Mailchimp on Skillshare

Getting started with email marketing

Mailchimp on SkillshareMy favourite email marketing service provider Mailchimp has a brilliant new 1 hour class on Skillshare to help you get up and running with your first email marketing campaign and/or email list building project; better still…it’s free!

In this great new class you will work on your own assignment to create your first email marketing campaign. You’ll learn about the basics of email marketing, setting campaign goals, what content to include, what types of email to send and how often you should send, all supported by case studies of real email marketing campaigns.

In addition to this you will also learn how to build a subscriber list, segment your subscribers to give them a more personal experience and how to write, design, send, test and analyse your campaigns.

It’s free and it’s on Skillshare here.

Building a Responsive Email List

How to build a responsive email opt in listI’ve just uploaded my new eBook to help you to start building a Responsive Email Opt-in list.

You can get your free copy by joining my email list here

Inside this special subscriber only report you will learn:

  • The tools you need and how you can do it for free
  • How to build a High Converting Squeeze Page
  • Generating Maximum Profits from Your Squeeze Page
  • Developing Your Brand through list management
  • Segmenting Your Lists For Better Targeting
  • How to keep your list hot and responsive
  • Links to lots of free resources to make your list building easier.

Get your FREE copy of Responsive List Building Secrets here.

Getting to the Top of Google

SEO is mostly about quality content How do you get to the top of Google?

A lot of people who have brochure type sites (4 or 5 static pages) also ask when they will reach the top of Google search after having a new site built and think that some magical SEO fairy will make that happen.

The truth is that you need to have a lot of good quality unique content. So much so that lots of other people in your industry want to link to you.

Here’s a short bullet point case study for a page rank 1 site I manage:

  • Its in a very tight and very very small niche that the main blog writer knows a lot about and its, on a .co.uk domain with almost all of the traffic from the UK.
  • The site has a Google page rank 1.
  • It gets approx. 2000 unique visitors per month.
  • It returns the owner the equivalent of about £200 per month excluding adsense income
  • Its a blog with about 200 unique posts and it sells 3 industry specific eBooks and some fact sheets.
  • There’s an opt-in list of about 350 subscribers associated with it, which helps to drive sales and increase traffic.

There you have it…content is king in this instance and it can’t be over-emphasised.

If you truly know your subject, start telling us about it by blogging regularly and the rest will come naturally.

The basic SEO work that has been done on the site includes:

  • When writing a post in WordPress make sure that your keyword or phrase appears at the beginning of the title. This makes sure that your keyword is in the H1 tag which is important.
  • Use a further H tag (H2 for example) within the body maybe as a sub heading for your post.
  • Write a good keyword rich meta description for each post you write with the keywords appearing early within it.
  • Make sure you use keywords in your image names and “alt” tags which can provide an extra little boost to your SEO.
  • Make a page about your main blog subject and write a keyword rich article for this page of about 2000-5000 words and name the page using your key word phrase that you want to be found for in Google or other search engines. This page can be left static if you want but make sure its title is your keyword phrase.

If you are now scratching your head thinking what the hell was all that about, a good place to start is to install the Yoast SEO plug in.

Next is to pick up your phone and give me a bell on 07939 149103 or drop me a line…its free.

photo thanks to: Creative Commons License Yahoo! Blog via Compfight

Attention Deficit and how to deal with it

The scarcest commodity on the internet is “Attention”.

There is just so much noise out there and so many people wanting to be famous for a while that even if you have the most admirable and/or noble of intentions its very difficult to be heard above that noise.

To have the best chance of achieving Attention you must deliver attention along with quality work, demonstrate knowledge and above all in these cash strapped days the world finds itself in you must deliver value.

But how to keep things fresh in an attention poor, content hungry internet world?

