Boost Sales and Save Time with Email Automation

System of gears to illustrated automation during the email process.

Generating a side income selling digital products is one of the greatest steps in your journey as a blogger or content marketer. You’re ready to get in the game after hearing from others how awesome it is to have this self-sustaining source of income that practically runs itself. And so you put together a few offerings, maybe a checklist, a How To PDF, or even an ecourse, and start dreaming of what you’ll do with the extra income boost.

Fast forward a few months and you’re tied to your computer, sending one-off emails about products, crafting new sales emails, following up with customers to see if they would be interested in another product, manually tracking which subscribers have or have not made a purchase, and that’s a short list of possible tasks, at best. You’re then doing all of this while trying to develope new products to turn around, promote, and sell.

The self-sustaining income generator you once believed would change your life, has become a monster, consuming your time and attention.

To complicate things even more, sometimes sales are hopping as if it were Black Friday at Bed, Bath and Beyond and sometimes they’re as quiet and desolate as a lone cactus in the Arizona desert. You start to wonder “What is up with this endless cycle of hustle, hustle, hustle? Where’s the flow part? How do other online entrepreneurs make it look so easy? What am I missing?!

The Missing Link: Automating and Increasing Sales with Email

The self-sustaining and automated part of the cycle is what’s missing. Other bloggers or content marketers don’t necessarily have it easier; it’s where they have invested their time and effort.

Automation begins with your email marketing strategy. If you take the time to craft funnels, create tagging options and thoughtfully plan out your follow-up process once,  you’ll need only minor edits and adjustments along the way. The key here is planning. Not only have you created the customer journey for one product, you’ve created a system for your next.

Added Bonus: Your time will free itself up as things start to take care of themselves.

Simple Ways to Automate Your Self-Sustaining Revenue Generator

  • Ask everyone who makes a purchase if they would like to join your email list. Do this during the checkout process via a Parser within FeedBlitz or using Zapier to connect your shopping cart to your FeedBlitz account.
  • Add customers to a follow-up email funnel to ask how they are enjoying the purchase, offer a discount on their next purchase, and / or ask for a review. This funnel reinforces the customer experience with you, encouraging future purchases.

  • Include your Etsy or Shopify accounts in your email template. Every FeedBlitz email template is configured to feature your most recent products in either online shop. This is a great way to keep subscribers informed of what is available, without having to manually send separate emails.

  • Send Etsy or Shopify-specific newsletters to your list. Using a duplicate email list, skip the content altogether and show 1, 2, 4 or even 6+ products in the email. The product images and descriptions are automatically pulled from your shop in the order they are posted. You can create this email and schedule it to be sent on an automatic schedule (weekly or monthly) or send manually when you have a new product you would like to highlight.

Advanced Methods for Next Level Automation

We recommend working with Zapier to connect your FeedBlitz account with your shopping cart for simplified integration. Doing this allows you the ability to access the advanced methods of tracking and follow up some of the biggest brands in the market implement. Two examples of this would be:

  • Tag customers according to the product purchased in order to add them to a purchase-specific funnel. The benefits here are not only asking how they are enjoying their purchase or offering a discount, but you can begin strategically introducing them to complementary products they may also enjoy, without including them in promotions for products they already have.Once you know your customers’ buying habits and really understand their wants and needs, relating products and creating these funnels will become easier. Always lead with the value these products offer and show how they relate to their purchase before going in for the sale. Value first, sale second.
  • Send abandoned shopping cart emails to customers who did not complete their purchase. A gentle reminder a day or two later can be just what your potential customer needs in order to complete the purchase. The key here is having the customer sign up for an account and agree to mailings while on your site.

The Bigger Picture

It is possible for you to have an automated, self-sustaining income generator selling your products. A well-crafted email marketing strategy can help get you there. Imagine the time you’ll save in the long run to focus on growing your business, creating new products, taking up a hobby or spending time with family. There is a good chunk of work required in the beginning, but you’ll break the cycle of hustle, hustle, hustle with not a lot of flow once your system is in place.

If you have any questions when it comes to email marketing or increasing your online revenue, send our team an email at support@feedblitz.com. You can also chat, check out our Help Forum, or give us a call at 1.877.692.5489. Our Support and Sales Desk is available Monday – Friday from 9 am to 5 pm EST.

 

 

The Automated vs Manual Email Debate

Debating between automated and manual emails.

Email marketing falls into two categories: automated or manual. Some bloggers insist one is better than the other, sparking the great email debate. What really matters is:

  1. Your preference in how the emails are sent.

  2. The expectations you have set for your subscribers.

Do you want to be hands on and manually send out each email or would you prefer to allow your email to run automatically? Are your subscribers expecting updates from your site only or an insider look at content not available to the public?

You may be strictly one or the other, or possibly a hybrid of both. Let’s take a look to see how each category works.

