Global Fields in Aweber, A Powerful Tool

Posted by enetwal on Aug 27, 2009

I use Aweber as my auto responder. This tip is specific to Aweber but similar features may exist with your service if you use something other than Aweber.

Two global fields are set up for you automatically. One is called the Contact Address and this is where your mailing address goes that is at the bottom of all your messages, both broadcast and followup.

The second is your signature message, which in most cases is blank unless you put something there. In addition to these you can create and name up to 25 additional global fields.

This post will describe how to make use of the Signature Message. Once you learn how to effectively use this one feature, you will know how to use the others. And I predict you will want to as well.

The global fields tab is fourth down under the My Lists Tab. Once you click on it you will see your contact box, your signature box, and a Custom Global Fields Creator form.

Anything you write in the Signature box will appear in any of your messages anywhere you insert the following: {!signature}

So when you are preparing follow-up messages, instead of putting your standard salutation and signature lines at the end of the message, you just type in {!signature}.

What ever you have in the signature box in global settings will appear in the email when you send it.

The advantage is that while your follow-up emails are evergreen, so they can be sent at any time, your signatures need not be.

This would permit seasonal messages, which is a nice touch. Or if you are a marketer like me, it could include not only a signature, but additional text including a mini pitch for the product of the day.

Currently, I am promoting a free call this coming Tuesday evening on Pay Per Click Advertising by Chuck Mullaney. It should be a good call, and the price is right.

So I changed the text inside my Signature Box to the following:

Best Wishes,

Earl Netwal
http://MicroBusinessSpecialist.com/blog

Free Traffic Seminar
Don’t be Intimidated by Pay Per Click
Tuesday 9PM EDT
Sign Up Now, as My Guest
http://www.cli.gs/NAEvnJ

=================================================

I start with my traditional closing salutation of Best Wishes,  I follow with my name and a brief spiel or post script about the call.

I then added a dashed line underneath to serve as a demarcation.  If I had a PS in the message I would put them under the dashed line.

This allows me to add a little pitch to each of the followup emails that may be going out to my various lists.

Now since I have several different niches that I am in contact with via email from my aweber account I can create a separate code and follow-up signature for each of my lists.

In addition to inserting the {!signature} tag into my broadcast messages, I have begun using it as a standard signature to many of my broadcast messages as well.

This is not the primary thrust of my messages, and in some cases I may not want any diversions from the main thrust of my main message.  In those cases I would just use my normal signature as I always have. But in many other cases, its a nice way of keeping an upcoming event in front of your list even while you are primarily addressing them on another topic.

And as I mentioned earlier, it can be a great away to add seasonal flavor to your canned messages during holidays, etc.

Instead of having to change closing salutations on all your different messages, by altering the text in this one box, all your emails set up with the {!signature} code will reflect the new message. You could change it daily if you wanted.

By the way the call on Tuesday is at 9PM EDT and you should be on it, if you want to learn how to effectively use pay per click to drive low cost traffic to your sites. http://www.cli.gs/NAEvnJ

I welcome you to sign up for free as my quest. And if you don’t have an auto responder yet, you are missing out big time. If you are new to the game, you need to know that you need an auto responder more than you need a web site.  Check out Aweber now.


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Do You Need More Than One Web Site?

Posted by enetwal on Feb 1, 2009

Within the internet marketing world, people have ten’s and hundreds of web sites. Each with a different URL and each targeted to a specific niche or purpose. That permits each web site to be addressed to a particular audience. And since the site is targeted, so too are the keywords, which means these sites tend to rank higher than if they were attempting to be all things to all people.

Off line businesses and those firms operating online in niche arenas should consider whether or not they too would benefit from multiple web sites.

I will once again use my friends in the Home Staging Industry as an example of a situation where two web sites may make a lot more sense that one.

