Do Contact Pages Provide the Right Clientele

For my 200th article on BlogPrefect.com I wanted to cover some personal thoughts on Contact Pages, the specific question in the range of:

Do Contact Pages Provide the Right Clientele?

So why ask this question and why save it for my 200th article? It has a lot to do with the kinds of emails received on a regular basis through the contact page.

I’d always had this bleary-eyed feeling that my contact page would encourage people reading to get in contact because they wanted to interact further. They might want their say and they’d want to do it personally. The truth is, it’s never worked that way.

 

“I had a Dream”

Not quite as grand as Martin Luther King’s but on a blogging context, I had a dream that people would come to me for advice and a point in the right direction. That is what the contact form was for.

 

What I Received Instead

In the main I’ve received spam like I would on any other email account. The comical Nigerian, Chinese or Latin American mystical companies who would want to give me $10,000,000 to put in a bank account are just one of many spam emails I’d see on a regular basis. Since I switched over to FastMail to manage my MX records I’ve seen a massive reduction in that type of spam. Sweet relief!

typical-scam-email

Where people have used the contact page I have received Business Queries in the main and I’ll go onto explain my gripe with these.

 

Business Queries

Every month I receive 10 or so business queries that all follow a similar line. Those that pass the spam criteria normally originate from legitimate individuals but are very much a canvassing event. I have nothing against hustle so much, trying to make bank by door-stepping has been a process for centuries.

Here’s why it doesn’t work on me.

Cold emails are impersonal.

Essentially the process of writing in this way is cold calling and that will never have a great effect on me. I hate cold calling, it doesn’t work. It is that simple but it wouldn’t make a compelling article unless I divulge more on why.

 

Perception of Being Personal

An element of our social lives is being eroded due entirely to the use of technology. Whether you like it or not, you will engage in less person-to-person interaction now than you would have 10 years ago. Automation saves corporations money by reducing the amount of Humans needed in the process.

Everyone is aware that automation can be impersonal so there have been methods to try to personalise the experience.

Often you’ll find that in a mailing campaign that is targeted to a reader, you may wish to use the first name to address the person individually.

This is a tongue in cheek version of the type of emails I get fairly regularly through the contact form.

This is a tongue in cheek version of the type of emails I get fairly regularly through the contact form.

You can waste so much time by doing things wrong. First impressions mean everything.

 

Common Tropes That Tick Me Off!

“And by the way, you are doing it wrong.”

I’ve seen this statement in a number of different guises. I’m not sure it is always wise to imply that “you suck”. You certainly won’t engender a business relationship easily this way. People don’t take criticism well. I ran an experimental feature a couple of years ago on Blog Prefect and felt the hostility that coincided with it.

Too much truth hurts from strangers.

 

“I’ve been looking at your site and I think you could…”

I could but do I want to. There are two forms of thought on why I didn’t implement something a certain way.

  1. I tried it and it doesn’t work for my audience.
  2. I don’t have the money to invest in the exact system that will yield the result.

Therefore most pitches will fail. In 3 years of operation I have not once engaged with an email unless I’ve had some kind of natural conversation with the source.

 

Doing it Right

If you wanted to try to impress me or get in my good books then you’d have to work with me. You would have to engage in a simpler exchange.

Trying to co-opt me cold through email isn’t the best route. Start out with something simpler like a message over Twitter or a comment on my latest blog post. Spend the time to build a rapport with me and then maybe you can present your intentions with a warmer attitude.

 

Don’t Appeal to My Greed

People are greedy in this capitalist present but that doesn’t mean that I would jump through hoops for greed. What is important to me is helping people in the best way that I can.

There are many systems and tools that I mention that are often free and provide me no kickback, affiliation or pat on the back. I present them because I’m of the opinion they work well. I, like many readers, like to know how I can get something for free or for the least taxing exchange possible.

At present I don’t have “customers”. I sell no products or services. Therefore eliciting additional customers where I have none is pointless.

 

Read My Blog, Don’t Assume

If you were pitching too me, you’d actually have to read my blog. It sounds dumb but you guys don’t. I have the stats to prove it.

90% of the “sales clunge” that I receive through my inbox makes no effort to show any true insight. Worst still you make an assumption on the purpose of the blog without understanding the direction.

