Category: Email Marketing

Learn from the Masters! 16 Successful Entrepreneurs Share Their #1 Email Tip

best email marketing tips

Almost 150,000 emails are sent every minute. Talk about steep competition in the inbox.

But there are certain marketers whose messages rise above the rest. They’re the ones with amazing open and click-through rates, ever-growing email lists, and ridiculously high ROI (return on investment).

So how do they do it? To find out, we reached out to some of the most successful email marketers in the world to get their greatest tips.

(Join hundreds of other entrepreneurs inside 24/7 Email Marketing Master Class. It’s the complete course for creating a powerful, profitable email strategy that gets results around-the-clock.)

1. John Corcoran, Rise25

John Corcoran, of Rise25, calls email his “number one priority” for communicating with and capturing prospects to his email list. His business helps conference organizers, coaches, consultants, and software companies increase engagement and add new revenue streams by holding small group events for their high-value attendees.

“Use webinars to grow your list. We’ve done over 300+ webinars in our business, and it’s the most effective tool I know of to capture leads and build a list of prospects. We’ve done webinars which have helped us to add as many as 3,000 new leads just from one webinar. It’s far more effective than nearly anything else I know.” – John Corcoran

2. Shane and Jocelyn Sams, Flipped Lifestyle

After years of job losses, bad bosses, and daycare problems, former school teachers Shane and Jocelyn Sams finally started their own online business, which allowed the husband and wife to replace their income and quit their full-time jobs.

Now, they help other people do the same at FlippedLifestyle.com. The Flip Your Life Blueprint helps other families become self-sufficient, and spend less time worrying about money and more time together. For six years, email has been the driving force behind their online business.

“The best thing you can do to make more money is email your list every day. Completely lose the fear of how often you email your list. Your goal is to find the red hot center of your email list, the people who want to open every email, who want to click every link — because those are the exact people who will buy everything you sell! When we started emailing our lists every single day, our open rates actually increased and we doubled monthly revenue in 60 days.” – Shane Sams

3. Steve Chou, My Wife Quit Her Job LLC

For nine years, Steve Chou has been using email to turn prospects into paying customers, both for digital products at MyWifeQuitHerJob.com and physical products at BumbleBee Linens.

Visitors aren’t always ready to purchase the first time they hit the site, Chou learned, so it’s vital to give them ample opportunities to visit again and again. That means deliverability must be one of your main priorities.

“Run all of your emails through a tool like mail-tester or GlockApps to test your email for deliverability. Sometimes innocuous trigger words or incorrect email formatting can adversely affect the number of inboxes you can reach.” – Steve Chou

4. Henneke Duistermaat, Enchanting Marketing

In 2012, Henneke Duistermaat founded Enchanting Marketing. Her business helps brands and entrepreneurs find their own voice so they can confidently share their ideas and sell their services to their audience.

Since then, Henneke has relied on email as the main channel to engage and interact with her audience, promote her blog posts, and sell her writing courses and books. She is constantly providing value to her readers so they keep coming back for more.

“The best thing I’ve done is turn my downloadable e-book into a “snackable” writing course. This course is a welcome series for new subscribers. Each email features one writing tip that readers can implement straightway. As I send the emails at a high frequency—initially daily; after the first week, every other day—I can build a relationship with new subscribers. The open rates are between 30 to 50 percent, and even higher for the first couple of emails.” – Henneke Duistermaat

5. Philip Taylor “PT,” FinCon

While FinCon — a business dedicated to helping financial influencers and brands produce better content and expand their reach — is active on all the major social media channels, PT believes that email remains the single best way to connect with his community. It allows him to communicate relevant information — like in-person meetups and annual conference updates — at the right time to interested segments of his audience.

“Test everything. When we first started sending out emails, we had no idea what the right strategy was — how many emails to send out and when, etc. We also had no clue which specific topics surrounding our business our subscribers were interested in. Just within the past two months, we’ve begun utilizing AWeber’s broadcast automations, and we’re starting to organize our tags and segments even more by tracking who is clicking which links.” – PT

6. Steve Gordon, The Unstoppable CEO

Since 2006, Steve Gordon has been using email to power The Unstoppable CEO, which helps business owners “sell” their brand by building marketing systems that position them as experts and trusted authorities.

While advertising, direct mail, podcasts, and other strategies are beneficial as introductions to potential new clients, it’s email that helps him develop a deeper relationship with his potential customers and ultimately advance the sales process.

