email marketing

Every week I share with you the articles and posts from the world of online sales conversion that educate and inspire me. It is offered to you for further study.

How To Build a High Converting Landing Page: Rules, Process and Critique – ConversionXL

Nov 18, 2011 12:02 am
Here’s a good check list for designing a landing page.
Tags: landing page landing pages
read more

Email marketing frequency and cadence defined | DMA Email Marketing Council Blog

Nov 15, 2011 09:54 pm
@tawatson This is a smart way to look at email frequency, or cadence by comparing it to a British telephone ring. I especially like having a “maximum time between emails.”
Tags: email frequency email marketing
read more

PubCon: Social Media Conversion Optimization with Brian Massey | Search Engine Journal

Nov 15, 2011 02:35 pm
This is a nice summary of my @PubCon Masters Group Training. You can watch the free 14 minute video of my PubCon “Social Moonshine” presentation at http://conversci.com/vuh8
Tags: conversion social media optimization apps landing pages
read more

A New Way to Create Urgency and Social Proof on Product Pages « Get Elastic Ecommerce Blog

Nov 13, 2011 10:43 pm
While this article focuses on urgency and social proof, take a look at the way this Ruby Lane product page is designed.

  1. Price is prominently displayed
  2. Add to Cart button is high on the page
  3. Shipping is handled before entering checkout
  4. The product description is near the hero shot (and well written)
  5. Several high-quality photos are provided.

All are above the fold or close to it. Are you working this hard to help your visitors buy?
Tags: product pages conversion shipping e-commerce abandonment social proof
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“Sell the sizzle, not the steak,” said

Bacn helps convert demo "tryers" into buyers.

Bacn helps convert demo “tryers” into buyers.

Well bacon sizzles, too, and it’s email counterpart “bacn” is the sizzle that sells your online service.

Bacn is the term for notification email, the confirmations we receive from the ever-growing online services that we sign up for.

Many sign up. Few buy.

In my up-coming book, I define the Conversion Signature “Site as a Service” and identify the key conversion strategies that make these sites successful. Service sites have an advantage: you can try the product right there on the Web. They have a disadvantage, though: two conversions to buy.

The first is converting a visitor to a “tryer” by signing them up for a demo.

The second is converting the tryer into a buyer.

Email is the underutilized weapon in this second conversion.

In Online Service Uses Email to Convert Triers Into Buyers I analyze some bacn I received from simple CRM site Pipedrive. I provide some best practices for this overlooked strategy.

Aren’t all of our Web sites really software applications after all?

Photo courtesy arrowp via stock.xchng.

It’s not easy to find search marketing firms that get conversion, the part of the search marketing process that puts money in your pocket.
Globe Runner SEO is one of those firms that gets conversion. Notice the questions they ask and the focus they have on conversion in this brief interview.
Here we dive into the kind of conversion strategy you need if you have a considered (long) sales cycle or a high-repeat business: relevant, frequenty, easy email.

Pardon my loopiness. I had just finished presenting to the amazing DFWSEM group. Check them out.
Join The Conversion Scientist by Email to see how it is done.
 
TheCrowd(by @SarahBoswell
DFWSEM-Packed house for “The Chemistry of Landing Pages”
Photo courtesy @SarahBoswell

Roy H. Williams, benefactor of the enigmatic business school The Wizard Academy has a simple formula that you should study:
Salience
“Salience” is that magical moment when your message enters your prospects’ long-term memory. It means your message will not be swept from the short-term memory that most marketing messages float in.
Relevance is simply how important your message is to a prospect’s current problems. Messages gain relevance when they are helpful, educational, titillating or entertaining.
Frequency is the number of times someone is exposed to your message.
The enemies of Relevance, then are messages exclusively about your promotions, your company or your products, or messages sent to infrequently.
The enemies of frequency are lack of repetition and invisibility. Social media messages have very short lifespans. Thus, for most people, they are invisible. The ubiquitous Leo Laporte complains that, when his posts suddenly stopped appearing on Google Buzz and Twitter, that no one noticed. He didn’t even notice for two weeks.

Email for Salience

Email is highly visible. It is the biggest social network on the planet. Most business professionals spend their day in email. It is how they managing their work.
If email is not working for you, it is probably because of low frequency. Email is a personal medium, and we all are afraid of being seen as spammers by sending too much email.
In The Instant Curated E-Newsletter That Your Prospects Will Love I describe how to automatically create a relevant, frequent email from the industry articles that you are reading every day. You are curating the content, but other talented writers are doing the work.
All you have to do is bookmark relevant articles.
Subscribe to “For Further Study” a curated e-newsletter from The Conversion Scientist.
Read the article

It’s out there: the article with the answer to your online marketing question. All you have to do is find it.

