Blog for Clients: An Interview with Corrina Gordon-Barnes

Screen Shot 2015-12-17 at 5.21.53 PMI’ve known Corrina Gordon-Barnes for a few years now and my respect and affection for her have only deepened. She coaches, consults and runs a very fine blog for conscious service providers. She’s got a lot of thoughts worth hearing about how to create a blog for yourself and how to do it in such a way that it actually gets you clients rather than wasting your time (In fact, she’s made her popular Blog for Clients course available as a self-study training course).

Blogging is something I know a bit about, having written 600+ blog posts myself. However, I can tell you that I’ve written precisely zero of them with any sense of strategy. It’s been a way for me to get clear on my own thoughts. What Corrina is offering here is a far more strategic, wise and profitable investment of time than anything I’ve done.

So, I thought I would invite her to share her thoughts on the matter.

Screen Shot 2015-12-17 at 5.27.36 PMTad: What is the difference between blogging and blogging for clients?

Corrina: I like to use the analogy of cooking.

Scenario one: I’m by myself. I’m cooking a soup. Yum, I’m going to really enjoy this soup. I’ll just cook according to my taste, I won’t consider quantities, I’ll just focus completely for myself; my and my soup is what I’m all about.

Scenario two: I want to feed my friends. They’re hungry. They’re coming over in two hours. I think about their allergies, their taste preferences. I plan out my cooking so I have enough provision for all of them and so that it’s ready on time for them.

This is the difference. Blogging is for me; blogging for clients is when I focus on others, think about their needs, think about how I can serve them, and then work backwards, getting strategic? about how to meet their needs through what I’m offering.

When we’re blogging for clients, we blog in such a way that it gives potential clients a taste of our approach, plus – importantly – what we have to offer through our paid-for products and services. When we blog, we give our potential clients an opportunity to fall in love with us, to feel safe with us, to feel that somehow we’re aligned and belong together. We’re in the same resonance.

Blogging might be fun in and of itself, but blogging for clients actually leads to clients, increased credibility and increased income. Blogging for clients is not about writing as a hobby; it’s about blogging as your key marketing activity. It actually works for you, supporting your business to grow and flourish and become profitable. AND it’s thoroughly enjoyable.

Why do most people’s blogs get so little engagement and no clients for them? What are they missing?

They don’t first decide what they’re selling and then work backwards from there. They don’t reverse engineer their blogs. In my self-study training course, Blog for Clients, we start with the product or service you want to sell more of, or have people hire you more frequently for, and then we choose blog topics and structure the blogs with this end in mind.

Wow. That’s so simple. Totally.

People at first worry about being strategic or having structure, they worry it’s going to limit their freedom or creativity, but here’s the truth: the writing of the blog actually can be more creative and free-flowing, once you’re writing from strategy and structure.

Another thing people miss is that they don’t give blogging enough of a chance. They give up too soon. And they don’t learn how to do it properly, from people who’ve figured out what works and what doesn’t. They stumble along, trying to figure it out themselves, rather than giving themselves the chance to invest in a learning journey with this incredible marketing approach.

Blogging is the #1 way I built my business over the decade I’ve been self-employed. People look at the word “blogging” and think it looks like something teenagers do, or people who have too much time on their hands. They don’t realize the power at their finger-tips!

What are the top three blunders people make when blogging for clients? And what should they be doing differently?

Blunder #1: They try to speak to everyone, a “spray and pray” kind of approach, rather than honing in on ONE ideal client and writing every blog for them.

Solution: Write each blog to ONE person. I actually start my blogs, “Hey Hannah”, picture my ideal client, write the blog, and then delete the greeting at the end!

Blunder #2: They don’t blog consistently. It’s sporadic, impulsive; they’ll write a flurry and then go awol for months. Think about your favourite TV show or magazine; we love that feeling of regularity, of being able to expect something will show up in our inbox or letter box or screen. We come to trust the producers.

Solution: Commit to an editorial calendar; hold yourself accountable for contributing great value regularly to your community. Be in it for the long-game.

Blunder #3: They forget that a blog is a conversation. We have a whole module in Blog for Clients about how to inspire more comments and what to do about them (because people worry about spam and trolls and negative comments).

Solution: In the way you write, and in your encouragement of comments, remember that a blog is powerful because it’s a heart-to-heart two-way conversation.

Any last advice of thoughts to people who are building their blogs to get clients?

We’re not born knowing how to do marketing.

Likewise, we’re not born knowing how to do blogging.

I often hear from people after they’ve taken Blog for Clients, they say something like: “I nearly didn’t take this course. I knew how to write. I liked writing. I didn’t realize there was actually an art and science to blogging; I thought I could just figure it out” – and they’re so grateful that they learned how to do it so it actually WORKS for them, business-wise. Otherwise, we can enjoy blogging but we won’t see the fruits of our labour. And our business won’t reach the level it can go to, with blogging as the catalyst.

About Corrina:

Corrina Gordon-Barnes wants to live in a world where marketing is fun, clients turn up easily, and money flows to those who do work that helps and heals.

As a certified coach, marketing teacher and self-employment champion, she’s been featured on MindBodyGreen, The Daily Muse, LifeByMe and MarketingForHippies and published in The Ecologist, OM Yoga, Diva, and The London Paper. She’s author of Turn Your Passion to Profit: a step-by-step guide to getting your business off the ground.

When she’s not writing blogs and teaching courses, you can find her reading chick-lit, making vegan blueberry cheesecake, and trying to catch her niece and nephew on the monkey bars.

Take her self-study training course – Blog for Clients – and read her book – Turn Your Passion to Profit – to discover how to stay happy and profitable on the self-employment path at http://youinspireme.co.uk

Four Thoughts About Email Subject Lines in Marketing

First of all, this is not a blog post about how to write email subject lines that sell (though it may help you do that).

It’s also not a blog post about how to write good sales copy. I’ve got nine thoughts on how to do that here.

When you get an email, there is, like the title of a book or a chapter, the subject line.

It is, in many ways, the headline to your email.

My mentor Robert Middleton said this recently, “I agonize over subject lines. It’s kind of an art.”

I think that’s the right attitude to have.

This blog post came from an email that myself and many colleagues received from someone in our industry (you’ll hear more about it in Though #2). This inspired a lot of big conversations about it, and tactics like it, in a private facebook group. And that all inspired this blog post.

 

Thought #1: The subject line is not the most important factor in an email being opened.

Not by a long shot. It’s not that they aren’t important, it’s just that they’re a distant number two from the most important reason – who it’s from. If the email is from someone they deeply love and trust, they’re almost guaranteed to notice it and far more likely to open it. There is so much attention given to the subject line but it’s just not the most important thing.

Two things this means:

1) Having your message delivered by key influencers and hubs will have a lot of impact.

2) If you are not trusted, it doesn’t matter how good your subject line is. So, if you do things that break trust with your followers, your emails will be ignored. This leads neatly into thought #2…

A colleague of mine Kathy Mallary said this, “Another thing that rarely gets mentioned is that if you are doing a good job of building a meaningful, value-based relationship with the people on your list (a first step might be to refer to them AS people, rather than “my list”!), then your subject lines will probably get better results no matter what — even if they, shall we say, ‘suck‘.  For instance, if Mark Silver or Robert Middleton were to send me an email that said “Sorry, but I have to move on…” I would DEFINITELY open it, and even if inside they were to (accidentally, I’m sure) say something silly like “I’m really sorry that I have failed to communicate the value this program could create for you and that now we are leaving you behind!” I would most definitely email them back and check to see what the heck is going on, because that kind of message affects our relationship. Because both Mark and Robert have consistently taken the trouble to build a relationship with their audience, and as one of their tribe, I trust them and care about what they’re up to. So if you’re the marketer, I encourage you to get up to speed on relationship marketing — it’s actually a “thing”. And getting good at it might actually create the space and forgiveness you need so you can afford to make a silly mistake once in a while (who doesn’t?!).”

 

Thought #2: Your subject line is a promise that the email fulfills (or not).

Whatever you write in the subject line is a promise to them.

The email is where you fulfill that promise.

If you consistently make good on your promises (and maybe even over deliver) people will trust you.

