Results of short survey on AWeber default Thank You Pages

Monkeylogo Last week I used MonkeySurvey to ask 5 short questions on one particular feature/option the AWeber program has: the 2 Thank You Pages. The 1st page you are directed to after submitting your details in the webform and the 2nd page you are directed to after clicking the confirmation email link.

For both you can use AWeber default pages. Or you can use Thank You Pages you create yourself either on your website or blog (as page).

The questions in the survey concentrated on which option (Default or Custom) AWeber account holders use and why. If you've taken part in the survey I'm very grateful to you.

I was happy to note that most (no matter how long they have been using AWeber, from 1 year to 6+ years) are using custom Thank You Pages. The few ones using the default 1st Thank You Page state: "it saves time".

I'm sure it does, but it will costs you prospects. Leads coming from your own website/blog, where you have put so much effort in the wording and the offer to entice your web visitor to submit their details, are left hanging in the dark. All they read on the next page - which is a large empty white page with one single sentence: Please Check Your Email and Click the Confirmation Link to Activate Your Subscription.

Not very welcoming, not very conversational, not very 'polite'. It is always much better and will definitely increase the conversion rate of leads to prospects if you - as one of the contributors to the survey puts - "maintain the look and feel of my website". Don't interrupt the flow of conversation you are having with your lead/prospect because 'it saves time'. Don't let them wonder where you, your website and your conversation went.

The same applies for the 2nd Thank You Page - and happy to note that even most of those using the default 1st page use a custom 2nd page. Maintain the look and feel of your website.

Thank-you There is however a rather worrying - in my eyes - practice mentioned by 50% of those using a custom 2nd Thank You Page: immediate access to downloads. They are in fact leaving the back door wide open. Even more worrying if you use AWeber as 'delivery' vehicle for your knowledge products (like E-books) or software products your prospect has paid for.
"
This gets the report/software into the visitor's hands as soon as possible."

It sure does, but so would the first follow-up messages from your AWeber list. Granting access to reports/software on your 2nd Thank You Page (or as I like to call it: the request confirmed page) also grants access to it for 'clever web surfers'. Just try this search on Google to see how many free reports and software products you can 'collect' without submitting your name and email address or pay for. (Actually doing so would be illegal, so just look - don't 'touch')

Thank you for your purchase = download

Close the door!

I love aweberIn the Best AWeber Strategies and Tactics for Small Businesses you will find: "TACTIC S1-2: The ongoing conversation during the opt-in process" about the use and benefits of custom Thank You pages and which also explains very simple methods on how to close that back door.

3dAWST1
(image for illustration purpose only)

192 pages (download online)

"E-book" £ 7.97

(After payment is accepted, please wait until you are redirected to our 'download' instruction page - if you don't receive a confirmation email within 10 minutes, please email me for support: karinh@1plus1makes3.co.uk)

Instant access to put your ethical email marketing into hyperdrive with tested and tried successful Strategies and Tactics used by small businesses.


Short survey on 'ongoing conversation' practice

How often do you submit your name and email address in a 'web-from'? Did the writer of the article/blog-post or the hoover-over form kept you engaged in his/her writing leading up to the moment you were asked to submit your details? Did he/she explain what's on offer in exchange for your details?

After submitting your details what happens to the engaging conversation you just experienced?

In the Best AWeber Strategies and Tactics for Small Businesses I will dedicate a whole lesson/chapter to this practise.

If you are using AWeber as autoresponder and email marketing tool, would you be so kind enough to take a very short survey (5 questions only) to help me fine-tune this chapter. (Or at least find out I'm on the right track).

Click Here to take survey (SurveyMonkey) - and your time is much appreciated.


There's more to the submit forms than meets the eye

No matter what program you use for email marketing - for newsletters and/or auto-responders - the one item that drives your list is the 'submit' form in to which someone can enter name and email address.

We all know them and many use them on their website and/or blogs (nowadays even on Facebook)

Sumbit form for blog articles Submit form for blog articles with free report Submit form for free water hardness test Hoover-over submit form for webmarketing tips 

From simple forms to hoover-over forms, we've seen and use them all. Offering free reports, free tests and even more. The submitted details, mostly just name and email address, end up on the all import email list where the conversation with the prospect starts in the form of follow-up marketing messages and broadcasted newsletters.

But the trigger - the driver - is the submit form. Without it, it becomes rather difficult to fill your list. A single form driving a single list, is in many cases the most effective way.

If you have 4 or 5 different products/reports to offer, all with there individual follow-up messages i.e. email lists, do you need 4 to 5 single forms?

Can you imagine a webpage or blogpage with 4 to 5 webforms underneath each other? Your reader - website visitor - will have to read all the headlines and then select the one he/she is most interested in. We - Wood You Like Ltd - have 5 quality 'wood floor ranges' and 4 have their own leaflet. But we don't have 4 forms underneath each other our interested prospect has to select from.

FormMultiOur multiple list driver looks almost the same as any other normal submit form. The only apparent difference is a drop-down menu with the titles of the wood floor ranges.

But there's more in that form that meets the eye. This single submit form (web form) is able to drive all 4 individual AWeber lists we have set up for our ranges.

In the background, behind the scene, the selected option sends the name and email address of our new subscriber to the correct AWeber list. Our reader interested in the Basic range will receive the leaflet about that range and our reader interested in the Design Parquet range will receive, using the same submit form, the leaflet filled with all our Design Parquet patterns.

One form drives all 4 individual lists without us having to fill our web page with more submit forms.

I love aweberIn The Best AWeber Strategies and Tactics for Small Businesses the behind the scene work is explained step by step, so you too can - if needed - combine more lists in one single submit form. Saving you space on your website and offering a more user-friendly form to your prospect.

3dAWST1
(image for illustration purpose only)

192 pages (download online)

"E-book" £ 7.97

(After payment is accepted, please wait until you are redirected to our 'download' instruction page - if you don't receive a confirmation email within 10 minutes, please email me for support: karinh@1plus1makes3.co.uk)

Instant access to put your ethical email marketing into hyperdrive with tested and tried successful Strategies and Tactics used by small businesses.


When 'failure' turns into innovation = win-win

Last year August I launched the Ultimate Practical AWeber Guide. All in all it had taken me over 2 months to script, record and edit the 59 minute long First! Part of the planned 5 parts of this IMHO covering everything a small business should know and could use to unleash the true power of AWeber.

My guide never got further than part 1. Main reason: two weeks after the guide was launched, AWeber changed - for the better - some items in their software program and announcement upcoming larger changes - again for the better.

So in fact, within two weeks part 1 of the Ultimate Practical AWeber Guide wasn't up to date any more. Knowing more changes were afoot soon I thought it would be better to wait until then to re-record (most of) part 1. But then I realised: what if next month AWeber changes items again - online software platforms frequently change, at least those who listen to their clients and keep on improving the system.

Three option:

  1. forget the whole idea or
  2. (and those in the know know I'm stubborn, or persistent) keep a close eye on any changes in AWeber and re-record part of the video as soon as possible or 
  3. find a much more versatile medium to create the AWeber guide with

And option 3 it has become. I'm changing medium for the AWeber guide in order to make sure any changes by AWeber or other related programs can be edit/added as soon as possible without rendering any items of my Guide useless or out-of-date. Plus I'm changing the whole set up of the guide: AWeber's own video-tutorials and knowledge base cover many of the basics - my new guide will concentrate more on the Best AWeber Strategies and Tactics for Small Businesses.

The medium I've selected is ScreenSteps and the guide itself will be an Ebook and Etraining. The Strategies and Tactics are from our experiences using AWeber successful for our own small business: independent retailer Wood You Like Ltd.
And as promised above: the content of the S&T's will never be out of date, you will always have the latest version!

And of course I've set myself a target to have everything all ready (and tested) end of April/begining May. Some of you have been so kind to read the first draft back in February which has been very helpful - special thanks to Stephen! - and kind of had a pre-view of things to come.

I love aweber The Best AWeber Strategies and Tactics for Small Businesses will enable everyone, beginners and long-time users, to benefit even more from Permission Marketing (ethical email-marketing) in the most effective AND efficient way. No need to re-invent the wheel, I promise to spill all the beans on all the mistakes and errors we made ourselves when getting to grips with AWeber!

You can opt in to receive more updates on the new guide by popping in your name and email address below - like before, pre-registering your interest, without any obligation!, also means pre-launch discount on the guide itself.

UPDATE: The Best AWeber Strategies and Tactics for Small Businesses is now available!


In search of conversations

In these days of online conversations - aka Social Media Tools - many businesses are engaging with their prospects and clients on the Internet. Through blogs - which I prefer to call dynamic and interactive web sites = "blog-sites" - YouTube, Facebook, MyBlogLog, LinkedIn, various forums and Twitter.

In December and January I dipped my toes in the Twitter world, in search for mini conversations: twittering or tweeting to followers in 140 characters. And on 21 January I had enough and 'untweeted' myself. The post I wrote about it focussed on what I experienced as seeing only one side of the conversation. I didn't get it.

February saw an avalanche of white papers, blog-articles, free reports and even handbooks on how Twitter is working for so many businesses. And as many of you know I'm never averse of publishing comments left, right and center about my own experiences. The avalanche became so thick and quick I almost decide I didn't even want to 'get it'.

This decision was halted at the end of last week.

Martin Malden - the WealthyDragon - wrote: "Is Twitter the New List?" on his blog Creating an Awesome Home Business. And low and behold, someone else had already left a comment that reflected my own feelings towards the subject.

"I can see this approach working for a very large company. It’s free and easy to blast a short message to throngs of people. If they pick up on it, great. If not, who cares?

For a home business, this just isn’t the case. You’re trying to establish deeper relationships with less people and I just don’t see that happening in 140 characters. Quality versus quantity."

Chris O - Referral Key - Your Trusted Referral Network

I followed suit with my own comments on list building. And a very interesting discussion started, listing experiences and 'tactics' about using Twitter for list building.

The 'tactics' - in the best meaning of the word - Martin listed made me think. Specially when he talked about using Twitter's search function on specific keywords to find other Twitters asking questions on subjects Martin feels he can help with.

Questionmark So, what if you forget about Twitter as "conventional" Age of Conversation Tool and use it as a "finding Tool" for those in need of your expertise? The search on keywords can be rss-feeded into any 'blog-reader'.
Instead of watching the one side of conversations of those you follow, you use Twitter to contact the Twittee (?) who asked the question. You offer help in the form of a link to an article, blog-post or even, as Martin frequently does, write a whole new article/post to address the question.

Now, that's in my 'conventional' web-marketing eyes a perfect way to build a list and start a conversational relationship with new leads, prospects and clients in more than one way and in more than 140 characters. Twitter as start, not as "only on".

Don't you just love it when inventions turn into an innovation

"So are you saying that invention is merely the creation of some technology, but that the innovation is the idea of applying it to a previously unexploited market?"
Arthur M Gallagher

I can see that work for every small business: turning the invention Twitter, the mini-blog tool, into the innovation for finding those in need of your expertise/knowledge/experiences and as start of the relationship building conversation. Now that's what I do get.

You know what's funny (in my eyes at least)? I only realised this through an 'old fashion' multi-contributors discussion in the comment box of Martin's blog. Would the same have happened through mini-blogs of 140 characters?

Directions Next project: setting up a new Twitter account for Wood You Like and we'll be in search for those needing help on all matters related to wooden flooring. Our FAQ & News site (aka business blog) has plenty of useful articles already we can direct them to and if needed we will write a special post for the answer.


Are you re-inventing your own wheel?

Re-inventing the wheel is commonly regarded as a waste of your time and effort. So how would we regard re-inventing your own wheel?
Believe me, it happens more often than you think - I've discovered this only last week myself.

During the second half of last year we noticed an increase in website visitors searching on the keywords: restoring or repairing parquet floor. Web marketing logic dictated we wrote a dedicated web page - wood guide -  on this subject (in fact, we wrote two: "7 Easy steps to repair/restore your parquet floor" and "3 Easy steps to clean and maintain your parquet floor")

The 7 Steps almost immediately became the most popular page of our 'static' website. We then took the step - no pun intended - to turn this wood-guide into our first digital wood product, complete with extra information and advice. This was launched end December and has been ordered 7 times already (not bad for a specialised and physical product retailer we think = average one a week).

Now, on our FAQ & News site we also have a most popular post containing simple tips and advice for DIY-ers. In fact sometimes we feel we are giving away too much information - information suppliers/retailers should give their clients. Most however don't and many DIY-ers end up on our websites. Even if they have already bought all the materials somewhere else. This and the "succes" of our first digital wood product gave food for thought, which in a meeting with our good friend "the company-doctor" also came to the forefront. Why not reduce the info in that particular post and create a Comprehensive Installation Guide, give this away for free to our own DIY-clients (on CD-rom) while making it also available (at a price) for others?

Decision made.

We also agreed that if we were to sell our knowledge it should contain as much practical information as possible - we still feel a bit strange 'selling' digital wood products. And I saw a month of writing ahead.

And then I saw 'the light'. We've been writing advice, tips etc in posts and web pages for over 4 years! Why re-invent the wheel, or better our own wheel?

All I had to do was compile the written material already at hand. In between normal daily tasks of a retailer this only took me 4 days. A great help in this was of course one of my favourite software programs "ScreenSteps", the Rapid Documentation Tool.

You create a 'manual', name sections (like introduction, preparations, installation and resources) and in these sections you create your chapters (lessons).

Screenstepsmanual

In the lessons you write the 'steps' - every step is a 'sub header' - your audience/reader must take to complete the task at hand and even better, the 'camera' lets you capture screen shots for images. As in "a picture tells more than a thousand words".

Screenstepscamera

In the lessons you can swap steps around by simple drag and drop them and in the manual you can swap lessons around in the same way.

ScreenstepsexportThen the best part of the software takes place with one simple click of the button Export. The whole manual is converted into a PDF complete with:

  • Cover page (you can add and edit the templates very simple)
  • Bookmarks
  • Index-page (with links to the 'lessons')
  • Page header image & footer text (again you add/edit these in the PDF template and you can create an unlimited number of templates)

The whole process of converting the 57 pages - yes, 57 pages! - into a PDF took only 1 minute.

Since yesterday the new Guide is for sale on our website, the "delivery" of it is of course automated too: combining AWeber with Paypal (more on this in later posts).

Lesson learned: all of us have specialist knowledge about our job/trade/profession and most of us have written plenty of posts/articles/white-papers about it. Instead of writing new material, why not search through all you already have in your 'possession' - and only add new materials/edit existing material where needed?

Why re-invent your own wheel?

Learn more about ScreenSteps


Feedburner switch to Google Account: take note

Feedburner - bought by Google a while ago - is asking every account holder to move all the feeds to a Google Account. The switch is easy, a few clicks on a few buttons to an existing Google Account or you can create a new Google account for this.

On the Feedburner-Google account you can only check feed statistics and no longer site statistcis (Feedburner thinks Google Analytics has the same features - it doesn't IMHO).

My feeds were switched this morning and I'm experiencing loads of "new" old blog-alerts in various AWeber lists that have a connection with Feedburner. Fortunately all my blog-alerts are not on 'Send Automatic' otherwise all my blog readers would have had an avalanche of old alerts!

If you have both a feedburner account and are using AWeber for blog-alerts you better edit the 'blog-broadcast' settings to none automatic sending before you switch Feedburner to Google.


Why opt-in email marketing is the right - the only - way to grow

Every business - small, large, selling products or selling service - wants to attract more prospects and clients. Email marketing has become one of the most cost-effective ways to establish this.

You can do this two ways: the right one and the wrong one.

The right one is to make your email messages personal, anticipated and interesting.

The wrong one is sprouting your marketing message to everyone you can find an email address from - bulk mailing.

The right one will take time to establish (lead generating can take a while, but done effectively every one of your marketing message will be read and when your lead is ready, acted upon).

The wrong one will take no time at all to establish (buy bulk email addresses from a broker, send out plenty of marketing messages to the list and perhaps one of two will not unsubscribe)

Seth Godin tells it way better than I can:

Email campaign case studies (one good, one bad)


You don't fail that easy

When you write blog-post, create an AWeber email campaign you want to reach out to as many readers, leads, prospects you can. That's our goal: writing compelling messages so that your readers, subscribers keep coming back for more. In order to be regarded as 'The Expert', 'The place' to go to for quality products or services. In short, to market your business.

And then you see a drop in blog-readers and receive notifications of subscribers leaving you (or you see a drop in total subscribers). Most of us will have the same knee-jerk reaction: oh dear, everybody is leaving me! What am I doing wrong??

Marie-Louise over at SuccessTrack can tell you exactly that: "When do you stop marketing to Customers".

Read and rejoice ;-)


Using Feedburner for Word-of-Mouth marketing

Every business is aware (or should be!) of the power Word-of-Mouth - it is regarded as the best (and 'cheapest') way to promote your business, products and/or service. On the Web it is no different.

Word-of-Mouth can be hard to establish, how do you get (unknown) visitors to your website talking about you? Of course it starts with having something that's worthwhile to talk about, be it your excellent service record, your excellent and high value for money products or excellent and useful content on your website.

Supposing you have all that in order, what is the next step to entice Word-of-Mouth? You can rely on other 'bloggers' picking up your content and linking back to it; you can rely on others Tweeting about it or mentioning your page and/or product on Facebook, a forum or whatever social media of their choice.

There is however a very simple way to help this Word-of-Mouth on its way: "email this to your friend". A simple link at the bottom of your article/post/landing page that automagically opens your visitor's email program, has already a subject and perhaps even some body text of your choice. The coding for this is not that difficult, click on this link to see an example of the result. (If you hover over the link it will display the actual code).

There is even a simpler way if you publish articles/post in a blog and have set up - of course you have - a Feedburner account. In Feedburner you have various additional options and extras. One of them is called FeedFlare (under the Optimise Tab)

Feedflare

Select at least "Email This" on Site, activate the service and as soon as the article feed is picked up by Feedburner it does the rest! (So sometimes it takes 5 - 10 minutes before the actual "email this" link appears - but it definitely will)

Every article will now automagically have a link at the bottom of your article to a webfrom where your webvisitor can fill in his/her email address as sender and send a message to one of his/her friends. It's as easy as that! And it works on most blog-platforms.

See below and why not try it out?


A new hobby horse: Web 2.0 for community building or growing your business?

Web20 Coming back to a recent article on the Kiss2 blog-site: Calling a spade a spade and some recent blog posts I read from well-known A-list bloggers.

To most bloggers, specially those who are deeply involved in social media communities, a blog should mainly be used to create a community. Conform to the expectations of Web 2.0

As a ‘brick and mortar’ company director and owner of various blog-sites I have a very different idea about what a blog can be. In that recent article mentioned above I consider any accessible entity on the world wide web as a ‘web-presence’, also those created on a blog-platform.

A web-presence build on a blog-platform is an effective marketing tool – a very simple, self-manageable tool that so easy gathers visitors to it – due to its embedded search-engine friendliness – and drives qualified traffic to your (if you have/need one)  ‘static’ website and/or webshop.

For small businesses – be it "brick and mortar" or services – it is not specifically about building a community that Web 2.0 advocates have in mind; it’s about growing your business by building trust.

Building trust by writing articles about your products, services. Written with – if I may be so bold – an educational value in mind: explaining to your web presence visitors in all honesty when, where and why your product/service might be the most suitable for them at that specific moment in time or later.

Educational because that’s what the world-wide-web is used for too: searching for information, specially when looking for new products/services to purchase. Perhaps that’s the most significant reason most ‘surfers’ (or is that a too much out-dated term?) start up their browsers for: looking for information.

And write in all honesty, because that’s nowadays also a very significant feature – if not the most significant for most of us - of the world-wide-web: almost every statement about your product, service you make can be checked against other statements, reviews by users or respected web journalists. Tell a porky nowadays and you’ll be ridiculed/told off/slapped on the wrist/loose credibility in no time at all! There are many global brands out there who know how true – and painful – it is by not taking this aspect of the world-wide-web for granted.

Building trust, because no matter how much information is out there on the world-wide-web, everyone will still look up to the ‘expert’, to the one who turns information into knowledge – and is very willing to share his/her knowledge to all who come looking for it.

And using a blog-platform - that self-manageable, search-engine friendly, simple to set-up, use and edit to your own likings, plus enormously interactive if you choose so – to establish all points mentioned above is IMHO the best ‘invention’ the Web 2.0 brought us as one of the most effective and powerful marketing tools any small business could ask for.

It is a rather low-instep media also. Anyone who is able to create a Word-document can write and publish an article on a blog-platform. A media that doesn’t need extra hosting, specific web-design or HTML-coding knowledge (if you do have those it can only work to your advantage but it is absolutely not a pre), can be edited by yourself without having to spend extra money (and time to explain your ideas to) a web design business.

It’s like using follow-up messages to any of your prospects and existing clients: if you don’t use this honest and effective marketing tool you’re definitely leaving money on the table. In these economical different times perhaps even more than ever.

Yes, I know. This is turning into a kind of ‘hobby horse’ of mine, but as managing director of a small brick & mortar business and owner of 7 blog-sites I see the positive results of using a blog-platform to grow your business on a daily basis.

I definitely plan to write more about this particular ‘hobby horse’ of mine in the near future and have already written other articles on using blogs and webmarketing to grow your business in a simple, effective and honest way. If you like you can pop-in your name and email address in the top right corner to subscriber to the free and ever growing number of articles. They will land in your inbox at regular intervals, so you can learn and use them on your own pace.

Greetings from the 1 plus 1 makes 3 experts

Karin H. (Keep It Simple Sweetheart, specially in business)


How a simple program can be so versatile: ScreenSteps

Last year my friend Lesley (The IT-girl) and I organised 4 blog-workshops for local businesses on how to use a blog-platform (Typepad) to grow their businesses. Some of our 'students' are now using this extra web-tool to help grow their business; some - although impressed of what it could mean for their business - never got further than a first try. That happens. And then it is no use of asking yourself why they don't see the benefits of doing more with it - they all set-up an account, wrote their first post and/or page, were very enthusiastic - but don't continue with it.

The only thing you -  as teacher - can do about it is to reconsider the method of training/instruction. Of course a workshop is fun and gets the enthusiasm going. But then we all go away to our normal daily, most times hectic work-tasks and 9 times out of 10 the enthusiasm and plans wane quickly.

That's what we did: reconsidered our method, reconfigured it first to one-on-one sessions with a slightly better result. Time to read back the notes they took on the instructions, the how to's and where to find this or that turned out to be the biggest 'stumble'.

So we are now in the process of reconfiguring the whole training again in two ways:

  1. a manual with lessons on the why, the how to, the edit here, add there and link to this
  2. an online training  - on a blog-platform of course! - that contains all the lessons from the manual mentioned above

And we've found the most perfect 'little' program that can do both - and more - at the same time!
A few months ago Ed Rivis (author of The Ultimate Webmarketing Strategy) made me aware of a Screenstepslogosmall software program he uses frequently to write his own knowledge programs: ScreenSteps, the Documentation Tool (from Blue Mango Learning Systems). I only had to take one look at it to see what benefits it had for our purpose! And I opted immediately for the Pro version.

With ScreenSteps you can:

  • write individual lessons - but how!(see next point)
  • very simple capture screen shots/snaps per step of the lesson to show where to go, where to find, how to etc instead of trying to explain it words
  • add tags to the lesson
  • create a manual per subject or training and fill this with lessons
  • add sections to the manual and fill this with lessons
  • search your whole lesson library on the tags you've given them
  • with one mouse click split a lesson in two lessons
  • in the manual move sections and lessons up or down to enhance or change the structure of the whole training
  • drag and drop existing lessons into other manuals (and this feature I use frequently: the guide I'm working on the moment for the online training I partly use for my 'blog-site' clients' manual, but more an that in another post)

Screenstepslogosmall_2 But there is more! And this makes ScreenSteps even more versatile!

  • You can export individual lessons, sections and whole manuals as PDF-files using a standard or custom-made template
  • You can export individual lessons to a blog (tell ScreenSteps which blog-platform you use and if you have more than 1 blog - like I have on my Typepad account - it will ask you which blog you want it exported in and under which category you want it published!)
  • You can export an individual lesson as a HTML-page and add it to your website, again using a standard or custom made template
  • If you don't have a blog or website you can add ScreenSteps Live to your account and upload it there for the whole world to see.
    (At the moment I am not using this feature but already know you can create a whole online training site or intranet with it, plus you are able to  download lessons others from your company/organisation wrote and edit it - more effective and efficient than emailing them for the original)

Screenstepslogosmall_3 Since discovering ScreenSteps writing the lessons for the online 'practical typepad-guide' has become so much easier. Some days I'm able to export 4 or more lessons to my (still hidden) special blog-site and still can email every individual lesson to one of my 'blog-site' clients when they get stuck on some item of their site. Answering questions from them turn into lessons and are added to the manual. How simple can a trainer's/coach live be? With one simple and versatile program - of course combined with other simple programs (Typepad to name but one): ScreenSteps.

Give it a try and be as pleasantly amazed as I was. And the price! The Pro version costs only $59.97 which is around £ 30.00

A simple, practical and extremely cost-effective program

ScreenSteps - Documentation Done Right


Everyone likes options

Everyone really does. You like options, don't you? And so do your subscribers to any of your email marketing lists.
Simple business (of even life) rule: give your leads, prospects, clients options.

Suppose you've created various AWeber email campaigns, we have. One campaign for every range in wooden flooring our prospects can choose from. Again, options. Every range email campaign comes with its own set of follow-up messages telling our prospect more and more about the range, the benefits etc.

Multiplelists But we also like to keep our prospects, clients up to date with our Monthly Newsletter (another email campaign on AWeber). AWeber makes it very simple to mail out your newsletter (broadcast) to multiple lists.

This can work very well. Your prospect only has to subscribe to his favourite  campaign (list) and you can still email him or her your standard marketing message.
Of course you tell your prospects when they subscribe to one of your specific campaigns you will also send them your standard marketing messages - so they know and it is anticipated.

But.....

What if your prospect likes what you send him on the campaign he actually subscribed too but not your standard marketing messages. In order to stop the 'standard' his only option is to unsubscribe from the list - but that also removes him from the original campaign.
Or vice-versa: your prospect doesn't want to receive your specific messages from the original list any longer but she would like to continue reading your standard marketing messages (your newsletter with monthly special offers for example). Again, her only option is to unsubscribe from the original list and if she knows where to find your webform register again for your standard lists. Not simple.

There is however a very simple solution within the AWeber system: automation (in the TAB List Settings):

Aweber automation for more options

Of course you tell your prospect when she subscribes to one of your specific campaigns you will also send her your standard marketing messages - so she knows and it is anticipated.

Using the automation gives your subscribers the option to unsubscribe either from the specific list or from the standard list. More chances for you to keep his or her on at least one of your lists.


Glitz or content? - Why a blog platform can be as good or even better for your business

Most small business have a web presence. Most small business have delegated the creation of their web presence to web design companies. Most web design companies want to put Glitz on your web site to show off their talent.

What do your web site visitors want?

Look at the sites that currently rank high on the search engines and you will see that they have simple designs with graphics that use minimal bandwidth, and they're easy to navigate. Simple, clean designs are what both search engine crawlers and search engine users like, as it lets them get the content they want without any fuss. This is what your web presence should be aiming for
 
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Above are all samples of web presences created on blog-platform (Typepad).

Potential clients want to know what you can do for them, not how fancy or glitzy your web site is.



7 Key Reasons to use a blog-platform for your business website

Blogs (short for weblog) are mostly know for their ability to 'produce' articles (also called blog posts). It is a misconception that blogs are only used by freelancers in the service business - mainly in the marketing or finance sector - geeks dissecting software packages, teens fantasizing about their 'heroes' in tv-series, movies or about boy-bands, social media pioneers about the latest social media communities.
Nothing could be further from the truth than this. Of course there are many of the above mentioned blogs around, but there is an increasing trend for small business to use a blog to increase 'brand-awareness', to give advice on various subjects and much more. Many multi-nationals use blogs to keep in contact with their clients/users all over the world. It's simple, straight-forward and effective. And not to mention: profitable.

Every business - small, medium or large - should consider creating a weblog. If done properly (and consistently) it has a tremendous positive effect on a business' turnover, nett profit and brand awareness. Subscribe to the Blogging and Webmarketing Tips below to discover more. A Report "7 Reasons to use a blog-platform for your business website is just one of the tips you will receive. Just pop in your name and email address in the form you can find in the right top corner of this blog.



How far should you take email-marketing?

As businesses we would like to contact as many (targeted) prospects as possible, knowing the statistics that only a small percentage will end up as one of our new paying clients.

I'm highly in favour of email-marketing, as long as it is based on Permission Marketing, because it can be so cost-effective and automated. Our own business (retail wooden flooring) uses this method daily and with great results.

There are however companies who IMHO take email marketing a step too far (make that a whole mile!), and I think it'll do exactly the opposite of what they're trying to achieve.

Last week I received an email apparently from my sister-in-law in The Netherlands. Translated it goes like this:
Hi info (part of my email address before the @), xxxxxx (my sister-in-law's name without a space between first and surname) sends you this message to videomail together. Through the weblink below you can send your video-message to xxxxxxx. And then you will receive a video-message from xxxxx back as soon as possible.

Regards
xxxxxxxx

When I checked out what this was all about I ended up the landing page: Welcome to invite.net (in Dutch uitnodigingen.net). There it states that as soon as I agree to the condition I can send my sister-in-law the promised free video-message.
The condition: At the same time all your MSM-contacts will receive a request to send you a video-message.

And absolutely no way around it, no opt-out box like "I don't want you to contact my contacts, I will send them an invite myself if and only if I think they would be interested in what I'm about to discover can be done with your program. At the moment I still have many doubts if it's really worthwhile to trouble them."

No wonder that email-marketing is still fighting to get rid of its bad (just spam) name! I gracefully declined the offer to send my sister-in-law a video-message; we have other, more practical and ethical ways to do so.
Wonder how many 'contacts' will take the trouble to have all their contacts spammed with a ridiculous promise.

If you, as business owner or marketing manager, want to start off on the right foot when exploring the possibilities of mass-targeting prospects - whatever good it will do - give at least an opt-out option. You might end up with a larger number of prospects.

A better way of course is to make sure you only target qualified leads instead of mass-targeting. The more qualified your target (i.e. already looking for a product or service you can supply), the more he/she will take you up on your offer. And then a whole worthwhile, honest, ethical relationship can start. No trickery needed.

Greetings from the 1 plus 1 makes 3 experts

Karin H. (Keep It Simple Sweetheart, specially in business)


Automated 'snail-mail'

Email marketing, when done ethical and effectively, is a great way to turn qualified leads into prospects into clients. It gives you the ultimate chance to build up trust with your leads and prospects who will - if you do your job correctly - start to recognise your as the 'expert', as the only business that can solve their problems.

A mistake made by many businesses is dropping the conversation once the prospect turns into a client. The only message then received by your valued client are invoices. Strange not? You've put so much effort into converting your prospect into a paying client, written interesting messages to him/her, promised high quality products and/or services, answered all the questions they might have had and took away any remaining doubt. And then, when they hand over their first cheque most businesses just simply ignore them further.
Or if the client is lucky he will receive a monthly general newsletter or leaflet with offers (still better than nothing at all).

It is proven that regular contact between your business and existing clients improves the relationship, extends the time they are your clients and hence extends/improves their life-time value to your business. Email is easy and can be very cost-effective but don't forget the normal, sometimes disrespectful named 'snail-mail'. Receiving a real letter through the letter-box is in the eyes of most of your clients regarded as a great, personalised way to hear from you.

You've got Mail!

And regular contact with your highly valued clients can, like email marketing, be automated very simple. As with automated email marketing your dedicated existing client messages can be a logical sequence of interesting and worthwhile additions (the follow-up messages through AWeber come to mind, where with every message you tell and explain more to your prospect).

Every time we - supply and installation of wooden flooring - finish a particular job the end-date of that job is noted in our CRM-system (customer relationship management, part of our accounting package Mamut Enterprice3). This system allows you to design/create 'templates' you can mail-merge with address details of a selected group of clients. Again, like with AWeber, you create the content once but the CRM-system merges it time after time into a interesting, worthwhile and personalised message from you to your client.
We inform our clients regularly this way: 4 weeks after the wood floor is delivered to remind them of the maintenance care they should give their new floor-covering, 6 months later again etc. Automated, all we have to do is select the group of clients (sometimes just one client) to receive the next message in the predetermined sequence.
We do sell an awful lot of maintenance products and even maintenance services this way: simple add-ons so easily forgotten by many other businesses.

Greetings from the 1 plus 1 makes 3 experts

Karin H. (Keep It Simple Sweetheart, specially in business)


AWeber trouble shooting - check your leads

If you use AWeber you must be familiar with the Tab: Leads - sub tab Search
(If you are a business -small, medium or large - and are not using AWeber autoresponse email marketing software (aff) yet, you're missing out on the most effective Permission Marketing Tool!)

In this Tab you will find all details of your subscribers: from name, email address (but of course) to the date and place (webpage/blogpost) they became your qualified and targeted prospect. It also shows the important subscription status: verified or unverified.

When a prospect submits his/her details in the webform you placed on your webpage/blogpost the AWeber autoresponder process is triggered and should normally start with sending your new prospect the "Request Confirmation" email. Until your prospect actually clicks on the confirmation link in this email his/her status will stay unverified and none of the automated marketing messages you've written in the AWeber system will find its way to your prospect's inbox.

So, getting your prospect to click that all important link is essential and there are very simple and practical ways to make sure he/she knows this particular and important email is on its way to their inbox (Presentation 1 of the Ultimate Practical AWeber Guide - UPAG for short - will focus heavily on this subject).

In the 'thank you page' your new prospect lands on after having submitted his/her details always insert an email address where your prospect can contact you on in the event his spam-filter has blown your Request Confirmation email into cyberspace. Re-submitting his/her email again on the webform will bring him/her onto the default "An Error Occurred - already-subscribed" webpage which tells your prospect he/she has to wait 12 hours before the original email address is accepted again as 'new subscriber'. Not much help, is it?

Having a contact email address on the 'Thank you page' will give your prospect a better chance. When his/her 'cry for help' arrives you can ask for an alternative email address, advice them to make sure their smap-filter accepts emails from @aweber.com (some spam-filters are so strong they do react on the original sender instead on the From/Reply email address you inserted in your list settings) and when you receive their alternative email address you manually import this into the requested list.
(Tab: Leads - sub tab Add)
A new Request Confirmation email will now be send out to your prospect's alternative email address.

This tactic is especially important when you combine AWeber with Paypal 'buy-button'. Your notification address in the buy-button will be set to your unique AWeber autoresponder address. Meaning, as soon as your client has bought your product the AWeber sends out the all important Request Confirmation email. And as soon as he/she clicks the confirm link two things happen: the 'product' is delivered to your client and you receive a notification - not from Paypal, but from the AWeber system. (Much more on this in Presentation 3 of the UPAG.)
Now, suppose this email gets lost in cyberspace: your client has paid, but no product arrives! And you will not receive the notification from the AWeber system that you have a new client (albeit a waiting in vain client). And on his/her payment notification email from the Paypal system only the autoresponder email address (@aweber.com) is mentioned.

To prevent being accused of a 'cowboy', a fraudster etc make it a habit of checking your leads in AWeber regularly. Any unverified leads in one of your lists that is linked to Paypal should be checked in Paypal first - is the payment actually received. If so, send your new client a reminder to check his email account he used for the payment for your Request Confirmation email. Then you can ask him/her for an alternative email and add that manually in the AWeber system. Preempting complaints is a good practice - even with automated systems.

Greetings from the 1 plus 1 makes 3 experts

Karin H. (Keep It Simple Sweetheart, specially in business)

 


Using a blog platform to create a webiste

Since Typepad - Six Apart (aff)  introduced pages as new feature to their blog platform I used it frequently to create/design a normal, what I like to call static, website. It is quite simple really to do this, just a matter of changing some of the preferences on the 'weblog'.

My latest project (web design for a fellow trade person) is an example of it too - and still a work in progress, specially on the copy-writing part.
As part of 'the deal' I'm writing a manual on how to add and edit pages in the Typepad program - which made me think of a next project here on 1 plus 1 makes 3: creating a whole manual on:
"How to use Typepad (blog platform) to grow your business"

And one of the lessons I've just finished - hurray for ScreenSteps: lesson written and exported as PDF-file within 25 minutes - "How to turn Typepad into a static website".

I'm now gifting this first lesson/guide to every reader who subscribes to the blog-alerts (= receive email notifications when a new post is published) of the 1 plus 1 makes 3 blog (see top right corner for the webform).

Greetings from the 1 plus 1 makes 3 experts

Karin H. (Keep It Simple Sweetheart, specially in business)


Keep in touch with AWeber

Keeping touch with your prospect, clients is essential for any business that wants/needs to grow. How else are they going to remember the products/services you have to offer them? You don't need to bombard them with your marketing messages, but regular contact between you and them is a proven profitable way to grow any business - as long as your messages are interesting enough for them.

AWeber (aff) makes "keeping in touch" not only easy but versatile too: you can choose to send your prospects follow-up messages at regular intervals (automated!) and/or broadcast special offers, product release, trade-news at a pre-determined time.

Message menu in AWeber
(screen-snapshot made with MWSnap3 - a great, simple and free tool)

(Blog-broadcasts are another option, in fact a combination of the two but that's for another article)

Follow-up versus broadcast - when which?

Say you're offering a free report, product leaflets or interesting article to your website visitors. All they have to do to receive it immediately is to pop-in their name and email address in the web form you provided for it and your AWeber campaign takes over, automating the delivery of your message for you. Your website visitor turns into a prospect by confirming his/her wish to receive your report, leaflet, article etc. Your first AWeber follow-up message contains the promised 'product'.

After two days you like to tell your new prospect more about your product, service. In AWeber you create your second follow-up message. And a third 4 days later in which you tell them even more, point them towards a specific webpage on your site etc. The options are plentiful.

Any new prospect receives your 3 messages at the interval you've set in your follow-up messages, no matter when they requested your free report or anything else you've offered. In the example above your messages will be send out to them over a period of 7 days (1 on day 1, 2 on day 3, 3 on day 7)
(This is an ideal method when you're offering/selling weekly or regular tips that don't have a 'sell-by' date or even courses.)

Broadcast is a message you create to be send out to your total list of verified opt-in email addresses at a specific pre-determined time. And only once.
For instance a Monthly news-letter. We email our newsletter every first Monday of the month. Any new subscriber to our newsletter after the first Monday of the month will not receive our latest newsletter (and of course there's a solution for that too, but that's for another article).
You can imagine all the options these broadcasts can give you: special offers with a time limit, 'breaking news', daily updates of share prices or one-off announcements.
You determine when the broadcast is emailed (day and time) and all your prospects/clients on your specific campaign list will receive it at the same time.

So, to re-cap:
Follow-ups
are the messages your prospect/client receives at pre-determined intervals from the moment they subscribe to your AWeber campaign.
Broadcasts are the messages your prospect/clients receives at the pre-determined specific day and time you decide.
(And of course you can combine both methods for any of your campaigns!)

Karin H. (Keep It Simple Sweetheart, specially in business)

3dAWST1
(image for illustration purpose only)

192 pages (download online)

"E-book" £ 7.97

(After payment is accepted, please wait until you are redirected to our 'download' instruction page - if you don't receive a confirmation email within 10 minutes, please email me for support: karinh@1plus1makes3.co.uk)

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