12 Of The Deadliest Mistakes In Email Marketing (FREE Ebook Download)


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12 Of The Deadliest Mistakes In Email Marketing (FREE Ebook Download)

  1. 1. Jing Zhou, Search Engine Consulting Copyright © 2010 1
  2. 2. Jing Zhou, Search Engine Consulting Copyright © 2010 How to Avoid 12 of The Deadliest Business E-mail Mistakes Jing Zhou Search Engine Consulting http://Search-EngineConsulting.com Call Toll Free 1-877-618-6284 2
  3. 3. Jing Zhou, Search Engine Consulting Copyright © 2010 Table of Contents Introduction ................................................................................................... 5 It’s about reducing costs and increasing profits ............................................. 6 But we’ve got people who deal with that… .................................................... 9 What benefits can you expect? .................................................................... 11 Reduced marketing costs and higher profits ............................................ 11 Long-term business building ..................................................................... 13 The ‘12 deadly sins’ of e-mail marketing! .................................................... 15 1. Keep it on-topic and original ................................................................. 15 2. Give prospects every chance to subscribe….......................................... 16 3. Keep it simple… .................................................................................... 17 4. Let them see what you have to offer… ................................................. 18 5. Everyone hates spam… ......................................................................... 20 6. Help others to help you ........................................................................ 21 7. But they must be useful… ..................................................................... 24 8. You need a landing page ....................................................................... 26 9. Show them the proof ............................................................................ 27 10. Ask them to talk about it… .................................................................. 28 11. Get them to pass the newsletter on ................................................... 29 12. Include an opt-in link .......................................................................... 31 Conclusion ................................................................................................... 33 3
  4. 4. Jing Zhou, Search Engine Consulting Copyright © 2010 4
  5. 5. Jing Zhou, Search Engine Consulting Copyright © 2010 Introduction If you own a successful local business (or even one that has been struggling a bit ), you are no doubt always looking for new marketing channels and opportunities. If so and assuming that you’re not actively using e-mail marketing already, you’re going to learn a great deal to your advantage from this short report. If on the other hand you are already using e-mail marketing to promote your business, then I have a question for you. As far as your current e-mail marketing activities are concerned, have you ever assessed just how effective e-mail marketing has been for your business so far? Indeed, is this a question that you can answer or have you never actually tried to establish whether what you are doing is as successful and profitable as it could be? These are important questions because one fact about e-mail marketing that far too many business owners miss is that whilst it is quite easy to market effectively, it is also very easy to get it wrong. 5
  6. 6. Jing Zhou, Search Engine Consulting Copyright © 2010 In other words, even if you are using e-mail to market to your prospects and customers, you might still be leaving thousands of unclaimed profit dollars simply because your marketing activities are not as effective or efficient as they should be. From this guide, you will learn exactly what you should be doing to maximize your returns on your e-mail marketing efforts and you will be introduced to many common mistakes that you might fall victim to from time to time. Avoid these mistakes and your e-mail marketing will become a great deal more profitable. For this simple reason, take what you read to heart and put it into practice. It’s about reducing costs and increasing profits It’s a given in any business that if you can increase incoming revenue at the same time as reducing marketing costs, you will increase the ultimate bottom-line profit that your business enjoys. 6
  7. 7. Jing Zhou, Search Engine Consulting Copyright © 2010 The relevance of this is that by using e-mail marketing effectively, you can ‘win’ on both sides of this ‘profit boosting’ equation. In other words, used properly, e-mail can reduce your overall marketing costs by a significant margin whilst also boosting your sales figures at one and the same time. What is even more important, if you understand the essentials of effective e- mail marketing, you can launch a profitable e-mail campaign in an hour or two and start seeing increased sales in around about the same amount of time. Or to put it another way, you could launch and profit from a successful e- mail marketing campaign in one afternoon as long as you do the whole thing right. But of course, it does not stop here because one of the beauties of e-mail marketing is that you can send out an e-mail to your prospects and customers which generates a steady stream of sales that continues for days or even weeks. After all, you would not expect every customer to open your incoming message immediately or to take a decision on it instantly either. 7
  8. 8. Jing Zhou, Search Engine Consulting Copyright © 2010 From this brief description however, you can clearly see the power of effective e-mail marketing. However, the watchword throughout is ‘effective’ and without some easy- to-follow guidelines, it is understandably difficult to become an effective e- mail marketing success story. You do after all have a business to run which means that there are a multitude of daily tasks that have to be dealt with without learning new skills. It is consequently understandable in a way if you have not had the chance to master effective e-mail marketing as yet. Even so, despite the fact that it might be understandable that e-mail marketing has not yet figured too prominently on your business radar, I am confident that reducing marketing costs whilst increasing profits certainly will do. Assuming this to be the case, this is a report that you definitely need to keep reading. 8
