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Building a Responsive Email List

How to build a responsive email opt in listI’ve just uploaded my new eBook to help you to start building a Responsive Email Opt-in list.

You can get your free copy by joining my email list here

Inside this special subscriber only report you will learn:

  • The tools you need and how you can do it for free
  • How to build a High Converting Squeeze Page
  • Generating Maximum Profits from Your Squeeze Page
  • Developing Your Brand through list management
  • Segmenting Your Lists For Better Targeting
  • How to keep your list hot and responsive
  • Links to lots of free resources to make your list building easier.

Get your FREE copy of Responsive List Building Secrets here.

Attention Deficit and how to deal with it

The scarcest commodity on the internet is “Attention”.

There is just so much noise out there and so many people wanting to be famous for a while that even if you have the most admirable and/or noble of intentions its very difficult to be heard above that noise.

To have the best chance of achieving Attention you must deliver attention along with quality work, demonstrate knowledge and above all in these cash strapped days the world finds itself in you must deliver value.

But how to keep things fresh in an attention poor, content hungry internet world?

Here are 5 things I think anybody using the Internet to promote their business must do

  1. Ignore Search Engines when developing your offer; if you sit worrying about key words and SEO all day long, in order to get to the top of Google, you will miss the mark with your customers by a wide wide margin. Sure there are things you can do to speed up your journey to Google Nirvana, but this shouldn’t be at the expense of delivering what you set out to deliver to your readers and customers. So if you’re not playing the same game as everybody else how do you get customers?
  2. You ring fence them by building your own Tribe; a growing band of merry followers who will snap up everything you throw at them, as long as it stays true to your principles of attention, quality, knowledge and value: OK so those are 4donkeys principles, but if a bunch of donkeys can do it…come on! People become members of your Tribe when they stand up and give you permission to keep in touch. If you’re totally confused by now you need to take some time out to read Seth’s books.
  3. You stay fresh and respond to the needs of your tribe. No you don’t let the tribe run the show, but you interact with them. They will help you to mould the future direction of your business and they will do one more crucial thing; they will attract more members to the tribe by word of mouth and association.
  4. Work on building a Permission or opt-in list and use it wisely to deliver value and “nice” surprises to your tribe. If you are on my list you will know how valuable the Famous Friday Freebie is every week…
  5. Take time to think and develop yourself. Read, learn and network to find new ideas and new ways of doing things. A large part of my week is spent looking for great new stuff to buy and give away in the FFF…aw nice eh?

Anyway, taking each of these points in turn I want to finish today by telling you about some more extremely valuable stuff that’s coming to GRP starting tomorrow:

  1. On not being a slave to the Search Engines: Tomorrow I want to share a true story with you about building a long term successful site with hard to find readers in a tiny niche and almost no social media exposure.
  2. On Monday I want to share with you a fool proof strategy for building a large permission list.
  3. On Tuesday I’m going to tell you about a new section I’m adding to GRP which is going to help you enormously in staying fresh and responsive in your web endeavours.
  4. Wednesday’s post will explain a little experiment I’m doing soon, which will help you and me to interact more closely on your projects; your own Free web consultant essentially.
  5. On Thursday I am going to show you how to finally put Papa Facebook to work for you. Once you implement this idea, instead of reams of messages saying “Awesome Dude, please please, please like our crappy page with no content of any consequence…please?:(“ you will be getting inbox messages saying “New follower on your list”. Call it my revenge on FB!

Have a great Saturday and I will be back tomorrow with my little case study for you.

Of course no time is a bad time to call on 07939 149103 or drop me a line if you need help with anything web wise.


My Top 5 tips for building interest with Facebook

keep your fans engaged with facebookIt’s no secret that I am not the biggest fan of Facebook.

That opinion is based mainly on the consumer side of Facebook where the now giant corporation that is Facebook, dictates how its users interact with it; for example the forced changeover to time-line view.

However, I try to put all of that to one side when I am dealing with the great FB for business and especially when I am helping clients to grow their business exposure to the world. Facebook cannot be ignored in that sense, there are just too many users for that.

FB Fan Pages are very useful tools for building traffic to your website or blog and also to your Facebook profile pages.

Fan pages outstrip profile pages due to ability to have “Fans” and for your content to be constantly updated to your followers’ feeds by whenever you post something new.