If you consistently break your promises, people will trust you less.

Here’s the story about how this blog post came to be (it includes an epic rant).

One of my colleagues got an email from another colleague which had a subject line that she felt (and I agree) was misleading.

The subject line was, “Here’s my phone number”.

But the email she gave in it, was not her personal cell phone number. It was a conference bridge line. This is a part of the email.

“I’ve never done this before – so TAKE ADVANTAGE OF ME!

Here are the details:

Primary dial in number: (425) 440-5100
Secondary dial in number: (513) 233-7881
Guest pin code: 834536#

Give Me a Call … I’d LOVE to Meet You!!!”

My colleague was upset and ranted, “Oh for the LOVE of all that is HOLY – do not EVER EVER EVER send an email to your list with the subject line “here’s my phone number” and then give a motherfucking conference bridge line. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? DO YOU THINK I AM A COMPLETE MORON?? WHAT THE WHAT?!?!?! She’s never done this before? What? Given out a bridge line? Who suggested to her she do this? Has she lost her mind. This is the most disingenuous, insidious and offensive marketing email I have ever gotten. She was trying to like dupe the reader into believing it was her personal number…. Just say you are having a Q&A call and you will stay on to answer any question – TERRIFIC – AMAZING – I LOVE IT – I DO IT – I ENDORSE IT…. but pretend you are giving out your personal phone number?!?!? Just a douchey move on my part. Way way way douchey and bad for the entire industry. My point is – say that – “I’m having a Q&A call and I’ll stay on the line until every question is answered.” But don’t pretend we are friends and you are giving me ‘your’ phone number and that it’s something you’ve ‘never done before.’ That’s the dirty creepy gross part – to me. I think we can all still make lots of money and make a huge difference without lying or manipulating people into it. In my personal gut, heart and soul, I believe that they wrote that subject line to get me to think that inside there would be a personal number – maybe a cell phone, maybe a google number but not a bridge line. I have never used the phrase “here’s my phone number” to refer to a group call. It also implies – TO ME – in my interpretation — a personal call between me and the sender. So my vet just sent me an email with his number and I’m going to call him. I believe they wanted the reader to think they were going to have a private call with her before they opened the email.”

And I agree with her rant. I think it’s how more and more of us are feeling these days.

The email subject line made a promise.

The email broke it.

You must deliver on what you promise.

Of course, it’s not always so blatant.

I’ve seen many email subject lines that I felt were misleading to me.

Here are the usual suspects that are just so clearly hyped up and disingenuous.

  • “The World’s Best ________” – In the world? Amazing. I know a donair shop that is the best in the world too! The sign says so!
  • “You can make a million dollars too – using my system” – Somehow I suspect this system will involve me sending emails to others with the headline, “You can make a million dollars too – using my system”…
  • “Meet the woman of your dreams – simply read this book” – Phew! I was scared I might have to actually start a conversation and risk something.
  • “I saw what this ____ did with this ____ and I can’t believe it!”- Really? You couldn’t believe it? Were you actually that shocked? 
  • “You can lose/get _______ with this one weird trick” – Really? That’s all it takes? One thing? And, real talk, how weird is it actually?
  • “I’m a Nigerian Prince and I’d like to help you” – For once, I’d like to meet an actual Nigerian prince. I bet he’d be charming as hell. We’d go on adventures. It’d be the best.
  • “I Have No Secrets <- (Open BEFORE 3pm Pacific Today!)” Really? Or will the content of this email be annoying and all baiting.
  • “This amazing product for you for such a low price, but I have to take it down forever after ______ date.” – You have to? HAVE to?
  • “This is the best thing you’ve read all day!” – How do you know? Creeper. 
  • “‘Secret’ Leaked Video: Watch Here Tad!”- Whoa! What an exclusive scoop! Thank you for secretly leaking the video and then totally leaking it and secretly announcing it to your list of thousands. I’m so glad this isn’t some marketing ploy to make the video seem more valuable!
  • “watch this movie 3 times/week and watch your in…come go up by at least 10K, mine did” – If this worked, a dear friend of mine would be a horse whisperer by now. And I’d be travelling space and time in a TARDIS.
  • “This REVOLUTIONARY training” – Move over Che Guevera! THIS is what a revolution is all about! Packing old ideas in a new way and selling them for millions!
  • “Board Update” –  My colleague, Toronto based copy writer and social media strategist, Rachel Foster sent me this appalling gem. “I can’t recall where I saw your post on bad email subject lines. I just got one that said “board update”. The mailer was targeting executives and assumed that most of them are on boards. Sneaky jerks.”

All of the above, could be legit. If they’re legit and sincere.

As one of my friends said, “a red flag is anything that promises to blow me away, blow my mind, blow up my sales, etc. Just talk like a normal person already.”

You must deliver on what you promise.

Here are ten more examples of email subject lines that are often subtly misleading…

EXAMPLE #1: “I’ve never been so vulnerable!”:  Subject lines like, “This is the most vulnerable thing I’ve ever shared” or “I’m really scared to share this with you . . .” only to read it and have the vulnerable thing be something salesy that is clearly not very vulnerable at all. They used my caring of them as a hook to get me to open the email. That didn’t feel good. As another colleague of mine, Teray, shared, “When someone sends too many “vulnerable”, “embarrassing” subject headings in a row…it starts to feel like me me me me.”

EXAMPLE #2: Using Family Photos: My dear colleague Morgana Rae expressed her discomfort at marketers using truly heartfelt things as bait, “I heard about a colleague who recently shared pictures of her newborn baby, then tied that into a marketing campaign. At the end of the day, be a person.

EXAMPLE #3: Feigning Vulnerable Stories: My colleague David Jurasek expressed how, “The ones I get fooled into opening and annoy me most are when folks I generally trust pretend to get all up close and personal about their own story and then I find out in the email they are being quite superficial and linking me to their “good friend” who helped them once and is now selling a program.

One of my colleagues Brenda shared this recently on Facebook: “I have a confession to make… I am so TIRED of seeing that as a subject line!!! I just got one in my inbox. You know what the energy of that is? More like this: I have a confession to make. I think you’re such a sucker that you’ll open my email with baited breath, see how “authentic” I am with my paint by number marketing and jump at my offer, begging to buy from poor little me who just made a “confession” to you.  You know what? Come back to me when you have a REAL confession that means something, and when it isn’t just a ploy to get me to open your email and buy your shit. End rant. #TruthbyBrendamcintyre

EXAMPLE #4: re: Other colleagues of mine pointed out how much disdain they had for emails that began with “re:”. Kim Page Gluckie said,  “I don’t like the new trend to start with “Re: ……” It implies we have had a personal conversation or exchanged a 1:1 email. When it shows up in the subject line it feels overly familiar and contrived. Because it is. It happens on the lists I’m sure I never actually subscribed to.”

EXAMPLE #5: provocatively misleading: Kathy Mallary shared, ” I think the worst I’ve gotten from an “expert” started off with this subject: ‘Sorry, but I have to move on…’ and then went on to say: ‘I’m really sorry that I have failed to communicate the value this program could create for you and that now we are leaving you behind!'”

EXAMPLE #6: “I’m puzzled.”: I-ching worker Hilary Barrett of the UK was not too impressed when she opened an email with the subject line “Hilary, I’m puzzled.” and how the email went on to explain how puzzling it was that she hadn’t signed up for whatever-it-is. “I think these are generally the last one in an auto responder series, sent with the thought, ‘Well, if she unsubscribes now it’s fine, because she’s not buying anyway.'” I’ve gotten a few of these and felt like, ‘I’m puzzled why you feel entitled to my business…’ Another colleague sent out an email with the headline, “So… What gives?” and a different colleague, Thea, commented on it, “I know you agree with me, but I just had to vent. Why do people use guilt to try to get clients?!!! Pisses me off. Just received this email with the headline, “I thought building a business was important to you. I thought having the freedom to live life exactly the way you wanted was your dream. And I surely thought if I gave you the fastest path I know to big money … and made it absolutely free … you’d jump at the chance. I’ve done all that for you … and you still haven’t signed up for the FINAL encore of ….” And my colleague Rachel had this to say, “Ahhhhh!!! This happened to me a few months ago…where when I decided to opt out of doing a program, I was told that I *clearly* didn’t care enough and I preferred to just sit back and let my dreams and goals pass me by. UH…WHAT??!?! You were just trying to SELL something? Buh bye.” And Robert Middleton insightfully noted, “I’ll admit it. I want to send that kind of email all the time. But I restrain myself! Instead, I try to find an inspiring reason for them to take action. Sure works better. We need to remember that people do things for their reasons, not your reasons. The more you understand those reasons, the better results you’ll get.” Fact.

EXAMPLE #7: “I’m about to explode!” Or the Jay Abraham classic headline, “I’ve got to get this off my chest before I explode”. If you have something you feel that intense about, then sure, use that headline, but many of the times I’ve seen it used it felt like a contrivance. Like they knew that was a winning headline and then sort of reverse engineered it to try and come up with something they needed to get off their chest that might possibly relate to what they’re selling.

EXAMPLE #8: The False Promise of Info: Another colleague of mine shared this, “I can’t stand when a title implies there will be info in an email, and they try to redirect me somewhere else to get said info. I usually find this with business newsletters. They bait you about finding out about some incredible opportunity and inside there’s a link to a promo video on a website, trying to sell you access to the info you were interested in.” Again, the promise implied one thing but the reality was another. A friend of mine shared with me, “I  just foolishly clicked on one a few minutes ago, thinking I was going to read some research: “Surprising ways to reduce neuropathy” with a picture of a woman rubbing her foot. The ‘article’ an add for some kind of supplement.” The photo seems to have been used to imply that massaging your foot could do it when the real intent was to sell a supplement. Another colleague of mine vented about someone she used to love, “Dr. Mercola (who I LOVE for his pioneering on alternative healthcare) now clearly has a copy/article writing staff and they’ve been using an article summary gimmick in his newsletter that contains 5-6 articles. It’s a complete turn off the last couple of years. Something like “This food will give you Alzheimers and your won’t believe what it is!!” And then the article never actually mentions a specific food. I’ve gotten so I won’t read any article with that kind of sensational come on. When you grow to have a staff, you have to watch their brilliant marketing ideas!”

EXAMPLE #9: “Help!”: A few of my colleague vented about the subject line, “I really need your help!” Really? You actually need my help? Or is this just a sales ploy. I love helping if I can. But I don’t like being used. One colleague of mine shared how he opened an email with such a subject line and saw that what was meant by all that was, “I really want to help you be successful but I need your help to do it. ” followed by an offering or invitation. Boo.
 
EXAMPLE #10:  “Can you meet/call/”hang out with” me today?”: This is designed to sound like a very personal message. Why? So you’ll open the email. It’s designed to make you feel important and like you’re getting invited to an exclusive opportunity? Why? So you’ll open the email. But it’s not. Another one I saw was the “Tad (Personal Email)” – is this REALLY her personal email? or an email just to me? Let me check! Oh. Wait. It’s not. 

EXAMPLE #11: “I want your opinion on this…”: I just got an email from a colleague of mine with this as the subject line. So I opened it, busy as I was, because I like this colleague. And nowhere in the email was there ever an invitation for me to share my opinion. Nothing. My time was wasted. Here was the email below…

*

Hi Tad, Here’s a quick POP QUIZ …

QUESTION:

What do the billionaire Michael Dell, talk-show host Conan O’Brien, his Holiness the Dalai Lama and U.S. President Obama have in common?

ANSWER:

They all conduct Google Hangouts to get more media EXPOSURE.

Even CNN’s Anderson Cooper is on the Google Hangout bandwagon to conduct live social commentary for the millions in his audience.

What am I telling you this?

Because on November 20th, you’ll get a rare opportunity to learn from the “Larry King” of Google Hangouts.

It’s true! I’ve made a very special arrangement to get you access to a live, private interview on how G+ Hangouts can and will MAXIMIZE the EXPOSURE of your message.

Even if the date and time listed on the page below is inconvenient, get registered to access the replay.

Who is the “Larry King” of Google Hangouts?

Check him out here.

Watch the brief video, register and then forward this email invitation to a friend or colleague who could also benefit from attending this Hangout!

The 5 key lessons you’ll learn and your surprise bonus gift awaits you after you register for this event.

To Be Continued,

PS. Hangouts are a joint venture between the two most important websites on the planet – Google and YouTube – so don’t you want to strategically align with them? G+ Hangouts are ideal for tech-dummies who want to become #1 on Google without SEO skills.You’re ONE click away right here.

*

Cate Richards shared with me, “One interesting thing Tad is that they teach this stuff in copy school saying they work. What no one ever quantifies is how many ideal customers are switching off because they feel manipulated.”

So true.

Even so, all of those could be great subject lines if…

They really meant it.

If it really was a vulnerable thing they were sharing (and they weren’t using it as a pitch). If they wanted to share the joy of their new child and leave it at that people would be thrilled and loyalty and connection would increase. Do you really need to get something off your chest in a big way? Awesome. Use that headline or something like. If they were really puzzled about something and needed feedback, that might be a great subject line. If you really need help from your list, by all means ask for it. It can be dangerous to demonize a tactic and write it off entirely.

The key idea here: You must deliver on what you promise. My colleague Nick Pfennigwerth wrote this, “In the past two months my best email subject that received a 33% open rate was: ‘90% of Your Business Problems are Solved with This Change'” That’s a big promise. If he delivers a solid answer to it in his email that makes sense to people, he will build a huge amount of trust. But if it was something like, “Think more positive” without much of a unique take on it… he will lose trust and followers fast.

You must deliver on what you promise.

My colleague Steve Mattus of Heart of Business wrote that the subject line should, “sincerely represent the subject of the email”. Truth.

What’s the point of enticing people to open gifts from you if the gifts are always disappointing. That will hurt your reputation.

Another important reason to avoid sneaky subject lines that has nothing to do with you…

But it’s more than that, and this is important, it hurts the reputation of the industry. My dear colleague George Kao speaks beautiful of the notion of sustainable marketing. He urges people to look at any marketing tactic through the lense of “if everyone in my industry marketed like this, what would the impact be?”

And, I put it to you, if you knew that every email you got from a marketing coach like myself was a lie, what would you do?

I tell you what I would stop doing – opening the emails.

One colleague put it this way, “To further prove your point, I know exactly which email you’re referring to in your friend’s rant of Point #2, because i received it, too. Up until that email, I’d appreciated the value in what that particular person/company had to offer, even if the emails they sent weren’t totally my style. I am a good listener so I can make allowance for communication style. But that particular email tipped me over the edge and made me ask if that person/company had now dipped into the “dark side” of marketing. I thought of unsubscribing, haven’t decided yet. Even more interesting, though, is that it got me wondering about all of the other people in the industry who sometimes forward me that company’s programs as affiliates. They were sort of tainted by associate n. (sorr y, I think that might mean you too, Tad, but by now you know I’m a devoted fan of your stuff :) So, your friend’s point about it casting a shadow over the whole industry is well-taken. I guess the other very practical thing that occurs to me is that poor subject lines mean that, as a small business owner, you are much more likely to have people identify your email as spam, which will hurt your ability to spread the word in future.”

The way we conduct ourselves in business doesn’t just impact us, it impacts our colleagues, our industry and the level of trust in the marketplace as a whole. Using unethical marketing approaches, no matter how successful they are, is, ultimately, a very selfish act.

And one could legitimately raise the case that, “Everyone does this!” Sure. That’s true. But old man Hargrave asks you, “If everyone jumped off a bridge, would you?” Yes. Newspaper and internet headlines are full of hype. But is that the world we want where our word means nothing anymore? Where we assume everyone is lying to us?

Ask yourself, “Based on the subject line… Will people feel satisfied with this email or disappointed?”

This matters, because, especially in the seminar industry, we often see a pattern of broken promises. The subject line promises something that the email doesn’t deliver because the email is promising those answers can be found in a free live workshop. But the free live workshop leader tells you that, of course, those questions are too big to be answered in a single evening so you should sign up for the full weekend… Which turns out to just be a weekend of being sold into a high end coaching program. And yet, at no point was much value delivered.

Be wary of over promising. Sure, it will fill up your workshops. But with people who quickly wither on the vine and become bitter towards you.

I’m not arguing that these tactics don’t work. They do… in the short term. But they erode trust in the long term. Simon Sinek makes this point brilliantly here.

Are we impeccable with our word or not? This is the real question.

You must deliver on what you promise.

Thought #3: The point of the subject line is not to get people to open the email.

This is a bit of tricky wisdom.

Yes you want your email opened. But not by ‘people’. ‘People’ is code for everyone. And you do not want everyone on your list to open every email you send. Whaaaa???

I’ve been thinking about this for a while.

If I really wanted to get people on my email list to open an email, if that was my only goal, the subject line would be something like, “I”m dying and this is my last email to you.” That would go gangbusters. Except for the small peccadillo that it’s not true at all (beyond the dying bit which I’m hoping is a very, very long ways away). But you feel me. If the point was just to get them to open up your email, surely we could come up with more compelling things! “I’m pregnant!”, “I’m getting married!”, “This simple trick could double your profits overnight! Actually! No Hype.” etc.

But then we become the boy who cried wolf. And people come to learn, “Oh. Their subject lines are always provocative but the content is just the usual.”

And then there’s the whole ‘using-people’s-names-in-the-subject-line-thing’. Like a friend shared with me, “I recently got an email where the email subject line was, “We’re meeting today, right, Brenda?” And then it was a teleclass promo. I hate it when it’s made to look like it’s an individual email specifically for me.” I am also not a fan. It is insincere. It’s trying to give the impression that this email is just for me. Why? So you’re more likely to open it. But it’s not just for you. As my friend Craig Martin put it, “When I see my name in the subject line, 99% of the time it’s a Constant Contact user trying to appear more personal while sending out mass emails that have nothing to do with.me. If it’s something useful, tell me what it’s about and let me decide. Don’t pretend to be my buddy.”

I don’t think the purpose of the email subject line is there to somehow, by any means necessary, get everyone on your list to open every email. The point of the subject line should be to help people know if this email in particular is one that would be relevant to them and to state that in the most compelling way possible.

To state it another way: the purpose of the subject line is to get the right people to open the email (and make sure people the email isn’t a fit for don’t).

I just got an email from my colleague Bill Baren, “SF Bay Area Peeps Only: In-Person talk with Bill Baren”. What was in promoting? An in-person talk he was leading in San Francisco. So clear. No one’s time gets wasted.

To give a specific example. I recently sent out an email with the subject line ‘Do you lead workshops (or are you thinking of leading them)? It got a 22% open rate (my average these days is around 20%). Some people saw that headline and thought, ‘I don’t lead workshops and I don’t ever intend to. This email is clearly not for me.’ and they didn’t open it.

In my mind, that’s a success.

The goal of marketing isn’t to get people to say ‘yes’. There are three roles. First, to get their attention. Second, to filter and establish, as quickly as possible, if there is a fit at all between what you’re offering and what they’re wanting and needing. And third, to lower the risk of taking the first step.

Ideally your subject line does as much of the following as possible.

It lets them know what to expect in the email, who it’s for and what the benefit of that all is. It explains the value in the email. It helps them, in seconds, decide whether or not to open it.

It gives them a compelling sneak peak inside. A teaser. A micro summary. It piques their interest. Intrigue, engage, and intoxicate with the promise of real value (and then the email must deliver on what was promised).

What’s the point of getting them to open the email, if it, even in a small way, breaks trust with them?

It has the right people say, as my colleague Leslie Nipps put it, “Well crap! I gotta open this!” Rather than “Oh, one of my five bazillion emails in my inbox. Delete.” It’s got to give the right people a good reason to read more.

An important, and perhaps obvious note: the purpose of the subject line isn’t to get them to open the email. People who aren’t a fit deciding not to open your emails because of the subject line is a big success. But, you do enough of the right people opening up your emails to sustain yourself. So the key is to be focused on making sure you’re sending out the right things to your list rather than focused on the subject lines. And I suspect that this is a sticking point for many entrepreneurs with email lists, they haven’t really settled on a niche and so their emails are a bit all over the place. If someone had a laser focused niche and sends out emails that are 100% on topic for the people in their niche with compelling subject lines… they’ll do very well. The subject lines are the lipstick. The email is the pig. Pigs do not look good in lipstick.

You must deliver on what you promise.

But you also need to be promising things that are relevant to your people.

And, of course, this means that you need to know who your people are. Which most entrepreneurs don’t. If you can’t articulate what you do clearly, no fancy subject line will save you.

Thought #4: The subject line should be as clear and compelling as possible.

You might be thinking that I mean email subject lines should just be literal, factual and to the point.

But that’s not what I’m saying.

Toronto based copywriter Rachel Sparacio-Foster points out “anything that says something like “Latest Newsletter” is boring. It should tell me more about what’s in the newsletter.”

A blog reader, Monica O’Rourke backed this up with her words, “I recently unsubscribed from a recipe email list because every single time the subject line was “Check out our new recipes.” I bit once or twice, and the content was equally boring. So, ummm, no thanks. You can’t take a moment to highlight an interesting recipe to get me to open your email (as every other list I’m on does)? Then I’m not interested.”

So, I’m not arguing for being boring. As author Derrick Jensen says of the central rule of writing, “Don’t bore your reader.

I’m saying that your subject line should be making it clear if the email is a fit for them to open and to do that in the most clear and compelling way possible. And we will all have a different style in doing this. Some of us will be very direct, some more coy and evocative. It’s all good as long as it’s working for you. My colleague Leslie Nipps said, “My most opened email ever had the subject line: ‘for two who slipped away almost entirely…’ It was the title of a poem by Alice Walker that I quoted in my article. I usually average 18-22%. This one was almost 40%. I’ve been trying to find that special vibration ever since. Gotta hand it to the poets…” That’s a subject line that was evocative and, my guess is that the email delivered on speaking to what was evoked. But that’s the key. Are you actually speaking to what you lifted up in the subject line?

But, as Robert Middleton pointed out, it’s an art.

I remember hearing a story about three different headlines created for the same public speaking course. The first one, that got an okay response, was, “Public Speaking Course”. That’s very clear. Their second attempt was, “Learn how to speak confidently in public.” That feels a bit closer to the bone. That’s a bit closer to what people are actually craving. They don’t just want to learn the technicalities of speaking. They want to not feel so scared to do it. The third headline was the most successful, “How to Get Rousing Applause, Even a Standing Ovation, Every Time You Speak”. This spoke to what people were craving at the core. The response. Now, we can have a meaningful debate about whether feeding people’s egos like this is a good thing to do but that is a better way of saying the same thing and likely something they can deliver on (as long as their marketing also filters out people who wouldn’t stand a chance of succeeding) and the rest of their marketing clarified the promise.

Don’t bore your reader.

But there is something even more important here and I am underlining it so you get it.

Do. Not. Waste. My. Time.

Do not trick me into opening an email that isn’t actually useful or relevant to for me.

Do not bait and switch me.

That doesn’t turn annoy me. It angers me. It speaks to a level of disrespect that I have zero time for.

I am unspeakably busy with things that matter to me. Do not steal my time.

Be direct. Read this important piece about the relationship between directness and clarity in marketing by Lynn Serafinn.

Do. Not. Waste. My. Time.

And this post isn’t about how to write a compelling subject line.

Although here are a few simple tips:

  • Geography: If you’re promoting a workshop in a certain city, tell me that in the title. Don’t raise my hopes and make me spend 30 seconds opening and reading your email to find out the workshop is happening on the other side of the planet.
  • Dates: Is it time sensitive? Tell me in the subject line.
  • Problem/Result: Can you let me know what issue this email will help me with? What result it will help me get?

Basically, just help me understand what’s in the email.

Want to know how to do write more compelling subject lines?

Here are a few posts to get you started:

Megan Mars wrote a fine post called The 9 Best Email Subject Line Styles to Increase Your Open Rates. Affilorama had some good pointers here. Entrepreneur magazine share their thoughts here.

But my favourite post I found on this was from Copyblogger – read it here.

Also, from emailsthatsell.com read “57 Email Marketing Tips That Will Get You More Opens, Clicks & Sales.”

There are a number of examples of how I’ve done this with clients in my case studies and sales letter makeovers.

the four generations of opt in marketing

2182_Four-generations-20120811-1-958x538This is an email primarily about how to build a solid following and, primarily, how to get people to ‘opt in’ to receive your email newsletter.

I want to submit that there have been four generations of approaches to getting permission to be in touch with potential clients. And that what worked four generations ago, isn’t the best approach today.

But let’s start here: A lot of people focus on ‘getting their name out there’ in marketing.

And they justify a lot of useless activity with it. They go to networking events and not only give their cards to everyone but leave them on every table and they think, ‘Yup! Sure got my name out there tonight!’ They put their brochures in bookshoppes and cafes all over town, they put ads in all sorts of places, and try to drive people to their website (maybe even successfully) and they think, ‘Awesome. I am so getting my name out there.’

This kind of thinking might result in some business but I think it’s the wrong goal. I think that we want to get their name in here.

Let me explain: If you’re at a networking event, it is far more powerful to get 10 business cards from others into your pocket than to get a hundred of your business cards into their pockets. Because, if you have their business cards, you can follow up with them. You can take a next step in building a relationship with them. If not, you are stuck waiting and hoping.

And hope is not a strategy.

Put another way, let’s say you got a million people to visit your website in the next month. Sounds awesome, right?

But what if, instead of a million visitors, I gave you 10,000 new perfect-fit people for your email list?

The 10,000 on your email list is more valuable in the long-term. These are people you can stay in touch with and build a relationship with over time. These are the people who will spend money on you, hire you and tell their friends about you.

If I sent a million people to your website not much would happen.

Unless . . . unless you had a system to get those people to join your email list (and get their names in here). 

I want to suggest that there have been four generations of approaches on how to get people to opt in to be in touch with you and allow you to be in touch with them.

Generation #1: The Contact Me Page

When websites first began, there were no email newsletters. There was just a page with your contact info and, if they wanted to reach you they could email or call you.

The Downside: It’s a viable option but includes a bit of risk for the person reaching out. It also would only have people call you who were very close to being ready to buy. And if people were just shopping around, that’s a lot of your personal time answering questions. 

Generation #2: The Free Email Newsletter.

People have signed up to have newsletters mailed to them for many years. That’s not new, but, with the advent of email marketing, those newsletters could be free. I remember the first ‘free email newsletter‘ I saw was something simple like, ‘get a free inspirational quote every day’. And, at the time, that was really novel and exciting. For the first time, you could, for very little money, stay in touch with a large number of people and regularly add value to their lives. 

The Downside: The challenge with this approach now is that there are literally millions of email newsletters you could be on. Most of us are on so many lists that we don’t read. Some we got on because we participated in a telesummit or teleseminar and now we’re on their list, or because we joined years ago and have ignored it since. And some we follow regularly. 

But the bottom line is this: no one is excited to sign up for another free newsletter. No one. Now, if your website is extremely niched and your newsletter is targeted to helping a particular kind of person with a particular kind of problem people might want to. But, the idea of a free newsletter itself is absolutely no longer compelling. 

Generation #3: The Free ‘Opt In’ Gift

So, if an email newsletter isn’t that compelling, but to grow your business you need to stay in touch with people, what do you do? Should you just stop having the email newsletter? 

I don’t think so. I think your email list is the most valuable piece of property your business has. Social media lets you stay in touch but it won’t get the kinds of response rates an email list will have (unless you have a huge following). And, if your ideal client were to give it a try, they might really love.

So, how to get them to give it an honest try?

What a lot of people, myself included, have done is to offer a free gift to people for signing up. In some ways, free gift is a bit of a misnomer because what you’re really offering is a fair trade, ‘I’ll give you a lot of free advice and information if you sign up for my email list and give it a try’. 

The Free Opt In Gift could be an ebook, audio, a video, a quiz/assessment etc. There are a lot of options. The key is that it costs them no money, asks no risk of them and takes you no time to deliver. It’s a sample of your work that they can try to get a taste of what you do. It’s a pink spoon type offer that I spoke about in my blog ‘do you have a pink spoon in your marketing?

And the difference you’ll see between just saying, ‘sign up for my free email newsletter’ and ‘enter your email here to get this free gift and you’ll be added to my email newsletter too’ is huge. You will get very few sign ups with the former approach and many more with the latter. You’ll be shocked at the difference it makes if you take this approach.

The Downside: More and more people are doing this too. The idea of the free opt in gift is no longer rare. It’s almost expected. And, here’s the surprising twist, even resented.

That’s right, increasingly, people might even resent your free opt in gift.

And here’s why.

Imagine you come across a website. It seems like it’s targeted to people just like you! Amazing.

This website definitely seems relevant to what you’re going through. Now you want to find out more. So you read a bunch of generic stuff about the business but then there’s nothing else to read. No blog. No articles. No videos. You want to know more about their point of view and approach. You want to know their take on your situation.

But there’s nothing that tells you that. Which means you’re going to have to go through the rigamaroll of emailing them and asking them and who knows when they’ll respond and . . . WAIT there it is! There’s some free info – they’re offering a free video series on how to take some first steps at handling your issue.

Great!

But . . . wait . . . you have to enter your email for it. Shit. You’re already on too many email lists. You resent that, to just check them out, you have to sign up to be on another email list that you aren’t even sure you want to be on.

To make it clearer why this is an issue: imagine you go to an ice cream shop and you ask to try a sample of their ice cream – just a little pink spoon. But, instead of having you the pink spoon they hand you an iPad and ask you to enter your email first. You say, ‘Uhm. Why? I just want to see if I even like this flavour . . .’ And they inform you that you need to be on their email list before you try it. Holy backfiring coercion.

Another downside, a lot of people will just sign up for your free gift and then unsubscribe at the next email. This might be unavoidable but if they see you regularly have new content on your site or at least a tonne of free content, they’ll be a lot more likely to come back of their own accord to check you out.

Generation #4: The Non-Opt In Free Gifts + Opt In

So, what the hell? . . .

What are you supposed to do?

I don’t know for sure but here’s my theory on what’s next: a mix of opt in and non-opt in pink spoons for people to try. 

Give people some things they can check out for free, without having to sign up for a damn thing on your website. Let them try free samples of your bread at your bakery or soup at your restaurant. Let them get a taste of you without having to commit to anything. But also give them the option to get some extra special if they’re willing to take the risk to sign up. 

On this website you can read over 500 posts on my blog for free. There are case studies. There are over three hours of free video. And there’s also a 195 ebook called The Way of the Radical Business you can get if you sign up for my email list. 

I am a big fan of the idea of being a generosity based business. But, being real, I give away a lot more than I need to. You don’t need to offer even a fraction of what I do (out of laziness of turning them into sellable products (actually true)). You just need to offer people a taste. A sample. A way of understanding your point of view. Enough that they can know if it’s a fit to take the next step. 

People will respect this. They love it. They love being able to explore your take on things and get a bit of help without having to pay anything and it will build trust in you.

When people email me to ask for coaching, they’ve likely already been following me for years. They don’t haggle over price. They’ve decided they want to work with me. They’re also often very familiar with my approach to marketing which is wonderful and allows me to help them more. 

Now, if you’ve got a single teleseminar or course, it’s fine to have a squeeze page – just a simple page where the only option is to sign up. But, I think of your website as more your home. It’s a place where people can come to learn about you and if, overall, you are a fit for them. 

And this isn’t even to speak to the benefits of blogging and how that free content can drive traffic to your website or give you little pink spoons you can send to people at networking events and have you feel even more proud of your website.

I want to submit that this fourth generation will build a more solid relationship with your people over time than insisting they sign up for your email newsletter to find out anything about you.

If you want help developing your free opt-in gift, you might want to check out my ‘How To Create Your Free Gift‘ workbook.

 

“How Do I Grow My List?” An Interview with PJ Van Hulle

Screen Shot 2013-04-10 at 8.04.37 PMCould you add 10,000 to your email list in the next 90 days?

PJ Van Hulle thinks that, while it might be lofty – with the right pieces in place, it’s not an unachievable goal.

I really love PJ. She’s one of the most genuine people but also so much smarter about online marketing than I will ever be.

She launching her List-a-Palooza telesummit at the end of May so I thought I’d interview her about the nuts and bolts of this strange beast of building one’s list. The telesummit is totally free to attend but I thought you might like to get the boiled down version of her point of view to see if it’s a fit for you worth exploring further.

Building your email list is a central piece of becoming a hub in the online world and moving from cold marketing (where you’re chasing strangers) to hot marketing (where your ideal clients are coming to you).

Why grow your list? Why is this something worth focusing on as an entrepreneur? 

As an entrepreneur, your e-mail list is one of the greatest financial assets in your business.  I’ve even heard experts say “your list IS your business.”  

With a profitable e-mail list you can:

  • Fill your seminars and programs
  • Attract more clients and sales
  • Turn current clients into repeat clients
  • Promote other peoples’ programs that you believe in and earn $1,000?s in affiliate commissions

Having a big, profitable e-mail list provides entrepreneurs with an uncommon level of financial security because you can even out your cashflow and generate more income any time you need to, simply by sending out messages to your list.

Without a profitable e-mail list, being an entrepreneur can be so much of an uphill struggle that many lose steam and eventually throw in the towel.

So, YES!  This is something worth focusing on as an entrepreneur.  If you’re not focusing on growing your list, you’re setting yourself up to continue to work much harder than you need to.

Also, most of my clients care about making a bigger difference in the world, and having an e-mail list that you regularly provide value for allows you to expand your energy and your message to many more people and make a bigger impact, even if not all of them become your clients.

What’s the story of how you came up with this program? What was the need that you saw in our community around this? You’ve done if for a few years now it seems.

This is my second year hosting List-a-Palooza, even though I was planning on doing it only once.

In my Big List Big Profits program, I walk people step-by-step through how to automate their marketing and sales online, but there just wasn’t enough time to cover the plethora of traffic generation tactics out there.

My intention was to turn the recordings from List-a-Palooza into a product that I could bundle with the Big List Big Profits program so that once people had their marketing and sales infrastructure set up, they would have lots of great training on how to drive traffic into their automated system.

Well, List-a-Palooza ended up being even more of a hit than I imagined it would be, and I received a flood of requests to do it again.

I had a ton of fun doing List-a-Palooza last year, and this is a topic that I’m super passionate about, so I decided to go ahead and do it again.

I’ve seen how people get dramatically better results with specific training, accountability and the support of a community of like-minded people, so I’ve done my best to provide those key elements through List-a-Palooza.

Can you share the story of how you went about growing your own list? When did you start your business and what were the phases you went through in building your own list, where are you now?

When I first launched my business, I didn’t have an e-mail list or an Opt-In page or anything.  I manually sent e-mails to people I knew, asking them to spread the word about a live event I was doing.

I knew that growing an e-mail list was important so I invested in a program called Constant Contact, which had done-for-you newsletter templates.  

I hired someone to help me get my newsletter out, and I just couldn’t crank out content fast enough so it was hard to get the newsletter going out consistently, and eventually, I gave up on it.

My big breakthrough came when I created the Client Attraction Blueprint system that I now teach in my Big List Big Profits program.  I created it for my Platinum Mastermind clients to help them organize all of their marketing and sales ideas together in one simple document.

I immediately applied this system to my own business, and the results were life-changing!  I got more done in the next 4 months than I had in the past 4-5 years because that blueprint gave me a level of focus and clarity that I had never experienced before.

When an architect looks at a blueprint, they know what needs to be built in what order and how everything fits together.

Suddenly, I could see my business that way.  Once I saw how my e-mail newsletter fit in to my overall blueprint, I became more inspired and motivated than ever to build my e-mail list and consistently provide value.

I finally got really serious about list-building about 6 years after starting my business.  

I committed to consistently publishing my bi-weekly e-mail newsletter, Prosperity Express.  

Now that I knew that the people joining my list would be consistently receiving value from me, I felt confident in growing my list.

I grew my list from 300 people to over 15,000 using a lot of the tactics we cover in the List-a-Palooza training calls.

What are the biggest blunders people make in growing their list? What are the things you see that make you cringe in people’s list building efforts?

I think the #1 biggest mistake is waiting to get started.

Growing your list is like taking advantage of compound interest.  The earlier you start, the more consistently you make “deposits,” and the longer you nurture your list, the more profitable it will be.

NOT building your list is costing you every day, whether you realize it or not.

It took me 6 years to get serious about building my list… don’t make the same mistake I did.

The #2 biggest mistake is driving traffic only to a “Brochure” type website with a bunch of tabs (Home, About, Blog, Contact, etc.) instead of to an Opt-In Page.

The #3 biggest mistake is only sending out sales and promotions and never providing value for the people on their list.

Here are the things that most make me cringe:

  • Seeing entrepreneurs invest $1,000’s on a “Brochure” type website that doesn’t even have an obvious Opt-In Box on it “above the fold” (where people can see it without having to scroll down).
  • Receiving e-mails that address me in the second person plural.  For example:  “Hi everyone!  Hi All!  Hi Friends!”  This is obviously a mass e-mailing, and I’m unlikely to read the message. Instead, I recommend addressing people in the second person singular.  If you’re e-mail program can’t mail merge my first name in to the e-mail so that it says “Hi PJ!” at least write something that feels a bit more personal like “Hi there!” or just “Hello!”
  • E-mails that are formatted as huge blocks of text all the way across the screen because they are very difficult to read.  I recommend formatting your e-mails in short columns for easy reading.

Your 90 day challenge has the claim of ‘add ten thousand people to your list in 90 days’. That seems very bold! I’m curious, what would already need to be in place for someone for that to be a doable goal?

I offer that specific challenge to inspire the participants and get them into action right away.

I was actually shocked how many people joined List-a-Palooza last year that were just getting started with their e-mail lists.

In that case, it’s highly unlikely that they’ll add 10,000 people in 90 days.  

However, many of the participants last year were still absolutely thrilled to have doubled, tripled or quadrupled their smaller lists.

In order to hit the goal of 10,000 new subscribers in 90 days, I believe that you need one or more of the following:

#1 – Time AND “Know How”: One of our List-a-Palooza speakers last year shared her exact strategy for adding 10,000 people to her list in only 45 days using Pinterest.  She knew what she was doing and invested a significant amount of time and energy in pulling this off. Another speaker last year talked about how to drive tons of traffic to your website for free with Deal Sites (like Groupon or Living Social).

#2 – Money to Invest in Paid Advertising: Over 1100 people joined List-a-Palooza last year from Facebook ads, and I’m challenging myself to add 15,000 people from paid advertising this year.

The key to paid advertising is TRACKING the results from each ad.  It’s amazing how wildly the results can vary from ad to ad.  I create a separate tracking link for each ad I run so that I can quickly increase the ad budget if it’s performing well or stop the ad if it’s not performing well.

It also helps to have something under $100 to sell right after people opt in so that you can calculate the ROI on your ads right away.

When people opt in for List-a-Palooza, I offer them the chance to get the List-Building Success Kit with all the recordings for an astounding 90% off.

Not only does this provide exceptional value for the investment and build tremendous good will, it also lets me know right away which ads are working and which aren’t.

When you do it this way, paid advertising doesn’t have to cost a lot.  You can start out with $5-$10 and go from there.

#3 – Powerful Relationships & Connections

If you are launching a new teleseminar or webinar or hosting a tele-summit (a series of interviews) and you have strong relationships with strategic alliances and or affiliates, you can add 10,000 people to your list in under 90 days by having them promote your launch.

For example, I just spoke on Vrinda Normand’s tele-summit, and over 11,000 people opted in for that event.

The point is…

Whether someone is just starting out or whether they already have a large list, I believe that “What you focus on expands,” and by focusing on building their lists for 90 days, especially with all of the resources they receive through List-a-Palooza, they’ll move forward MUCH FASTER!

And, then how do you do it? How does one go from adding a few people every week to thousands? What do you see as the most effective strategies for building ones list? 

Here are the 3 phases of list-building as I see them…

PHASE 1:  Getting Started

When you’re just starting out, I recommend reaching out to your sphere of influence and inviting them to receive your special newsletter or tips (whatever valuable free goody you offer on an ongoing basis). 

Here are some places to start:

  • Stacks of business cards you’ve collected
  • Contacts in Gmail (or whatever e-mail provider you have)
  • People in your cell phone
  • Facebook friends
  • LinkedIn connections

Send them an e-mail message to reconnect, inviting them to opt in to your list.  I share some specific templates for this in my free report, “How to Jumpstart Your E-mail List.”

By the way, you need PERMISSION to add someone to your e-mail list.  Otherwise, it’s considered spam.  When someone gives you their business card, it does NOT mean they’ve opted in to your list (unless they specifically say, “Here’s my card… please add me to your list.”)

PHASE 2:  Launching

Just like a rocket uses most of its fuel to get off the ground, adding the first 1,000 people to your list is the hardest, in my opinion.

You can accelerate your results in this stage by asking for referrals, regularly posting on social media, public speaking, attending networking events, and investing in paid advertising, like Facebook ads. 

If you’re really ambitious, you can add hundreds or thousands of people to your list in a relatively short period of time by hosting a tele-summit where the speakers that you’re interviewing help promote the event. 

PHASE 3:  Leverage

As your list gets bigger and bigger, it’s easier to find strategic alliances and affiliates with bigger lists to promote you and vice versa.

Once you have an online sales funnel that converts well, it’s less scary to invest more money in paid advertising as well.

Who are the top three email lists (excluding our own) that you think really embody the principles you teach?

Tracey Lawton

I stumbled upon her website online and opted in to her list because she was offering a free goody that I thought was valuable.  Her e-mail newsletter captured my attention with good subject lines and useful articles, and I eventually purchased one of her programs.

She did a great job of building relationship with me through her e-mail newsletter, even though we had no previous connection. 

Since then, we’ve promoted each other to our respective lists with great results.

I was so impressed that I invited her to speak on List-a-Palooza.  

Kendall SummerHawk

http://www.kendallsummerhawk.com

She also does a great job of consistently providing a lot of value through her e-mail newsletter.

She spoke on List-a-Palooza last year and the training she offered was fabulous.

RC Peck

https://www.fearlesswealth.com/

It took me 10 years to find a financial planner that I could whole-heartedly recommend to my clients, and RC is it.  He has also built a large e-mail list and a very loyal following (he’s sharing about how he did it on List-a-Palooza this year).

I really appreciate his regular Market Situation Reports and that he provides them in both video and transcription form.

What would you consider to be a good open rate and click thru rate these days for emails?

I think a decent open rate to shoot for is 20%.  As for click thru rate, it really depends on the offer so I don’t have a specific rule for that.

Do you think that building an email list is where it’s at these days? It seems like there are so many email lists to be on and I know it’s overwhelming for me (and I’m in the business!). Where do you see email fitting into the larger picture of ‘staying in touch’ with clients? There are so many options for social media now too.

Yes, I do.  Many people change their physical address more often than their e-mail address these days.  They’re still opening and responding to e-mail.

And just because they’re on your e-mail list doesn’t mean that e-mail is the only way you can communicate with them.  I also use text messaging (for people who request it), voice broadcasts, and regular snail mail. 

Also, you can use your e-mail list to create a “Custom Audience” for Facebook ads so that only people on your e-mail list see that particular ad.

During List-a-Palooza, we do weekly “Power Hours” to help build each other’s Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest followings, too.

Ultimately, it’s not about e-mail specifically.  It’s about taking amazing care of and providing exceptional value for your “tribe” in a way that’s also scalable for you so that you can make a big difference without burning out in the process.

You’ve also built a pretty incredible following on Facebook, could you share anything about how you’ve gone about that?

It started with a shift in consciousness…  

Most people use their Fan Pages to talk about themselves and promote their stuff.  Until the middle of last year, my Facebook page was all about me… what I was up to, what events I had going on, and so on.

Then one of my mentors advised me to stop making my page about me, and start making it about THEM (the people who like my page).

People go on Facebook to feel connected and be entertained (not to find out about your latest teleclass).

Give them what they want with funny, cute, beautiful and interesting posts, and they’ll give you what you want (likes, comments, shares, opt-ins, and sales).

So a lot of my posts have nothing to do with my business.  I post pictures that make me laugh (like kittens in tea cups).  

I know that some social media experts out there teach exactly the opposite and would sneer at me for suggesting such a thing…

But this has made my Fan Page go viral, and these cute and funny posts keep my engagement high so that when I do post about my business, people actually see those posts.

What most people don’t know is that Facebook tracks the “Virality” of every single post and expresses it as a percentage of how many people liked, commented, or shared out of the total number of people that saw that post.

If even one post has under 2% virality, Facebook stops showing your posts to as many people, even though they’ve liked your page!

That’s why most Fan Pages in our industry have NOTHING going on… it’s like a graveyard, which is heartbreaking because the owners of these pages have put all this time, effort, and possibly even money into growing these pages, and it’s they’re not going anywhere.

If this has happened to your page, you can build the engagement and “Virality” back up by posting some viral images (feel free to recycle some of the images on my Fan Page) and investing a few dollars in promoting those posts (click “Promote Now” in the bottom right of the post). 

To check out PJ’s upcoming List-a-Palooza click here.

guest post: discover the hidden gold in your email list

 

I met PJ a few years ago.

It was at a marketing gathering and she was such a breath of fresh air. I made a mental note to support her in the future when I could.

She recently sent me a guest post about how to grow your email list which I think is super brilliant. She’s running a program about how to add 10,000 people to your email list in 90 days. And I think she’s on solid ground.

 

“Discover the Hidden Gold in Your E-mail List”

 

By PJ Van Hulle

You’ve probably heard that, “the fortune is in the follow up,” but if you’re like most of the 1,000’s of entrepreneurs I’ve worked with over the last 11 years, your follow up systems leave something to be desired.

Here’s why “the fortune is in the follow up,” and what that looks like…  

According to my friend and online marketing expert, Vrinda Normand, in most niche markets, or the specific group of people you serve:

3% are actively shopping for what you offer

7% are aware and open to your services, but not looking

30% may know you exist, but it’s not the right time

30% are not aware of their problem or your solution

30% are simply not a fit

This means that if you’re not following up, you’re leaving behind the 67% of people that might be ready to sign up for your products or services down the road.

When you follow up consistently, you will stay in front of these people.  Maybe they’re not ready now, but when they are ready, you’ll be at the top of their mind and therefore you’ll be the one they hire over someone that didn’t follow up.

Imagine how much more money you could put in your pocket just by staying in touch with those 67% of people who may need you in the future.

The easiest and most effective way to follow up and nurture those relationships is to build an e-mail list of clients and potential clients who have “opted in” and given you permission to send them e-mails.

A good rule of thumb for monetizing your list is to shoot for $1 per subscriber, per month.  So if your goal is to generate $10,000 per month in income, focus on growing your e-mail list to 10,000 subscribers.

With a profitable e-mail list you can:

  • Fill your seminars and programs
  • Attract more clients and sales
  • Turn current clients into repeat clients
  • Promote other peoples’ programs that you believe in and earn $1,000?s in affiliate commissions

Building your list is like taking advantage of compound interest.  The sooner you start, the better.  And the longer you nurture your list, the more profitable it will be.

To quantum leap your e-mail list to the next level, I recommend participating for FREE in the List-a-Palooza 90 Day List-Building Challenge.

The easiest and most effective way to follow up and nurture relationships with your clients and potential clients is to build an e-mail list  of people who have “opted in” and given you permission to send them e-mails.

Here are 3 basic keys to building a successful e-mail list:

First of all, you need to have one in the first place.  That means that you need an e-mail delivery system like Mail Chimp, Constant Contact, 1ShoppingCart, or Infusionsoft.  You also need an Opt In Page where people can sign up to be on your list.

Next, it’s important to nurture relationships with people on your list by offering them something of value, other than sales, sales, and more sales.  

Your list is a community of people who have put their trust in you.  They’ve trusted you with their name and e-mail address.  Since many people change their physical address more often than their e-mail address nowadays, that’s actually a generous show of trust.  