For-Further-Study.pngAs it turns out, I’m looking for answers to a lot of questions. It’s my job as the Conversion Scientist.

When I find a good checklist, best practice or how-to, I save it to my personal library. When my clients hit me with a question, this library offers a treasure trove of answers written by some of the smartest people in the business.

“But why wait for a call?” I thought. “Why not share this with my clients every week?”

Thus is born “For Further Study,” a scannable, quickly digested weekly email created exclusively for my clients.

I promise:

  • Quality sources
  • Conversion-enhancing content
  • Scannable emails with a short commentary by me to help you decide if you should read an article.

Here’s a sample of what to expect each week.

Blog SMO Guide: How to Apply Social Media Optimization to Your Blog in 33 Steps – Search Engine Watch (#SEW)
Jul 21, 2011 09:39 am

This is an incredibly comprehensive yet accessible guide to social media best practices.

Tags: social media blog twitter facebook search engine watch
read more

Seth’s Blog: Articulating your preferred use case (what’s it for?)
Jul 17, 2011 03:36 am

What Seth calls a “Use Case” we call Personas in the world of conversion. Otherwise the benefits are the same: understanding your most important visitors, ending bad relationships with poor customers, and getting everyone on the same page.

Tags: seth personas use case
read more

Increase your email open rates. Get inspired by these 165 great email subject lines from the SXSW catalog.

The amazing SXSW conference has kicked into full swing here in Austin. I haven’t been to a single session yet, and I’ve already learned something of great value I can share with you.

It came in the SXSW session catalog.

The session selection process is very competitive. Every summer, SXSW puts out a call for session and panel ideas. People vote on their sessions and then the crew at SXSW passes final judgment.

If your session gets accepted you will find yourself competing for attendees with some of the most interesting, influential and innovative professionals. Your session title has to really grab attention in a sea of hundreds of choices.

It’s kind of like the competition for your inbox. All of this competition has created perhaps the most creatively named agenda in conferencedome. The SXSW conference has always been known for the quirky session titles it inspires. The competition for panel slots is intense, with 2500 ideas were submitted in 2011 and 3,000 panel submissions presented for 2012 alone. Part of the selection process involves voting by the public. So, an effective title gets attention when garnering votes for a panel.

We have the same problem with email.

We need attention grabbing email subject lines that pull inbox scanners from their numbed slumber in which most emails are unceremoniously deleted. If our email is to be read, our subject lines must save our recipients from mindless autonomy.

Your email campaign would enjoy significantly greater open rates if you used SXSW email subject lines. No one’s going to click through from your email if they don’t open it and read it.

165 best email subject lines from the SXSW catalog. Check them out!

165 best email subject lines from the SXSW catalog.

Email Subject Lines Must Wake Up the Mind at Any Cost

To use these techniques, you must believe that you can use almost any premise in your subject line to engage the reader and entice them to click.

To prove this point, I am going to take the most abstract title from the following list, use it as a subject line, and create an email that will get readers to click through to my site.

First, the list. Yes, these are actual SXSWinteractive session titles. I’ve grouped them by the strategies the presenters used in naming their sessions, strategies that you can incorporate into your email subject lines.

Best Email Subject Lines on Sex and Relationships

Even the “oldest profession in the world” required some persuasive messaging. Your reader may see sex as the most base or most exalted activity humans can engage in. This is the risk and the reward for bawdy banter in your email subject lines.

  • Brands That Believe in Sex After Marriage
  • Sex, Lies and Cookies: Web Privacy EXPOSED!
  • Sex in the Digital Age
  • Big Brands and You: Make the Love Connection
  • Social Media Comes of Age Without the Help of Porn
  • Nudity and Online Journalism
  • Sex Nets: Pickup Artists vs. Feminists
  • Sex on the Web – The Sabotage of Relationships?
  • The Sexual Survival Guide for Geeks: Healthy sex and relationships
  • Sausagefest: Getting More Women into New Media & Tech
  • Fun with the Lights Off: Interactivity Without Graphics
  • How Social Media Fu@k’d Up My Marriage (Learn how not to have your relationship ruined by the online world)
  • Subtle Sexuality: NBC.com Adds Spice to Shows

Things that Don’t Fit Together (non sequiturs)

Our brains are wired to discard the familiar faster than a bear can spell Constantinople. It is the unexpected that gets the attention of our conscious and prepares us for action. These titles demonstrate the use of twists to pull readers out of their inbox apathy.

