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A new law called the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will go into effect on May 25, 2018 — and it will impact email marketers around the world.

The good news? If you’re using AWeber, you’re probably already doing many of the things required.

Keep reading for a walkthrough of the GDPR, what AWeber is doing to prepare, what it means for your email marketing business, and how you can prepare for the changes.

Update: Want to learn about the most common myths surrounding the GDPR and email marketing? We wrote about it here!

Disclaimer: This blog post is for informational purposes only, and you should not consider it legal advice. We recommend that you seek legal and other professional counsel to determine exactly how the GDPR might apply to you.

What is the GDPR?

The GDPR is a European privacy law approved by the European Commission in 2016. Its purpose is to “harmonize data privacy laws across Europe, to protect and empower all EU citizens’ data privacy, and to reshape the way organizations across the region approach data privacy.”

This is fantastic news for EU citizens. The GDPR will hold businesses and entrepreneurs more accountable for data breaches, require them to not only keep records of a person’s consent to disclose personal information, but also clearly state what the data will be used for up front.

Why the GDPR is a good thing for email marketers

The goal of the GDPR is to protect all EU citizens from privacy and data breaches in an increasingly data-driven world.

While it requires a bit more effort on your part, it can also lead to some pretty important benefits to your email marketing.

Here’s why...

By taking greater measures to protect and use subscriber data correctly, you’re more likely to send more relevant, targeted, permission-based emails to your subscribers. And that can translate into more trust with your subscribers, fewer spam complaints and unsubscribes, and better email deliverability.

Win. Win. Win!

Who does the GDPR affect?

The GDPR applies to any data controller or processor who collects, records, organizes, stores or performs any operations on personal data of those who live in the EU — even if you don’t reside in a European country.

Personal data is any data that can be used to identify a person, including email addresses.

Data Controller? Processor? What are those?

Here’s a quick definition of each:

Data Controller: Any individual or business who determines how an individual's personal data is processed.

Data Processor: Any individual or business who processes personal data on behalf of the controller.

As an AWeber customer who collects EU resident data, you would more than likely be considered a Data Controller. AWeber would be considered a Data Processor.

How does the GDPR affect me?

To understand how the GDPR will affect you, it’s first important to understand the key rights the new law protects and how these rights apply to you:

  • Right to be informed: Your EU subscribers can ask about personal data, how it is used, and why it is being used at any time.
  • Right of access: Your EU subscribers can request a copy of personal information at any time.
  • Right of rectification: Your EU subscribers can update (or request updates to) personal information at any time.
  • Right of erasure: Your EU subscribers may request that you or AWeber erase their personal data, cease further dissemination of the data, and potentially have third parties halt processing of the data.
  • Right to object: Your EU subscribers may unsubscribe from any of your emails at any time.

Knowing these rights allows you to better understand your responsibility in protecting these rights.

How to prepare your business for the GDPR

There’s a lot to think about with the GDPR, and we understand that it can feel a bit overwhelming. So we’ve outlined four steps you can take to help prepare for the GDPR.

1. Continue to abide by AWeber’s terms of service and privacy policy

We recently updated our privacy policy and terms of service for customers, affiliates, and developers who use our API. These updates reflect what we’re doing to be compliant with the GDPR.

Be sure to continue abiding by these terms of service and privacy policy:

  • AWeber Privacy Policy
  • Customer Terms of Service
  • Affiliate Terms of Service
  • Developers Terms of Service

2. Get explicit, opt-in consent from subscribers

The GDPR describes consent as “freely given, specific, informed, and unambiguous indication of the data subject's wishes by which he or she, by a statement or by a clear affirmative action, signifies agreement to the processing of personal data relating to him or her.”

Translation: You must explain how you will use a person’s data before he or she gives it to you. If you plan to use a person’s data for multiple reasons, you must disclose all those purposes from the get-go.

For example, imagine you have a weekly blog newsletter. Once a person subscribes, they’ll receive a weekly newsletter from you, as well as an occasional email promoting your product. To be compliant with the GDPR, you must explain on your signup form that subscribers will receive both educational newsletter emails and promotional emails.