The best way to build traffic through a Fan page is by encouraging your Fans to interact with your fan page. Here are my 5 top tips for doing that:

  1. Ask questions. Just ask the people who like you on your fan page a question. You might start with closed questions that just require a yes or a no, to get the ball rolling and to build confidence in your readers. Obviously these questions will be related to your business, art or philosophy and not just “did you see the state of Ian Beale on EastEnders last night?” As you build the interaction and confidence of your likers, you can move on to more open ended questions and actually have your likers grow the useful content value of your page to some extent.
  2. Point out updates. Just pointing out what you’ve added to your readers can increase interaction, boost responses to your questions and allow your new readers or fans to get up to speed with your content more quickly.
  3. Set up a landing page. Just as you might do on your website or blog, set one up to encourage people to “like” your page in exchange for a free download, discount, benefit or gift. This can help to build your opt in email list and allow you to gain permission to keep in touch my means other than Facebook.
  4. Use Facebook Advertising. I’m not usually one for recommending advertising but this is a solid way to attract otherwise passive traffic into your Fan pages. You should ideally send them to a landing page so that you hook the opt in email as well. (Building the number of likes you get will ensure that you appear on more and more news-feeds of the fans who sign up and subsequently this will turn into even more traffic.
  5. Content is Still King. I shouldn’t really have to say this but it stands to reason that you need to be providing useful and compelling content to your fans, to hopefully keep them coming back, spreading the word and coming on through to your website or blog to get more in depth info from you.

Today is 4 donkeys Famous Freebie Friday of course and if you liked this post, you better make sure you are on the list by 15.00 UK time today.

Today’s Famous Freebie Friday pack will include an in-depth eBook on Facebook Marketing packed with tips and strategies just like those above…plus another few little surprises…make sure you get on the list here.

As always…if you need help with anything social media, blog, WordPress or on-line related just give me a bell on 07939 149103 or drop me line

Creative Commons License Moazzam Brohi provided today’s photo, thank you Moazzam!

How to start an email opt-in list

Get Permission to Market with an Opt-in email list

The most valuable business commodity in the world today is…Attention and nowhere more so than on the Internet

On the face of it, using the web to do your marketing is very attractive, the overheads are low and scaling up effectively adds zero further cost after initial set up.

The downside is of course that everybody’s doing it. In the past, expensive TV advertising was expensive because paying the money guaranteed you some exposure to the kind of people you wanted to expose your offer to.

These days, there is a lot of noise out there in web world and it is increasingly difficult to grab someone’s attention.

Due to the difficulty in getting attention, I rank it as the number one most valuable commodity for your business, but running a close second is permission.

Permission marketing is a phrase coined I think by Seth Godin, but increasingly the de rigueur way of doing business on the internet.

In its simplest form the process works like this:

  1. Attention: you’ve finally hit the hot spot and attracted someone’s attention to your offer.
  2. Permission: they sign up to be on your opt-in email list and depending on what you told them at the outset, this can be taken as permission to keep in touch.

So how do you go about getting someone on your opt-in list?

Or indeed, how do you even start an opt-in list?.

Well first off the rank, is that you simply don’t fool around trying to collect email addresses and mass emailing them on your own.

If you are even partly serious about this, you must get yourself an account with a reputable email marketing company. I can recommend both aWeber and mailchimp having used both to good effect.

These companies are set up to offer you a complete email marketing solution. If you attempt to send mass emails through your normal account you will be switched off immediately by your ISP.

Having got yourself an account with a good email marketing service, you need to create an offer that will be attractive to the people you are targeting and this is where the scarcest Internet commodity comes in: Authenticity

Authenticity is so rare that it comes as a genuinely nice surprise to people when they encounter it.

Make sure that what you are offering in return for their permission is of high value to them, not in monetary terms, but in the value it can bring to their everyday life or business if you are marketing a business service or product.

Make double sure that you tell them upfront what they can expect from you after the permission is granted. Remember that even genuinely valuable information can be a pain if it arrives too frequently.

You can then set up a sequence of auto-responder messages with your email provider to go out to people on your list on a regular basis. You can also do one off broadcasts from time to time if you wish.

In addition to the above you can set your system up to send out a weekly blog broadcast so that you can encourage your readers back to the site with snippets of what they might have missed.

Don’t push products at people every time you contact them; provide authentically useful and valuable information to them, and sales orientated material on no more than a 5:1 ratio.

