Author: Lauren Willard

6 Uncommon Tips to Have Your Most Productive Day Ever

Don’t have enough time to write emails every week? Too busy to regularly clean your subscriber list?

You’re not alone. In our 2018 subscriber survey, our audience cited a lack of time as their biggest challenge.

So we searched far and wide for uncommon productivity tips to help you take back your time.

With these 6 unique tips from experts across the world, you’ll have your most productive day ever.

6 uncommon productivity tips

Productivity tip #1: Write a “not-to-do” list.

Financial expert and investor Warren Buffett swears by the “not-to-do” list. He says that this exercise helps separate extraordinarily successful people from the average person.

First, start off with a list of 25 goals you want to achieve and circle the 5 tasks that are most important to you. Tackle these first 5 items on your list, avoiding numbers 6 to 25. These uncircled goals are the distractions that stop you from making the most of your time. They now become your “not-to-do” list! Don’t give any attention to these tasks until you complete your first 5.

Related: 8 Top Brainstorming Techniques to Help You Write Killer Emails

Productivity tip #2. Take a break.

In order to get more done, you might log out of Facebook or Twitter. But according to Ron Friedman, Ph.D. and award-winning psychologist, it’s important to incorporate 15-minute breaks into your busy workload. They’ll refresh you so you’re ready to get down to business.

Instead, budget a mid-morning and a mid-afternoon break for amusing distractions like social media or television. It’s actually proven that social media can decrease stress throughout your day. Microsoft conducted a study which found that employees were more productive after being allowed to check their Facebook feeds while at work.

Related: 12 Questions with the Social Media Experts at Sendible

Productivity tip #3. Work in sprints, not marathons.

Time management expert, Francesco Cirillo, both created and uses the Pomodoro Technique on a daily basis.

The Pomodoro Technique lets you reward your hard work with timed breaks. Rather than working against the clock to meet deadlines, you work with the clock to get things done.

The technique suggests working in 25-minute stretches or “sprints,” each followed by a short 5-minute break. After 4 of those 25-minute stretches, you get to take one long 15-minute break. It allows you to come back to your work after each break refreshed and ready to tackle the next task at hand.

So it looks like this:

25-minute work sprint, followed by a 5-minute break.

25-minute work sprint, followed by a 5-minute break.

25-minute work sprint, followed by a 5-minute break.

25-minute work sprint, followed by a 15-minute break.

Repeat.

Know when it’s time to give it a rest by using the Tomato Timer, which helps you apply the Pomodoro technique. It’s a stopwatch that will track your 25-minute work increments as well as your 5-minute and 15-minute breaks.

Productivity tip #4. Accomplish your least favorite task, first.

Mark Twain once said “Eat a live frog first thing in the morning, and nothing worse will happen to you for the rest of the day.” Everyone has their daily dreaded task (a.k.a their “frog”). Maybe it’s the email you don’t feel like drafting or research you’re not in the mood to do.

Top-selling author Brian Tracy used Mark Twain’s quote as the basis for his productivity book, Eat That Frog. In the book, Tracy argues that you should do your most difficult task first every single day because it’s easier to avoid procrastination if you complete your most difficult task first.

Productivity tip #5. Don’t multitask.

Cramming your schedule full of too many tasks can leave you overwhelmed. And trying to multitask to get everything done can lead to mistakes and wasted time.

Earl Miller, a professor of neuroscience at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, says that multitasking decreases your productivity. The human mind can only hold small amounts of information at a time. When you rapidly switch from one task to another, your brain uses up a lot of mental energy trying to keep up. This can cause you to lose time since you’re more likely to make mistakes.

Instead of multitasking, focus on one task at a time. Once you complete it, move on to your next one.

Productivity tip #6. Think like a millionaire.

Bestselling author Thomas Corley conducted a 5-year study of 177 self-made millionaires. His findings?

That 50% of those within the study all woke up 3 hours before the start of their workday. Since most people are not awake yet, these early morning hours are rarely disrupted by distractions. Try it for yourself: You can use that additional time for many things — like working out, creating your goals for the day, or finally starting that email campaign you’ve been putting off. Start tomorrow, maybe you’ll be included in Corley’s next study of self-made millionaires.

Related: Overwhelmed by Automation? Wait Until You Try This Simple Tool

Put these tips to the test.

Ready to see how productive you can be? Follow these 6 simple steps to take back your day,and make the most of your time.

