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BlogWorld New York 2011

Erica Douglass’ Seven Steps to Passionate Pitches

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I’ve been a bit of an Erica Douglass fangirl since I first read her Failure Manifesto back in August 2010. So, when I heard that she would be speaking at BlogWorld New York 2011, I made sure to put her session on my “absolutely cannot miss” schedule. I even wrote it in pen. Pen!

I wasn’t disappointed. If you missed Erica speak (or missed BlogWorld New York 2011 completely), I highly recommend keeping your eyes peeled for the forthcoming virtual tickets that will be available at the BlogWorld Expo site so you can listen to a recording of her session and see her slides.

Erica’s session was called “How to Passionately Pitch without PO’ing Your People” – and like many others at BlogWorld, she spoke about how we need to remember that email marketing can work. Erica gave us seven great steps to creating the best pitch emails possible:

  1. Have a clear, concise call to action. What do you want your readers to do? Don’t make them try to figure it out. Tell them exactly what they should do!
  2. Include at least three links to buy – and one within the first 200 words. Don’t make them read a huge email if you hooked them in the first paragraph.
  3. Never apologize for pitching a product. Whether its yours or an affiliate product, you’re recommending something of value. Don’t apologize for the price because it makes it sound overpriced. If it’s worth the cost, stand behind it.
  4. Set a price anchor. When you start talking about a product, your reader will automatically start comparing it to things they already know. You want to do that first so that when you tell them the price it is much lower than the thing already in their head.
  5. Make readers feel like they are getting a special deal. Why should they buy from you, especially if others are selling the same products? Many people are happy to give you a special discount code for their readers, or you can throw in some of your own giveaways for people who buy from you.
  6. Give readers a sense of urgency. If not, they’ll put it off until “someday” and someday will never come. Make your offer only available for a limited time before the product is no longer available or the price goes up.
  7. Follow up with at least one additional email – preferably two. Erica’s formula is a post and email on the first day, a second email about two days later, and a third email (plus additional post) three to four days after that. You don’t have to be annoying, but if people are responding well, sending follow-ups allows you to earn even more.

Of course, this is just the bare bones information from Erica’s awesome presentation. Again, if you want to listen to the whole thing, stay tuned so you can pick up a virtual ticket, which will give you access to recordings from BlogWorld New York 2011.

Thanks, Erica, for a great session – easily one of my favorites of the show! Readers, check out her story and more great advice at Erica.biz and follow her on Twitter @ericabiz.

Email Marketing: The KISS Rule Applies

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As Nathalie Lussier taught us at her BlogWorld New York 2011 session, the downside to new tech like Twitter and Foursquare and whatnot is that you lose sight of what works. Just because a technology is 50+ years old doesn’t mean you should abandon it if your readers respond well to it.

So what is this ancient technology that you can use to tap into your readers’ wallets? Email! Yes, email really is over 50 years old, and with the right emails, you can brand yourself and make money at the same time.

Nathalie covered a lot of points in her presentation, but what I wanted to focus on today were her tips for writing a great email. It’s all about the KISS rule (Keep It Simple Stupid). I’m going to go over them one by one and give you my own thoughts on these topics.

  • Make emails digestible.

Everyone out there likely gets several emails every day (or maybe even every hour if you’re like me). If you write long, text-heavy emails, they simply won’t get read by most of your subscribers, and some might even unsubscribe. Format your emails and keep them short and simple, reflecting what your readers want of course (some groups like longer emails than others). I personally like to write blog posts that I can link in my emails if I have a lot to say on a topic but don’t want to overwhelm readers.

  • Write for one person.

Obviously, you’re not actually going to write for one person (unless you’re brand new and the only person on your list is your mom). However, you have to make the email as personable as possible, reaching out to your dream reader with your email. This may mean that some readers don’t connect with your emails, but the ones that do will really connect. This actually seems to be a point that many readers drove home this year – be yourself and get 20% of your readers raving about you rather than being generic and having 100% of the people being “meh, he/she is okay” about you.

  • Stick to about 80% content and 20% pitch.

If you pitch too much, your readers will unsubscribe. Unless your readers specifically sign up for a pitch-based email (and really, very few people to that), Nathalie recommends you have 80% of your emails be valuable, free content. This could mean sending eight content-based emails for every two pitch emails or it could mean writing about 20% pitch within every email. I would actually go a step farther and say that you need to do what works for your readers. Some readers don’t like pitches that often. Do what works for you.

  • Make it doable for yourself.

This last tip is a big one, and I completely agree with Nathalie. You have to make your email commitment doable for your own schedule. If you don’t, you’ll struggle to send out the volume of email that you promise, and your readers won’t be as connected with you – they may even unsubscribe, since you aren’t delivering as promised. Make sure you don’t over-commit.

Thanks for speaking at BlogWorld New York 2011, Nathalie. Reaers, you can follow her on Twitter at @NathLussier and check out her various projects at her website.

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