All Your Business Needs is 1000 “True Fans” (…Probably)

1000 True Fans

How do you know which leads will become customers?

How do you know which leads will become your best customers?

In 2008, WIRED founder Kevin Kelly wrote an essay titled simply “1000 True Fans.”

In his words:

A creator, such as an artist, musician, photographer, craftsperson, performer, animator, designer, videomaker, or author – in other words, anyone producing works of art – needs to acquire only 1,000 True Fans to make a living.

A True Fan is defined as someone who will purchase anything and everything you produce.

They will drive 200 miles to see you sing. They will buy the super deluxe re-issued hi-res box set of your stuff even though they have the low-res version. They have a Google Alert set for your name. They bookmark the eBay page where your out-of-print editions show up.

They come to your openings. They have you sign their copies. They buy the t-shirt, and the mug, and the hat. They can’t wait till you issue your next work. They are true fans.

Kelly continues his thesis: you don’t need to become famous. If you can get just 1,000 people to spend $100 dollars a year, you can earn a very reasonable living.

Sound a little over the top? It may be, and the idea sparked some backlash about its feasibility.

But it also captured the imagination of artists and entrepreneurs, so much so that Tim Ferriss asked Kelly to update his original essay for the 2016 book Tools of Titans.

Fundamentally, the idea of 1000 True Fans is simple—find your best customers and get them to keep buying from you. In this post, we’ll

  • Look at the lovers and success stories from the 1000 True Fans concept
  • Examine the (entirely reasonable) criticisms of the idea
  • Show you specific, actionable ways you can use the idea of 1000 True Fans to grow your business—even if you don’t literally reach 1000 people

Some people love the idea of 1000 True Fans

The idea of 1,000 True Fans has taken the internet by storm.

Shortly after the 2008 essay was published, legendary marketer Seth Godin shared it on his blog. He wrote:

Seth Godin

Some people will read this and immediately understand.

Others will read it and start waffling over the meaning of “true.” My expansion: you need to alter what you do and how you do it so that 1000 true fans is sufficient to make you very happy.

Tim Ferriss loved the idea so much that he included an updated of the version of the essay in his wildly popular Tools of Titans.

Ramit Sethi of IWT and GrowthLab shares real numbers, showing that his top 1,000 customers are more engaged and bring in vastly more business than everyone else.

GrowthLab 1000 True Fans

Source: GrowthLab

Popular tech blogger Ben Thompson cites 1,000 True Fans as the inspiration for the membership program of his website—which costs exactly $100 per year.

Across industries and business models, people have learned that top customers are incredibly valuable to a business.

For phone apps, AdWeek has reported that whales account for 70% of in-app purchases—even though they are only 5% of users.

In an interview, Drew Sanocki, CMO of the ecommerce business Karmaloop, argued that repeat customers were the most important driver of Karmaloops turnaround from near-bankruptcy. He also argued that alienating top customers, or “whales,” was a major cause of Karmaloop’s trouble in the first place.

In the end, Drew was forced to hunt down an entirely new group of True Fans—because the previous group was so wounded.

Drew Sanocki

“There was just a lot of hatred out there towards the brand…what we did have more success in was just acquiring an all-new whale cohort. Fishing in another pond, and trying to nurture those people from scratch.”

The takeaway? True Fans are enormously valuable to a business. Having them can help you thrive—and upsetting them might make you suffer.

True Fans help small creators thrive

Of course, Kevin Kelly’s initial True Fans argument was directed at artists and other creators. In creative fields, the idea has come to live through crowdfunding—as the internet lets creators connect with their fans directly.

Since the original essay in 2008, the crowdfunding platform Patreon has become the embodiment of “True Fans” for creators—and Kelly even included mention of it in his 2016 update.

As a platform, Patreon lets artists, musicians, and other content creators to raise funds specifically from their fans. Because the platform lets people support work that they love, it gives creators the financial means to create work that otherwise would be hard to make a living from.

The Patreon page for Wait But Why

The Patreon page for “Wait But Why”

It also incentivizes creators to do more for their top fans—getting larger amounts of donations and keeping “patrons” around is a crucial part of raising money on Patreon.

There are a variety of different types of people who live off Patreon. Here are three brief examples:

  • Tim Urban runs the well-known blog “Wait But Why.” Even though blogs can be hard to make money from, he brings in $12,000/month via Patreon—and the site is so popular that Urban was offered the chance to do a rare in-depth interview with Elon Musk.
  • Kina Grannis launched her music career when she won the 2008 Doritos Crash the Super Bowl contest. Alongside her victory came a deal with Interscope records—but Grannis quickly discovered that she didn’t care to be tied to a record label. With over 2000 supporters on Patreon, Grannis is able to be a full-time independent artist.
  • YouTuber “TierZoo” has recently burst onto the scene, creating zoology videos that analyze animals as though they were video game characters. TierZoo used Reddit to hit over 15,000,000 views across all videos. By using Patreon to get donations directly from fans, TierZoo was able to transition to making videos full-time.

The ability to get paid by your fans and best customers is important—and the ability identify and cater to those fans is a huge part of growing your business.

But how can you get 1,000 True Fans? Is the theory really all it’s chalked up to be?

But… there are criticisms of 1000 True Fans

The 1,000 True Fans idea has sparked as many critics as it has fanatics. Although, as Seth Godin wrote, some people “immediately understand” the value of the idea, there are also a lot of entirely valid criticisms.

The most important? A “True Fan” isn’t so easy to come by.

Let’s take another look at the definition of a True Fan.

A True Fan is defined as someone who will purchase anything and everything you produce.

They will drive 200 miles to see you sing. They will buy the super deluxe re-issued hi-res box set of your stuff even though they have the low-res version. They have a Google Alert set for your name. They bookmark the eBay page where your out-of-print editions show up. They come to your openings. They have you sign their copies. They buy the t-shirt, and the mug, and the hat.

They can’t wait till you issue your next work. They are true fans.

It’s a pretty demanding definition.

I have many artists, creators, and products that I love—but just loving the product isn’t enough to become a “True Fan.” I’ve never followed someone on tour, I don’t really buy merch, and my interest (though strong) fluctuates over time.

In any given group of people, what percentage do you think are True Fans? It’s got to be pretty small.

This is far and away the most common criticism of the 1000 True Fans idea. In theory, a creator could survive off “only” 1,000 dedicated people. But in practice, finding 1,000 people dedicated enough to support you means reaching a much, much larger total audience.

Even in the examples I’ve given, you can see that the first step to reaching a small audience is reaching a large one:

  • Musician Kina Grannis has 1.2 million YouTube subscribers…but only around 2,200 Patreon supporters
  • YouTuber TierZoo has over 15,000,000 views…but only 590 supporters on Patreon
  • Ramit Sethi’s top 1,000 customers spend more…but he reaches an email list of several hundred thousand people, and has tens of thousands of total customers

The idea of 1000 True Fans is that you don’t necessarily need to be famous to be successful. But in order to get to 1000 fans, you do need to become a little famous.

Science fiction author John Scalzi added to this argument in a very cogent response to Kelly’s original essay.

“The available universe of ‘true fans’ is not the entire US (or the entire Internet), but the subset of those who are willing/able to spend a significant sum of money on a single creative person.”