  • Block Party Capitalism: Where Analog and Digital Intersect
  • What Comic Books Can Teach Mobile Application Designers
  • Your Mom Has an iPad: Designing for Boomers
  • Reality is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better
  • Why New Authors Should Think Like Indie Bands
  • Why my phone should turn off the Stove – Mobile monitoring of energy consumption
  • Building Fences in the Sky: Geo-fencing Has Arrived
  • I’m so productive, I never get anything done
  • Your Computer is the Next Wonder Drug (Improving interactions with the medical community)
  • What Digital Tribes Can Learn from Native Americans
  • A Penny Press for the Digital Age
  • Philanthropy Is Not the Future of Journalism
  • Cloudy with a Chance of Gaming
  • Multiple Personalities–Not a Disorder but the Norm
  • Does Your Product Have a Plot?
  • Meat is Might: Epic Meal Time Rules the Web
  • Social + Location + Mobile = The Perfect Beer
  • When Goliath Tries to Steal Your Lunch Money
  • Can Growing a Mustache Change the World?
  • Bootcamp for a UX Team of None
  • Explorations in Corporate Zoology
  • How to Be Strategically Unlikeable Online
  • Sunspots: The Promise and Pitfalls of Gov 2.0
  • Dreams of Your Life: A Darkly Playful Experience
  • Help, My Avatar Is Sick
  • Being Considered Obsolete Is Awesome
  • The Science of Good Design: A Dangerous Idea
  • Why Karl Keeps His Shades On: Style & Social Media

Great Email Subject Lines out of Left Field

  • Help! A Giant Meteor is Headed Our Way! Cause Shift, Things that need to change
  • OMG – My Pancreas Just Texted

Metaphors and Similes

Similes are like can openers for the mind. Metaphors are the batteries in the flashlight of your email. The technical term for this style of messaging is “transubstantiation,” using the characteristics of one thing to add meaning to another in the eyes of the reader.

  • Rev Up Your Product Design, the “Concept Car” Way
  • Online Personality Disorder: Resumes & Profiles
  • Knitting a Long Tail in Niche Publishing
  • Snackable Content: Working in a Bite-Sized Future
  • Hunt or Be Hunted: Get the Design Job You Want
  • Keeping Kids off the Street: Wall St. vs. Startups
  • Death of Digital Downloads: MP3s the New 8-track?

Target an Audience with the Best Email Subject Lines

Right-handed marketers, take note! Targeting your audience can significantly increase the relevance to two groups of people: those to whom you are speaking, and those who feel left out by the fact that you aren’t speaking to them (you left-handers felt a twinge of anger at being left out, didn’t you?). This approach takes guts, as you are consciously ignoring part of your audience in the hope of truly engaging another.

  • Why Women Fail to Rule the Social Networks
  • Greek to Geek: Classical Rhetoric & the Modern Web
  • Blogging: Why So Many Women Are Doing It
  • Digital Divas: How Girls Rule the Digital Universe
  • Monetizing Mommy

Lists of Three

There is something memorable, readable, and easy-to-count about lists of three. This method is especially successful when the third item is overly specific or doesn’t fit. See “Things that Don’t Fit Together” above.

  • Drugs, Milk & Money: Social & Regulated Industries
  • Credits Coins Cash: Social Currency & Finance 2.0
  • Free Coffee, Bad Apples & the Future of Currency
  • Clouds Here, Clouds There, Clouds Everywhere

Pop Culture References Can Make Awesome Email Subject Lines

If you know your audience, you slip them some “Funky Cold Medina” in the form of a pop-culture reference. For your geeks, “Star Trek” or “Star Wars” will do. For the younger generation, something from the “Harry Potter” series might make a connection. Music is usually a sure bet. Can you name the sources of the following references?

  • Star Trek and Social Media
  • Do Gamers Dream of HTML5 Sheep?
  • The Cloud as Skynet: Conquering Digital Overload
  • Get Smart! Hack Your Brain for Peak Performance
  • Wall-E or Terminator: Predicting the Rise of Al
  • Gimme Shelter from the Storm Clouds
  • Defense Against the Dark Arts: ESAPI
  • The Field of Dreams Manifesto
  • Is That Your Final Offer? Mobile Dynamic Pricing
  • Not Your Mommy’s Blog: The Evolution of Dad Blogs
  • Why Doesn’t Congress Grok The Internet?
  • LEAN STARTUP: Baby Got (Feed)Back – Putting the Lean in Learn
  • So Long, and Thanks for All the Babelfish: Automated Translation
  • U.S. Military’s Mad Science Revealed: DARPA Projects predict the future
  • Dear Miss Manners: the Social Web, WTF?
  • Social Media and the NBA
  • Zombies Must Eat: How Genre Communities Make Money
  • Minority Report: Social Media for Decreasing Health Disparities
  • My Prototype Beat Up Your Business Plan
  • Geppetto’s Army: Creating International Incidents with Twitter Bots
  • #FAIL: Infamous social Media PR Disasters

Contrarian Email Subject Lines, why not?