  9. 9. Jing Zhou, Search Engine Consulting Copyright © 2010 But we’ve got people who deal with that… From my experience of dealing with a lot local business owners, I know that an increasingly large number of local businesses do have ‘people’ that they rely on to deal with anything to do with computers related. For example, many business owners have used local website designers to create an attractive site for them and they may have someone on the staff who deals with minor technical problems as well. Granted, these people undoubtedly know their business but to a large extent, that is the exact point. They know their business and unfortunately, their business is nothing to do with direct response marketing on the internet. Asking a web designer (as one example) about running an effective e-mail marketing campaign is a little bit like asking a hospital cleaner their advice about brain surgery. They are kind-of involved in the same business but the differences between the two roles are far greater (and a lot more important, especially if you are booked in for brain surgery) than the similarities. 9
  10. 10. Jing Zhou, Search Engine Consulting Copyright © 2010 Whilst there are of course exceptions, effective online marketing is not something with which most designers or IT people are familiar. They do not get involved in the mechanics of online marketing every day and they have no need to keep up with all of the latest and most effective marketing developments either. In short, these are not the people to guide your e-mail marketing efforts. Nevertheless, without the most appropriate guidance, it is extremely easy to make some basic, fundamental errors that can seriously damage the effectiveness of your e-mail marketing efforts. A large portion of this report focuses on highlighting many of these errors and providing straightforward, expert solutions. 10
  11. 11. Jing Zhou, Search Engine Consulting Copyright © 2010 What benefits can you expect? Once you put in place a system for efficient and effective e-mail marketing and overcome any mistakes you might currently be making, there are several benefits that your business should start to enjoy almost immediately. The first major benefit has already been hinted at but it is not the only one. Reduced marketing costs and higher profits When you market effectively using e-mail, the most obvious benefit is that you almost instantly reduce your marketing costs. To begin with, sending information about your products or services to your prospects and customers using e-mail costs almost nothing. There are no postal or delivery charges involved in getting your information to the prospect or customer nor do you need to print flyers with the associated printing and material costs involved. 11
  12. 12. Jing Zhou, Search Engine Consulting Copyright © 2010 Instead, you create digital documents which can be delivered instantly via e- mail so the only cost is the labor charge incurred by someone having to create the document and pressing a button to deliver it. From your customer’s point of view, this information is delivered almost instantly and directly. You send it knowing that it will be in their hands within the next 30 seconds to a minute. This suggests that you have mastered e-mail marketing. This simple fact will almost always enhance the image, reputation and credibility of your business far more powerfully than you might ever imagine. It makes it appear like your business is on the cutting edge of technology even though (in truth) there is nothing particularly high-tech about e-mail marketing. Nevertheless, because utilizing e-mail marketing as opposed to more old- fashioned marketing channels improves the reputation and credibility of your business, it also tends to increase sales as well. Hence, as was suggested previously, effective e-mail marketing reduces your costs whilst also increasing your income. 12
  13. 13. Jing Zhou, Search Engine Consulting Copyright © 2010 It therefore increases the all-important bottom-line profits, all with little or no extra work or effort involved. Long-term business building It has long been accepted by experienced online marketing professionals that building a mailing list is one of the most effective ways of laying strong foundations for any business that wants to remain profitable in the long term. This happens because once a prospect becomes a customer after buying from you, the fact that you can almost instantaneously provide all of the services they need makes it very easy for you to retain their loyalty. Compare for example a situation where a customer has a service query that takes a week to respond to by snail mail or where you reply to the same query within 15 minutes by e-mail. It doesn’t take a genius to work out which of these two customers would be the happier. Happy customers are almost always your most profitable customers (as they buy from you time after time) and they are the most likely to recommend your products or services to others as well. 13
  14. 14. Jing Zhou, Search Engine Consulting Copyright © 2010 Thus, a mailing list of responsive, happy customers is an asset from which you can generate profits almost at will. For example, if you have a special offer available and a list of customers who have bought exactly the same kind of products in the past, you can generate sales and profits simply by sending information about your new offer to them. All of these benefits do however rely on the fact that your e-mail marketing efforts must be both efficient and effective. You therefore need to avoid the common mistakes that you will begin to read of in the next chapter. 14
