If you’ve been following the site for a while, you know that I’ve been a MailChimp user since … well, since the very beginning of my online adventure.

Over time, though, things have started to get difficult. I mean, MailChimp is still cool and all, but sending my emails for free has become rather troublesome.

But hold off on that for a minute … I will give you the entire story later down the page.

In short, what I have for you today is my take on:

The top 5 email marketing platforms of 2015

In this post, you will learn:

  •  what the top 5 email marketing platforms of 2015 are and why (my subjective opinion) ,
  • how they stack up against each other,
  •  what are the pros and cons of each ,
  • which is the easiest to use,
  •  which is the cheapest platform out there ,
  • which is the best for someone just getting started with email marketing,
  •  which is the best when your list has grown over the 2,500 subscribers mark ,
  • which is the best for operating at scale.
Okay, you’ve seen the headline so there’s no point having you wait any longer. The top 5 is:

GetResponse, MailChimp, SendinBlue, Sendy, and MailPoet

(Scroll to the conclusion / comparison table)

You might be wondering why I’ve chosen these five solutions for my review/comparison… “Where’s AWeber? Where’s Constant Contact?” Okay, I hear ya, but my reasoning is this:

Although there are a lot more viable solutions for anyone who wants to start experimenting with email marketing, the 5 presented here are significantly different from each other in the way they work.

They all have a place on the market, and each will cater to a different kind of user.

In other words, read on to find out which is the right email marketing tool/solution for your specific business, website, and for your individual preferences.

GetResponse

getresponse logoGetResponse has a special place in my heart due to the fact that they are a Polish company that has taken the email marketing space by the storm, becoming one of the worldwide leaders.

But that’s not the only reason. GetResponse delivers truly world-class solutions for anyone who wants to get into email marketing. Their brand is not only about the tool, but also about various resources and education/training that you can jump on.

But let’s get to the nitty-gritty. GetResponse has clear pricing options based on the number of subscribers you have. Particularly:

Subscribers  Emails Price
1 000 $15,00
2 500 $25,00
5 000 $45,00
10 000 $65,00

Unfortunately, there’s no free plan, but they do offer a free 30-day trial (even though this is not openly advertised on the website, you can find the landing page via Google easily).

The good thing about GetResponse plans is that no matter which plan you select, you can send an unlimited number of emails (which isn’t the case with some of GetResponse competitors, as you’ll see in a minute).

Also, paying annually gets you 18% off, and if you run a non-profit, you get an automatic 50% off whatever plan you select. Overall, it does seem like GetResponse has thought of every possible type of customer with their pricing options.

getresponse ngo offer

Let’s look at how it plays out for a couple of possible scenarios:

GetResponse cost:

For a new list:

If you’re just starting out then GetResponse will cost you $0 for the first month, and then $15 / month if your list is less than 1,000 subscribers. You can send an unlimited number of emails on that plan.

For 2,500 subscribers: 

In this scenario, your GetResponse bill grows to $25 / month, but you still get to send an unlimited number of emails. This gives you much room for testing. Quite frankly, no matter if you message your list twice a month or twice a day, the bill is still $25.

For 7,500+ subscribers:

Your GetResponse bill is now $65 / month. Still, unlimited emails.

Features:

  • Create multiple types of subscription forms: standard forms, exit pops, scroll forms, shake boxes, etc.
  • 500+ web form templates to choose from.
  • HTML-based email template editor for advanced users.
  • Responsive email designs. This means that your newsletters are going to look great on every device (mobile and desktop).
  • Drag-and-drop email creation tool.
  • Landing pages. You can create, edit, and publish landing pages straight from GetResponse. There are more than 100 mobile-friendly templates available, a nice drag-and-drop editor, and a set of optimization tools.
  • A/B testing. Run split testing campaigns and see what converts better (huge feature for optimization).
  • Autoresponders. AKA. email marketing automation. Send triggered emails, follow-up messages, or anything else based on your subscribers’ activity.
  • Tracking and stats. Allows you to monitor your results.
  • Inbox preview. You can see what your email message is going to look like on the most popular email clients and devices.

Overall, GetResponse gives you all you can ask for when it comes to growing your list, building, sending and tracking your email.

GetResponse is also the most education-centered solution on this list. Right after you open an account with them, they invite you to join their free daily sessions (tips on how to grow your email list), where they share lessons, video tutorials, presentations, and tasks for you to complete (like a normal course).

 Who’s GetResponse best suited for: 

  •  Startups and small businesses that want to have all aspects of email marketing handled in one place, by one tool/solution. 
  •  GetResponse also presents good potential for growing alongside your company due to their affordable rates on every step along your list growth. 
  •  Perfect for non-profits. No one else on this list gives you 50% off if you’re a non-profit. 
  •  Great if you’re going to be contacting your list multiple times a week, regardless of that list’s size. For example, contacting your list of 1,000 subscribers every day of the month is going to be the cheapest with GetResponse (when it comes to hosted email marketing solutions). 

MailChimp

mailchimp logoLike I already mentioned at the beginning of this post, I’ve been a MailChimp user since the very beginning of this site. And I have to admit, MailChimp has a great editor (to build your emails/newsletters with), great reputation (it’s an established company in this market, handling all types of customers, from sole-proprietors to big corporations), and a wide range of features.

However, there’s also a downside.

And that is the cost of working with MailChimp. Let’s take this step by step:

To begin with, your MailChimp account is free, which is great. It basically allows you to get off the ground and start learning your craft in the world of email marketing.

But then, once you’re above the 2,000 subscribers mark, your MailChimp bill is going to grow quite a lot. Here’s the math:

  • Getting to 2,000 subscribers is free = $0 / month, $0 / year.
  • Having 2,001 subscribers is $30 / month, $360 / year.

That is a huge jump … there’s just no other way to say it. For many businesses, switching from $0 to $360 / year is just too huge of a gap. For me also.

More than that, MailChimp also has some ridiculous pricing models in the 2,000-3,000 subscribers range. Particularly:

mailchimp pricing

Yep, you’re reading this right … that’s $5 for every 100 subscribers.

Anyway, MailChimp also gives you a pay-as-you-go plan. In other words, instead of paying a monthly fee, you pay only for the emails that you actually send.

On paper, this option sounds great. In practice, though, not so much.

For example, if you have a list of just 1,000 people, and want to message them once – just once – it’s going to cost you $20. If you want to message them, say, twice a week for a month, that’s $160 / month. And that’s provided that you buy your “email credits” (MailChimp’s pay-as-you-go email currency) for $0.02 a piece, which means buying at least $100-worth of them.

In short, MailChimp … not the most cost-effective for a growing list.

MailChimp cost:

For a new list:

Until you grow your list to 2,000 subscribers, MailChimp is going to be entirely free for you. On that plan, you can send up to 12,000 emails a month (e.g. you can email your list of 2,000 subscribers a total of 6 times per month).

For 2,500 subscribers: 

  • If your list is not more than 2,500 subscribers then your MailChimp bill is going to be $30 / month. The good thing here, though, is that you can send unlimited emails.
  • For 2,501 subscribers, the price grows to $35 / month.

For 7,500+ subscribers:

Here, MailChimp gets quite expensive. For up to 10,000 subscribers, you have to pay $75 / month.

Features:

  • Flexible design and great newsletter building tools.
  • Drag-and-drop email building.
  • Email automation, and advanced tools for automated marketing. Allows you to target customers based on their behavior, preferences, previous sales.
  • Advanced analytics and reporting. You can see everything there is to know about your audience and how they interact with your emails.
  • Great mobile apps. Both for managing your campaigns and tracking your stats.
  • Integrations with multiple third-party apps and tools.
  • Split testing.
  • Custom subscription forms creation, and much more.

If I’m honest, MailChimp is the top league when it comes to the number and the quality of the features they offer. But the price tag makes them a tough choice for a bootstrapping business owner.

 Who’s MailChimp best suited for: 

  •  Bloggers, startups, local businesses, and small business owners that don’t want to invest in email marketing just yet. The free plan allows you to do that. 
  •  Business owners that want the top-of-the-line features and price is no object to them. 
  •  Great for whoever is going to work with a list of less than 2,000 subscribers and not messaging them more frequently than 6 times a month. 

SendinBlue

sendinblue logoSendinBlue is a newcomer to the email marketing space. The company was born from a web agency that wanted to cater to their own customers, and solve their email marketing needs. Over time, SendinBlue has evolved to a full-fledged email solution that’s opened their doors to the public.

The area where SendinBlue really stands out is their pricing model. To say it simply, SendinBlue is a solution that will grow with you, and give you the exact plan that you need and can afford.

sendinblue pricing

For example, when compared to MailChimp, SendinBlue is a lot more cost-effective, and especially if you have a list of around 2,500 subscribers. More than that, SendinBlue doesn’t actually pay attention to how many contacts or even individual lists you have. For example, having 10 lists with 250 people on each will cost you just as much as having one list with 2,500 subscribers. This isn’t always the case with the other providers.

