Author: Liz Willits

How to Get Your First 50 Email Subscribers in Less Than 30 Days

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

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

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

 

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

The Super Simple Way to Acquire Your First 50 Subscribers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Who should I message?

There are so many options!

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

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

Don’t forget: Keep your audience in mind.

Hold up! Follow these best practices

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

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

Don’t put this off. Start reaching out TODAY

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

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

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

 

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

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We Added 2 New Emails to Our Blog Series — and Increased Clicks by 630%

You’ve probably read about email segmentation. In fact, pro email marketers recommend it all the time.

But is it really worth the work? After all, segmentation takes effort. It’s much easier to simply blast your list with a generic email.

To find out, we decided to put segmentation to the test.

We updated our blog’s email automation series. The goal? To ask each subscriber what content they wanted in their inbox, and email them segmented content based off their choice.

We got some pretty crazy results — like an email click-through rate 630% above our average.

Here’s how we did it …

How we redesigned our blog welcome series to collect subscribers’ preferences

When people subscribe to our blog newsletter, they receive a weekly email with our latest and best blog content. We also send them an automation series right after they subscribe.

This series is our way of welcoming subscribers to our email list. We explain how often we’ll send them emails and what kind of content they’ll get. Then, we give them an actual glimpse into how awesome our content is by emailing them our best content –– like our top blog posts and our best free courses.

But something was missing from the series …

We didn’t know what topics our audience was most interested in learning about, and we had no way of segmenting our audience based off their individual learning interests.

This info was important for two reasons:

  1. Knowing what the majority of our audience wanted to learn about would help us write the right content for our audience. If most people were interested in automation, then we should be writing more posts about automation!
  2. Knowing more about each individual subscriber would help us send more relevant content. Instead of sending every subscriber the same blog post, we could send blog posts to subscribers based off their interests.

That’s why we redesigned our blog series. In the redesigned series, we asked subscribers what they wanted to learn about. All they needed to do was click a link. With a simple click, they could tell us what they wanted to learn about.

There are 6 email marketing topics our audience typically asks questions about. We made these 6 topics the options a subscriber could choose from. They could decide to learn about how to:

  • Grow their email list
  • Automate their email marketing
  • Create and send emails
  • Design emails
  • Make money with email marketing
  • Improve their open and click-through rates

Or, they could choose to learn about everything!

To gather our subscribers preferences, we added this simple email to our blog welcome series:

When a subscriber clicks on one of the links, they get access to a landing page where they can download the free guide we promise in the email. On that page, we also share some of our most popular blog posts in their chosen category.

But behind the scenes, even more is going on! Using AWeber’s Click Automations, we automatically tag subscribers with a label that matches their choice when they click on one of the options. For example, if a subscriber clicks “Grow my email list,” they receive a “grow email list” tag.

Using AWeber and tags, we can build segments of subscribers who have a particular tag, and then send one-time emails or automation series to that segment. This gives us the ability to do some pretty powerful things.

Let’s say we wanted to share our latest post on increasing email open rates. Instead of blasting our entire list, we could send that post specifically to people who told us they wanted to improve their open and click-through rates. By segmenting our audience in this way, we hypothesized that we’d get better open and click-through rates.

But there was one flaw with our method. Not everyone opens an email. Even fewer people click on it. Our new email would only collect the preferences of subscribers who chose to engage with it. This meant that we wouldn’t be able to collect the interests of everybody on our list.

That’s why we added a second, similar email at the end of our welcome series:

This email gave subscribers who didn’t click on the first email another chance to share their preferences. By adding it to our series, we were able to encourage even more people to tell us what they’d like to learn about. And the best part? Using segmentation and automation, we only sent this email to people who didn’t open or click the other email asking for their preferences.

Here’s how we structured the redesigned series:

Email 1: Welcome to the AWeber blog newsletter!

  • Goal: Welcome subscribers to our list, tell them how frequently we’d send emails, deliver our incentive, and ask them to whitelist us.
  • Delivery time: Immediately after subscribing
  • Audience: All subscribers

Email 2: Share your interests and we’ll send a free guide

  • Goal: Encourage subscribers to share what they’d like to learn about email marketing by clicking on a link in the email
  • Delivery time: 1 day after email 1
  • Audience: All subscribers

Email 3: Explore the best email marketing content

  • Goal: Share our best blog content with our audience and get them excited about being a subscriber
  • Delivery time: 1 day after email 2
  • Audience: all subscribers

Email 4: Get 45+ email copy templates and master your content

  • Goal: Delight our subscribers with even more educational and free content –– our “What to Write in Your Emails” course.
  • Delivery time: 1 day after email 3
  • Audience: All subscribers

Email 5: Would you like another free guide?

  • Goal: To encourage more subscribers to click on a category and tell us what they’re interested in.
  • Delivery time: One day after email 4
  • Audience: Subscribers who didn’t click on a category in email 2

To get a visual picture of the original series versus the new series, here’s an automation map of the original:

And here’s the automation map for the updated series:

In the updated series, there are 7 content categories subscribers can choose from. However, we only use 6 tags in our series. That’s because the final option is to “Learn it all!” If a subscriber clicks this, they are tagged with all 6 tags, rather than a 7th separate tag.