 

I May Not Be in the Right Place at the Right Time

So if you’ve bothered to work on a rapport with me you’ll know that you have to be patient and be a friend in the mean time. The friend requirement sometimes means helping me out or just being a friendly voice.

Writing a pitch email straight up will have no positive effect. I’m not motivated to look at or agree on anything without knowing that I can trust you to some degree. Actions speak louder than words but on the internet most of your actions are words.

 

I’m Not Your “Low Hanging Fruit”

As dark as that sounds. You will have to work harder.

 

Screw the Form

Write me something that doesn’t look like you copied and pasted. Let me know that you aren’t just some VA, copywriter or random citizen that was employed by a slack-jawed suit wearer to bait me into action.

 

As For the Future of the Contact Page

I’ve considered taking it down for a number of reasons but for a number of reasons I want to keep it active. I am therefore torn.

Reasons to Take it Down

  • The removal will instantly reduce the amount of nuisance emails I receive. I have fully vetted and setup my contact form so that it reduces spam but there are still those who fall through the net on occasion. I could restrict more but at the price of alienating.
  • It doesn’t perform its primary purpose. I had intended that people with genuine queries could talk to me about content, problems with their blogs and other conversations related to blogging but this never happens.

Reasons to Leave it Up

  • It is important that if someone had a burning concern and didn’t want to whack my email in directly that they contact me some way.
  • The contact page is an important pre-requisite in a complete Blog and I want to let people know that I can be contacted. I want to declare that I take community seriously.

In summary I would be leaving the page up but I am thinking about re-tuning the purpose of those emails.

Contact Form 7 is the contact form plugin I currently use.

Contact Form 7 is the contact form plugin I currently use.

 

Is My Approach Correct?

In performing research on other Contact forms I have noticed that they are set out in a very specific way. I would have to say that my contact page is lazy with a simple contact form and I need to do a bit more to direct activity here.

In a couple of weeks I hope to have bottomed out the changes to make this page a more useful entry point into conversation.

 

Other Sources on Contact Pages

In providing research on what is afoot I wanted to take a look at some of the high-ranking results on this issue. One that instantly stuck out was an article from BlogTyrant.

10 of the Best Contact Us Pages

Scrolling down to number 6 in the list on that article, Seth Godin‘s contact us page fits some way along the lines that I’d like to frame what the contact page is for.

Another useful search result was from katharine-writes.com

Does your Website Have… A (Useful) Contact Page?

It was interesting to read about whether you should or shouldn’t have the contact form and why throwing up just your email would encourage more people to contact you. My only concern there is that I’ve always tried to reduce the chances of spam by not leaving “mailto links” where bots can easily find them.

Another hugely useful article was written over at Barn2 Media by Katie

6 ways to stop Contact Form 7 spam on WordPress websites

I was unaware of honeypots and there were some other useful inclusions on the list of 6 that were an interesting read, and which I may look to include in my contact form.

 

In Closing

A contact page is something you need but you will always get individuals who will try to go for an easy win. I displayed in the image near the top of the page with the notion of a “driveby” in the subject line. It is very wasteful to cold call. Why not just do it right? It takes longer to cultivate but you are much more likely to hit pay dirt.

Being personal still rocks.

 

Care and Share

I will now ask for your aid in sharing my post. The bonus is that this is the 200th article by BlogPrefect over 3 years. I am happy to have reached this milestone in hopes that I’ve helped others through my observations.

I have changed my social media focus more towards Twitter in recent times because in terms of results I get more interaction with my audience than I would with Facebook or Google+. Therefore please feel free to share this on Twitter. You can also contact me there at twitter.com/blogprefect. I do of course accept shares wherever you’d like to push this content and all of the firm favourites can be found in the SumoMe share bar to the left of the screen (just look for the crown).

I am contactable through, funnily enough the contact page, via a DM on twitter, via this sites wonderful email address of headboy [at] blogprefect.com and through telepathic communication. Maybe not so much for the last one, it gives me a headache.

The comments are open so you are welcome to agree or disagree with anything I’ve written and point out any shortfalls or improvements that you think would be helpful to me or any other readers.

 

Image Credits:

Featured image by Jarmoluk via Pixabay, edited by moi..