  • Stop Listening to Your Customers: Researching customer needs without asking them.
  • I’ve Never Met My Coworkers: Running International Teams
  • Who Are You and Why Should I Care? Personal branding
  • When Facebook Falls: Future-proofing Your Social Media Efforts
  • 27 (Fun!) Ways to Kill Your Online Community
  • HTML5? The Web’s Dead, Baby.
  • A World without SXSW
  • Fail big, Fail Often: How Fear Limits Creativity
  • Congratulations! Your Brand is About to Become Obsolete
  • The End of Reading in the USA

Science or Science Fiction References

  • The Next Rocket Scientist: You
  • Do Tablets Dream of Electric News?
  • How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe

Pure Shock and Awe Email Subject Lines

Boring subject lines make me want to poke needles into my eyes! Sometimes it makes sense to hit readers over the head with something that is just plain shocking. Sometimes.

  • How Not to Die: Using Tech in a Dictatorship
  • How Mexico’s Drug Traffickers Harness Social Media
  • Language of Mutilation: Grammar for Ads & Life
  • Demographics Are Dead: Unlocking Flock Behavior
  • Everyone Is Gay: Social Media As Social Action
  • Media Measurement: Science, Art or a Load of Crap
  • Please Touch Me! Enterprise Delight via Multitouch
  • Your Social Media Job Is Dead: Now What?
  • Avoiding Bulls**t Personas: A Case Study
  • Eat, S**t, Sleep: Enlightenment Through Unemployment
  • Bordering Incest: Turning Your Company into a Family
  • Baby’s Gotta face For Radio: Web Based Radio?
  • Grow some balls: Build Business Relationships
  • Social Media and Comedy: F**k Yeah!
  • Kill Your Call Center! Bring Your Support Home
  • Bend Over? Surprise! Agencies Are Screwing You
  • How Blogs with Balls are Saving Sports Media
  • How to Personalize Without Being Creepy

Conflict

  • Bloggers vs. Journalists: It’s a psychological Thing
  • Seven Reasons Your Employees Hate You
  • Influencer Throwdown: Proving Influence Once and For All

Email Subject Lines with Invented Words

If you find yourself with subjectlinitis, tossing a memebomb or two may be your best hope. New words can turn a deletophile into a reader.

  • Adprovising: Agile Marketing Made Easy
  • The Making of Twittamentary
  • Newsjacking: How to Inject Your Ideas
  • Discover the New Frontier of the Glocal Internet
  • The Local Backbone of the SoLoMo Revolution
  • Coolhunting and Coolfarming with Social Media
  • Wireless Wellness: App-tastic or Just Fun & Games?
  • The Hyperlocal Hoax: Where’s the Holy Grail?
  • Radically Onymous: How Ending Privacy is Awesome!
  • Old Spice Resurrected: How Aging Icon Pwned Internet
  • The Future Enernet: a Conversion with Bob Metcalfe (Internet founder)
  • Technomadism: Becoming a Technology Enabled Nomad

Rhymes and Alliteration

Sensual subject lines supplement the bottom line. Alliteration is the repeated use of consonants. Rhymes grab your readers like a musical phrase. Don’t be afraid to add a little poetry to your prose.

  • Social Music Marketing: Bands, Brands & Fans
  • An Unusual Arsenal: Tech Tools to Topple a Tyrant
  • Invention & Inspiration: Building a Better World
  • Contextual Communication: Crowds and Coordination
  • Check Yo-Self Before U Wreck Yo-Self, Startup Metrics of the Masters
  • The Creative Collaboration Conundrum
  • Binary B****es: Keeping Open Source Open to Women
  • Teaching Touch: Tapworthy Touchscreen Design
  • Defining the Diaspora: Global Collaboration and Social Change
  • The Man in the Van needs Geo Location
  • Chatter Matters: Using Twitter to Predict Sales
  • People as Peripherals: The Future of Gesture Interface
  • Of Fanboys & Fidelity: Adopting Comics for Broad Audiences

Twisted Euphemisms

  • Cure for the Common Font – Secrets of selecting type
  • Influencers Will Inherit the Earth. Quick, Market to Them!

Create a Common Enemy

You may find your reader united behind you by identifying a common enemy – like the delete key.

