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I can't give you a secret formula for list growth. (Unfortunately, there isn't one. Trust me, I've looked.)

But I can let you in on a secret every top email marketer knows: You don’t need a huge email list to be successful. You just need subscribers who open and click your emails.

A list of 50 highly-engaged subscribers is more powerful than a list of 1,000 uninterested subscribers. It can help you launch a profitable online course. Sell your product or service. Promote your non-profit. Raise money for charity. And transform your business.

Ready to get 50 (maybe even 100!) extremely engaged subscribers? Follow the exact steps below.

The Super Simple Way to Acquire Your First 50 Subscribers

Many new email marketers struggle with list growth. Where do you even start? How can you get people to willingly subscribe to your list?

First thing's first: Ask your current connections to join your list.

That’s right. Reach out to everybody you know. Tell them you’re starting an email list. Explain the benefits. And ask them to subscribe. Send them a link to your hosted sign up form.

Bonus: Not sure how to create a sign up form? This free course will walk you through it.

You might argue, “My connections aren’t my target audience.” That might be true, but they probably know someone who is in your target audience. And it’s surprising how many people will be eager to help you. Just clearly articulate your purpose and the benefits.

Let’s say your a marathon runner who wants to teach other people how to run marathons. Here’s an example of what you could send your connections:

If you’re not a marathon runner, you can use similar copy for your own outreach. Here is a copy template you can fill in:

Hi [first name],
I hope your doing well! I have some big news –– I just started an email newsletter! [Insert how you feel about starting this newsletter.]
[Insert what the newsletter is about and who it is for.] [Insert what subscribers will learn.] [Insert why you’re an expert on this topic.]
[Insert why you decided to create this newsletter. What problem did you want to solve?]
[Insert a request for the reader to subscribe.]
[Insert a request for the reader to share this info with a friend who’d be interested.]
Here is a link to sign up for the newsletter: [insert sign up form link].
Thanks for any support you can give! I’m excited to [Insert why you’re excited about this newsletter].
[Insert your name]

Once you have copy, it’s time to start reaching out to everybody you know. Here’s how ...

Who should I message?

There are so many options!

  • Message people on your social channels –– like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.
  • Check your Gmail or Yahoo address book and email people you know.
  • Text your contacts.
  • Talk to your close family and friends in person and invite them to join.

Just remember: Tailor your communication to each platform. Depending on where a conversation is happening, people communicate very differently. When you text someone, you should be more casual than in an email. If you’re talking to someone in person, you shouldn’t be reading from a script you wrote beforehand.

Don’t forget: Keep your audience in mind.

Hold up! Follow these best practices

Before you reach out to people, there’s a few best practices you should keep in mind:

  • Message people you have a relationship with. That random Facebook dude you don’t remember meeting probably isn’t the right person.
  • Use WIIFM. WIIFM stands for “What’s in it for me?” Every time you message someone, make sure to tell them how your newsletter will benefit them or their friend.
  • Be yourself. I shared outreach copy for you to use. Make sure to customize this to fit your own personality. Tell your story. Share your feelings. Be vulnerable and real. People will subscribe and share your sign up form because they want to help YOU.
  • Be brave. This is intimidating. It’s difficult to put yourself out there and ask people to help you. But this works! And remember: The information in your newsletter will help people. It’d be selfish not to share it with the world. :)

Don’t put this off. Start reaching out TODAY

If you have less than 10 subscribers, now is the time to act. Start reaching out to your connections today. You could have 50 subscribers in less than a month. Or, even a week! Dare I say it? Perhaps you could even get 50 subscribers today.

Don’t have a hosted sign up form? Get a 30-day free trial of AWeber and build one today.

Already an AWeber customer? Here are step-by-step instructions for launching your form.

 

The post How to Get Your First 50 Email Subscribers in Less Than 30 Days appeared first on Email Marketing Tips.


Read full article on: Aweber


It's easy to fear the worst when Gmail makes updates to the way subscribers receive and interact with your messages. (Remember the "dreaded" Promotions tab?! The horror!😱 )

So, when Gmail recently announced that they're rolling out new changes — like the option for people to "snooze" emails and the ability for their interface to "suggest unsubscribes" — marketers everywhere started flipping out.

Alarms were sounded. Panic buttons were pushed. People proclaimed email marketing "dead" for the 9384759th time.

But when I sat down and actually dissected four of the important Gmail updates, I saw a very different picture. These new features shouldn't be feared. In fact, they'll actually help your long-term email strategy — not sabotage it. Let's review them together and see how they work in your favor.