As I mentioned, I’ve never followed someone on tour and I don’t buy merch. I’ll see an artist if they come to my city, and I support two creators with small donations on Patreon. But that’s about it.

Most people are like me. People might spend a bit to support stuff they like, but not everyone will and not everyone will spend a lot.

A final criticism of 1000 True Fans comes from Robert Rich, in another response to Kelly’s original essay.

“A further caveat: it’s easy to get trapped into the expectations of these True Fans, and with such a tenuous income stream, an artist risks poverty by pushing too far beyond the boundaries of style or preconceptions.

I suppose I have a bit of a reputation for being one of those divergent – perhaps unpredictable – artists, and from that perspective I see a bit of a Catch 22 between ignoring those expectations or pandering to them.

If we play to the same 1000 people, and keep doing the same basic thing, eventually the Fans become sated and don’t feel a need to purchase this year’s model, when it’s almost identical to last year’s but in a slightly different shade of black.

Yet when the Fans’ Favorite Artist starts pushing past the comfort zone of what made them True Fans to begin with, they are just as likely to move their attention onwards within the box that makes them comfortable.”

Rich’s argument clearly applies to artists and creators—when you rely on True Fans, you need to keep pleasing those True Fans even if your creative ambitions lie elsewhere.

But the same principle can apply to other business.

Karmaloop alienated its “whales,” or True Fans,” and nearly went bankrupt. Recovering from their mistakes meant building an entirely new group of True Fans—the ones they had lost were never coming back.

When I worked at an agency, we had a $1.5 million project that accounted for a huge percentage of our revenue. If that client wanted something, they got it—but repeatedly giving in to a client’s changing demands didn’t produce the best work or the best results.

These criticisms of the practical use of 1,000 True Fans are very real and very challenging. I would also argue—they can be overcome.

And even if you don’t literally focus on having exactly 1,000 True Fans, the principle of focusing on your best, most loyal customers can have a powerful effect on your business.

The value of focusing on True Fans

In recent years, Apple has been criticized for losing its innovation. As the argument goes, the days of revolutionizing industries are over for Apple.

They aren’t going to revolutionize music the way they did with the iPod and iTunes. Or change phones and computing forever with the iPhone. Or change computing again with the iPad.

Add in Apple’s famous “closed network,” and the fact that you need a dongle to use Apple devices with devices from any other company, and you can see why a lot of people are upset with Apple.

Ben Thompson isn’t one of them.

In a piece titled Apple’s Middle Age, Thompson argues that Apple is actually pursuing the exactly correct strategy. No longer in its swashbuckling, tumultuous early days, Apple doesn’t need to continuously innovate in the same way that they used to.

There’s more value for Apple in providing value to their existing users.

As Apple CEO Tim Cook stated, and Thompson uses as support: “We’re not releasing a user number, because we think that the proper way to look at it is to look at active devices.”

iPhone sales have started to plateau. So Apple needs another strategy.

iPhone sales over time

Source: Stratechery

In other words, Apple is focused on making more products for their existing customers. Apple Music, HomePod, AirPods, Apple TV, and Apple Watches are all designed to sell more to current users.

To True Fans.

Here we have a lesson that can be applied to many types of companies (not just artists, and not just Apple). You can engineer your business to appeal to True Fans by focusing on repeat business—because the people most likely to buy from you are already pleased customers.

Focusing on serving True Fans doesn’t mean that True Fans need to be your only customer.

It means that you need to deliver an incredible experience for your existing customers and create opportunities for repeat business.

Ramit Sethi’s products aren’t cheap, but they aren’t $8,000. His top 1,000 customers are buying multiple products.

GrowthLab repeat customers

Source: GrowthLab

Apple has a similar approach, and if you’ve seen the ads for a million different Alexa-enabled devices, it looks like Amazon is trying a similar approach.

If you want to be able to keep generating revenue from your existing customers (and don’t run a subscription business) you need to have things to sell them.

In the case of Apple and Amazon, the more products you can sell a customer, the more valuable each product becomes. This has been talked about with Apple before, but take a quick look at Amazon’s line of Alexa-related products:

  • Echo
  • Echo Dot
  • Echo Show
  • Echo Spot
  • Echo Look
  • Echo Connect
  • Fire TV Cube

Amazon is creating Alexa-enabled products that integrate into basically every part of your life—playing music, watching TV, turning on the lights, checking who’s at the door, and making phone calls.

If you’ve bought a bunch of Alexa products and set them up around your house, are you really going to switch over to Google Home?

By serving True Fans, Amazon creates an opportunity to sell more devices to the same customers—and makes it less likely that those customers will switch to a competitor.

What if you aren’t Amazon? What if you don’t have the resources of Apple? How can you create your own True Fans?

What you can do to get True Fans

You don’t have the massive resources of a company like Apple, but there are still things you can do to deliver more value to your current customers—and get more value in return.

A lot of smaller businesses let a valuable resource go to waste. Even if you don’t have “True Fans” that buy literally everything you create, there are lessons to be learned from the idea of True Fans.

The people most likely to buy from you are the people who have already bought from you. If you don’t target and keep selling to those people, you’re neglecting a huge opportunity for your business.

Luckily, once you realize this, it isn’t all that hard to sell to your existing customers. Here are five ways you can use the idea of True Fans in your business.

Deliver value exclusive value to True Fans

Your True Fans aren’t the same as everyone else. So don’t treat them the same.

When you can identify a group of people that are more likely to buy from you (usually your existing customers), you can keep them around by offering exclusive value. Stuff you don’t pass out to just anyone.

Ramit Sethi did this recently during a launch for one of his new courses.

The course, titled Behind the Sales Email, was targeted at online course creators who wanted to more effectively sell their courses through emails.

Of course he put his email list through a standard email funnel—but he also put together some additional content just for existing customers.

The content was brief. It was a “behind the scenes” of Behind the Sales Email, showing the thought process that went into each email of the main sales sequence. The content itself? 1-minute long videos, delivered daily, of Ramit speaking into his smartphone.

That’s it!

Exclusive content doesn’t always need to be a massive undertaking. You can bring people behind the scenes or, as Grannis does, host private online meetups and hangouts.

These tactics show your most loyal customers that you care about them. People like to feel like they’re getting something exclusive.

They also showcase your personality (more on that later).

Create opportunities to continue selling

You can’t get more from your existing customers if you have nothing else to sell them.

At the same time, you don’t necessarily want to just “sell more products.” Adding products or services to your business takes work, so you want to make sure you offer the type of product that goes well with what you’re already good at.

For a cool example of this, check out Dollar Shave Club.

Dollar Shave Club got popular because they provide high quality razors, delivered to your door at for bargain prices.

That simple value proposition helped Dollar Shave Club start growing. But once they had a customer base consistently buying razors, they needed to find a way to keep generating revenue.

What did they come up with? Just look at their website.

Shave butter creates upsell opportunities

Source: Dollar Shave Club

Shaving cream. Aftershave. Shave butter. Shampoo. Toothpaste. Toothbrushes. Hair products. Skin care. Dollar Shave Club had access to an audience interested in a high-quality shave…so they offer other products to create a generally high quality bathroom experience.

What do your customers buy? What does that say about them? What else might that kind of person want?

In a Facebook Live AMA about ecommerce marketing, our very own Jordan Skole shared how he thinks about targeted sales in his online store.

Jordan Skole

“For my store, I don’t necessarily look at demographics for segmentation. You can infer taste from demographics, but you can also guess wrong. You can’t necessarily say “this person is a millennial, so they’re going to want a nice hat.”

I think about complementary products. It’s like this—if I see someone buying cookies I’ll sell them milk, and if I see them buying macaroni I’ll sell them cheese.When someone buys one of my products, that gives me a sense of what else they might be interested in. What else do people who get the product usually buy? I can segment based on that information to make a targeted offer.”

There are a few different ways you can create more opportunities to sell to your true fans:

  • Offer a complementary product: What goes well with the main thing you sell? Sell that.
  • Offer add-ons to your top product: Accessories and add-ons are a simple way to keep selling.
  • Add a service to a product: A course about online business can come with coaching. A piece of technology can come with training.
  • Add a product to a service: A massage therapist might sell massage oil to clients. A dentist can sell toothbrushes.

If you’re going to identify True Fans, you need to have multiple things for them to buy.

Fight to keep customers

In his AMA about ecommerce marketing, Jordan shared another crucial point that applies to True Fans.

“As marketers we talk a lot about customer acquisition cost. But it’s a lot cheaper to get people to make the second purchase than it is to get people to purchase the first time.

Getting that repeat purchase is really crucial for a business that’s successful in the long term. So I spend a lot of time working on my email and automation to keep business coming from existing customers.”

Getting a customer is much, much harder than keeping a customer. So it makes sense to do everything you can to please your current customers—and intervene if it seems like they’re going to leave.

You can even automate this kind of follow-up. Here are a few of the types of winback/loyalty campaigns you might consider trying.

  • Reward people who buy a lot: Once a customer has spent a certain amount of money with you, trigger an automation. Send them messages with exclusive offers as a reward.
  • Remind people who haven’t bought in a while: Has a top customer been quiet for a few months? Trigger an automation that activates when a customer hasn’t made a purchase for a while…then follow up and offer them a deal.
  • Time your follow-up to their need: How long does it take to use a bottle of shampoo? Or to explore the features of a new computer? You can anticipate when your customer is going to need more shampoo or have laptop questions—so you can use an automation to follow up at that exact time.

In ActiveCampaign, we even put together a simple, pre-built automation that tells you when people become disengaged—when they haven’t interacted with you in a while.

Engagement tagging automation

When someone becomes disengaged, you can instantly trigger an automation to re-engage them.

(By the way, you can do all those other automations in ActiveCampaign too).

Your existing customers are probably also your best customers. Do what it takes to keep them around.

Have a personality

Customers leave companies for a lot of reasons.

They outgrow your product. They found a cheaper competitor. They don’t like your service.

If you compete only on price or benefits, you run the risk of losing customers when a competitor comes along.

But that isn’t true if you compete on personality.

Your personality is a competitive advantage. No one can copy your personality, and a strong personality can help you attract and keep customers.

An independent musician like Kina Grannis doesn’t have the marketing force of a record label behind her. But she does have a loyal fanbase—built in part because each of her videos end with her directly talking to her followers.

Ramit Sethi has some of the best email marketing around—because people want to open his emails. The content is funny. It’s entertaining. It’s as interesting and personality-filled as it is useful.

A lot of entrepreneurs and small business marketers are worried about putting too much of themselves into their marketing. And I see the fear—you want to seem professional, and sometimes that means not talking about a funny thing your cat did.

Still…anything you can do to let your personality shine through will help you build True Fans.

Customers will buy from you because what you offer is useful. True Fans buy from you because they like you and what you stand for.

So…should you go for True Fans?

If you take the idea of 1,000 True Fans literally, it’s easy to find flaws.

Finding 1,000 True Fans isn’t easy. Relying on a small base of support can be dangerous. Each fan needs to spend a good chunk of change (because you don’t necessarily get $1 for every $1 they spend).

As a concept, though, the idea of True Fans is extremely valuable.

Set aside the specific number of fans, or even the idea that your fans need to be foaming at the mouth for your brand.

Then ask yourself: what else can I offer my existing customers?

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How to Use Suppression List Management to Drive Email Performance

Email marketers are well-versed in using audience targeting and list management strategies to optimize campaign performance. This includes following the traditions of direct marketing – where targeting the right audience with the right message, at the right time is a proven campaign strategy that drives results.

Marketers in the recent times have been harnessing advanced targeting capabilities that can deliver highly personalized content to recipients for their email marketing campaigns. This is often based on a significant amount of actionable data available about each recipient.

From simple name personalization to including content based on prior purchases, web page visits, online shopping cart activity, and other behaviors that may identify a user as ‘ready to buy,’ marketers have turned audience targeting into a science – using campaign performance analytics to demonstrate the value that targeting delivers.

How to Drive Audience Targeting with List Management

While the focus on list management to drive audience targeting has received tremendous attention  when it comes to suppression lists, utilization often begins and ends with the ubiquitous opt-out file.

Ascend2

If you’re going to use email as a marketing, it is indispensable  to provide your recipients the preference to unsubscribe from future email messages. You can then follow this up with  a period of time for processing that you must honor.

So, suppressing email addresses from users who have unsubscribed is a standard practice for email marketers, so as to recognize the importance of running compliant email programs. The suppression process for unsubscribes is often handled automatically by your email platform and marketers may relatively give it  little thought beyond the understanding that their opt-out rates from one campaign to the next will change. So to some extent, suppression file management can become ‘out of sight, out of mind.’

How to Use List Suppression Management Effectively

Suppression lists can be leveraged for a wide variety of marketing activities that go far beyond compliance with CAN-SPAM and other email rules. Many creative email marketers use suppression file management as a part of their overall audience targeting process. There are any number of instances where de-targeting or negatively targeting an audience group from a larger audience list may be more efficiently handled through suppression files rather than positive targeting.

An example of this outside the email space is the way that negative keywords are used in search marketing. They can be used to actively remove certain potential recipients from being targeted in a campaign.  

While there are any number of ways that suppression files can be used to optimize targeting and campaign performance, here are a few advanced suppression list strategies that different companies use today.

Suppression List Management – Current Customers

Many marketers regularly communicate with their current customer base through email. For a large percentage of businesses, recurring revenue from your loyal customer base makes for a sizeable part of their ROI. Marketing to your current customers is typically more cost-effective than acquiring new customers. This is why companies focus on customer retention and also the very reason why  the customer database is often considered a business’s most valuable asset.

However, there is customer churn in every business. Some customers may cancel a subscription or never make another purchase. So, whether a company obtains acquisition lists for their own email campaigns, works with a performance marketing agency, or engages with affiliate marketers and networks, there are numerous avenues to use email to acquire new customers cost-effectively.

Challenges of Acquisition Marketing – New Customers

One ongoing challenge for acquisition marketing is the goal of focusing efforts solely on new customers. Acquisition campaigns often include an offer that is more aggressive than those available to current customers.