They’ve trusted you to provide them with valuable information and not to sell their contact information or spam them.  Honor that trust by sending them articles (like this one), helpful tips, or inspiring quotes.  

One of my colleagues runs an auto repair center, and he realized that his clients didn’t want to learn about auto repair (that’s why they hired him) so he just sends them funny quotes, comics, and stories that have nothing to do with auto repair but make them laugh.

Finally, you need to continually build your e-mail list by having new potential clients opt in.  Focus on attracting your tribe of ideal clients, not just anyone.  That way, the people who join your list will be more likely to actually invest in your products and services.

You can learn how to add 10,000 subscribers to your list in only 90 days by participating for FREE in the List-a-Palooza 90 Day List-Building Challenge.

—–

PJ Van Hulle is an acclaimed international speaker, author and financial literacy expert who works with coaches, consultants and speakers who love what they do but want to make more money with less effort.  She is the creator of the List-a-Palooza 90 Day List-Building Challenge.

51 examples of content for blogs, social media and newsletters

When I do my workshops, I often get people to brainstorm the types of content they might use to stay in touch with the people on their lists. And people come up with great ones.

So, here’s the harvest from my past few workshops. I hope it inspires you with ideas. Notice how many of them express a really clear point of view and how the ones that focus on a particular niche are particularly cool and useful.

If you’re feeling stuck on what kinds of content you could create read the below and then go and answer these questions. I promise content ideas galore.

Enjoy!

*

Mortgage Broker:

– monthly interviews with realtors, home inspectors, lawyers, title insurance brokers about the marketplace and their expertise in buying a new home.
– niehgbourhood spotlight: putting together a package of coupons for that area, doing a walking tour of the area for folks interested, introduce them to local businesses

Massage for Cancer Patients:
– interviews with cancer survivors who’ve had massage and valued it
– interviews with doctors and nurses who are open to massage
– directly addressing myths: cancer can’t be spread through massage

Childbirth:
– movie screenings of birth related movies
– youtube videos of people interviewed
– website reviews
– articles you’ve already written
– top ten things you DON’T need that people tell you you need when having a baby

Blaire Finney:
– top ten tips for supporting a family member who’s been hospitalized in a psych ward
– nutrient dense foods for addicts (that are easy to absorb)
– top five complimentary modalities for addicts

Midwife:
– How to set up a birth pool.

For: office workers
– top five strategies to deal with that person in your office who drains your energy
– ten yoga poses you can do at your desk
– top ten meditative songs to have in your ipod at work

For: parents
– tips for parenting kids at different stages

Energy Workers:
– showing the science behind the woo woo. sharing the studies and results.

For: divorced parents
– how to do homework in two homes
– 5 things your kids are saying about you at school

For: LGBT women in Toronto suffering from anxiety or depression caused by issues around discovering their sexuality and coming out.
– how to get through the holidays
– coming out stories
– the top ten ways to come out to your family and friends
– top ten WORST ways to come out to family and friend (funny)
– top ten ways to come out at work or school
– top ten ways to pick up a chick

For: women with breast cancer looking for alternatives
– how to handle your doctor and get the experience you want and need out of your appointments

For: menopausal women.
– video of older women doing cool stuff (e.g. grannies skydiving or mountain climbing)

For: women suffering from headaches
– top five foods to lighten your toxin load

For: professionals
– top ten questions to help you decide whether you need a career change
– top ten career books

For: those who’ve been traumatized by sexual abuse
– how to protect your child from abuse

For: pet owners whose pets have behavioural issues
– info on upcoming expos and shows focused on behavioural issues

For: smokers who are trying to quit
– 10 minutes of yoga to combat nicotine craving
– list of physiological changes that occur after quitting smoking (broken down chronologically over a year)

For: cancer patients who are choosing alternative treatment options
– book reviews on anti-cancer and The China Study
– list of how homeopathy can help with specific side effects of chemo

For: people with digestive issues
– how to organize your kitchen and recipes for simplicity in cooking

For: parents with children with Autism and ADHD
– answers to top question faced by faced by families with autistic children and strategies on how to deal with them
– current research and study
– videos for common treatments that seem daunting until you see them in action or try them yourself

For: socially awkward young adults.
– tips on how to use improv lessons to improve your life

For: people who are overwhelmed and stressed and craving silence in their lives
– articles on the benefits of silence
– artwork and poetry that evolved out of silence

For: sensitive and powerful men
– “The Man Box” – lies and myths about men
– VIDEO: “Real Moments of Power” – real men sharing a moment where they were powerful that weren’t hurting anyone. 2 minutes each.
– VIDEO SERIES: “Instant Warrior Practice” – practical exercises for vitality, focus and confidence.

For: People with life threatening cancer
– top five ways to look after yourself when you’re struggling with feelings around your cancer

For: Health conscious pet owners with animals that have chronic problems
– biggest feeding mistakes
– why pets need detox too

 

Do you have any cool examples of content that you’ve seen or created that you want to share? Just write them below.

newsletter case study video: vergepermaculture.ca

My dear friends and colleagues Rob and Michelle at Verge Permaculture based in Calgary, Alberta have one of the most kickin’ newsletters around. Enjoy this seven minute video where I explain why I think so.

 

If you’d like get cool posts like this in your inbox every few days CLICK HERE to subscribe to my blog and you’ll also get a free copy of my fancy new ebook “Marketing for Hippies” when it’s done.

 

newsletter case study video: Kim Tanasichuk

A colleague of mine Kim Tanasichuk just put out a little newsletter that I thought was really great. You can watch it here or below.

Newsletters are tricky. Everyone’s doing them. Everyone wants you on their email list. How often to send them out? What kind of content to put in them? Should I put this in my blog or in my newsletter. Not easy stuff. And it’s not like every community of people even want the same things from a newsletter. Not everyone responds the same way.

But if you’re coming from a place of genuinely wanting to add value and having your newsletter be helpful (vs. just a chance to sell and promote your stuff) that’s great.

So, the question becomes: what would your people find really, really helpful?

What I most love about Kim’s newsletter here is how it’s clearly all about being of service to her clients. It’s so generous. It gives them five wonderful resources to check out.

But, ironically, by being so generous and thoughtful – it positions us as a hub. Kim becomes positioned not only as a web designer – but a source of solutions for local, conscious entrepreneurs.

I hope you enjoy the little screen capture video I made below.

 

 

If you’d like get cool posts like this in your inbox every few days CLICK HERE to subscribe to my blog and you’ll also get a free copy of my fancy new ebook “Marketing for Hippies” when it’s done.

 

hippie restaurant with a kick ass newsletter

A client of mine (Alison Pope, President of Maverick Services: Office Administration & Special Projects
Facilitating the Success of the Holistic Health Community) recently sent me an email newsletter she loved from the Camros Eatery in Toronto. Hopefully you can see it by clicking on this link here but if not – you can go to their website here: http://www.camroseatery.com/

While overall I’m not sure if the layout is the best example I’ve seen, I happen to be acquainted with the founder, and have seriously enjoyed eating their food, and my experience has been that

1) FREQUENCY: they normally only send out an enewsletter when they have some worthwhile newsy stuff to share, rather than monthly content regardless, so I tend to read it.

2) START WITH THE WHY: He starts right off with two sentences that are based on a belief, philosophy, that I agree with and have been trying to get more of myself in alignment with more consistently, then he goes on to indicate how this value is part of their business.

3) WELL CHUNKED: From there the content on the left and right seems to flow well, that I follow at least the headlines of each.

4) VALUABLE CONTENT: And it all seems so balanced, and relevant, and a good coverage. Something about Green Enterprise Ontario, a featured video, a recommended book, a valuable new service (Camros delivers, wow – wish I lived closer to there! :), a recent Cdn Organic Growers event they partnered with (very cool, somehow I’d missed that), a nutritionists corner. I like the solid balanced coverage, and it all seems related to what they do, and how we have values / interests in common, and they seem active, connected in the community, with their GEO membership & COG partnered event. And reminded me of the upcoming annual COG Toronto event, which I’d forgotten about.

 

If you'd like get cool posts like this in your inbox every few days CLICK HERE to subscribe to my blog and you'll also get a 
free copy of my fancy new ebook "Marketing for Hippies" when it's done.