Thursday, February 16, 2006

4 Easy Ways To Improve Your Response Rate

If you've been studying online marketing for awhile you're familiar with the term 'AIDA' since it's the standard formula for creating a sales or signup page.

But just in case you're not here's what it stands for:

  1. Grab the reader's Attention.
  2. Get the reader's Interest.
  3. Create a Desire for your product or service.
  4. Call for Action. (Tell your reader what to do.)

So you write a catchy headline and try to use 1 or more of the latest 'buzz' words.

Then you write something you hope will get the reader's interest and describe the 'benefits' of your offer.

And of course you've put a signup form or a payment link on your site.

But ...

Nothing's happening. No sales - No signups.

Well the first thing you have to check is to make sure you've got some traffic to your site.

Ok, you've got some decent traffic so what's the problem?

There are lots of possibilities and I am going to list 4 of the biggies.

  1. Your page loads so slow people don't stick around to read it.

    True, a lot of people have fast connections but they've also gotten used to fast loading web pages so your landing page needs to come up quickly. Because my homepage takes too long to load, I've created several fast loading pages to promote my site and newsletter and you should consider doing the same.

    If you don't want to create smaller landing pages you can also divide your page into sections by using tables. Have the top portion of your page in 1 table so it will come up quickly and give the reader something to read while the rest of your page loads.

  2. Your site is hard to read.

    When you're picking the colors and fonts for your site make sure you pick ones that are 'easy on the eyes' and show up well on the monitor.

    You should also write short paragraphs with empty space between them.

    And one of most effective things you can do is create bullet or numbered lists. Be sure to put some space between the bullet items and if the list is really long you should alternate either the color or bold style of the list items. (Changing fonts or font size is not recommended.)

  3. Your page requires special software to be seen or heard.

    Now maybe you've got all the extra downloadable software to make all your banners, ad boxes, audio and video work but a lot of people don't. In fact, I'm one of them.

    Almost every day I come across sites that tell me I need to download something to see or hear a page properly. While I know how to download these things, a lot of people don't.

    So if you've got something on your page that requires special software make sure the software is easily attainable, free and most visitors already have it.Don't rely on the part of your page that requires extra software to do most of your selling because a lot of visitors will never see or hear it.

  4. Your page is full of extra clutter.

    In your attempt to build a list you've created a signup form. Then you wanted to add content so you did. Next you need to sell something so you've put up a few ads. You need traffic so you've added several banner exchange banners to your page. And lastly, you've added a popup.

    With all these things going for you, your visitors will surely find something to click on. Right?

    Wrong. You've given them too many things to click on. Now when they see your sight it looks like a flashing sign that says "I'm new at this and trying anything that will get your attention."

    Remember the other marketing acronym - KISS. (Keep It Simple, Smarty!)

    Ok, I changed the last word but you get the point.

    Don't clutter your page with so many things your visitor is overwhelmed with choices. Focus on 1 thing.

    Sure, your homepage may be a content page with a signup form and some ads. But what's it's focus?

    If it's the content then that's what fills most of the page and the other things are smaller and unobtrusive.

    If it's primarily a signup page then the content is promoting your mailings and the signup box is bigger and included in or at the end of the content. Any ads on the page are smaller and unobtrusive.

    Now I don't use banner exchanges but know the banners have to be shown for you to get credit. Rather than have several on you home page, use 1 at the bottom and maybe 1 at the top of your main page. To get exposure for your other banner exchange programs, try splitting your main page or creating some other page that most visitors will visit and then you can place 1 or 2 more on that page as well. (You could create a text link that promotes free traffic and points to your page full of banner exchange banners along with some words saying that by joining these programs they can get more traffic for their site.)

There are other things that can cause your response rate to be less than acceptable so you should be testing different headlines, wording, formatting, etc. while you're making sure you're not committing 1 of the above biggies.

Creating a page that performs well doesn't mean you have to use a lot of images, make it unique with unusual fonts and colors, use all the latest technical gadgets or promote everything you've joined.

If your landing pages are simple; fast loading, easy to read, readable by everyone and focused on 1 thing, you're on the right path to getting a good response rate.

To Your Success,

Thursday, February 09, 2006

2 Simple Mistakes That Can Cost You Subscribers

For most publishers, getting subscribers is 1 of the most time consuming jobs they do for their online business. In fact, I've read that online business people should be spending at least 65% of their time to building their list.

Now after you've spent that much time building your list, you don't want to accidentally lose subscribers do you? I don't.

Recently I added a couple of things to my newsletter and site to make it easier for subscribers to:

  1. Remain subscribers
  2. Share information about the newsletter and membership site.

These 2 things should have been in place when I started more than 3 years ago and have been on my "To Do" list since then.

But, like you, getting started was of primary importance and both were things that could be added once the site and newsletter were online.