  15. 15. Jing Zhou, Search Engine Consulting Copyright © 2010 The ‘12 Deadly Sins’ of E-mail Marketing! In this chapter, I am going to detail common mistakes that I have seen local business owners make over and over again. You must do whatever you can to eradicate or avoid these mistakes if you want to optimize your e-mail marketing results and profitability. 1. Keep it on-topic and original From the very beginning of your relationship with a new prospect, it is vital that everything you present them with is on-topic and original. They need valuable content from the off because if you don’t provide it, then your nascent relationship with them will never get off the ground. To begin with, you have to convince the prospect to subscribe to your mailing list from your website. If the information on the page where you feature your subscription form is irrelevant, boring or completely unoriginal, they will not subscribe in the first place. However, even if they get past the first stage, the content of your outgoing e-mail messages must also satisfy the same criteria. 15
  16. 16. Jing Zhou, Search Engine Consulting Copyright © 2010 If for example they open the first one or two messages to find information that is completely irrelevant to their business or totally unrelated to the information they expected to receive from what they read on your subscription page, you can be certain that they won’t open too many more messages. The simple solution to this is to make sure that everything you supply to your prospects or customers is bang-on-target relevant, useful and up-to-date. The page that they sign up for should focus on one particular topic and as it is this topic that has encouraged them to subscribe, everything that you send thereafter must focus on the same topic. If they subscribe to get more information about blue widgets, you send information about blue widgets as an example. 2. Give prospects every chance to subscribe… If you want prospects to subscribe to your mailing list (and you most definitely do), you must make it as easy as possible for them to do so. The quickest and simplest way of doing this is to make sure that there is an attractive list subscription form on every page of your website. 16
  17. 17. Jing Zhou, Search Engine Consulting Copyright © 2010 If however you feature your sign up form on a single hard-to-find page buried deep somewhere in the bowels of your website, well, guess what? You are not going to have many prospects subscribing to your list which is as good as leaving money on the table. Fortunately, the solution to this problem is as simple as it probably appears. Make sure that you have an attractive signup form on every page, preferably in the top left-hand corner because statistically, this is the first place on any webpage that a visitor looks at. 3. Keep it simple… To an extent, the amount of information that you would like to collect from your new prospect will depend on your business and the products or services that you supply to customers. For example, if you need to deliver products physically, you need their delivery address whilst having a contact telephone number would also be valuable in this situation. Even so, although this information will eventually be needed, keep the initial subscription process as simple as possible. 17
  18. 18. Jing Zhou, Search Engine Consulting Copyright © 2010 By doing so, you encourage more visitors to become prospects by subscribing. If on the other hand you ask for their name, e-mail address, postal address, telephone number and so on, you will naturally dissuade many visitors from subscribing. To begin with and as a way of starting the ball rolling, ask for nothing more than a first name and e-mail address. Once you have this information, you can ask for everything else you need later as and when it becomes necessary. For example, you don’t need the delivery address until you actually need to deliver something. Consequently, collecting this information can wait, particularly when asking for it at the beginning is likely to throw away a lot of potential business. 4. Let them see what you have to offer… 18
  19. 19. Jing Zhou, Search Engine Consulting Copyright © 2010 When you are trying to encourage visitors to your site to subscribe to your list, it is common to offer some form of ‘free gift’ as an incentive to do so. As a way of staying in contact with prospects and customers, many businesses publish regular newsletters that would in the past have been delivered by postal mail. Nowadays however, e-mail is the perfect Method of delivering a digital version of your newsletter to your prospects and customers. Many businesses therefore use this as the incentive with which they try to encourage (some would say ‘bribe’) visitors to sign up. Perhaps not surprisingly, if you offer a free newsletter subscription, many of your site visitors probably want to see whether it is worth reading before making their decision about subscribing to get it. You should therefore feature a back issue of your newsletter on your website so that the visitor has something to base this decision on. You should obviously make certain that the newsletter edition that is published on your site is one of the better ones and that it showcases your business in the best light. 19
  20. 20. Jing Zhou, Search Engine Consulting Copyright © 2010 Remember, this newsletter sample is there to sell your service and it therefore makes sense to the certain that you present the visitor with your most effective digital ‘sales person’ (i.e. a top quality past edition). 5. Everyone hates spam… It’s an inevitable fact of modern online life that if you have an e-mail account, you have a spam problem to a greater or lesser extent. Anyone who subscribes to your list has exactly the same problem and you can be totally certain that they do not want to exacerbate the problem any more than is absolutely necessary. In other words, everyone who is considering subscribing to your list is also considering the security implications of doing so. You must therefore put their mind at rest by stating clearly and unequivocally that you respect their privacy and that you will not give away their e-mail contact information to anyone else. It also makes sense to have a Privacy Policy page on your site to which you can refer your visitor should they have any further privacy worries or concerns. 20