Automated Emails and RSS

Automated emails, commonly referred to as RSS emails, automatically send new updates from your website to your mailing list, using your RSS feed. These updates can be scheduled to mail soon after a new post goes live, or at a set time each day, each week or even each month. The more you post between sending times determines how many posts will appear in your email.

The good thing about automated emails is they are just that — automatic. Design your template, set your sending schedule and your mailing provider, such as FeedBlitz, takes care of the rest. You can focus on posting content to your blog assured your email marketing is being handled. Automated emails are a great way to stay in consistent communication with your subscribers as long as you’re posting to your blog consistently.

With this category of emails, however, you won’t be able to personally touch each email that is sent. While you can easily insert a subscriber’s first name and add an introductory sentence to your template to personalize the emails a bit more, some bloggers prefer to hand-craft an intro paragraph or insert commentary on individual posts. Revisiting our points mentioned above, it depends on what expectations you’ve set for your subscribers.

The Skinny on Manual Emails

Manual emails, on the other hand, offer you greater control when it comes to exclusive content and sending time. Starting with either your email template or a blank email, you add the content and choose whether to send right away or schedule for another day.

Many bloggers enjoy manual emails as it offers a chance to be more candid and personal with subscribers than what they feel is appropriate for a blog post. This also gives your subscribers the opportunity to receive something extra that blog readers won’t see.. As mentioned before, this hits on what expectations you have set for your subscribers. Did you promise exclusive content not available to everyone else? Then manual emails will be the way to deliver on your promise.

Now, say you want to send a manual email with a personalized note along with content from your website? FeedBlitz can assist you in this process. We curate the content, you choose which posts to send, the order to send them, the ability to add a note at the top (or bottom) then send or schedule.

A potential downside to manual emails as opposed to automated emails is the time invested in each email. It’s not running on an automatic machine so you’ll need to be more disciplined to carve out time in your schedule to send emails on a consistent basis.

Do what works for your subscribers.

The debate amongst bloggers as to which category of email is better — automatic or manual — isn’t going away anytime soon. There are pros and cons for both! Good news is you don’t actually have to choose. You can if you’d like, but many bloggers opt for a combination of the two. Automatic emails for the blog content and manual emails for exclusive updates or weekly summary emails.

The key is finding what works for you in meeting your subscribers’ expectations. If you’re unsure, simply ask your subscribers. If you’d like to test the waters, adding a second category of email, we suggest creating a duplicate mailing list and letting your subscribers know about this addition in the first mailing. This way they have the opportunity to unsubscribe to the new updates only if preferred.

Adding a second mailing can be just the next step you need in your email marketing journey. If you have any questions when it comes to the two categories of emails or anything email marketing-related, send our team an email at support@feedblitz.com. You can also chat, check out our Help Forum, or give us a call at 1.877.692.5489. Our Support and Sales Desk is available Monday – Friday from 9 am to 5 pm EST.

Increasing Open Rates: Magic or Method?

OPEN Sign: Tips to increase your open rate.

Excitement over email marketing tends to increase as your list grows. You can’t help but feel proud of your work as you add 5,10, 50, 100+ subscribers each week. These milestones build confidence in your abilities as a content marketer. It’s time to take the next step on your journey and attend an event to network with fellow content marketers, bloggers and online entrepreneurs.

At the event, everyone’s buzzing around, comparing best practices for all aspects of email marketing. Engaged in an intriguing roundtable discussion, about delivery metrics and list growth, a fellow networker congratulates you on your success and asks “What’s your open rate?

Suddenly, your excitement dips. Open rate? “I’m not even sure I know what an open rate is, let alone what mine is,” you think to yourself. You toss out a number that would seem appropriate (half? 30%? anything that sounds strong) then switch subjects so the focus isn’t on you anymore.

During the next break, you sneak off with your laptop to do some digging. After a bit of clicking, you find it – 8%. “8%?! That’s much lower than the numbers everyone else was mentioning!” Your excitement over the success of your email marketing starts to plummet as you realize you’ve grown a large list of people who don’t seem to be interested in opening your emails!

This can be extremely frustrating, however, do not despair–there are simple things you can do to help increase your open rate, and you can start with your very next email.

What is an open rate?

An open rate is the percentage of subscribers, of the total number of subscribers, who opened your email. Open rates vary, but a good number to aim for is about 20%, the industry average. Deal sites and coupon bloggers see a lower average open rate, closer to 13-14%, while highly targeted mailing lists with a specific niche can see significantly higher rates.

Your open rate is a marker of your overall email engagement success. If a subscriber isn’t opening the email, they certainly are not going to click your call to action (CTA), forward the email to a friend, or share the content on social media. You may not hit the highest open rate with each email, but by adjusting your approach with just a few tweaks, you can gradually increase your open rate and maintain a steady average.

How to Increase Your Open Rate

Increasing your open rate is a matter of testing and seeing how your subscribers respond. It doesn’t happen by chance, but by making a combination of strategic changes to produce the best possible outcome. Let’s get started:
  • Focus on your subject line. You can send the best content in the world and watch your email fall flat due to a poorly chosen subject line. When it comes to your subject line, keep it short, simple, and intriguing. Skip the emojis, the extra punctuation, spammy sounding phrases, and unnecessary words. 56% of emails are opened on mobile devices–that means you have 35 characters to make your subject line count! When your subject line looks appealing, subscribers are much more inclined to open and see what’s inside. Do a little research before hitting send, ask coworkers, friends, even family if they would open your email.

Bonus Tip: Work with your FeedBlitz Insights to see which of your previous subject lines resulted in the most opens. This can be a key indicator to what’s most effective with your subscribers.

  • Find the right time to hit send. If you’re hitting send when an industry blog post told you to, stop that right now. What may work for one content marketer or blogger may not work well with your subscribers. Think about your audience, your target personas — when would they most likely check their email? Try changing the time, day, or even the frequency of your email for at least three mailings to see if it has any impact on your open rate. If that doesn’t help, try another day/time combination. Cycle through a few experiments and then send on the combination that offered the highest average open rate. Don’t forget to pay attention to the calendar and note any holidays or current events that can affect your testing.
  • Send something worth reading. When you send quality, engaging, value-filled content in your emails, and do so consistently, subscribers are more likely to be interested in what you have to say. Your first line alone can determine whether a subscriber will open your email or not as FeedBlitz uses this line as the content preview on mobile devices.

    Along with automated blog content, consider offering exclusive updates to your email list. More than discounts or deals, send insider tips or personalized letters to show there is a benefit to being on the email list. This mixes up the content they’re receiving, while increasing interest and engagement.

Bonus Tip: P.S. – Embrace the power of the postscript! Let your email readers know what to expect in the next email so, they’ll be on the lookout for your next tidbit of content.
  • Target the emails you send. Not every piece of content will relate to all of your subscribers. Work with custom fields to tag your subscribers with their level of interest, skill, even where they live and you’ll then be able to segment your mailings, sending relevant content to those who are most interested. Brainstorm 3-5 ways you can segment your subscribers and experiment sending specific content to each group. Interested subscribers are more likely to open your emails, every time.

It’s not magic, it’s a method!

As you can see, increasing your open rate isn’t magic. It’s a process. You choose and test  strategies to find what works best for your audience. At your next conference, you’ll feel confident knowing your list is growing, your content is a success and your open rate is in check, being steady and healthy or gradually increasing!

Which tip will you use to increase your open rate on your next email? Let us know via email, we always enjoy hearing from our readers!

If you have any questions when it comes to email marketing, send our team an email at support@feedblitz.com. You can also chat, check out our Help Forum, or give us a call at 1.877.692.5489. Our Support and Sales Desk is available Monday – Friday from 9 am to 5 pm EST.

Delegate and Deliver with FeedBlitz Multi-User

FeedBlitz Introducing New Multi-User Capabilities

Growing your website or enterprise can be a wonderful experience—entering new territories, starting new ventures, increasing your customer base—the thrill of expansion propels you from one project to the next. With growth comes scaling and hiring, whether you’re welcoming new staff members to the team, working with a virtual assistant, or reorganizing your company. Now you’re delegating tasks to accomplish your goals more effectively and efficiently.

However, when you delegate your email marketing to others, there’s a slight problem. Sharing your login grants your new employee access to everything in your account. But wouldn’t it be great to offer access to some areas of your FeedBlitz account while limiting the accessibility of others? To grant rights to edit or work in certain areas but keep your financial and monetizing information on lockdown? Or vice-versa perhaps? All of this and no worries about compromising your privacy?

Problem Solved! Introducing Multi-User

Today we’re announcing FeedBlitz has grown with you, adding multi-user capabilities. Give others the ability to work on your email marketing projects, within restrictions and limits set by you, while still maintaining your privacy.

When you add a user to your account, you assign one or more of the roles listed below. You can also narrow down specific tasks and responsibilities for a user further by limiting their scope of capabilities, ensuring organizational boundaries and privacy restrictions are protected every step of the way.

  • Site Manager: This role has the ability to edit, create, and control anything site-related. This includes access to mailing lists, subscribers, feeds, funnels, as well as editing templates and subscription forms the site contains. You can restrict a Site Manager to a few specific sites or allow access to them all.

  • User Manager: For larger organizations, you can delegate user management to someone else. This role is a great fit for project managers, large enterprises, or those working with a larger team of individuals.

