5 Great Content Marketing Ideas For 2014

Posted on Sep 9, 2014 by Response Wise | Posted in Email Deliverability, Email Marketing, SEO/SEM, Social Media

Getting your content to stand out used to be a LOT easier but now that every person and his laptop can write a blog post, it’s easy to get drowned out by sheer volume regardless of how good your content is. Content marketing strategies have changed and now that we’re into the second half of 2014, it’s time to re-examine what you’re doing.

1 – Find a Sub Market

Too many content marketers continue to be vague with their definition of ‘target audience’. The result is generic content that doesn’t really satisfy the needs of anyone. Look at your niche and find a sub-section that has not been well explored and pour your energies into that. Would you rather market to 1 million people and sell to about 20 customers or target 2,000 customers and make over 1,000 sales?

2 – Check Your Calendar

Content marketing is all about flexibility so embrace it by pouncing on opportunities presented by major events. Throughout the year there are marketing gifts that present themselves such as Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Cinco De Mayo, Independence Day and so on. Tailor content specifically to these events at the right time and you WILL get an audience.

3 – Write About The Future

Nothing says ‘authority’ more than informative content marketing on the future of your specific industry. Everyone loves to know more about how their industry will expand or change as it simultaneously inspires and interests. When you write predictions, you are seen as authoritative and credible and if you’re right, be sure to mention that in future content!

4 – Trust Your Data

We have more metrics at our fingertips than ever before so use them! Being creative is great but combining it with analytics is even better. Analyze the data that presents itself to find out what your audience likes and adjust your content marketing strategy accordingly. With so many choices on the marketplace, it’s vital for you to get it right!

5 – Combine Quantity With Quality

While quality content must be your first priority, you simply must be prolific too. Search engine spiders crawl websites that regularly update their content and this is good news for your ranking. Additionally, with so many content marketers out there, you have to be the name that keeps popping up or else it will get lost amongst the thousands of others. Authority figures write well but they also write often!

While the above advice should also be timeless, I firmly believe it is especially relevant to our current era of content marketing. Follow it and you have a shot of staying on top and being the figure looked up to rather than down at.

Best Time To Send Marketing Emails According To Device

Posted on Sep 3, 2014 by Response Wise | Posted in Email Deliverability, Email Marketing

 

At one time, email marketers believed there was a ‘best time’ to send their email campaign. It was usually deemed to be 8-10am on Tuesday-Thursday but data later suggested more people than ever opened emails at night. It turns out that any contradictory advice on email marketing timing is borne out of the fact that emails are viewed on a multitude of devices. As it happens, the best time to send email depends on the device used by the recipient as we discuss below.

Desktop Users

Desktop users are no longer your #1 target. Yet it is an interesting market because the best time to reach people in terms of open rate appears to be 9am-4pm yet revenue per email seems to be higher when sent between 8pm-11.59pm. Friday emails have a higher click through rate but Monday emails have a better ROI. As these findings are about as clear as mud, it behooves you to experiment and see what works best for your company.

Smartphone

According to a study of 5 billion marketing emails, approximately 49% of all emails were opened on a mobile device. This leaves desktop opens in the shade and enhances the need to understand the habits of mobile users. It appears as if the weekend is the best time to send emails to mobile users as 32% of them read their emails at the weekend.

It seems as if Saturday is the best day to send emails as 32.5% of users read emails on their Smartphone on that day yet less than 6% of emails are sent on a Saturday! Wednesday is the worst day for sending emails as only 15% of people read them on their Smartphone yet over 20% of all marketing emails are sent on a Wednesday!

Tablet

This is the smallest section of the market but is still worth looking into. Statistics suggest the best time to send marketing emails to tablet users is 3pm-9pm. This typically means readers are accessing their emails at home after work. As this is likely to be ‘downtime’, it would suggest these individuals are more open and receptive to your company’s informative news coverage.

As you can see from the deluge of statistics above, you shouldn’t rely on one device, day or time when it comes to sending marketing emails. You will need to run tests and use the data to determine what’s best for your company.