Google introduced a new side panel

[caption id="attachment_86875" align="aligncenter" width="640"]Google's new side panel. Image Source: Google[/caption]

What is it?

In the new update, Gmail is integrating a side panel that allows users to easily access their Google Calendar, Tasks, and Google Keep content (Keep is an easy way to capture notes and lists.) You can also add other apps, like Asana or Trello. By dragging and dropping an email into Google Tasks, you can easily create a to-do item from an email message.

How does this impact your email marketing?

Google has said their recent updates will help users “do more without leaving the inbox.”

The introduction of the side panel is likely to be a huge win for marketers, as your subscribers will be spending more time in Gmail, rather than split their time browsing different tabs. This could mean that your emails are more likely to be noticed, and earlier.

Here are a few things your subscribers can now do easily:

  • Receive an event or webinar invitation, or time-sensitive email from you and immediately check their calendar availability without ever leaving the inbox. If there’s an opening, they’re more likely to confidently opt-in to your invitation and note the date and time in their calendar.
  • Receive a product offer or very important email that they wish to follow up on at a later date. Your subscribers can now drag that email into Tasks to create a to-do item to buy your product, engage with your service, or simply follow up.
  • Take notes! You subscribers can use Google Keep to take notes and jot down insights from the content of your emails, without ever leaving the message.

Google could give your message a “nudge”

[caption id="attachment_86877" align="aligncenter" width="700"]Google's new nudge feature. Image Source: Google[/caption]

What is it?

In this new suite of changes, Google has introduced an AI-powered “nudge” feature that might bump old emails back to the top of the inbox. Using artificial intelligence, Google can detect emails that are likely to require a response or follow up and push them to the attention of the users after some time has passed.

How does this impact your email marketing?

Ever send an awesome email to your subscribers asking a question, soliciting feedback, or inviting them to attend an event? Then… crickets.

This feature has the potential to bubble your emails back up, and possibly at the most appropriate time. We don't have access to the exact algorithm Google is using to control this feature — how it knows when to "nudge" an email — but because Google has stated that their intent is to prevent things from “slipping through the cracks,” it’s likely that your engaged subscribers might get a “nudged” message when the content is time-sensitive and important.

Subscribers can “snooze” your emails

[caption id="attachment_86878" align="aligncenter" width="700"]Google's snooze feature. Image Source: Google[/caption]

What is it?

Nudging is awesome, but it’s controlled by Google’s artificial intelligence, not your actual subscribers.

Within the new interface, Gmail users can optionally “snooze” your emails. This has been a popular feature with Google’s Inbox mobile app, as well as third party tools like Boomerang. Snoozing simply means that the email will no longer be in the inbox, and will re-appear at a time of your choice. This could be later within the same day, or possibly even a week.

How does this impact your email marketing?

It might feel like snoozing is a bad feature for marketers, possibly decreasing your open and click rates immediately after a send, or the same day. But it may actually be a great feature for you. After all, if your email is not sent at the optimal time for your subscriber, without the ability to snooze, they can only archive, delete, or even click SPAM.

When a subscriber clicks “snooze,” however, they are not saying “no” to your email, they’re simply saying, “not right now.” As more users adopt this feature, may see your email engagement distributed more throughout the week after sending.

Google could suggest a response to your emails

[caption id="attachment_86879" align="aligncenter" width="700"] Image Source: Google[/caption]

What is it?

Another popular feature from Google’s Inbox app is suggested responses. Google’s AI will present users with a few suggestions for how to reply to an email they receive. This could be as simple as, “Sure!” or more detailed like “Friday works for me.”

When a user clicks the response, it prompts a reply message with the content pre-filled, making quick replies easier than ever.

How does this impact your email marketing?

Email is a conversation. We recommend marketers treat it that way, rather than blast messages or push content out with “donotreply” reply-to addresses. There’s value in giving your subscribers the opportunity to answer questions, ask questions, provide feedback, get in touch with you, and let them know what’s on their minds.

If Google provides the perfect contextual response to their emails, marketers may notice an increase in replies. This has the potential to branch into conversations with engaged potential customers, and the act of responding could also help both deliverability and inbox placement (getting your emails into the primary inbox for the subscribers that want it there.)

Google might recommend your subscribers to unsubscribe

[caption id="attachment_86880" align="aligncenter" width="700"]Google's unsubscribe suggestions. Image Source: Google[/caption]

What is it?

