Vertical Response Archives - Duct Tape Marketing
Find a Consultant Become a Consultant

Tag Archives for " Vertical Response "

21 5 Ways To Make An Email Newsletter Your Best Sales Tool

email newsletterNo matter how enamored you may be with social media, email still outpunches just about every tool out there when it comes to cost effective lead conversion.

Now, done correctly, what this really means is effectively using email communication in conjunction with efforts to produce educational content, amplify content throughout social media channels and turn Twitter followers into email subscribers.

It’s integration as much as anything that makes email work, but there are a handful of things that you need to do to get the most out of the email component of the mix.

Grab Attention

It’s not enough to have an email subscribe form tucked into the sidebar of your home page. If you’ve got a great offer to put in front of your visitors you need to make it impossible to ignore, without being obnoxious.

A new breed of popups makes grabbing visitor attention and turning it into email list subscribing almost pleasing. I’ve been experimenting with a rather new WordPress plugin called Pippity.

Once installed and configured this tool will note when you have a visitor that has not been offered your email subscription and briefly take over the screen to make them an offer. The visitor still has lots of control over the screen, but this tool positions your list in a way that’s hard to ignore.

I know there are some that don’t like this tactic, but Pippity gives you so much control, including A/B testing, that you can fine tune the tool’s use to make it work for you. Like it or not, with the right offer, most people see 300-400% jumps in subscribers using this kind of approach. (One tip: Turn it off for mobile browsers, as there’s no way to make it a pleasant experience on a mobile.)

Exchange Value

Giving people a reason to subscribe is even more important than simply grabbing their attention. In order to get willing subscribers these days you must sell the value of what you have to offer and most likely exchange something like a free ebook or report that sounds too good to miss right at the point of subscription.

The act of giving an email address comes with a price these days because all of our email inboxes are jammed. Your free stuff better sound as good as most people’s paid stuff if you want to get subscribers.

Of course, this also means that you need to keep the value exchange high if you expect to keep subscribers. Turning email subscribers into paying customers is not a one-time event; it’s accomplished through a process of building trust over time.

No matter what time frame you choose to offer your email newsletter, once a week or once a month, each issue should be something that people look forward to. It’s great to have a large list, but if less than 10% actually open your emails then you won’t get much return on your efforts.

Serve Snacks

I’ve been producing a weekly email newsletter just about every week since some time in 2002 and I’ve played with different formats, different content, and different ways to present information.

A great deal of what I’ve always tried to do is evolve with overall communication trends and my best advice is that you subscribe to lots of newsletters and pay attention to how others present information and how they change their presentation over time.

Currently, my newsletter format is designed to offer several compelling article abstracts grouped into a set of topics that I believe my readers expect from me. I author about 50% of the content and then hand select a couple blog posts from blogs I read that related.

When I switched to this snack sized, scannable format, I immediately noted that my response and engagement increased dramatically.

Be Sharable

Smart marketers have always employed tools that made it easier for people to share their email newsletter with friends, but these days that means making your content easy to share in social media as well.

Most email service providers have added social media sharing options that you can embed in your content so that a reader could tweet that they just read your article.

The content itself must exist online in order to use this most effectively. Most service providers also allow you to create an online archive version of your newsletter and I recommend you use this approach to socialize your content sent via email.

Go Solo

Once your readers come to appreciate your valuable newsletter content you may earn the right to send them offers. This is something that takes a little bit of experimentation and you can certainly erode trust by sending too many offers or sending offers that just don’t make sense.

While you can mix an offer or two into your regular email newsletter format, I’ve found that sending the occasional offer for a product, program or even joint venture with a product or service you truly believe in, using what is called a solo email is the best approach.

A solo email is designed to do only one thing, deliver the story and make a case for your offer. This can be a straight out offer to buy something or even an announcement for a free online seminar where you intend to make an offer, but it must be about one thing and one thing only.

Let me repeat, sending offers is something you earn, just like earning the subscriber in the first place. You must take care that you treat this trust with respect or you will lose it. Keep the value of your offers as high as the value of your content and your readers will appreciate getting both.

My recommended list of email service providers. (Each allows you to accomplish the things mentioned in this article)

11 Weekend Favs July Twenty Three

My weekend blog post routine includes posting links to a handful of tools or great content I ran across during the week. I don’t go into depth about the finds, but encourage you check them out if they sound interesting. The photo in the post is a favorite for the week from Flickr.

Dude Mountain near Ketchikan Alaska by Mary Jantsch

Good stuff I found this week:

Wordtracker Link Tool – this paid link building tool has been completely overhauled by Wordtracker and is a great low cost way to find the best links back to your site. – this tool allows you to create custom search phrases and then reads hundreds of RSS feeds and creates a page of the hottest content related to your search.