  21. 21. Jing Zhou, Search Engine Consulting Copyright © 2010 This is simple professionalism so it is surprising how many businesses do not feature such a page on their site. It is even more so when there are free Privacy Policy page generators to be found on many websites including this one. People want to know that it is safe to subscribe to your list before they do so. Make sure that you put their mind at rest if you want to attract as many list subscribers as possible. 6. Help others to help you One way that you can increase the profitability of your e-mail marketing activities is to expand your subscriber base in any way you can. One very effective tactic for doing this is to leverage your local business contacts. To explain, in the same way that you are building a mailing list of prospects and customers, there will be hundreds of other local business owners doing exactly the same. Every one of these businesses is building up a valuable asset in exactly the same way as you are, a database of subscriber information from which they can make money in the same way that you can from your own list. 21
  22. 22. Jing Zhou, Search Engine Consulting Copyright © 2010 There is therefore a tremendous opportunity open to you (and to them) to expand your mutual businesses as long as you are not in direct competition with them. An example will make clear how this kind of arrangement might work. Say that you running a plumbing business. Because of the services that you provide, you will come into contact with customers who need additional household services such as electricians, painters and decorators, window cleaners and the like. If therefore you can get together with a like-minded local painting and decorating company owner, it is a simple matter of sending information about their services to your list subscribers in return for which they do the same to their list members on your behalf. There is no breach of confidentiality concerns here because you send information to your list members whilst they do the same to theirs. However, you are both introducing a complementary service that some of your prospects and customers will need from time to time. From this simple arrangement, it is nevertheless likely that you will expand your prospect and customers whilst they will do the same. 22
  23. 23. Jing Zhou, Search Engine Consulting Copyright © 2010 This simple form of joint-venture partnership can be extremely effective for expanding your business without having to spend any money on advertising or external market promotion. All you do instead is leverage the existing assets of other business owners in return for which you allow them to do the same with your assets. 23
  24. 24. Jing Zhou, Search Engine Consulting Copyright © 2010 7. But they must be useful… As highlighted earlier, one strategy that many businesses adopt for expanding their list is to give away a free newsletter to encourage people to subscribe. This is all very well and can be extremely effective, as can giving away other forms of ‘freebies’ like product samples. It is however extremely important to appreciate that if you are going to give anything away for free, it must be something that is valuable and usable from the perspective of your prospects and customers. As examples, your newsletter must contain top-quality information or content of value whereas the free gifts must be stuff that they can use as well. The point is that you cannot afford to give anything away for free if the free materials or goods are of no use, do not achieve anything or are useless. If you do this, you will find masses of list members unsubscribing which can ruin weeks or even months of hard work in one fell swoop. 24
  25. 25. Jing Zhou, Search Engine Consulting Copyright © 2010 The simple answer here is, you know what your prospects and customers want or need. If therefore you are going to supply anything to them for free, be absolutely certain that doing so will improve your relationship with them or don’t do it. People love free stuff, but free garbage has no value to anyone. 25
  26. 26. Jing Zhou, Search Engine Consulting Copyright © 2010 8. You need a landing page In addition to having a list subscription form on every page of your site, you should also have a page on your site which does nothing else other than encourage the visitor to sign up for your list. This is known as a landing page, a page that features a powerful headline, a few (bullet pointed) benefits of becoming a list subscriber and a signup form above which there is a strong call to action. This should remind the subscriber of the main benefit of subscribing to your list before telling them that they need to add their first name and e-mail address to the form below before clicking the ‘Subscribe’ button. The importance of having a landing page in addition to a subscription form on every other page of your site is that whereas other pages feature content that distracts from the subscription form, a landing page is 100% focused on this form alone. This is therefore the page at which you would point some of your external promotional activities when you are focused on building your mailing list rather than on other aspects of your business. 26
  27. 27. Jing Zhou, Search Engine Consulting Copyright © 2010 Many local businesses do not feature a landing page on their site and they therefore miss out on hundreds of potential subscribers. Whereas a subscription form on a ‘standard’ web page will attract some new list signups, landing page conversion (success) rates are usually 3, 4 or even 5 times higher. 9. Show them the proof Whether it is on a product or service sales page or on the landing page of your site, visitors want to see social proof that what you claim is the truth. The best form of social proof is a raft of testimonials from satisfied customers who are willing to go public with their endorsement. The more testimonials you can add to your sales and landing pages, the more money and subscribers your site will pop into your ‘bank’, 24/7. On the basis that you have plenty of satisfied customers, don’t be hesitant about asking some of them to help you by providing testimonials. 27