Marketing Micro-Management Versus Automation

Many Entrepreneurs hope to create a system so perfect that they can leave it to run automatically. As part of this article I look into the pros and cons of automation with keen observation.

Marketing Micro-Management Versus Automation

First question to ask:

What is the worst situation that could happen if you leave your site to run automatically?

Here’s a small list.

  1. Your article comes out like garbage. Bad formatting, horrible grammar, bad pacing.
  2. A half-finished article gets submitted by accident.
  3. The content gets marketed in areas that no longer receive warmth.
  4. If part of a series, the article is sent in the wrong order.

 

You Still Need to do Some Work

With any form of automation you commit to, there is a requirement to test the output first. It is the developer’s law. As a producer of bathtubs, as an example, you don’t want to find that you’ve miss-drilled 199 tap holes.

You measure twice and cut once.

As part of running any long-term campaign you have to assess the quality of your output. Does everything look okay still?

Say that you’ve become used to setting up your articles in a specific way that has developed over time. You then adjust your theme over time to accommodate this evolved style. Do you go back and check the old content? Do you make sure your old content fits the new theme, that the functions of that post type (which might have changed from the old) work?

 

Going Back in Time

Before the hard-core use of Databases in websites through either PHP or ASP (or their ilk) it was common for websites to be labour intensive to update. Since databases took the hard work out of regular posting there has been more time to invest in getting the finer details right and keeping content up to date.

 

Do You Schedule Events to Review Your Old Posts?

There are a number ways you could do this depending on the weight of articles you have on your blog. You should keep these variables in mind when reviewing your work.

Variable 1: How many posts per month?

If you post once a month consistently the job of checking back is going to be very easy and should be priority 1.

If you post once a week, you will have far more posts to check if you’ve been blogging for a couple of years.

Variable 2: The size of your posts?

Small posts are intrinsically easier to check than large ones.

Variable 3: How much time does it take to generate your content?

You obviously need time to keep the day-to-day operation running. How much legitimate time outside your core blogging activity can you dedicate to the cause?

We all live busy lives so there will be more to do in the day than simply write articles. If you are articles are so all-consuming that you have no time to perform non-creative tasks, you may need to reconsider your priorities.

 

Marketing and What to Consider About Automation

Automation is great if:

  • You want to target a key time of the day
  • The article needs to hit a key day of the week

Automation sucks because:

  • You have to work to a schedule
  • You may not be ready to respond to problems in the moment as you under the false impression that all is well.

Benefits

Targeting is a key benefit of automation. You can fire and forget. You can chain up a number of functions to automate the process. You can set WordPress (or your CMS of choice) to publish your work at a set date and time. You can then set your social media sharing to coincide with this publication.

Drawbacks

The negatives of automation are that you are boxed into a schedule. You need to get your item ready before the deadline. This can be a good thing if you need the impetus to get your writing done. Newspaper editors box journalist ears until they are black and blue to get stories into print. Sometimes you can’t rush quality. In addition you can’t respond to publication errors immediately (unless you watch your post auto-publish which is counter productive). Instead, you will be forced to play catch up later.

Systems That Can Help With Automation

Buffer is a great first stop. 

BufferOverviewAnalytics

Buffer is useful because you can schedule your content to blast out on a variety of social media sites with relative ease. It also provides valuable analytics. The schedule feature is my favourite element because a large proportion of my audience (both casual and regular) originate in America. Scheduling for the right time is important so that my article gets some warmth near when it is published (and later).

I’ve used buffer for nearly a year and (touch wood) have had no issues with it so far. You do have to use the right image dimensions for the social media platform you are pushing your content to.

2016 Social Media Image Sizes Cheat Sheet

Make a Website Hub provides a great cheat sheet above for all the current Image sizes for 2016. If you have a specific channel that you target such as Twitter or Facebook, it is worth knowing what the dimensions are for your images. This is especially important if you drop watermarks or logos in the bottom of your image. If the image doesn’t conform to the correct dimensions it will tend to be cropped and you could end up losing some of the valuable real estate for brand identification.

Inside WordPress

WordPress has its own methods of automation. If you are heading out on holiday/vacation like I did last week, you can set your post not only to publish but to “publicize” at the same time. WordPress has included most of the common Social Media Platforms and you can send to numerous platforms at the same time with the scheduling option.