  • When IT Says No: How to Create Fast Feature Flow
  • The Systematic Undoing of Copyright Trolls
  • Screw the Job Market: Young + Passionate ≠ Broke
  • Rise of the Social Spammers
  • Can Washington Make Your App Illegal?
  • Epic Battle: Creativity vs. Discipline in Social
  • Why Your 5-Year-Old Is More Digital Than Most CMOs
  • Has Twitter Made the Sports Reporter Obsolete?

Insult Someone

Don’t be a wimp. When all else fails drop the political correctness and tell the reader what you really think.

  • Advise THIS! Matchmaking Startups & High Profile Advisors
  • Shut Up & Draw: A Non-Artist Way to Think Visually
  • Flash: F Bomb or Da Bomb?
  • Big Ol’ Babies: Why Baby Boomers=Public Media FAIL
  • Your Marketing Sucks: Why You Need to Think Local

Powerful Email Subject Lines: Lead With a Number

Four session titles that use numbers. When we offer the reader a specific number of things, they know they are going to get a manageable set of tips or tricks that is easy to scan and digest.

  • 11 Reasons QR Codes Are Not Engaging Consumers
  • 3 Secrets to a Killer Elevator Pitch
  • 100 Things Designers Need to Know About People
  • Enterprise Social Media: Five Emerging Trends

Big Email Subject Lines Make Big Promises

If you’ve got the goods, big promises will make you rich in as little as three days. Big promises make the reader ask, “So, how can you do that?” even if they are skeptical. Of course, if you can’t deliver on the promise with sufficient proof in your email, all is lost – including your credibility.

  • Expanding Our Intelligence Without Limit
  • How to Live Forever
  • We Are Legion: Digital (R)Evolution
  • Change the Course of History with Greasemonkey
  • UCB Comedy presents: The Best Damn Stand-up

New This Year: Add an “i”

Turn your subject line into an iLine! All it takes is one little vowel.

  • iVision Africa: New Media’s Role in Reframing Africa
  • iPlant: Advanced Computing to Feed the World

Any Email Subject Line Will Do

There you have it. Over 100 titles to tantalize and titillate your email mind like a jolt of electricity from an unlicensed nuclear reactor, guaranteed to help you get lucky and make your ex jealous – if you’re not a total iDiot. Did I miss anything?

Hit us with your favorite subject lines in the comments.

Even the most abstract subject line can be used to make a point. Here’s how I would tie one from the list to an offer for my business:

From: Brian Massey, The Conversion Scientist

Subject: OMG! My Pancreas Just Texted

OMG, my pancreas just texted.

My Liver just phoned.

My stomach just tweeted.

My brain is sending smoke signals.

Every cell of my body is dying to tell you about a new video I’ve just released.

Why am I (and all of my bodily parts) excited? Because online video marketing is rocking conversion rates.

Search engines love it.

Visitors love it.

Businesses like yours are getting more leads and sales from it.

And I think I’ve made it easy for anyone to understand how to use video on their Web site.

In just 11 minutes, I’m going to show you how to present a video on your site that will significantly increase the number of leads you’re getting from the traffic you already have.

Skeptical? Maybe I’m crazy.

I challenge you to take a look and see. If you don’t come away with a better understanding of how to increase conversion rates with video, I’ll get my spleen to cut down the chatter and leave you alone.

If you DO get it, I invite you to join a very special mailing list in which you’ll start to understand how to make all of your marketing convert visitors to leads and sales.

Watch Getting a Reaction from Online Video, and let me know what you think.

My heart will thank you for it.

Best regards,

Brian Massey

Here is a guide to how your blog can draw qualified traffic to your website via search, social media and email.

Does your blog squirt or erupt?

I got some inspiration from an unlikely place for my column on content marketing: the American Museum of Natural History in New York I was drawn there because I thought they were having an exhibit all about me. It turns out that the exhibit was called “Introducing the Brain,” not “Introducing Brian.” The exhibit did not have anything to say on what part of the brain causes dyslexia.

But, scientists love museums, and so I looked around. There was an entire room dedicated to the earth, from it’s heat-formed rocks to it’s carbon-choked atmosphere.

My next thought was “this is just like content marketing.” I’m sure you would have had the same thought. If you didn’t, you’ll soon understand.

Read my complete thoughts on the matter over at ClickZ to understand how a blog-cano can generate copious amounts of search, social media and email goodness for your business.

What does a geologist know about online marketing? Probably not much, but a geologist can give us a handy model for a content marketing strategy that is easy to implement and potentially explosive.

The Geology of a Content Marketing Strategy: How is a Blog Like a Volcano?