“For four years, I wrote a daily email to our audience, about 1,000 emails in total. I learned that to quickly write an effective email, you need to write to one person. So, I printed a picture of one of our clients — the one I most wanted to clone. And every day, I looked at that picture and wrote an email to him. It forced me to think about what I could write that would impact this real person that I knew and cared about. Then, I’d remove his name from the top and send it to our list. When I did that, our emails got a lot more effective.” – Steve Gordon

7. Robert C. Brown, Robert C. Brown Online / Oakland Piermont Ltd

For over a decade, Robert C. Brown has used email as a way to share great content on a consistent basis with his audience at Robert C. Brown Online, where he helps clients transform and grow their coaching or consulting businesses.

“I tend to apply the 80/20 Pareto rule to my email: only one in every five emails will contain an outright sales pitch. The rest of the time, I am committed to providing value for free. That’s the way to build long-term trust with your audience and ultimately log repeat customers and clients.” – Robert C. Brown

8. Ella Glasgow, Your Voice Success

Ella Glasgow founded Your Voice Success as a way to help women in business speak with confidence in front of any audience from any stage. For the last five years, Ella’s been using email as a direct communication tool to provide a “personal touch” when a phone call just isn’t possible. So she makes sure those emails are authentic. She wants her clients to know there’s an actual human being behind her messages, helping them find solutions, grow, and learn.

“Speak in your own voice in your emails. Your audience is there because of you — not the person you think you need to pretend to be. Sometimes it can seem that we need to change up the way we ‘speak’ in emails to sound more professional. I find that this takes away from you, and has the potential make you look like a fraud.” – Ella Glasgow

9. Maryn Boess, GrantsMagic U

Back in 1998, Maryn Boess built her first email list to power her nonprofit training business. Then, in 2015, she created GrantsMagic U, an online “school” dedicated to building a virtual community and providing grantwriting training for people in the nonprofit world.

Since then, email marketing has taken on an even more vital role in her business, allowing her to stay in touch with her vast community of almost 4,800 members in 49 states and 18 countries outside the U.S.

“The best tip — and it’s one I’m still working on for sure — is to communicate one-to-one, not one-to-many. I tend to naturally ‘shout’ in my emails, kind of like me standing up in front of a large group and talking to everyone all at the same time. It’s personal, but not really. I know that my best open rates — and the emails that I get feedback on for being the most engaging — are those that come straight from my heart and are written as if to a dear friend.” – Maryn Boess

10. Melanie Rembrandt, Rembrandt Communications, LLC

Melanie Rembrandt considers email marketing a vital tool to the success of Rembrandt Communications, which helps businesses boost sales and awareness through content marketing, SEO copywriting, and public relations. Whether serving as an introduction to a new contact or a complete drip campaign, email has helped build her client base by getting out the right message at the right time.

“Keep your customers top-of-mind and provide them with valuable information. Think about what keeps them up at night, and then, provide a solution. This can be an easy tip sheet, a link to a valuable article, the name of a good referral, and much more. Once you know what your customers want, you can create a blog relative to that issue. Then, send out a link to the blog via email. By giving your customers current and valuable information they will want to share with others, you will create a positive, long-lasting relationship that leads to sales now and in the future.” – Melanie Rembrandt

11. Brian Basilico, B2b Interactive Marketing, Inc.

An award-winning author, speaker, and coach with more than 40 years of marketing experience, Brian Basilico has used email to help drive his business, B2b Interactive Marketing, for over 12 years.

During that time, he’s learned a ton about email as a content distribution platform for his own business. In fact, effective use of email is one way he trains his clients to systematize their marketing efforts online.

“Experiment with different techniques for different audiences and messages. I find plain text works best for general communications since it mimics most email in the inbox. Graphics are effective with content marketing, but keep it simple. Content is king, but consistency is queen — and the queen rules.” – Brian Basilico

12. Karon Thackston, Marketing Words

Karon Thackston considers email an essential part of the Marketing Words promotional plan, giving them a greater ROI than organic search media or paid ads or posts.

One reason? Email allows the company — which develops digital products to train website owners, Amazon sellers, copywriters, and marketing teams on how to create conversion-driven copy — to reach all their followers on one platform on a consistent basis.

“Take advantage of AWeber’s automation features for campaigns. We’ve been gradually merging our lists and inserting tags so we can target messaging to our subscribers with a greater degree of accuracy. When the content of emails is laser focused, readers take notice and respond. This allows us to instantly move customers, insert additional tags based on their interests, and track what works and what doesn’t.” – Karon Thackston

13. Jeremy Ryan Slate, Command Your Brand Media

Jeremy Ryan Slate uses email as a relationship-building tool to drive interest to his business, Command Your Brand Media, which helps entrepreneurs get booked on top-rated podcasts. Using email to foster a connection helps build his credibility as a “teacher” and expert, which makes the audience more receptive to engaging further.