Remember that having their attention and their permission is a very valuable thing and instead of throwing all of your toys at them in one go, try to think of ways that you can continue to impress them and encourage their confidence in you and/or your business.

Think of ways you can encourage them to start or keep doing business with you through the addition of special services just for your list members.

This could include setting up a members only area that you encourage them to get involved with, or a members forum on a protected page of your site. These features then become marketing tools for attracting the attention of others and hopefully their permission too.

Look at this process with long term eyes and you will soon start to build a loyal following that will continue to come back to you time and again with their needs and wants.

Happy list building for now.

Tomorrow I want to show you how to up the ante on list building by using your facebook profile as a list building tool. Be sure to look in as its a very cool thing I want to show you.

Meantime if you want to get on my list its clear how you do that on this page. When you sign up I won’t bombard you with rubbish but I will immediately send you 3 premium eBooks which will not only help you with list building but with your success on the web generally.

Every Friday I send out the Famous Friday Freebie email to my list members and this week, its a biggie: I’m sending out a whole pack of eBooks that will help you with almost every aspect of your business marketing on the web.

You can get on my list here.

If you need any help with anything web, wordpress, opt-in or marketing related give me a bell on 07939 149103 or drop me a line.

Photo thanks to: Maurice via Compfight, thanks Maurice you’re a gent!

What do you want me to do?

don't waste hard won traffic, make it obvious what to do with colour and design

The most valuable and hardest to get resource on the web is Attention, followed closely by Permission.

The attention of like minded people and their permission to keep in touch with them by email.

You know from bitter experienece how hard it is to get people to your wesbite.

The hours of tweeting, connecting on facebook (you do include links back to your site when you do that don’t you?), offline networking, SEO tweaking and blog post writing do pay off eventually.

However, I am still overwhelmed by the number of sites I come across where there is no obvious reason for the site being there in the first place.

Look at your analytics and the number of one page visits will tell you how many people are getting to your site then immediately leaving again, usually because they can’t see a good reason to stay.

Getting people to stay on your site is crucial to building a readership and an audience for your business, but how do you get them to interact with your site?

The first thing to do is make it obvious.

Have a look at the front page of this site and try to guess what I want visitors to do.

When someone lands on this front page I want them to give me permission to stay in touch with them by email.

To achieve that here’s what I do:

  1. First of all I want to give them something interesting to read about and for the majority of my readers that will be something novel about blogging, website design and probably wordpress related. I usually try to help my readers to learn how to do cool things with their wordpress site for free or on a DIY basis…they like that.
  2. Secondly if they scroll down the page, they will see that there will be something interesting to read on a regular basis; I try for daily in that respect.
  3. Last and most importantly I make it obvious that I want them to do that. I do this by making my main sign up attraction obvious, which means:
    1. it must be above the fold (so they don’t have to scroll to find it)
    2. It must be obvious which means contrasting colours to the main site design
    3. there must be a good reason. For people who might otherwise be just surfing, I have a clear and very valuable offer on the top right of the page. This should be attractive to most people who find 4donkeys by organic search, its a pack of 3 premium eBooks giving excellent information on building your website’s success.

For regular readers who haven’t signed up yet, I have a less obvious but very clear sign up box on the right of the page, which explains 3 things:

  1. Exactly what I will be sending them if they give me their permission.
  2. How often this will be. Famous Friday Freebie will obviously be once per week and in addition to that I will send “occasional” valuable stuff like tips and offers. I take great pains to be very very clear about this, because I don’t want anybody to be annoyed by what I send them.
  3. I make it clear that I won’t be a pain in the ass by drowning them in spammy junk.

These principles hold true for any web page, blog post or article.

So when readers click through to the free offer page, there is nothing else to do but sign up; there are no links out of the page, so they either sign up or leave or hit the back button.

When you write a blog post, write it for the people you really want on your site. The headline of your post has the sole purpose of getting people interested in reading the first line of the post and the first line should make them want to read the second and so on.

Be genuine, if you don’t believe it yourself, don’t say it.

If you don’t think the item is valuable, don’t sell it or even give it away.

If you haven’t experienced it, don’t say you have.

If you don’t ask permission to keep in touch, you are wasting a huge amount of energy.

The Famous Friday Freebie today has at least a £20 value and will give you a clear strategy for getting results with Twitter, Facebook and Social Media in General. If you’re not on the list by 15.00 BST, you wont get it and the offer wont be repeated.

