Are You Spying on Your Email Subscribers?

no spamDoes your Email service Provider (ESP) provide you with reports on your email campaigns? Do you track your email opens? Can you see who and when opened your emails, clicked on which links, unsubscribed from your list, reported it as spam, etc?

If you answered yes, don’t you, at least sometimes, feel like you’re spying on your audience?

I’ve been on line for many years and I have yet to come across a privacy policy which says: “After you give us your name, email and permission to contact you, we will also be able to see when you open your email, at what time of day, how many links you clicked, etc. If you agree, please click here.”

If you saw a privacy policy like that, would you sign up? I didn’t think so.

Being CAN-SPAM compliant is one thing, but shouldn’t we go beyond compliance? We should make sure that we respect our subscribers’ privacy as much as possible. At the very least, try not to take advantage of the data you can gather from your ESP reports.

Here’s one possible abuse scenario: an email marketer sends out his/her campaign and closely monitors open rates. S/he then decides to call subscriber Mr. X because he opened his email, who is obviously at his work (you can make an assumption like that if the email address is

S/he proceeds to say: “Hey M. X, I just noticed you opened my email, clicked on a link and I thought I could offer some additional information about my products.

Bad idea, I hope you’ll agree.

Tracking is not all bad, actually it helps both our subscribers and us as email newsletter publishers. The data I’m talking about is “bounces,” or undeliverable emails. This gives us a list of email addresses to which our ESP has not been able to deliver emails. They may be obsolete email addresses, as when people move from one ISP to another, or, if they’re using company email, they have changed jobs. In case you’re not using double opt in, you subscribers might have entered a bad email either by accident or on purpose – just one more reason to use double opt in.

Mind you, not all ESPs are created equal; of the ones I have first-hand experience with, I like the detail reporting available from GetResponse, Aweber, and MadMimi.

Respect your subscriber’s privacy by going above the requirements of the law. There are other ways to keep track of your list, buy monitoring unsubscribes, for example.

Keep sending your e-newsletter out, it’s still one of the best way to reach out to your audience, with a very high return on investment.

P.S. If you enjoyed this post, then make sure you subscribe to my RSSRSS Feed

photo credit: hegarty_david via photopin cc

Posted in: Email Marketing

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Book Review: List Building for Bloggers by Phil Hollows, CEO of FeedBlitz

List Building for BloggersSubtitled Proven Email Strategies that Build your Audience, Increase Engagement and Grow your Income, this book is a must for every business blog owner.

The author is Phil Hollows, the Founder and CEO of FeedBlitz, the email and social media marketing automation service.

Hollows contends and I agree: Your email subscribers are your greatest fans. Unfortunately, for most blogs, they are also the most under-utilized business asset. With the tips and strategies on e-mail list building found in this book you will increase your blog’s page views, increase engagement and ultimately increase revenues generated by your blog.

Here are some highlights from the book:

  • Ten Power Tips to turn your blog into a rocking-socking, butt-kicking, inbox-busting, fully automated email marketing and subscriber retention system.
  • Three case studies so you can avoid the mistakes even the Big Guys make.
  • Easily actionable tips to grow both list quality and quantity.
  • Chapters on auto-responders so you can market while you sleep, custom fields for personalization, and how to avoid spam traps.
  • All in easy to understand plain English!

This isn’t just another 20-page e-book. Phil Hollows has condensed years of his own experience as a business blogger and email marketer into 24 chapters, over 160 pages of easy-to-understand plain English, so anyone can take advantage of these tips easily and quickly.

You can get the book directly from the author as an immediate download here.

And let’s end this with a quote by Seth Godin: Phil Hollows is a mensch, and a generous one. In this book, he’s sharing a ton. Stuff he learned the hard way. Ignore it at your peril.

This article describes the benefit of buying this book. I only recommend products and services I’ve used or tested myself. If you purchase this book via my link I will be compensated by the author.