Advertisers would typically prefer that current customers never see these new customer offers because they either don’t qualify for them or because the margins are lower (75% off for new customers!). More so, it is considered that current customers are more likely to make repeat purchases without resorting to massive discount offers.

This is where suppression list management in Email can play a key role. A file of all current customer emails can easily be used as a suppression file in every acquisition email campaign. This helps to ensure that acquisition campaigns are focused on prospects rather than customers. This is one of the most popular uses of suppression files to optimize campaign performance, but many companies don’t seem to take advantage of this tactic.  

Benefits:

  • No payments are made to affiliates for driving sales from customers as you already know.
  • No loss of revenue by exposing current customers to aggressive acquisition offers.
  • It’s typically one of the easiest suppression files to create and use universally.

Importance of Customer Segmentation for Suppression List Management

Email marketers will often build a list for a specific campaign, by targeting specific recipients within their house files. This works well, as long as you are easily able to identify and select the specific audience segment to be targeted. If the segmentation is straightforward (select everyone who has bought a certain product previously) it may be relatively easy to pull that target group from the larger database.

However, if the target audience is based on an action not taken (every customer who did not buy a certain project) it may be more difficult to positively target that group. Instead, it may be much simpler to just create a file of purchases and suppress that from the larger list.

Similarly, if you are using affiliate marketers in your email programs, you might have an offer for a particular product or service that they are promoting through email. Instead of suppressing your entire current customer list, perhaps you only want to suppress any previous purchasers of the specific product in the new campaign. In this case, creating a suppression file of just this customer segment would achieve the goal of having affiliates focus on consumers who haven’t previously purchased the particular product they are marketing.

Really the only limits on this type of customer segmentation are based on your business and what data you have available about your current customers.  

Benefits:

  • Dialing in your affiliates’ campaigns on the particular target audiences you want them to focus on.
  • The ability to more easily target and market to hard to identify audience segments on your customer lists.

What about Non-Responders

Over time, retention and acquisition email campaigns are mostly found to  include the same recipients in multiple campaigns. At a certain point – typically some number of contacts or a time period with no response – your analytics may tell you that it isn’t cost effective to continue mailing a recipient since they are highly unlikely to respond to further marketing. In these cases, you may want to build a list of the high volume non-responders and suppress them from future mailings – either your own internal mailings or those driven by affiliates or other outside mailers.

Removing this particular group of low value prospects may also deliver other benefits to your overall campaigns:

  • Mailing to a large number of non-responsive email addresses over time can have negative impacts on overall deliverability and sender reputation with different email platforms.
  • Removing these records from future mailings provides a cleaner list of more potentially responsive recipients. While email is a very cost-effective marketing channel, there are still higher costs to mail larger lists.
  • The incremental cost of adding one more address to an email campaign may be completely negligible, but once that number reaches thousands, tens of thousands or more, that cost becomes more of a factor.

Benefits

  • Reducing email marketing costs by removing addresses of recipients who are highly unlikely to ever respond – and generate revenue.
  • Improving email campaign performance metrics like open rate, click rate, and conversion rate.
  • Having a positive impact on overall deliverability and sender reputation with email platforms.

How to deal with Past Recipients

If you’re using email for acquisition campaigns, you might want to truly focus on recipients who have not been exposed to your marketing campaigns in the past. This would vary from your current customer list or something like a high volume, non-responder list, but might include records that would appear on those files, as well.

In this case, another suppression file you could create and leverage would include every email address that has been included in prior campaigns over a certain time period. This might also be dialed in more specifically to include recipients of a certain offer or type of offer, or possibly any recipient from the last 12 months, etc.

Benefits

  • Enabling a higher level of control over campaigns designed to reach net-new prospects.
  • The ability to create offers designed specifically for a net-new prospect audience.

These are just a few ways in which suppression files can be used to optimize campaign performance. However, you are really only limited by the data at your disposal and your imagination on how to leverage this de-targeting approach to drive performance.  

Author Bio

Tom Wozniak is the head of marketing for OPTIZMO Technologies, the industry leader in email suppression list management. Tom has been involved in email and digital marketing since before 2000, helping build some of the seminal companies in ad tech and database marketing.  

How to Create an Effective Win Back Email Campaign

Email marketing, if not kept engaging enough with your subscribers may hit a stale spot, and that calls for extra effort than the usual practices you follow in email campaign management.

It’s  stated that roughly 60% subscribers in an emailing list are inactive at any given time. Re-engaging them helps you bring them out of inactivity (owing to whatever reason), back into sales funnel and eventually contributing to the revenue generation.

Understanding the Reasons: Why  email subscribers become inactive

If someone subscribes to your brand, they must have a strong reason/expectation inspiring them to be kept updated about the brand. With time, the interest and expectations diminish, and the subscriber may be in any one of the situations:

  1. The subscriber will become inactive i.e. they’ll continue receiving your emails but do not open, nor unsubscribe
  2. The subscriber will unsubscribe

 

Till the subscriber has not unsubscribed, it is not the end of the world. By analyzing your data, generating insight, figuring out what they want either by running a survey or feedback, you get to know what they want and have a chance to bring back. Unfortunately, before you start your efforts to winning back your subscribers, it is important to understand what the reason for inactivity may be.

  • Cluttered inbox: The email is lost in the flood of other subscribed email and the subscriber is unknown about it.
  • Change in preferences: The subscribers’ preferences and requirements have changed but they are lazy to unsubscribe.
  • Freeload on information: The subscriber just wises to connect with the brand & competitors but is not interested in making a purchase.
  • Save it for later: The subscriber has put your email on the snooze list and plans to read your emails on a later date.
  • Too high sending frequency: You may not have clearly specified your sending frequency during the sign-up process and now the subscriber is overwhelmed by the sudden influx of the emails.
  • Weak or non-actionable subject lines: Most subscribers open the email based on the effectiveness of the subject line.
  • Signed up for one time offer: The subscriber was lured by the lucrative discount you offered during sign up process, but they stopped engaging after that.
  • Change of circumstances like job or relocation: This mostly happens in the B2B industry but possible in situations where the subscriber used their business email address to subscribe and owing to change in their job may not receive your emails. (Such inactive are a dead end and cannot be brought back, better to remove from the list)
  • Bad Experience: The subscriber had a bad experience and stopped opening your emails. The experience might be based on a broken email design or a bad online experience. While working with our 5000+ client base, we ensure that every email template built are compatible and render perfectly in 40+ email clients. For this, we have some rigorous QA in place too, and that’s what make our customers trust us when they have the need for a perfect PSD to email template.

Avoid a broken email experience, try our Email Template Audit service to have your templates audited periodically.

As you can observe, the reasons for inactivity can be different and so will the strategy to win them back. The message, the frequency, the offers, the design, the CTA will change in each case. Let’s understand why it’s important to revive the inactive email subscribers.

Why re-engaging in-actives is as important as bringing new customers

Calculation shows that it costs 5x to acquire new customers as compared to retaining a new customer. And 81% of marketers agree that email is the most reliable channel for customer retention. Even if you don’t consider it from the revenue point of view, having inactive subscribers in your mailing list is like cutting the branch on which you are sitting.

Your subscribers not opening your email leads to a drop in the engagement for your email, directly translating into poor sender reputation and in turn poor deliverability. In fact, ISPs take note of inactive email addresses and after a pre-set duration of inactivity, convert these email address into SPAM traps.