Now hopefully you're not as forgetful as I am and you'll remember to add these things if you don't already have something in place. I finally got around to adding information on how to change your email address and how to get re-subscribed when I was overwhelmed with "I made a mistake" email this last December. The "share this information" was added because of a recent blog posting by Patric Chan.

The blog posting not only jogged my memory but it also pointed out an interesting fact I want to share with you.

Side Note: No matter how long you've been online, you can still learn things - in fact, it's a must that you continue learning.

The blog pointed out that many ezine publishers solicit their subscribers to "forward this to a friend" and went on to say that while having your subscribers share your information is a good thing, having them forward your email was dangerous because:

The unsubscribe link would be in the forwarded message and the person receiving it could unsubscribe the subscriber who thought your ezine was good enough to share.

Can you imagine losing a subscriber who liked your ezine well enough to share because of 1 simple, mistake?

You'll notice I took heed to Patrick's advice and implemented a 2 step approach to sharing information. Yes, it does create more work for the subscriber but it also makes it easy for them to share while protecting their subscription.

So learn from my examples. If your mailing system is like mine and doesn't provide a change of address page, read the bottom of my mailings to see how you can provide change of address or re-subscribe information. If you would like your subscribers to be able to share your ezine, use a script similar to mine and protect your subscribers' unsubscribe links. You can see my example at the end of the tip in my newsletter:

And if your wondering why I haven't shared Patrick's blog address to his insightful tip it's because he's removed the posting. I don't know why he removed it - maybe it was an accident or maybe he decided it was a secret he didn't mean to share.

Either way, it's too late now because we all know.

To Your Success,

PS - You can also add "Tell A Friend" scripts to share information about your site. See how I've used one in our member area at:

PPS - There are a lot of free "Tell A Friend" scripts available online so implementing this tip doesn't have to cost you anything but some time.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Get A Free Hosting Account - Limited Time Offer

A generous member of FriendsWhoCare is giving a Free Hosting Account to all FriendsWhoCare subscribers during the month of February, 2006.

This an ad-free account where you have complete control.

Andy is also providing some free templates for your use.

Join our circle of Friends and get access to our free membership area where you can get more information about this limited time offer.
Where helping your internet business succeed is what it's all about.

To Your Success,

Is Your Business A Secret?

Everyday I get email from subscribers and lately I've noticed that many of them don't provide any information about the senders online business.

Since this newsletter is suppose to help you with your internet marketing I am going to tell you - Don't keep your business a secret. Tell as many people about it as you can.

Maybe you think you are telling as many people as you can about your business because you've bought advertising.

But wait!

Are you using all or at least some of the free advertising methods available?

Since getting people to your site is of primary importance you should use as many marketing methods as possible to promote your site. And because most don't have a marketing budget that allows buying TV commercials or ads in popular magazines, we must do what we can with our limited resources.

That means we must use as many free marketing methods as we can and 1 of the easiest free methods is using a signature file.

From reading my email I can tell which subscribers have either been online for awhile or have at least read some tips about using free marketing methods and which subscribers are new to this whole promotion thing. So today let's cover a traditional free method of spreading the word about your online business.

Signature Files - A signature file is what you include at the end of all your outgoing email and contains at least your name, your web site address and a short description of what your site has to offer. This file is usually 3 - 5 lines long and is called a file because those who don't use an email program that will automatically attach it to all outgoing mail can keep it handy for copying and pasting into their outgoing mail.

Here are a couple of good examples from subscribers' email:

Nita Helping Hand?
For High Quality Proofreading, CopyEditing and Other Administrative Needs

Tash Hughes
Word Constructions
Ph: 0428 376 110 Fax: (03) 9445 9154
For all your business writing needs

While the examples contain different information and are
different lengths, both promote their site very well.

Whenever these 2 subscribers send email, they are promoting their site to the receiver. And while they may not get a huge response from this marketing method they will get some. And remember, a little targeted traffic is better than no targeted traffic.

Now for those who are thinking, I don't have a web site, I am promoting an affiliate site so I can't use this marketing method, I say - Yes you can.

Many affiliate programs even provide you with signature files and if you're in one that doesn't, write your own and use your affiliate link as the web site address.

Here's an example of 1 of my own signature files - I use this 1 when writing to subscribers since they already know about my site:
I'm using a system to add thousands of opt-in leads to my
list for virtually zero effort - and it's all 100% free.
Find out more:

If you click the link in this file that is set up more like a PS than a signature, you're taken to an affiliate page. By the way, PS items in email get read a lot so having a good PS that promotes something is another good free marketing method.

Using signature files and a PS note are both very good marketing methods and both are free. Heck, if you have more than 1 thing to promote you could even use both. So take a few minutes and create your own signature file and start using it. I'll expect to see more signature files from you starting today.

To Your Success,

PS - You can even use signature files to promote your site offline by using it as part of your return address on envelopes and contact info on your checks and business cards. (If you read this then you've just proven that PS notes do get read.)