Here are 5 things I think anybody using the Internet to promote their business must do

  1. Ignore Search Engines when developing your offer; if you sit worrying about key words and SEO all day long, in order to get to the top of Google, you will miss the mark with your customers by a wide wide margin. Sure there are things you can do to speed up your journey to Google Nirvana, but this shouldn’t be at the expense of delivering what you set out to deliver to your readers and customers. So if you’re not playing the same game as everybody else how do you get customers?
  2. You ring fence them by building your own Tribe; a growing band of merry followers who will snap up everything you throw at them, as long as it stays true to your principles of attention, quality, knowledge and value: OK so those are 4donkeys principles, but if a bunch of donkeys can do it…come on! People become members of your Tribe when they stand up and give you permission to keep in touch. If you’re totally confused by now you need to take some time out to read Seth’s books.
  3. You stay fresh and respond to the needs of your tribe. No you don’t let the tribe run the show, but you interact with them. They will help you to mould the future direction of your business and they will do one more crucial thing; they will attract more members to the tribe by word of mouth and association.
  4. Work on building a Permission or opt-in list and use it wisely to deliver value and “nice” surprises to your tribe. If you are on my list you will know how valuable the Famous Friday Freebie is every week…
  5. Take time to think and develop yourself. Read, learn and network to find new ideas and new ways of doing things. A large part of my week is spent looking for great new stuff to buy and give away in the FFF…aw nice eh?

Anyway, taking each of these points in turn I want to finish today by telling you about some more extremely valuable stuff that’s coming to 4donkeys starting tomorrow:

  1. On not being a slave to the Search Engines: Tomorrow I want to share a true story with you about building a long term successful site with hard to find readers in a tiny niche and almost no social media exposure.
  2. On Monday I want to share with you a fool proof strategy for building a large permission list.
  3. On Tuesday I’m going to tell you about a new section I’m adding to 4donkeys which is going to help you enormously in staying fresh and responsive in your web endeavours.
  4. Wednesday’s post will explain a little experiment I’m doing soon, which will help you and me to interact more closely on your projects; your own Free web consultant essentially.
  5. On Thursday I am going to show you how to finally put Papa Facebook to work for you. Once you implement this idea, instead of reams of messages saying “Awesome Dude, please please, please like our crappy page with no content of any consequence…please?:(“ you will be getting inbox messages saying “New follower on your list”. Call it the donkeys’ revenge on FB!

Have a great Saturday and I will be back tomorrow with my little case study for you.

Of course no time is a bad time to call on 07939 149103 or drop me a line if you need help with anything web wise.

 

My Top 5 tips for building interest with Facebook

keep your fans engaged with facebookIt’s no secret that I am not the biggest fan of Facebook.

That opinion is based mainly on the consumer side of Facebook where the now giant corporation that is Facebook, dictates how its users interact with it; for example the forced changeover to time-line view.

However, I try to put all of that to one side when I am dealing with the great FB for business and especially when I am helping clients to grow their business exposure to the world. Facebook cannot be ignored in that sense, there are just too many users for that.

FB Fan Pages are very useful tools for building traffic to your website or blog and also to your Facebook profile pages.

Fan pages outstrip profile pages due to ability to have “Fans” and for your content to be constantly updated to your followers’ feeds by whenever you post something new.

The best way to build traffic through a Fan page is by encouraging your Fans to interact with your fan page. Here are my 5 top tips for doing that:

  1. Ask questions. Just ask the people who like you on your fan page a question. You might start with closed questions that just require a yes or a no, to get the ball rolling and to build confidence in your readers. Obviously these questions will be related to your business, art or philosophy and not just “did you see the state of Ian Beale on EastEnders last night?” As you build the interaction and confidence of your likers, you can move on to more open ended questions and actually have your likers grow the useful content value of your page to some extent.
  2. Point out updates. Just pointing out what you’ve added to your readers can increase interaction, boost responses to your questions and allow your new readers or fans to get up to speed with your content more quickly.
  3. Set up a landing page. Just as you might do on your website or blog, set one up to encourage people to “like” your page in exchange for a free download, discount, benefit or gift. This can help to build your opt in email list and allow you to gain permission to keep in touch my means other than Facebook.
  4. Use Facebook Advertising. I’m not usually one for recommending advertising but this is a solid way to attract otherwise passive traffic into your Fan pages. You should ideally send them to a landing page so that you hook the opt in email as well. (Building the number of likes you get will ensure that you appear on more and more news-feeds of the fans who sign up and subsequently this will turn into even more traffic.
  5. Content is Still King. I shouldn’t really have to say this but it stands to reason that you need to be providing useful and compelling content to your fans, to hopefully keep them coming back, spreading the word and coming on through to your website or blog to get more in depth info from you.

