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DISCLAIMER: The FTC requires me to let you know that I may be compensated for products or services recommended. In many cases I am recommending my own company's services, so it's kind of funny to have to spell this out, but I do get paid by some of the companies whose ads are on the site. I ONLY list ads for companies that I use and fully endorse.

Archive for the ‘email marketing’ Category

How to Succeed Online by Giving it All Away – Fueled Friday

Well, it has been a very busy week which is why this weeks Fueled Friday is late. First, I launched a new Internet Marketing Firm this week (more to come on that later), and second, I attend InfusionCon which was AMAZING (more on that later as well).

So what I want to share with you today is the power of educating your prospects. Many people in the consulting field often ask the question “how much information should I give my web prospects?” My answer – Give them everything! This, of course, is within reason, but the bottom line is that if your prospect can figure out how to do what you do, they will. If the information is out there to be found, wouldn’t you rather have them find it from you? This was if they get stuck or have a questions, chances are they will look to you for help as opposed to someone else. Also, most people don’t want to become their own consultant (many have to due to sheer financial constraints), so your job will be to sell them on the benefits of having you do it for them so they can focus on making money in their business.

If you do sell a physical product, you still have an opportunity to educated your customers. Offering white papers, ebooks, and testimonials as to how your product can be used and how it has helped others will go a long way to helping boost sales. For those that don’t buy on the same day they visit, there is a high chance that they will return if they like what they read.

The big in giving it all away, is doing it in exchange for your prospects contact information. At a minimum, you want to collect their first name and email address to be able to send personalized emails. The more you follow up, the higher your chances of selling to them.

Years ago, I used to fear giving away information on how to do your own online marketing for fear that I would lose customers. Instead, because I write and blog on all topics related to online marketing, I have a fairly consistent flow of referral business.

Do you have any success stories to share about a successful follow up email campaign? If so, we’d love to hear. Next week I will be discussing the mechanics of how to set up these information sharing campaigns so stay tuned.

Have a great weekend and enjoy my birthday tomorrow 🙂

6 Non SEO Reasons Why Small Business Websites Fail

Is your companies website failing? Perhaps you’ve spent some money on it and it has just never produced for you. Maybe you have one of those companies where the corporate website was the owners kids school project and she is afraid to hurt the kids feelings (I am not kidding here, this was a real life scenario and no one in the company could bring the subject up).

In the course of my day I look at lots of websites; often people even pay me to look at their website and tell them what is wrong with it. Here are some of the more common challenges that I have run into. I urge you to take a look at your website and see if it suffers from any of these challenges then take action and change it.

1. Takes Too Long To Load. Whether its flash or graphics that were never compressed or optimized for the web, most people showing up to your website want results, and they want them pretty quickly. It’s funny when you think back to the days of dial up and now we think our hi-speed connections are too slow. You don’t want to fall prey to this simple to correct issue.

My Advice: When testing your website, make sure you clear your cache, so you can know how long it actually takes between the time a user shows up and is able to read what’s on your site. Also, have others outside of your company test the site and give you their sincere feedback.


2. The Site is Composed Exclusively with Graphics or Flash.
Assuming you care something about search engines finding your website, you need to know that search engines care more about written content than anything else. It is next to impossible for a search engine to visit your website and know what it’s about if it is all graphics or flash without a little help behind the scenes anyway. Exceptions would be sites that serve arts, music, and graphics related communities.

My Advice: If you feel the need to show someone a flash presentation, give him or her the option to click and view it on another page.

3. It is a Hodgepodge of What Everyone Wants to See on the Company Website. This is one of the most frustrating things that I have personally had to deal with in a corporate setting. Everyone has an opinion about how the website should look and few – if any – of them understand website usability (what the user wants and needs to see based on human psychology). It’s turning customers away, but they won’t tell you that and it will take someone taking a bold stand and a humble owner to give up their personal desires in exchange for winning over new customers, and it’s well worth it.

My Advice: Hire a professional design firm with usability expertise to build your website, or if you already have a website, hire a usability consultant to help you restructure it. How do you know if your web designer is a usability expert? Just ask them “what role does website usability play in their design process?” If the phone goes silent or you get a glazed over look, move on. Of course, if you need a usability expert, you contact my firm, AKA Internet Marketing, as we have helped many companies improve their website conversion rates, leading to increased online revenue.