Moreover, by sending emails that you know your inactive subscribers won’t open, you are wasting precious resources on them. This is especially applicable when your ESP charges you based on the monthly send volume.

Re-engagement-Call-to-Action

How to plan your win-back emails before winning back your subscribers

Having a re-engagement automation set-up is an important step in email campaign management workflow. The success of an email marketer depends on how well they can monitor the progress of a customer in the sales funnel and enhance their experience by modifying the emails as needed. If you are looking to learn the ropes of email campaign management for your Win-back campaigns, this ebook on Campaign Management could be a great asset.

The efforts for winning back your inactive subscriber begins much before you plan your re-engagement emails. It begins with

  • The understanding what factors qualify as inactivity,
  • What triggered the inactivity,
  • Identifying the objective behind re-engaging the inactive subscribers,
  • Preparing the incentives to win back and finally,
  • How to keep your customers engaged.

What qualifies as an inactive email subscriber

Defining inactivity in your email campaign strategy is very important as your approach will change depending on your win-back being customer-centric or subscriber-centric based.

  • A customer-centric approach will focus on those inactive subscribers who are opening your emails, may or may not be clicking on the CTA but haven’t purchased anything for long. The end goal of a customer-centric approach will be to motivate the subscriber to make the purchase.
  • A subscriber-centric approach will focus on those inactive subscribers who are not opening your emails. The end goal of a subscriber-centric approach will be to motivate the subscriber to open the emails, change their preferences or (last straw) unsubscribe.

Next comes the duration of no activity to be qualified as an inactive. This depends on your sending frequency (for subscriber-centric) / last order (for customer-centric) and varies from industry to industry.

For a brand sending bi-weekly emails, inactivity period might be 3 months and for a brand with monthly email sending schedule, the inactivity period might be 6 months or a year.

Ways to tackle different levels of inactivity

Now that you have a clear understanding of which of your inactive subscribers are worth winning back.

  • For a subscriber-centric approach, those inactive subscribers who have not opened previous 5-10 emails are a prime target for re-targeting.
  • For a customer-centric approach, the baseline condition is based on the order value. If someone made high-order purchases in past and gone inactive, they are more relevant to return compared to those who made only a couple of purchases in past.

Winning back your inactive subscribers is a step-by-step process where you need to implement a strategy that starts with your inactive subscribers opening your emails at the very least. Once they open the email, the copy needs to solve the reason for inactivity and prompt them to click the CTA. Let’s move  to resolve the issues in each stage one at a time.

Stage:1 – Prompt inactive to open emails

Subject lines and pre-header text are your biggest bet here. It needs to be actionable words such as “Come back, we miss you” or “Is this over?” to motivate your subscribers to take note. Research suggests that using a shorter subject line is more effective in win-back emails. Research from Return Path showed that using the words “miss you” in a subject line achieved a 13 % read rate, and messages with the words “come back” in their subject lines achieved a 12.7 % read rate. Check out the following Father’s Day subject lines.

Stage:2 – Improving email copy

Congratulations! If they open your win-back email based on the subject line; this means that a ray of hope still exists, and it is time for your email copy to shine through. You can either try to win them back with an incentive or tell them to update their preferences to receive better-tailored emails. Ask them if they are still interested in being part of your list.

Email Copy - 1

In the above example, the sender has introduced himself and then proceeds to ask the important question. The subscriber has the choice to either be subscribed or be left alone with two different links.

If the subscriber was active in the past, use the data to send them personalized email content. Personalized emails deliver six times higher transaction rates, so it’s worth tailoring content to subscribers – even inactive ones.

Tee Spring

Stage:3 – Calling them to action

The effectiveness of your email copy is measured on the clicks on the CTA button of your win-back email. Those who are inactive are not going to readily check out all products that you got to provide, as soon as you send a re-engagement email. So, one golden rule for CTA in a re-engagement email is ‘ONLY ONE CTA’. Following brands have not only featured a single CTA button, they have managed to innovate it.

Grammarly

Grammarly has a giant red button. Even those who didn’t read the email copy will be tempted to push it. (We were too)

ReturnPath

Return Path’s re-engagement has two giant animal heads for the subscribers to choose. The copy supports the overall flow.

TicketFly

Ticketfly’s re-engagement email gets you as soon as you open it. A heart touching GIF in the first fold, empathetic email copy is doing their work excellently. Moreover, they have added what has changed since the subscriber has become inactive.

PolyVore

A great email design by Polyvore. The minimal text manages to convey the message effortlessly and the CTA is very subtle yet visible.

Stage:4 – Making them pay… for their products

Great! They are back in your sales funnel. Now you need to make sure that they are not going inactive in a while. In case they do, it is an indication that your regular content is not engaging enough and needs improvement.

Key Takeaways

There are quite a few things that make re-engagement emails impressive. All you need to do is:

  • Tell subscribers what they have missed since they were away
  • Propose an exclusive offer
  • Give a collection of offers that makes it difficult to say no
  • Add a pinch of emotions to lure subscribers
  • Provide other ways to connect- social media
  • Send them a compilation of missed notifications
  • Use humor to grab eyeballs
  • Play the guilt card
  • Remind subscribers why they are part of your list
  • Politely make them take a decision- Re-engage or Part Ways

How Monks can Help

Nobody wants to send a failed email campaign. If you also believe in the same but are having trouble in identifying the root cause, EmailMonks’ Campaign Management services are for you. Have your email campaigns evaluated by email campaign experts. All it takes is to click this link or send a message at hello@emailmonks.com

How To Create a SEO Content Marketing Strategy: The Markitors Way

There’s lots of questions, ideas, and concepts on how to create a SEO content marketing strategy.

I shared my thoughts last year in this article for Forbes. Figured that I’d create a few video tutorials showing you exactly how we create a SEO content marketing strategy at Markitors.

Here’s how we do it using seven tools made available by Google – including Autocomplete, AdWords, Analytics, Search Console, Keyword Planner, People Also Ask, and the good ol’ Searches Related To section.

How To Create a SEO Content Marketing Strategy Using Google Autocomplete

Here’s how we use Google Autocomplete to create SEO content ideas.

1. Type in target keyword.
2. Type in every letter of the alphabet after keyword.
3. Jot down favorite content ideas.

Digital marketing can get isolated. Google Autocomplete is the best brainstorming buddy for any content strategy. Thanks Google!

How To Create a SEO Content Strategy Using Google Analytics

Here’s the instructions on how to use Google Analytics to help create a SEO content strategy.

1. Organize content by time spent on site.
2. Identify content with most engagement.
3. Create variations of engaging content.

I like it. I like it a lot. Anyone want to create content for “social media marketing on LinkedIn/Facebook/Twitter/SnapChat/Quora”? Drop us a line through our digital marketing careers page.

How To Create a SEO Content Marketing Strategy Using Google AdWords

Here’s one way to use Google AdWords activity to help create a SEO content marketing strategy.

1. Identify the keywords with the highest ad spend.
2. Create content targeting those keywords.
3. Reduce your long-term dependency on paid ads.