Referenced specifically as a mobile feature, Google will now prompt users to unsubscribe from email newsletters they haven’t opened in a certain period of time.

It’s unclear how this algorithm will work specifically, but it’s likely that Google’s AI will target newsletters that a user has completely lost interest in.

How does this impact your email marketing?

Now, your immediate reaction might be, “Curse you, Google!”

But here's why you should be shouting, "Hallelujah!" or "Heck yeah!" or "Finally, Google gods!" Getting the right subscribers to unsubscribe from your email list is extremely good for you.

Here’s why it’s a cause for celebration: When a subscriber disengages from your content — yet you continue to send to them —your open rates will decrease your deliverability may suffer (meaning, you hit the SPAM folder a lot more often), and you run the risk of having those subscribers inevitably marking one or more of your emails as SPAM.

That’s right: Purging uninterested or unengaged subscribers is key to a successful email marketing strategy. (Here is how to clean your list in AWeber.)

It’s recommended to re-engage dormant subscribers, and invite subscribers to opt out of your email list if they’ve lost interest or the content is no longer providing value.

Gmail’s latest feature to encourage yields two possible benefits for marketers:

  • This change will undoubtedly encourage people who don’t want to be on your email list to no longer be on your email list. (And that’s a good thing.)
  • This change will possibly remind dormant subscribers that they’re on your email list, which they do still want to be subscribed to, and encourage them to read future or past messages.

This feature might feel the most intrusive as a marketer, but it is in fact Gmail is doing much of our work to ensure that we have a robust list of active and engaged subscribers.

What do you think of the new Gmail changes?

So is Google sabotaging your email marketing efforts? Quite the opposite, in my opinion.

As a long-time Gmail user, I welcome any usability improvements, and as an avid email marketer, I’m excited at the prospect of my audience spending more time in the inbox. After all, that's where my messages live.

But I’m super curious what you think! Let me know in the comments below.

 

The post Is Gmail Sabotaging Your Email Marketing? appeared first on Email Marketing Tips.


Read full article on: Aweber


story email

Humans love stories. We communicate through them. We learn from them. Our personal stories and memories give our lives meaning and order.

In fact, your brain may actually crave stories: Scientists believe we are evolutionarily hardwired for narratives because they helped our ancestors survive.

Quick quiz: Which one is more effective?

Option A: There’s an animal in a cave over there. Don’t go near it.

Option B: My brother was mauled to death by a giant ferocious cat-like beast. The beast's teeth are as long as your arm and as sharp as the deadliest arrow. The monster lives in that cave with the two twisted trees in front of it. Don’t go near it.

You don’t need to worry about sabre-toothed tigers anymore, but your brain is still much more engaged by the story in option B than by a burst of facts. It makes you fearful. It gives you goosebumps.

You remember a good story. It stays with you.

The Power of Telling Your Personal Story through Email

Good salespeople and marketers understand the importance and power of storytelling — and they use it to their advantage.

It’s why Coca-Cola doesn’t sell you carbonated water, high-fructose corn syrup, phosphoric acid, and caramel coloring — it sells you a “feeling.”

The company’s most iconic commercial of all time “I’d like to buy the world a Coke” focuses on the drink being a commonality among people all over the world. It brings people together — regardless of their backgrounds, faith, gender, race, or opinions. No one even takes a sip of the soda in the ad.

It’s this emotional connection — this feeling — that makes your business and marketing memorable. It makes your brand stand out among the myriad of marketing messages — email, text messages, social media, TV, voicemail, commercials — that people are bombarded with every single day. 

And it’s one of the main reasons your readers will pick your business over your competitors.

So tell your personal story in an email. You don’t need to become Charles Dickens or Jane Austen to do so. Heck, you don't even need to be a great writer. You just need to tell an engaging tale about your products and services, and why they matter to your subscribers. 

4 Steps to Writing a Powerful "Story Email"

1. Keep it short.

Nowadays, we consume content at lightning speed. It's rare if a person can dedicate a huge chunk of time to a long-form article. So we need to communicate at a quick clip, too. That means breaking our messaging down into easy-to-read, bite-sized pieces that are super relevant.

The following Story Email is from Jill Angie of Not Your Average Runner, who leveraged the AWeber platform to reach her customers.

Jill’s story is 10 sentences long. That’s it!

 

Keep your writing concise and cut out any words you can. It’ll not only make you a tighter, more effective writer, but it’ll keep your readers’ attention. In a world of information overload, less will be a welcome thing for your subscribers. 

