Looking for Something?
Posts Tagged for


How to Make More Money by Creating a Sense of Urgency with Email


Imagine for a moment that you’re trying on jeans (everyone’s favorite task, right?) and you find a pair that fit you well, but don’t blow you away. You might think to yourself, “Well, maybe I’ll keep looking, and if I don’t find anything better, I’ll come back later this week and purchase them.”

But what if, as you’re exiting the fitting room, you see a large sign that reads, “TODAY ONLY: All Jeans 50% Off!” Even though you’re still on the fence about how good they make your bottom look, you’d rather purchase the jeans now than miss on such a good sale.

If buying jeans isn’t your thing, imagine this scenario: You’re at your favorite outdoor supply store and you see they have tents on display. You know your tent at home has a hole in it, so you decide to check them out. One tent in particular stands out to you, but it is a budget-buster, so you decide to put off the purchase. What’s the likelihood that you’ll ever return to that store to buy that tent?

However, imagine that as you’re getting ready to leave without the tent, your spouse calls and says that your neighbors invited you to go camping this weekend. Even though it means pulling out the credit card, you need a tent in just a few days, so you make the purchase.

One more scenario to image! Let’s say that you’re shopping for a new car. You test drive a certain make and model and enjoy the ride, but are hesitant to pull the trigger on making the purchase. Then the car salesman mentions to you that this is the last one they have in stock, and its unlikely that they’ll get any others in for several months, and as you’re discussing the potential deal, another family walks up to the car and begins looking at it.

Hey! That’s my car! BACK OFF!

What do all of these scenarios have in common? They create a sense of urgency for the customer. And lucky for you, email is a great way to relay this information to your potential target market. Let’s take a look at how to create a sense of urgency for your customers using your email list:

jeans Buying Blue Jeans: Expiring Price/Benefit

First, think of our jeans example. What created the sense of urgency in this scenario is the one-day sale. In other words, a lower price would be expiring quickly. This can take on many forms:

  • Limited time discount (like the 50% off sale)
  • Normal price changing soon (for example, the clothing company is manufacturing jeans differently, so starting with the next batch, the price will be higher)
  • Extra benefit expiring (for today only, the jeans come with a free pair of shoes)

Email is a great way to relay this kind of information to your potential customers because it is a quick way to reach people. Don’t just send one email though. People typically respond more readily when they see the information at least three times. So, send an initial email to announce that a price or benefit is expiring, a follow-up reminder, and a final reminder right before the expiration time/date.

You can boost the response in the follow-up reminder by including some social proof. For example, you could say, “500 people already took advantage of today’s limited time discount. Don’t get left behind!”

Remember to set up your email campaign so that people who purchase your product after the first email do not receive the second two emails further reminding them of the discount. People get crabby when they receive emails about products they’ve already purchased.

tent Buying Tents: Immediate Need

Next, think of our tent scenario. In this case, there was no pricing benefit, but rather, the person really needed the product immediately. Without a tent, you and your spouse would not be able to go camping with friends over the weekend.

There are certain times of year when everyone on your email list could have an immediate need for your product. For example, if you’re selling tents, the week before a holiday weekend in the summer is a time when a lot of people go camping. Many people have an immediate need.

When this is the case, send at least one email that outlines the specific benefits of your product, which creates awareness, and at least one follow-up that plays on the sense of urgency. In our tent example, my first email might talk about when my tent is better than every other tent out there, while my second email would play to the fact that customers could use the tent right away.

Another option is to identify a specific group of people from among your email list who could use your product right now. For example, are you tracking everyone who purchases a tent? If so, those people probably also need other camping supplies?

Going camping this weekend with your new tent? Don’t let chilly nights ruin your experience: check out our heated sleeping bags!

Just because people got to the end of your sales funnel by purchasing a product doesn’t mean you can’t convert them into a repeat customer.

car Buying Cars: Limited Quantities

Lastly, use the threat of limited quantities to make people feel a sense of urgency. That’s exactly what the car salesman did in our example. We all have this knee-jerk reaction to claim something when it is the last one available. We don’t want to miss out!

Keep in mind that for digital products, the time is what you could make limited. It doesn’t make sense to say “We only have 100 copies of this ebook left” because when a product is digital, you don’t run out. But you could say, “In one week, we will no longer be offering this product for sale.” Disney is a great example of a company who does this. They put their films in a vault, so they are only available for sale for a limited amount of time. You can also say, “We’re only selling 100 more copies; then this product will no longer be available.” People often do this with webinars, consulting sessions, and so forth by saying that seats are limited.

As soon as quantities become limited, send out an email to relay this information. Even if you have thousands left, some people will buy simply because they know that the product won’t be available forever.

You can and should also send email updates as quantities start to sell. Typically, it makes sense to note when they’re half gone. So if your initial emails says that you’re only selling 100 more items, you should send an email update when there are only 50 left. Then, send further emails as the numbers continue to dwindle.

Again, make sure that people who already purchased the product don’t get the follow-up emails.

Why Email Works

You can also use other outlets to create a sense of urgency. I recommend that you tell people about price expiration, need, and limited quantities using social media, mailings, etc. as well. But email works because you’re making sure that people see every message. That repetition is how you can get people to pull out their credit cards. While someone might miss your tweet in an ever-moving stream or toss out your postcard with the junk mail without even glancing at it, with email, they will at least see the subject line.

