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19

Multiple Uses of Email Autoresponders Like Aweber. Niche Site, Blog, Ecommerce, Brick & Mortar

No, certainly not another “the money is in the list” token email marketing post on Aweber.  Don’t worry this is not that. In this post I want to focus on the multiple uses of email autoresponders for various types of businesses.

Aweber Email Marketing Program

What I want to demonstrate is that no matter what business you are in, you can and should leverage email marketing to improve your sales, customer satisfaction and overall business results.

Email marketing is the most cost efficient and effective way to promote your business, hone and maintain customer relationships as well as track results to know what is working and what isn’t, something traditional media like TV and radio ads cannot tell you.

When executed manually, email marketing is free because it doesn’t cost money to send an email. However, businesses prefer to use email autoresponders as an email marketing tool because they are cheap, very effective and most of all save businesses gobs of time in executing their email marketing campaigns.

What is Email Newsletter Marketing? What are Email Autoresponders?

Much of this can be self explanatory, and may be something you already know about. But just in case you don’t, email marketing is the use of people’s email addresses to communicate and build a relationship with them in conjunction with promoting your business at the same time. It is an increasingly popular marketing method because businesses, large and small, are realizing how effective this marketing method is.

Why is it much more effective? Email marketing is the more preferred method of marketing because it is more effective than traditional and social media.  A person’s email address is very personal and people guard their emails with their lives. Think about your own email ID. Would you just hand it to anyone just like that? Communicating with someone over email is more personal and repeatedly proven to be much more effective.

An email autoresponder is a tool used by businesses through which they conduct email newsletter marketing. Email autoresponder programs are web based programs that enable businesses to capture customer email addresses electronically or manually, correspond with them seamlessly and automatically, track various statistics such as email open rates, clickthrough rates (readers clicking on links embedded in the email newsletter) and various other analytical attributes.

The business intelligence you get with an email autoresponder is invaluable. You can use the data to split test different approaches and continue to optimize your marketing campaigns to achieve your business objectives. This is particularly important if you are trying to sell through your emails or bring customers and clients in your business.

You can set up email autoresponders to “auto respond” to your customer list, scheduling newsletters way out in advance to go out at a particular time now or in the future.  You can also send a broadcast email message to your list anytime you’d like.

So the next time you get an email message from one of the email lists you are subscribed to, it could be a message that was written months and years ago to be scheduled the day you received it. It likely also went out to several others – but it certainly doesn’t look and feel that way does it? Not when it addresses you with your name at least.

You can segregate your email list in various ways so that certain messages only go to certain people, and similarly perform various tasks that allow you to slice and dice the information you have to better target your customers and clients and customize your communication approach and method depending on who you are reaching out to.

If this sounds somewhat confusing and overwhelming right now, a quick read about email marketing and email autoresponders can further help explain this marketing method and the program used to execute it.

Why am I writing about this today? Because understanding how email autoresponders work and its various applications can help you tremendously with your business. It will not only help you make more money, but more importantly automate the customer relationship and marketing aspects for you, saving you tons of valuable time in the process.

Whether you are solely operating online, offline or a combination of both, email marketing utilizing email autoresponders will enable your business to flourish. That is exactly what this website is about, to help you expedite wealth building without adding much incremental demand on your day to day life.

The Various Uses of Email Autoresponders

Here are just a handful of ways email autoresponders can be used in a variety of businesses. I have personally used these methods in the businesses that I am involved with.

Freelancers – Freelancers like tax accountants and wealth managers can leverage email autoresponders by scheduling out email distributions during critical times of the year such as tax deadlines.

They can also use the system to pre schedule value added messages such as tax saving and wealth management tips on a monthly or quarterly basis. Wealth managers can send out quarterly reminders to rebalance portfolios to their email list. The possibilities are endless.

