstracts Rather Than Full Post

One way to address this is to offer an abstract, say twenty words and then a link to the site.

  • The advantage is that you get them to the site where they can add comments, interact and/or buy something.
  • The disadvantage is that they may not be curious enough to click-thru, have web access at their work office, or feel that you’re trying to trick them into having to visit their site.

I give the full feed in my emails. I don’t want people to feel short-changed in any way.

4. No Endorsements or Testimonials

Use testimonials as social proof that others enjoy your newsletter. Get the right balance here with the wording and photos. Text that sounds too polished and flattering will make the readers suspicious.
Use the real words folks have sent you (a few typos never hurt) to give it that authentic sound. Try to avoid re-writing what they said.
If you don’t have testimonials for your newsletter, see if your current blog readers have favorable things to say about the site and then refer to this.

5. Hi, {Firstname}, we got your email!

Is there anything worse than a personalized email that’s gone berserk? If you’re going to use it – I don’t – be careful and test first. Most email software companies will have videos no how to do this right.

6. Not Testing Subject lines

Ever wonder how your email looked in different browsers?
Instead of setting up accounts on Hotmail, Gmail, Yahoo and Outlook, use this free tool to see how your subject line will look. It also shows how it will look on mobile devices. Great way to test your subject before you send it out.
Remember, if people don’t like your subject line, the email doesn’t get read.
All the effort you’ve put into writing the article, finding the right image, creating links and so on… all wasted. Test and test again until you see which subject lines work the best. See
Tip: 5 words works best for me, especially if there is some call to action or pressure put on the reader to click Open.

7. Buying Email Lists

You can buy emails links if you’re mad enough but why would you? It’s about as effective as walking down the high-street with a megaphone talking about your blog. Think anyone will buy?
Instead, learn as much as you can about email list building, write content the folks want to read, and test. I use the Reports tools in Aweber to see where I’m making progress and what needs to be refined. Feedburner is fine for broadcasting for your can’t dig down segment the lists, schedule emails or broadcast followups.
If you’re serious about using email to drive sales, invest in a Aweber or Constant Contact. I’ve also heard good things about MailChimp.

8. Keep It Consistent

Even if someone leaves your company, there’s an argument for keeping the email address active if that person has a large readership. Think twice about changing the name in the From field as you may confuse the readers and/or give them a reason to unsubscribe.
Don’t change a winning team!

9. CAN-SPAM Compliance

‘Real’ companies include their physical address at the footer of their email. I know this can be made up but most companies do comply with the Can-Spam Act and add their contact details in the footer. They also make it easy for you to unsubscribe.
If you don’t include this in the email, aside from the legal obligation, it shows your subscribers that you have a legitimate identity and that can phone you if there is a problem. Remember to add the country code suffix as well.

10. Email Schedule. What Email Schedule?

Create a schedule and then stick to it. This ‘trains’ your readers to expect your emails. I look forward to certain emails during the week and make time to read them. Your readers are probably the same.
Also, don’t chop and change the schedule. Keep to the same schedule for at least a month. Don’t push too hard or be over-ambitious. Try to get one out per week. If you can manage that for a week, try then and so on…

11. Don’t Send on Wednesday

Choose the best day to send the emails based on YOUR stats.
9 out of 10 web marketers will tell you that Wednesday (or is it Thursday now?) is the best day to send emails. Their ‘research’ shows it.
Well, if they all use that day, you choose another.
Makes sense, right.
Also, think of your readers. If you’re sending out an Entertainment email, maybe Friday lunchtime is that best so they can plan their week.
Sunday also works for me as people have time to browse and aren’t in a hurry.

12. Remove Deadwood

If they haven’t read your emails for six months, delete them.
Different reasons. One is that large ISP counts the number of bounced emails (e.g. From dormant accounts) and may punish you if your negative rating gets beyond a certain level.
Again,  my buddy Aweber has tools that let you do this.