So make that subject line count. Make people feel a sense of urgency. Pound it into their heads that they need to be NOW or they’ll miss out on your fantastic product.

30+ Killer Ways to Build Your Email List


ways to build your email list Who doesn’t want a biggest email list? It doesn’t matter if you’re a blogger, podcaster, web series/video producer, or business owner – having a bigger email list allows you to reach out to your target market on a one-on-one level.

This post is a compilation of every technique and tip I’ve come across or used to grow my own list. Of course, you don’t have to (and probably shouldn’t) use all of these tips. Pick and choose the ones that make sense for your needs. (And feel free to add more by leaving a comment below!)

1. Put a sign-up form on your sidebar. This seems like a no-brainer, but every day, I see lots of blogs and websites that have no way for someone to subscribe for content. DIY Themes lists the top of your sidebar as the first place you should have your sign-up form.

2. Put a sign-up form at the bottom of every blog post. Someone who readers a blog post all the way to the end is very engaged, so you need a call to action (CTA). Put a sign-up form there as your CTA and you’ll capture email addresses at a higher rate. Read more about compelling CTAs from Flyte New Media.

3. Put a sign-up form on popular pages. At the very least, put a form on your about and contact pages. (And learn about creating a better About Page here.)

4. Ask your current subscribers to tell their friends about your list. Give them easy options within your emails to forward and share your content.

5. Use QR codes for easy sign-ups at live events. They’re free to create and give people a very quick way to sign up with any smartphone.  Come QR code creation options include Kaywa and Microsoft Tag. You can put them on signage and promotional material like brochures. Make sure your booth is attractive!

6. Put a QR code on your business card. That way, you’re leading everyone you meet to your list.

7. Tell your social followers about your mailing list. Ask them to sign up if interested in receiving more content from you. You can even add a custom sign-up tab on your Facebook page.

8. Tease your content on social media. Tell people how great your latest email is – and give them a link to sign up if they want it.

9. Tell people how many subscribers you have. People like to be part of a large group. So, if you can show a number or say “Join 592 other people…” you’ll play into that heard mentality and get more sign-ups.

10. Try a pop up ad asking for an email address. Some people like them, some people hate them, but for most people, they do convert. The good news is that you don’t have to use a pop up ad that smacks someone in the face the moment someone gets to your site. Play with the settings to find a good solution if you’re going to use pop up ads. Not sure about pop-ups? You’re not alone. Check out The Great Pop-Up Debate.

11. Ask for subscriptions when people comment. Blog commenters are engaged and already giving you their name and email address. Here are some tips from SEOmoz about getting more comments.

12. Get customers to sign up. If you have a physical store, have a sign-up sheet by the cash register where people can give you their email address. If you have an online store, ask during the checkout process.

13. Print a link to your subscription form on your receipt. If your product is digital, you can include the subscription form directly instead of asking them to click a link.

14. Use testimonials. What are people saying about your emails? Show social proof to entice people to sign up. Check out Copyblogger’s tips for getting better testimonials.

15. Offer a free ebook. Make sure the ebook has an enticing title and a well-designed cover, and choose a topic that really grabs readers. Here’s how to write an ebook that people really want.

16. Offer an in-depth case study, report, or white paper. Give your readers something special that they can’t get anywhere else.

17. Run a contest. To enter, people have to be signed up for your email list. TopRank has some great tips on running an online contest.

18. Give people exclusive content. It can encourage people to sign up if they get something via email that they can’t get elsewhere.

19. Host a webinar. Either require people to be on your email list to attend or ask them to sign up afterward. Check out Hubspot’s post on how to host your first webinar.

20. Link to your sign-up form in your email signature. It goes out to everyone, so you should capitalize on the opportunity.

21. Speak at events. Put a link to your sign-up form on the last slide or, even better, create a resource page with all the notes to your presentation (including a sign-up form) and give it to your audience so they can just listen to you instead of trying to take notes. Want to speak at the next NMX? Start working on your proposal now!

22. Create a useful tool, app, theme, etc. for people to download. People love free gifts beyond the text documents that most people offer. If you typically sell this kind of downloadable, create a free version as well to help you collect email addresses. As a bonus, this helps you give people a sample of your product!

23. Offer a discount for email subscribers. This works best when you give a substantial discount or bonus freebie on orders that people really want.

24. Promote your email list at the end of guest posts. It’s typically more effective to have a specific CTA at the end of a guest post instead of just linking to the homepage of your blog. Check out Kristi Hines’ recent guest post on guest posting.

25. Ask people to sign up to your list at the end of videos. Videos are extremely engaging, and not only will you pull in new subscribers via YouTube, but you can also post the video on your blog (and hopefully other people will too). Our video category has some great posts to help you get started creating this kind of content.

26. Host an offline event (like a TweetUp). Afterward, email attendees to thank them for coming and invite everyone to sign up for your list. Here’s a post from Mashable about hosting a successful TweetUp (with many tips that can apply to other meet and greet type of events as well.

27. Play around with the language on your sign up form. Test what works best. What happens if you say “Please sign up…” versus “Please join us…”? What about if you call it an email list versus an email club?

28. Play around with sign-up form colors and dimensions. Sometimes a form that blends into your site works best. Other times, you need a bright, jarring color that stands out. KISSmetrics has some great examples of sign-up forms that work you can check out.