Let’s see how that works:

SendinBlue cost:

For a new list:

There’s a free plan with SendinBlue. It doesn’t restrict the number of subscribers you can have, but it does limit your daily emails to 300, and your monthly emails to 9,000. What this means in practice is that SendinBlue is a good solution for those of you who are just starting out and want to experiment with email marketing for free. So, new list = $0.

For 2,500 subscribers: 

  • The math here is a bit tougher to do. SendinBlue doesn’t limit your number of subscribers at all. What it does look at, however, is the total number of emails you send.
  • Having the above in mind, if you have 2,500 subscribers and you want to message them twice a week (so 20,000 emails in a month), it’s going to cost you $7.37 / month.

For 7,500+ subscribers:

If you have 7,500 subscribers and you want to message them twice a week (60,000 emails in a month), it’s going to cost you $39 / month.

Features:

  • Responsive design builder – allowing you to build responsive email designs, smartphone-friendly, and with no HTML knowledge required.
  • Drag-and-drop newsletter builder.
  • Have unlimited number of people on your email lists. SendinBlue doesn’t restrict you in any way.
  • Autoresponders and trigger marketing – email sent based on your subscribers’ behavior and previous actions.
  • Good and clear reports and analytics.
  • Real-time tracking.
  • Heat maps showing how your subscribers interact with your newsletters.
  • Subscription form creation tool.

Overall, SendinBlue offers more than enough to get your email marketing efforts going and allow you to keep things on a budget at all times.

The email designs that SendinBlue lets you use are easy to grasp and render well on most devices and screen sizes. In other words, SendinBlue is email marketing simplified.

 Who’s SendinBlue best suited for: 

  •  Small business owners that want to test the waters and see what’s possible with email marketing. The free plan is great for that, especially since it doesn’t restrict any functionality. 
  •  Businesses that want their email marketing solution to be able to grow with them. The pricing progression is clear and easy to follow. There also aren’t any huge jumps in pricing like with MailChimp … everything is gradual. 
  •  Businesses that have a handful of email lists instead of having one main list. With SendinBlue, emailing one list costs just as much as emailing 10 lists. 

Sendy

sendy logoSendy has one huge advantage over everything else on this list … sending one email with it costs just $0.0001. This is around 100x to 200x cheaper than the other solutions on the market.

That being said, Sendy is also very different in other areas. First of all, it’s not an online solution (hosted tool) like the others. In fact, it’s a stand-alone software tool that you have to install on your web server (similarly to how you install WordPress). After that, Sendy connects to your Amazon SES account and sends the emails through there.

When it comes to the features that Sendy offers, all the basic stuff is there, but not as advanced as what GetResponse, MailChimp, or SendinBlue have to offer. In other words, if you’re going to go for Sendy, you’re doing it for the price, not for the high-level features.

Let’s break things down:

Sendy cost:

For a new list:

Getting the Sendy software itself is $59 (one-time payment). Then, you need to get a hosting account from a third party (starts at $5 / month). After that, sending a single email is just $0.0001. For example, if you have 1,000 people on your list, and you want to message them twice a week, it’s going to be just a silly $0.8 / month (+ hosting + the software).

For 2,500 subscribers: 

Same as above, you have to pay for the tool (one time) and for the hosting (every month). Then, if you have 2,500 subscribers and you want to message them twice a week (20,000 emails in a month), it’s going to cost you $2 / month.

For 7,500+ subscribers:

Similarly, if you have 7,500 subscribers and you want to message them twice a week (60,000 email in a month), it’s going to cost you $6 / month.

Features:

  • You can manage multiple lists/services/brands. Sendy doesn’t pay attention to what number of lists you have hosted.
  • All email sending is done through Amazon SES.
  • Good-looking and clear reports. No fluff, just the info you need and nothing else.
  • Automatic bounce, complaint and unsubscribe handling. Great for campaign clean-ups.
  • Autoresponders. Having autoresponders for this low price is really incredible.
  • Basic email creation tools – editor and HTML templates.

 Who’s Sendy best suited for: 

  •  Businesses that send a lot of email on a daily basis. Nothing beats Amazon’s pricing, and with Sendy, it’s always going to be the cheapest solution. 
  •  Re-sellers. With Sendy, you can white-label the tool and make your own email marketing solution available to the world. Great if you run a design/development agency and work with clients directly. 

MailPoet

mailpoet logoFinally, we have MailPoet – an email marketing solution that’s quite different from anything else.

First of all, it’s a WordPress plugin. This means that you need to have your own WordPress site first, and only then you can install MailPoet and use it to send your email messages.

The installation is standard in terms of WordPress, so there’s nothing particularly difficult during set-up.

Even though the main plugin is free, there are also premium plans if you want to unlock some of the additional features. The main restriction is that the free version of MailPoet limits you to 2,000 subscribers (just like MailChimp).

The good news is that you get to send unlimited emails to those 2,000 subscribers. The bad news, though, is that you’re sending the emails through your web server, which isn’t always the most optimized solution.

For instance, even though MailPoet doesn’t restrict the number of emails you can send, your webhost may do so. And in extreme cases, you sending too much email could lead to your web host banning you from the server (you’re going to have to research this before doing anything radical).

MailPoet cost:

For a new list:

That’s $0 for a list up to 2,000 subscribers. The only thing you have to pay for is your standard hosting bill.

For 2,500 subscribers: 

If you want to have more than 2,000 subscribers, that’s $8.25 / month.

For 7,500+ subscribers:

It’s still $8.25 / month. In fact, Sendy doesn’t restrict the number of subscribers above the 2,000 mark. Once you’re a paid customer, you get to keep unlimited number of contacts on your lists.

Features:

  • Drag-and-drop newsletter editor.
  • Automatic blog post notification emails whenever you publish anything new.
  • Autoresponders.
  • Good stats: opens, clicks, unsubscribes. (More with the premium version).
  • Drag-and-drop subscription form builder.
  • Mobile-friendly newsletter templates.
  • Over 70 templates available for your newsletters.
  • Automated bounce handling for good list health.
  • List segmentation and categories.

 Who’s MailPoet best suited for: 

  •  Only site owners that have a good web host that can handle the load of sending email. (Important!) 
  •  Good for those who want to have everything handled in one place – within their WordPress site – and not have to use third-party tools. With a solution like MailPoet, you don’t have to go anywhere to manage your email lists and campaigns. 
  •  Good for small lists and business owners that want to minimize their costs managing such lists. 
  •  Your MailPoet account is going to be associated with the brand of the website where it’s installed – since it’s a plugin. This means that using it for more than one list/purpose can look weird. 

Conclusion

Here’s a direct comparison and my scores for each platform.:

GetResponse MailChimp SendinBlue Sendy MailPoet
Cost * 4/5 0/5 5/5 10/5 3/5
Ease of use * 5/5 5/5 4/5 2/5 3/5
Features * 5/5 5/5 5/5 3/5 4/5
Extra perks/tools * 5/5 4/5 4/5 1/5 2/5
 TOTAL POINTS  19/20 14/20 18/20 16/20 12/20

Some comments:

  • Cost – Even though the scale is 0-5, Sendy is simply above the competition here, so it got a 10. MailChimp, on the other hand, is just too expensive.
  • Ease of use – basically all of the tools are easy to use once you get a hang of them. However, when it comes to a first-time user – someone who knows nothing going through the door, GetResponse and MailChimp are the leaders.
  • Features – Summing up my overall impression of the range of features and possibilities with each platform.
  • Extra perks and tools – things that you get as a cool addition/bonus … education, landing page builders, special offers, etc.

So that’s me. But what do you think? Have you found the right tool for you and your business on this list? Is it GetResponse, MailChimp, SendinBlue, Sendy, or MailPoet? Feel free to let me know if there’s anything I missed.

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GetResponse vs MailChimp vs SendinBlue vs Sendy vs MailPoet | NIO

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Shhh! …

What follows is something you surely haven’t heard before! In order to truly grow your business you need to:

Step #1
Step #2
Step #3
Step #4
Step #5

Okay okay, just kidding. These – and similar ideas – have truly been beaten down to death on the web as it is. Really, how much Facebook marketing advice does the world need?

But I digress, so let’s get back on track!

 
… scroll down for 14 non-obvious marketing tactics that work …
What I have for you here is a set of marketing tactics that are hopefully not that obvious. (Although, it’s very likely that you’ve heard of some of them before.) But what’s more important is that not all of them come from me.

I’ve been kind of fascinated with this topic lately. So I’ve decided to do a bit more research and find some truly inspiring stuff, which I can then expand upon and share here. So, the ideas themselves are something I’ve stolen from the likes of Neil Patel, Forbes magazine, Jeremy Clarkson, John Jantsch, and a bunch of other people.

1. Be a true-blood guy (or gal)

mma

Everyone’s way too nice on the web these days if you ask me!

