You might be doing all the right things to generate leads -- landing pages, gated content, contests, and more. The problem might be that the design or copy itself isn't driving the engagement you need. A/B test (also known as "split test") different aspects of your list-building campaigns with different versions of the same content. This includes the call-to-action text, the color of the gated offer, the time of day you're posting to social media, and even where on your website these signup forms are placed. Sometimes a small change can drive hundreds more conversions.
Omnisend is an email service that helps online store owners take their email campaigns to the next level. Aside from a long list of clever ecommerce automations like abandoned cart campaigns and product recommendation emails, Omnisend also offers unique features such as online scratch cards, gift boxes, and ‘wheel of fortune’ incentives. A/B testing and website tracking are included, too.
Treat your list well. Remember that the people you're using email to communicate with have trusted you with their email and name; they deserve your respect. Just as you deserve as a chance to convert them from customers to fans and even evangelists for your brand, people who want to talk about and share your message and get involved in any way they can.
Emma – Emma provides email marketing software for organizations of all sizes. It offers tailored editions of its platform for businesses, franchises, retailers, universities and agencies. Emma's professional edition includes a drag-and-drop editor, the ability to send unlimited emails, real-time analytics, audience segmentation, automated emails, and integration for various CRM, e-commerce, event, survey and social tools. myemma.com
Support availability is an important aspect to consider any time you purchase online marketing services, especially if you are a novice. Check if the email marketing software provider you plan to use offers 24/7 support via phone, chat, or email as well as comprehensive documentation. This is especially important when your marketing campaigns are time sensitive. You don’t want to end up not sending out your Black Friday newsletter just because of a technical glitch you weren’t able to fix.
FreshMail – FreshMail offers email marketing software with a variety of features, including an intuitive template editor, mobile-optimized templates, social sharing tools, automation, contact management tools, an inbox inspector, a spam checker, A/B testing, Google Analytics, and integrations with CRM systems, e-commerce platforms and a variety of other programs. freshmail.com
If you’re frequently practicing the content upgrade strategy as part of your blogging efforts, you’ll quickly amass a base of “premium” upgrades. One relatively advanced method for packaging this base of content upgrades is to create a “content vault.” This is where you require visitors on your website to register and in exchange they get full access to all your content upgrades instantly (plus some other goodies, ideally). Ryan Deiss practices this technique on Digital Marketer.com (see below). sites like Video Fruit and others have launched similar membership only areas of their websites. This strategy is but one more incentive to encourage visitors to optin on your website using their email. There are basic tools and plugins that allow you to setup this membership functionality on your WordPress site, but most of the best ones have a paid option.

Imagine if your email marketing software could also act as your email marketing consultant, teaching you when to send your messages, how to segment your audience, and everything else you need to know to make the most of your efforts with email marketing. For small business owners with limited marketing knowledge who are bootstrapping their way through the email game, that’s exactly what GetResponse does.
There are numerous ways that advertisers can be overcharged for their advertising. For example, click fraud occurs when a publisher or third parties click (manually or through automated means) on a CPC ad with no legitimate buying intent.[80] For example, click fraud can occur when a competitor clicks on ads to deplete its rival's advertising budget, or when publishers attempt to manufacture revenue.[80]
Emails triggered by milestones, like anniversaries and birthdays, are fun to get -- who doesn't like to celebrate a special occasion? The beauty of anniversary emails, in particular, is that they don't require subscribers to input any extra data, and they can work for a variety of senders. Plus, the timeframe can be modified based on the business model.
One former client of mine started using Hubspot for about $50/month, but after adding a few extra features and growing his list he was soon paying $2,000/month which had to be paid annually. For many small businesses, there’s a big difference between $50 leaving the bank account and $24,000 – especially when other tools can offer similar (or better products) at a fraction of this amount.

The low cost and relative ease of carrying out an email marketing campaign means that it is a tool that is accessible to almost any business. A small mechanic's shop can put together an email list and then send out coupons for oil changes or brake jobs. The scope and sophistication of these campaigns may not be as great as larger businesses, but that doesn't mean they won't be effective.
Cobalt – Cobalt's web-based email marketing software allows you to send newsletters, product updates and sales promotions, among other things. It lets you import email addresses by industry, product line, type or any other category you choose. Cobalt's campaign-tracking tools show exactly who opened your emails and who clicked on the URL links in your message. gocobalt.com
There are tons of websites and publishers out there that cater to your audience -- and larger portions of it. Guest blogging for these websites helps you expand your contact list to this audience. When creating content as a guest blogger for another website, include a call-to-action, as well as a link in you author byline, for readers to subscribe to your site's blog or email newsletter.
As with offline advertising, industry participants have undertaken numerous efforts to self-regulate and develop industry standards or codes of conduct. Several United States advertising industry organizations jointly published Self-Regulatory Principles for Online Behavioral Advertising based on standards proposed by the FTC in 2009.[109] European ad associations published a similar document in 2011.[110] Primary tenets of both documents include consumer control of data transfer to third parties, data security, and consent for collection of certain health and financial data.[109]:2–4 Neither framework, however, penalizes violators of the codes of conduct.[111]
3) Google Analytics. Without knowing and analyzing your key site and page metrics, visitor interactions and traffic sources, its really hard to know the performance of your opt-in rate for your email list, and to measure the downtstream impact of your opt-in tests/improvements on other goals like sales. For example which pages convert best and which traffic sources need tweaking more to boost opt-ins. Your list building efforts are blinded without knowing how to use Google Analytics properly and gaining great insights from it!
Bluecore – Bluecore is a triggered email marketing service for e-commerce businesses. The system automatically tracks each customer's interactions with e-commerce sites. Each time they browse a product category, search for a specific keyword or check out a sale item, the software knows and then automatically builds and sends them the best email to earn the sale. Popular customer triggers include search abandonment, window shopping, wish list creation, cart abandonment and purchase completion. The service also automatically tracks every single product and its price, so businesses can build dynamic trigger programs without ever uploading or integrating product data. bluecore.com
As website builders become more sophisticated, they are also becoming more user-friendly. Often, one of the biggest fears a person has about investing in a website builder is not knowing how to create a website. Luckily, many of the top offerings in the category are simple to use. Some companies even offer included tutorials and step-by-step instructions to complete certain tasks.
But since you can’t just judge a message’s quality by your own perceptions (as the members of your list will have diverse interests and viewpoints), you can also take a look at the analytics information provided by your email marketing account provider to see which messages have been opened and which emails have been accessed most frequently.  This should give you some insight into the message topics your audience finds most compelling.

This email from Amazon Local is short and sweet, with just one CTA: click through this email to tell Amazon what you like and dislike. That way, the deals they send you going forward can be more in line with what you're likely to actually want. What's wonderful about this experience is not just that they asked, but also how consistent the experience is from email to landing page. Take a look at the email below, and the landing page that follows.
For projects that encompass elements of architecture, landscape and entertainment design, Vectorworks Designer software is the ultimate solution. Packing the power of the entire suite of Vectorworks’ products including Architect, Landmark and Spotlight into one robust program, Designer offers digital terrains, plants, lighting, rigging, BIM modeling and rendering tools to help users draft, model and present in a single interface. Additionally, high-quality renderings can be created directly inside files with default textures within thousands of Vectorworks content library objects and our easy-to-use Renderworks features. www.vectorworks.net/designer
The diverse array of companies involved in email marketing ensures that no one party can make changes that would have a widespread effect, and unlike Facebook or Twitter, if you invest the time and money into building and cultivating a great email list, your subscriber list will be an asset you own. Thus you’ll be able to leverage your list without the threat of someone limiting its effectiveness.

The low cost and relative ease of carrying out an email marketing campaign means that it is a tool that is accessible to almost any business. A small mechanic's shop can put together an email list and then send out coupons for oil changes or brake jobs. The scope and sophistication of these campaigns may not be as great as larger businesses, but that doesn't mean they won't be effective.

The ability to track onsite events makes ActiveCampaign unique from other services. For example, you can track custom event calls from within mobile apps, billing apps and more. All your customer data will be organized in a sales CRM that gives you a complete picture of your customers. You can use this data to create highly effective marketing campaigns and followups.
dotmailer – dotmailer is a marketing automation platform that empowers B2B, B2C and ecommerce businesses. The software enables marketers in 150 countries to use advanced data to design, test and send powerful automated campaigns. As well as being a Magento Premier Technology Partner, dotmailer also integrates seamlessly with other ecommerce platforms and CRMs. dotmailer.com
Email design matters in any successful email marketing campaign. If your emails look terrible, that reflects badly on you, and can make people stop reading. With more people than ever reading emails on mobile devices, it’s important to use a responsive email template so your email resizes automatically whether people are reading it on a phone, tablet, or desktop.

Zapier is also a freeium service like Mailchimp and Wufoo, but it’s focus is on helping you automate tasks between different web apps and sites. The smartest way (little known way) you can use Zapier is to set it up to automatically post Tweets and Facebook posts at regular intervals with a link to a landing page. Followers and fans can click the link to sign-up for your newsletter or autoresponder course.
Consumers also face malware risks, i.e. malvertising, when interacting with online advertising. Cisco's 2013 Annual Security Report revealed that clicking on ads was 182 times more likely to install a virus on a user's computer than surfing the Internet for porn.[105][106] For example, in August 2014 Yahoo's advertising network reportedly saw cases of infection of a variant of Cryptolocker ransomware.[107]
Even if at first you do not succeed, the relaxing acoustic soundtrack and bright art style in this bridge building game will make you feel somewhat better about the watery graves you have just made for your poor passengers – as we found in our Poly Bridge review. With 24 challenges in the base version and hundreds more on Steam Workshop, Poly Bridge will keep you entertained for hours.
Most presentations are shared and presented on a larger screen or through a digital projector. In rare occasions, slide presentations are printed out as a replacement for text documents, but this is a really inefficient way to review data, that Garr Reynolds calls ‘PresDocs’ (Garr Reynolds is the author of Presentation Zen, one of the most important go-to reference for successful presentations).
GetResponse is another powerful email automation provider, offering triggered campaigns, automated segments, dynamic content, and tagging. But it also includes some very handy extra features, such as landing pages, CRM, and even webinars. It’s little wonder, then, that customers worldwide are signing up to GetResponse – they currently serve over 350,000 clients in 183 countries.
This is a more advanced tactic for those of you using video to market your business. According to JLBmedia, 78% of internet users watch video once per week and 55% watch it at least once per day. Since video is so widely consumed, it makes sense that if you’re going to include it as part of your website’s sales funnel or on a blog post it you should get position it to generate more email subscribers for you. Here’s how it works:
Optimonk was started in the year 2014 with the view to revolutionize the way e-commerce sites improve conversions. They have created over 3000 e-commerce sites, including some of those sites which are now market leaders. You’ll be able to recover 15% of your abandon visitors with on-site retargeting and track visitor’s behavior, detect existing visitors, display targeted offers and boost conversion. It has a gamut of features like A/B testing, real-time analytics and so on. Integrates with various websites and e-commerce platforms, Optimonk is a perfect tool or the business e-commerce platform to improve their conversion rate.
2) One of the those being Capsule CRM. As a training company, many of our email subscribers are customers that we’ve met in person. Capsule CRM makes it easy to export them into Mailchimp. One feature I particularly like is that Capsule lets you filter contacts by tags and dates – and then export them into a new Mailchimp campaign e.g. we regularly setup a campaign to email an offer to people that have been on an SEO introduction course within the last 3 months but have not yet been on the SEO intermediate course. This works really well!
Guest blogging has exploded in popularity as a marketing tactic over the last 4 years. It offers a number of benefits, but few better than the fact that, done right, it will drive a large JUMP in subscribers followed by a steady stream of subscribers who continuously opt-in over time.   Here’s the basic formula for how to do it, then I’m going to recommend 2 posts you should go and check out to learn more.
All of these things come and go and can disappear literally overnight. The more you rely on these things the more volatile your internet business really is. That’s where email marketing comes in. Email marketing to your own private list of fans, customers, and followers will always be 100% under your own control. In fact, your list is the one asset that nobody can take away from you.
It makes sense right? Afterall, why do you need the same email address opt-in more than once — you don’t! Here is the ONLY example I’ve seen of someone doing this on their blog, and it comes from Brennan Dunn who I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know personally in the last year. I’ll let the pictures do the talking then I’ll summarize…   That’s step 1, and here’s step 2…   And then here’s the result: Pretty awesome right? If you look closely, you can even see that the point after the traffic settles down after the third spike is higher than the “valleys” after the first two spikes. I don’t know of any tools to recommend that make this easy (though I plan to have my developer create a plugin for WordPress when I get around to it in the future). If you know of any, please leave a comment with a link to the resource so others can benefit, and then I’ll also update this section as well. One tool that I’m planning to use to “hack” together a test of this own on the AutoGrow blog is the Like2Get WordPress plugin — and it’s free if you want to check it out. In summary: There is still so much low-hanging fruit on every website, and this strategy highlight a key one that just about EVERYONE is overlooking right now. But wait… there’s more!… Keep reading…
John, Thank you for this comprehensive review of some of the most popular and well-used services. Over the last decade I have tried many and appreciate your perspective on each. I currently use GetResponse (as I’d not been as active and appreciate the price-value relationship for 1,000+ contacts. I know they’ve grown considerably and now offer many of the features of which you speak of other services you prefer. I would appreciate your updated 2018 review. THANK YOU!
In this context, I guess each post can’t be thought of in isolation, but in terms of a mini content ecosystem that comprises of a great blog post optimised for on-page SEO, an upgrade to that post tailored for that specific content, various on-page email conversion points including an exit pop-up or similar -and then you combine all this with your off page link building and outreach efforts. That could be over 5,000 words of content all in just that one package.
First of all, BuzzFeed has awesome subject lines and preview text. They are always short and punchy -- which fits in perfectly with the rest of BuzzFeed's content. I especially love how the preview text will accompany the subject line. For example, if the subject line is a question, the preview text is the answer. Or if the subject line is a command (like the one below), the preview text seems like the next logical thought right after it:

The Daily Egg is a newsletter from Crazy Egg that is aimed at helping small businesses improve website design and optimization. Notice that there are no images or elaborate design work. However, this newsletter does provide a helpful digest of content that is important to its readers. By providing this important content, the company can work to demonstrate industry knowledge and establish itself as an industry leader. This goes a long way in influencing conversions.
So many brands and companies build their audiences on Facebook and Google+, which is fine, but we don’t own those names – Facebook and Google do. If we are thinking like real media companies, the asset is in the audience. Getting an email address is the first critical step to figuring out who my reader is and, hopefully in the future, my customer of some sort. If our goal is to drive sales or keep customers happy in some way, we first need to get them as part of our audience. If I have one regret as a business owner, it’s not focusing on building our email list earlier in the process.

If you want to take advantage of the opportunities that small business email marketing can provide, you’ll need to focus on the strategies and tactics that are proven to drive sales. Below, we’ll dive into a few different aspects of small business email marketing and provide helpful tips along the way for strategy, implementation, and optimization.


Experts like Joe Pulizzi, founder of Content Marketing Institute, believes that an email list is critical as one cannot build his/her own content on a rented land. He continues saying that the first step is to collect email addresses whereby a person can understand who are his/her readers and hopefully they will be his/her, customer, soon. If a person’s goal is to drive sales or keep customers happy in some way, then he/she would first have to get them as part of his/her audience.
Transactional emails are usually triggered based on a customer's action with a company. To be qualified as transactional or relationship messages, these communications' primary purpose must be "to facilitate, complete, or confirm a commercial transaction that the recipient has previously agreed to enter into with the sender" along with a few other narrow definitions of transactional messaging.[3] Triggered transactional messages include dropped basket messages, password reset emails, purchase or order confirmation emails, order status emails, reorder emails, and email receipts.
This is one of those low-hanging fruit strategies that is so easy you can implement it across your website and sales funnel in a matter of minutes. Simply put: if your goal is to collect email subscribers… then why are you requiring fields other than an email address on your form? Avoid creating an optin form that looks like this: Not only should you not require all those fields, but take them out! Take them ALL out, and just require an email address. Early on, I was able to double our email conversion rate by just changing our form from 2 fields (first name and email) to just 1 form field (email address). Similarly, Marketo (which is now a public company) experimented with removing multiple form fields. The result? Cost per lead dropped by $10 and conversion rates increased 34%.
We also love how consistent the design of Uber's emails is with its brand. Like its app, website, social media photos, and other parts of the visual branding, the emails are represented by bright colors and geometric patterns. All of its communications and marketing assets tell the brand's story -- and brand consistency is one tactic Uber's nailed in order to gain brand loyalty.

It makes sense: the people who visit your blog post or web page are looking for something specific, so your CTA needs to meet those unique needs. For instance, if you’ve got a ton of traffic visiting your “List-Building Strategy” blog article, why not entice those people to subscribe to your email list by including a simple CTA like this: “Click here to download a free list-building toolkit.”


Rob, you don’t say who ‘booted’ you from using it. A significant GDPR factor is non-profits having to consent/re-consent those on established email lists and experiencing significant proportions of lists being lost because people miss the notifications or are too busy to fill in yet more forms. However, I have found a few using a ‘one-touch’ re-subscription button that takes immediate effect, without the recipient having to do anything else. It would appear that the re-subscription rate is higher, the easier it is to activate. On enquiry, I was told that they were using mail chimp for this.
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