2. Ooze likeability.

We enjoy doing business with people we know, like, and trust — as opposed to a large faceless corporation. Humanize your message to increase connection and engagement with your subscriber.

One easy way to do this: Pretend you’re sending an email to a friend.

When we write emails to our list, we tend to forget that we're a human communicating with other humans. We suddenly turn very formal, robotic, corporate, and, well, safe. Your readers signed up for your email list to hear from you.  They want to hear from the voice behind the business or brand or company. So write like you talk. Show them that you're a human being with a pulse. You'll come off much more conversational and likeable.

Take Jill Angie’s Story Email, shown above in step #1. It may be short, but it’s super easy to read and extremely friendly. It makes Jill relatable. You want to run with her. You want her to be your coach. Eventually, when Jill pitches her books or workout plans to you, you’ll want to scoop them up, too.

3. Hit your reader’s biggest pain point.

Here’s an email from AWeber customer Noah Kagan, who runs OkDork.com. He's also the founder of the ridiculously popular AppSumo, a site that sends out awesome daily deals for digital products.

 

Noah’s story is just four sentences! It’s short, but super compelling. He shows you how he found massive success — fast.

But the best thing Noah does? He hits his readers’ problem straight on: "Starting a business can be hard." It can be intimidating.

Noah doesn’t just tell his story for the heck of it. He’s doing it in relation to the reader’s main pain point. In just a few words, he evokes feelings of frustration and worry and stress in his subscribers — while setting himself up as their solution. Starting a business can be hard — but it doesn't have to be. That's because Noah can make it easier for them. He can help them start their business and leave those worries behind.

Below is another example of a well-done Story Email. It's from AWeber customer Pete Servold, owner of Pete's Paleo, a food delivery service that sends healthy, seasonal, organic paleo meals directly to your door.

Pete's Story Email may be longer than Noah's, but it's not long-winded.

pete's paleo story email

 

Pete's Story Email is easy to read, and he does a fantastic job painting the picture of his life in the restaurant industry (long days and nights filled with indulgent food choices), and the pivotal health event that changed his life.

Within Pete's story, he hits his reader's biggest struggle: weight loss and sticking to a healthy diet. But he makes it clear that he has the answer. Pete's Paleo makes it easy for you to drop the pounds and regain your health. It worked for him. He's leading his readers from their pain point straight to a solution in one short narrative.

4. Be authentic.

Cheri Alberts of the Watering Mouth has been an AWeber customer since 2012. She’s a wellness coach and recipe developer who offers consultations and meal plans to help her clients eat better, lose weight, find more energy, and look and feel better in their clothes.

Here’s Cheri’s story email:

 

Cheri’s Story Email is a lot different than Noah Kagan’s or Jill Angie's. She gets much more personal.

The reason: As a wellness coach, Cheri must to get to the bottom of what’s causing her client’s  unhealthy decisions. In order to do that, though, she has to build a deeper relationship with her subscribers first. So Cheri opens up in her Story Email and shares her vulnerabilities — warts and all — because one day she’ll ask her clients to do the same for her.

You may not want to — or have to! — reveal as many personal details as Cheri, but you can be just as authentic. Give a glimpse at where your company started, and how you or your product has drastically improved since then. Tell your struggles. Highlight your lows. Celebrate your highs. Be witty. Be emotional. Tell them what's on your mind. Or even include a selfie (no photoshopping!) instead of a professional headshot. Most of all, be you. Authenticity is the key to building a foundation of truth and reliability with your subscribers. The stronger that foundation, the easier it'll be to sustain a long-term, profitable relationship with your email list

When to Send Your "Story Email"

The best time to send your subscribers your personal story is during the awareness stage of your marketing funnel. (Click here to understand the marketing funnel and how it can drastically improve your email marketing strategy.) Your subscriber just joined your list. They're still getting to know you. This is the perfect time to engage with them on a deeper level by revealing what makes you unique compared to your competitors.

Schedule your Story Email to automatically send a day or two after they receive your Welcome Email. Or, if your personal story is only a few sentences, include it right in your Welcome Email. Either way, the earlier you start to emotionally connect with your readers, the better.

Want more great email writing tips? Check out AWeber's FREE What to Write course, an email series that helps you craft the perfect emails. Plus, it comes with 45+ content templates so you can just fill in the blanks!

And if you're ready to start sending phenomenal emails to your subscribers, then you'll want to join AWeber today. With easy-to-use automation tools, free educational marketing content, and the best Customer Solutions team (seriously, they won TWO Stevie Awards last year, which are basically the Oscars of the service industry), we have everything you need to make your email marketing successful.