Today is 4 donkeys Famous Freebie Friday of course and if you liked this post, you better make sure you are on the list by 15.00 UK time today.

Today’s Famous Freebie Friday pack will include an in-depth eBook on Facebook Marketing packed with tips and strategies just like those above…plus another few little surprises…make sure you get on the list here.

As always…if you need help with anything social media, blog, WordPress or on-line related just give me a bell on 07939 149103 or drop me line

Creative Commons License Moazzam Brohi provided today’s photo, thank you Moazzam!

How to start an email opt-in list

Get Permission to Market with an Opt-in email list

The most valuable business commodity in the world today is…Attention and nowhere more so than on the Internet

On the face of it, using the web to do your marketing is very attractive, the overheads are low and scaling up effectively adds zero further cost after initial set up.

The downside is of course that everybody’s doing it. In the past, expensive TV advertising was expensive because paying the money guaranteed you some exposure to the kind of people you wanted to expose your offer to.

These days, there is a lot of noise out there in web world and it is increasingly difficult to grab someone’s attention.

Due to the difficulty in getting attention, I rank it as the number one most valuable commodity for your business, but running a close second is permission.

Permission marketing is a phrase coined I think by Seth Godin, but increasingly the de rigueur way of doing business on the internet.

In its simplest form the process works like this:

  1. Attention: you’ve finally hit the hot spot and attracted someone’s attention to your offer.
  2. Permission: they sign up to be on your opt-in email list and depending on what you told them at the outset, this can be taken as permission to keep in touch.

So how do you go about getting someone on your opt-in list?

Or indeed, how do you even start an opt-in list?.

Well first off the rank, is that you simply don’t fool around trying to collect email addresses and mass emailing them on your own.

If you are even partly serious about this, you must get yourself an account with a reputable email marketing company. I can recommend both aWeber and mailchimp having used both to good effect.

These companies are set up to offer you a complete email marketing solution. If you attempt to send mass emails through your normal account you will be switched off immediately by your ISP.

Having got yourself an account with a good email marketing service, you need to create an offer that will be attractive to the people you are targeting and this is where the scarcest Internet commodity comes in: Authenticity

Authenticity is so rare that it comes as a genuinely nice surprise to people when they encounter it.

Make sure that what you are offering in return for their permission is of high value to them, not in monetary terms, but in the value it can bring to their everyday life or business if you are marketing a business service or product.

Make double sure that you tell them upfront what they can expect from you after the permission is granted. Remember that even genuinely valuable information can be a pain if it arrives too frequently.

You can then set up a sequence of auto-responder messages with your email provider to go out to people on your list on a regular basis. You can also do one off broadcasts from time to time if you wish.

In addition to the above you can set your system up to send out a weekly blog broadcast so that you can encourage your readers back to the site with snippets of what they might have missed.

Don’t push products at people every time you contact them; provide authentically useful and valuable information to them, and sales orientated material on no more than a 5:1 ratio.

Remember that having their attention and their permission is a very valuable thing and instead of throwing all of your toys at them in one go, try to think of ways that you can continue to impress them and encourage their confidence in you and/or your business.

Think of ways you can encourage them to start or keep doing business with you through the addition of special services just for your list members.

This could include setting up a members only area that you encourage them to get involved with, or a members forum on a protected page of your site. These features then become marketing tools for attracting the attention of others and hopefully their permission too.