How is a Blog Like a Volcano?

How a Blog Is Like a Volcano

At the most basic level, a blog spews content like a volcano spews lava. The content typically emerges in pyroclastic flows fed from a content magma chamber deep inside.

It is the release of this magma – the content – that determines the pace at which the mountain grows. A mountain with a large magma chamber can be expected to erupt more frequently and more violently.

Like a blog, our volcanic mountain becomes more visible as it rises higher and higher into the top levels of the atmosphere. It can become visible very quickly to nearby villages, executive offices in neighboring cities…and to search engines.

Clearly, we can learn a few lessons from our geological friends. My question is, “How can we get our blog-cano to erupt more frequently and spread our content as far as possible?”

Have a Big Magma Chamber

You’ve got to have a plan for a steady flow of content. Your blog-cano is the heart of your content marketing strategy and can power your social marketing strategy, lead generation strategy, and search engine optimization.

The beauty of blogging is that it’s a more casual medium. Your blog content doesn’t have to be bibliographed articles. It doesn’t require your subject matter experts to be writing constantly. In fact, blog content can come from many sources: presentations, case studies, and even geology textbooks. Much blogging is simply commenting on others’ writing, which we call “curating content” for your audience.

I’m not saying that your posts don’t have to be valuable. Lava must be hot to flow. But, it must flow constantly or your blog-cano won’t grow fast enough and you won’t be able to implement some of the more explosive strategies I discuss here.

Bringing Tourists to the Slope of Mount Blogitubo

All a blog is really going to get you is an RSS feed. While your RSS feed is going to power some very helpful strategies, there aren’t going to be a lot of people reading your posts via feed reader.

Search engines, however, love blogs.

With a little geologic surveying, we can help the search engines find our naturally keyword-rich content. They will, in turn, send us tourists.

Choose a blogging platform that is search-engine friendly. Don’t just use the content management system that your corporate site is built on.

Definitely put your blog on the same domain as your corporate website so both benefit from the search engine “juice” you create.

If you have the resources, you can identify your most valuable keywords and purposefully incorporate them into your blog posts and titles. Search ClickZ for search engine optimization best practices.

Eruptions Are Worth Spreading

With a little technology, you can rain content down on people far and wide. Your Mount Blogsuveous is capable of powering engaging social media outreach, drawing qualified traffic, and growing your social networks. This can be largely automated with services like Ping.fm and Twitterfeed. Tools like HootSuite and Spredfast will help you share your content on the most popular social networks. (Disclosure: Spredfast provides its service to the author at no charge.)

Because these posts, tweets, and status updates contain a link back to your content, you can actually measure the clicks and conversions generated by your social media outreach, and this can justify production of more magma.

Spreading the Explosive Energy of Your Blogatoa

Tourists coming from social media and search are nice, but they always go back home. What if they could take a piece of the mountain home with them?

It turns out that well-qualified tourists will want to continue to receive your blava (blog-lava) and you can easily deliver that with e-mail. Ask visitors to give you an e-mail address and you can automatically power an e-mail newsletter with remarkable frequency.

Here is where your RSS feed really comes in handy. There are services that will monitor your blog for the new posts arising from your blogma (blog-magma) chamber. On a set schedule, these services will pull the content from the feed, wrap it in a nice template, and send it to your list by e-mail.

Ask your e-mail service provider (ESP) if they have an RSS-to-e-mail service. MailChimp andAWeber provide such a service. Consider FeedBurner or FeedBlitz if your ESP can’t help.

This strategy is great for considered purchases or any product or service in which the need is unpredictable. It keeps you front-and-center when it’s time for the tourists to pick their next destination.

Flow Over to Your Corporate Website

The final place on which you can rain your explosive content is on the corporate website. These sites are typically designed like a brochure, written in a “me,” “we,” and “us” style.

Blava content is generally more educational, informational, and entertaining. It’s created for the reader, and will really grab the attention of someone who is early in their decision-making process.

There are a variety of widgets available to display blog titles on your corporate site, and visitors will find this content more compelling than your recent press releases. Make sure that your blog gives them an obvious way to get back to the corporate site.

The Center of a Hub

Once these parts are in place, our blog-cano has become the center of a powerful, largely automated hub of influence. However, the system is only as powerful as our blog content. Post frequency is the best predictor of blog readership growth that I’ve seen. You should post at least once per week, in my opinion.

Remember that your editorial calendar is your magma chamber, the source of all blog-cano power. Find the resources to post helpful content frequently and you will empower search, social media, and e-mail to drive more business to your door.

Brian Volcano

 

New Tool Makes it Easy to Find Prospects on Social Networks via Social Appending.