29. Make it as easy as possible for people to sign up. The more information you ask people to submit, the fewer people are going to fill out the form. People don’t like the work of a long sign-up form, and they may not understand why you need the information.

30. Partner with another blogger. Offer a giveaway, free product, or other special jointly to anyone who signs up for both of your email lists. Or, you can do a deal where you promote one another (i.e. you send an email to your list encouraging them to sign up for their list and vice versa). Want to work with a “big name”? Here are some tips for getting past the gatekeeper.

31. Partner with a group of bloggers. This works even better than partnering with just one blogger!

32. Promise future content. A great example is to write a blog post series or regular feature. At the end of every post in the series, ask people to sign up for reminders of more content.

I’ll continue to add to this list as I hear of more techniques for growing your email list. Got a suggestion? Leave it as a comment below!

Three Ways to Build Your Email List (Without a Free Ebook)


It seems like every blogger out there has a free ebook they’re giving away in exchange for your email address. This is a popular strategy for a reason: it works.

But free ebooks are not without their problems, least of which is that they take time or money (or both) to create. Even a short 10-20 page ebook needs to be written, edited, designed, and promoted, and those tasks take time, and you may have to hire people to help you.

Although I do still encourage you to give away an ebook to entice people to sign up for your mailing list, this isn’t your only option. Here are three other techniques I’ve successfully used to collect email addresses:

1. Offer content you can’t find on your blog.

Lots of people use their email lists to promote content from their blog, as well as to drive sales. There’s nothing wrong with either of these options, but you can also drive sign-ups by promising (and delivering) special content only available to subscribers.

You still have to create content this way. However, instead of the daunting task of writing an entire ebook, you can split that content creation into smaller, more manageable chunks.

What kind of content can you create? Here are just a few of your options:

  • E-courses, distributed over multiple weeks
  • Blog posts that aren’t found on your blog (or that are behind a membership wall)
  • Outtakes or bloopers from videos you’ve created
  • Additional questions and answers from interviews you’ve done
  • Podcasts to go along with your blog content

Let your imagination run wild!

2. Give subscribers special access to you via email.

If you create great content online, you’ll start to get requests and questions from readers. Instead of giving away a free ebook, instead offer special access to you for anyone who signs up for your email list. Maybe you set up a forum for subscribers to ask you questions. Maybe you hold weekly or monthly conference calls with subscribers. Maybe you do a drawing every month and pick one lucky subscriber to receive a free consulting session with you. Again, get creative and think about what you have that is high value and that you can give away for free.

3. Offer a workbook that outlines your personal process.

We all have step-by-step processes for completing tasks. You can write a how-to for your blog, but also consider creating a workbook (or individual pages) for your readers. As opposed to an ebook, workbooks have a lot of blank space to give your readers space to record their ideas or complete tasks, so they aren’t as much work on your end while still being as long as an ebook.

If you don’t currently have an email list, I hope this post has inspired you to start building one even if you don’t have time to produce an ebook. You can get started with an email list right now and develop the ebook later.

Better Blog Pages: The Most Important Page On Your Blog (Day One)


This post is part of a five-part series about creating better blog pages. You can see all the post in the series here.

Hands down, the most common mistake I see bloggers make is this: making it difficult to be contacted.

People might want to contact you regarding several things. I most commonly contact people because I want to interview them or because I’ve featured one of their links on Brilliant Bloggers. As a reader, I sometimes contact a blogger when I have a question. You might also be contacted by people who want to work with you on a project, buy advertising on your site, send you to their event to speak, or otherwise work out a deal together.

If I’m trying to contact someone, the very first thing I do is go to their navigation bar and look for a contact page. If there isn’t one listed and I really want to contact the person, I might check the sidebar as well, but after that, I usually lose interest. It’s unlikely that I’m going to search through your pages to find wherever you’ve hidden your email address.

Assume that the person trying to contact you is stupid and impatient. Create a page that stands out so it can be easily found within five second. If it can’t be, you need a better contact page.

Including Your Email Address

I see lots of bloggers with just a form on their contact page. While this is certainly better than nothing, and I understand the need to keep spam at bay, I don’t like it for a few reasons:

  • I can’t save your email address for later. I have to use the form immediately or bookmark the page.
  • Sometimes, I email more than one person at the same time. I know that forms keep spammers from doing this, but legitimate people sometimes do group emails too!
  • I like to have a record of what I’ve said to you and when I said it. Occasionally, I see forms that allow you to send a copy of the message to yourself, but this is a rarity.
  • Often I’ll hit the send button and the form page just reloads as blank. So…did it send? I have no way of knowing.
  • I can’t save my message as a draft, which means I have to complete it in one sitting (not always an easy thing to do if you’re on the go like me or get interrupted with other tasks often).
  • If my computer crashes or there’s another problem in the middle of typing the message, there’s no draft saved.

If you love your form, you don’t have to get rid of it. Just consider including your actual email address as well for us anti-form people. You can include it as a picture if you’re afraid of spam.

Including Your Social Profiles

In addition to including your email address, I also like it when bloggers include their social media profiles on their contact page. When I link to someone within a post, I often don’t want to fill their inbox with an email message. Instead, I just mention them in a tweet. If you follow me on Twitter, you probably see me doing this all the time. I find it more effective than email.

