Author: Justin Premick

Link Tank: Signatures, Email Testing and Google’s Growth

By Justin Premick

Link TankLink Tank is our way of showing you some of the interesting, useful, thought-provoking and other eye-catching stuff we come across. For more of these, see the Link Tank tag.

Tweet This

AWeber Hosts a Book Tour

By Justin Premick

One of the things we love about our office is the large classroom that we built for it.

It’s been great for holding “AWeber University” classes (where our team members share their expertise on specific areas of AWeber, email marketing topics, providing outstanding customer support and more with the rest of us) as well as project development and brainstorming sessions.

These are great, but one main reason we built the classroom was to have a space where we could bring in businesses and members of our community to learn and to share ideas. But for nearly a year, we held off on hosting an event.

Recently, we found an opportunity to share our home with a customer and members of our local community – and we’re glad we did.

AWeber Customer Chris Guillebeau Includes AWeber On His Book Tour

I met Chris last year in Washington, DC when we shot a video together on building community:

We stayed in touch, and a while back he asked if he could host a stop on his book tour here.

We hammered out details and before you knew it, nearly 40 Philadelphia-area fans converged on the AWeber offices for a talk, book signing and chance to swap ideas.

Photos From The Event

We snapped a few photos from the 2-hour event and posted them to our Facebook page and Flickr account.

Here are a few photos:

Chris Gives a Talk
Chris takes questions from the crowd
Chris Signs Books
Signing books after the talk

Thanks to All Who Attended!

We’re excited to have helped Chris on his tour, and we’re grateful to everyone who came out and helped us break in our classroom with our first meetup.

Hopefully this’ll be the first of many great events at AWeber!

Do you hold small business and/or entrepreneurial talks, Meetups, etc. in the Philadelphia area? Interested in holding one at AWeber? Contact us with details about your organization and what you’d like to use the space for.

Tweet This

Link Tank: Intro to SEO, Social Crash, Vintage Ads

By Justin Premick

Link TankWe see, share and discuss a lot of links throughout the week… more than we could ever write articles about. Link Tank is our way of showing you some of the interesting, useful, thought-provoking and other eye-catching stuff we come across. For more of these, see the Link Tank tag.

Tweet This

Labor Day Support Hours 2010

By Justin Premick

Flag and HatOur support offices will be closed for Labor Day on Monday, September 6th, 2010.

As always, we’ll be keeping an eye on the AWeber system and the support inbox to address any critical issues.

We’ll be back on Tuesday, September 7th at 8:00AM EDT to answer your questions by phone, email and live text chat.

Thanks, and have a great holiday!

Gmail Introduces The Priority Inbox

By Justin Premick

On this blog and others, traditional “batch-and-blast” (PS don’t ever use that word unless you’re mocking it) email marketers have been hearing for a while now that relevance plays an important role in your email deliverability.

As far back as 2007, we noted that “spam” was about email subscribers don’t want or value. Not just email that they didn’t request (although that’s still spam, too).

As I noted in that post, “If you’re not providing value to subscribers, their actions with your messages will reflect that. ISPs track what’s done with your messages, and can choose to filter you out if they find you’re not ‘what the consumer wants.'”

This week, Gmail announced a new feature that makes this a reality.

Introducing The Priority Inbox

To manage our overflowing inboxes, a lot of people already sort email into groups of emails to read and respond to now, later or never. (Your own groups’ names may vary, or you may not even have a specific system like that… but I’d bet you read emails from certain people more often and/or more quickly.)

Gmail’s Priority Inbox attempts to simplify and automate this process for email users by figuring out which senders’ emails are important, based on how (or whether) you interact with those emails and senders.

Here’s how they explain it:

Priority Inbox is a beta feature that will be rolling out to users soon (I haven’t gotten it yet, but am eager to get my hands on it and see it in action).

What Are People Saying About It?

Here are a few of the articles I’ve read about it:

I especially recommend you read the last one of those.

“So Do My Marketing Emails All Go Into The “Everything Else” Pile Now?”

Not necessarily, but consider the examples in the Gmail video… note whose email is getting prioritized (email from contacts, friends, people you email back and forth with regularly) and whose is not (the “Special Offer” email).

It’s early to make predictions about what all of this means – or if it will even stick around as a feature. You never know, Gmail users might end up not liking it (although I tend to doubt that’ll be the case).

That said, it’s clear that whatever the future of the Priority Inbox holds, ISPs are continuing to move toward creating systems that reward email that people want at the expense of email people don’t want. (Gmail isn’t the first to try this – the same sort of thing is happening at Yahoo! and Windows Live Hotmail.)