6 Great Places To Place Email Sign-Up Forms On Your Website

Posted on Aug 26, 2014 by Response Wise | Posted in Email Deliverability, Email Marketing, Social Media

There is simply no better way to build a customer base than by creating a large email subscription list. It goes without saying that you need to use more email sign-up forms on your website but where should you place them? Read on to learn the highest converting locations for an email subscribers list.

1 – Top Of Sidebar

Avoiding this location is a great way to lose prospective subscribers. The top of your sidebar is one of the most visible places on your website and will immediately catch the eye of visitors. Don’t mess it up by placing it ‘just beneath’ the sidebar.

After Single Post

This is just pure common sense. If someone reads one of your blog posts to the end it’s fair to say he is interested either in your company or your industry. Now is the time to strike by including an email sign-up form.

The Feature Box

If you don’t already have a feature box on your website, start creating one. Simply come up with a few benefits of your service (or blog) and list them in bullet point form with a cool image. Add your email sign-up form beneath it. Hopefully, your feature box content will be good enough to ‘warm up’ your audience and compel them to discover what you’re all about.

The Footer of Your Website

This works on the same principle as the ‘after single post’ form; once people make it to your footer, it’s clear they are engaged with your content. This is the point where you need to ask to take action and a sign-up form is as good as it gets.

About Page

The ‘about me’ page on your website should be one of the most commonly visited pages. Most marketing experts believe you should have up to 3 email sign-up forms dotted throughout your page. If you don’t, you’re losing out on a huge amount of potential subscribers like almost every other blogger.

Lightbox Pop-Up

This features last because it can be a risky strategy depending on your industry. In some niches, it works brilliantly but in others it will ruin your conversion rate simply because it annoys people.

The frequency of email sign-up forms you should use depends on your industry and customer base. A tech savvy audience already knows where to find email sign-up forms but if you’re in an industry such as health & fitness or Forex, you’ll need to be more aggressive because readers may not be as savvy as you.

Online Business Listings You Should Consider

Posted on Aug 19, 2014 by Response Wise | Posted in Email Deliverability, Email Marketing, SEO/SEM, Social Media

In order to give your small business the best chance of success, it is necessary to get listed in online directories. Not only will you make it easier for people to find you, it also improves the domain authority of your website since it increases the number of backlinks to your site. It is a practice that doesn’t even take much time and the result can be significant growth. This time should only be spent on relevant and high quality directories that will improve your company’s online visibility.

Best Online Directories

Whenever you come across a good directory, make a note of it in a spreadsheet or bookmark them to keep track. Once you come across 50-100 directories you can begin to determine which ones are the best for your business.

  • Industry Specific: Look for the top-rated directories in your industry; if you sell paint for example, a quick Google search will reveal the top directories in that niche. These directories will receive a lot of traffic so you need to add your business to them.
  • Local Directories: Small businesses need more local business than giant companies so check out well-known directories such as Yelp, Yahoo Local, SuperPages, Merchant Circle, Manta and others. It is also worth going to Get Listed in order to find more local directories by industry. A fast Google search by location should also reveal lots of relevant local directories.
  • What Your Competitors Use: Analyzing the backlink profile of your rivals should help you determine the directories they are listed in. There are some great tools such as CognitiveSEO which help you to find the backlinks of rivals and filter out these backlinks from directories. The aforementioned tool can also sort out the backlinks of your rivals by authority which helps you see the top rated directories first.
  • General Directories: Once you have exhausted all of the above options, general directories can come next. These ones allow businesses to list themselves in general categories. Type inurl:category directory (type in the name of your industry instead of ‘category’) to find general directories that have a category for your business. The best general directories include DMOZ, Best of the Web and Yahoo.

If you follow all of the above directories you should have hundreds of choices. The next step is of course to get your business listed on as many of them as you think is necessary. Once you have completed this task, you business will have a far greater level of visibility than ever before.