In my most recent ClickZ column, I reflect back on my days as a marketing cog in the corporate machine, a time in which the practice of “appending” was considered “black hat.”

Appending is the practice of adding contact information to records in your prospect database. If you have someone’s name and company, you could “append” their email address and mailing address through a number of services that keep that kind of information.

Companies that sell mailing lists often provide this kind of service.

The thinking was that the prospect hadn’t given you permission to contact them through these other channels, and that it violated the “submit button contract” that is implied when they completed an online form.

Social Media Appending: How Far We Have Come

Social Media Appending: How Far We Have Come. Source: Unbounce.

We’ve come a long way

Oli Gardner has an interesting infographic on the Unbounce blog. The graphic highlights a tool called FlowTown. This is a social media appending tool. Marketers can use it to find the social media accounts of their prospect list, and begin marketing to them through those social media channels like Facebook and LinkedIn.

This is where those of us who have been around the block groan, and then secretly cheer.

Social Media Appending: Why this is different

While appending has not been considered a best practice, it happens. In fact, the best way to do this is to send ask your prospects for permission after appending the data; sending them an email asking if they want email messages, for example.

Many social media platforms allow us to easily “unfriend” or block unsavory marketers. This puts the opt-out capability in our hands. So asking for permission ahead of time is less of a problem.

But there is a right way to inject yourself into someone else’s conversations. It’s called a Content-oriented Social Media Strategy.

  • Only “append” people who have expressed an interest in your industry or products. This is how you know your content will be relevant.
  • Begin with non-promotional content. “How-to” and “10 Ways” style articles test well.
  • Use social landing pages, such as a blog or Facebook page to “keep it social”
  • Measure what you send. Stop sending content that doesn’t generate clicks, shares or comments.

If you’re going to jump into the social conversations, do it right, or it will backfire in a very public, viral way.

New technology renders emails invisible. Customer Chaos Labs suspected.

Everyone who seeks to do good in the world will inevitably be challenged by an arch-nemesis; someone who’s view of the world is diametrically opposed to yours.

At Conversion Sciences we have Customer Chaos Labs, whose motto is:

If we’re not working for you, we’re working against you.

They are an organization who seeks to lift their clients’ online Web success by simply bringing everyone else down. We see them as basically evil.

This week, one of our clients became the victim of a new Customer Chaos technology: an email invisibility ray.

The results are devastating.

Don't fall victim to invisible emails.

Don’t fall victim to invisible emails.

Proof of the Invisibility Ray’s Existence

The folks at J’Tote Bags crafted a beautiful email, with professional photography, strong reasons to buy, and clear calls to action.

Then, J’Tote sent the email to eager prospects and customers. Somewhere in transit, many of these emails entered the range of the invisibility ray.

The invisibility technology rendered the email almost completely invisible to the human eye. Clearly, an invisible email is going to be read less, depressing open rates and clicks.

Conversion Sciences Defense Technology

Conversion Sciences has worked with the major email clients to develop a “de-cloaking” technology. For example, recipients can restore the email by clicking “Display Images below” in Gmail, or “Click here to download pictures” in Outlook.

Most email clients have implemented something similar.

The problem is that many recipients of your emails may not find a good reason to click on the de-cloaking links if they can’t see the email.

Clearly, this is not an ideal solution.

Defending Yourself Against the Invisibility Ray

A detailed analysis by Conversion Sciences has exposed some weaknesses in the invisibility ray.

It only works on images

Apparently, the invisibility ray doesn’t affect text, but only images. Thus a proper defense against this kind of attack is to use images more sparingly in your email and place text strategically around the email.

This will allow readers to understand the point of the email if the images have been inviso-rayed.

Image “Alt” Text is Sometimes Impervious

If you look closely at Exhibit B, you will see some text appearing in places where the images would have appeared. This is the images’ “alt” text and is created using the “alt” parameters in the HTML <img> tag.

Here’s an example:

<img src=”picture.jpg” alt=”Text that describes the image” />

Use the “alt” text to tell the reader what they will see if they click “Display images below” and invoke the de-cloaking technology.

This does not work in all email clients. Microsoft Outlook won’t show these cues, for example.

However, some email clients will actually allow you to format your “alt” text, making it different sizes and colors.

Conversion Alert: Don’t Fall Victim to Invisible Emails

Email remains one of the most effective online marketing tools available. No wonder the foes of good marketing have targeted it for disruption.