What this should tell you is that you need to take a long, hard look at whether your emails are something your subscribers really want. Because if they aren’t, you’re going to find it harder over time to continue getting them opened and clicked.

It’s Not All Gloom And Doom

In fact, this is excellent news if you’re creating and delivering email marketing campaigns that people want.

So the question is, how do you create emails people actually want?

Engage your subscribers in conversation via your emails. Invite feedback. Ask them questions. Increase the value that you deliver in your emails.

Start identifying groups of subscribers within your list who have similar interests. Start segmenting your list and creating more relevant emails.

Here’s a list of posts we’ve written on email segmentation. (If it seems like we talk a lot about segmentation on this blog, well… this is why.)

Tweet This

Link Tank: Full Gmail, Email vs. Social, Asking The Right Questions

By Justin Premick

At AWeber, we see, share and discuss a lot of links throughout the week… more than we could ever write articles about. So to give you an idea of what we’re reading and talking about (mostly, but not always, about marketing), we’re going to share a few of those links here.

This is an experiment, so if you like it and want us to do more of these, please leave a comment or share/retweet this. Thanks, and enjoy!

Tweet This

New QuickStats for Email Newsletters

By Justin Premick

QuickStatsIf you’re like most people reading this blog, you love data. Not this Data, but the kind that paints a picture of what is and isn’t working in your email marketing.

The trouble with data, of course, is that sometimes it’s hard to know which data is important and worth focusing on. Not to mention that for it to be valuable, the data has to be actionable, too.

Last week we leaked some information about a soon-to-be-released tool that not only helps you see how your email marketing campaigns perform, but also makes it easy to take action to increase your response rates and conversions.

And now, it’s here.

Announcing Broadcast QuickStats

QuickStats makes it easy to understand how your broadcasts performed by showing you:

  • Opens
  • Clicks
  • Web Hits/Traffic
  • Unsubscribes

Some screenshots of QuickStats (click to see full-size images):

opens-mock
clicks-mock

Even better, you can use the data to identify responsive and non-responsive groups of subscribers – those people who:

  • Opened the email
  • Didn’t open it
  • Clicked a given link
  • Didn’t click that link
  • Made a purchase (did you know that you can track email-driven sales in AWeber?)

Not Only Are QuickStats Useful and Easy-to-Read… They’re Actionable, Too!

This is by far my favorite part.

One of the most powerful things you can do when you know who clicked a link, or didn’t open an email, is segment out those subscribers and broadcast only to them:

Send Directly to These Subscribers
Click to see full-size image

It’s an effective way to talk to people who are interested in a particular product, feature, part of your website or anything else you’re linking to.

Plus, when you’re able to identify who didn’t open or click, and then email only those people, you can:

  • Make an alternate offer
  • Find out what their objections are
  • Send other targeted and relevant email campaigns to increase your conversions

Learn More About QuickStats in a Free, One-Hour Webinar

On Wednesday, August 4th, we’ll give you a tour of QuickStats, show you how it works and answer your questions about it, live!

Learn All About Broadcast QuickStats

In this free webinar, you’ll learn about QuickStats, our new tool that will make analyzing your email campaigns and segmenting your list easier than ever!

Sign up to discover:

  • How QuickStats shows you how your emails performed
  • How to easily segment your list in 1 click to create highly targeted, relevant campaigns to responsive and non-responsive subscribers

Plus, get your questions about QuickStats answered live!

Date: Wednesday, August 4th
3 – 4 PM ET (Convert Time)

Sign Up Now

What Do You Think?

How will being able to see at a glance how your broadcasts perform, identify potentially profitable subscriber segments, and quickly and easily create and deliver targeted campaigns to them affect your business?

We’d love to hear how you’ll use QuickStats to increase your response rates and conversions – tell us!

Support Hours – Independence Day 2010

By Justin Premick

FireworksAWeber’s customer support offices will be closed on Monday, July 5th 2010 for the Independence Day holiday.

As always, we’ll be keeping an eye on things to address any critical issues.

We’ll be here on Saturday the 3rd from 9:00AM until 5:00PM EDT to answer your questions by phone, email and live text chat, and we’ll return on Tuesday the 6th at 8:00AM EDT.

Thanks, and have a great holiday!

Small Businesses Investing More in Email Marketing, Look to Integrate Social Media

By Justin Premick

Recently, we surveyed AWeber customers to see what small businesses are doing in their email marketing today, and what you’re planning to do in the future.