No, wait. This doesn’t sound right.

Anyway, what I mean is that there’s a general belief circulating around that we should always be nice to all people (no matter what they say about us) and that if we have a critical – yet not fact-based – opinion, we should keep it to ourselves.

Bollocks.

This works against the one thing we probably all want to achieve – getting our personal brand across.

For the life of me, I can’t remember who said it, but it was something to the tune of:


‘People come for information, they stay for personality.’ – Who said this?
Click To Tweet


And the problem is that if you want to be all things to all people, you will probably end up attracting no one.

Jeremy_Clarkson
Jeremy Clarkson (twitter) is a great example here. He’s built the popularity of his show – Top Gear – to a worldwide phenomenon. Do people watch it for the cars? Sure, some of them do. But most of them watch it because it’s incredibly entertaining, and cars just play a supporting role (Oscar worthy role, but still).

For example, here’s what he once said about Sarah Jessica Parker:

“People think ‘oh she must be pretty, she’s on television’. She isn’t – she looks like a boiled horse.

Did he offend some people? Probably so. Did he make thousands of people around the world laugh? For sure.

So what I’m trying to convey is this: Be real. If you want to say something, say it. It’s easier to ask for forgiveness than to ask for permission.

More cool resources just like this in your inbox.
Let’s grow our businesses together!

2. Create products and give them away for free

salesman

I should clarify. If you’re in the physical products business then it’s probably more difficult to give those away for free. Like, for example, giving away shoes or refrigerators. But in the digital market, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t.

Let’s take a look at what happened with Quick Sprout a while ago. Previously, the site’s homepage was the blog (I think). Now, there’s an online SEO tool.

Neil – the founder of the site – said that the tool cost him $100,000, yet he decided to make it available for free.

Wow!

And yes, he did make it profitable eventually. Neil has a great funnel set up in the background. In short, everyone who visits the tool is also exposed to Neil’s Pro membership.

qs

Although Neil is clearly far ahead, I can mention a small success of my own too. It’s my Social Share Starter plugin. Since its release, it has generated hundreds of new subscribers and opened a couple of doors for me in terms of WordPress software projects.

“Free is the most powerful word in the English language.”

3. Break the pattern by publishing unusual content

pattern

At one point, virtually all websites hit a plateau and become predictable.

And don’t get me wrong, in a way, predictability is a good thing, especially if your content is predictably exceptional.

However, introducing something new every once in a while and breaking the pattern, so to speak, can work even better.

Here are some ideas:

  • If you’re known for publishing ultra-long content, publish an image post with a quote on it and no additional text whatsoever. See how it goes, how many shares it gets, and so on. Like this one:
you are right
  • If you’re mainly publishing text-only posts, try investing in an infographic.
  • If you’re publishing just your own perspective on things, try inviting someone who has a reputation in your niche and do an interview.
  • Need more ideas? Try either of these 52.

The idea behind this is to check if what you’re currently doing really is the best use of your publishing calendar, and if maybe your audience would actually resonate with something else even more.

This knowledge is something you can only get through experimentation. No case study on the web will give you reliable data whether you should or shouldn’t try Technique X in your content game.

4. Focus on just the essential info and invoke curiosity

curious

We often feel the urge to go into incredible detail when describing our services, products, or the thing we do for a living in general.

As it turns out, this doesn’t always work. Actually scratch that; it rarely works. The thing is that people don’t really need all that information when making a purchase decision.

For example, consider the following. Do you know what components your iPhone was built with? Do you know what’s the processor, who’s the RAM manufacturer, how many mAh does the battery have, and so on?

Most likely, unless you’re an iPhone freak, you have no clue, yet you still wanted to buy it when it came out.

Your clients only need to know the essentials – how your product is going to enrich their lives.
It’s a similar story with all kinds of products. Your clients only need to know the essentials – how your product is going to enrich their lives.

And it’s not just me talking here. Neil Patel reports this to be the case as well. At one point, he shared that changing the landing page on his private site from long-form, in-depth content, to just the essential short form has given him 318 percent more leads.

It’s kind of sad, but people really don’t care about us or our stories. The only thing they want to know is how your content can benefit them. (Or maybe that’s not sad at all?)

5. Dedicate just as much time to writing your headlines as you do to writing your content

headlines

Okay, I’m exaggerating a bit. But please bear with me.

It’s a known fact in the world of publishing that headlines account for around 80 percent of a given publication’s success.

What this means in plain English is that headlines are more important than content. And it makes sense when you look at it.

At the end of the day, if your headline isn’t a success, no one will even get to your actual content.

So here’s what I encourage you to do:

Write 25 different headlines for every piece of content you create.

Sounds crazy, doesn’t it?

This is not my idea, and to tell you the truth I was also shocked when I first saw it.

The reasoning behind it is that writing the first 5 headlines is ultra-easy. Writing the next 10 gets difficult, but you can still get through it. However, writing that final 10 will get you bleed through your fingertips.

It’s those final 10 headlines that can give you some gems – things that are not obvious at all. Things that you’d have never come up with if you hadn’t used all the common ideas on the first 15 headlines.

The secret is that people tend to resonate with things that break certain patterns.

6. Steal ideas from Reddit

reddit

Reddit isn’t called the front page of the internet for no reason. It’s also the best way to waste a Saturday afternoon, but that’s another story.

Reddit is an extraordinary source of content ideas that are interesting to people at this very moment. Now, I don’t encourage you to steal content in any shape or form. But I do encourage you to steal ideas. So if something works on Reddit, maybe it can work in some other form on your site as well.

Here’s how you can implement this:

  1. Look for things that are fast growing in popularity.
  2. Try identifying something about them that you would be able to do or present better.
  3. Release your own version.

I know that such a description is a bit generic, but I leave it up to you to find exact applications.

I will give you an example though. Here’s a popular entry from Reddit’s DIY section: http://imgur.com/a/fD4e4. It’s a guitar-shaped cat playground. The idea is great. The execution is okay-ish. But for someone in the carpentry business, building something that’s of better quality shouldn’t be a problem.

7. Invest in relationships with potential clients by doing free work

free hugs

First off, I like getting paid for what I do just as much as the next guy. That being said, it’s kind of impossible to make every hour of your work billable, especially if you’re just starting out.

The big problem here is trust, or lack thereof.

In other words, people don’t really trust your expertise enough to pay you for your services if you’re new to the market. To overcome this, you can do either of two things:

(a) Offer your services really cheap – so your clients don’t have to trust you all that much because the investment is small.
Not recommended.
(b) Offer your services for free.
Recommended.
The trick here is that if you start by offering your services cheaply, you will find it very hard to increase your rates later on – the clients will resent it.

On the other hand, if you start offering your services for free, people will understand that it’s not a permanent thing, and that you are likely to ask for money pretty soon.

However, what’s different now is that you’ve already built trust with them and proven that you can deliver results. This entitles you to ask for higher rates.

Speaking from my personal experience, offering free advice is what got me most of my initial freelance writing gigs. I talked about it in one of my guest posts at Be a Freelance Blogger.

8. Be a show off

ferrari

Note. Showing off isn’t in all people’s nature. And there’s nothing worse than a pretender who wants to show off but doesn’t really know how or why, so they just end up looking cheesy. So in short, if you don’t feel confident showing off, please skip this point.

Showing off is a very interesting marketing and promotion method. On one hand, it’s very easy to appear like a jack ass who’s just bragging about a new watch or some other gizmo. But on the other hand, it can reinforce your message and present a specific persona that resonates with your audience’s wants.

This can work especially well if you’re in the coaching business, or in consulting. The idea is to make people think, even subconsciously, “Hey, this guy has what I want to have. Maybe if I listen to what he has to say, I’ll get there too!”

Whether it’s a valid thought or not is another thing.

9. Reuse your existing results

recycle

During the course of your online career, you will naturally have better and worse days, better and worse content, that’s only natural.

But there’s always a small set of posts or articles that did exceptionally well and gave you big recognition. Maybe they even continue bringing consistent traffic through Google today.

So first of all, by all means, go out and find those articles. And then reuse them as a marketing tool.

A man much wiser than me once said that it’s easier to improve something that already works, than it is to build up something that doesn’t.

I couldn’t agree more!

Here’s what you can do exactly to reuse some of your best content:

Step #0

Well, you need to identify this content first. So go to your Google Analytics or Clicky (my preferred tool) and see which posts are the most visited ones on your site. Also, check for your most commented posts (you can sort posts in WordPress by the number of comments) and the ones that have brought in the most social media shares (you can do this via the Social Metrics plugin).
Make sure that there’s a specific call to action under each of these posts/pages. Either invite people to join your newsletter, download your thing, or buy your product (whatever it is you do).
Step #1

Step #2

Erase all distractions from the page. I encourage you to focus on convincing the visitor to do one specific thing. For example, if that thing is newsletter subscription then try making the subscription form the only possible route out of the page. Get rid of sidebars, and if it’s possible, get rid of the top menu as well.
Build additional internal links from other posts on your site to those that bring the most results. This way, you should be able to improve those results even more. After all, your popular stuff is popular for a reason, so if you manage to get more eyeballs on it, people are likely to start sharing and resonating with it more than with your average post.
Step #3

10. Guest post with a purpose

writing

Guest blogging is a very popular promotion method these days, I give you that. However, not many people use it as an actual element of their business.