Niche sites – If you own niche sites and have either your own or affiliate products to sell, you can use an email autoresponder series to automatically engage with your readership as they subscribe to your email list.  I use email autoresponders to promote various affiliate products and my own ebooks on several niche sites that I own. Here is an example:

Email Autoresponder on a Niche Site

Sales – If you are in sales and you want to gather customer feedback to see how you are doing and what you should do to improve your business, you can send out an email blast with a link to a survey, or simply ask the survey questions within the email blast itself. Want to know what products and services your clients want?  Send an email to the entire list and find out. This is exactly how I obtain feedback from my readership.

E-commerce websites – Keep your customers in the loop of new product launches, special offers, discounts and important company news. Use your email list to send out coupons, or seasonal reminders relevant to your business. I heavily used an email autoresponder when I was operating my e-commerce business.

Blogging – The use of email autoresponders is very much prevalent in the blogging industry. Many internet marketing bloggers will tell you that the “money is in the list”. In other words, in order to make money, you need an audience to sell to. An email autoresponder is a great way to seamlessly build an email list of potential customers and clients. This is how I use email autoresponders on my blog:

Email Autoresponder on a Blog

Brick and Mortar Businesses – This is where I see email autoresponders way too underutilized. I have done several consulting engagements for small local businesses and one of the quickest ways I add value is by setting them up on email autoresponders to start building their email list.

For example, hair cut salons can set up the system so that it automatically emails male clients to come in each month for a hair cut, or it can help dentists send out bi annual reminders for teeth cleaning. My dentist sends me a postcard. Can you imagine the time and resources, not to mention the cost, it takes to do that for each and every patient? God forbid the temp forgets? A computer certainly wouldn’t.

An oil change garage can send out automated emails every three months reminding folks to come in for an oil change. People have busy lives, both consumers and service providers/business owners. Why not leverage technology to better streamline everyone’s lives and operate more efficiently?

I also use an email autoresponder in my Dry Cleaning business, for example, having automated reminders going out to each customer right before winter to remind them to bring in their jackets and blankets. Similarly, one message at the end of winter to remind them to do the same before they stash the winter stuff away in a box.

Personal – Heck, you can leverage email autoresponders to send out an email to your entire list / email database wishing them a Happy New Year! Saves the manual process of having to remember who to send what to.

The beauty of email autoresponders is that it automatically plugs in the name of the person you are sending it to. So although one pre scheduled autoresponder email may go out to 10,000 people, each of those will feel you had sent it to them individually. How thoughtful.  It’s magic 🙂

Concluding Thoughts

As you can see, there are many uses of email autoresponders, and this post merely scratches the surface. There is so much you can do with an effective email newsletter system, all within your fingertips and without incurring significant costs.

Aside from tremendous cost savings, there are several other advantages to using email autoresponders. You save a ton of time in marketing your business, you stay fully organized and for website owners you diversify your traffic resources.

Search engines are fickle and can turn their backs on your at any time. With an email newsletter system, you can ensure a certain amount of repeat traffic coming straight from your email list.

And perhaps the biggest advantages of all are that you get to build an email database or list of all your customers and gather business intelligence to understand what they like and dislike, and how they interact with your emails.

People guard their email addresses closer than anything else today.  When you have someone’s email ID, you can develop a closer and more effective personal relationship with them. You can also ensure that you can stay in touch with them, with or without the existence of your business, website or search engines.

I personally use Aweber, a very user friendly system that you can get for only $20 per month. It is the cheapest and the most effective email marketing tool I have utilized in my businesses. If you don’t know much about email autoresponders and what they can do for you, I highly encourage checking Aweber’s website out and going through the material. It can be an eye opening experience.

So as promised, not a token post on creating an email newsletter with Aweber.  That said, is there a need for one? What information would you like to read more about? I am an affiliate of Aweber and would be happy to answer any questions if you are contemplating using it in your business.

What are some other uses of email autoresponders? How are you using email marketing in your business? If you aren’t, why?

7

Leaving the Corporate World for Your Own Full Time Gig

I like this guest post because although it is meant for a full time entrepreneur, hence the title of this post, it contains several pieces of valuable advise that even a part time entrepreneur running a side gig can benefit from.

The author talks about setting up systems and thus automating business processes, how saying NO is completely fine, leveraging effectively, outsourcing and setting clear boundaries to create a good work-life balance.

I am all about that! I hope that you too get good value from this post.

This is a guest post from Jackie Purnell of Building Businesses Creating Brands, a blog about how to Build, Brand and Grow a Kick Ass Business

You’re ready to dominate the business world. You’ve planned your mission and have your vision firmly in place, you’re keen to leap into the abyss with unbridled enthusiasm?

Hold up…just for a second..

Knowing what you want to achieve is one thing. You may have tested the waters and defined your market, you may have even done the preliminary workings for your launch.

My question is; Have you taken the time to look at some ground rules for your business?

No…then let’s take a closer look before you get too carried away.

Setting solid foundations will stand you in good stead as your business grows. It’s important not only to your survival as a business, but also your sanity as a person.

You want to be able to measure and track your business operations, to create systems that easily allow for change and integration of new people, and create operating policy so that staff, customers and other stake holders feel they fit with your business.

You also want to have a life, after all that’s why most of us move into the realms of entrepreneurship (aside from having that internal drive that is). So let’s take a look at some of the areas that may get you into trouble if they are not clearly defined right from the outset:

You Don’t Always Have to Be Contactable

It can be exhilarating creating a new business, you’re so wrapped up in making things happen that all too easily you can forget to set boundaries. The power and freedom you thought came with running your own show, quickly heads south, as you become a puppet with someone else pulling the strings.

Your primary objective should always be to provide great value and service to your clients or customers, but you certainly don’t want to be at their beck and call 24/7.

Unfortunately your clients can think that they are your only client and you are there solely for their benefit. Make sure that you outline your availability and stick to it.

Once you deviate you will only have yourself to blame, and it’s very hard to come back from.

Always start how you mean to carry on.

Working Hours – All Or Nothing

Just because you’ve entered the entrepreneurial zone, doesn’t give you license to work all hours under the sun. If you were working for someone else, you would have set hours wouldn’t you? Why would you view your own business any differently.

In my experience you will either lean one way or the other:

  • Working all hours on God’s green earth
  • Working only when you feel like it

Neither of which work. Set your hours and stick with them.

I’m A One Man Band

Maximum leverage from your time is what you’re after here, and it’s a skill that you should focus on developing and refining very quickly.

Decide early on what you have to personally handle and what you can or need to hand off to others. Nothing creates burnout faster than trying to handle everything yourself.

Sending a Message To The Family

I’m not talking the horse head in the bed scenario. But family have to be taught to respect your boundaries too. They can be the biggest problem where you wouldn’t think so.

I’ll paint the picture:

You’re closeted away in your bear cave, doing brilliant work, creating, in the zone. The door flies open and in runs youngest child squealing with delight, closely followed by wet dog intent on rubbing every ounce of wetness onto said child. Your reaction follows, suffice to say it’s not a happy Kodak moment. Suddenly Wife/Husband appears in the doorway with a look of sheer contempt for your behavior and reaction.

Here lies the peril of working in the home. Hey, ya gotta live with these people at the end of the day.

Unfortunately you will be seen as being “at home”, not “at work”. Unless you clearly define your personal workspace and time, you will constantly have this issue on your plate.

Work is work, just because its family doesn’t mean it should be any different.

Saying No is OK

We have this thing about pleasing people, and generally that seems to equate with saying Yes. I’m here to tell you that it is perfectly okay to say No. In fact I encourage it. Never for one minute let yourself start to think that you will miss opportunities by saying no. It’s this kind of thinking that gets you into trouble.

You really need to assess the value of your time, stay true to the foundations of your business operations and if something doesn’t fit with your plans then say no.

Nobody said that business is easy, but I hope that these 5 keys provide you with a little food for thought and show you perhaps where you have capacity to make some changes which will better serve you and your business along your trail of success.

Are you a part time or full time entrepreneur? What do you think about the 5 Keys highlighted in this post?  Do you agree or disagree with any? Can you add others to the list?

2

2 Best Freelance Tips: How to Freelance Effectively and Profitably

This is a guest post I had written for the Free Money Finance blog in December.  Here it is so that you don’t miss a beat…

I have written quite a bit previously about freelancing on the side and how working on the side for your own clientele in the same field as your career can triple your effective hourly wage and get you more time off from work too.

If you are in a service related profession, such as an attorney, CPA, clinical psychologist, decorator, logistics planning and similar professions, freelancing is arguably the easiest and most turn-key approach to making more money on the side by acquiring your own client base.

That said, many aspiring freelancers make it a lot tougher to get started than it actually is, and often end up overspending on non value add expenditures (garbage in my opinion) way before their business ever gets a chance to get off the ground.  Other challenges can include shortage of start-up capital and dried up pipeline of clients.

Without making this an ultra long thesis paper on freelancing, I will briefly discuss two areas of focus that can help you as a freelancer.  What qualifies me to do so?  Although freelancing is not my main source of income, I have earned tens of thousands of dollars over the past few years taking up selected freelance projects, mainly in the capacity of financial due diligence on business purchases, business and life coaching, search engine optimization and internet marketing strategy.

So without further delay, here are three two of focus for soon to be successful freelancers:

Line Up Your Ducks

It’s a common tendency for anyone starting a business for the first time to be ultra particular about every single thing.  While some things are critical to take care of, others can be overlooked.

Business set up is one example.  When first starting out, focus on acquiring your business before you incorporate your business entity. Investing the time and money to set up your business before you get any business will be a big waste of limited resources.  Remember, one thing busy corporate professionals don’t have much off is time, so make sure to use your time wisely.

Most freelancers typically engage in projects tied to their professional skill-set.  If you are in this boat, focus on getting commitments from clients.  Your service should be something you already know and can speak about, so it shouldn’t be any problem approaching potential clients with your service offering.

I recommend you start spreading the word beginning with the inner circle.  Tell your family, friends and social colleagues about what you are doing, and get referrals where possible.  Set up your business formally only after getting a few commitments and filling up your client pipeline.

Some immediate business set up tasks to consider are as follows:  get business cards published, launch a website or a blog, file papers for business entity incorporation (I recommend an LLC to start off), get your Employer Identification Number (EIN), open up a business bank account and start developing a relationship with an accountant you trust (preferably referred through word of mouth).

Remember, while it is good to pre-plan, you don’t have to be meticulous about every single thing, particularly when first starting out.  Avoid the paralysis of analysis and just do it.

Hit the Trenches

The big business deals are made in the trenches, whether on the golf course, cocktail party or the football stadium.  The point is to get out there and network.  Sure you’ve told your family and friends, but as a freelancer, you can’t just expect business to walk over to your doorsteps.

Get out of your comfort zone to network and meet people.  Identify areas where you have the best chance of finding your ideal client and hang out in those areas.  For example, if you are a search engine optimization (SEO) expert, you might want to attend web development seminars and mixers where web masters are likely looking to team up with folks who know SEO.  Connect with local business organizations through the chamber of commerce in your area, or a business network group.

If you are very good at what you do, and given some time and projects under your belt, your clientele will help you acquire more business through word of mouth referral.   To improve your chances to benefit from word of mouth referring, in addition to doing a good job for your clients, make it a point to periodically touch base with them to stay in front of them so they don’t forget about you. Marketing and sales is all about frequency of exposure or point of contact.

Of course, don’t forget Facebook and Twitter, the two single biggest social networking platforms.  If used appropriately, these alone can fetch you more business than you can handle.  Incorporate both of these into your website or blog.  If you have a website, consider attaching a blog to it where you can write more frequently about recent developments.

Concluding Thoughts

Personally, my network and recently my blog have been the most effective tool in bringing me high quality and highly paid freelance work.  I do want to emphasize the fact that as a new business, you won’t be banking big bucks right away.

Developing any business takes time, patience and persistence over an extended period of time.  It may take you weeks or months along with several rejections to get your name out there and secure a gig, but you will eventually if you keep chugging along.

It helps to have a full time job so that you are not desperate about acquiring freelance business.  But with the right and consistent approach over time, you may grow your part time freelance business big enough where you could quit your job if you wanted to.

Sunil
Successful Freelancer

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