6 Of The Best Email Marketing Sending Practices

Posted on Jul 30, 2014 by Response Wise | Posted in Email Deliverability, Email Marketing

There are an estimated 122 billion emails sent every single hour; you can only imagine how many of these are marketing emails! Therefore, it is essential for you to follow the best email sending practices as a marketer if you want to see great results in your campaign and we outline 6 of the best below.

1 – What About Timing?

There are a variety of confusing studies which all have a different opinion on when to send emails. One study says between 12am and 3am (which makes no sense) while another suggests it is between 8am and 10am (more reasonable). The truth is you need to know your target audience and be aware of when they are most likely to be receptive. Testing is the obvious solution but common sense helps too; for example, if you are selling an energy drink, 8am is a pretty good time since most people are still half asleep!

2 – The Importance Of Personalization

Did you know that recipients are 22% more likely to open an email when it is specifically addressed to them? Personalization may seem like ‘old hat’ but it still works!

3 – Capitalize!

This refers to your subject line; studies show that having every word of your subject line in caps increases user engagement; 7 Reasons Why You’re Still Fat for example. It appears to give the email a greater level of importance; it’s almost as if the email is commanding the recipient to open it.

4 – More Is Not Always Better

Many email marketers believe that sending lots of emails is a guarantee of success. This is a ‘throw enough dirt to the wall and hope it sticks’ strategy which won’t be successful. According to Mail Chimp studies, recipients engage less often when the frequency of emails increases. Basically, people just get sick of receiving emails from you!

5 – Don’t Use Salesy Wording

Your subject line should consist of a benefit; giving the appearance that you want to sell them something right off the bat will see your email binned. The subject line should explain what is inside and the content should fulfill that promise.

6 – Make The User Experience Simple

Customers purchase on emotion and justify with logic so don’t force them to think! Review the emails you send on a consistent basis (such as email newsletters) and make sure your calls to action are simple, direct and to the point.

3 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Purchase Email Lists

Posted on Jul 15, 2014 by Response Wise | Posted in Email Deliverability, Email Marketing

You should be aware that purchasing email lists is never a good idea no matter what anyone tells you. It involves working with a list provider to find and buy a list of names and email addresses that are based on demographic information. On the surface, it seems like a great idea because for a relatively low price, you receive up to 5,000 email addresses. However, you’ll soon pay the penalty for this purchase and we outline why this is the case below.

Reputable Vendors Don’t Use Purchased Lists
Before you waste your hard-earned cash on a purchased email list, let me tell you that reputable vendors will insist upon the use of opt-in lists. If you think the way around this is to use a less than reputable vendor, think again. If you elect to use an email service provider that doesn’t ask customers for opt-in email lists, you’ll find that it suffers from a low level of deliverability if a shared IP address is being used.
Basically, sharing an email service provider with companies that use purchased lists will damage your deliverability. What is the point of having 5,000 email addresses if your emails never make it as far as a person’s inbox?

Questionable Quality
Unless you’re about to acquire a new organization, you will not find an email list of premium quality. The fact that such a list is even available for sale means that the addresses on it have already been use by a host of different companies. In other words, you will be emailing people that have already received dozens of marketing emails and are fed up! Don’t expect much of a click-through rate!

Damaged Reputation
Hopefully, you are aware of the fact that there are organizations dedicated to fighting back against email spam. Have you ever heard of a ‘honey pot’? Anti-spam campaigners have a tendency to plant a few fake email addresses and when these are harvested and emailed, the sender is marked down as a spammer. This will in turn ruin future email marketing campaigns and once you have been given a negative label, it is tough to shake off.
The bottom line with purchased lists is that you have no way of finding out how often those email addresses have already been used. Additionally, your email deliverability could suffer if you choose a shady email service provider and finally, you could be stained with the reputation of a spammer. Quite frankly, purchasing email lists simply isn’t worth the possible consequences.