Look at this process with long term eyes and you will soon start to build a loyal following that will continue to come back to you time and again with their needs and wants.

Happy list building for now.

Tomorrow I want to show you how to up the ante on list building by using your facebook profile as a list building tool. Be sure to look in as its a very cool thing I want to show you.

Meantime if you want to get on my list its clear how you do that on this page. When you sign up I won’t bombard you with rubbish but I will immediately send you 3 premium eBooks which will not only help you with list building but with your success on the web generally.

Every Friday I send out the Famous Friday Freebie email to my list members and this week, its a biggie: I’m sending out a whole pack of eBooks that will help you with almost every aspect of your business marketing on the web.

You can get on my list here.

If you need any help with anything web, wordpress, opt-in or marketing related give me a bell on 07939 149103 or drop me a line.

Photo thanks to: Maurice via Compfight, thanks Maurice you’re a gent!

Delivering fresh blog content on demand

writers block wont be a problem any moreWhilst many Internet marketers still say that ‘the money is in the list’ there is strong evidence to show that fresh, useful and above all high quality content is just as, if not more important if you want to be successful at making a living online.

And of course blogging and list building aren’t mutually exclusive and can work hand in hand to help you extend your reach and interact intimately with your readers.

It is this concept of fresh content that I want to talk about today. Yesterday we looked at how, for a business blog or at least one you hope to make money with, you really need to stay on topic.

Doing that is sometimes easier said than done however and you wont be long into your blogging career when you experience the dreaded writer’s block or hit the wall for the first time.

This is where your beloved readers come in.

Here’s one trick (professional writing technique) you can employ to give you inspiration for tens if not hundreds of blog posts.

Open up the admin area of your blog and at the same time open up notepad or your favoured word processor and have them in side by side windows.

Now simply scroll down your comments list in the back admin area of wordpress and either copy and paste the title of each comment or type a sentence that captures the essence of the subject that each comment is covering.

Make a new line for each comment and capture something unique about each one. Even if there are 20 comments on one post, there’s probably 20 different views or opinions there.

Once you’ve completed that, open your cpanel area and go to awstats or whatever stats program you use.

Now scroll down to where it says “Search Key Phrases”. This is a goldmine of information and a great source of inspiration for any blogger. Click the link that allows you to open the full list of Search Terms and copy and paste this into your notepad file.

You now have titles and subject matter for possibly hundreds of blog posts. Start writing the posts right there in the notepad file, starting under each title.

Not only is this a good source of inspiration, but it also guarantees that you are talking about the exact subjects that your kind of reader wants to know about.

Get to it!

Another great motivational technique is to tell your readers how often you will post like I did yesterday. So in the spirit of heeding ones own advice I will be back tomorrow with a little something about building that most important of online “living making” resources…the  “list”

Meantime if you need any help with anything wordpress related or to do with blogging, social media and /or doing business on line, as always just give me a call on 07939 149103 or drop me a line. Happy blogging!

Photo thanks to: Haris Awang via Compfight, cheers Haris nice work!

3 Costly blogging mistakes to avoid.

follow this guide to avoid common blogging mistakesBloggers make mistakes all the time. But most of them are easy to avoid, and even easier not to create in the first place.

As a blogger you might think that anything goes when it comes to the content of your blog posts. Well, by and large of course it’s up to you what you write, but if you started your blog for a reason, for example to promote your business or art then you might have to give it a little more thought than just doing a brain dump on the page every morning.

Mistake number one then –is not sticking to the topic of your blog. Blogs are usually designed around a theme – and the more focused the theme, the more likely you’ll attract interested traffic. Many new bloggers however either ‘cast around’ for a theme, hoping to hit on something that works, or are just scattered in general. You can see this on lots of blogs, where people talk incessantly about their bloody cats when they’ve run out of business stuff to share.

Solution – keep your posts as focused as possible on the overall topic that you set out for your blog and don’t be afraid of sharing too much detail about what you do or even how you do it with your avid readers. If anything this kind of sharing builds trust and is more likely to get you work or a following than if you keep it all secret.