Here’s what I mean. Every day, I see tens of guest posts where people link to their generic websites (from the bio boxes) or social media profiles. I’m sure this gets them some traffic and recognition. But at the same time, they’re leaving a lot on the table.

(I need to be honest with you and admit that I was just as guilty of doing this as anyone else.)

To give you a good example of things done right, consider this post by Milica Pantic. She explains how she makes money from guest posts directly.

In short, it’s all about these four main elements (in that order):

mitz
  • Picking what you want to promote with your guest post.
  • Deciding what you can write about to pre-qualify the people that are your target group.
  • Figuring out how you can point them to what you want to promote.
  • Finding the best place where to publish your post to reach the exact target group you’re looking for.

The main reason why guest posts are great for this sort of promotion is because you get to position yourself in front of any audience you wish. You just need to find the right website. There aren’t many advertising methods that give you this opportunity.

11. Try local offline marketing

mainstreet

Everybody’s hot about promoting their businesses on the web these days, and rightfully so. However, we shouldn’t forget about all the offline possibilities that are still there and can work exceptionally well.

What’s even better, oftentimes, they are really cheap to execute too. Literally, all you need is some creativity and a bit of time on Saturday.

Here are some of the cleverer things I heard people doing:

Leaving stickers in random places like bars, cafes, public spaces, basically anywhere where other people hang out.
Using chalk to advertise on sidewalks.
Donating branded bookmarks to libraries.
Leaving branded pens at places like banks, post offices, or any other place where people sign their names on pieces of paper. The idea is that the staff won’t notice everyone’s using the wrong pen…
Using sticky notes wherever it makes sense around town.
Printing out beer coasters and leaving them in your local bar.
Leaving your business cards everywhere. Trying places like public bulletin boards, restaurants (along with your tip), inside books at the library, and of course, when you meet a new person.

12. Find, and get on board with existing giveaways

giveaway

The web is chock full of various giveaways these days. And this is especially valid for all kinds of digital products. Be it plugins, WordPress themes, short e-courses or memberships, e-books, icon packs, you name it. People are ready to give them away left and right.
find giveaways that are related to your niche, then add one of your products to the giveaway
What you can do to capitalize on this trend is find giveaways that are in some way related to your niche and website. The best case scenario is finding something that’s directly in your niche, but if that’s not possible, then go one step up.
For example, if you’re in dog training, there might not be a specific dog training giveaway going on, but there probably are some giveaways or even contests focusing on dog owners in general. Maybe someone’s giving away leashes, treats, or some other dog-related stuff.

There’s nothing holding you back from picking one product from your own offer, and adding it to the giveaway. That way, you’re piggybacking off the giveaway’s popularity by itself. It requires almost no marketing on your part whatsoever.

Of course, the difficult part is contacting the giveaway’s managers and convincing them to include your stuff.

13. Supervise everything

supervise

Granted, this is a very counterintuitive piece of advice.

In today’s world, countless experts preach the idea of outsourcing and finding other people to do some of your tasks for you. (By the way, I’m generally preaching it too.)

But the thing we need to keep in mind is that we shouldn’t ever let anyone take over a whole department of our business for us.

For instance, let’s use content as an example. When you first started out, you likely created all of the content yourself. But as you grow, you might get tempted to invite other people on board – to hire help. This is all great and it’s actually the direction you should aim for. However, you should still be the person who’s making the top-level decisions.
be the person who’s making the top-level decisions
The thing is that as you build up your site’s presence, people come and identify with your content. They come to read “you” primarily.

This is a relationship very easy to lose if you disconnect yourself from the publishing process later on. Whoever you hire, will always have their own ideas and ways of handling things. And while you do want to get the most out of their expertise and skill, you need to be very careful not to lose that unique touch that only you can provide.

And this goes for all kinds of tasks you’re doing in your business.

So all of my rambling boils down to this:

Be the decision maker. Don’t assume that others will be better at it than you.

14. Be persistent

persistent

Let’s end this list with the simplest advice possible, yet at the same time, something that makes all the difference in our marketing efforts, and basically in anything we do in life.
Being persistent is what makes you successful.

Not talent.

Not hard work.
(If hard work paid off, slaves would be the richest people on the planet.)

Not connections.

It’s persistence.

You maybe know this story, but let me tell you about Michael Jordan.

Jordan was not accepted on his high school basketball team. This may not sound like a big deal, but what it actually means is that he was not a talented kid. I mean, clearly, no trainer in the world would say no to a talented young player who wants to be on their team.

Yet despite not being talented he became the biggest star in basketball history.

He did it because he was persistent.

Michael Jordan at Boston Garden
He even summarized this in one of his famous quotes:

I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.

Let me end this post with this. If you don’t believe me, believe Michael Jordan.


Be persistent. Fail forward. Fail to succeed.
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Photo credits: superwebdeveloper / CC BY 2.0, Steve Sutherland / CC BY 2.0, wwarby / CC BY 2.0, ankakay / CC BY 2.0, stevenritzer / CC BY 2.0, mhauri / CC BY 2.0, gfreeman23 / CC BY 2.0, lydiashiningbrightly / CC BY 2.0, alisonchristine / CC BY 2.0, Hedgehog Fibres / CC BY 2.0, mario-mancuso / CC BY 2.0, jdhancock / CC BY 2.0, http://www.freevintageposters.com/2013/01/the-adam-forepaugh-sells-brothers_15.html

3300+ Words Worth of Non-Obvious Marketing Tactics That Work | NewInternetOrder.com

spam-words

spam-words

There’s much information online on starting an email list and then growing it as one of the main parts of your online business.

This isn’t one of those articles.

The harsh truth is that no matter how good your marketing is, and your individual tactics are, a big portion of your email messages will still get filtered out into spam folders.

People won’t even see them in their inboxes.

“So I spend all this time trying to get subscribers and then my email tool fails to deliver? Really?!”

Well, yeah.

Unfortunately, that’s exactly the case.

MailChimp actually reports that on average, 10-20 percent of email gets killed off by spam filters.

And this concerns legitimate businesses, not spammers. Heck, if you’re a genuine spammer then the numbers are probably more like 95 percent, but I digress.

So why after learning all those great list-growing-techniques we still end up defeated by a script that calls itself the spam filter?

The answer:

You’re using the wrong words

There are two sides to writing proper email copy:

  1. Writing copy that converts and convinces your people to take action on what you’re saying. This is something guys like Derek Halpern and Neil Patel will teach you.
  2. Writing copy that doesn’t get flagged as spam by an automated piece of software – a spam filter. This is what I will be talking about here.

We can argue which of these aspects email copywriting is more important, but frankly you can’t have one without the other.

That being said, if your copy doesn’t check out with spam filters then the fact how good it is conversion-wise won’t even matter.

Let’s try to understand how spam filters work and how we can defeat them.


arrow-l

What’s a spam filter?

A spam filter is a small piece of software that’s installed on every email server.

The only task it has is to read (yes, read) all email coming in and decide whether it’s spam or not.

Spam filters use complex math to make that decision.

At the core of this math, there’s a database of phrases, expressions, and the relationships between them, along with specific point values for each entry.

Having this data, the spam filter calculates the individual message’s spam score and checks if it exceeds a given threshold. If it does, off to the spam folder the message goes.

The difficult part is that there’s no single internet-wide threshold. Every server has its own, so you can never know what’s a safe spam score.

How to defeat the spam filter?

Since we do know what’s the spam filter’s game, we can adjust our copy to get thee lowest score possible.

Now, spam filter algorithms are not secret (like Google’s). If you go to http://spamassassin.apache.org/tests_3_0_x.html you will get the complete list of factors with their exact spam values.

The list is long and complicated, though, so what I’ve done here is I’ve taken the most crucial expressions and put them on the following typography chart.

How to read this thing? Generally, the higher up the list the expression is, the more you should avoid using it.

Note. I’m excluding a big part of Viagra, porn, dating, and pharmacy -related stuff. Those are the biggest spam factors, but I figured no one here is in this business anyway. If you do want the full list, however, feel free to contact me through the contact form.