The post You’re Probably Not Sending This Important Email appeared first on Email Marketing Tips.


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Your list is powerful.

Think of it as a room filled with people who have come to hear you talk. If they like what they hear, they'll stick around. Many will ask questions. A bunch will purchase your products or services. And a handful will turn into advocates who bring others into the room.

To fill your room, you typically have an "opt-in" or "sign up" form on your website. Visitors can enter their email list to subscribe to your content.

But what happens if you don't have a website? 

Don't worry: You can still gather subscribers into the room without creating a website.

All you need is a hosted sign up form.

What is a hosted sign up form?

A hosted sign up form lives on its own. It has a unique URL that you can share anywhere — like Facebook, Twitter, or even in your email signature. It's a quick way to start building a subscriber list without a website.

Have a website? It's not a bad idea to create a hosted sign up form anyway. A hosted sign up form can come in handy if your website crashes or you just want a direct link to your sign up form.

Create your hosted sign up form in 5 minutes!

It takes less than five minutes to create your first hosted sign up form with AWeber. Below is a video of AWeber's Director of Product, Chris Vasquez, demonstrating how to do it inside the platform:

 

I decided to try it myself. Here are the step-by-step directions I took to create a quick hosted sign up form.

First, give your form a snappy, attention-grabbing headline. It should tell people what they can expect from you for signing up to your list. For instance, what type of content will you send and how often will you send it?

Since a hosted sign up form flies solo, you have to give it a little more context than you would if it was embedded on a website page. To make things easier for myself, I used a template that matched the theme of my blog.

sign up form

Next, edit your basic settings. I made my form name the same as my call to action, because that text will appear when you share your form on Facebook.

Here's where you edit your form name:

subscriber list

And here's what it looks like when you share your form's link on Facebook:

email marketing on social media

Finally, choose the option to have AWeber host your form to automatically create a URL for your sign up form.

email sign up form

And that’s it! Easy, huh?

Now, share your hosted sign up form.

Social

Get your followers excited to sign up for your list by telling about all the great stuff they can expect to get in their inbox. If you write regular blog posts, tell them that by signing up, they’ll never miss a post from you.

Another way to share your hosted form on social media is to reach out directly to friends and influencers who you think could benefit from being a part of your list. Don’t overdo it, though. Sharing your form with a bunch of random people will make you look like a spammer.

Emails

Add a link to your hosted sign up form in your email signature. You don’t have to go into great detail explaining the value of your email list here, but make it clear that you're linking to your email list.

If you regularly send emails to business associates, colleagues, or anyone else in your industry, make a list of people who you think would be most interested in your email list, then message them directly to personally invite them to sign up for your list.

Guest blog posts

Guest blogging is an awesome way to grow your audience. If you write articles for someone else’s blog, include a link to your hosted form either within your blog post or in your signature. Let people know that if they want to see more content from you, all they have to do is sign up. (Here’s how one blogger does it.)

Level-up with a dedicated subscribe page.

Consider adding a dedicated subscribe page to your to-do list. A dedicated subscribe page is a landing page whose sole job is to promote your email list. It's basically a glorified hosted sign up form, if you will. In addition to your sign up form, it can include a list of reasons to sign up, go into more detail about you incentive offer and offer social proof.

Dedicated subscribe pages can be incredibly effective. The Daily Egg tripled their subscriber list with the help of a dedicated subscribe page. Here’s what The Daily Egg's subscribe page looks like:

email marketing sign up form

Here are a few tools that can help you create a dedicated subscribe page in a snap:

  • Wishpond lets you create easy-to-edit landing pages and integrates with Google Ads and Facebook Ads
  • OptimizePress helps you make high-quality opt-in pages that work with your WordPress site.
  • LeadPages helps you create and customize a wide variety of landing pages.
  • Instapage has a drag and drop editor that makes it easy to create great-looking landing pages.

Learn more about creating sign up forms that get results.

  • How to design the best landing page for your email marketing
  • How to turn your sign up form into a subscriber magnet
  • How to personalize your email list call to action to get 10x more signups

What are you waiting for? Log in to your AWeber account and create your hosted sign up form.

Not an AWeber customer yet? Start your free trial today!

growing_business_blog-1

Additional reporting by Kristen Dunleavy.

The post No Website? Create a “Hosted Sign Up Form” in Less Than 5 Minutes! appeared first on Email Marketing Tips.


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