WPAutomation

Note: I would strongly recommend that if you are going to use these features you try them out before you go on your holiday with an experiment on another article first. You then have some idea of how the output appears.

In Closing

There is plenty out there to assist you. I’ve given you an insight into two of the elements that I use to automate but there are a variety of plugins, apps and other systems out there.

Hootsuite in particular is a service that I’ve heard great things about but due to the pay wall presented I am not yet willing to incorporate it into my blog’s arsenal.

I would say that over the past 3 years of blogging I’ve got better results out of using as few artificial aids as possible. It is better sometimes to be the “artist” and to be in control rather than to let systems do it for you. The more you put your content through the juice strainer, the more you have to concern yourself with cleanup in the event of spills.

Nothing works for ever, you constantly have to keep changing things up.

 

Please Share, Contact, Get Involved

You can contact me at headboy [at] blogprefect [dot] com, via twitter, or through the comments below.

 

Image Credits

Featured Image: Danke Schön to Romi via Pixabay

Buffer Image courtesy of Buffer

WordPress dashboard image courtesy of WordPress

How to Use Urgency for Marketing Blog Posts and Email Lists

Your blog is likely to languish in slow gains and losses. Passive marketing limits your potential to receive big gains. Sometimes as an individual forced to market your work, you will have to go on the hunt.

How to Use Urgency for Marketing Blog Posts and Email Lists

In order to make marketing work sometimes you have to light the touch-paper under somebody to get them to cross the line.

There is a Backstory to this Article

Sense of Urgency

You’d be surprised to know that I have published this article before and a common search theme that was yielding this result:

“Instilling a sense of urgency for renters”

Obviously, gaining money from lodgers and renters is a big issue for a landlord. You can ask for the money as loudly and as frequently as you want but you cannot physically make that individual pay until they are ready.

Ways you could step up the urgency as a landlord include:

 

Phase 1: Personal action

  • Writing a stern letter with threats.
  • Taping a notice to the door.
  • A face to face request.

Phase 2: Indirect action

  • Mild intimidation through hiring bouncers to stand outside the door.
  • Changing the locks on the door.

Phase 3: Extreme action

  • Approach a debt collection agency.
  • Take the occupant to court. The bailiffs will be paying a visit.

 

Each phase raises the severity of disharmony between the landlord and the tenant. The higher you go on the scale the less likely you are going to have a warm relation with the individual. The phases above are only hypothetical and certain actions have extreme responses. You have to tread carefully.

Behaviour

If you go about the relationship with your tenant in a stronger way from the start, they are less likely to let you down later. Being soft will allow the tenant to take advantage of your good nature.

Weak methods of dealing with a problem lead to extreme actions. If you follow a step from Phase 2 or Phase 3, don’t expect the response to be peaceful.

 

How Does this Relate to Blogging and Email Lists?

Urgency is used in many forms of marketing to condition interested parties into being expedient with their signup/purchase.

It’s the difference between saying I’ll do it tomorrow and I’ll do it right now. For sellers, doing it tomorrow means they won’t get a sale. Doing it right now is often the way to go.

 

Why are Buyers “Pregnant of Thought?”

There are different types of decisions for products and services.

The expense of a product/service can have a strong question factor. The psychology of a buyer is to question what they actually get and whether it is good value. In addition, for many entrepreneurs selling B2B (business to business), the question factor will involve;

  • How much money is saved?

Or

  • How much money is earned?

The bottom line is always money.

The psychological goal is to drive the customer into a frenzy of activity and there are a number of control levers to achieve this.

 

“Early Bird Savings.” Psychology

If a salesman can offer you a cost incentive attractive enough to pull you in sooner they will try their best. Setting a time limit to an attractive price has the ability of drawing in more of those on the fence.

 

“What am I doing wrong?” Psychology

Convincing people to make rash, in the moment, shooting off the hip decisions, involves persuasion.

  • Certain sentences, and words contained therein, act as triggers.

“What am I doing wrong?” is one these trigger sentences. People have complexes and insecurities about going about things in the right way so when this is challenged, it allows sellers a window of opportunity. To solve certain situations a product might be considered to remedy that problem.

 

“Don’t delay” Psychology

Simply asking someone not to dally may provide the necessary momentum to take action. Removing passive choices helps establish interest, but more importantly, action.