95 most spam-filter-visible things to avoid in your newsletter emails

 

Tier 1 (spam factors of 2.5-2.0) “the high risk list”

Message body mentions many internet domains · Subject starts with dollar amount · Offers an alert about a stock · Contains a URL with an affiliate ID code · “University Diplomas” · “What are you waiting for” · Subject contains lots of white space · Contains a URL in the BIZ top-level domain · Tiny font size (HTML) · Talks about a million North American dollars · Claims to honor removal requests · “Money back guarantee” · Claims you registered with a partner

Tier 2 (spam factors of 1.9-1.6) “the avoid if possible list”

“Confidentiality on all orders” · HTML includes a form which sends mail · Claims you have provided permission · Stock Disclaimer Statement · Subject includes “life insurance” · Incorporates a tracking ID number · HTML font size is huge · Describes body fat loss · Subject contains “Your Bills” or similar · Subject “GUARANTEED” · HTML has a low ratio of text to image area · Contains a URL in the INFO top-level domain · Talks about quotes with an exclamation! · Message body has 70-80% blank lines · Subject contains “Your Family” · HTML link text says “push here” or similar · “No Claim Forms” · “Free Preview” · “Home refinancing” · “Compete for your business”

Tier 3 (spam factors of 1.5-1.1) “the better not do list”

Talks about millions of dollars · Send real mail to be unsubscribed · Claims compliance with spam regulations · Prestigious Non-Accredited Universities · “Be your own boss” · Domain name containing a “4u” variant · “Buy Direct” · Message body has 90-100% blank lines · They have selected you for something · Talks about exercise with an exclamation! · Claims you can be removed from the list · Claims you wanted this ad · Contains mail-in order form · Subject starts with “Hello” · “Get Paid” · HTML font size is large · “You can search for anyone” · “Freedom of a financial nature” · Subject: contains G.a.p.p.y-T.e.x.t · Contains “earn (dollar) something per week” · Weird repeated double-quotation marks · “Have you been turned down?” · “Home refinancing” · Talks about free mobile phones · Talks about “starting now” with capitals · “People just leave money laying around” · “Why Pay More?” · “Eliminate Bad Credit” · Claims you can be removed from the list · “Receive a special offer”

Tier 4 (spam factors of 1.0-0.3) “the quiet killers list”

Contains “Dear (something)” · HTML has a low ratio of text to image area · HTML font color similar to background · List removal information · Subject contains “As Seen” · Possible mention of bill 1618 (anti-spam bill) · “Amazing Stuff” · Information on mortgages · “Save big money” · “There is no obligation” · “Consolidate debt, credit, or bills” · “Lowest Price” · Mail guarantees satisfaction · Subject contains “Your Own” · “While you Sleep” · Offers a full refund · Subject is all capitals · Doing something with my income · Talks about Oprah with an exclamation! · Subject contains “For Only” · “One hundred percent guaranteed” · HTML is extremely short · Subject line starts with Buy or Buying · Describes weight loss · “See for yourself” · “Dear Friend?” That’s not very dear! · “Free Membership” · HTML has very strong “shouting” markup · “Requires Initial Investment” · “As seen on national TV!” · “Accepting credit cards” · Mentions millions of dollars

Quick fixes

Okay, so the obvious path would be to not do any of the above, but that will rarely be possible. So here are some quick fixes that you should look into.

First of all, there’s one fix (to rule them all) that allows you to never worry about ending up in the spam folder ever again. That fix is convincing your subscribers to add you to their white lists.

The value of this fix, according to Spam Assassin, is -100 (negative 100). This basically makes you invisible to spam filters even if you’re selling Viagra.

Other things worth doing:

  • If possible, mention only one URL in your message.
  • If you can set up your email service provider to not say anything along the lines of “you’re receiving this message because you opted in yada yada” then do so.
  • Don’t say anything about spam in the email.
  • Don’t say anything about actions required for unsubscribing.
  • Don’t start the subject line with “Hi”
  • Don’t start your email with “Dear [someone]”
  • Don’t claim compliance with any spam regulations.

Compiling this list gave me a lot of insight into what I should be doing with my own emails, so I hope you will get similar value as well.

For convenience, if you’d like a more printer-friendly version of this chart then it’s on the “thank you” page of my email newsletter signup (hint!).

Get the thing here:

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[Downloadable] The Words to Avoid if You Don’t Want Your Emails Flagged as Spam | NewInternetOrder.com

If I were to name the most hated promotion-related topic among online business owners and solo-preneurs (I guess that’s the new trendy term), it would have to be SEO.

SEO is difficult (and if you think otherwise then try ranking for “weight loss”), unclear (no one is 100% sure what to do), and there’s no truly dependable all-time great advice (the space is always changing). On top of that, you don’t get immediate feedback on your efforts.

I can honestly say that I hate SEO. And it’s not just a clever expression to get you interested. I really do.

BUT.

It just so happens that SEO is still one of the most important elements of every website’s promotional arsenal and the thing that is likely to give us the biggest ROI.

Long story short, even with the hatred, I just had to find a way to learn SEO in some shape or form that’s understandable to me, and which I would be able to actually apply. The result?

The new hub

Everything I’ve learned, I’ve put into a new hub page that’s just been published a minute ago. It’s all about understandable SEO advice for normal people.

SEO-and-Web-Traffic

If you are interested in becoming the next top dog at SEO or the next all-knowing SEO expert then unfortunately this resource isn’t for you. However, if you just want to learn how to build your site’s visibility in the search engines and bring new leads into your businesses then I invite you to jump in.

Without further ado, here’s the link:

What’s your experience?

What’s your story and background with SEO? Or better yet, what’s your personal attitude towards it? Hate it? Love it?


SEO and Web Traffic Down-to-Earth Talk – New Hub Page Launches | newInternetOrder.com

Just a week ago or so, I published an article on whether or not sending spam works for grey-area entrepreneurs. Just in case you missed it and you don’t feel like reading it right now, let me just say that in conclusion, spam works and brings serious profits.

Anyway, I decided to follow up on the topic and point out some specific types of spam we’re attacked with on a daily (again, that’s daily) basis. I’m publishing this list as a kind of a strange resource just to keep us on our toes when going through our inboxes.

Types-of-Spam

Now, the list has a particular order. I start off by pointing out the types of spam that have the best chance of tricking us, and then move on to some of the more obvious ones.

1. “Delivery fail” spam

The idea of this type of spam mail is to pretend that it’s sent from your email delivery server as a result of a failed messaging attempt on your part.

For instance, in a genuine situation, when you try emailing a nonexistent email address, your server will return the message to you along with a mail delivery failure header.

What spammers try to do is send fake such notices and attach a malicious file pretending to be the original message. So when you open this attachment, you get a virus.

delivery-fail

A general rule is to simply not open any failed delivery notifications if you can’t recall sending the email in the first place.

2. Sneaky spam

Sneaky spam is when the spammer uses a common social media notification subject to lure you into opening the email. Here’s an example:

sneaky-spam

The “You Have: [1] Unread Message” is probably the perfect book example of a sneaky subject line. The link inside the email is, of course, a fraudulent one.

And one more thing. I encourage you to click the spam button on anyone who sends such emails, even if it’s someone you initially opted in to get messages from.

3. The “Re:” trick

This is one of the older approaches in email spam, but it’s still easy to get tricked by it.

re-trick

The subject line is just meant to convince us that we are the ones who initiated the conversation. Then, if we open the email, the author moves on to something completely unrelated right away (usually to some offer).

4. PayPal spam and other payment-related spam

PayPal spam is when a spammer pretends to be PayPal and emails you about some changes in your account or some new transfers that need to be “authorized.” If you do get tricked and click the link in the email, you will be redirected to a fake PayPal site that’s been set up to steal your login and password.

Other payment-related spam messages work the same way, but there’s just no direct mention of any specific payment processor.

payment-type

5. General outreach spam

Every once in a while, you will get some poorly targeted email outreach. Like I did a couple of weeks ago; the screen I shared last time:

best-spam

This type of spam could actually work if only the spammer had done a better job at researching who are they sending the email to.

6. General affiliate crap spam

I really have nothing against affiliate marketing, but some stuff that people send out is just plain ridiculous. Like this thing, for example:

affiliate-crap

The way this sort of email gets created is fairly simple: (1) start with an unbelievably world-changing headline, and (2) promote some crappy affiliate offer right away.

7. “Biz op” spam

Very similar to affiliate spam, only the headline is more down-to-earth and the message usually tries to point us directly to a given site instead of using an affiliate gate.

biz-op

The main principle is still the same though: Make some money without breaking a sweat.

8. Fake gifts and prizes

The story is always the same … “Hey you won something, click here to collect the prize!”

prize

‘Nuff said.

9. Rolex spam

You’re likely to receive a handful of those every month. Rolex spam is still one of the big three most profitable spam markets (something I talked about in the previous post).

rolex

10. The old school of spam

The old school of spam is about stuff like Viagra and porn. This never gets old. And although these two are the most profitable spam markets, I don’t think that it’s because people get tricked into clicking the links inside the emails.

It’s much more probable that one in a couple of million recipients is simply in need of some pills or entertainment, and they click on the links consciously.

(Sorry, no screenshot here…)

11. ?

That’s it for my list. If you have any ideas for no. 11, don’t hesitate to let me know.