Button creator – this tool from Vertical Response makes it very simple to create buy now and click here kind of buttons for your Website. Buttons have proven to raise click throughs dramatically.

21 How I Use Email Marketing

This post is part of a creative marketing series sponsored by HP

[polldaddy poll=”4379569″]

With the advent of social media, email marketing has taken a bit of a back seat in terms of buzz – but not with marketers that understand the power this tool has for long term trust building and short term conversion.

I’ve been an advocate of this tool throughout the rise of social media and find it telling that many bloggers and social media types that have built followings online are now turning to email marketing to cash in. I don’t mean cash in as a bad thing, I mean that they have found email marketing to be a way to generate customers in this more commercially acceptable avenue.

Email marketing is a central tool I still employ for building trust, doing research, announcing new products, selling products and services, educating customers, and expanding the awareness of my web presence beyond my website.

While there are many ways to use email marketing I thought today I would share a little about how I do it so you could have one simple and practical road map.

My email marketing routine

List building – Obviously for email marketing to be an effective play, you’ve got to possess a list. Don’t ever, ever buy one! You must build your list and you must do it by offering value, that’s it.

You should, however, employ some tools that make it easy for people to subscribe. I place a sign-up form on most pages (it’s over there in the left sidebar if you’re reading this on my blog) and I use a drop down script from dynamic drive to offer the newsletter to site visitors. I know some folks don’t like these in your face forms, but there’s no denying how much more effective they are.

I offer people a free report for signing up in addition to the offer of the newsletter and this definitely drives sign-ups. I also make a special offer to buy my books through a thank you page once someone does subscribe. This is a low cost product that I add lots of valuable bonuses to and it often starts the relationship deepening very quickly.

I also promote my list when I speak and encourage you to consider ways to build your list from your other offline activities as well.

email marketing

Image: RambergMediaImages

Getting started – I use an autorepsonder to reply once someone subscribes. I send an evergreen issue of my newsletter so they get a taste of the value right away. A few days after they subscribe I also send what feels like a much more personal thank you note from me. This is a text email that is very simple and tells them I am glad they subscribed. I get constant feedback from people that, while they may know it’s not really a personal note, love the personal feel. I suggest you adopt this tactic. (The content of the note is on page 215 of Duct Tape Marketing, you know in case you want to buy the book.)

Content – Your readership will grow and spread only if they find your content valuable. While I do send occasional product pitches, I choose to do these in solo emails (a tactic that makes the offer stand out) and choose to fill my weekly newsletter with content that I think readers have come to value. Increasingly this is snack size tips that lead them to other great resources.

Format – I send my weekly newsletter in HTML format as reading and engaging with the content is much more enjoyable in the visual format. I do also send a text version for those that don’t allow HTML and as a further tool to help get through some spam filters.

I have moved to a format where I point out a lot of great content that I’ve written or that others have written. I used to include the full content in the email, but have found over the years that people have grown very comfortable with the digest format that allows them to click through to the full content online. One word of advice, as so many people now read email online through Gmail and Yahoo make your links open in a new window so they don’t have to keep coming back to find the email. (You simply add target=”_blank” after your link in HTML code to do this.)

As stated above I use text only email when I am doing a straight pitch for a product or service offering or promoting an event. I don’t include anything extra in these emails as I’ve found that total focus on one topic, in this format, generates the highest response. (A/B testing of your emails is a standard offering in most email services.)

ESP – ESP is the acronym for email service provider. If your list is more than a dozen names you need to use a service to send your emails. There are many great, low cost solutions for this that allow you to easily create, send and archive your email newsletters, offers and campaigns. These services also help you build and maintain your list and comply with CAN-SPAM laws.

I use Infusionsoft as part it’s part of my CRM and shopping cart set-up, but I’ve also experienced good things over the years from Constant Contact, Vertical Response, AWeber, MailChimp and iContact. In my opinion any of these services will meet your needs.

MailChimp wins the award for education. Take a look at their list of email marketing ebooks.

Integration – Email is a great way to expand beyond the newsletter communication to build deeper engagement in your community. Certainly it’s become very standard to include all of the ways for people to connect with you online in your email communications. You should add Twitter and Facebook links to your emails, but also cross promote your blog content, archive your newsletter issues as web pages on your site, and promote your new issues in Facebook status updates as well. (Here’s an example of an issue of my newsletter online.)