5 Ways to Optimize Your Landing Pages for Search Engines

Posted on Jul 8, 2014 by Response Wise | Posted in Email Deliverability, Email Marketing, Social Media

Despite being around since the beginning of Internet marketing, cracking the SEO code seems as hard as completing a Rubik’s Cube blindfolded. This feeling is not helped by the constantly changing search engine algorithms which dictate where your landing page ranks. Yet increasing your level of organic traffic doesn’t need to be so difficult; read on for some handy tips on optimizing your landing pages for Google and the other major search engines.

Title Tag

We’ll assume you already know the importance of using keywords relevant to your industry so we’ll move on to title tags. Search engine spiders only crawl the first 65 characters so anything you include above that is virtually ignored. Therefore, you need to get your message across quickly and this means including keyword(s) in the title tag.

Pay Attention to META Description

This is a quick and basic description of your landing page content and should not exceed 160 characters. Again, you need to include your keyword along with a cleverly crafted call to action. Your META description should be designed for the reader instead of the search engine bot.

Don’t Forget Your URL

A landing page URL containing relevant keywords always looks more attractive to search engines. However, don’t force the keyword into the URL if it doesn’t look right or if it is too long as this is bad for user experience and looks spammy.

Attract Attention with the Headline

It is always a good idea to look at some newspaper headlines to find out how media experts do it. Your headline should immediately compel visitors to read on while still being honest. There is nothing worse than reading a misleading headline and discovering the copy bears no resemblance to what you read in the headline. Again, place a keyword in the headline as this is a signal to the bot that the landing page is relevant to this keyword.

Be Careful With Images

While images are great for improving user experience and breaking up bland paragraphs of text, you should not saturate your landing page with them. Search engines are still not great at picking up images. There are a few tricks experienced web designers use to get around this problem but the fact remains, only include images that add to your landing page.

Suddenly, getting your landing page ranked on search engines doesn’t seem so daunting does it? None of the above tips are particularly hard to implement and while it takes time, you should see some results in the medium to long-term.

How to Reactivate an Old Email List

Posted on Jul 1, 2014 by Response Wise | Posted in Email Deliverability, Email Marketing

If you have been involved in email marketing for a considerable period of time, you’ll probably come up against a common problem: you may have 10,000 email addresses but discover few of the names on the list engage with your company. One of your first instincts will be to email the list all over again with a new offer but this is a really bad idea. No one wants the first contact with a company in months to consist of a sales pitch. It is likely recipients of such an email will unsubscribe with spectacular speed.

The Goal of Re-Engagement
Obviously, you want to see the percentage of your list that is still good but your real goal is to ensure subscribers are happy to see you again. You need to convince subscribers that it is worth spending time on your company because you can provide them with real value and genuine benefits. Therefore, you need to set aside thoughts of making a sale initially and focus on ensuring you have the attention of your readers.

Making It worth Their While
One of the best ways to get subscribers active again is to send them an email series consisting of content related to your core offering. For example, if you are involved in content marketing you could create a series dedicated to providing tips on how to use psychology to win over prospects. Every email in the series should provide something useful as a means of improving the lives of your subscribers. Assuming you know your product/market inside out, it should be possible to use the email series as a means of showing you as an authority in the niche.

Value Proposition
You need to capture the reader’s attention so begin by apologizing for being away and mentioning that you were working on innovative new ways to make content marketing (or whatever your niche is) more effective. Then you offer them the choice to accept your email series on psychology in content marketing (for example). It is best to ensure the content is in the top half of the email while the offer is on the bottom half.

Product Pitch
This is what you’ve been waiting for! You wait until the email series is over then you ask the subscriber if he felt the information was useful and valuable. Now is the time to issue the call to action where you promise to provide even more useful information on the topic at hand. Subscribers who have read the entire email series are clearly interested in what you have to say and find what you offer to be useful. This makes them more likely to become a loyal customer.

Reviving your email list can be a great way to increase your business but you need to be patient and avoid going for the sale straight away. Instead, you need to slowly become reacquainted with your subscribers and prove you are worth keeping around. Eventually, you will regain their trust and perhaps even their custom.