If you go to most home stagers web sites you will see that they are primarily directed to the home owner. But if you were to survey home stagers as I have done, you will see that most of them market not to home owners but to Realtors, who they hope will refer home sellers to them.

This means the Home Staging company has two different marketing objectives. One is to convince realtors that they can help sell a home faster and for more money, and the second is to convince the home owner that they can help sell a home for more money and faster.   While it appears to be the same objective, it’s not.

For the home stager, the sale to the individual home owner is critically important, but represents just one sale.  The sale to the Realtor, might not in itself win any direct business, but represents a series of prospective future business.

Home stagers offer two primary benefits to their customers,  faster sales and higher price.  While both are important to home sellers and to Realtors, the relative ranking between the two vary.  A home owner is more likely to be impressed with the prospects of a higher price, as any such higher price will help pay for the services they are being asked to cover.  For a Realtor, the higher price may mean a marginal improvement to their commission.  More important to them, is the speed with which a home sells, so they can go on to the next.

Now while both share same objectives their motivations differ.  To be most efective, the sales pitch to either market should lead off with their primary motivation. That in turn calls for two web pages, and two marketing pitches.

This is going to be true for any business that markets to distributors as well as final customers. And probably many more circumstances as well.

How about your business. Do you have multiple audiences you are marketing to?

If so, you really should be thinking in terms of multiple rifle shots rather than a blunderbust shotgun spread.

Most businesses try to accomplish this with multiple pages on one web sie.  And this may be an adequate compromise in some cases, but it is always a compromise, and an opportunity for a competitor to step in and out compete you.

One objection has been the need to buy multiple domain names and hosting accounts. And while this is a pound wise penny foolish objection, the fact is that with the right hosting service there is no need to pay any more to host a second, third, fourth, or even twentieth web site.

It would take me a while to sit down and even count the total number of web sites I have. And they are all on one account. And that account costs me less than $25 a month. I use HostGator

They offer me the opportunity to have an unlimited number of web sites on one account and enough bandwith to cover my needs and that of most small business people. These can be readily stepped up should my increased use of video require a future adjustment.

I mention the hosting problem, as just one barrier to having multiple sites.  A second site, probably means reworking the first and then adding the second. This will take some site design work and of course that entails a one time expense.  But the final result is a more clearly targeted marketing campaign, and better marketing results.

I would have two “ethical bribes,” one each on each of the two new web sites to build a separte email list of prospective home owners and Realtors.  Using my home staging example, I might offer a report on how to de-clutter your home on the web site directed to homeowners, and a different report on how to discuss home staging with your clients on the Realtor Oriented Web Site.

The prepackaged follow-up messages would be distinctly targeted as well.

It’s important to clarify your marketing objectives, and then to develop approriate marketing tools such as web sites and autoresponder porgrams to meet those objectives over time. If you need three web sites, you should have three.

What do you need?


Auto Responders: The Magic Pill to Transform Your Web Site

Posted by enetwal on Jan 26, 2009

The key component required to transform your current static web site into a marketing tool, is your auto responder. The service I use and recommend is Aweber, www.BuildRelationships.aweber.com . It is by far the preferred service, and is used by most of the internet marketers I know.

While it’s possible to have a programmer develop an auto responder service on your own web site, using a professional service makes a lot more sense in the long run. First, it’s cheap. Rates will vary depending on how much traffic you generate, but as of my writing this, most small businesses will be able to start for well under $25 a month, even less if you take advantage of their annual payment plans.

There are a couple of things you should understand. Aweber uses what’s called a double opt in system. What this means is that when a person signs up to be on your mailing list, they are actually signing up on a form you create at BuildRelationships.aweber.com. Once Aweber gets their initial message, they send out a confirmation message to the email address registered. This asks your new subscriber to confirm that they want to be on your list. Your new list member must confirm, or they will not be included.

This accomplishes two things. First, it keeps people from putting in phony email addresses, just to get your free report. And more importantly, it serves to protect you against spam complaints when people register someone else’s legitimate email address instead of their own.

Aweber is a known entity in the internet marketing world, and it’s well known they use this double opt in system. Thus the folks who monitor and prosecute SPAM complaints are far less likely to raise any issues with you, even when someone forgets they signed up for your list and complains. This avoids problems you don’t need.

In addition to the double opt in feature, they automatically insert both an automatic “opt-out” link and your legal address at the bottom of each of your messages. This means you will always be compliant with the anti Spam laws, and your subscriber knows that they can stop your emails whenever they want. Best yet, if your subscriber decides they want to stop, all they have to do is click the link and it’s done automatically. You don’t need to be involved at all.

These peace of mind features make the monthly fee more than worthwhile by themselves.

But you get a lot more than peace of mind. Aweber offers a lot of features, more than I can cover here now. But lets lay out a few, for the sake of clarity.

First, you can have multiple lists, at no extra charge. You can have a list for those people who sign up on your web site. You can have another list for people who sign up because you add, an invitation to do so on you cash register receipt or invoice forms.

This may make sense as a way to conduct separate conversations with prospective customers who are first finding you online, as opposed to the conversation you want to have with people who are existing customers.

You may also want to use this capability to focus on different product lines. Say you are a restaurant that also does catering. You might have a sub list for the catering business in addition to a primary list that promotes your weekly or monthly specials.

This ability to run multiple lists is a great asset. It allows you to have multiple conversations going on, with multiple people at the same time. All on autopilot.

There is one more basic concept to get across regarding auto responders. There are two types of basic messages. The first is the follow-up message. These are written and stored in the system and are sent automatically once a person signs up for your list. The first one goes out immediately once they have confirmed that they want to be on the list. Then you can pre-schedule any number of additional lists as you wish. Depending on your particular needs, you may want to send a second message three days after they get the first one, and then maybe another in 3-5 days, and then weekly thereafter.

Some people set up mini courses on topics of interest to their customers. A Liquor store may for example create a series of posts on wines, or the characteristics of different beers they sell. A restaurant, may do recipes or cooking tips, etc. The key thing about follow-up messages is that they should be “Evergreen.” With any luck people will be signing up to your list every day from now till the end of time. You want messages that make sense no matter the time of year. So event though it may be Spring, when you are writing you messages, eventually it will be winter when someone joins your list. All of these follow-up messages are sent sequentially based on the number of days since the person signed up on your list. So on any given day you will have message 1 going out to newly signed up people, message 3 going out to people who signed up last week, and message 14 going out to people who maybe signed up four months ago.

The second type of message is the Broadcast. This is sent to all people no matter when they signed up. This type of message is ideal for sending out messages about this week’s specials, of attractions for the coming month, or holiday greetings. If you are a dentist and want to let your patients know to schedule their appointments prior to you upcoming two week vacation cruise, you send them a broadcast message six weeks in advance and then again periodically up until you send them a message on who to contact in case of an emergency.

The best part of this, is that you can pre-schedule broadcast messages. Thus if you want, you can send a Happy New Years message for exactly at midnight next year right now.

If you have a three month advertising plan, you can schedule all your broadcasts for the coming three months at one time, and then forget about it. The messages will be sent automatically, and your customers will get you messages and respond and it won’t cost you any more than the cost of your auto responder and the time to write the messages.

There are other more advanced features available once you have you system up and running. For example you can do split testing to see which of your ads get a better response, and there are ways to tie your blog posts into the process and even pod casts. But such services are beyond the scope of this report.

Again the service I recommend is www.BuildRelationships.aweber.com.

They offer a series of helpful tutorials which should be more than adequate to get you up and running in no time. I am also available to assist you. Contact me at enetwal@gmail.com.


Most Business Web Pages StinK! Free Download Now

Posted by enetwal on Jan 24, 2009

I just completed my newest report, called “Most Business Web Pages StinK!” subtitled, Web Sites are like Trade Shows.  Readers of this blog will soon realize this is a recompilation of five previous blog posts on the Trade Show theme. The current version is number 1.2, I am working on 1.3 which will be revisions after my wife gets done proof reading it, and a resources section at the end.

I intend to use this as an eye opener for hopefully thousands of small business people. In these tough economic times it only makes sense to better utilize all of our existing resources such as our web sites.

And since upgrading them is not difficult or expensive, it makes even more sense.

Let me know if you need my help.


Web Pages: It’s what happens afterwards that counts

Posted by enetwal on Jan 8, 2009

This is the fifth of five posts comparing web pages to a trade show. In the first we compared the multiple reasons people have for being at a trade show and how people browsing the web have varying interests as well.

We then discussed exhibitor’s booths and drew comparisons to web page design, booth location with keywords and exhibitors signage and the importance of the the web real estate that is “above the fold.”

We then talked about attractors, how they bring people passing by to the booth and how their goal was to transform prospects into leads. I suggested and maintain that this is precisely the purpose of both a trade show and a web page.

And yesterday, I discussed the people at a trade show and how this was one area where a trade show had a distinct advantage over a web site. It’s much easier for people to be interactive. To ask and answer questions. I went on to talk about an empty trade show booth with just brochures left behind. I think you would agree with me that having people interact with prospects is far more effective than a stack of brochures, however nice they may be.

Unfortunately, most business’s web pages are just that, electronic brochures. This is a shame as its not difficult at all to begin the process to change that. The key component is an opt in box that can either be tied into the web page design, ideally “above the fold” and promoted with an valuable attractor. Of note, its possible to add a “light box” style Opt In form, that doesn’t require you to make any changes to your existing web site.

For many businesses the best type of attractor is a free down loadable report providing useful “How to,” or “What to look for” information. Think about the types of questions the people at your trade show booth would be most likely asked and answer them in a short and concise format.

The goal of both a trade show and your web site is to transform the web browser from being just another face in the crowd into a “lead.” A lead is someone the trade show people call or mail to after they empty the sweepstakes box of all those names that didn’t win the “free siding” or what ever they used to capture people’s names and contact info.

The advantage for the web site is that it’s easy to capture your leads name and email address, if you offer the viewer something they want. What I call an ethical bribe. And once you do, you can design a series of follow up emails to provide them additional useful information they need to make a wise buying decision.

There are two types of emails a business owner might send these new leads. This first set is a structured series of email that are pre-written and are “dripped” on the recipient at appropriate intervals. These are “evergreen” messages that once written and installed in an auto responder can be left to do their thing over time. Once set up they run on auto pilot.

These can be simple or sophisticated. An initial email for instance could ask the recipient if they want specific info an several different topics. If they pick one or more they can opt into as many different specialized series of followup messages as may be desired. This is useful for firms with multiple product lines.

Designing and creating this initial series of follow-up emails is the biggest investment in the entire process. A top notch auto responder service such as AWEBER can cost under $20 a month and will reliably capture the lead from your web page or even permit people to sign up even if you do not have a web page. Once the initial series of emails is created, will work day in and day out for you for peanuts.

A second type of follow-up message is the broadcast message. These can be used to advertise special sales, or send out holiday greetings or any other message you want. The combination of preloaded evergreen messages and occasional broadcasts can fulfill many purposes and can serve to not only win new business, but effectively stay in touch with existing customers as well.

This ongoing aspect of maintaining periodic contact with current and past customers is one of the best uses of an auto responder, and one that will generate significant new sales for any business that takes the time to creatively apply it to their specific circumstances.

Follow up is the name of the game in new sales and in developing repeat business. As I said in the title, it’s what happens after a person has been to your web site that counts, when you get around to counting your bottom line.

Check out the page above that discusses my services. I can help you apply these concepts to your business and help it grow, even in these challenging times.