10 Types of Spam to Be Aware of When Browsing Your Inbox | newInternetOrder.com

snake-oil-salesman

 

Yes, today we’re all over online snake oil salesman! Maybe you’ve noticed that I quite enjoy writing posts on the dark side of online business, or more precisely, the dark side of online business education. In other words, I love to stumble upon some hip new douchebag marketer techniques, also known as online snake oil salesmen (in memory of their idols from back in the day in the wild west).

Anyway, I’ve decided to compile these 10 commandments of an online snake oil salesman. This post was not written for pure entertainment though. Each commandment presents a common practice done by real people who call themselves marketers. Try to look at this list as a big warning sign – whenever you see someone using a technique described in here, they may indeed be a snake oil salesman.

Warning. This is a reverse tutorial. I actually don’t want you to take part in anything I’m describing in this post.

1. Thou shalt employ crack-head price lowering

I love this technique. Here’s how it plays out (it’s easier to explain this with an example):

  1. You come to a sales page and see an offer.
  2. The offer isn’t that impressive so you decide to leave.
  3. As soon as you hover your mouse over the “x” button a pop-up appears with a new deal and a slightly lower price.
  4. You still don’t want a part in this so you click the “x” button to close the window, but…another window appears with one more discount.
  5. That’s a “no” again.
  6. Another window appears; this time trying to convince you to subscribe to an email list.
  7. And the craze continues for a couple more steps…

I’m sure you’ve seen those sales pages a number of times. The offers just keep returning like a crack-head who needs some drug money, hence the name.

2. Thou shalt get on board every product launch in thy niche

Everybody knows this. To make serious money, you have to promote everything there is in your niche to promote. Period. And I mean, jump on any crappy product launch out there. Promote the big guys as well as the wannabe snake oil salesmen. In a word, everything.

The best way to do it? Your email list.

3. Thou shalt send only promotional emails

That one’s obvious. These days, no one has time to produce their own original newsletter content, so the only way out of this is to send promotion, exclusively. But here’s the kicker, you don’t even need to write those promotional emails yourself. Every launch or affiliate product will come with a set of pre-written email templates that you can use successfully.

Those templates are deceptive as hell, by the way. They promise one thing, only to send the reader to a webpage where the only thing they can do is buy some crap product.

Here’s an example of such an email >>

crap-product

4. Thou shalt spam

Contrary to a common belief, spam is extremely profitable.I’m sure you can buy a list of email addresses off Craigslist to get started… And let’s face it, emails are not the craziest thing you can get on Craigslist.

5. Thou shalt use boiler rooms to sell stuff

Believe it or not, Alec Baldwin is not the only one involved in the boiler room business.(The Boiler Room – movie starring Alec Baldwin, for which he won an Oscar despite being in the movie for only 7 minutes!)

There’s a really big number of marketers using modern boiler rooms as part of their so-called business. The procedure is this: they get some email addresses, sell them to an “agency” (= a boiler room), and then they begin calling people up, targeting senior citizens specifically and offering them all kinds of BS.

6. Thou shalt use sales videos that are supposed “to go down soon”

Hey, this video will go down! Seriously, you guys!

video-not-down

I don’t know what’s the deal with this, but for some reason, more and more people believe that the only thing they have to do at the beginning of a sales video is to say something like:

Hey, you need to act fast because I’m only testing this offer and this video will go down soon. Heck, it may not even be online the next time you visit this page.

Oh really? Really? There’s not one time when I saw a video promised to go down that actually went down.

7. Thou shalt always quote the exact amount of money you’ve made

Does this sound familiar to you:

Here’s how I made exactly $16,456.37 and how you can do the same.

You obviously have to quote the size of your wallet to the nearest cent, otherwise people won’t believe that you’re for real.

exact-money

8. Thou shalt align yourself with genuine experts

There’s no simpler way to distract someone and pretend you’re not an online snake oil salesman than to align yourself with genuine experts. All it takes is quoting a legitimate study here, mentioning a well recognized name there, or better yet, lying about knowing someone credible personally, and it’s a home run. For instance, one of the lamest ways of doing this is to use a fake “as seen on” block on your sales page. Like these.

9. Thou shalt publish only fake product reviews

Fake product reviews are those that have been written without actually putting your hands on the product.Such reviews are written purely from the promotional material that’s available for the product, and are designed to show the product in the best light possible.Fake flaws are another common thing in this department (flaws that are very insignificant and have no impact on the overall impression of the product).

10. Thou shalt steal content and say it’s yours

Stealing content is way too easy these days. What you do is take an article published anywhere on the web, and I do mean anywhere, and then put it through a translator, to say, Spanish. Then, to English again, and voila! You have a shiny new piece of content that’s slightly reworded and much more unreadable than the original.Now, the trick is to publish this piece on as many spam blogs as you can, and pointing all links back to your money site – the one with your constant promotion on fake promises.

thieves

{Reality check}

There we have it, my 10 online snake oil salesman commandments. I’m really amazed at how many people actually try to do business online using the techniques and tactics described above.

I know that apparently they do work and can bring big profits, but come on… Is annoying 95% of your audience really THE way to do business online?

Again, this was a reverse tutorial, which means that I don’t want you to do anything that was described in this post. This is just a warning sign of sorts, so you can have your finger on the pulse and notice any suspicious figure who tries to trick you into buying some snake oil.

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The 10 Online Snake Oil Salesman Commandments | newInternetOrder.com

So the other day I got an email. After giving it a thorough 3-second examination, it went straight to my spam folder. Then after a couple of hours, I went back to see it again as it actually was one of the most out of place spam emails I received in a while.

It was trying to sound like it was a personally crafted email by a real human who actually visited my site and then wrote the thing. But in the end, it was a lame attempt, mainly because of the topic of the email, which made it clear that the person was just sending mass emails. See for yourself:

best-spam

Just to be clear, even though you surely know this, I don’t have anything about IP video surveillance practice published on my site. Well, at least until today I didn’t.

Anyway, it got me thinking. How effective can email spam actually be? I mean, since there’s so much stuff circulating around then maybe it is profitable for those with thick enough skin to push the send button every day?

These are the things I wanted to find out so I did some sniffing around, also known as researching. Here’s what I found:

(Disclaimer. I’m not encouraging you to spam in any way. I’m just telling you what the reality is and reporting about the numbers I’ve found. You’re a responsible human being so you can surely do the right thing with this information.)

Problem no. 1 – new stats on sending mass emails are hard to come by

stats

Although there’s much stuff about the volume of spam circulating on the web in general, there’s not nearly as much about the results that spam brings to the ones sending it out.

Spam has become a real no-no topic and it’s probably not politically correct to talk about its effectiveness. Well, I don’t care about being politically correct… So here goes.

The data I found came from the year 2006 up to today. I do realize that a lot could have changed along the way, but I believe that the general principles are still the same. This is purely because people don’t evolve that much over a 7 year period, so most basic impulses should still be there.

Starting with:

Click-through rates are surprisingly high

Sort of…

Before I reveal the market that scores the biggest click-through rates (CTR), let me talk some raw numbers:

  • The no. 1 market scores up to 5.6% CTR.
  • The no. 2 market scores only 0.02% CTR.
  • The no. 3 market is at mere 0.0075% CTR.

It’s clear that the winner outperforms all the others by a long shot. As it turns out, not every market/topic or type of product is good for sending mass emails.

So…who’s the leader in spam? No real surprise here, it’s porn. No. 2 is pharmaceutical spam, no. 3 is advertising Rolex watches.

As explained by Francis de Souza:

Successful spam is about impulse purchases. Things like home mortgages have a lower success rate than things you’d buy on impulse. Things like Viagra, porn.

Conversion rates are predictably low

While CTRs were somewhat of a surprise to me, the story levels out with conversion rates.

To say it simply, there’s on average just 1 sale for every 12.5 million (!) spam emails sent.

This is not just an estimated number. In 2008, a team of researchers from the University of California took control over a spam network of hijacked computers and decided to use them to send their own fake spam and see what results it will produce.

After 26 days of the experiment and nearly 350 million emails sent out, they only got 28 sales. These were sales for a fictitious herbal remedy to increase one’s sex drive (seems the researchers knew what markets work for sending mass emails).

If you ask me, the small number of 28 doesn’t really make the results statistically significant. A lot can be attributed to pure chance with the numbers so low. But it’s still worth noting down that the actual conversions are surely not impressive.

Here’s the kicker, though:

Spam is still extremely profitable

money

Despite the fact that there’s one sale in 12.5 million emails, it still represents revenues of around $100 per day – as reported by the researchers.However, the thing with spam is that some “pros” scale it to bigger volumes and send tens of millions of such email a day. The researchers estimated that with the simple setup they had, they could make $7,000 per day if they kicked it up a notch.