5 Rules When Dealing With Negative Comments About Your Email Campaigns

Posted on Jun 20, 2014 by Response Wise | Posted in Email Deliverability, Email Marketing, Social Media

One thing about email marketing is that if the recipients of your emails aren’t happy, they can mark you as a ‘spam’ sender and get your business into a lot of trouble. The CAN-SPAM Act heavily penalizes spammers and if your company is deemed to fall into this category, it could be fined to the point where it becomes bankrupt. But how do you respond to negative comments about your email campaigns? Read on to find out.

1. Don’t Delete & Ignore
While you have the right to delete hateful, racist, spam comments, you can’t click ‘delete’ every time someone says something you don’t like. Set out a list of rules regarding comments and if anyone breaches them, you can delete the comment without looking like a crybaby.

2. Respond Fast
The longer you take to respond, the more your reputation suffers. Savvy companies have a stock ‘we’ll respond as soon as possible’ message for social media accounts and this is not a bad idea to use. The last thing you want is a customer believing you don’t care what they have to say.

3. Discuss in Private
If someone has an axe to grind with your email marketing campaign, offer to resolve the issue privately. An email to the person in question is a good place to start because the last thing you need is an irate individual with time on his handing taking to social media to outline his disgust with your organization.

4. Stay Calm
If someone leaves you a particularly nasty comment, it is all too easy to snap and respond in kind. This is a bad idea since company meltdowns have a nasty habit of appearing in the public sphere. Give yourself some time to cool down before responding to ultra negative and offensive comments so you can approach it rationally instead of acting on emotion.

5. Be Prepared
While it is great to follow the tips above, this final point is the most important of all. If you are already prepared for negative comments you can greatly reduce the level of stress you suffer. Consider potential scenarios and possible answers to common comments. It is also important to have your staff well-drilled and ready for action if the worst happens.

 
Getting ready for negative comments about your email marketing campaign is a form of reputation management. Once you develop a thick skin and understand it is part and parcel of business, you should be able to handle whatever is thrown at you.

A Magnificent Seven Email Marketing Content Tips

Posted on Jun 20, 2014 by Response Wise | Posted in Email Deliverability, Email Marketing

Although we espouse becoming proficient in all the different facts of email marketing, you can’t beat good old-fashioned great content. To that end, I have come up with seven quick tips to help you create outstanding emails which enjoy high open and click-through rates.

  1. ‘We’ is more Important than ‘Me’: Too many email marketing campaigns focus on the company rather than what the recipient wants. Fill each email with important details rather than wasting space with a company’s boring history.
  2. List Benefits Not Features: Customers don’t care about what a product does, they want to know why these features are useful to them. Outline benefits and reap the rewards.
  3. Keep Your Subject Line Promise: Recipients of emails are fed up getting emails containing information completely different to what was mentioned in the subject line. If you have promised to supply ‘6 tips to get a 6-pack’ you better do it instead of trying to sell some hackneyed fat loss system.
  4. Know Your Target Audience: Market research prior to the creation of your emails is essential. If you don’t know who your target customers are, how are you supposed to craft emails that seem tailor-made? Your content needs to be relevant to the recipients of the email if you wish to be seen as someone who can solve their problems and meet their demands.
  5. Have One Goal: You need a laser-like focus with each and every email or else it will descend into chaos. Although including several calls to action is good email marketing practice, each one should lead to the same place and have one objective. Adding in more than one message per email will only confuse prospects who will ‘unsubscribe’ en masse.
  6. Proofread: This is probably the more obvious tip yet it is also the most overlooked. Emails that are not proofread generally contain mistakes and this looks amateurish and spammy. Proofread rigorously and don’t rely on spell-check alone or risk losing credibility.
  7. Generate Urgency: If the email is offering details of a sale, there must be an urgent deadline; if you are selling something, there must be a bonus for the first few subscribers etc. Basically, your emails need something which persuades recipients to act immediately. Fail to do this and your emails will sit in a prospect’s inbox and may never be read.

You can invest as much as you like in email marketing but if you don’t have great copy, you may as well write in hieroglyphics. Follow the above tips today for a better conversion rate.

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