You don’t have to include all of your social profiles. If you don’t use a platform often, I actually recommend not listing it, since you don’t want important messages to go there. But if you’re on Twitter or Facebook or another network all day anyway, it makes sense to include this information on your contact page.

Links on You Contact Page

You can get some extra mileage out of your contact page by including a few links as well. Linking to your about page makes sense of course, but including other links can save you time too.

For example, are you asked a question over and over again via email? Write a post about it and then link to it on your contact page to reduce your emails. You can also create a FAQ section on your page with short answers to the questions you get the most. And if you have a media kit, link to it so people don’t have to ask for it.

Other Contact Information

Email is absolutely necessary if you’re a blogger, but other contact information can be included on your page as well. We already talked about social media accounts, but consider a phone number or Skype username. If you have a P.O. box or office, you can also include a mailing address, though I would avoid listing your home address. List contact information for every way you are okay with people getting in touch with you. Some people like tweets while others like phone calls, so try to accommodate as many people as possible.

The bottom line is this: if you don’t currently have a contact page, you need one immediately. You might have your email address at the bottom of each post or on your sidebar, but without a clearly defined page in your navigation bar, you’re going to miss out on cool opportunities. Don’t let them pass you by, especially when the solution is so easy!

Join us tomorrow for Day Two of our Better Blog Pages series!

Beginner’s Guide to Email List Basics


I recommend that every content creator start an email list. So, in this beginner’s guide, I’m covering exactly what you need to know to get started with an email list. Remember, you can also find all of our other beginner’s guides here.

Email Advantages

So why use email? Can’t fans just get your content via their favorite RSS reader? Well, yes, but with RSS, you don’t have the oppotuniry to speak to your fans directly, because you don’t have a list of email addresses. All they get is what you post on your blog – and while that’s a great start, if you want to promote products, talk about what’s going on with your site, etc.

Email is also a way to get your audience’s attention, as long as you don’t abuse the power by sending too many emails (especially too many sales emails). While tweets might go unnoticed, emails stand out.

Email List Providers

You can manage an email list manually, but trust me – if you get more than twenty or thirty people signed up (and hopefully you do), manually sending emails is time-consuming. When you send emails manually, you also don’t have access to analytics like you do with a list service provider.

The three most popular email list providers are Aweber, Mail Chimp, and Constant Contact. There are other options as well, which Kevin Muldoon has pretty perfectly outlined in a guest post for Daily Blog Tips. Personally, I use Aweber, but I don’t like them any better or worse than any other services out there. The point is…subscribe to one of these services. It is well worth the money.

Ah, money. So what is this going to cost you? Each services has a difference cost, but in general, you’ll pay depending on the number of subscribers you have. It’s a great model, since as you get more subscribers you should also be making more money.

Getting People to Sign Up

There are several ways to get people to sign up for your mailing list. Start with a sign-up box on your sidebar, but also consider:

  • Writing a blog post about your new mailing list or talking about it on your next podcast or in your next video.
  • Linking to it at the end of every post/show notes
  • Tweeting about it
  • Creating a sign-up page on Facebook as one of your tabs
  • Offering something for free in exchange for people signing up for your mailing list

Once you have people signed up, you also have to make sure you keep as many of them signed up as possible. Some common mistakes to avoid:

  • Not making it clear what people are signing up for – if they receive a lot more emails than they expect to receive, they’ll unsubscribe in a hurry
  • Sending too many sales-y emails
  • Sending emails that aren’t valuable
  • Being inconsistent
  • Being too clinical (i.e. not personable enough)

What to Send

So once you start getting people signed up, what do you send?

First, you want to have a welcoming email. This email should include:

  • A personal thank you for signing up
  • What kind of email content subscribers can expect
  • Information on how to unsubscribe
  • Contact information
  • Links to your blog and social media profiles

After that, you can start sending emails on a regular basis. I recommend sending at least one email a week but no more than three per week unless there’s something special going on. There are two types of emails you can send. In Aweber, they’re called “follow-ups” and “broadcasts,” but the concepts is the same no matter what email system you use.

  • Follow-Ups: Emails that are sent to anyone who signs up, based on schedule that starts whenever the person signs up. (For example, the first one might be sent three days after the welcome message, the next three days after that, and so on.) This is evergreen material.
  • Broadcasts: Emails that are sent to everyone on your email list at the same time (future subscribers won’t see these messages). Typically, broadcasts are used to announce information like special events on your site, products sales, etc.

Follow-ups can take on several forms. Many people do newsletters, with several pieces of content. Some other ideas include:

  • Personal messages to the reader
  • Links to archived (but evergreen) posts
  • Special content only available to subscribers

Occasionally, you should also send a follow up that is more sales-like in nature, either promoting one of your own products or promoting someone else’s product (using affiliate links). I like to do a ratio of three high-value emails to every one sales email (outside of broadcasts).