6 Duct Tape On the Road

John Jantsch

I’m getting out there on the road in a pretty big in June with trips to New York City, Las Vegas, Orange County, Colorado and Indianapolis slated for now. I always love to meet my readers so I’ve listed the open events below in case you attend an event and say hi.

18 Use Your Neighbors and Partners to Build Your List

From the WikiPedia: Referral marketing is a structured and systematic process that maximizes word of mouth potential. Referral marketing does this by encouraging, informing, promoting and rewarding customers and contacts to think and talk as much as possible about their supplier, their company, product and service and the value and benefit the supplier brings to them and people they know.

So referral marketing is really all about relationships you foster with people, and how those people remember you when they talk to anyone that might need your products or services. If you’ve got a storefront or business that serves a certain location (even if you don’t, read on this applies to you as well), your number one goal is to get traffic to that location, right? And hopefully you’ve built good relationships with the business owners around you, or are willing to. So today, I’m going to talk about how your neighboring businesses can use their email list to refer business to you, and how you can do the same for them.

Here is a great example of how 4 local businesses can collectively refer customers to each other:

You have a retail business in a neighborhood where there are other retailers, service businesses or restaurants where people visit. In this case a restaurant called Nova Bar.

The product or service that you sell has complementary (maybe even competitive) products offered by other businesses in the area. In this example this particular restaurant also included another restaurant in their email campaign. You can’t eat at the same restaurant every day, right?

You’ve been collecting email addresses and communicating to your recipients on a regular basis.

Here’s one way to make it happen:

Step 1. Approach your neighboring businesses and tell them that you’ve got an idea that will collectively help all of you get more business.

Step 2. Find out how many email addresses each business has. You’ll want them to be close to the same because if one is 10x bigger than the others everyone else will benefit from the big guy but they might not benefit in the same way. That said, if this does happen, maybe the businesses with smaller lists can make up for it by mailing a few more times.

Step 3. Create separate email campaigns where the FROM LABEL is from each list owner. If you are doing the mailing to your list it should come FROM your business, if your neighbor is doing the mailing to her list it should come FROM her business.

Step 4. Your message should include a paragraph explaining why you’re sending this email. For example:

“The merchants of South Beach all got together and decided that you need to know about everything that’s going on. So opt-in to all of these lists and be the first to know.

Try giving an incentive or coupon to any new people who signed up to each list to motivate them even more to join!

Step 5. In this example you can see that there are links to each of the business’s opt-in forms. Avoid sending them directly to a home page unless the opt-in form is easy to spot. Make sure you also tell your recipients what new registrants can expect, like weekly specials or “email only” discounts. Also include an image or logo for each business.

Other ideas for using email marketing as a referral tool:

  • If you don’t want to use this as a “list building” tool and each local business just wants to give a great offer, go for it! Make sure you send them directly to a page where the offer is displayed prominently.
  • If you’re business isn’t “locally oriented” but you have complementary business partners, you can still follow the same general steps. Partner up with them and send emails to your respective email lists about your partners, ask them to do the same.
  • You can also use the page that you send people after they opt-in to your list, and include your partners/neighbors offers or links, and they can do the same for you.

Bottom line: keep each other honest. Join each other’s lists and make sure all of you are participating. Agreeing to help businesses build their lists is going to help traffic to everyone’s business. And that’s what referral marketing is all about in the long run.

Janine Popick is the CEO and co-founder of VerticalResponse (Inc. 5000 2006-2009). She also is VerticalResponse’s CEB (Chief Executive Blogger) and won the 2006 ClickZ Best Marketing Blog Award, the 2007 Stevie Award for Best Blog, a 2008 SIIA Codie Finalist for best blog and 2009 Stevie Finalist for Best Blog.

12 Small Business Blogging 101

If you are looking for a quick overview of blogging for small business, thinking about starting a blog, or already have a blog and need some tips for getting more from it, you might enjoy the following presentation I did as part of a series of webinars with email marketing service provider Vertical Response.

    In this session I cover:

  • Getting started
  • Design resources
  • Best practices
  • Plugins and addons
  • Promoting and amplifying

Hope it gives you some new ideas. (FYI you can click on the little TV like icon to view in full screen.)

Lots of disclosure here too: Vertical Response is a partner of the Duct Tape Marketing Coach Network and the young lady conducting the interview is none other than my daughter Jenna Jantsch!

13 10 Small Business Lead Nurturing Tools

lead nurturingLead nurturing is the act of following up with leads in a consistent and, hopefully, logical way moving them gently along the path of becoming a customer.

In some high end, long decision process selling environments it’s the only way a sale is made. “Hi, glad to meet you, call me when you’re ready to buy,” isn’t a very nurturing approach.