13. Not Testing Before Sending

One of the advantages of Aweber is that I can sent test emails to different accounts before I sent it out.
It sounds like a small thing but it lets me see what the email will look like from the reader’s perspective.
Sometimes I catch a typo. Other times I look at it and see it needs to be revised. The tone doesn’t feel right or there are too many links.
Testing helps with this.
You don’t get a second chance with first impressions.

14. Use Special Reports

Let’s say you have a site about Travel. Send out special issues every quarter with tons on info getting your readers ready for special events. Focus on a single issue, say traveling to Asia for the first time. Include a link to a PDF version of the ‘report’ so they can keep it with them and/or share with friends.
Sprinkle in some links to your money pages or affiliate sites.

15. Use Follow-ups To Sell Longtail Products

Create a list for each type of class you offer (Yoga for Strength, Qigong and so on). When members enroll at the beginning of each new rotation, ask them to sign up for that list.
With a follow-up series for each list, you can prepare students with tips they can use to succeed that particular discipline, clothing suggestions, links to buy any special equipment they’ll need and a short biography of their instructor
Here’s an idea. Say you run a site about Finance. Follow up after 5 days and tell the new readers that you have the 5 part free newsletter about Personal Finance. Send them a link to a sample issue. If they like than – and take the course – send them another email towards the end offering another free course about Buying Shares For the First Time.
You get the idea. Don’t let your list sit there. Use it as much as you can. If the quality is good, no one will complain.
Then sprinkle some links into the newsletters that go to your money pages or affiliate sites.

16. Use Your Email Signature, Business Card and Stationery

My email address includes links to Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and my email account. I also add a PS for sales, discounts, and special offers that we run from time to time. And it’s very effective.
Over the course of the week, I’ll email several 100 people. Some days I have 200 emails in my inbox when I arrive. Many of these are getting in touch with me for the first time.
Adding my contact details and social media sites to the email, makes it one step easier for them to contact me. It takes one minute to setup but can be very effective in the long term.
PS – always use a PS. We all tend to scan down to the end of a document, report, or email from habit. Add a little ‘linkbait’ there and some will take a nibble.
Don’t forget to add your email to your stationery; you never know where it ends up. Business cards are the same, especially if you make them creative.

17. Impossible to Recognize “From” Names

My ISP sends me emails from This isn’t the best way to engage with your  customers. Personalize the email’s From field so it shows a real name.
As my name Ivan isn’t that common, I use it where-ever I can. It stands out from others and helps reader remember my posts.
Even if you’re a one-person company, you can create names for different functions in your business.
Rather that everything going to info@, create Sally, Tom, Stacy, Dion… and use these for your Sales, Customer Support, Finance emails.
You’d be surprised how many small companies use this tactic to big themselves up!

Are You Making These Mistakes With Your Emails?

Those are some of the ways you can get it wrong with email. I know I have and am still learning. If  I were to nail down three things that really help, I would say:

  1. Make the sign-up super simple. Don’t complicate things and get too fancy. Place the web form in the top right of the web page. Use simple words like Sign Up! or Subscribe! Don’t be clever, clever. Include a small benefit in the text near the form, such as free reports, discounts or gifts. Links to previous issues are another way for cautious readers to sample the goods first.
  2. Write interesting headings. Study how others do it and write out 20 variations of their headlines. After a while, you’ll get into the right mindset and see how they do it. Like all things it takes practice.
  3. Stay in touch. I send out one personal email every month. I just say hello, share some info, maybe giveaway a free book. Something that lets the reader know that I’m not taking them for granted.

That’s it for now.
What else would you add?

One Proven Way To Double Your Email Subscribers

If you’re like me, you don’t subscribe to many newsletters. Blogs are better. Maybe you use Google Reader to bring the articles to you. It makes sense. I do this same. But, my newsletter brings in more sales than my blog, twitter and PPC. So, how can you increase the number of email subscribers? It’s easy when you think about it.

pages 4-5
Creative Commons License photo credit: SFTHQ
If you’re like me, you don’t subscribe to many newsletters. Blogs are better. Maybe you use Google Reader to bring the articles to you. It makes sense. I do this same. But, my newsletter brings in more sales than my blog, twitter and PPC. So, how can you increase the number of email subscribers? It’s easy when you think about it.
But, there I still subscribe to twelve different newsletters. I checked. Take a quick look when you get a chance. It’s more than you’d think.