More Tips

A few other tips about sending content to your list and using email services:

  • Always include a link to unsubscribe. It’s against spam policies not to do this and most newsletter service providers have it built-in…but make sure the link is noted somewhere so people can unsubscribe if they want.
  • If you include affiliate links, make sure you disclose this information using FTC guidelines.
  • Most email service providers give you the ability to split test, which allows you to see if you get a higher open rate using one headline or another or if changes in the email make a person more likely to click links included in that email. Use your ability to split test.
  • Some advertisers are willing to sponsor emails by placing ads in your newsletter. Again, make sure these relationships are disclosed.
  • Look at your stats regularly to see which follow-ups are causing the most unsubscribes. It might be worth changing it this message to prevent even more unsubscribes.
  • Also look at your stats regularly to see which follow-ups are getting the most opens and clicks. You want to replicate this success in the future.
  • Delete unsubscribed members regularly. These have no purpose, since they no longer get your emails, but some email services count them toward your total number of members, so these will bump up your number for no reason, causing you to pay more.
  • You may also want to delete members who don’t open your emails. I don’t do this personally, since they could someday decide to open one, but some people advocate this in order to keep your numbers lower and pay less.
  • Your subject line is like a headline – make sure you write something eye-catching that makes people want to open your email.

Even if you aren’t ready to start  sending email content to your list, it doesn’t hurt to at least allow people to sign up. You want to capture those leads so that someday when you do have time to maintain a list, you already have a small list to start.

Got questions about email lists? Post them below and I’ll do my best to answer them!

The 12 New Media Days of Christmas 2011: 11 Emailers List-Building


During the 12 New Media Days of Christmas, we’re counting down the days until Santa comes by featuring some of the best blog posts of 2011 from awesome writers within the BlogWorld community! Skip to the end to read more posts in this holiday series and don’t forget to leave a comment if you’ve written a post about today’s topic!

You won’t get far in this industry without hear the phrase “the money’s in the list.” What that means is that you need to build an email list to make the most of the relationship you’re building with your readers. You can use your list for affiliate marketing, selling your own products, or even just driving traffic back to your site. So, today, I have a great group of posts from 2011 that talk about building and using an email list. Enjoy!

Post too long? Head to the Quick Links section for just a list of the links included in this post without all the analysis and quotes!

1. Beginner’s Guide to Email Marketing for Bloggers by Paul Cunningham at Blogging Teacher

If you’re new to email marking and only have time to read one post, this is the link for you. In this post, Paul writes about the nuts and bolts to using email to connect with your readers. He goes over everything from how to avoid being called a spammer to what kind of content you should consider sending to your list. From the post:

Your mailing list is like a cup of coffee. Too hot and your subscribers can’t handle it. Too cold and it loses its appeal. But when you get the temperature just right they will enjoy what you serve up to them…

Getting that temperature just right means understanding your audience, and delivering them the right types of content at the right times.

After checking out Paul’s post, you can follow him on Twitter @paulcunningham.


2. 5 Most Powerful Ways To Build an Email List Online by Michael Dunlop at Income Diary

I like this post because it’s a list of tools that you can (and should) consider using to build your own email list. It’s important to remember that not every technique is going to work for every person. In fact, you might not like any of the list-building techniques in Michael’s post. But I think it is important to be aware of your options! Writes Michael,

Sending an email to your list about a product takes literally minutes. The reward is always thousands of dollars for me. If I did it 4 times in a month which isn’t much at all, that’s likely to be at least an additional $10,000 in revenue that month! Hopefully by now your excited about the idea of building a list.

Get out there and build that list, friends! After checking out Michael’s post at Income Diary, You can also find more from him at Retireat21, Fiked, Popup Domination, Site Profit Domination, Expert Photography, and Awesomeweb. You can also find him on Twitter @michaeldunlop.


3. Why the Money Really is in the Email List by Natalie Sisson at The Suitcase Entrepreneur

We keep saying that the money is in the list, but why is that? This post is part of Natalie’s Build Your Online Business (BYOB) series, and it’s a fantastic post to check out if you’re new to list-building and want to do a good job connecting with readers. As Natalie puts it, your list is your tribe, and being about to build that relationship with them is important! Building a list doesn’t have to be spammy. It can be about making real connections. Writes Natalie,

When I think about how many visitors I lost in the early days because I had nothing to offer and no way of being able to contact them again, it makes me kick myself. I also had this strange perception in my head that `list’ and ‘building’ were two dirty words. In fact they are two of the smartest words ever.

Natalie is on Twitter @womanzworld and you can also add her to your circles on Google+. Her Build Your Own Business Guide is available as an audio book, ebook, or complete package with coaching video.


4. Aweber vs. Mailchimp: Which is the Best Email Newsletter Service? by Tom Ewer at WPMU.org

Aweber and Mailchimp aren’t you’re only two choices if you’re interested in starting a new mailing list, but they are two of the biggest brands in the industry. I personally grappled with the choice, and ultimately went with Aweber, but I don’t know that I’ll stay with that decision forever, since Mailchimp is a fantastic services as well. In this post, Tom talks about about the differences between these two services and ultimately gives you his preference. Writes Tom,

Both services are popular with good reason. MailChimp’s no-cost entry level service is a huge attraction to many. But the general consensus leans in favor of AWeber when it comes to the most important aspects of list management, such as tracking and spam management.

You can find Tom on Twitter @tomewer and like his Facebook page. He also blogs at Leaving Work Behind, where you can sign up for his mailing list to download his free guide on keyword research and competition analysis.