To save even more time, download our FREE “What to Write in Your Emails” course. You’ll get 45+ fill-in-the-blank email templates to write emails in minutes. 

The post 6 Uncommon Tips to Have Your Most Productive Day Ever appeared first on Email Marketing Tips.

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The Ugly Truth about Buying Email Lists

purchased email lists

You want peace of mind when sending your messages to your subscribers.

Here at AWeber, we have a group of trained specialists on our Best Practices team that monitors your email deliverability 24/7. Our Best Practices team ensures AWeber provides you the highest deliverability rates in the email marketing industry. We help you make it into the inbox, and not the spam folder.

That means our Best Practices team is on the lookout for AWeber customers importing or sending messages to purchased email lists. Purchased lists are directly against AWeber’s Terms of Service and can result in a closure of your account.

And they come with big problems: Sending messages to a purchased email list can cause significant damage to your marketing initiatives, hurt your chances of making it into the inbox, and ruin all of your hard work, according to Karen Balle, AWeber’s Director of Deliverability.

Plus, penalties for sending unsolicited email to a purchased list could range anywhere from hefty fines to even jail time, depending on your country’s anti-spam laws.

Here’s everything you need to know about buying an email list.

(Create an account with an email service provider you can trust. AWeber was the first company to bring email automation to the market. Over the past two decades, we’ve reinvented our product to help people like you connect with your audience in remarkable ways.)

Why you should never buy an email list

Our Best Practices team doesn’t only catch bad actors using purchased lists — even well-intentioned businesses can fall into the trap of buying email lists. After all, a purchased list sounds like a great idea in theory: You can start marketing your product or service right away to a list of subscribers, instead of having to grow your list from scratch.

Some companies make money by offering new email marketers a “shortcut” to building their email lists. So they compile email address lists and advertise them as:

  • “Targeted”
  • “Opt-in”
  • “Verified”
  • “Clean” (a clue that purchasing lists is inherently dirty)
  • “Real Time”

Here are some examples:

company selling purchased email list

When buying a list of email addresses, you don’t have proof of who else may have also purchased those addresses, what list those subscribers signed up for originally, or the date those subscribers signed up. While the company selling the list may say it’s “Opt-In” or “Verified,” you have no idea what content they first signed up for.

For instance, your purchased list may claim to have opted-in for your gardening tips. In reality, however, those email addresses signed up for sports news and updates.

The result: The subscribers on your purchased list have no interest in your gardening content. They never open your messages, or, worse, they mark your messages as spam.

When you send messages to a purchased email list, you don’t have explicit opt-in to be emailing those subscribers. Explicit opt-in — meaning subscribers actively and knowingly gave you permission to email them (i.e. filling out a sign up form on your website) — is required for a quality list, says AWeber’s Best Practices Manager, Josh Smith. “If you don’t have explicit opt-in, you are bound to have problems,” he explains.

(You’ll need to prove opt-in under the new GDPR law. For more information, check out Your GDPR + Email Marketing Playbook.)

And fair warning: Confirmation does not equal permission.

The confirmation message is one of the first emails you send to subscribers when they are added to your mailing list. In it, a subscriber can click on a link to confirm that they requested information from you.

However, you can’t just send a confirmation message to a purchased list — because they never gave you permission to email them in the first place. They never requested to be on your email list. Confirmation can only be used as a second step in order to build a more engaged list.

The unintended consequences of buying email lists

Most subscribers know if they have requested specific information from you or not. Sending unsolicited information to subscribers who did not request it can be damaging to your business and your deliverability.

Internet Service Providers (ISPs) — like Gmail, Hotmail, or Yahoo! — track if a subscriber opens an email, clicks a link, or reports a message as spam in their inbox.

If the engagement is good — meaning, a subscriber constantly opens your messages, forwards them, or clicks the links inside — this tells the ISP to route future emails straight to the inbox.

However, if a subscriber is unengaged, then an ISP will route your emails to the spam folder. And if a large portion of your subscribers are unengaged — which will most likely with a purchased list — it can hurt your sending reputation. All of your messages may end up in the spam folder whether a subscriber wants to read your emails or not.

The CAN-SPAM Act and buying email lists

The CAN-SPAM Act is a United States law that regulates commercial email. While it doesn’t actually prohibit someone from buying and selling email addresses, it does prohibit sending bulk unsolicited emails. And if you’re sending to a purchased email list, that’s exactly what you’re doing. You would be in violation of the law.