Let a Conversion Scientist review your email strategy. This will ensure that

  1. You are using best practices to maximize deliverability, open rates, clicks and conversions.
  2. You are sending content that is relevant and interesting. This gives you permission to continue sending email to desirable prospects.
  3. You are sending with the right frequency. Sending too often or too rarely can render an email strategy impotent.
  4. You are defended against the invisibility ray and other weapons of chaos. Enough said on this one.

21 Quick and Easy CRO Copywriting Hacks to Skyrocket Conversions

21 Quick and Easy CRO Copywriting Hacks

Keep these proven copywriting hacks in mind to make your copy convert.

  • 43 Pages with Examples
  • Assumptive Phrasing
  • "We" vs. "You"
  • Pattern Interrupts
  • The Power of Three
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How to build a marketing database that keeps prospects engaged

It sounded like the perfect market:

  • A large and growing marketplace
  • A need so critical that it strikes at the very foundations of the family
  • Increasing competition for scarce supply
  • A marketplace actively using the Internet to solve the problem
How to build a marketing database that generates engagement.

JobCannon for Job Search.

Add to these the fact that existing solutions were failing miserably, and you’ve got a market ready for an effective online solution.

I’m describing the unemployed job seeker marketplace. Few marketplaces have the natural alignment of trends that this marketplace does. JobCannon (formerly CardboardResume) sought to create an online job search solution that actually worked, and build a business in the bargain.

First, let me disclose that JobCannon is a client of Conversion Sciences.

You might have thought that this would be an easy sell. We knew it wouldn’t be. We needed to keep skeptical, frugal job seekers engaged and informed. Here’s how we did it.

Before you read any further…

If you’re on Twitter, please visit and play along.

Building the Battery with Informational Marketing

Since no tag line was going to help JobCannon rise above the noise, and since new job seekers needed advice as much as the software, we lead with an informational approach.

JobCannon commissioned an eBook to help break job seekers of their job board habit. It turns out that spending hours a day on Monster and CareerBuilder was the least effective way to find work, especially in a crowded job market.

I wrote the eBook for them. My primary qualification was my fundamental inability to hold a job. Get your copy of The Market for Me.

A book blog was setup to catch job seekers searching the Internet. I began speaking at job clubs on to help seed the marketplace promoting the book heavily.

Charging the Battery

To receive the book, prospects provided a name and email address, and asked the prospect why they wanted to read the book. About 10% of the attendees to a live presentation requested a free copy.

Of the people who visited the book request page 30% completed the form. This is a relatively high conversion rate.

The presentation model was not easy to scale, as I could only speak so many times. But the pipeline proved that we could engage and educate an audience with informational marketing.

The book/blog strategy was proven when one of my presentations was featured on applicant.com, an influential blog. It was subsequently picked up by Slideshare as a featured presentation. Over the space of three weeks, almost 30,000 people viewed the presentation. A link to the free eBook in the description drew viewers to our educational content.

This one presentation doubled the size of our email database. It charged our battery.

This is proof that high conversion rates amplify all of your online marketing efforts.

Tapping the Battery’s Energy

Informational posts generated for the blog became email newsletters that were sent to the book database.

This was an efficient battery. When we sent educational emails to the list, open rates were astronomical, between 77% and 98%. I’m usually ecstatic at 30% open rates. Click-through rates were as high as 22% and unsubscribe rates were near zero.

Because this market was bombarded by solutions to help them find work, we were dealing with a skeptical group. We found out it took as many as seven relevant contacts to generate a JobCannon trial: One reference from a friend, one presentation, one free eBook, and four informational emails.

Without our marketing battery, we would never have been able to generate the number of “touches” necessary to make prospects feel comfortable trying the software.

Like batteries marketing databases “lose charge” over time

As a rule of thumb, we assume that 25% of the contacts become invalid over the course of a year.

  • Prospects become customers
  • Email addresses change
  • Prospects choose to stop receiving email (opt-out)
  • Prospects choose alternative solutions
  • Prospects just stop paying attention to your emails

Many marketers drain their battery by sending promotional content. Discounts, feature-oriented posts and irrelevant information drain the battery very quickly.

In our case, many of our prospects find work, even though they’re not using JobCannon. Hopefully, they’ll continue to network and search for new opportunities even though they have found work.

Build your own battery with informational content

You may not have an eBook available, but your business generates informational content every month. Press releases, product descriptions, old blog posts, and sales presentations all can be transformed to charge your marketing batteries.

Join us on December 10 in Austin for BYOContent: The Extreme Conversion Makeover Workshop.

We’re going to transform a blog, a white paper, some video and an email newsletter into lead-generating and sales-generating tools.

Brian Massey, The Conversion Scientist

P. S. Get more conversion tips by subscribing to The Conversion Blog.