There’s been a lot of talk about the need to have checkboxes in your signup form to be compliant with the GDPR. However, checkboxes are not necessary to comply with the GDPR, but are simply one of many ways to prove consent.

Another way to prove consent is by adding simple language to your signup form that clearly explains how you will use a subscriber’s personal data, what kind of content you will be sending them, and how often you will be sending it.

If you do, however, decide to use an optional checkbox on your signup form, make sure your checkbox is not pre-checked. To get affirmative consent, subscribers need to check the box themselves.

Here’s an example from outdoor enthusiast Paul Kirtley that demonstrates how to clearly explain how a subscriber’s personal data will be used:

As you’re reviewing your signup forms, here are a few questions to ask yourself:

  • Have I made it clear to the subscriber what information I am collecting?
  • Have I made it clear to the subscriber why I am collecting their information?
  • Have I made it clear what information I will be sending them?
  • Have I made it clear how often I will be sending them information?

Another common question people have is this: Do I need to have double opt-in (aka confirmed opt-in) now with the GDPR?

You don’t need to have double opt-in to be compliant with the GDPR. You can still use single opt-in and be compliant if you can prove informed consent in another manner. However, there are benefits to using double opt-in, including a more engaged list of subscribers and better deliverability.

For the subscribers who are already on your list, you can send a re-engagement email prior to the GDPR taking effect to confirm continued consent to receive your emails.

You can use AWeber’s new click automations for broadcasts to tag subscribers who click the confirmation link in the email.

3. Create or update your public-facing privacy policies

Along the same lines as gaining explicit consent, it’s a good practice to create, review, and update your public-facing policies around data collection and usage.

As mentioned above, your subscribers have a right to know how their personal data is being used, so make that clear and easy to understand in your policy.

Also, make sure your policies are easy to find. You can do this by adding a link to your policies within the footer of your signup form, emails, and website.

4. Document and communicate a process for data requests from subscribers.

The GDPR requires that you document and communicate a process for subscribers to opt out, make changes to their personal data, request copies of their personal data, or request that their data be deleted entirely from your records.

You may need to document a process for subscribers to make such requests.

Once you have this process documented, you can communicate it through your public-facing privacy policy as well as within your emails.

Here are the types of requests to document and communicate, and how to fulfill them:

Unsubscribing from your list

Under the GDPR, subscribers have the right to object or opt out of your communication at any time.

Your subscribers already have the ability to unsubscribe on their own using the “Unsubscribe” link in the footer of your emails.

However, you can also unsubscribe them manually if they request it, either on a list-by-list basis or by bulk unsubscribing someone.

You can also make this option more obvious by adding it within your email messages. Here’s an example from Ann Handley with her bi-weekly Total ANNARCHY newsletter. You’ll notice she added an unsubscribe link following her signature, with some playful language.

Updating personal data

Subscribers also have the right to rectify or update their personal data at any time.

Similar to the unsubscribe link in your emails, subscribers already have the ability to update their personal data on their own using the “Change subscriber options” link in the footer of your emails. However, you can update their information manually upon request.

Requesting a copy of personal data you maintain

With the GDPR, your subscribers have the right to access their personal data you maintain.

Unlike opting out or update personal data, your subscribers won’t be able to access this information on their own. Instead, they will need to request it from you.

AWeber makes this easy for you to find this information within subscriber management. Using the filters, you can search for the subscriber’s email address. Then using the “Export CSV” option, you can export your subscriber information in a format you can deliver to them.

Deleting subscriber data entirely from your records

Under the GDPR, your subscribers also have the right of erasure. In other words, the right to be forgotten. That means you must delete their personal data upon request.

Deleting subscribers is easily done within your AWeber account using the “Search All Lists” feature. Simply use the “email” filter to search for the subscriber’s email address. Then check the box(es) next to their name and click “Delete.”

When you delete a subscriber from your list, that subscriber’s personal information will be deleted entirely from your reports and your list. However, deleting a subscriber will not affect your reporting data; you’ll still be able to view anonymous, aggregate reporting data in your account, but the deleted subscriber’s name and email address will be removed.

