ADOTAS – If you have a business, blog or existing mailing list I hope you’re paying attention to the speed with which the time spent Social Networking is increasing. Adotas quoted Nielsen stats earlier this month showing Social Networking accounts for almost 25% of all time Americans spend online.
That time online means opportunities for the wise, but investing your time or money in advertising or Social Media to attract visitors to your site before having a strong system in place to enable you to capture those new visitors for your mailing list is a waste of your money.
The best way to assure a positive ROI from all of your online marketing methods is to first capture and then effectively market to your in-house, highly targeted mailing list.
Your first priority is to select the best list management and email newsletter software for your business. Because changing solutions can cause you to lose subscribers and learning to use any new tool takes time, you must choose wisely.
The number one criterion when deciding is deliverability rate. If what you send to your list does not get through because of spam filtering where is the benefit to you?
There are three clear leaders among email marketing companies: Constant Contact, Vertical Response, and AWeber — all leaders because they have the highest deliverability rates. There are many comparisons and reviews online including this chart comparing email marketing software to assist you in choosing.
The first two are most popular with traditional businesses, while AWeber is most commonly used by online marketers and bloggers because of their reputation for high delivery rates and ease of use. AWeber has surveyed their users about integrating Social Media and you can now Tweet and post your newsletter link to Facebook.
Constant Contact is moving aggressively to integrate Social Media, which will be increasingly important. They are also actively sponsoring Social Media Events and covering Social Networking strategies heavily in their blog.
Bloggers may also wish to consider the FeedBurner alternative FeedBlitz which already offers tightly integrated RSS and Email Marketing with Social Networking. If you are a blogger definitely read “Why Every Blog Needs a Mailing List” for more tips.
Once you have decided upon and set up your list management solution, the second step is to create a strong incentive offering to increase the percentage of visitors to your site who subscribe to your list. Downloadable Case Studies, White Papers, and eBooks covering topics your target audience would be most interested in are commonly used.
Make measuring and improving your subscription rate a priority because every new subscriber provides ongoing opportunities for conversion. THIS is the key to increased leads, sales and income.
Decide upon and keep to a consistent schedule for your mailings. The ideal frequency varies by business. Send too often and busy recipients may not read them right away; send too infrequently and they may forget they subscribed and report you for spamming. Monthly or twice a month is probably best although some prefer weekly.
Create a template for your mailings so that they have a consistent look. The content of your mailings in critical. You want your subscribers to look forward to reading them. Never use your mailings purely as sales pitches — provide useful information. That said, do make a soft sell offer related to the information you send.
Every newsletter should include a Call to Action and links to make that action instant and simple.
Best content: 70% valuable, interesting information and 30% a special offer related to that subject.
Your subject line is the key to getting your email opened so spend as much time on that as you do on the rest of the message.
Check your open rates regularly and make increasing them a priority. This can be done by testing multiple titles by sending test mailings to a percentage of your list and measuring the difference in open rates.
Continually work to improve your email marketing. Simple changes can increase your open rates, click through rates, percentage of orders generated and order size. Start with these excellent tips on email marketing optimization
Integrating email marketing with Social Media multiplies the benefits of each. “How to Make Social Media and Email Marketing Work Together” can get you started but to really maximize your results learn from Social Media Trailblazers speaking at major Social Media Marketing Events.
Do not make the mistake of wasting your time and money putting the carts of Social Media and advertising before the horse of building your list. That list is what provides the pull for future sales and a positive ROI on all of your investments in marketing strategies.