How To Get More Email Subscribers

This experiment doesn’t require any fancy software, split testing, or focus groups. Because you’re the test subject!
Here’s what I want you to do. The next time you subscribe to a newsletter, sit back, and look at your decision impartially:

  • What made you sign-up?
  • How easy was the sign-up?
  • Did it use CAPTCHA? If so, did it get in the way. I rarely get it right the first time.
  • Did you get an autoresponder telling you how to subscribe? Was it easy to understand.
  • Did the autoresponder go into your spam folder and you had to dig it out.
  • Where was the sign-up form? The top right of the page is the traditional place, but maybe they added to the footer of an email or blog post. There’s nothing stopping you being creative – providing it works.
  • What was your first impression of the Welcome message? Did it hit the right note? Did you unsubscribe immediately?

Create your own checklist and note what made you sign up for newsletters. And what made you unsubscribe.
Is this really scientific?
Yes, you’re a subject and you’re getting tested. And the results are recorded.
Ok. If you want to test 100s of consumers then go ahead. But, for most of us, that’s not practical. You need to find shortcuts.
Using yourself, your friends, family and others are all starting points.

Always Be Starting

The key is to start.
Don’t wait for the ideal moment. Do a little testing whenever you get 10 minutes. Then do something else…
You can learn a lot by studying your own behavior because you’re hopes, fears, desires, interests, and needs are the same as others.
Small businesses fail for different reasons. Newsletters are a great way to build a loyal readership and promote your products.
And like all things it takes practice.
Learn to observe yourself and see what works for you – then implement the same for your customers.
Subscription rates will shoot up.
Tomorrow I’ll give you seven (legit) ways to ramp up the number of subscribers.
PS – what software do you use to send out newsletters? I use Aweber. What about you?

Why Your About Us Page is the Second Most Important Page on Your Site?

You find a blog you really like. You want to learn more. You’re thinking of buying from them. What do you do? Click About Us, right? Most people do. Now, pretend you’ve never visited your own site. Remember, you know nothing about you. Nothing. Look at your About Us page? Be honest, what’s the one thing that’s wrong with it?

You find a blog you really like. You want to learn more. You’re thinking of buying from them. What do you do? Click About Us, right? Most people do. Now, pretend you’ve never visited your own site. Remember, you know nothing about you. Nothing. Look at your About Us page? Be honest, what’s the one thing that’s wrong with it? Continue reading “Why Your About Us Page is the Second Most Important Page on Your Site?”

7 Ways to Save Time At Work

calculator - how to save time at workLast week we looked at how much time you spend working every week. We looked at how Christine managed her time and tried to find ways to improve her productivity. The key here is to step back, see where you’re spending/wasting time and then find practical ways to address this. What works for Christine may not work for you – but making a start will make a difference.  Continue reading “7 Ways to Save Time At Work”

How to Get Your Email Answered

Chris-BroganChris Brogan (read and bookmark!) just hit a new milestone.
He’s now getting over 600 emails a day on average. 50% were people asking me his time, 25% were “really nice people,” 20% were business opportunities, and 5% were friends. A quick bit of math: if he answered 1 email a minute, 600 emails would take me 10 hours to answer. Continue reading “How to Get Your Email Answered”

Yahoo Mail Tips – How to use Yahoo Connections?

Yahoo Mail Tips – How to use Yahoo Connections?

Another feature in the new version of Yahoo Mail is the Connection manager. Connections are contacts with privileged benefits. They’re the people you spend the most online time with and the people you are most about sharing information with. Continue reading “Yahoo Mail Tips – How to use Yahoo Connections?”