5. The #1 Trick for Increasing Email Open Rates by Steve Scott at SteveScottSite.com

Your list doesn’t matter one iota if nobody opens the emails you send. In this post, Steve shares his best top for increasing your open rates – and I have to say, I 100% agree with him! I also love how he uses an analogy to describe what he means, and I think anyone who’s read or watched Game of Thrones will totally understand this post! Writes Steve,

In April, the TV show “Game of Thrones” premiered on HBO.  Like many shows on this network, each episode is part of a large story.  So you have to watch each to understand what’s going on.  In a way, it’s similar to the popular shows like The Sopranos, Lost or 24.

What draws people to shows like these is how they’re set up.  An important part of the plot is to create tension.  The writers introduce a number of storylines that are not resolved for many years.  People watch them because they feel compelled to get answers.

You can also check out Steve’s 45 Ways to Take Your Email Marketing to the Next Level or download his free online income guide. He’s on Twitter @stevescott1, and you can also like his blog on Facebook and add him to your circles on Google+.


6. Are You in the Three Danger Zones of Spamminess? by Phil Hollows at Feedblitz

This list is actually part of entire awesome blog post series about list building for bloggers by Phil, but I wanted to take a moment to highlight this one because I think a lot of list-builders are definitely in the danger zone. Your subscribers signed up for your mailing list. They want to hear from you. Don’t be too afraid to email them! But if you aren’t careful, email programs could accidentally label you as spam, and this means your message will be less likely to reach your readers. Writes Phil,

The thing is, of course, is that most bloggers are untrained as marketers. Specifically, we’re largely not trained as email marketers. We put up our subscription forms and hope for the best. Usually, that’s fine.

But sometimes that lack of expertise can hurt, because it can lead us to create content that ends up setting off content filters. It’s actually all too easy to do, in fact, because in social media we can easily add widgets and plugins that are designed for the web, but which can completely foul up your feed and eviscerate your mailings.

In addition to checking out this post and others in the list building for bloggers series, you can also buy Phil’s List Building for Bloggers ebook. He’s on Twitter @phollows and you can check out the Feedblitz Facebook Ap here.


7. Sephora’s Beauty Roulette: A Creative Email List Builing Tactic by DJ Waldow at Waldow Social

In this post, DJ offers a screencast mini case study on one company’s interesting way to get people to sign up on their email list. He talks about what Sephora (a makeup company) does write, along with what he believes they could be doing better. Hopefully, this will inspire you to think of some of your own creative ways to encourage people to sign up for your mailing list. From DJ’s post:

You can have the most compelling email creative and copy, the best subject line, the highest inbox deliverability; however, if you don’t have an email list to send to … well … you have nothing….

My friend and Social Fresh president, Jason Keath, shared this super-creative email list building technique from Sephora with me last week. The landing page has some dynamic aspects to it, so I figured it would be best to show you via a screencast (thanks, Screenr!).

You can find DJ on Twitter @djwaldow and is the original Social Butterfly Guy.


8. How to Get a Clean Email List – 3 Mailing List Maintenance Tips You Should Do by Paul Ventura at Converting Copy

This post was definitely a kick in the pants for me, because I’ve been neglecting my email list maintenance. Depending on the email management company you use, some of Paul’s tips might even help you save money! At the very list, his recommendations can help you understand your audience better and connect with them in a more relevant way. Writes Paul,

Just like anything else in your life, your website or business’ mailing list can become cluttered and require upkeep from time to time to continue working in your best interest. Here are a few mailing list maintenance tips you can use to get a clean email list.

You can get Paul’s free 10 Day Fast Track Affiliate Course if you want to read more from him, and you can also find him on Twitter @convertcopy and like his blog on Facebook.


9. The Most Important, Can’t-Ignore Law of Email Marketing by Lisa Barone at Outspoken Media

The “law” Lisa shares in this post may at first seem like common sense, but it is a law that is broken so often that I think it is super important to include on this list. Before you ever send a single message to your email list, make sure you understand Lisa’s post and make sure you don’t make the mistake made by so many so-called “experts” out there. Lisa writes,

Hey you! Yes…you, the one sending out all those email newsletters. We need to talk.

I mean, sure, we’ve already talked to some degree. We’ve talked about best practices for email marketing, how email is NOT dead and why it’s actually the Batman to social media’s Robin, but NONE of that matters if you ignore the most important email marketing law of them all. Get this wrong and the rest of it simply doesn’t matter.

Lisa is the co-founder of Outspoken Media and can be found on Twitter @lisabarone. You can also like Outspoken Media on Facebook and follow the company on Twitter @outspokenmedia.


10. Call It What You Want, It’s the Future of Email Marketing by Garry Lee at RedEye (Guest Post for Unbounce)

Grab a cup of coffee and sink your teeth into this post. It’s super smart and full of tips about what Garry calls “behavioural emails.” Yes, you can just mass email your list once or twice a week, but how effective are you really being? More importantly, how effective could you be if you did a little research? From Garry’s post:

In the past few years behavioural email has become one of the most effective forms of email marketing. Resulting in ROI figures as high as 750% and open rates of 70% it is certainly a strategy that online marketers are realising is essential to their online marketing (not just email) strategies.

Garry is the Director of Analytics and Usability at RedEye and you can find him on Twitter @garrylee316.