The technical setup needed to send spam on a large scale is not that expensive, so it turns out that the ROI should be quite high for spammers. Basically, spammers use zombie-computers with infected software for sending out emails. The owners of those computers don’t even know that they’re sending anything. In other words, spammers use other people’s machines, bandwidth, electricity and whatnot to send the emails.

Most active spam markets

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The markets most active in the spam space are:

  1. Sex/dating – 42.51% of all spam.
  2. Pharmaceutical – 32.61%.
  3. Watches – 8.55%.
  4. Jobs – 6.85%.
  5. Software – 5.86%.
  6. Casino – 1.60%.
  7. Weight loss – 0.11%.

As you can see, the list tightly follows the things that spam is proven to be most effective for – mentioned earlier in this post.

For me, the only surprise is a relatively low position of weight loss on the list. It might seem that weight loss is something that a lot of people are interested in, yet it’s not that popular when it comes to the overall spam volume.

Spam is not only email

Email is the oldest type of computer-based spam, but these days we also witness Twitter spam (both via @mentions and DMs), social media spam in general, search engine spam (hey, if a site has nothing on it yet it ranks for a popular keyword then it’s still spam), YouTube spam (videos optimized for certain keywords, with only a picture throughout the whole video and a link to a spam page), and more.

The social media spam space gets a bit ridiculous if you ask me. For example, there are 3.5 billion (that’s billion) spam tweets posted on Twitter every day. A staggering 40% of social media accounts are spam accounts, and 8% of all social media posts are spam (and if you add all of people’s pictures of their children and their pets this will probably make it more like 60%).

Conclusion

In the end, sending mass emails and spam in general is huge on the web. It’s the new black. Scratch that; it has always been the new black. And it’s not going anywhere.

But again, I am not writing this to encourage you to join the spam-world. I’m just reporting on the reality that we have to face when working on the web. It’s always better to know this stuff than to believe in a fairy tale that spammers are just stupid. They’re not. They make a ton of money off our frustration.

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Does Sending Mass Emails (Spam) Work for Grey-Area Online Entrepreneurs? | newInternetOrder.com

email-marketing-statsEmail marketing is a fairly well-known promotion practice in the modern world. Where by the modern world, I actually mean the online world. In fact, many people tend to see it as the holy grail of any form of online promotion. I’m sure you’ve heard the term “the money is in the list” once or twice…

But setting all the hype aside, what actual promotional power is still left in email marketing in 2013? Well, since I couldn’t answer this question myself without doing a massive amount of guessing work, I’ve decided to do some research and find the latest stats published on the topic (email marketing stats 2013; sources at the bottom of the post). This post gathers the things I came across.

People are still pretty protective

This is the first quite interesting fact on the list. Even though people prefer email promotion over other online channels, they are still quite click-happy with the “spam” button in their email software (like Gmail).

To be exact, ExactTarget says this:

A staggering 77% of consumers told us that they prefer to receive permission-based marketing communications through email.

While various other email marketing stats point out the following reasons for clicking the “spam” button:

  • 43% of email recipients mark as spam based on the email “from” name or email address,
  • 69% of email recipients mark as spam based solely on the subject line, and
  • 21% of email recipients mark as spam, even if they know it isn’t.

The conclusion here is that for some people, marking as spam is easier than unsubscribing from a newsletter or taking any other action.

Moreover, a sizable 30% of subscribers change email addresses annually, while 17% of Americans do it every 6 months. Well, if you ask me, it’s hard to point out any other reason for changing email addresses than the desire to start over with a blank inbox. In other words, it mostly happens because of spam.

People buy because of email

shopping

Despite the protective behaviors, it turns out that email marketing still produces great results for people and brands that use it actively. For every $1 spent, $44.25 is the average return on email marketing investment.

A study shows that 82% of consumers open emails from companies. And to be clear about it, these customers know that the email actually comes from a company; they are not tricked in any way.

And this is not only about open rates. It’s estimated that 44% of email recipients made at least one purchase last year based on a promotional email. Even if the purchase wasn’t immediate, it was possible to trace it back to an email message.

What’s even better in this whole picture is that people who buy products marketed through email tend to spend 138% more than people who do not receive email offers.

This effectiveness of email is still more or less unknown. I mean, there are some theories, but it’s mostly guessing game. For instance, one of the possible reasons pointed out by ExactTarget is:

Email is thriving thanks in large part to the channel’s familiarity, flexibility, and universality.

Now, since we know that email does work, let’s get to the good stuff, which is how to compose an email that wins:

Subject line is be all end all of email marketing

This shouldn’t be much of a surprise, but subject lines still rule email, so to speak. In other words, if you want your campaign to be successful, you absolutely must spend a sizable amount of time on crafting the subject line alone.

But this is something we’ve known for a long time. However, the scope of the subject line’s importance in 2013 is … impressive, to say the least. The email marketing stats don’t leave much room for speculation:

Different sources indicate that anything from 33% to even 64% of people open email based on the subject line alone. Without taking into account things like the sender, the presence of attachments, or anything else.

So how to craft the perfect subject line? Two methods tend to sprout up among the others: (1) focusing on personalizing the subject line, and (2) making the subject line ultra short.

For instance, personalized subject lines are reported to be 22.2% more likely opened than standard ones.

As for short subject lines, the stats show us that subject lines fewer than 10 characters long had an open rate of 58% (which is great, by the way; the standard across industries is 15% to 24%).

There’s no data on combining the two approaches together though – making the subject line both short and personalized.

Mobile in unknown

mobile

Well, when I say unknown, the actual fact is that a great number of people use mobile devices to access their email and they absolutely love this way of dealing with it.

However.

It turns out that 39% of marketers have no strategy for mobile email other than just sending out a standard newsletter to everybody.

I personally believe that making email mobile friendly is where the next big leap in email marketing will take place.

What about social-media-friendly email?

Social media has been with us for a while, but it’s only recently that various marketers decided to integrate some social capabilities into their newsletters.

This seems to be bringing great effects as emails that include social sharing buttons have a 158% higher click-through rate.

Although the numbers are impressive, they might be a result of an early-on craze. This means that after a while, things will likely ease out. Anyway, capitalizing on this trend now when it’s still hot, is a great idea.

Sticking to the topic of social media vs. email, it’s reported that:

Consumers’ preference for email as a personal communications channel has dropped 21% since 2008 while their preference for text messaging and social media have grown 20% and 10%, respectively.

From my point of view, this is only the email marketing stats catching up on the real world. It’s been apparent for more than 2-3 years now that people love social media for all quick human-to-human interactions.

Be careful though

Although all of the stats are cool and they can be a great source of information, it’s actually easy to misread things. For instance, one of the common problems is that what people say they would do is not always the same as the thing they will actually do.

For instance, the already quoted research by ExactTarget stated that:

A staggering 77% of consumers told us that they prefer to receive permission-based marketing communications through email.

But this doesn’t mean that people will actually prefer email…

If you want to check this principle by yourself then just prepare a fake pitch for a nonexistent product and try it out on your friends. Ask them something like “would you buy something that would do X for you?” And when they say yes, which some of them will, immediately follow up with “hey, it just so happens that I have it in the trunk of my car, would you want me to get you one now?” then see what happens… You’ll most likely hear a sea of excuses. Anyway, I digress.

What I wanted to say is, again, that stats are stats, and they are never an oracle of the things you should do with your marketing.

Sources: link, link, link.


Is Email Marketing Just a Bunch of Hype? Email Marketing Stats 2013 Reveal the Truth | newInternetOrder.com

Here’s an interesting comic strip:

Where Are All The People

So the question is: Are you in the same situation as Richard? Waiting for an audience that isn’t there? Or providing a product that’s simply not attractive to an existing audience?

3 seconds to answer

This is actually a trick question because even if that is the situation you’re in, you’re almost certainly not aware of it.

Unfortunately, only time can tell if that’s the case or not. And I regret to admit that I’m speaking from experience here. I have a track record of releasing things that were nowhere near what the market needed. There was either no market at all or the market that was there wasn’t interested in the products. (This goes back to my web design business -related career.)

The cause of “boiled potatoes” -like failure

(“Boiled potatoes” -like failure … That’s a thing now, by the way.)

In my case, the cause of failures was the initial excitement about the projects. In other words, be very cautious of any situation where you start thinking something along the lines of:

“Wow this thing has to work, I mean, it’s the most brilliant thing ever!”

or

“Why isn’t anyone doing this?! If I get started now, I can take over the whole market!”

…or any other similar excitement-driven thoughts just like these.

Although excitement around anything you’re planning to do is a helpful success factor, oftentimes, it can blind our ability to have an objective opinion. Also, it can exaggerate our expectations and even make an average idea look like a winning lottery ticket.

So, here’s what you can do to avoid the aforementioned “boiled potatoes” -like failure. The following list is a result of some of my soul-searching, research, and current practices. Even though the sub-headlines might look fairly general, I urge you to bear with me and read on as some of the info inside might surprise you.

The power of research

Nothing, I repeat nothing is a more powerful tool/principle when building your online business than the habit of researching before anything else.