 

“Limited” Psychology

Setting a limitation to anything makes it more valuable than something with no perceived limit.

“There are only 15 spaces on this training course. Book early to avoid disappointment!”

 

Your Blog Post is Your Product

You can garner many ways to motivate:

Title

Start with the title. It’s where most Big Wig Bloggers do their biggest business.

What’s important with a title? It helps the audience decide whether this is a timely article they should read among the trillions of others.

Channel the bill board evangelist in you!

The title also links into your SEO, picking the right keyword which forms part of your title is essential.

 

Image and Colour Choice

Certain images and the colour palette used can evoke action. Common colours used for action on the internet are orange and blue.

Orange is often used on buttons, especially with regards to opt-in forms, payment buttons and other forms of action copy.

Blue is a truth colour associated with trust. Many social media platforms use the colour blue for their logos.

Humans interpret data quicker through visual cues than through writing alone. The inclusion of trust signs could be helpful in swaying deciders.

Performing Split Tests is a great way of discovering which colours work best for your audience. Quicksprout.com uses a lot of Green.

QuickSprout Green

Shorter Sentences

Keeping it short and sweet is often the best way to keep people interested. Why ramble?

 

Keeping the Best Goods Above the Fold

The fold is an invisible perceptual line, the point at which a person’s eye will track when they initially land on the target page, article or email.

When creating a blog post you have to consider how you are going to hook your audience in within the first area of the fold. Writing up the top has to be on point whilst it can loosen as you scroll further down the page.

Things not to do in the fold area:

Place an image. Images can be distracting.

Waffle. You need to keep it short and sweet so that you can start getting to the goods.

Above The fold

BlogTyrant provided an excellent summary by means of infographic as a guest post on Problogger.net. Go check this out for more details.

 

Instilling a Sense of Urgency in Marketing Copy

 

Colour Convincers

Humans are predisposed to responding to bright colours in insects, snakes and frogs. It is part of a prehistoric defence system to prevent poisoning. The brighter the critter, the more poisonous they are.

Colours, as mentioned above, can be used in different ways to push and cajole actions. The colours of text and backgrounds are more important in marketing copy. Words are vital here.

See this interesting article by Helpscout on the Psychology of color.

 

Images: People vs Objects

The Images you use have a valuable currency. I wager that if I released this article without images, it would perform considerably worse than if I had included some images.

  • Response to certain advertising can be improved be adding or subtracting the presence of people. Sometimes a friendly face drives a bond between the advertisement and the customer.

On the flip side.

  • Running without the presence of people produces better results. Understanding the right symbolism for your product/service is important.

Do you want to be known for those scantily clad women with their vacant smiles or that wood grain monstrosity? Choose carefully.

See this interesting article by Hubspot on emotional advertising.

Testimonials

Beyond your copy, how on the level are you?

Testimonials answer that question in a unique way.

Many buyers perform research before committing on financial decisions. A product or service has to be assessed on its good graces which may mean leaving the page and seeing who else recommends it.

Testimonials already indicate those with allegiance to the product/service. These individuals are already satisfied and the product/service works for them.

Testimonials - Entrepreneur

See here for an in depth look on testimonials from Entrepreneur.com

 

Instilling a Sense of Urgency in Email Marketing

Email Marketing has some limitations in how you can play with it. An email is a one shot deal. There are a number of outcomes.

Outcome Result Email Response
Success Received, Read, Action Taken
Indirect Success Received, Unread, Action Taken
Failure Received, Read
Received, Read, Deleted
Received, Unread
Received, Unread, Deleted
Unreceived
Disaster Received, Read, Unsubscribed
Received, Unread, Unsubscribed

 

Setting the Right Tone

It is best to get into your main point quickly. You don’t have long before an email reader will switch off. Email is chronically bloated for many readers so time is precious.

A decision you should make is; how quickly do you want to ask the burning question? Ask that question too early and it might come across as brisk. Wait too late and you miss the boat.

 

Short Sentences and Paragraphs

Short sentences are a lot easier to read. Further improved layout can also set up reading a lot easier. Shorter paragraphs can also help.

Like that mentioned in Blog Posts, keeping your key point above the fold is important. When you reach scrolling fewer people will remain connected.