In this example, we identified keywords eating up the majority of the ad budget. By creating blog posts targeting these keywords, the idea is to gradually shift ad dollars towards content creation for a long-term sustainable way to drive targeted site traffic.

How To Create a SEO Content Strategy Using Google Search Console

Here’s the step by step instructions on how to incorporate Google Search Console into a SEO content strategy.

1. Organize keywords by the most number of clicks.
2. Factor in search position to determine relevance to Google.
3. Create content variations of the top performing keyword.

The goods under the hood! Google Search Console helps identify what Google thinks your website is about, so you can keep feeding the machine with great content.

How To Create a SEO Content Marketing Strategy Using Google People Also Ask

Here’s how to take the People Also Ask feature in some search result pages to aide in the development of a content strategy.

1. Search a common keyword with a People Also Ask section.
2. Click the bottom result in a People Also Ask section.
3. Scroll through the frequently asked questions to get content ideas.

That’s pretty neat, right? There’s a lot of junk in the People Also Ask section, but there’s also lots of great FAQ’s that will bring in nice organic search traffic to a site.

How To Create a SEO Content Strategy Using Google Searches Related To

Here’s how to get ideas for your content strategy by scrolling to the Google Searches Related To section.

1. Type in your target keyword into Google search.
2. Scroll to the bottom of the search result page to the Searches Related To section.
3. Identify any phrases or keywords that could be incorporated into the content strategy.

Always some gems in the Searches Related to section.

How To Create a SEO Content Marketing Strategy Using Keyword Planner

Keyword Planner in Google Ads helps prioritize keywords to target in a SEO content strategy. Here’s how.

1. Type in a keyword or website into Keyword Planner in Google Ads.
2. Review keywords based on search volume.
3. Prioritize keywords based on cost per click and keyword competitiveness.

Keyword Planner is really nice because you can connect a value to each keyword based on cost per click, as well as get an idea for how often a keyword is searched. Really helpful and nice when deciding which pieces of content to create first.

Hey! You made it. That’s seven solid tools provided by Google that can help you create a SEO content marketing strategy for your business. There’s always more ways to utilize these tools, and more tools on top of the tools. But, this should give you a nice starting point to build from.

Good luck!

how to create a seo content marketing strategy

We are Markitors. Google “digital marketing company” and we’re typically on the first page of search results nationwide in the US. We create and execute a lot of SEO content strategies for small businesses who are looking to compete against larger websites.

These SEO content marketing strategies help give small businesses a tactical advantage. Learn more about our SEO content marketing strategy services or our SEO Lead Generation services if you’d like us to do it all for you.

Activate 2018: A Marketing Conference in the Heart of Chicago’s West Loop

Activate 2018 ActiveCampaign conference

On June 25th, over 200 marketers gathered in the Skylight Room of Morgan Manufacturing to hear ActiveCampaign CEO Jason VandeBoom’s opening remarks at Activate.

Activate 2018, ActiveCampaign’s first user conference, brought together ActiveCampaign users and marketers, consultants, and members of the team for two days of thought leadership content and marketing best practices.

In his opening remarks, Jason shared the history of ActiveCampaign since its founding in 2003. He also left the crowd with a message that would permeate the rest of the event—marketing automation is powerful. Tools can be powerful. But over-automation is a mistake. Instead, small- and medium-sized businesses should strive to strike the perfect blend of automation and human touch.

That message returned in the opening keynote by Ann Handley, and reappeared throughout every talk and panel at Activate.

The idea of human connection came to life between the talks as well. In the intimate setting of Morgan Manufacturing, in the heart of Chicago’s West Loop, attendees networked with each other, got to know ActiveCampaign Certified Consultants, and had the opportunity to meet members of the ActiveCampaign team.

ActiveCampaign’s entire development team could be found mingling and chatting with users, and the Customer Success team was on-hand to offer one-on-one assistance in the platform between talks.

People networking at Activate

There were opportunities to network outside the main event as well. From the kickoff pre-party at Kaiser Tiger on Sunday, to the happy hour at the Waydown rooftop bar, the team and attendees had plenty of chances to get to know each other.

And then there were the talks.

Top marketing speakers like Ann Handley and Oli Gardner joined platform experts to share key insights and strategies for growing businesses. At the end of the first day, ActiveCampaign VP of Product Jen Busenbark gave a sneak preview of updates coming to the platform this year.

Below, you can find a short recap and key takeaways from the General Sessions at Activate 2018.

Ann Handley’s Big, Bold, Brave New World of Marketing

Ann Handley speaking at Activate

If you covered up the logo of your company, would you sound like everyone else?

That was the message Ann Handley shared. Instead of blindly describing products and following the crowd, how can marketers amp up their message?

Your company should have its own big, bold, and brave beliefs. Your customers should know what you stand for, because what you stand for should be embedded in every aspect of your messaging.

Highlights of Ann’s talk included:

  • Training and education can be marketing. By teaching, you can help people see themselves in a new light, and become part of a bigger story.
  • Interrogate the data. The data and narrative in your industry can suggest opportunities that your competitors aren’t brave enough to take.
  • Tell a bigger story. Have a personality, and integrate yourself into your customers’ lives.

Nir Eyal: How to Build Habit-Forming Products

Nir Eyal speaking at Activate

If you’ve ever closed Instagram and then immediately, unthinkingly reopened it, you’ve experience the power of a habit-forming product.

How can you make your own business “habit-forming?” How can you get people to keep returning to your company?

That was the subject of Nir Eyal’s talk. Nir walked through his “Hooked” model, and covered the psychology beyond habit formation.

Highlights of Nir’s talk included:

  • Understand what cues your audience. What does your audience feel when they come to your company? How can you send messages and notifications that connect to those feelings?
  • Make action as easy as possible. People take action when they have high motivation and actions are easy. Make interacting with your business a fast, simple, easy-to-understand process.
  • Reward your customers. How can you make your customer feel good when they interact with your brand?
  • Help them come back for more. Add value. Over time, how can you get people more invested in their relationship with you?

Oli Gardner: Content Marketing is Broken,
and Only Your M.O.M. Can Save You

Oli Gardner speaking at Activate
It all started when Oli tried to pay a parking ticket online. A horribly negative experience with the online payment system reminded him again that most content marketing has three problems.

  1. It isn’t designed with purpose. It doesn’t speak to specific people.
  2. There’s no meaningful data. It doesn’t collect data that can be used to help in the future.
  3. It doesn’t show the product.

To study those problem, Oli went deep—writing 37,000 words of content in just 30 days. He shared the results of that experiment in his talk.

Highlights of Oli’s talk included:

  • Gather meaningful data. “Visitor watches 67% of a video” isn’t meaningful. “54% of watchers saw your product in action” is meaningful. Set up your marketing to collect meaningful data.
  • Get people to the AHA moment. There’s a moment where people finally understand how you can help them. Content’s job is to get them to that moment faster.
  • Personalize. Once you have meaningful data, personalize your content for each viewer.

Andy Crestodina on Future-Proofing Your SEO

Search engine optimization is one of the best ways to get people to your business. Ultimately, ranking in Google comes down to two things: authority and relevance.

Are you an authority on your subject? Do people link to your content because they respect what you have to say?

Are you relevant to your searchers? Do you answer their questions and solve their problems?