Photo thanks to @Doug88888 via Compfight, cheers Doug

Why you need a blog

No, It's that way!

If you are the owner of a small business or you are an artist of any persuasion and you want to make at least part of your living from these activities, you should have a blog.

A blog is a way of getting on-line simply and economically. It looks professional and as long as you engage with the process fully, it gives your audience a very real feeling of being close to you and/or your work.

With a blog you can stay small if you want, which is the complete opposite to what you’ll be told if you go along to a business computing night class.

Staying small is good in the eyes of your audience, they want you to stay small, approachable and in touch with their world.

So even if your aspirations are to become a completely insane despot who eventually takes over the universe, you are much more likely to take people along with you if you stay small in their eyes.

Most of the people I talk to about website development either don’t blog, or have tried it and then dropped it. That’s why there are so many blogs out there that haven’t been updated for years.

Every now and then I come across a really great blog post only to find that the blogger gave up 2 years ago and that their blog just sits languishing on wordpress.com or blogger.com with a diminishing readership.

The reason for this isn’t that these bloggers have run out of ideas or something to say, its usually that they didn’t really know why they were doing it in the first place.

There can only be one reason for blogging and that is to genuinely offer help to people who need to hear what you have to say.

That’s why, on this blog I often write about ways you can do stuff on the web for free. Many people who are just starting out in a business or art project don’t have stacks of cash to spend on a web presence, so if I can shorten their learning curve in getting their blog or website up for free then I will.

Of course by helping people this way you hope that someday they will ask you to help on a paid basis, but that should never be a condition of offering the help in the first place.

By helping people in any way you can, even by showing them exactly how to do what you do, you can grow your following organically and know that the people who follow you are genuinely interested in what you do.

Look at the number of Etsy sellers who have youtube channels dedicated to showing their customers exactly how to make the stuff they already sell!

If you have genuine followers you can gradually grow a “permission” list; a list of email subscribers who will avidly read the stuff you send out to them and welcome its arrival.

Seth Godin has some really useful advice on this way of doing business here.

Photo thanks to: maistora via Compfight

List Building and Email Marketing

an email opt-in list is an impressive marketing tool

If you have something to say or sell and you want to spread the word and build a loyal following you need to build an opt-in email list.

You will have seen this on many sites; just a little box asking for your name and email address and maybe offering a free report or just a newsletter in return for these details; just the like the one to the right of this post.

If its being done properly and legally then you will usually have to confirm your subscription by clicking the link in an email you receive after signing up.

This is called Opting In to receive information from that site’s owner. Its also known as Permission Marketing (because you’ve given them permission to keep in touch) and it can be a very powerful strategy for building a loyal fanbase for your art or brand.

I’ve written a free eBook detailing all of the ins and outs of setting up and making use of this kind of website functionality and you can download it here.

Meantime if you are ready to get started building your list we have an Add-on service to help you get up and running fast and avoid all of the learner pitfalls in the process.

The service we recommend for this is called aWeber and you can go over and set up an account with them at aWeber.com. There are of course lots of great tutorials etc for getting you up and running with aWeber; but if you want to avoid yet another learning curve we can take care of all of the set up process for you as follows:

  1. Guide you through the aWeber account set-up process (we can’t enter your payment details etc, but we will guide you through this first stage.)
  2. Set up your first opt-in email list for you.
  3. Design, build and install your first email opt-in form to display on your site.
  4. Create and format your auto-reponder message from text provided by you.
  5. Upload any attachments and files you want to give away to list members at sign up.
  6. Create and format up to 10 follow-up messages from text provided by you (further messages can be added at £5 each)
  7. Test the set up and make sure everything is working correctly.

All of this for £75 (doesn’t include aWeber subscription fees)

Later once you are more familiar with aWeber you might want to add further functionality and we can help with that at very reasonable cost as follows:

  • Integrate aWeber with your Twitter Account £5
  • Integrate aWeber with facebook £5
  • Set up aWeber to broadcast your blog posts at set intervals £5
  • Design, format and send a regular e-Newsletter to your list £25 set up fee then £15 per newsletter thereafter.

If you are nervous or unsure about any of this; first of all download my FREE eBook on email marketing and/or feel free to give me a call on 01764 683461 or 07939 149103 (UK numbers) or drop me a line using the form below: