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How to Grow Your Google Authority

What is the real route to better Google rankings? Many new Internet marketers obsess over Google pagerank believing it to be the route to rising in the search results, where in fact pagerank is just one of many factors involved in your search engine ranking and, most misleading, what you see in the Google Toolbar […]

Are You Ready for Social Media?

The online marketing world moves in waves, with the majority of businesses following a trend not because it is fashionable but out of commercial necessity.

  • Going online, just to be online.
  • SEO was king for many years.
  • Then it was Adwords.
  • Blogging came next.
  • Now it is Social Media that is gaining all the attention.

In the past competitiveness and innovation played the largest part, but I have no doubt worries about the global economy are driving the most recent moves.

Although Social Media has been growing steadily for a few years, it seems now most businesses are looking towards these tools and services to find a good ROI alternative to their offline marketing, without the heavy prices that Adwords require in many niches.

Is Social Media the solution that you are looking for?

Why Social Media?

There are many advantages to social media over and above just “Traffic”:

  • Modern version of traditional PR.
  • Speed up your reaction times.
  • Super-efficient word of mouth marketing.
  • World wide focus group.
  • Instant answers to business or technical questions.
  • Brand awareness.
  • Be on top of market news and moves.
  • Grow your network.

There are also valuable indirect benefits. Attention creates the opportunity for links and traffic, which drives search rankings, which in turn will attract people who want what you offer. Buzz does not need to be the end you strive for, but can also be a means to an end.

But there are also pitfalls:

  • Social Media can spread bad news too.
  • Pitch and promote approach will meet with resistance. Traffic to direct offers seldom convert well, you need to find a new way to bring attention to your products and services.
  • The chit-chat aspect can be addictive. Use Twitter best practices.
  • This stuff takes time and experimentation.

What to Do?

We are still at the beginning with these tools, there are no rules. The best social media strategies for each type of organization or individual are still being developed. There are though guidelines that you can use to make sure you get the most out of all this social media stuff:

  1. Have a purpose, direct your efforts. Unguided meandering will just cause you to get bogged down.
  2. Give before expecting anything in return. The most generous, genuine and valuable are those who’s ideas spread best.
  3. Monitor your reputation. Use tools like TweetDeck, Google Alerts and Twitter Searches to see who is talking about your brand keywords and why. Respond appropriately.
  4. Measure your ROI and do more of what works.
  5. Experiment. Keep learning from case studies and good examples.

As always, I recommend you link all your social media activity back to your blog or website. Bring people back home, and give them good reasons to stick around. Build up your own base of loyal and egaged advocates.

Whatever you do, do not abandon what has been working for you and is still providing returns. Find ways to integrate the new stuff rather than throw out good tactics just because the new stuff is, well, new.

  • Create valuable content and optimize for search engines.
  • Engage your subscribers and customers.
  • Grow your links and referrals.
  • Build your lists.

Survey

Mike Stelzner is running a Social Media Survey and I am really looking forward to the results. If you take part you can get the results too. Take the survey here.

How to Grow Both Twitter Followers and Your Blog Subscribers

Check your Twitter Follower Count and compare it against your Blog Subscriber Count. Which is the bigger number? Which of those counts is growing faster?

I asked my Twitter followers this question, and overwhelmingly the answer came back that you have more Twitter followers or Twitter is catching up fast and likely to overtake.

The folks who have far fewer Twitter followers than blog subscribers are those who I would call “Well Established”. Their audience has been subscribed for a long while and in large numbers, while their Twitter following is recent and likely made up of a subset of their huge blog or email list audience. Uber bloggers like Darren Rowse and Brian Clark come to mind, and internet marketers who can call on hundreds of thousands of email subscribers like Frank Kern, Jeff Walker, and Rich Schefren.

Why is Twitter Overtaking Blog Subscriber Count?

In the case of Twitter dominating, I believe this is down to the relative ease of recruiting followers and the method in which it happens.

Twitter is like blogging but accelerated and concentrated. Rather than links, comments and trackbacks, we discover new people to follow through replies, both to you and to others. If someone replies to me with an interesting comment, or if someone I am following has an interesting conversation with someone I haven’t discovered, I am more likely to follow them. People who would otherwise go unnoticed in the blogosphere have found attention far more efficiently in the Twittersphere.

This is even more pronounced when you get noticed by the Twitter movers and shakers. As in the blog world where an A-List link can boost your subscriber count, this happens much more often on Twitter. Tweets are cheap, it isn’t a big deal to fire off a message, compared to writing up a blog post, so a conversation with a big named Tweeter can drive hundreds of follows with little effort or risk on either side.

There is also the “reciprocal follow” where someone follows you so you follow them back. It doesn’t happen all the time but it is virtually unheard of in blogging.

In the case of personal blogging, Twitter has mostly taken a big chunk of the action. Before we would subscribe to the feed of people we wanted to stay in touch with. Family, friends, or just people who we found interesting. Twitter now provides the same role, with the bonus of immediacy of updates and instant interaction.

The End of the Blog Feed?

There is much to be said for the blog, or email newsletters. Not least is depth and detail that is not possible in 140 characters. But that in itself could be seen as a disadvantage as reading more than a few sentences feels like “effort”. Writing a few hundred words even more so. 140 characters means “just the facts”.

Blogs will more and more have to provide value greater than mere links, quips and trivialities. The chit-chat conversation has moved, and your content and community will need to evolve. Discussions on blogs will need to take more thought and provide more value.

What Should We Learn?

People with large, established audiences, can add many more Twitter followers just by pointing out their Twitter Feed, but to move their audience to follow in quantity will require the promise of something over and above business as usual. That requires interaction and original content. Not everyone will have the time or see the benefit, so we are unlikely to see 1:1 matches across the board, however those that do engage will benefit from viral effects and social audience growth.

Chris Brogan is the reverse of the big-blogger stereotype. While obviously being an established blogger pre-Twitter, it was social media and Twitter especially that cemented his popularity and profile, and therefore I see his Twitter following fueling his blog subscriber count growth through fantastic content promoted via cleverly tweeted links. The lesson here is your Twitter Feed can grow your blog if you model successful Tweeters like Chris B.

Either way, you need to:

  • Provide unique value in both Twitter and Blog.
  • Drive followers to your sites with carefully crafted and selected links.
  • Encourage subscribers to engage you in conversation in Twitter.
  • Be aware of the strengths and weaknesses of both.
  • Continue to observe those who are gaining traction and learn from their example.

What Do You Think?

Are you seeing this phenomenon? Have your own theories? Please share your thoughts in the comments, or of course, on Twitter ;)

Aweber Popup Email Subscription Form Test Results

For just over a week now I have been testing the Aweber “lightbox” popup email subscription form. I wrote about the experiment here, and now I wanted to share some results.

Aweber Email Subscriptions

Google Analytics Traffic for Same Period

As you can see when I placed the form up I actually got a small dip in subscriptions before it corrected to become an increase to eventually settling down to a 5.9% conversion rate, up from 2.4%. A client is trying it also and is getting a 5.5% conversion.

Why the dip? There is a weekend lull, but I looked at my analytics and I believe it is because of traffic source. Referral links and search traffic seems to convert much better than social media and my regular visitors.

Aweber Report Key

Aweber Report Key

What I need to keep my eye on is the unverified and the unsubscribes. It’s hard to tell at the moment but I think some of the people signing up were just looking for the freebies and nothing more.

Thing that surprises me is if you take a wider view, the results are not terribly dramatic:

30 Day Lead Growth Aweber Report

So what is the conclusion?

It’s worth a try for newer blogs to get that early momentum, and certainly others are gaining subscribers at a better rate, but for me I am not entirely convinced the results justify the damage to credibility and longevity.

I want my content to sell my subscription, and I want people to stay subscribed because they see value. Like I often say on this blog, it is not worth burning up your long term value for the sake of some short term gains.

To test this I am going to look at segmenting people who join via popup and see if there is a difference in engagement before trialling my alternative.

Make sure you stay subscribed so you don’t miss those results or what my alternative subscription idea is!

Email Marketing Tips: What to Write About

Email Marketing Tutorial

The most common question I have been sent lately about this series has been

I know I need a list but what do I send? What should I write about? How can I get people to buy?

An email list is just a delivery mechanism. What you send to people is up to you. That is both a liberating and scary thing, because it is a blank canvas, but a very public one.

Put yourself in the role of the subscriber. What do they expect from you? Why did they enter their email address? When you put your subscription form up there you are making a promise, so deliver on that promise!

First, Content

Above all else you should provide useful, valuable content. It stands to reason that if people are not gaining by being on your list then they will leave it.

Should it be unique and different to your blog content? In my case subscribers get the same content as my feed readers, but with additional downloads or emails that don’t appear anywhere else.

There is no rule that you have to follow that route necessarily, you could use your blog content but packaged differently. For example you can do a weekly roundup, or highlight the best articles from the week.

Random alerts are another solution. Michael is sending very short emails about links he has discovered.

Another popular choice is the email course or sequence, where you sign up and get several pre-written emails in a row about a certain topic, delivered by your auto responder software. Sonia has a 10 part marketing course, but you could write one on anything, how about “Ten Tasty Tips About Broccoli“?

Sell Stuff With Email

The key to selling stuff with your email list is to make what you offer also content.

Take the role of an editor, or connoisseur, you are providing your list subscribers the choicest, best, ideal selections. Even better, make the email worthwhile even should someone not buy, so everyone gains. You can introduce products as part of a tip, solution or piece of advice, or as further reading.

In general you want to be following the 80-20% rule, where 4 out of 5 emails should be pure content, and only one promotional. You can still often get away with a “footer” that links to your products and services though.

Summary

The golden rule of email marketing is to TEST – watch the reaction to everything you do:

  1. Incentives
  2. List building efforts
  3. Frequency
  4. Subject lines
  5. Content
  6. Offers
  7. Click throughs
  8. Unsubscribe reasons
  9. … everything else!

Your subscribers will tell you what you get right and wrong, listen to them!

That’s the end of this series but look out for more email marketing tips right here in future.

Got any questions about email marketing? Let me know in the comments and I will do my best to answer :)

Email Marketing Tips: Writing Effective Email Subject Lines

Email Marketing Tutorial

In the last article of this Email Marketing tutorial series we looked at email copywriting and the goal of each element of your emails. We also looked at the importance of your subject lines in getting your emails opened. Let’s look at this aspect in detail.

As previously discussed, your email subject line has one main priority; get the recipient to open the email.

A Word of Warning

First of all, we have to keep in mind the risk of being flagged as spam.

While there are plenty of ways you can ratchet up the impact of your subject lines, balance this impulse by remembering you want to maintain the long term value of your list.

What do spam emails look like? Just look in your spam folder. They shout, they use lots of dollar signs, excessive punctuation, and tend to be, well, needy. Having said that, you can learn a lot from the good spams, there is a reason why spam continues … it makes money, so some of this has to be down to copywriting and not just sheer quantity.

Keep your email subjects familiar and consistent also, start with the same words so the recipients recognize you. I tend to start with the name of the newsletter. You are better off starting with the name of the newsletter because a lot of email clients will chop off the words at the end for space reasons.

Now, some of you will be thinking “Hey, there is no need – the recipient gets my email address”, which is true if you send your emails from “XXX Newsletter” but a lot of people don’t have a special email account for your newsletter. For example I like people to reply to the emails I send out so I send them out from me. Also, a lot of times email software shows the email address, not a friendly name, or the recipient only looks down the subject lines. My advice, as always, is do your own testing.

Optimal Email Subject Line Lengths

“How long should my email subject line be?” is the next question we need to cover. I get asked this a lot, and my answer is always “Long enough but not too long” :)

The maximum subject line length will be enforced by your software, but always try to keep it below 50 characters (including punctuation and spaces), because after that you are almost guaranteed to get cropped by email clients. Personally I aim for much lower, a goal of 20-30 characters has worked well in my testing, and certainly those with below 30-40 characters perform much better than those above …

That said, I do NOT rigidly stick to this. It’s important to get your point across clearly, and if that takes a few extra characters, so be it. I refer again to my point above about long term value. Your emails have to make sense.

Writing Compelling Email Subject Lines

The trick to writing email subject lines that get your messages opened is to appeal to the recipients emotions, needs and curiosity.

Consider your own behavior. When you are going through your inbox, what are your thought processes? You open emails based on the five ‘I’s …

  1. Importance – If it is work-related, or a PayPal payment, you are going to open that email smartish
  2. Intrigue – Curiosity, like a good joke or riddle, causes you to open the email to see what the punch line is.
  3. Interest – We all have subjects that we love to read about, so sometimes all you have to communicate is the topic
  4. Involvement – Pull on the heart strings, appeal to passion, greed, narcissism or any other emotional hot button
  5. Investment – Recipients will be personally or financially invested in something. Craft your subject line around it and it will get opened.

So how do you put that into practice?

  • News – Tell your recipients what’s new, something that is happening or just happened that they will want to know about
  • Tips – “How to” is a great way to get your email opened, providing you connect your solution to the recipients needs
  • Offer – Make a compelling offer that the recipient will want to take up
  • Question – Ask a question that the reader will answer “yes” to, or maybe put the subject in the form of a mystery or puzzle where the they will feel compelled to find out the answer.

You can mix and match, of course. Consider the headline “Who else wants to learn how a librarian made $1,000 in one day?”. It’s a question, a how-to, and it is news.

The Most Important Factor in Email Subject Effectiveness

What people forget, of course, is that it is not how clever the email subject is but how much it appeals to the reader. The main factor that will impact your success (or lack of) will be how well you address your target audience.

In fact, naming your target audience (“Freelancers! Now you can …”) can sometimes increase performance.

Appeal to your audiences current interests, needs and challenges and your emails will get opened. As an example, I knew my readers were interested in the Thesis theme but had a reason to resist buying, read about how my email overcame their sales objection.

It’s all about knowing your market.

Got any email copywriting tips to share? Please add your tip or link in the comments. Remember to subscribe so you don’t miss the next part of this email marketing tips series!

Using Customer’s Sales Objections to Sell More

Sales objections do not only cost you sales, but they can increase your sales too.

This might seem paradoxical, but consider a market where you are selling the same product or a very similar product to competitors. Whoever does the best job of addressing objections can sell more.

Overcoming sales objections is essential in making sales, but it also makes you more competitive, or can even give you an entry into a market that would otherwise be closed.

As proof you can take a look at a recent article of mine where I wrote about the brilliant Thesis WordPress theme. I had no hesitation in linking to this product with an affiliate link as I stand by it 100%, and in fact now use it as the basis for all my new blog build service customers unless specifically requested otherwise.

Now there are a lot of people writing about that product, Brian does well marketing it at Copyblogger alone, without his army of followers and affiliates. But still I know a decent amount of people bought through my link.

The trick with affiliate marketing, especially when you know you are going up against established affiliates, is to find a new angle. Luckily Brian let me know of a couple of new features that gave me the hook I needed.

I knew an objection that was stopping people buying the theme was “it looks great, and will help me in the search engines, but won’t by blog just look like everyone else’s?”.

That objection, connected to the new features that allowed you to easily personalize the theme, became my hook. “You no longer have to worry about looking the same, so you can have a great looking, unique blog, and get all the other benefits too”.

Objection removed, affiliate sales created.

Talking about affiliate marketing, I will be on the “Affiliate Doctors Live” panel at the A4U Expo London in October. If you would like to go for free, Kieron is giving away two full passes worth £299 each, check it out.

Email Marketing Tips: Introduction to Email Copywriting

Email Marketing Tutorial

Email copywriting is probably the one aspect of actually doing email marketing that people either fuss over or neglect. People either doubt their abilities in this area, don’t think about it or over estimate.

Bloggers, being writers, would expect to be ahead of the game, but sadly that is not always the case.

While a couple of years ago it was common to see newsletter writers brag that they write 50 or so articles a year, a blogger today probably writes as many in a couple of months or less. So there is a practice-makes-perfect advantage in favor of bloggers, but writing a blog post is not the same as writing an email.

Email is Personal

When you are writing an email for broadcast it is best to think of it as from you to one person. It is not a Superbowl ad, it is a letter from one individual to another.

Obviously when subscribers get the RSS feed automatically delivered as email there is not much that can be done, but as my email subscribers found out this week, when you do send out an email broadcast the tone needs to be a little different to be successful.

Always keep in mind the recipient, write it to them.

AIDA for Email Marketing

In the marketing world AIDA is an acronym used as shorthand for

  • Attention – Get them to open the email
  • Interest – Introduce the email well. Give them something interesting to read so they don’t hit delete right away.
  • Desire – Build motivation in the body of the email
  • Action – Drive the reader to click your link

Priority Number One – Email Subject Lines

The first order of business is to get the recipient to open the email. That means your email subject lines have to rock.

Yes, you need great content to your email, but it will never be seen if you don’t get that email opened.

Obviously, as we saw in the previous article in this email marketing tips series, great open rates do not necessarily translate into better sales, so we are not looking to gimmicks, or to make a sale using only 5 words, but ways to invite the recipient to read.

Interest and Desire

Rather than launching into a sales message, make the email about them.

Instead of your products and all the fantastic things you can sell, write about your list members problems and how to solve them. Your products and services can be introduced as part of that solution.

Just as the subject line is there to get the email open, your intro needs to do one job; get them to read the rest of the email!

The introduction is a landing strip that leads to the body of the email. Tell a story, capture some interest, build a mystery, whatever it takes to make your reader stop thinking about what is for lunch and take notice of what you have to say.

It does not need to be pushy, conversational works best.

If you do a good job, the next bit is easy.

Action!

Your email has a goal, and that is to get people to do something; take action.

The Action part confuses people. This might sound strange in a series about email marketing but I do NOT suggest you try to sell directly from the email message. That is asking too much. Just get them to click through to the landing page is probably sufficient. While people do manage to sell in their emails and drop people straight onto a credit card page, I think you will have much more success just getting people interested in reading more about your offer.

Action does not necessarily mean “sale”. It could be a click, or could be hitting “reply”. My email subscribers will have seen this when I wrote about what my email list is about and asked for some specific replies. That email, about 24 hours later, is looking to have about a 5% response rate, which considering people have to make an effort, write an actual reply, and send it, is doing pretty well.

Bottom Line

  1. Consider what your most wanted response will be.
  2. Create a compelling subject line that invites opening.
  3. Write your email content to build up motivation.
  4. Make your call to action clear and easy.
  5. Track response.

In the next article I will give you some compelling subject line formulas that will give you the best chances of having your emails opened rather than thrown in the junk pile.

Better stay subscribed nowso you don’t miss it! :)

Email Marketing Tips: Email Testing

Email Marketing Tutorial

Testing, experimenting and tweaking are essential if you are going to be effective in your email efforts.

In the previous entry of this Email Marketing Tips for Bloggers series we looked at email effectiveness tracking metrics. While looking at the stats tells you a lot, it is not going to give you the whole story and they will not make the improvements for you. You need to actively pursue and encourage the results you hope for.

Our last look at emails was to work out which worked best and how. This article is all about trying to work out why.

Before we get in to exactly how you do that, I need to fill you in on a “metric” that I intentionally missed last time.

ROI

ROI stands for “Return on Investment”. It’s probably the most important item to track of the lot.

I know, some of you are wondering if it is so important why miss it out?

That’s because it is not a standard reporting metric that you get from your email service. While Aweber and the other better email marketing tools will give you a wealth of statistics about your emails, only you can decide on your Return on Investment.

Essentially, you work out what it is you want your email recipients to do and how much that is worth to you, taking into account your costs. Normally this will take the form of special code you place on your purchase confirmation pages so the transaction can be traced from initial email contact all the way through to checkout.

It’s very important to think in ROI terms. An email with a high success rate on the face of it, well opened, good CTR, could fall flat when it comes to actually getting people to buy or whatever it is you want them to do. Always keep in mind that chasing any other metric without taking into account of ROI is pure vanity.

When you have a good fix on your numbers, and have a good idea what kind of reaction you expect to get, you can start to predict what your return will be for any campaign. So as well as being able to compare two campaigns after the fact, you also approach the possibility of being able to decide before you launch.

If you are not looking to sell, where is your ROI? In the case of my email newsletters and the email feed for this blog, I am looking at retention as my main goal. I try to attract an appropriate audience and keep you interested with relevant and valuable content. As my list continues to grow steadily I can see there is a return on my time investment.

ROI is not always that easy to figure out, so if you do not know the outcome you are looking for, take some time now to think about it.

Now we have looked at ROI we can now discuss how you achieve it!

Ready, Fire, Aim

Most people focus on building a big list then simply send off their emails and hope for the best. The bigger their list, the less incentive they have to make their emailing work. That’s fine, but inefficient and wasteful. I know a marketer making millions out of a list of only 5 figures, it can be done if you work at it.

As we saw in the previous article, the main principle of email marketing improvement is that you should learn from every email you send. Learnings from past emails are used to make the next ones better. This is a long process though, what we really need to do is find ways to scientifically narrow the gap between ok and awesome :)

Beat the control

A concept that will be familiar to anyone who has read or performed direct marketing in the last 100 years will be “beating the control”.

What is beating the control?

You set up an email and send it out. Whatever results that email gets becomes the baseline, the control. Each email you send out following that should then be an attempt to beat those results. If you do manage to improve then your new email becomes the control.

In the offline world there are companies who have kept their control for decades, simply because it has worked so well nobody has been able to beat it.

If you have an autoresponder sequence then you have an opportunity to test this yourself. Take a message in the sequence where you ask your reader to do something, make a purchase, opt to segment, take a survey, whatever. See if you can improve the results by tweaking and waiting for a good number of people to go through. Perhaps it will be your subject line, or your call to action.

Change Only One Thing

I’m not going to get into more advanced testing right here. For now, when you are testing and tweaking, make only one change at a time. If you make a bunch of large changes then how will you know which change brought the new results? So change just one item at a time and see if your results improve or get worse. Then make another change and see what you get again.

Split Testing Email Lists

One of the great things about Aweber is it makes split testing easy. Split testing is where you take two or more slices of your list and send variations of the same email. When I emailed out the previous article in this series I used two different subject lines. You can see below the results.

Email Split Testing

What conclusion can we draw? You could think that the more benefit-lead subject line produced more opens (and more spam complaints). Don’t be too quick to decide …

Statistical Significance

One benefit of a huge list that can not be denied is large numbers allow for greater confidence in your results. With only a small sample it is difficult to tell if your results are misleading because a single person can skew the percentages.

Statistical Significance Calculator- PRC

Before you draw conclusions, see if the results are really telling you anything accurate. There are many calculators online that will tell you if your results are reliable. The one I used just happens to be the first Google result.

Creating Email Swipe files

It’s not just about learning from your own emails. I keep what is called a “Swipe File”.

A Swipe File is a collection of emails you have been sent that you can learn from. It could be a text document, an email folder, print-outs, whatever works for you.

Even spam can be a good source of learning!

sumo-reading

Here I am taking a coffee break and going through selected print-outs drawn from my email lists while sat on my fantastic Sumo bean bag. I print off in bulk then go through highlighting key sections with my pink pen. After I will create a document from these notes.

What should you look out for?

  • Subject lines that catch your eye
  • Compelling introduction styles that force you to read the whole email
  • Call to action lines and link anchor text that get you to click
  • Intriguing approaches that you haven’t thought of
  • Layouts that appeal

Basically, anything that makes you say “I wish I thought of that”.

Summary

You have two choices, fire and forget or incremental improvement. If you opt to make your emails more and more effective then it is worth investing the time and effort to work out why some emails perform better.

Now we have all the tools we need to bring together, but there is another piece of the puzzle missing; effective email copywriting, and we will look at that next.

Subscribe now so you do not miss it!

Email Marketing Tips: Email Tracking

Email Marketing Tutorial

Email Marketing advice usually targets attracting more new email subscribers and email copywriting, but there is an aspect of email marketing that is just as powerful but much overlooked.

Email Marketing Metrics!

Any decent email service like Aweber will give you a wealth of email metric reports. This is valuable information because it tells you how well you are doing, the health of your list.

I know why it is overlooked, it feels like math, and not many of us are good at math. Good news though, it’s not really, in fact I can deal with these numbers without getting any nose bleeds at all, and if I can, you can!

What are email metrics? They are the numbers that tell you useful information about the last email you just sent out, or all of the emails you have delivered.

Plugging Leaks

First metric you need to keep track of, again, is much overlooked.

email metrics

It’s your UNsubscribes. While most people obsess on how many people they are attracting, that is like filling a leaky bucket. You will make much more progress if you plug your holes!

You will always have a certain amount of churn, but you want to limit the number. Find out why people leave and adjust your behavior accordingly when you see important patterns. Normally you will have an option to get an email when someone unsubscribes and supplies a reason, keep track of those reasons.

Reports

Unfortunately there is always someone who can’t be bothered using your clearly marked unsubscribe link, or worse has a strange opinion of what spam is.

email complaints

These come out as “complaints”. All you can do is make sure you spell out that the person opted-in (and confirmed) to receive the information and that there is an easy way to leave should they want to. If they still mark it as spam after that then they are being malicious and there is nothing you could do.

Tracking Email Marketing Effectiveness

As you can see in the image above, as well as complaints there are also bounces (emails that didn’t arrive for whatever reason), opens and clicks.

Opens can only be tracked if you send HTML emails because they use a tiny one pixel image to see if the email has been read. Clicks require the URLs to be changed to go to a redirect script. Obviously if someone clicks you can infer they opened the email too!

When people ask me what good open and click through rates (CTR) are, I always tell people that just like the gym you should measure against yourself, not against other people. Your list, audience, precise niche and style are unique to you.

Obviously you want the opens and CTR to be as high as possible, but sometimes you don’t need the reader to do anything but read, and sometimes readers prefer plain text emails so you can not track opens.

The main thing to keep in mind is if you work on boosting these numbers then you can be way more effective without trying to attract any more people to your list.

Conversion Tracking

As well as your email effectiveness you also want to be looking at where your sign ups come from. I use Google Analytics “goals” for this but I have also been testing blvdstatus.

Reverse Goal Path - Google Analytics

Double Your Email Marketing Effectiveness

We are going to look at email marketing copywriting in this series, which has a huge effect on your email marketing effectiveness, but what everyone can do is look at their numbers over time and learn from them.

  • Which blog posts drew the most subscribers?
  • Which emails drove the most people to leave?
  • Are there subject lines that pulled more opens?
  • How were the links worded that achieved the most clicks?
  • Do you know the type of messages that got noticed more than others?
  • Which words or phrases meant you got marked as spam?

It’s only by tracking your performance and learning from the numbers that you will improve. Practice and experience are the best teachers when it comes to email marketing.

In the next installment we will look at how you can accelerate this learning and boost your email marketing effectiveness even more, you will want to keep subscribed so you don’t miss it!