  28. 28. Jing Zhou, Search Engine Consulting Copyright © 2010 At the very least, ask them for two or three lines of endorsement, although if you can get them to agree to add a photo to the testimonial, it becomes far more believable. This is even truer if you can convince a few of your satisfied customers to provide video testimonial materials that you can publish on your sales and landing pages. 10. Ask them to talk about it… If you have satisfied customers who are willing to provide you with testimonials for publication on your website, have you ever thought about asking them to spread the word about your products and services to other people that might need the kind of things that you supply? You might for example have a business where your customers tend to socialize with others whose interests also correspond with your business activities. For instance, if you ran a dog grooming parlor, many of your customers will be friendly with other dog owners. In this case, something as simple as giving 28
  29. 29. Jing Zhou, Search Engine Consulting Copyright © 2010 them a few of your business cards and asking them to pass them round might work. A similar concept applies in e-mail marketing terms as well. Why not ask your subscribers to pass on information about your list to others who might have similar interests, encouraging them to visit your landing page to subscribe to your list themselves? As long as the content and information that you are currently supplying to your subscribers keeps them happy, there is no logical reason why they wouldn’t be willing to do this for you. They are after all helping a friend out by pointing them in the direction of a top-quality service or product range. 11. Get them to pass your newsletter on Another way of harnessing the viral power of list building is to ask your current list members to pass on your newsletter to others that they know would be interested in the contents. 29
  30. 30. Jing Zhou, Search Engine Consulting Copyright © 2010 Allow them to print it out as well so that they can pass on hard copies as and when appropriate. You can then take this concept one stage further still by making your newsletter and its contents available to others outside your mailing list in as many different ways as you can. For example, the first thing that you should do is make printed copies available so that you don’t restrict your marketing activities to those who are active net users. This is important because some of the people who pick up printed copies are likely to be e-mail users even though they are not particularly active. There are not after all many people nowadays in developed Western nations who do not have an e-mail address. Hence, these people could be good mailing list prospects even though they have not come across your list previously. In addition, you can contact other newsletter publishers to offer them your articles for inclusion in their own newsletters as long as they agree to include your landing page URL alongside your content. 30
  31. 31. Jing Zhou, Search Engine Consulting Copyright © 2010 There are even professional online newsletter publishers who are always on the hunt for fresh new newsletters and content. You can therefore extend the reach of your newsletter by a significant margin by contacting these people so that they can issue your newsletter to their subscribers. The important thing to understand is that a quality newsletter is a valuable asset which you can distribute in many different ways to attract new list subscribers who want to receive a regular copy as easily and conveniently as possible. The more widely you distribute your newsletter, the more likely this is to happen. 12. Include an opt-in link There is little sense in making lots of effort to ensure that your newsletter gets distributed as widely as possible if it does not contain a link from which people can subscribe to your mailing list. You must therefore make sure that the newsletter features the URL of your landing page. The text surrounding the link must make it crystal clear that this is the link from which the reader can obtain their own copy of your newsletter completely free and explain the benefits of doing so. 31
  32. 32. Jing Zhou, Search Engine Consulting Copyright © 2010 Again, this is one of those factors that sound so obvious but it is one that many local business owners miss. They are therefore missing out on dozens of new subscribers who could have put hundreds of dollars of profit in their bank account. 32
  33. 33. Jing Zhou, Search Engine Consulting Copyright © 2010 Conclusion I have seen local business owners make all of the e-mail marketing mistakes that you have read of in this guide, so trust me, they happen. Perhaps you already know this because you recognize some mistakes from this ‘collection of horrors’ that you have made yourself in the past. That’s fine, these things happen. But as long as the mistakes remain in the past and you make sure that your e-mail marketing is as efficient and effective as possible in the future, you’re well on your way to maximizing your e-mail marketing profits. There is nothing very complicated and difficult about optimizing your e-mail marketing efforts. Indeed, a lot of the information in this guide might seem like common sense if you have any experience of marketing on the net. There are however millions of local business owners who are not so au fait with e-mail and online marketing success. If you follow the guidance in this manner, this could be about to change. Search Engine Consulting is you Local Business Search Company. Local Search Marketing helps a Business Owner rank on the top of the Search Engines. Google Places is also where your business will show up 33
  34. 34. Jing Zhou, Search Engine Consulting Copyright © 2010 If you’re looking for a professional company to help you with that, schedule your FREE 15 minute consultation today -- with no obligation whatsoever. All you need to do is contact us on the number below to setup an appointment suitable for you. We promise your time will be well invested. Call Toll Free 1-877-618-6284 to arrange your free 15 minute no obligation consultation. Call Us Now At 1-877-618-6284 34