Turns out you’re doing a lot of really cool stuff (no surprise to us ;))!

Here are some findings and analysis from the survey:

  • Almost 70% of small businesses are employing some sort of social media tactics.
  • Small businesses find email marketing’s ROI more measurable, more quickly realized and greater than social media’s ROI.
  • Over 71% of small businesses plan to increase their focus on behavioral targeting in the coming year.

For more on this, see this article at eMarketer discussing some of the results, and the press release below. (The release is also available here.)

You can also grab a copy of the complete results and analysis.


Small Businesses Investing More in Email Marketing, Look to Integrate Social Media

Huntingdon Valley, Pa. (June 23, 2010) - AWeber Communications, a leading provider of web-based email marketing software for small businesses, today announced results from a survey of more than 2,500 small businesses regarding email marketing and social media marketing efforts. Email marketing continues to bring significant value to businesses with more than 82 percent of respondents planning to increase their email marketing efforts over the next year.

The survey, generated by AWeber and initially reported by eMarketer, indicates that the more social media grows in popularity among consumers, the more attention it will receive from marketers. While it may not be entirely clear how marketers are incorporating social media into their existing digital marketing efforts such as email marketing, almost 70 percent of small business marketers are employing some sort of social media tactics and a majority (77 percent) indicate that integrating email marketing and social media is either “very important” or “moderately important.”

The most popular tactics at the moment involve spreading content onto additional mediums such as sharing email newsletters on Twitter (36 percent) and delivering blog posts via email (35 percent). Small business marketers seem to recognize the value in driving social media followers and fans to their email lists and vice versa – allowing subscribers to access information from the medium they are most comfortable with.

“As the survey results indicate, email marketing continues to be a measurable, effective tool that brings significant value to small businesses, regardless of the nature of their business,” said Tom Kulzer, CEO and founder of AWeber. “It is also evident that marketers are continuing to realize the importance of integrating their email marketing campaigns with social media activities as a way to reach a broader audience, but are still learning how to do this effectively. We continue to provide our users with educational resources, including our blog and webinars to help them better understand how to engage with their customers.”

Another interesting finding from the survey centered on behavioral targeting, a method considered help deliver superior results. By specifically targeting email campaigns toward subscribers who have taken an action (opened a particular email, clicked on a link), nearly 50 percent of respondents indicated that behavioral targeting increases their conversion rates either significantly or moderately.

These responses also highlight a divide between email marketers who are testing behavioral targeting and those who are not. Nearly a quarter (24.8 percent) of respondents state that they have not tested behavioral targeting in their email marketing campaigns, while another 23 percent are not sure whether behavioral targeting increases conversion rates – a number which suggests that marketers may not be testing this thoroughly, if at all.

However, this divide may be shrinking, as an overwhelming majority of respondents (71.4 percent) plan to increase their focus on behavioral targeting in their email campaigns over the next year.

As the ongoing battle for subscribers’ attention escalates, relevance and value are at a premium making analytical date more valuable than ever. Nearly 70 percent of respondents indicate that analytical reports either significantly or moderately impact their email marketing strategies. Of the marketers who do not currently use these reports, more than one quarter are interested in using them.

Other key findings from the AWeber survey include:

  • More than 66 percent of respondents indicate they intend to use behavioral targeting as well as sales tracking in their campaigns over the next 12 months.
  • 54 percent of respondents indicate they intend to use Facebook as a tool to help build their email lists
  • Nearly 20 percent of respondents indicate that integrating email marketing and social media increased customer loyalty
  • Almost 12 times as many respondents said that email marketing ROI is more easily measured than social media ROI (61.46 percent versus 5.28 percent)

Methodology
The AWeber survey was conducted over a five-day period from May 20-24. Responses were entered anonymously by 2,579 AWeber customers. Based on the population size and the number of respondents, responses can be reported with a 99% confidence level with a margin of error of +/- three percent.

For more information, including full survey results and the executive summary, contact Justin Premick, Director of Education Marketing at justinpremick@aweber.com.

About AWeber Communications
AWeber Communications helps businesses increase sales and profits through its suite of web-based email marketing software. The privately held, debt-free company was founded in 1998. For more information, visit http://www.aweber.com.

###


Thanks To Everyone Who Participated In The Survey!

To all of you who took a few minutes out of your day to answer our survey last month, thanks so much!

Hopefully it’s useful and motivating to see how your email marketing efforts and usage compare to those of other small businesses.

Tweet This