4. Advertising?
Yes, people often use advertising on their company website thinking that it is a good strategy for making money from the website. If you have a business with a website, the only thing you should be doing to make money is optimizing your website so that you earn your visitors business. It really doesn’t make sense to send customers to your competitors. If your website isn’t profitable, you need to take a hard look and ask why. Chances are it is a combination of not enough visitors, the wrong type of visitors, or somehow not instilling confidence in the mind of your prospect.

My Advice: If you have any kind of advertising on your website, get rid of it. Take a look at your web stats and if you aren’t getting at least 100 unique visitors per day then you need to look at implementing a solid web marketing strategy. If you are getting lots of visitors, but not converting customers, then you need to hire a usability consultant to find out why.

5. Not Capturing Visitors Information. I don’t mean deceptively, I mean you should be asked them for their name and email address so you can market to them, ask for their feedback, and be an informational resource for them. The most common way of doing this is to free ebook or newsletter in exchange for their name and email address so you can add them to your prospect database.

My Advice: Implement an email capture system on your website. My recommendation is Aweber as I have used them for years and recommended them to several clients who have also been very pleased.

6. Not Reaching Out to Your Customers. Closely related to #5 is reaching out to your prospects and customers consistently which should induce sales from prospects and repeat sales and referral from past customers.

My Advice: Once you have implemented your email marketing software, make a consistent effort to reach out to customers and prospects at least once per month.

SEO (search engine optimization) is clearly an important component of having a successful website, but as you can see there are many Non SEO issues that affect how successful your website is.

I hope that was helpful. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me at akirlew(at)akaim.com.


9 Tips For Enhancing Email Marketing Effectiveness

Are you using email to promote your business and stay in touch with your customers? If so, are you using email as effectively as you could be? As with processes there is often room for improvement, so I’d like to share with you a few tip for using email for effectively.

1. Personalization. Studies have shown that personalized emails are opened far more than those that are not personalized. Adding the “first name” field to a form is really not going to detract from true prospects completing your form.

2. Add a Sign Up Form to Your Website.
I am amazed at how many companies still do not try to capture their visitors information. It is a huge missing link for many search marketing campaign because knowing how many people came from Google really won’t help if you can’t market to them or follow up and see why they didn’t do business with you.

3. Whitelist instructions. If you are serving a web-based audience, this may not be necessary, but if you are a non profit trying to communicate with it members, then perhaps you will need to help them understand how to ensure that they get your emails.

4. Stop Using Outlook. Yes, people still use Outlook and other personal mail clients to send email, and it is about the worst thing you can do next to not using email at all.

5. Double Opt In.
By asking for your users information twice, it ensures that they know they are giving it up and reduces spam complaints. The more spam complaints you receive, the more you risk getting your domain blacklisted or getting “fired” from your email service provider.

6. Branding.
Sending from a consistent name and using a consistent theme (i.e. logo and imagery in HTML emails) will increase your open rates and reduce your unsubscribe rates.

7. Make it abundantly easy to unsubscribe
. some people may argue with this, but that just means that they don’t know the difference between a double opt-in list and a qualified double opt-in list. I recently had an offer for one of my niche websites that I run. Wanting to have the most accurate numbers, I sent out an email to the list offering them updates and additional information, but I opened the email with a statement that showed them how to unsubscribe if they were no longer interested. About 5% of the list unsubscribed and most said it was because they no longer need the information because they had made a purchase. I now have a stronger list to market to and one that is less likely to hit the “spam complaint” button – even though they all double opt-in, they forget and they will complain.

8. Maintain Consistency. You want to market to your customers and prospects consistently for a few reasons. First, to give them up to date information and keep you on the top of their minds, but also do they don’t forget who you are and hit the “spam complaint” button.

9. Convert Direct Mail to Email.
Do you know how much money you could save by using email marketing as opposed to traditional direct mail? Given that is takes 3-4 print mailings for your prospect to remember you, how much more cost effectively could you reach the same audience. Keep in mind, once you reach your prospects off line, getting them to your website is a separate conversion process, whereas if they get an email from you it’s just a click away and the contact-to-web visit rate is increased significantly.

If you are looking to enhance your business by using email marketing, I would be happy to speak with you. My firm, AKA Internet Marketing, offers full service email marketing consulting and management services and whether you run a local web design company or a Fortune 500 company, I assure you we can help you improve what you are doing in the area of email marketing.

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