In today’s marketing world smart companies are tapping powerful nurturing tools and technology to help their prospects get to know, like, and trust them, make sales when competitors can’t get past the front lobby, and charge a premium for their products and services.

In some cases it’s a matter of automatically dripping more and more information, in others it’s case of knowing exactly when your prospect is showing interest and in still others it can come down to gaining greater knowledge about your prospect by simply using technology to understand their behavior. (Don’t worry, none of this need be done in a creepy way, it’s all a matter of using technology and the information your prospects willing share.)

The secret is to stay top of mind and continue to educate, but do it ways that have impact.

The following ten tools are ones that I would suggest to most any small business owner to use in tandem with a cadre of education based marketing content in the form of ebooks, audio, video, newsletters, surveys and seminars.

1. BatchBlue – a lightweight CRM tool with a twist. BatchBlue makes it very simple to add your prospect’s social media profiles thereby having access to their blog and twitter feeds right at the point of interaction. Really great for your journalist target market too!

Continue reading

9 Email Marketing Still a Great Small Business Tool

Vertical ResponseHaving lots of channels and lots of ways for folks to receive relevant, education based content is a must.

While social media and other web based marketing tools are getting most of today’s hype, email marketing to a list of willing recipients is still a very powerful way to market.

Staying top of mind is often half the battle and a steady drip of information via email is a simple, effective and low-cost way to get this done.

There are many great options for tools to use in your email marketing, but today I would like to tell you a little about Vertical Response and a free trial of 500 emails available to Duct Tape readers. You can get your 500 email trial here.

I’ve use Vertical Response over the past few months to send my email newsletter and I can tell you that I really like the simple and very intuitive interface. When I did have a question or two, I found a real person on the phone that got me running right away. They also have a survey tool and recently added the ability to send snail-mail post cards to your list.

They have a nice selection of email templates and monthly pricing as low as $10 per month.

5 Two Fine Referral Examples

There are a handful of referral offers that are based on simple foundations proven successful for years.

I preach the creative use of these all of the time, so it’s always nice when I come across businesses utilizing them.

I would like to share two examples, one focused on a current customer and the other on a strategic partner base.

The first one comes from Omaha Steaks. This long-time mail order meat shipper has always been recognized as an innovative marketer, particularly in the direct mail world.

The offer they are making comes under the “gift certificate” category offer. Essentially what this type of offer does is to give a gift to a customer and ask them to share it with friends (referrals) – the offer further incentivizes the source by allowing them earn points, money, prizes, etc. when those referred become customers. The Internet has certainly made running a program like this much easier.

The key that makes this work is giving your referral source something tangible and valuable that they can use to giveaway to make the referral happen.

Here’s their pitch . . . “Invite your friends to try Omaha Steaks and we’ll throw in a dozen free burgers*. And for every two friends who try us out, we’ll send you a $20 Reward e-Gift Card** towards your next purchase of $80 or more.”

They run the entire campaign with a landing page at – and utilize snail mail and email to push traffic to the page.

The second example comes from Vertical Response, a email marketing service provider in San Francisco. (And a strategic partner of Duct Tape Marketing.)

The Vertical Response offer, focused on generating referrals from partners, falls into the “co-branding” category. For this kind of offer you simply create valuable, education based content and package it in the form of an ebook, white paper, webinar or seminar and take it to partners and let them co-brand (put their logo and contact info on) the content and use it with their customer base.

The appeal of this approach is that everyone knows they should be producing this kind of content, but who has the time? By bringing your partners an “out of the box” solution you make yourself easy to partner with and promote – and that is one of the keys to any referral partner relationship.

Vertical Response produced a report title – 10 Marketing Resolutions for the New Year and offered it to its affiliate partners complete with the partner’s logo.

I teach these types of approaches, but nothing illustrates a point like a tangible example. Employing multiple referral programs, focused on different market segments and partners is the key to building a culture of referral.

I’m collecting these kinds of campaigns for a book I’m working – know of any I should know about? Email me

6 Making Sense of Social Media for Your Business

verticalrespsonseMy good friends at Vertical Response are hosting a webinar this Friday, Jan 23 at 10 am PST titled – Making Sense of Social Media for Your Business.

This is, as you know, a subject near and dear to my heart, but this one is really near and dear to my heart because it’s being conducted in part by this really sharp young lady named Jenna Jantsch (yes, that’s my daughter!)

I offered to share my wisdom with her as she prepared, but she declined, I guess some things never change.

Business owners need to tap the power of social media in ways that make sense – keep learning! You can register for the event here