11. Episode 19 of The Daily Interaction: Savvy Email Etiquette by Farnoosh Brock at Prolific Living

This last link I wanted to share about email is actually a podcast from Farnoosh about a topic that is very important no matter what kinds of emails you’re sending: etiquette. This post is not about list-building or even about email marketing, but I think this is one of the most important topic matters you can ever understand if you use email, whether you’re emailing your list or just emailing with your friends. From Farnoosh’s show notes:

What is the most sensible, smart, savvy and professional way to use email in today’s world? I give you tips around things that have worked very well for me as well as things that have made me, well, you know, take a second look at my own approach, to say the least.

After listening to the podcast, you can check out more episode of The Daily Interaction here. Farnoosh is also the author of the Fear-Crushing Travel Guide, Motivation: From Goals to Greatness, and The 10 Minute Daily Invigorator, as well as the Comprehensive Guide to Green Juicing. She’s on Twitter @prolificliving.

Quick Links

For those of you short on time, here’s a list of the links covered in this post:

  1. Beginner’s Guide to Email Marketing for Bloggers by Paul Cunningham (@paulcunningham)
  2. 5 Most Powerful Ways To Build an Email List Online by Michael Dunlop (@michaeldunlop)
  3. Why the Money Really is in the Email List by Natalie Sisson (@womanzworld)
  4. Aweber vs. Mailchimp: Which is the Best Email Newsletter Service? by Tom Ewer (@tomewer)
  5. The #1 Trick for Increasing Email Open Rates by Steve Scott (@stevescott1)
  6. Are You in the Three Danger Zones of Spamminess? by Phil Hollows (@phollows)
  7. Sephora’s Beauty Roulette: A Creative Email List Builing Tactic by DJ Waldow (@djwaldow)
  8. How to Get a Clean Email List – 3 Mailing List Maintenance Tips You Should Do by Paul Ventura (@convertcopy)
  9. The Most Important, Can’t-Ignore Law of Email Marketing by Lisa Barone (@lisabarone)
  10. Call It What You Want, It’s the Future of Email Marketing by Garry Lee (@garrylee316)
  11. Episode 19 of The Daily Interaction: Savvy Email Etiquette by Farnoosh Brock (@prolificliving)

Other posts in the 12 New Media Days of Christmas series will be linked here as they go live:

12 Bloggers Monetizing
11 Emailers List-Building (this post)
10 Google+ Users a-Sharing
9 Vloggers Recording
8 Links a-Baiting
7 Community Managers a-Managing
6 Publishers a-Publishing
5 Traffic Tips
4 New Media Case Studies
3 Must-Read New Media Interviews
2 Top New Media News Stories of 2011
And a Partridge in a Pear Tree

You can also check out the all the posts from 2010 and 2011 here, and don’t forget: If you wrote a post in 2011 about today’s topic (email marking and list building), PLEASE leave the link in a comment below to share with the community!

BlogWorld is Over, But Your Work is Not Yet Done.


Run the checklist, is your life anything like mine at the moment: Tired limbs, sore heads, great memories and a box full of business cards, notes and scrawled twitter handles…

Yes, the LA Blog World Expo is over, but that doesn’t mean you can start planning #bweny for 2012 just yet. To get the most from your conference, it’s time to do some follow-up, and make sure that the connections you made at the Convention Centre continue to work for you. Here are three easy steps to keeping the Blog World Expo moments alive for the rest of the year, and beyond.

First up, decide who you are going to reconnect with. I know the temptation is to go through all the collected business cards and say “Hi I met you at Blog World”, but I’ve always sent emails that either finish a discussion with an action point, or have some content that needs auctioned.

By all means send the personal ones out (especially if you can’t find them on Twitter or Facebook!), but there is nothing wrong in not following up with someone if there is no fit with you away from the exhibition hall floor – the exception being if you couldn’t give them details and you need to give them your details.

Go through the cards, file the ones that need to be filed, and action the rest.

Keep those first emails short and snappy – everyone is recovering from the Conference, so a quick one line reminder as to who you are, and what you’d like to do next. Be it a guest blog post, explore some licensing opportunities, or asking for a price list, make a clear action point.

Chances are, with all these follow-ups going around, you’ll have some yourself to answer. In which case answer them with the same focus, but place a deadline on it. For example, “thanks for getting back to me to ask for the pricing, here’s the PDF and I’ll be back in touch at the end of next week“.

You worked hard to get to BlogWorld (and the team putting on the conference worked even harder), but don’t stop now. Just a little bit more work and you can make sure you get the best results out of your time in LA.

Email Marketing: The KISS Rule Applies


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.

A Blogger’s Love Letter


Today, I have a love letter to write, to an unlikely source, perhaps, but a love letter nonetheless. I probably won’t get a response, but there’s something out there that, as a blogger, I love more than anything else – more than WordPress, more than Twitter, more than anything.

So here we go…this is my love letter, as a blogger, to what I love most:

Dear Email Address,

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. Because of you, I am able to run my business nearly 100% online, with true entrepreneur freedom. Thank you for being a part of me life.

So many people take you for granted. They complain about having to answer the people who contact us through you, and sometimes ever complain that you’re not personal enough. I say, let the haters hate. I love you. Yes, I get overwhelmed with emails at times, but imagine how horrible it would be to be overwhelmed by phone conversations instead. I will say it again: I love you.

Speaking of phone calls, I love how efficient you are in comparison. I have a written record of everything discussed, so there’s fewer problems or confusion. I can have contact with readers without worrying that someone creepy is going to start phoning me at all hours. You’re so inviting. Few readers would probably take the time to call me, but because you are an option, I hear from people more often.