5. Begin keeping comprehensive records of how you collect personal data.

The GDPR also requires that you can prove the nature of consent between you and your subscribers. This has two parts: showing the signup source in the subscriber data, as well as a copy of the signup form or data collection mechanism from which they provided that consent.

You can accomplish this by either saving the underlying code, a screenshot or PDF you used to collect their information.

Remember: these tips are not intended to be legal advice and in no way represent a comprehensive standard for ensuring the GDPR compliance.

Download our GDPR checklist

Whew! That was a lot of information. Fortunately, we’ve boiled it down to a one-sheet checklist for a quick reference as you prepare for the GDPR.

What is AWeber doing to prepare for the GDPR?

AWeber is already self-certified with both the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield and Swiss-U.S. Privacy Shield, and we comply with lawful transfers of EU/EEA personal data to the U.S. in accordance with our Privacy Shield Certification.

Additionally, we are actively preparing to be fully compliant with the GDPR by May 25, 2018.

To help us do so, we formed a dedicated, cross-functional team to organize, lead and carry out the work that needed to be done to bring AWeber into compliance with the GDPR.

Here’s what this team has been working on:

  • Developing a comprehensive strategy to comply with the GDPR
  • Conducting a detailed audit of our personal data and processing practices
  • Updating our terms of service and privacy policy to include the GDPR changes
  • Review our services to ensure we protect the rights of EU citizens mentioned above
  • Developing Data Processing and Security Terms for our customers

Moving forward, we will hold regular training sessions to ensure our team members are always up-to-date on our processes and best practices for helping our customers.

What’s next?

Update: Still confused about the GDPR? Not to worry. We set the record straight about six common myths surrounding the GDPR and email marketing.

In the coming weeks, we’ll be making Data Processing and Security Terms available to AWeber customers. Keep an eye on this blog post and our help article for an update and link to the terms. Or contact us to request it.

To learn more about the GDPR, visit www.eugdpr.org.

Have questions? Comment below and we’ll do our best to answer them.

Not an AWeber customer? Get the peace of mind of working with a trusted provider. Try AWeber free for 30 days.

The post Your GDPR + Email Marketing Playbook: How to Prepare for the New EU Data Law appeared first on Email Marketing Tips.


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When it comes to selling a product or service, fitting in is overrated. Too often, businesses and entrepreneurs try to create something for everyone. The end result is generic, trivial, and, well, boring.

You can’t be everything to everyone.

You can’t have the best ice cream and the best ribs.

You can’t be the best organizational tool for solopreneurs and large multinational corporations.

You can’t have the best high-intensity interval classes and the best bodybuilding classes.

Sure, it can be scary to go left when everyone else is heading right, but the upside to going left is huge.

Embrace your uniqueness

Take Rick Barry. He’s an NBA Hall of Famer and one of the greatest free throw shooters of all time.

What made him so great? When at the free throw line, the former Golden State Warrior would grip the sides of the basketball, bend his knees, and then simultaneously lift both arms and hoist the ball into the air.

That’s right: Barry perfected the “granny-style” shot.

It was incredibly accurate. Barry made 3,818 of his 4,242 free throw attempts, good for a 90 career shooting percentage from the line. (For perspective, the average FT percentage in the NBA during the 2016-17 season was 76 percent.)

Barry’s technique involves less moving parts. It gives the ball a better chance to sail in a smooth, perfect arc toward the basket without elbows or wrists getting in the way.

Barry found an unorthodox — but undeniably effective — method. He’s the only player to lead the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), the American Basketball Association (ABA), and the NBA in scoring for an individual season. He’s an eight-time NBA All-Star, and was named one of the 50 greatest players in NBA history.

When he finally retired from the league in 1980, he ranked first for field goal percentage.

Barry zigged left when everyone else zagged right, and his success at the line is nearly unmatched. If he had gone with the conventional free throw style like everyone else, would he have been a record-setting free throw shooter? Maybe . . . but it would have been a lot tougher for him.

And he definitely wouldn’t have been as memorable.

The same goes with creating and promoting your product. If you want to make money, you need to find your own effective “granny style.”