In his talk, Andy Crestodina broke down Google’s key ranking factors. He also showed how Google is increasingly able to understand the relevance of content to an overall topic—instead of just individual keywords.

Highlights of Andy’s talk included:

  • Things, not strings. Google is better at ranking content by its relevance to a topic (instead of an exact phrase). Content marketers should focus on showing relevance to that overall topic.
  • Be the best page on the internet. Answer every conceivable question on your topic. Have the absolute best page on the internet for your topic, because that will send more relevance signals to Google—and be more helpful to your readers.
  • There is no friendship report in Google Analytics. But making friends is important to your content. Guest posting and linking helps you build authority and gives you more content on your site.

Dave Knox on Predicting the Turn

“Marketing” used to be shorthand for “fighting the market.”

50 years ago, the largest companies competed with each other over who had the largest market share. Their budgets were spend on marketing, and their goal was to beat their competitors.

Today, the landscape has shifted.

The ability to be small and nimble is a huge competitive advantage. Business moves faster than it used to—entire industries can get disrupted by new technological developments, and small companies can seize large opportunities by being the best answer to niche problems.

The greatest opportunities of all? Predicting the turn.

Industries change quickly, but there are subtle signs of change. The ability to predict and plan for those changes is the biggest advantage in business today.

Highlights of Dave’s talk included:

  • Venture capital is the new R&D. Placing “little bets” by funding startups and small programs helps you ride the wave of big trends and avoid crashing because of hyped ones.
  • Opportunity is in the size of markets, not market share. Fighting for market share is short-sighted. The strongest business anticipate market shifts and target growing markets.
  • “There is a dramatic leveling of the playing field.” Small businesses can move fast and be nimble, which lets them compete more effectively in a fast-moving world.

Social Media Panel:
Luke Reynebeau, Elly Moody, Megan Uithoven, and Obele Brown-West

How do you use social media to spread your message and build your community?

In this panel, experts from Weber-Shandwick, GrowIt!, McDonald’s, and Sprout Social shared their best insights on integrating social media into an overall marketing plan.

Highlights from the panel included:

  • Integrate social into your marketing. The most exciting and effective social media campaigns are tied into PR and content marketing and digital advertising. They are cross-channel, even when they are social first.
  • Find your social superfans. Some people in your community are giving disproportionate value. Finding and supporting them makes your overall community stronger.
  • Use data to find your channel. Social media isn’t “set it and forget it.” Study each channel to see your competitor and audience activity, so that you know where to allocate your social media budget.

Digital Advertising Panel:
Joe Mathieu, Katerina Burke, and Jason Grodsky

Digital advertising can be extremely effective for marketing goals throughout your entire funnel. But if you are optimizing your ads poorly, you’re going to burn through budgets quickly.

In this panel, experts from Envisionit, Phusion Projects, and Relativity shared their best advice on optimizing digital ad spend.

Highlights from the panel included:

  • Goals dictate channel. You need to understand business objectives before you put spend behind a campaign. An awareness campaign has different best practices than a consideration campaign, and different audiences are best reached through different channels.
  • Tailor your messaging to the channel. The messaging you use in your ads should change depending on the channel. Users of different channels have different expectations for their digital ads.
  • When you don’t have historical data, use benchmarks. You don’t always have access to the data benchmarks you want—but you can ask advertising vendors what data they have, and compare your numbers to the numbers from a different vertical.

Marketing Technology Panel:
Ryan Bonnici, Cody Jones, Daniel Mintz, Kurt Elster

In 2011 there were 150 SaaS marketing products. In 2018 there are closer to 7,000. How do you know which products are worth using in your marketing stack?

In this panel, experts from G2 Crowd, Zapier, Looker, and Shopify shared their advice on choosing tools to grow your business.

Highlights from the panel included:

  • First, solve your biggest pain point. Early on, you should choose the tools that are going to make your life drastically easier. Later on, once you’ve grown, you can add in more “nice to have” tools.
  • Focus on outliers. People tend to focus on averages in their marketing. But a lot of the time, it’s more important to focus on the outliers—the people who are spending a ton or very little—because that’s where you get more useful information. Technology helps you get that data.
  • Know why people use you. If you don’t know why your customers are choosing you, you’re going to struggle to keep them, get new customers, and scale. Technology (whether it’s tracking tools, reporting software, or a simple survey) can help you get that information.

Marketing Automation in Action:
Scott Sharp and David Pearson

One of the things that makes marketing automation so powerful is its flexibility. With that flexibility comes some questions—what are some of the more interesting or unusual uses of marketing automation.

In this panel, ActiveCampaign’s Courtney Graham sat down with users from Sprinly and Qualtry, two organizations with interesting uses of marketing automation.

Highlights from the panel included:

  • If you’re scared of automation, just test. A lot of people learn automation on the fly, alongside their other job duties. If you’re ever nervous about trying something new—just test it. A small test isn’t going to break anything, but you’ll learn about what works for you.
  • Look for repetition. Repetitive, manual processes are candidates for automation. Look for ways to automate behind the scenes so that you can free up time to offer a human touch elsewhere.
  • Automated nurture is a good way to improve conversion. Lead nurture can take a long time, and is often missing in a sales process. Setting up automated nurture campaigns can make sales processes more efficient.

Wrap-up: Activate 2018

people sitting at Activate

The survey results are in and…Activate 2018 was a hit! We loved the opportunity to host 200+ users here in Chicago. Stay tuned as we continue to share more learnings from the conference—and we look forward to seeing you at the next event.

4 steps to achieving initial email marketing success

Are you ready to rev up your marketing engine? Email can give your business the boost it needs to zoom ahead of the competition. In a digital landscape crowded by companies trying to grab consumers’ attention and hoping that people will engage with their brands online, email communications are a direct line to your target audience, reaching their intended recipients 90 percent of the time — an average that surpasses what you’ll find on platforms like Twitter or Facebook.

To launch a high-performing email marketing program that enables you to connect with more prospects, you’ll have to combine your efforts with two additional components: social media and sign-up forms. Follow these simple steps to learn how these three elements can work together to maximize your marketing efforts.

1. Make sure your website has an email sign-up form

Your contact list is the foundation of your email marketing program. To grow your list, you must provide your audience with a quick and easy way to sign up for your emails.

You can collect email addresses in a variety of places, but your website should be a primary spot. New visitors come to your site every day, which gives you the ability to capture email addresses as people view your content and learn more about your products or services. Just think about it — as visitors read more about your company and what makes you unique, they’re more likely to want to connect with you to find out more. If you’re using VerticalResponse, you can easily embed a form on your site. When a new contact signs up, the address will automatically be added to your email list.

If you don’t have a website or just want to create a more targeted list-building campaign, build a stand-alone landing page with a sign-up form. Landing pages typically have a single objective and employ copy and images that are hyper-focused on getting visitors to take a single, desired action. In this case, that action would be sharing an email address. Create content for this landing page that explains the benefits of signing up, and then share the link on social media. Will subscribers get special discounts? Will they be notified of new releases before the general public? Tell them so they don’t miss out.