No business operates in vacuum and its crazy to waste energy trying to hide your ideas from your competition.

Mistake number two – bloggers don’t spend enough time or expend enough effort in promoting their sites and driving driving traffic back to them.

Blogging isn’t just about posting content. Unfortunately, many people seem to think that ‘if they build it, they will come’ and that’s simply not true. New and fresh content is vital to your success and not updating often enough will really impact on your traffic. Most bloggers start out really well – they write lots of posts and then, it tapers off. They become discouraged, or worse, they think they aren’t doing ‘it right’. Blogging needs just as much attention as any other site, sometimes more so – and like most sites, unless you hit on something really big, you’ll find that you don’t make much of an impact at first.

Driving traffic to your site can be fairly simple though – you can do it by taking part in other sites, and using your url in your sigline, you can comment on other blogs and forums, bookmark your site and of course create a social media strategy – with wide exposure you’ll gain far more traffic than simply relying on SEO.

Mistake number three – not connecting with others in your niche. This isn’t restricted to bloggers of course, its a feature of business generally. Many owners of small businesses try to play their cards too close to their chests in an effort to protect their trade secrets.

Solution – its important to contact others in your niche, because it gives you a chance to participate in link exchanges and maybe even collaboration on projects. One of the best ways to do this is ‘mutually’ recommend one another’s sites – you can do this, quite simply, by asking the site owner to review your site, and you can do the same. That way, you’ll build a more valuable ‘link base’ for the person you’re reviewing, and though they are creating a two way link exchange with you, the review style link exchange is always more valuable.

No matter what mistakes bloggers make, or the length of time they’ve been making them for, its never too late to get things back on track. There’s always a way to fix common problems including the mythical writers block.

How do you continue to find interesting ideas for your blog?

It can sometimes seem like you’ve said it all, and just very occasionally this is actually nearly true. Most times however, its not and there are some great strategies and tools you can use to generate new ideas and exciting fresh content for your blog. I’m just about to use one such tool:

Tomorrow, I’m going to talk about how you can keep your blog fresh and come up with an endless stream of new ideas to share with our readers.

Until then, if you need any help with any aspect of blogging, be it technical or content…just give me a call on my mobile number 07939 149103 or drop me a line.

Photo thanks to:  J. Money via Compfight, right on the money!

5 essential steps to make your blog a success

learn the 5 essential steps to starting a successful blog

Lets say you’ve decided to start a blog to help get the word out about your business, art or philosophy on life.

You’ve got some decisions to make about where your going to do that. By that I mean what blogging software/platform are you going to use?

Where will this be hosted? Will it be a free blog at blogger.com or WordPress.com, or will you have it hosted so that you can have a greater control over its look and it’s destiny should anything go wrong at these 3rd party free blog providers.

No matter where you blog, or what you decide to do with your blog, there are some ‘must do’ steps as follows:

  1. Make sure you’ve configured everything correctly. There’s nothing worse than having done 99% of the work, only to be let down by the final 1%. To ensure you’ve got the best fighting chance to get the best attention for your blog, you should fill in everything that you can. This includes any profile settings, and in the case of WordPress, any plug-ins or other information that needs to be completed – many plug-ins and themes require some work to make them usable.
  2. Pick a design theme and stick with it…at least for a few months. Radical design changes can upset your readers, especially if you haven’t alerted them to this in advance. Changing your design theme in WordPress is a breeze. Making your blog stand out from the rest is a major step in retaining traffic. More importantly, if you make it yours, the you’re more likely to work on it more often. Changing away from the default theme in WordPress has other benefits as well. Although the default theme is rock solid and very customisable, it does make your site look like just another WordPress blog. Another thing to consider is that if you update your WordPress software to the latest release, this can sometimes break or delete any customisations you have made in the default theme, as quite often the theme itself is updated with new versions of WordPress.
  3. Write some content. Try to write 5 or 10 blog posts in advance before you tell anybody that you are blogging. This way when people start to turn up, there will be a good amount of valuable content ready for them to read and to make sure they return you should plan a blogging schedule.Tell your readers what this is right on the front of your blog if you want. This will keep you accountable not just to your readers but also to yourself. If your goal is to build a strong following, then I suggest you try to do a lot of writing at the front end of your project. Daily posting isn’t too much if you can manage it; its certainly what I try to do here on 4 donkeys. You can scale back later when you have a bigger archive of material for your readers to engage with.
  4. Promote your content – once you’ve got a nice stock of content up start promoting your blog. Consider using your posts on article sites, get active on related forums and share your wisdom and of course links back to your blog. You’ll get more traffic if you diversify, so remember to add your site to bookmarking sites and make good use of social media to spread the word – and, encourage your readers to do so too.
  5. Be authentic; if you don’t know it from experience, don’t make out that you do. It doesn’t mean that you cant write about it, but its better to speak from experience and its better to be just you, don’t try for any fancy image or to change your personality into something you are not. By saying it from the heart, you will be more encouraged to continue when you start to get positive feedback from readers…and if you are genuine…you will get feedback.

Blogging, ultimately, is about making connections with readers and will help you to build a reader base to discuss your work and share your ideas with. It allows you to express yourself, make valuable contacts and to showcase yourself as the expert you are in your field.

Photo today thanks to:  Adam Tinworth via Compfight; keep clicking Adam, cheers.

How to use Google Analytics with WordPress

How do you know who is coming to see your site, how long they are staying and what they like?

How can you tell if your late night blog writing is paying off and actually attracting traffic to your site?

Answer: statistics.

Most websites come with cpanel access (ours do anyway) and this gives you access to various stats tools to help measure your site’s traffic.

In my experience, some of these can lead to an over inflated idea of your sites success due to the way they measure visits.

My preference is to use Google Analytics instead, which involves a little bit of work but is well worth it.

Here’s how i suggest you add Google Analytics to your wordpress site:

  1. If your wordpress theme has a facility for adding extra html to the HEAD section of your pages, its best to copy and paste the analytics code straight in there. If your theme doesn’t have this facility, its still possible to go this route but unless you are very confident in your knowledge of html and the structure of your site behind the scenes simply DON’T.
  2. Most themes don’t have that facility so instead you can use a plug in and there are many of them to help you here. Just search for google analytics in the plug ins section of your admin area. Make sure you click through to the plug in’s support site to see if its up to date and compatible with the latest version of wp before you install it.
  3. If you haven’t already, you will need to set up a google analytics account. Once done, you can add your site’s url as a property in the account which will generate a code. This code goes into the plug in settings page.

Once you are set up you can track the activity on your site very accurately and in great detail. Here’s a screen shot from a site I’ve been managing recently:

So which of these figures should you be interested in?

Most important especially in the early days is Unique Visitors, this is the big one. Don’t listen to people who talk about “hits” as each individual visit can generate lots of hits. What you want to know is how many individuals are you attracting to your site.

After that you will want to look at Bounce Rate; this is a measure of the number of single page visits you’ve had and a good indicator of how relevant visitors are finding your content when they click through from a link from somewhere else on the web and from search engines.

This happens when you write obscure blog post titles like “do you like pina colada and getting caught in the rain“…just stoopid!

I once included the phrase “wife swapping” within a post title for a lawn bowling green site and it still gets a lot of (presumably disappointed) visitors.

Seriously though, the bounce rate is a good thing to track.

There is a whole books worth of stuff I can tell you about Google Analytics, but its best just to have a good old search around in the mass of information it collects to see what is important to you.

Incidentally, if you are installing Google Analytics, you definitely need this.

Alternatively drop me a line, give me a call or just use the buy now button below and I’ll do it all for you…easy!

Google Analytics WP Install
Google Analytics WP Install
This service includes installing and configuring a plug in, generating analytics code and installing and testing on your Worpdress site.
Price: £25.00