Marketers call this your Unique Selling Proposition (USP). It’s the element that makes your product stand out from the crowd of similar products — and it can change everything for you.

Identify your USP

Finding an effective Unique Selling Proposition (USP) can be difficult. After all, how many businesses and products are truly one-of-a-kind?

There are thousands of life coaches, personal trainers, electricians, therapists, authors, yoga instructors, digital marketers, clothing retailers, and so on. What makes yours stand out?

Quick note: Don’t be unique for the sake of being unique. Selling fur coats in a heat wave may be unique, but it’ll make you zilch.

Here at AWeber, we have terrific automations and an easy-to-use interface, but we choose to highlight our amazing award-winning customer service as our USP. We’re not just bias. Our customer solutions team took home TWO Stevie Awards this year. (The Stevies are basically the Oscars of customer support.)

There are a bunch of Email Service Providers a customer can pick from. They ultimately pick us because they know they’ll always have a live expert in our Chalfont, Pennsylvania headquarters to help them — whether it’s via chat, email, or phone.

While other ESPs are cutting back or nixing their customer service hours altogether, we’re adding to ours. Right now, you can talk to an AWeber solutions member Monday through Friday from 4 a.m. to 8 p.m. EST, and Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. EST. Haven't signed up for your FREE AWeber trial yet? Create your account today! 

Our ultimate goal: to roll out 24/7 customer support in the near future.

So what’s your USP?

Download this list of six questions below. Answer them to pinpoint your business's hook.

The 6 Questions You Must Answer to Find Your USP

We respect your email privacy | Powered by AWeber Email Marketing

 

Once you’ve answered the 6 questions, ask yourself: How does my product or service solve my target audience’s biggest problem?

Then try to boil it down to a short and concise answer. (One to two sentences MAX.) This sentiment is your promise to your customer.

Put your USP everywhere so it stays front of mind. Make it your computer and cellphone background. Frame it on your desk. Sign it at the bottom of your emails.

Live it, breathe it — and make sure it applies to your product.

The post How to Pinpoint Your ‘Hook.’ Find Your Unique Selling Proposition in 6 Simple Steps appeared first on Email Marketing Tips.


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welcome email

Your welcome email is the very first message you send to your subscribers — so it’s important to make a fantastic first impression.

The reason: If you dazzle your readers with your welcome email, they’ll be more likely to open the next email you send.

But that doesn’t mean you need to spend hours crafting the perfect welcome email. You can do it in less than a minute.

Seriously. We timed it.

You can use AWeber’s Email Libs tool. It comes with 50 templates, and all you need to do is fill in the blanks.

Check out how easy it is to use below.

What to include in your welcome email

This welcome email template in Email Libs includes some key components every welcome email should have.

  1. It welcomes your subscribers to your list.
  2. It sets expectations (reveals the type of content your subscribers can expect from you, as well how often they will receive it).
  3. It delivers your lead magnet a.k.a. your incentive (if you have one) for joining your list.
  4. It includes your contact information.
  5. It asks your subscribers to “whitelist” you so that your messages reach their inbox instead of their spam folders.

If you want to really knock your welcome email out of the park, though, we recommend using it as a starting place. 

Add your own twist

Once you fill in the blanks in the template, copy and paste the words into a Word doc or a Google doc. Then add your own “spice” to the text to personalize it.

Here are some easy ways to do that.

1. Be human. Your welcome email is automated, but it shouldn't sound like it came from a robot. Your subscribers want to hear from you. Set the tone, and let your personality shine through.

If you like using emojis, add one. 😎

If you have opinions, confidently express them.

If you’re always an optimist, end with your favorite motivational quote.

If you pride yourself on being irreverent, then tell it how it is!

Heck, if you’re the king of “dad jokes,” include one. (How do you make a Kleenex dance? Put a little boogie in it!)

Remember, this is your first impression. Make a splash right from the get-go. If you do this right, your readers will eventually be able to recognize your voice in every stage even if your logo and brand colors go missing from your emails. And they'll be even more excited to open your next email.