And, I can use you at all times, even at three in the morning when most sane people are asleep. You make it possible to contact people from around the world without figuring out time zones or worrying that you’ll catch someone at a bad time. You also make it possible for me to avoid talking to people when I’m half-asleep or taking a break – I can get back to someone in the morning instead. Which brings me to yet another reason I love you: I can take some time and be thoughtful about my replies. I don’t have to give an answer immediate like when I’m on the phone. I can think about my answer to someone and even read over my reply before hitting the sent button. As someone with constant foot-in-mouth syndrome, you’re a godsend.

I would say “never change,” but every time you do, you only get better and easier for me to use. So please, continue to change, to evolve, to make my life better. I will continue to love you.

Always yours,


In all seriousness, we do spend a lot of time complaining about email – but think of how hard it would be to be a blogger without email! This post was inspired by Deb’s recent status update on the BlogWorld Facebook page (and my unapologetic hatred of unnecessary phone calls).

A Word About Blog Email Management


Of course, you know that I’m going to have more than a word about anything…but today, I just wanted to do a quick post on something that really bothers me – and hopefully, you’ll weigh in with your experiences and opinions.

I’ve often emailed another blogger and never received a reply. It’s a pet peeve of mine for a number of reasons:

  • I’m a blogger myself. I’m pretty good at estimating the number of emails you get, based on the popularity of your blog
  • I’ve taken the time to put thought into emailing you, often with an idea or suggestion that can help you. You can at least take five seconds acknowledge me.
  • Often, I’m waiting for your reply because it affects something in my life, like a blog post I want to write or a project I’m working on for a client.

The main reason bloggers give for not replying to emails is this: “It’s just not scalable for me to reply to every email.” I see your argument and raise you a hearty, “You’re an idiot.” Here’s why:

  1. As a blogger, replying to emails is part of your job description. I mean, if you care about your community, that is. I don’t expect to receive a reply from you within the hour, but I do expect that if you “blog for a living” you answer your emails within three or four business days – or at least provide an automated email reply that tells me when I can expect to hear back.
  2. If you’ve reached the blogging popularity level where you’re receiving too many emails on a daily basis to keep up and also write posts, then you’re also at the level where you should be able to afford a virtual assistant to help you manage your inbox. If you can’t afford that, something is terribly awry. Namely, you’re not doing a good job with monetization. Don’t want to monetize? Hey, more power to you. But just because you say, “I don’t want to make money with my blog” doesn’t mean that you are justified in being cheap. As your blog gets more popular, you have to spend more money on it if you want it to grow, whether you’re making money or not.
  3. Bloggers who get an abnormally high volume of email often have one simple problem: they don’t address questions on their blog at all. On your contact page, you should have a short list of FAQs that people can read before emailing you. Adding that is guaranteed to cut your emails down significantly. If you’re too lazy to create an FAQ page, don’t complain that your email isn’t scalable.
  4. Every email matters. Something that bugs me more than anything else are bloggers who only respond to names they recognize, even though small-name bloggers or readers without blogs may send more thoughtful, interesting emails. I get it – your blog is a business and you need to make wise decisions about how to spend your time. It’s just funny how you forget how it feels to be “the little guy” when more popular bloggers are suddenly noticing you. You have the power to be someone’s break, just like certain people helped you when you were first getting started.
  5. Don’t confuse scalability with laziness. I know some bloggers who say that email isn’t scalable anymore, but turn around and preach how blogging is such an awesome job because they only have to work five or six hours per say. That means it isn’t that you don’t have time to answer emails. You just don’t want to. It goes back to my first point – email is part of a blogger’s job description.

I’m guilty of allowing emails to slip through the cracks. Sometimes, an email requires some thought before responding, and then it gets lost in the shuffle. I try not to let that happen.

I don’t always reply if the email is a comment that doesn’t necessitate a reply. I like to at least respond with “thanks for reading,” but it isn’t a top priority for me because I know the person isn’t waiting for a response.

I also don’t always reply if the person clearly hasn’t read my site and is so off-base that the email is comical. For example, I once got an email from someone asking to guest post on my video game blog about horse racing. 1) Obviously, they hadn’t even looked at the site to know that “gaming” did not mean casinos/betting. 2) Obviously, they had not read our clearly-marked guest post page which gave directions for submissions, along with an email address (not mine) where submissions should be sent. But even then, it really only takes one second to reply with “no thank you” or a link to the submission page. It has to be a really bad or rude email for me not to reply at all.

Important to also note is that I know that in the middle of a project or exchange of ideas, people sometimes need to put something on a back burner. I might say to someone, “Let me put it on the back burner, I’ll get back to you when I have time” – and I don’t even mind when I haven’t heard from someone I’m working with for a week or so, because I know people get busy. As long as they’ve acknowledged the initial email, so I at least know whether they’re interested or not, that’s all I ask.

Of course, writing this post is dangerous, because I know that I’ve missed emails, avoided my inbox when I wanted to do something else, etc. I’ve been a jerk. No one is perfect. But I think we all need to work toward being better at it.

I’m interested in your thoughts on email management. What are your biggest pet peeves? What are your least favorite email-related tasks? How do you feel about email scalability?

Learn About NMX


Recent Comments