Pro tip: Instead of sending people to a landing page when they click on a Click Automation, you can send them to a hosted form that says something like “Thanks for sharing your preferences! We’ve updated your info.” This can be easier than creating a landing page.

But we still had a problem … what about our current subscribers?!

When we updated our welcome automation series to include these 2 new emails, we already had thousands of subscribers on our blog newsletter list. And since this series was only for new subscribers, current subscribers didn’t receive it. Which meant that we wouldn’t find out the interests of our current subscribers through this series.

So we decided to send all of our current subscribers a one-time broadcast email to ask them the same question.

This email functioned in the same way as the 2 emails we added to our automation series. When a subscriber clicked on one of the options, they received a tag that matched their choice. The email content is nearly identical to the ones we added to our automation series:

After sending it, thousands of our current subscribers clicked on an option to tell us what they’d like to learn about.

40% of them clicked “I want to do it all!” The second most popular choice was “Grow my email list,” with 21% of people clicking this option.

We chose the most popular category and gave subscribers a cool freebie.

Since the majority of our subscribers said they wanted to learn about list growth, we decided to email them our free course “Email List Growth Blueprint.”

And we saw phenomenal results. Our open rate for this email was 118% higher than our average open rate for this list. Our click-through rate was an astounding 630% higher than our average click-through rate. 😱

This record-breaking engagement is thanks to the power of segmentation and sending the right content to the right people.

Theory proved: Segmentation works.

Skyrocket your engagement! Try this out yourself.

Want to do something similar on your own email lists? Simply follow these steps:

  1. Write 1 or 2 emails and add them to your automation series
  2. Add a question and answers to your new emails.
  3. Add hyperlinks to your answers. You can link off  to a hosted sign up form or landing pages
  4. Use AWeber’s Click Automations to tag subscribers based off the link they click. The options you give subscribers don’t need to be about their content preferences! You could ask subscribers for their skill level at a certain task, what products they’re interested in, or anything that helps you send more targeted content!
  5. Send relevant one-time and automated emails to your subscribers using AWeber’s tags to build your segments.

Need help setting this up? Call, chat, or email us. We’d love to walk you through it!

Want to try this, but don’t have AWeber? Get a free account for 30 days and test it out.

The post We Added 2 New Emails to Our Blog Series — and Increased Clicks by 630% appeared first on Email Marketing Tips.

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Don’t Crash and Burn! Here Are 3 Ways to Test Your Emails before Hitting ‘Send’

Remember that cringe-worthy moment when Steve Harvey read the wrong name for the winner of Miss Universe?

via GIPHY

via GIPHY

Don’t be like Steve. Avoid mistakes in front of a large audience by doing a test run.

Before mailing a message to your list, “test” it by following the tips below. They’ll help you dodge unnecessary mistakes, which can make you look unprofessional and sloppy. After all, one bad experience may be enough to turn a subscriber away for good.

(And if you do accidentally pull a Steve Harvey and mess up? Here’s how to send an apology email.)

Two types of mistakes

There are two types of mistakes we see in emails.

  1. Human errors:  missing words, typos, wrong dates, broken links, or outdated info 
  2. Display errors: differences in message appearance across email clients

Luckily, both types can be avoided.

How to avoid human errors

Let’s say you send an email promoting your new product.

The open rate is amazing: More than 60% of your subscribers opened the email!

The click-through rate is far above what you expected: More than 30% of people who opened the link clicked through to see your product!

You start celebrating . . . until replies from your subscribers start rolling in. 

“The link doesn’t work.”

“Bad link.”

“You included the wrong link.”

“I can’t find the landing page!”

“I wanted to buy it, but when I clicked, it showed an error message.”

You forgot to update your email with the new product link. 

You quickly send out another email with the correct link. By now, though, you’ve probably lost a large portion of subscribers who clicked through on your first email. Once the link didn’t work, they moved on, taking their potential sale with them.

Chances are, they may not come back.

We wish this was a fake scenario, but we see it happen all the time. In fact, here are a handful we’ve received over the past few weeks.

wrong link subject line

j crew mistake email

west elm mistake subject line

That’s why we have a pre-flight checklist at AWeber. Make sure you run through it before you hit send. It’s an additional step, but the payoff is huge to avoid mistakes like these. 

(Sign up for a FREE 30-day trial with AWeber. You can test out our easy-to-use drag-and-drop message editor and first-class deliverability.)

You pre-flight checklist

  • Are there any typos or missing words?

    • Read the text in reverse — from end to beginning — to catch typos. It won’t make any sense, but that’s the point! It forces you to concentrate on every word instead of skimming through the sentences.
    • Walk away from your email for an hour or two. When you come back, you will see your content with “fresh eyes.”
    • Don’t have time to walk away for an hour or more? Read it aloud.
    • Print it out! It’s easier to catch mistakes when the words are physically in front of you as opposed to on a screen.
  • Is your grammar and punctuation correct?
    • Use a free tool — like Grammarly — to check your syntax.
    • Check every single period, comma, or punctuation mark.
    • Read each sentence slowly and carefully on its own. It’s simple: Turn the text into individual sentences by pressing the return key after every period. (If you’re working on a printout, put another piece of paper over the following sentence.) Then, read the sentence all by itself — looking for errors.
  • Do all the links work and take subscribers to the correct page?
    • Click every single link.
    • Double check tracking codes are in place if you want to track engagement through your links.
  • Did you include alt-text for your images?
    • Alternative text appears in the place of an image. Many email services will disable images in messages, and some users turn them off all together. Alt-text allows the user to understand what was meant to be there. It’s also helpful for any of your subscribers that may be visually impaired.
  • Is the content clear and easily understood?
    • Send a test email to a couple people you trust and who aren’t afraid to give you an honest critique. They offer a fresh pair of eyes that may catch something you didn’t.
    • Does something need to be explained in layman’s terms?
    • Make sure there is one clear call-to-action that the reader should take (whether it takes them to a purchasing page, a blog post, a registration page, etc).

Not even sure what to write in your emails? No problem. This is one of the most common problems we come across among email marketers. That’s why we put together this FREE What to Write Course. Sign up, and get 45+ downloadable content templates to get you started.

How to avoid display errors

In a perfect world, all email services would display emails the same way. There would be no default setting to block images, or funky changes to the color of your text. You wouldn’t have to worry about your email content getting clipped (we’re looking at you, Hotmail and Gmail).

But email services don’t display all emails the same way. ☹️

As a result, we must make sure our emails display correctly for all of our subscribers — regardless of where they choose to host their inbox.

The best way to do so? By testing them first.

Test your emails before sending

Previewing your emails before sending them to your list allows you to view your email from your subscriber’s perspective: in an inbox similar to theirs from your desktop or mobile device.

However, simply sending a test version of an email to yourself and viewing it in your favorite email account won’t cut it.

Why’s that? Because different email clients render (a.k.a. display) emails differently. Which means if you only view your email in one email client before sending, you don’t know how that email will display for subscribers that open it in a different email client.

For example, if you view an email on your iPhone with Yahoo Mail app and view it again on your Mac with Apple Mail, you’ll probably notice some rendering differences. If an email hasn’t been tested before being sent, those rendering differences may translate to a cut-off image, misplaced text or worse. And that’s a big turnoff for your subscribers.

How can you avoid rendering issues? Here are two email testing methods I recommend:

1. Create different email addresses and send emails to yourself.

Managing a variety of email addresses may not sound appealing, but it’s a good (and free!) way to check how your subscribers will see your emails in their inbox.

When using this method to test your emails, it’s important to view your emails in a variety of email clients. Because as I mentioned before, emails render differently depending on where they’re opened — whether that’s with Gmail or Yahoo, on an iPhone or Android, or in a web browser or desktop application.

There are an overwhelming number of email testing scenarios. An email viewed on an iPhone with the Yahoo app. An email viewed on a PC with Outlook. Viewed in a web browser with Gmail. And on and on it goes.

Managing all those accounts and apps will become unwieldy fast. And who has time for that?

To avoid this time-consuming issue, you might want to focus your testing on the most-used email clients. Although you won’t be previewing your emails for every possible email viewing scenario, you’ll (most likely) test for the majority while avoiding killing your time with testing.

Which email clients are most popular? Here are the top 10 as of March 2018:

  1. Apple iPhone (28%)
  2. Gmail (22%)
  3. Apple iPad (10%)
  4. Apple Mail (8%)
  5. Outlook (7%)
  6. Samsung Mail (4%)
  7. Outlook.com (4%)
  8. Yahoo! Mail (3%)
  9. Google Android (3%)
  10. Windows Live Mail (1%)

source:http://emailclientmarketshare.com/

Takeaway: Create an email address/account for the top email clients listed above.

Fair warning: These stats aren’t necessarily true for your unique email audience. Which means you might be testing for what you think is the majority while it’s actually the minority. You may want to survey your audience to find out what email service they use.

2. Use a third-party tool to test and preview your emails across different clients.

While a great start, the first testing method — creating email addresses for the top email clients — can be inaccurate if you send a ton of email. And although it saves you a bit of time, it’s still extra work for you.

You can also try a paid email testing service. With a testing service, you can see at a glance how your email will render across numerous email clients and devices all at once.

At AWeber, we use Litmus to test our emails. In the below screenshot, you can see how Litmus helps us preview our emails on multiple clients in minutes. (In this instance, we were previewing an email for our customers to promote our new app, Curate.)

litmus-emailclients

Although Litmus is a good fit for us, you might like another service better like Email on Acid and Previewmyemail.

Want an email service provider that can help you send awesome emails? Try a free 30-day trial with AWeber today. Our drag-and-drop message editor is easy-to-use and our deliverability is the best in the industry. (That means your emails make it into your subscribers’ inbox, not their spam folders.)

 

The post Don’t Crash and Burn! Here Are 3 Ways to Test Your Emails before Hitting ‘Send’ appeared first on Email Marketing Tips.

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