2. Avoid R.O.T. (redundant, outdated, and/or trivial information). Your content has to be valuable.

A subscriber joined your list because they think you can help them solve their problem. Sure, you may have a free lead magnet to entice them, but that content still needs to be high-quality, fresh, creative, and useful.

If it’s just something your subscribers can find on Google or your emails are full of content that your competitors also provide, they’ll bounce out of your list and never make it to the next email in your series.

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

Your welcome email can include your story. It’s your chance to tell your subscribers why you’re the best person to give them information.

But don’t write a novel. Try to keep your story to 10 sentences or less.

Here’s a great example of a super short, but compelling Story Email from Jill Angie of Not Your Average Runner. It’s her first email in her automated series for new subscribers, and it’s included as a section within her welcome note.

Story Email

Jill’s story is 10 sentences. That’s it. But in her story she oozes likability and she hits her readers’ biggest pain point: weight loss. She knows that’s why her subscribers joined her mailing list, so she wastes no time addressing their challenge in her very first message.

If you’re not a writer, no problem. Shoot a quick 30-second video of yourself and link out to it from your welcome email. Or include a photo of yourself. 

What comes after your welcome email?

Once you have your welcome email set, it's time to start thinking about the rest of your sequence.

Check out the exact emails you should place into the 5 stages of the marketing funnel.

 

The post How to Write the Perfect Welcome Email in Under One Minute appeared first on Email Marketing Tips.


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Wouldn’t it be nice if emails came with a little “thumbs up” or “thumbs down” button like Facebook posts? You would instantly know if your message resonated with people or not.

At AWeber, we made this a reality. We built a sentiment widget — a clickable question at the bottom of our emails that collects immediate feedback from our subscribers. It looks like this:

This single clickable question has completely changed the way we engage with our subscribers.

In this episode of “Win at Email Design,” I speak with AWeber email designer Kim Robbins about the results of adding the sentiment widget to all our emails. We chat about the importance of gathering feedback and how you can use it to optimize your messages and content.

Watch the video above to hear all about the sentiment widget. What kind of feedback would you like to capture from your subscribers? (Click here if you want to add a sentiment tool to your own messages.)

Feedback is like fuel for your marketing funnel. It can help you to subscribers into buyers and brand advocates. But are you including the right emails throughout your funnel? Discover how to map out your own powerful 5-stage funnel and how to create an automated email campaign that gets results around-the-clock in 24/7 Email Marketing Master Class. (Sign up soon! Class closes on March 13!)

For more AWeber “Win at Email Design” episodes with yours truly, check out my YouTube page. There, you’ll find tips on how to to structure a welcome email and how to design an email using only text.

The post The Simple Question You Should ALWAYS Include in Your Emails appeared first on Email Marketing Tips.


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Last year, my wife Lindsay and I launched a writing experiment together. As busy parents trying to raise two young girls, we wanted a way to capture our thoughts and reflect on life rather than just watch it pass by.

We decided to send 100-word emails three times a week for one year straight.

Why such short emails? Nowadays, people have the attention span of a goldfish. Litmus, an email testing tool site, found that the average time spent reading an email is 11.1 seconds. That’s it!

With Twitter, texting, and skimmable Facebook feeds, people are no longer accustomed to reading long-winded posts. You need to grab people’s attention—fast.

That’s why Lindsay and I promised our readers quick, to-the-point short emails that could be read in one minute or less. We assumed subscribers would regularly open and engage with these shorter emails.

We hosted the email list sign up form at 100-words.com. When people signed up, they received a 100-word welcome email that set the expectations for the series. It looked like this:

100-word email length

(You can find the archive of all the 100-word emails here.)

The very first email went out on January 2, 2017. Here were the outcomes of our little year-long experiment.

1. We are better writers now.

At first, it seemed easy to write 100 words. Then, suddenly, you’re staring at 500 words on the screen. 

That’s when the real work begins.

Lindsay and I had to be tough editors to get exactly 100 words every single time. We had to be concise (which was hard for us—we’re both ramblers!) without stripping away any context.

Over the course of 12 months, this got easier and easier. Now, whenever I write, I carefully choose my words. If I can write a sentence in 10 words instead of 15, I do it. I'm a more succinct communicator since ending this experiment.