2. Welcome new contacts

Once addresses start coming in through your sign-up forms, it’s time to get down to email business. Reach out to new contacts immediately by sending a welcome email. This message will establish the tone for future communications, so it should be friendly, enthusiastic and well-designed. You want to make a positive and lasting first impression. It’s also important that your welcome email reiterates the benefits of your email list and encourages subscribers to visit your website or physical location.

3. Use email to keep your contacts informed and engaged

After sending a welcome email, you can customize your campaigns to fit your business. You should send a variety of emails to your subscribers to keep them informed and engaged. From promotional offers to event invitations, you can send an email about anything that’s relevant to your business goals. Here are a few topics that you can try as you find your email marketing groove:

  • Send a newsletter that updates your audience about your business
  • Tell subscribers about a new product or service you’re offering
  • Invite subscribers to an open house, customer appreciation sale or other events
  • Offer a deal, discount, coupon or free consultation
  • Share useful tips that show subscribers how to use your product better
  • Provide educational content that’s of interest to your audience
  • Encourage readers to check out a new blog post
  • Share business updates or improvements via email
  • Send an email that offers holiday cheer
  • Send an email that celebrates a business milestone like an anniversary

Deciding when to send emails can be tricky. Every audience is different. Of course, you’ll want to keep an eye on your metrics to see what works best for your business. Try a few tests. For example, segment your list into two, send the same email to both groups on the same day, but at different times, and see which one performs better. Check your open rates and clickthroughs to determine what time is best for your audience.

4. Reinforce your communication through social media

After sending an email, get in the habit of sharing that same message via social media. For example, if you just invited guests to an upcoming event, you can turn to Twitter and Facebook to invite guests too. As the event gets closer, you can send reminder emails and post similar updates on your social sites.

By collecting more email addresses through a sign-up form, reaching out to those contacts via email and leveraging your social media accounts, you’re using multiple channels to reach your audience. In return, your business is more visible and customers are more engaged.

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Editor’s note: This article was originally published in March 2015. It has been revised and updated for accuracy and relevance.

© 2018, Contributing Author. All rights reserved.

5 Tools We Love to Use with ActiveCampaign

tools to use with ActiveCampaign
This post was contributed by Identify Marketing, ActiveCampaign Certified Consultants.

As a marketing agency, we’re always looking for easier and more effective ways to connect with leads, and our clients better. Plus we love experimenting with new tools, testing them out so we can recommend them to our clients.

Along with ActiveCampaign, we use a variety of tools to help us build an engaged funnel and grow our agency.

We’re very conscious about adding a pile of tools that look great but don’t really add to the day to day operations of a business. It’s very easy to see those monthly charges creep up in the outgoings column!

So here’s our top five tried and true favorite tools.

1. Bonjoro

Bonjoro homepage

It’s an unwritten rule to save the best for last, but I love this tool so much that I need to start with it!

Bonjoro is an Australian-designed app and a highly effective tool to connect with someone at any point of the sales or client process. (Except that odd, unhappy client. They probably wouldn’t enjoy it!)

Bonjoro lets you record and send a short, personalized video to anyone within the app. You can customize the email with your own logo, create a specific call to action, and add a text message.

The feedback we’ve had from using Bonjoro is amazing! I use it to welcome anyone who signs up to my coaching email series, to introduce myself to anyone who has set a meeting or emailed us through our website, and to send off the cuff emails to clients who’ve had a recent win.

It’s magic because it’s personal.

You can connect Bonjoro with Active Campaign to get notifications of any new contact, or connect it to a trackable action (you will need Zapier for this).

2. Hotjar

hotjar homepage
Sometimes, the love of a pretty layout overrides the need to make sure a web page is laid out in the best way to help conversions.

That’s where Hotjar comes in.

Hotjar creates a heatmap showing you where visitors fall off the page. It also shows the most common “click” spots, helping you determine where to place call to actions and how to reorganize the page to convert better.

But its real gem? The videos of every visitor’s actions on your website.

In the videos, you can see every visitor’s scroll, every cursor movement, and each click. (contact details and name of the person remain private).

Here’s a few things we’ve discovered for clients using Hotjar (that we wouldn’t have known otherwise)

  1. There was a speed issue with a website, and the buy now button didn’t load fast enough.
  2. One of the contact forms didn’t go anywhere
  3. People wanted to click a decorative button for more information
  4. The landing page designed to convert didn’t have the call to action in the right place
  5. The high value of abandoned carts in an ecommerce store was due to a high shipping charge

3. Calendly

Calendly homepage
The secret of effective sales is keeping the control. The next secret of sales is allowing the person you are selling to feel they are in control.

Calendly helps your leads and clients make appointments with you at a time that suits both you and them. It syncs with your calendar (365 or Gmail), so if you’ve got a day blocked out it it won’t show that as a free spot.

When we first started using Calendly, it reduced my “setting meetings up” time by over six hours a week!

We then created a Facebook advertisement that offered free fifteen minute meetings—scheduled automatically. It was so successful that we had to turn it off after two weeks, because I couldn’t keep up with the incoming leads!

You can link your Calendly page to your about us or contact page, or add it to an automation so that contacts are emailed after specific actions.

We use it to offer a booked phone meeting time to every person who contacts us through our website. We also use it to book in strategy meetings with existing clients.

4. SnagIt

SnagIt homepage
Here’s a super simple tool we love to us as an agency—and pass on to many of our clients.

Snagit is a TechSmith tool that helps you create screen record videos. We use it extensively to record simple, customized training videos for all our ActiveCampaign and marketing clients.

The tool makes it super easy to record. You don’t need anything beyond the program, a screen, and your voice.

We’re a big believers in building systems for any repeat processes. That’s one of the reasons we love ActiveCampaign—it’s not just an awesome marketing and sales tool, but one that helps improve on administration and business systems.

If you’re doing something that a member of your team could do instead, record yourself doing it and talking through it, and pass it on. It’s the fastest way to train your team—and once it’s made, it can train any number of people.

5. Proposify

Proposify homepage
Effective proposals still help us seal the deal.

Even if you use email to send informal proposals, official proposals ensure that the client has a clear and full idea of your terms and conditions, the people who will be working with them, and a detailed breakdown of what to expect.

I used to create our proposals as a Word Doc. It had so much formatting and extra bits in it that I was forever trying to squeeze information in the wrong places, and forgetting to delete sections.

We researched for months before selecting Proposify for our proposals.

Part of the attraction was the ability to make truly beautiful proposals. My favorite part, however, is the complete visibility of when the proposal has been read, and which parts the client is focussing on.

From this we can see how engaged they are with the proposal, and which parts they might be stuck on. To be honest, I’m a little addicted!

Setting it up right does take time, but it’s truly worth it. You can sync Proposify to ActiveCampaign with Zapier, but we prefer to keep the two separate, and separate the aspects of the proposal into separate sales in Deals—as often clients start with just a portion of the work proposed initially.

If you’ve got a small to medium sized business selling services, all of these tools can help add to your sales and marketing toolkit—to help you become more effective and more profitable.

Rachel Klaver is the CEO (Chief Excitement Officer) of Identify Marketing, a marketing agency for small to medium sized businesses. Based in New Zealand, Identify are ActiveCampaign consultants, who integrate it with their work in overall marketing strategy, developing WordPress websites, Facebook funnels, and more.