 

Use Formatting

  1. Bullet points and numbered points are useful to summarise.
  2. Underline, bold and italic can all be used to accentuate otherwise dull paragraphs.
  3. Breath lines “—”, colons “:” and semi-colons “;” can help save space but make sure you know how to use them properly.
  4. Strikethrough can also be used as a visual tool.
  5. Tables are useful when you have a lot of data to represent but a short space to do it in.

 

Number Psychology

Numbers can be used to stimulate interest, especially when they are the right numbers. A good way to stimulate a positive thought about the benefits of a product or service are to illustrate how numerically stronger they are.

Time = less

“My tax returns took 10 days to put together, now with Tax-Maiden I can get my returns up to date in less than 3 hours.”

Money = more

“I was able to 5X my earnings in less than a month using FurryGerbil.”

Kissmetrics provides an interesting article based on 5 Psychological Studies on Pricing that you may find very interesting.

 

In Closing

It can be easy to be skeptical. We all live in a more capitalist society than we ever have. Even countries that were under the grip of a control against capitalist ideas have buckled (Namely the PRC, The Russian Federation, Cuba). Selling is inescapable. We have to sell ourselves when we undertake an interview. That CV/Resume is our advertisement.

We have all witnessed at some stage, very ‘salesy’ emails and websites. There are videos along this line that annoy, they are the adverts we skip or block on YouTube. As I mentioned in my original version of this article:

“Videos that work this way are particularly annoying because the fervour feels about as comfortable as a shark tied to your back.”

In hindsight there has to be some balance. Patience is a virtue, that said it may not put dinner on your plate.

Don’t try, be too passive in your approach, don’t expect the results.

 

The Salesman

I drew comparison between the new salesman, desperate to make a sale, and the old practiced hand. The older salesman knows how to close, the younger salesman can end up fouling their chance. In terms of relating that to blogging and email marketing, you face danger by experimenting as you go.

The saying goes that a good product or service will always sell itself. As a marketer you’ve just got to make people aware of it. Using blunt force is less agreeable than being subtle. When you don’t know what you are doing, you are more likely to be blunt.

Time imperatives can be used as a useful aid. The problem that marketers face is that selling service has an intangible value when viewed without trial.

 

Urgency Responses Work Well With

  • Book Sales
  • Online Courses

Time limits work great with book sales because on platforms like Amazon you can run promotions with scaled price drops. Through some trial, error and the right tools, you can run your own discounts on your own products in this way. Email marketing, using time limited discount codes and other smart moves can allow access to urgency marketing success.

Online courses, especially those guided by a live tutor, are naturally going to have a limitation. When creating courses they have a shelf life. From my own experience working with an airline, yield management comes into the fore. When you are working with limited resources you manipulate the prices to ensure you fulfill the capacity of the resource. Membership comes with limitation as a pre-requisite. You have to pay to play.

Limiting a class size maintains quality. You can squeeze at both ends with your marketing. Offering an “early bird” up front, followed by offering a “last chance” at the end. That might not engender much activity in the middle of the campaign however. Limiting a class size allows you to plan for all the resources you need in order to perform the class to a high standard. This means that you can charge more up-front.

 

Blogging Urgency

Urgency in blogging depends on the topics you write about and the words you use. In my landlord/tenant scenario at the start of this article there is application to blogging. The less personal the action you take, the more likely you are to damage relations between yourself and the respondent. In the scenario, it is quite possible that in phase 2 and 3, the tenant could trash the property in a rage. Such retaliation could relate to disparaging comments and negative reviews elsewhere, the kind of knocks you could do without.

 

My Request

If you found this information useful, please share it because BlogPrefect.com needs your love.

You can find BlogPrefect on twitter by clicking this sentence. Twitter is my favourite destination but I do also reside at Google+. Facebook is less of a resting spot for me despite it being the best sharing tent on the Internet.

If you have questions feel free to send me a message at headboy [at] blogprefect [dot] com.

Comments are welcome and I can take a bruising but watch your Ps and Qs. Need more, let me know!

 

Image Credits

Featured image from Pixabay by Oscarhenao

 

Cavalry Charge Image within Image from Wikipedia

QuickSprout Image courtesy of QuickSprout.com, used for illustrative purposes only.

Above the Fold Image courtesy of  The Blog Tyrant by means of Problogger.net. used for illustrative purposes only.