(Try it for yourself! Go to wordcounter.net and begin typing a sentence. See how how quickly 100 words can flow from your keyboard to the screen?)  

2. Our open rates were extremely high.

The typical open rate—the measure of subscribers that opened your message—will vary depending on your industry, but 20% to 40% is the average. Our average open rate was 57%.

Our high open rates were due in part to our small list (approximately 80 people because we didn’t do much promotion). As your list size goes up, your open rate typically falls.

But our high open rates was also due to our short-and-to-the-point content. Our subscribers knew exactly what to expect from us. We never wavered. We never sent a 90-word email or a 105-word email. We never tried to sell them anything. We never took advantage of the fact that we were invited into their inboxes.

Every single individual on that list was important to us. At the end of the day, I’d rather have 80 highly engaged subscribers than 1,000 that never open or read our emails.

(Is it time to purge your list of subscribers? Find out here.)

3. We had a low unsubscribe rate.

Because our emails were just 100 words and super conversational, we ended up building relationships with a large portion of people on our list. Many of our readers would email us back and give us their thoughts, suggestions, feedback, and advice. If we missed a post, they would email us to ask why we were slacking. (They kept us motivated!) We only had a handful of people unsubscribe over the course of the year.

I was recently reminded of a video by American author and marketing guru Seth Godin. In it, he says, “permission is the privilege of being looked forward to and being missed if you were gone.”

I think this list of subscribers gave us that level of permission! They invited us into their inbox. They liked our content, opened it, engaged with it, and continued to invite us back week after week for an entire year. When you get to that point with your audience, you know you're doing something right. 

4. The feedback was overwhelmingly positive.

At the bottom of our emails, we always included a hyperlinked question “Did you like this email?” If the reader clicked the link, they were taken to a form to tell us why.

These micro actions allowed for a feedback loop. People clicked through and left their reactions to our musings. They told us they looked forward to the short, snackable content every week, and their comments sometimes spurred new email topic ideas.

Plus, the affirmations helped keep us energized to make it the full 12 months.

If you want to set up something similar on your own emails, you can embed a sentiment widget. It allows you to track feedback on every message and learn what your audience likes and dislikes about your content. It’s a great way to constantly hone your emails and improve your open and click-through rates. Click here to learn how to embed your own sentiment widget.

Should you shorten the length of your emails?

One hundred words is an aggressive constraint, but it really forces you to edit yourself. Turns out, you don't need as many words as you think you do to write well.

Now, I'm not saying you need to commit to a year of 100-word musings. But give it a try every now and then. For instance, if you send a weekly newsletter, keep your intro to 100 words or less. Your readers may appreciate the brevity.

You can also send 100-word emails over a shorter timeframe, like two weeks or one month. Then track open and click-through rates and sentiment widget feedback to see if there's a change in your subscribers' behavior. They may start interacting more with your content than they did when it was longer.

If you're looking for more email writing tips, check out this FREE What to Write course. You'll get 45+ email content templates to help you craft the perfect message every single time.

The post I Sent Only 100-Word Emails for One Year and Here’s What Happened appeared first on Email Marketing Tips.


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You’ve spent long hours — and probably some decent money, too — honing the visual experience of your website. It captures the essence of your brand, while also being easy to navigate and interesting to click through.

So it makes sense that you’d want your email design to match your website. But which elements from your site should make an appearance in your emails, and which should not?

In this fourth episode of “Win at Email Design,” I discuss how these two brand assets can complement each other while also maintaining equally important and different roles.

After watching the video above, let me know your thoughts in the comments below: What website elements do you include in your emails?  

(Oh, and go easy on my outfit choice.  Looking back, the jacket was a poor choice.)

For more AWeber “Win at Email Design” episodes with yours truly, check out my YouTube page. There, you’ll find tips on how to create an awesome welcome email, how to rock a newsletter design, and how to design an email using only text.

And if you’re not sure what to write in your emails? Download these 45+ FREE writing templates. Learn how to craft the perfect message or just fill in the blanks!

The post Should Your Emails Match Your Website Design? appeared first on Email Marketing Tips.


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