Posted in: Blogging, Email Marketing

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How to Receive Linkedin Recommendations on Your Company Page

Since September of 2010 I’ve hosted 20+ sessions of my Linkedin to the Max! workshop, and one of the questions I hear every time is “how do I get a recommendation on Linkedin?”

Before answering that question here, I just want you to understand that there are two kinds of recommendations (or endorsements, as Linkedin sometimes calls them) that you can receive:

  • recommendations to you personally: these appear under your personal Linkedin profile, and
  • recommendations for your company’s products/services: these appear under your Linkedin company page services tab.

In my previous blog post I said it’s easier to receive an endorsement of your service or product then a recommendation on your personal profile, simply because of the mechanism Linkedin uses. Basically all it takes for someone to recommend your product is two clicks of a mouse.

Here’s an example of Linkedin recommendation I received recently for one of my services:

I found Boris’ seminar very informative and used some of his tips for how to optimize the usage of LinkedIn right away. I recommend Boris’ seminar highly to any Business owner who uses LinkedIn.

If you’re as fortunate as I am, you will notice that most people will actually take the time to write a few lines. If they don’t, Linkedin will simply list their name and insert “I recommend this product,” which is just fine, too. See this product page.

Three easy steps to get a Linkedin recommendation for your service or product:

  1. Create a service/product page using Linkedin tools at your disposal.
  2. While you’re looking at your product page, click the blue “Request recommendations” button. A message window will pop up. Select one of your contacts and send a request to that single contact only, so you can personalize the request — never send a mass message to multiple recipients.
  3. Here’s a template I use, feel free to modify it to your liking:
    Hi (first name), (make it personal)Thank you once again for attending my workshop. I hope it provided you with tips and tricks you can use to make Linkedin work for you as a lead generation tool. (be specific)TIP: (be helpful)
    I’d recommend that you expand the summary
    on your profile to 2-3 paragraphs. Remember,
    always be mindful of those keywords you want
    to be found for, so include them in your summary.May I ask you a QUICK favour? Can you recommend my workshop? (now ask)

    This will take you 1 minute or less, just a few clicks: (explain the process)

    1. Click the “View this product” button at the bottom of this message
    You will be taken to my product page in LinkedIn
    2. Click on the “Recommend” button

    That’s it.

    If you like you can add a comment as well, but that’s optional.

    Here’s what you said earlier:
    (copy and paste a few lines this contact may have sent you via email, or some other way)

    Thanks in advance!



And finally, one more tip on how to make even better use of any recommendation you may receive on Linkedin: use the same recommendations and post them to your web site, just like I’m doing here on my testimonials page. For example, if you have a blog, you can create a quick blog post and publish it in the “Testimonials” category.

If you’d like to learn more on how to use Linkedin for business, subscribe to my blog, or if you live and work in the Greater Toronto Area consider driving to Burlington for the next session of my Linkedin to the Max! workshop

Posted in: Linkedin, Social Media Marketing

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What Are Information Products: How to Create Them and Sell Them Online

Info product mockupThe term information product is typically associated with educational e-books (of either Kindle, simple PDF, or e-pub variety), audio recordings, or digital video recordings, and, in most cases, a combination of all of the above. Essentially, and info product is some sort of intellectual property content, stored in a digital format suitable for selling on the Internet.

Why to Create Information Products?

If you’re a solo professional, run a small business, or a consulting practice, you’re an expert in your field and you have knowledge you could put into an information product. In your own business you can make only so much per hour, and there are only so many hours you’re willing to commit to working in your business. If you really want to start making money “while you sleep” you should seriously consider creating information products and selling them online.

How to Create Information Products

There are a few simple ways of how to make products to sell on line.