“Share more compelling ‘hero’s journey’ related material [a storytelling structure used in novels and movies that can be applied to your customer case studies]. It helps the reader develop a connection with you. This accomplishes a few things: First, it gives your permission to teach them, and second it allows them to feel like they have been in your shoes.” – Jeremy Ryan Slate

14. Ann Handley, Ann Handley

Author and speaker Ann Handley believes email remains the best vehicle for building a business. That holds true for both her digital marketing company Ann Handley, and at MarketingProfs.com, a marketing training and education company where she is a partner.

Since 2010, Ann has used email as the backbone of her digital marketing strategy, helping her audience gain better understanding of who she is as a person and fostering a deeper connection.

“Email is a two-way street, not a one-way highway. Never ‘blast’ an email. ‘Blast’ is an ugly word that implies aggression. Love your list—don’t antagonize it by ‘blasting’ it. Have fun and be useful. Invite subscribers to reach out. Seek feedback, and ask them questions. Build a community of like-minded people by seeking their input and then—this is the important part — responding.” –Ann Handley

15. Todd Durkin, Fitness Quest 10 and Todd Durkin Enterprises

Email is personal trainer Todd Durkin’s primary way to communicate and connect with his clients at his brick and mortar gym, Fitness Quest 10, when they’re not in session. But it also serves another role as well—to provide the engaging health, workout, and wellness-related content to encourage potential clients to begin their own fitness journey.

Since 2008, email has also been vital to expanding the reach of his company Todd Durkin Enterprises, where he uses public speaking, books, live events, and online coaching to help millions of people find the motivation they need in their own lives.

“Be consistent with your content delivery. Whether it’s once a day, once a week, or once a month, just be consistent. And one thing I always ask myself is, ‘Will this email potentially change someone’s life?’ If so, then it’s a great email and worthy to be sent. If not, then rework it until it resounds with the energy, spirit, and soul needed to transform someone’s life.” –Todd Durkin

16. Mark Asquith, Podcast Websites

As a SaaS business, Podcast Websites — a software platform that helps podcasters create their own content and brand hub — uses email to make sure its members have the best and most personal experience possible, explains Mark Asquith. For the last three years, he’s been gaining vital insights through email campaigns on what his members respond to, and how they interact directly with the business.

“When we first started Podcast Websites, we didn’t realize how much of a pivotal role email marketing plays within a SaaS business. We were simply trying to ‘sell’ the product. The second that we switched our focus to building relationships via email, we noticed a sharp increase in everything from return engagement to physical sales. Email is a very personal medium, and my number one tip is to treat it as such. Build that relationship, be the trusted guide, and build friendships through valuable, engaging content — oh, and ask people to reply to you directly — they so appreciate it!” –Mark Asquith

Looking for an easy-to-use Email Service Provider with world-class deliverability? Then start your free 30-day trial with AWeber today.

The post Learn from the Masters! 16 Successful Entrepreneurs Share Their #1 Email Tip appeared first on Email Marketing Tips.

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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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Is Gmail Sabotaging Your Email Marketing?

Is Gmail sabotaging your email marketing?

It’s easy to fear the worst when Gmail makes updates to the way subscribers receive and interact with your messages. (Remember the “dreaded” Promotions tab?! The horror!😱 )

So, when Gmail recently announced that they’re rolling out new changes — like the option for people to “snooze” emails and the ability for their interface to “suggest unsubscribes” — marketers everywhere started flipping out.

Alarms were sounded. Panic buttons were pushed. People proclaimed email marketing “dead” for the 9384759th time.

But when I sat down and actually dissected four of the important Gmail updates, I saw a very different picture. These new features shouldn’t be feared. In fact, they’ll actually help your long-term email strategy — not sabotage it. Let’s review them together and see how they work in your favor.

Google introduced a new side panel

Google's new side panel.

Image Source: Google

What is it?

In the new update, Gmail is integrating a side panel that allows users to easily access their Google Calendar, Tasks, and Google Keep content (Keep is an easy way to capture notes and lists.) You can also add other apps, like Asana or Trello. By dragging and dropping an email into Google Tasks, you can easily create a to-do item from an email message.

How does this impact your email marketing?

Google has said their recent updates will help users “do more without leaving the inbox.”

The introduction of the side panel is likely to be a huge win for marketers, as your subscribers will be spending more time in Gmail, rather than split their time browsing different tabs. This could mean that your emails are more likely to be noticed, and earlier.

Here are a few things your subscribers can now do easily:

  • Receive an event or webinar invitation, or time-sensitive email from you and immediately check their calendar availability without ever leaving the inbox. If there’s an opening, they’re more likely to confidently opt-in to your invitation and note the date and time in their calendar.
  • Receive a product offer or very important email that they wish to follow up on at a later date. Your subscribers can now drag that email into Tasks to create a to-do item to buy your product, engage with your service, or simply follow up.
  • Take notes! You subscribers can use Google Keep to take notes and jot down insights from the content of your emails, without ever leaving the message.

Google could give your message a “nudge”

Google's new nudge feature.

Image Source: Google

What is it?

In this new suite of changes, Google has introduced an AI-powered “nudge” feature that might bump old emails back to the top of the inbox. Using artificial intelligence, Google can detect emails that are likely to require a response or follow up and push them to the attention of the users after some time has passed.

How does this impact your email marketing?

Ever send an awesome email to your subscribers asking a question, soliciting feedback, or inviting them to attend an event? Then… crickets.

This feature has the potential to bubble your emails back up, and possibly at the most appropriate time. We don’t have access to the exact algorithm Google is using to control this feature — how it knows when to “nudge” an email — but because Google has stated that their intent is to prevent things from “slipping through the cracks,” it’s likely that your engaged subscribers might get a “nudged” message when the content is time-sensitive and important.

Subscribers can “snooze” your emails

Google's snooze feature.

Image Source: Google

What is it?

Nudging is awesome, but it’s controlled by Google’s artificial intelligence, not your actual subscribers.

Within the new interface, Gmail users can optionally “snooze” your emails. This has been a popular feature with Google’s Inbox mobile app, as well as third party tools like Boomerang. Snoozing simply means that the email will no longer be in the inbox, and will re-appear at a time of your choice. This could be later within the same day, or possibly even a week.

How does this impact your email marketing?

It might feel like snoozing is a bad feature for marketers, possibly decreasing your open and click rates immediately after a send, or the same day. But it may actually be a great feature for you. After all, if your email is not sent at the optimal time for your subscriber, without the ability to snooze, they can only archive, delete, or even click SPAM.

When a subscriber clicks “snooze,” however, they are not saying “no” to your email, they’re simply saying, “not right now.” As more users adopt this feature, may see your email engagement distributed more throughout the week after sending.

Google could suggest a response to your emails

Image Source: Google

What is it?

Another popular feature from Google’s Inbox app is suggested responses. Google’s AI will present users with a few suggestions for how to reply to an email they receive. This could be as simple as, “Sure!” or more detailed like “Friday works for me.”

When a user clicks the response, it prompts a reply message with the content pre-filled, making quick replies easier than ever.

How does this impact your email marketing?

Email is a conversation. We recommend marketers treat it that way, rather than blast messages or push content out with “donotreply” reply-to addresses. There’s value in giving your subscribers the opportunity to answer questions, ask questions, provide feedback, get in touch with you, and let them know what’s on their minds.

If Google provides the perfect contextual response to their emails, marketers may notice an increase in replies. This has the potential to branch into conversations with engaged potential customers, and the act of responding could also help both deliverability and inbox placement (getting your emails into the primary inbox for the subscribers that want it there.)

Google might recommend your subscribers to unsubscribe

Google's unsubscribe suggestions.

Image Source: Google

What is it?

Referenced specifically as a mobile feature, Google will now prompt users to unsubscribe from email newsletters they haven’t opened in a certain period of time.

It’s unclear how this algorithm will work specifically, but it’s likely that Google’s AI will target newsletters that a user has completely lost interest in.

How does this impact your email marketing?

Now, your immediate reaction might be, “Curse you, Google!”

But here’s why you should be shouting, “Hallelujah!” or “Heck yeah!” or “Finally, Google gods!” Getting the right subscribers to unsubscribe from your email list is extremely good for you.

Here’s why it’s a cause for celebration: When a subscriber disengages from your content — yet you continue to send to them —your open rates will decrease your deliverability may suffer (meaning, you hit the SPAM folder a lot more often), and you run the risk of having those subscribers inevitably marking one or more of your emails as SPAM.

That’s right: Purging uninterested or unengaged subscribers is key to a successful email marketing strategy. (Here is how to clean your list in AWeber.)

It’s recommended to re-engage dormant subscribers, and invite subscribers to opt out of your email list if they’ve lost interest or the content is no longer providing value.

Gmail’s latest feature to encourage yields two possible benefits for marketers:

  • This change will undoubtedly encourage people who don’t want to be on your email list to no longer be on your email list. (And that’s a good thing.)
  • This change will possibly remind dormant subscribers that they’re on your email list, which they do still want to be subscribed to, and encourage them to read future or past messages.

This feature might feel the most intrusive as a marketer, but it is in fact Gmail is doing much of our work to ensure that we have a robust list of active and engaged subscribers.

What do you think of the new Gmail changes?

So is Google sabotaging your email marketing efforts? Quite the opposite, in my opinion.

As a long-time Gmail user, I welcome any usability improvements, and as an avid email marketer, I’m excited at the prospect of my audience spending more time in the inbox. After all, that’s where my messages live.

But I’m super curious what you think! Let me know in the comments below.

 

The post Is Gmail Sabotaging Your Email Marketing? appeared first on Email Marketing Tips.

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6 Myths about the GDPR and Email Marketing Debunked

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) goes into effect on May 25, 2018.

Thousands of sources have published their “expert” advice about the law and how it applies to email marketing over the past several months.

But here’s the thing: Much of their advice is wrong or misleading — and it’s causing a lot of misunderstanding, confusion and fear among small businesses and entrepreneurs around the globe.

So, we decided to set the record straight.

We’ve already covered the steps you can take to help prepare for the GDPR. (Great news! If you’re an AWeber customer, you’re probably already doing a lot of those things.)

In this post, however, we’ll dispel some of the most common myths about the GDPR and email marketing. Use this information so you can confidently move forward.

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

Myth #1: “I need to send a re-engagement email to all of my existing subscribers to reconfirm consent.”

One myth we see everywhere is the idea that you must have all of your subscribers reconfirm their consent in order to be compliant with the GDPR.

This is false. Sort of.

Here’s the deal: It all depends on whether you can prove consent from your subscribers, or you have other lawful grounds for processing data, according to the GDPR.

If you are relying on consent to determine lawfulness, ask yourself these three questions:

  1. Did my subscribers opt in to my list, and can I prove it?
  2. On my sign up form, did I clearly explain how I’d use subscribers’ data and what content I’d send them? Can I prove it?
  3. Can my subscribers unsubscribe from my list as easily as they subscribed?

To prove you received consent, you should use the following three data points:

  1. The date and time the subscriber opted in
  2. The source of the opt-in (e.g., www.mywebsite.com, “Added via API”)
  3. A screenshot of the data collection mechanism (i.e., your signup form or landing page)

You can easily find the date, time, and source information in your subscriber details within your AWeber account. Just look for the date and time when they opted in as well as the source of signup.

To prove you clearly explained how you’d be using data and what content you’d send to subscribers, save a copy or screenshot of the signup form you used to collect their personal data.

Now, let’s say you imported your list from another email service provider (ESP). In this case, you won’t have the source information within your AWeber subscriber details. However, you’re confident your list subscribed in a compliant way through your old ESP. If you don’t have this information available in your previous ESP, you probably can’t prove consent and should consider sending a re-engagement email.

Finally, let’s quickly touch on the third question: “Can my subscribers unsubscribe from my list as easily as they subscribed?”

The short answer: If you’re using AWeber, your subscribers already have the ability to unsubscribe on their own using the “Unsubscribe” link in the footer of all your emails. You can also make the unsubscribe option more obvious by adding it within the text of your email messages.

Here’s an example from Ann Handley’s newsletter, which I shared in my previous post with her bi-weekly:

“I can prove consent. Hooray!” 👍

If you answered “yes” to all three of the questions I mentioned previously, thumbs up, you’re able to prove consent and you can continue to engage your subscribers.

“I can’t prove consent. Bummer.” 👎

If you answered “no” to any of the three questions, and you can’t prove consent otherwise, then you should probably send a re-engagement email or delete those subscribers from your email list.

Here’s a sample re-engagement email you can send your subscribers. You can use AWeber’s Click Automations to tag subscribers who click the link to confirm their consent.

Subject: Still interested in receiving emails from me?

Hi there!

I hope you’ve been enjoying the content I have sent you, like {Insert all of the types of content you send (e.g., newsletters, sales, product info, etc.)}.

If you’d like to continue receiving emails from me, click the link below:

{Keep me on the list – LINK}

By confirming your subscription, we’ll continue sending you:

  • {Insert a list all of the things you plan to send to subscribers on this list}

Not interested anymore? That’s alright. If you don’t click the link above, we’ll take you off our list and stop emailing you. You can also unsubscribe here. (Note: Hyperlink the word “here” to the personalization token {!remove_web} in your email message.)

Thanks, and have a great day!

{Your Name}

In addition to confirming consent, you can also use your re-engagement email to create better segments of your subscribers, using AWeber’s Click Automations feature.

For example, let’s say you send a newsletter as well as product information to your subscribers. You can add multiple links within your re-engagement email to allow them to opt in to receive different types of content. When subscribers click any of the links, you can tag them appropriately and send them more targeted emails.

Here’s a sample re-engagement email that has multiple options:

Subject: Still interested in receiving emails from me?

Hi there!

I hope you’ve been enjoying the content I’ve been sending you, like {Insert all of the types of content you send (e.g., newsletters, sales, product info, etc.)}.

If you’d like to continue receiving emails from me, click one of the links below:

  • Keep sending me the newsletter {tag with gdpr-newsletter}
  • Keep sending me product information {tag with gdpr-productinfo}
  • Keep sending me both {tag with gdpr-newsletter and gdpr-productinfo}

Not interested anymore? That’s alright. If you don’t click any of the links above, we’ll take you off our list and stop emailing you. You can also unsubscribe here. (Note: Hyperlink the word “here” to the personalization token {!remove_web} in your email message.)

Thanks, and have a great day!

{Your Name}

It’s a best practice to generally wait about seven days after sending a re-engagement email before deleting any subscribers who do not click the link(s) to reconfirm their consent.

Myth #2: “I need to add GDPR checkboxes to all of my signup forms.”

Another rumor floating around is that you need to add checkboxes to your signup forms in order to be GDPR compliant. Some are even calling these “GDPR-friendly signup forms.”

This is false. Checkboxes are not required, and are completely optional.

Nowhere in the GDPR does it state that you need to add checkboxes to your signup forms.

What it does say, however, is that you need to clearly communicate how you will be processing subscribers’ personal data, whether using a descriptive sentence or two, or using a checkbox, if you so choose.

One reason to go the sentence-route? Unnecessarily adding multiple checkboxes to your forms may introduce the possibility of click fatigue and lower opt-in rates.

Here’s an example of a signup form that is GDPR compliant and does not include checkboxes:

So, when is it appropriate to use checkboxes? The GDPR requires that consent must be freely given by subscribers, and cannot be bundled with unrelated actions. Keeping this in mind, here are two examples where checkboxes are required to be compliant with the GDPR:

Example #1

Let’s say you’re a retailer and you want to send marketing emails to your customers after they make a purchase, as well as share their data with other companies within your retail group. Under the GDPR, you cannot bundle their purchase with consent to send marketing emails.

Instead, a separate consent should be captured at the point of purchase that is specific to the purpose of sending marketing emails or sharing their data with partner companies. You might decide to use a separate checkbox to capture this secondary consent.

Example #2

Let’s say you’re a financial institution and you want to allow third parties to use customers’ payment details for marketing purposes. Under GDPR, this type of processing activity (i.e., the sharing of payment information for marketing purposes) is not necessary for the performance of the contract or agreement with the customer. Consent must be freely given, and if a customer refuses consent, the institution would not be able to deny services or increase fees. That would be a violation of the GDPR.

If you would like to share subscribers’ data with other parties, you should use a checkbox to allow them to give their consent freely. And keep in mind that these checkboxes cannot be pre-checked.

Myth #3: “I need to use double opt-in to be compliant with the GDPR.”

Double opt-in (a.k.a confirmed opt-in) is when your subscribers sign up for something — like a newsletter — and then they’re asked to also confirm their subscription.

Some “experts” are stating that the GDPR requires double opt-in to prove consent.

This is incorrect.

As I mentioned in myth #1, the GDPR simply requires that you can prove the compliant consent. The act of entering personal information into a signup form and clicking “submit” can be considered an affirmative action, as long as the subscriber was clearly and directly informed of what they are accepting.

However, double opt-in is not necessarily a bad thing. There are lots of great reasons to use it, including better subscriber engagement and deliverability. You just don’t need to use it to be compliant with the GDPR.

Myth #4: “Subscribers’ personal data thats already in our database isn’t subject to the GDPR.”

This one is closely related to myth #1.

The GDPR applies to all personal data — even data that was collected prior to May 25, 2018.

If you cannot prove consent for all of your existing subscribers, you should send a re-engagement email to obtain that consent.

Myth #5: “My data is stored with my service provider, so it’s their responsibility to remain compliant with the GDPR, not mine.”

We touched on the relationship between data processors (e.g., AWeber) and data controllers  (i.e., you, the one sending the emails) in our previous GDPR blog post. But let’s dive deeper to dispel this myth.

Data processors and data controllers share responsibility for complying with the GDPR requirements. As an AWeber customer, you are still considered the data controller. You maintain control over how you use that data. AWeber is simply processing the data at your request.

So, it’s not an option to pass responsibility to a service provider who is processing data on your behalf. We recommend that you seek legal and other professional counsel to determine exactly your role and relationship to the data being processed.

Myth #6: “If I’m not compliant by May 25, I’ll get hit with huge fines.”

Anyone reading the GDPR fine print is likely nervous when they see the hefty fines associated with not being GDPR compliant. (Enough to make your palms sweat!)

However, EU officials indicate that fines would likely be a last resort.

Here’s what Elizabeth Denham, the U.K.’s information commissioner, had to say in a recent blog post:

“It’s scaremongering to suggest that we’ll be making early examples of organizations for minor infringements or that maximum fines will become the norm,” she said. “The ICO’s commitment to guiding, advising, and educating organisations about how to comply with the law will not change under the GDPR. We have always preferred the carrot to the stick.”

“While fines may be the sledgehammer in our toolbox, we have access to lots of other tools that are well-suited to the task at hand and just as effective,” she continued. “The GDPR gives us a suite of sanctions to help organisations comply – warnings, reprimands, corrective orders. While these will not hit organisations in the pocket – their reputations will suffer a significant blow.”

If you’re taking the necessary steps to understand and follow the GDPR regulations and engage in good email marketing best practices, you are on the right path to protecting yourself.

Keep calm and email on

On the surface, the new GDPR may appear scary and ominous, but it’s actually pretty straight forward. And it’s a good thing for email marketers, too.

It really comes down to doing the right thing with the personal data you collect. Only send emails and information to people who’ve given you permission to do so for the purpose you told them.

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

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

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

The post 6 Myths about the GDPR and Email Marketing Debunked appeared first on Email Marketing Tips.

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Why Every Great Marketer Should Send a Personal ‘Story Email’

story email

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

In fact, your brain may actually crave stories: Scientists believe we are evolutionarily hardwired for narratives because they helped our ancestors survive.

Quick quiz: Which one is more effective?

Option A: There’s an animal in a cave over there. Don’t go near it.

Option B: My brother was mauled to death by a giant ferocious cat-like beast. The beast’s teeth are as long as your arm and as sharp as the deadliest arrow. The monster lives in that cave with the two twisted trees in front of it. Don’t go near it.

You don’t need to worry about sabre-toothed tigers anymore, but your brain is still much more engaged by the story in option B than by a burst of facts. It makes you fearful. It gives you goosebumps.

You remember a good story. It stays with you.

The Power of Telling Your Personal Story through Email

Good salespeople and marketers understand the importance and power of storytelling — and they use it to their advantage.

It’s why Coca-Cola doesn’t sell you carbonated water, high-fructose corn syrup, phosphoric acid, and caramel coloring — it sells you a “feeling.”

The company’s most iconic commercial of all time “I’d like to buy the world a Coke” focuses on the drink being a commonality among people all over the world. It brings people together — regardless of their backgrounds, faith, gender, race, or opinions. No one even takes a sip of the soda in the ad.

It’s this emotional connection — this feeling — that makes your business and marketing memorable. It makes your brand stand out among the myriad of marketing messages — email, text messages, social media, TV, voicemail, commercials — that people are bombarded with every single day. 

And it’s one of the main reasons your readers will pick your business over your competitors.

So tell your personal story in an email. You don’t need to become Charles Dickens or Jane Austen to do so. Heck, you don’t even need to be a great writer. You just need to tell an engaging tale about your products and services, and why they matter to your subscribers. 

4 Steps to Writing a Powerful “Story Email”

1. Keep it short.

Nowadays, we consume content at lightning speed. It’s rare if a person can dedicate a huge chunk of time to a long-form article. So we need to communicate at a quick clip, too. That means breaking our messaging down into easy-to-read, bite-sized pieces that are super relevant.

The following Story Email is from Jill Angie of Not Your Average Runner, who leveraged the AWeber platform to reach her customers.

Jill’s story is 10 sentences long. That’s it!

 

Keep your writing concise and cut out any words you can. It’ll not only make you a tighter, more effective writer, but it’ll keep your readers’ attention. In a world of information overload, less will be a welcome thing for your subscribers. 

2. Ooze likeability.

We enjoy doing business with people we know, like, and trust — as opposed to a large faceless corporation. Humanize your message to increase connection and engagement with your subscriber.

One easy way to do this: Pretend you’re sending an email to a friend.

When we write emails to our list, we tend to forget that we’re a human communicating with other humans. We suddenly turn very formal, robotic, corporate, and, well, safe. Your readers signed up for your email list to hear from you.  They want to hear from the voice behind the business or brand or company. So write like you talk. Show them that you’re a human being with a pulse. You’ll come off much more conversational and likeable.

Take Jill Angie’s Story Email, shown above in step #1. It may be short, but it’s super easy to read and extremely friendly. It makes Jill relatable. You want to run with her. You want her to be your coach. Eventually, when Jill pitches her books or workout plans to you, you’ll want to scoop them up, too.

3. Hit your reader’s biggest pain point.

Here’s an email from AWeber customer Noah Kagan, who runs OkDork.com. He’s also the founder of the ridiculously popular AppSumo, a site that sends out awesome daily deals for digital products.

 

Noah’s story is just four sentences! It’s short, but super compelling. He shows you how he found massive success — fast.

But the best thing Noah does? He hits his readers’ problem straight on: “Starting a business can be hard.” It can be intimidating.

Noah doesn’t just tell his story for the heck of it. He’s doing it in relation to the reader’s main pain point. In just a few words, he evokes feelings of frustration and worry and stress in his subscribers — while setting himself up as their solution. Starting a business can be hard — but it doesn’t have to be. That’s because Noah can make it easier for them. He can help them start their business and leave those worries behind.

4. Be authentic.

Cheri Alberts of the Watering Mouth has been an AWeber customer since 2012. She’s a wellness coach and recipe developer who offers consultations and meal plans to help her clients eat better, lose weight, find more energy, and look and feel better in their clothes.

Here’s Cheri’s story email:

 

Cheri’s Story Email is a lot different than Noah Kagan’s. She gets much more personal.

The reason: As a wellness coach, Cheri must to get to the bottom of what’s causing her client’s  unhealthy decisions. In order to do that, though, she has to build a deeper relationship with her subscribers first. So Cheri opens up in her Story Email and shares her vulnerabilities — warts and all — because one day she’ll ask her clients to do the same for her.

You may not want to — or have to! — reveal as many personal details as Cheri, but you can be just as authentic. Give a glimpse at where your company started, and how you or your product has drastically improved since then. Tell your struggles. Highlight your lows. Celebrate your highs. Be witty. Be emotional. Tell them what’s on your mind. Or even include a selfie (no photoshopping!) instead of a professional headshot. Most of all, be you. Authenticity is the key to building a foundation of truth and reliability with your subscribers. The stronger that foundation, the easier it’ll be to sustain a long-term, profitable relationship with your email list

When to Send Your “Story Email”

The best time to send your subscribers your personal story is during the awareness stage of your marketing funnel. (Click here to understand the marketing funnel and how it can drastically improve your email marketing strategy.) Your subscriber just joined your list. They’re still getting to know you. This is the perfect time to engage with them on a deeper level by revealing what makes you unique compared to your competitors.

Schedule your Story Email to automatically send a day or two after they receive your Welcome Email. Or, if your personal story is only a few sentences, include it right in your Welcome Email. Either way, the earlier you start to emotionally connect with your readers, the better.

Want more great email writing tips? Check out AWeber’s FREE What to Write course, an email series that helps you craft the perfect emails. Plus, it comes with 45+ content templates so you can just fill in the blanks!

And if you’re ready to start sending phenomenal emails to your subscribers, then you’ll want to join AWeber today. With easy-to-use automation tools, free educational marketing content, and the best Customer Solutions team (seriously, they won TWO Stevie Awards last year, which are basically the Oscars of the service industry), we have everything you need to make your email marketing successful.

The post Why Every Great Marketer Should Send a Personal ‘Story Email’ 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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Your GDPR + Email Marketing Playbook: How to Prepare for the New EU Data Law

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

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

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

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

What is the GDPR?

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

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

Why the GDPR is a good thing for email marketers

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

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

Here’s why…

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

Win. Win. Win!

Who does the GDPR affect?

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

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

Data Controller? Processor? What are those?

Here’s a quick definition of each:

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

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

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

How does the GDPR affect me?

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

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

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

How to prepare your business for the GDPR

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

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

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

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

2. Get explicit, opt-in consent from subscribers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2. Create or update your public-facing privacy policies

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Unsubscribing from your list

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

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

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

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

Updating personal data

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

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

Requesting a copy of personal data you maintain

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

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

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

Deleting subscriber data entirely from your records

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Download our GDPR checklist

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

What is AWeber doing to prepare for the GDPR?

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

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

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

Here’s what this team has been working on:

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

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

What’s next?

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

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

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

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

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

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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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How to Create Facebook Ads With Emails: 5 Creative Ideas

jp-facebook-ads-emails-560

Do you have an email list? Are you looking for creative ways to use Facebook ads? With Facebook custom audiences, you can reach your email subscribers with relevant Facebook ads. In this article I’ll share five ways to target your email subscribers with Facebook ads. #1: Serve Ads to All Email Subscribers Since it requires […]

This post How to Create Facebook Ads With Emails: 5 Creative Ideas first appeared on Social Media Examiner.
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