Organising that newsletter

I’ve been harping on about my newsletter for a while now but have I set it up to succeed? Its all a matter of organising that newsletter!

Organise That Newsletter

The US Navy decided to send packages by jets. The hard part was figuring how to fit the packages in the missiles.

Why have a newsletter?

Newsletters are useful for retention and they also help by nudging people to come back. There are many pro bloggers who use email marketing as a part of their marketing strategy.  

“Building a list?” what is that?

You may see the pros write this “building a list” line from time to time. If you read anything from Neil Patel’s Quicksprout blog or Pat Flynn’s SmartPassiveIncome, you’ll know that building a list is important.

To put things into sharper focus this is a list of emails of your audience. Not a shopping list. Marketeers break down this list further by suggesting those who buy from you, those who tend to share your work or “interact” and those who fit your target audience. Your list can be broken down further into segments (like an orange) if you so do wish.

If your blog covers more than one area (or niche) you can create a campaign to cater for each interested party. It’s like a buffet.

When you start reading about “Conversions” and “Leads” you are deep in marketing territory. Essentially building a list is about helping to fulfill the criteria to achieve these two buzzwords. A conversion is someone channelled down a path to buy something, a lead is the same. The difference between conversion and leads is that conversions can be based on any outcome (such as a person downloading a free guide), leads are only potential for a sale.  

You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink

The same is true with many things that people might choose to click on your website. It’s all about design and what you are trying to give away. It’s all about value and the sense of imperatives.  

Where am I having to adjust the newsletter?

Firstly, my campagins themselves aren’t sorted out.

  • I need an introductory email to welcome the new subscriber (which I haven’t done).
  • I need an RSS style campaign where each new mail is posted out (which I haven’t done).

This is kinda bad on a scale of 1 to 10 and me scoring 0.5. I need to remedy this!  

Is my newsletter signup form sexy?

Simple answer, no! I’ve compiled a few examples from other notable sites for you to peruse. Notice how each differs significantly and yet do employ some similarities.

WPBeginnerSignup

WPBeginner have a segmented mailing list because they write various different topics around WordPress. This signup sits in the sidebar.

SocMedExSignup

A very graphical example of eye candy signup from Social Media Examiner. This chap sits in the sidebar.

SmartPassiveIncomeSignup

A full width footer signup from Pat Flynn’s SmartPassiveIncome

LeavingWorkBehindSignup

A large full width Signup box from Tom Ewer at LeavingWorkBehind.com

I use the most basic option from MailChimp. A clean form lodged in my sidebar but this isn’t enough.  

BPsignupSidebar

My “Mr. Bean” style Sidebar Signup. Hopefully you are seeing a colourful new one and thinking, hmm, I know why he changed that!

Do I want to put my signup anywhere else?

I want it as the last thing you see in each post. The pre-footer footer. The point at which you realise;

Oh snap, this article has finished! Maybe I should sign up for the newsletter for all that tasty goodness?!”  

What’s this A/B Split testing malarkey?

Split Testing is yet another one of those marketing terms. It works by splitting those who take an action on two or more forks. The analysis of which technique or layout performed better can normally be declared quite quickly. Marginal changes mean that further split tests are required. Neil Patel of Quick Sprout is a particular fan of the split test. Often by changing the colour of a button, re-positioning it or adding some inspired content somewhere, you can push more people over the line.

So in simpler terms I have 100 people view the same page except 1 unique difference:

  • 50 people see a red button
  • 50 people see a blue button
  • The red button results in 10 people performing the required action.
  • The blue button results in 3 people performing the required action.
  • My split test has told me I should use a red button.

The good thing about a split test is that it can be run an almost infinite number of times. You could have it running all the time tweaking something or other about how you want to “convert”. These campaings aren’t always perfect because you might have unknown and unusual spikes in your traffic and your sample group may not act “scientifically“.

MailChimp and Aweber provide this option but as I’ve discovered for MailChimp this option only unlocks after a few successful mail campaigns have been run. That’s not such a bad thing because if you are beginner it is a bit more technical.

My questions to you!

  • Did you create the list at the start or sometime after when you realised how important it was? 
  • How do you organise your newsletter?
  • Do you have one?
  • Have you ever used split testing? Do you plan to?