Grow your list in other ways

There are other great ways to grow your list that don’t involve buying email addresses.

 

Want to learn more about growing an email list filled with quality and interested email subscribers? Download your free Ultimate Guide to Email Marketing!

This post was updated on August 22, 2018.

The post The Ugly Truth about Buying Email Lists appeared first on Email Marketing Tips.

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The Easiest Way to Skyrocket Your Open Rates

email preheader

Less than three seconds.

That’s the average amount of time you have to capture a subscriber’s attention in his or her crowded inbox, according to a study from marketing company Movable Ink. Talk about a short window.

So what’s an easy way to make an impact and stand out? Include an email preheader in each message you send. 

What Is an Email Preheader?

When viewing a message in your inbox, an email preheader — also known as the Johnson Box or preview text — is a snippet of text shown next to or underneath the subject line.

Typically, they are 50 to 100 characters or about 6 to 11 words. But they may display differently depending on which device or which Internet Service Provider (ISP) like Gmail or Yahoo! they are opened on. Below you can see an email preheader on a desktop inbox, and another email preheader on a mobile inbox. 

email preheader

Why is an email preheader important?

When written well, an email preheader is a powerful tool to improve your engagement. 

Unfortunately, though, many email marketers don’t take advantage of the preheader. They spend lots of time crafting the perfect subject line, but barely think twice about the preheader text. So they leave it blank, or fill it out with some generic information.

In fact, here are a handful of common preheaders I found in my inbox.

“Click here if you are having trouble viewing this message”

“You are part of an email list, you can unsubscribe here

“This message contains images, please enable images”

None of these necessarily make your subscriber want to scream ” I have to open this message!” So what kind of preheader will make your subscriber click open?

4 Ways to Write an Effective Email Preheader

Below are four ways to write an email preheader that will skyrocket your open rates. 

#1: Sum up the content inside

Add more context to your subject line with your preheader text. In it, give a short summary of what the reader can expect to find inside the message. This may further entice your subscriber to click on the message so they can read the full content.

Example: Google Home

Subject line: Lauren, welcome to your Google Home Mini

Email preheader: 3 ways to get the most out of your new Mini

#2: Request an action

Use the email preheader to make your readers take an action. Tell them what you want them to do!

Do you want them to open the message? Do you want them to click on a link? Fill out your survey? Let them know what you want them to do and why you want them to do it.

Example: Ulta Beauty

Subject Line: Take a look at your ultimate rewards statement, Lauren!

Email preheader: Check out these beautiful offers, too. Open to see all the ways beauty loves you back!

#3: Use FOMO

The “fear of missing out” or FOMO is a powerful pscyhological trigger. If you want a subscriber to take advantage of a special offer or deal — such as free shipping or a discount code — tell them about it in the preheader. They’ll be tempted to open right away if they know the offer is exclusive or a limited-time.

And you want them to open right away! Chances are, if they don’t open when they see the message for the first time, they won’t come back the next day or next week to do it. 

Example: Michaels Craft Store

Subject line: Last Day: Summer Cyber Sale! An Online Bonus Coupon and Free Shipping, no minimum

Email preheader: Drop-What-You’re-Doing Doorbusters and Deals. Don’t miss out!

#4: Get creative

Your subscribers want to do business with people they know, like, and trust — as opposed to a large faceless corporation. Humanize your preheader text to increase connection and engagement with your subscriber. Use the small block of text to show your company is likeable and relatable, and your subscribers will be more likely to open the message.

Example: PECO

Subject line: PECO can help you keep cool for less this summer

Email preheader: Rising temperatures make it harder to stay cool and comfortable inside. But don’t sweat it!

How to add a preheader in AWeber

With recent updates to AWeber’s Drag and Drop Email Builder, adding an email preheader to your message is now easier than ever! All it takes is just the click of a single button.

aweber drag and drop email builder

From within the message editor directly under “message properties”, you can simply add the text you wish to display with your subject line when the message is sent.

email preheader text

If you want to personalize your email preheader for your subscriber to include their name, email address, or any other of their subscriber information, you can do so as well! You can accomplish this using personalization snippets within the ‘message preheader’ text box directly.

personalized email preheader

Ready to write fantastic email preheaders that grab a subscriber’s attention in less than three seconds? Then create your FREE AWeber account today. 

The post The Easiest Way to Skyrocket Your Open Rates appeared first on Email Marketing Tips.

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