  1. Adobe PDF e-books: The easiest to create, from a technical point of view, is an e-book in Adobe Acrobat PDF format. Today, most word processing applications, such as MS Word, have the ability to save your written document in PDF format. This can be anything from a 1-page checklist, 20-page special report or a 100-page booklet, or longer.
  2. Audio Recordings:
    • Every computer sold these days has the ability to record audio. So, once you’ve written your e-book, you can simply read it into the computer and your have another version of your info product!
    • Another source of audio recordings can be a tele-seminar you can host. Typically you host a free tele-seminar as a lead-generation tool, but you can also sell tickets to the tele-seminar to double your efforts: you make money selling the tickets to the live event (which you then record), and then you have the recording to sell to anyone who either couldn’t make it to the live event, or it wasn’t practical for them to attend the live event because of a time-zone difference, e.g. if you’re based in Canada, and some of your audience is in Australia. You can invite industry-recognized experts and interview them, either as a two-way conversation with no audience or a live tele-seminar.
  3. Video Recordings:
    • Using a web cam you can record a video of yourself talking about a subject of your expertise. If you can also mix in slides from a PowerPoint presentation, but to do this you will have to have some video-editing software, such as iMovie, available for the Mac. To take video to the next level, you can hire a videographer to record a live seminar or workshop that you host. Make sure you make enough money selling the tickets, so that your video recording and editing costs don’t eat too much of your profits. To keep your costs low, consider hiring a student from a local visual arts college. You really don’t need broadcast-quality video for your information product, because it will most likely be watched on a computer screen.
    • Another option for creating video is screen capture video. Using programs such as Camtasia (available for both Mac and PC), or a less capable but still OK for most uses Voila!

The easiest way I found of creating info products is having a tele-seminar. You invite one or two fellow experts on a subject and you interview them. Most conference call service providers will allow you to record the whole thing, and then you can download it to your computer as an mp3 file, and, presto!, you have your 1st info-product.

To take it to the next level, you can hire a transcriptionist to transcribe the spoken words into a text document, which you can further enhance by editing, adding your affiliate links to services/products mentioned in the interview. There, you have your second info-product.

How to Sell Your Information Products Online

Next, what you need to do is have a shopping cart plugin installed on your WordPress blog. If you don’t have a WordPress-based web site try this shopping cart software. Using your own shopping cart gives you the most flexibility, but requires some technical knowledge.

For payment processing I recommend PayPal. It’s been around a long time, is part of the big eBay group, and works world-wide. Good thing about PayPal is that it doesn’t cost anything unless you make a sale: there are no monthly fees or setup costs. All they take is a small percentage per each transaction, e.g $2.50-$3.20 per $100 sale, depending on your monthly volume.

Once you have your product created and loaded up to your site, it’s time to promote it. Write blog posts about it on your own site; looks for guest blogging opportunities; post to social media sites such as Linkedin, facebook, etc.

One of the best ways to make more sales is to recruit other people to sell it for you: your affiliate network. To create an affiliate program on your WordPress-based blog site I recommend this easy WP affiliate plugin. There are others, but this one is really affordable, and works well. If your web site is not running on WordPress try this affiliate software.

Posted in: E-commerce, Information Products

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Are You “Going Postal” This Holiday Season?

simplify the holidays with SendOutCardsI knew that title will intrigue you, please feel free to comment.

These days we rarely receive anything other than bills and junk mail in our mail boxes, so if you take the time to send a real greeting card to your clients, business partners and suppliers, you will stand out from the crowd.

Actually, it’s more like, you’ll be the only one there, no crowd :-)

I personally use an online service called SendOutCards, which gives me the flexibility of creating a greeting card campaign and then selecting a group of people to receive it. Groups such as: clients, suppliers, friends, family, etc.

SendOutCards prints, addresses, personalizes and sends real postcards, greeting cards, and gifts, etc. through the postal system. This is not an e-card service.

SOC also allows me to enclose a gift with my greeting card, such as Starbucks or Tim Hortons gift cards, books, cookies, etc.

I also had them digitize my own handwriting and signatures into a font, so my cards look like they were handwritten. How cool is that!

The system is getting better and better. Now they also offer printing of calendars, posters, even business cards.

Posted in: Appreciation Marketing, Off-line Marketing Ideas

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