When you look at it, the whole thing is actually really simple. Here’s a cheat sheet:

So you have a brilliant new idea? Research if there’s any audience that could be potentially interested in it.

So you think you have a solution to a common problem? Research if there’s anyone who has already solved it.

So you think you know how to write articles with an interesting spin? Research if the crowd is right for this kind of content (something described by Greg in his post on freelance marketing).

So there’s no one doing what you are planning to start doing? Research if there was anyone doing it in the past, and if so, research why they stopped.

So you think you can do a given task better than someone? Research if there’s any actual need for doing the thing better.

Etc. Etc.

In a nutshell, don’t ever base your product/business decisions on your own impression or belief. Research is the tool that will answer every question with raw data.

Stealing ideas and executing them better

lock

I’m one of the few men who believe in stealing ideas and even openly admitting it. And no, this isn’t a clever intro that I’m just about to flip into a pretty standard advice. I really mean it. Steal ideas. Execute them better.

The reason why I don’t feel bad about my attitude is because the ideas themselves don’t matter. It really is the execution that turns an average project into a success.

And we don’t have to look far for examples. The most popular operating system out there – Windows – has been designed with an idea-stealing principle. Almost everything you see in Windows has been initially dreamed by another company/individual. What Microsoft did is took that thing and made it better.

And better is the real keyword here. Simply stealing an idea and executing it in the same manner, or even making it poorer will get you nowhere.

Stealing ideas that already proved to be good (ones that aroused some interest and so on) makes your research much easier. You can look into the current audience, find out what they really need, what they struggle with, and then design your improved solution.

Getting expert advice

Although an idea might seem great after the initial research, it can still turn to be very difficult to execute due to some technological limitations or budget-related ones.

If you just want to start your online business with a good yet cheap to develop product, you really have to get some expert advice on it.

Now, since you’ve done your research at this point, listing some experts by name shouldn’t be a problem. What you should do now is contact them and ask for advice.

Some common worries:

  • Why would anyone pay attention to me? Well, most people, even the brightest and most noble ones, still like to be referred to as experts in a given field. Most of the time you will get an answer if you ask a question from an apprentice-to-expert standpoint.
  • What if they steal my idea? No one will even think about stealing your idea, really. And even if they do, remember that it’s the execution that matters, so they won’t be able to do anything with it anyway.

Sniffing around

This step is about reaching out to influencers and your prospective high-volume users.

In short, what you have to do is some more researching and coming up with a set of contacts that are likely to enjoy the thing you’ll possibly be developing and then ask them some questions.

Mainly, ask them if they’d be interested in a tool/service/______ that would do ______ and help them with _______ for $X/free.

The exact tone of the message is up to you. But, the idea is to get a yes or no and preferably some feedback regarding the possible improvements or the things that those users would really need in relation to your product.

This phase – sniffing around – lets you arrive at the basic structure of your minimum viable product.

Developing a minimum viable product

mini-product

Basically, a minimum viable product is something that takes care of the main need of your average user. Just one need or problem. At this stage, it’s really not about developing something that will be all things to all people.

Personally speaking, not having a minimum viable product was the cause of my early failures.

Therefore, one important thing I want to emphasize here is the following. The minimum viable product is not about something that does one simple thing just for the heck of it. It’s about something that does one simple thing that is essential to your user base. Finding and solving this thing is where success happens.

Once you have this covered, you can build on top of it and end up with something that’s massively valuable to your audience.

There’s quite a lot of info on minimum viable products and their creation on the web already, but I promise to publish something of my own too. This will be a kind of a case study as I’m in the middle of building such a thing myself. I hope we can all learn during the process.

In the meantime, that’s all for now. Feel free to let me know if you ever found yourself in a “boiled potatoes” -like situation.


So … Where Are All The People At? | newInternetOrder.com

I actually like learning from all the top online salesman gurus out there. And I don’t mean buying their crappy educational products that only educate you on damage control when you’re forced to fight for your refund. No, I like to learn by looking at what they’re really doing, not what they say they’re doing.

So today let’s focus on some of the cool Jedi mind tricks used in sales copy, sales videos, ads and so on.

jedi

Disclaimer. This post has been written for entertainment purposes only. I don’t advise using any of the techniques mentioned here. Actually, you’re a thinking human being so you can decide for yourself if it’s worth it or not.

Constant repetition

This is the first thing that always raised my eyebrow when examining some selling materials in the guru space. I’ve noticed that in every 300 words or so, or every 2-3 minutes of a sales video, the person repeats the benefits of their product, or even repeats the core sales call to action (“call us,” “click the button,” or so on).

Then I stumbled upon this text on the repetition principle. As it turns out, if you say something often enough, after a while, the visitor will not only be familiarized with the message, but will also treat it as being true.

In other words, the best way of making people believe your product’s benefits is to mention them whenever you have the chance…over and over again.

Swear a little

Swearing makes every message more personal, more emotion-driven, and more interesting in general. Damn straight, right?!

This all has to do with the fact that we don’t consider swearing as part of the traditional marketing/business talk. So whenever someone uses a little profanity, our guard goes down a bit because their message sounds less business-y. And therefore, we are more prone to the actual marketing contents that are still in it.

Swearing makes people seem more real and more natural. And being regarded as someone natural (and therefore truthful) is among the main goals of every salesperson.

Drive a car

This is a real, genuine mind trick.

It’s used in all kinds of sales videos. The idea is that the person speaking is driving a car while recording the video. Some of the reasons why this works involve the fact that the video seems more natural (like it’s being shot as a “by the way” thing), and the fact that it’s easier for the person talking to stay natural because they still have to focus on driving the car itself, so it does take some camera-stress away.

But the absolute main reason why this works is a subconscious message of going from point A to B, and arriving at a destination (the videos always end when the person talking reaches the place where they were driving to).

To break it down, here’s what happens. You see the person driving (moving from A to B) and talking about a product/solution at the same time. The product too promises some kind of destination. At the end, the fact that the person talking reaches their destination creates a good impression about the product’s credibility itself, by association.

I saw this explanation somewhere a while ago. I’m sorry but I can’t find the original source. This is not my own original interpretation.

The beach

This is a pretty simple trick but people still continue to use it. It’s most popular for all kinds of biz-op or internet money products.

The idea is that the person talking is at the beach while recording the video. They don’t have to mention the beach in any way, the sole fact of them being there has its effects.

The message is simple: “Hey, this is my lifestyle. Buy my crap and you’ll join me.”

Exact sums of money

I’m sure you’ve seen this hundreds of times…

“Here’s how I made $142,300.56 in a month with [technique x]“

“Here’s how you can make $53,987.34 in just a week with this simple [product x]“

…and myriads other promises just like the above.

I mean, come on! Quoting an exact sum of money is just so 2006. Nevertheless, I guess it still works since people are doing it.

Presenting fake flaws

Every product has its pros and cons. Good products have a lot more of the former than they have of the latter, though. But in the end, there is quite a bit of both.

And we don’t have to look far for examples. Everything Apple does have a number of flaws. Real flaws that are quite frustrating during everyday use.

Yet…some online marketers tend to take a different approach and list a number of fake flaws that are not actually that serious at all, or are obvious as hell.

The idea is that since people know very well that everything has flaws, a marketing message should point out at least a couple of them or the product doesn’t look real. In other words, it’s shown as too good to be true.

Verbally opting out of the guru camp

What’s the easiest way of not being affiliated with other internet gurus? Just say that “they” are bad but you are just fine and dandy.

Here’s a nice phrase that gurus like to use:

“If you’ve ever been scammed by an internet guru then you know how deceptive those products can be. This is why I will show you exactly why this thing is different … blah blah etc.”

This is all it takes. What this means in plain English is indeed: “they are bad, I am not.”

Talk/write with confidence

Confidence tends to win over facts and other traditional values.

As it turns out, humans prefer cockiness to expertise. In other words, people who can convey their message in a confident and energetic tone win over audiences and get sales.

It’s our lizard brain that’s to blame here. Our most primal subconscious instinct tells us to listen to the most confident specimen in the pack. No matter if it’s at the office, at the church, or during a sales webinar for a crappy online biz product.

Getting people to agree with you

Every professional salesman working in the traditional manner (door to door or direct marketing) will tell you that getting any kind of “yes” means the world in the sales process.

And the best thing about it is that the “yes” doesn’t even have to be directly related to the thing on sale. All expressions beginning with “have you ever” follow this exact principle – to get people to agree with you early on so you can sell to them afterwards.

Conclusion

This closes my list but I’m sure there are way more examples just like the above that I failed to notice. Feel free to let me know in the comments or even shoot me an email.

And finally, let me disclose this again that I’m not encouraging anyone to use these techniques in their sales materials. I’m just reporting on what’s out there. It’s up to you to decide what to do with it.


How Gurus Use Mind Tricks to Sell Their Crap | newInternetOrder.com