  • Account Manager: Now you can hand off billing to your accountant, purchasing department, or office manager. With this role, you delegate management of your own profile to another team member. Extend the scope to access financial information, including payment method, receipts, advertising options, and affiliate revenue reports, or keep the scope narrow to basic profile content only.

Improving Your Effectiveness, Controlling Your Privacy

Whether you’re a blogger, business owner, online entrepreneur, or corporate manager, nearly all levels of your email marketing can benefit from multi-user. Not only will these roles allow increased privacy measures, but as you delegate tasks to others, the opportunity to increase your efficiency and productivity exists as well.

Interested in starting with multi-user? Begin your free 7-day trial here, or open the User Menu by hovering over the green Welcome button and selecting User. From here, you will be able to begin adding new users and assigning roles. After the 7-day trial, you will be billed $25 per month per additional user. There are no limits to how many users you can have, and you are free to grant each user as many roles as you please. Multi-user fees are adjusted as you add or remove users, with updated charges showing on the next billing cycle.

Expanding your empire doesn’t have to be paired with any concerns over granting full access to your account. As your email marketing needs grow, FeedBlitz is ready to grow with you. Our multi-user capabilities are yet another way we are evolving to support your success.

Begin your 7-day trial of multi-user!

Our team is ready and standing by to assist in any way possible as you incorporate multi-user with your FeedBlitz Account. If you have any questions on multi-user, please email support@feedblitz.com. Our team is also available via chat, our Help Forum, or by phone at 1.877.692.5489. Our Support and Sales Desk is available Monday – Friday from 9 am to 5 pm EST.

7 Mistakes You’re Making with Your Subscription Forms

Proceed with Caution if you're guilty of one of these seven subscription form mistakes!

Having your own little corner of the World Wide Web to write about anything, to engage with like-minded individuals, and to spark conversation is an incredibly wonderful, intoxicating feeling. You’re pouring your heart and soul into your work; your enthusiasm propels you forward in pursuit of your latest goal. Maybe you’ve just started your personal or business blog, or maybe you’ve been at this for a few years now. Regardless, the feeling of knowing you own that space and people are interested in what you have to say, how you can help them, is like no other.

Checking your site analytics offers encouragement to continue in your mission. People are visiting your site, interested in the content you provide; the proof is in the numbers. However, you start noticing not everything is going in the direction you’d like. People are visiting your site, but they aren’t signing up for your list. If they visit and are interested, wouldn’t they want to receive updates from you? What’s stopping them from entering their email address?

Why aren’t people signing up?

There can be many reasons why people will visit your website and choose not to sign up for your mailing list. They’re short on time, they don’t find the content valuable enough to be invited into their inboxes, or they could have even clicked onto your site by accident. You can easily run yourself tired attempting to address every possible reason visitors do not join your list, yet we suggest focusing on one item to tackle this issue.

You want to begin with the first place many publishers fumble—your subscription forms. Being in email marketing for the past decade, we’ve seen it all when it comes to these forms. The good, the bad, and the ones that should’ve never been taken live. With this knowledge in hand, we’ve devised 7 of the most common mistakes we see when it comes to subscription forms. Sometimes it’s better to know what not to do to, to narrow down what to do.

7 Mistakes to Avoid with Your Subscription Forms

  1. Your reader can’t find your subscription form. It may sound like common sense, but think about it: Do you have a lot going on with your site? Flashy graphics, ads, pop-ups, the works? Your subscription form  may be getting lost in the sea of shiny objects. As the site owner, you easily spot your form right away, but  things can get crowded for a new visitor. Consider reducing the number of distractions on your homepage or adding a simple pop-up form that appears after someone has been on your site for 30 – 60 seconds.

  1. Too many subscription forms. It’s tempting to overdo it when it comes to subscription forms. You want to make it incredibly easy for someone to subscribe, so you add a subscription form in every location possible. Header bar? Check. Pop-up? Check. Sidebar? Got it. At the bottom of every post? You betcha. One more in the footer, just in case? Of course!

    These forms are wonderful options to grow your list when they’re used in moderation. Adding all the form options you can, where you can, not only annoys your visitor but leaves you looking desperate to get subscribers. Choose 2-3 different formats and work with those for a month. Then try another combination of subscription forms. Test which ones are the most effective for your site and go from there. In this case, less can easily equal more, and desperation is never a good look for any site.

  1. Aggressive forms that are too in your face. Similar to walking into a store to make a purchase and having a sales associate immediately approach you, asking questions and offering suggestions, you don’t want your subscription forms to be equally as aggressive or annoying. Using all caps, for example, is rarely necessary, as are bright, neon colors which do not match the scheme of your site. Aggressive forms can be a huge turn off for individuals considering signing up for our list. When you’re working with your forms, put yourself in the shoes of a brand new site visitor to your site and work from this frame of mind.

  1. Not offering value in exchange for their email address. Value, in this sense, is not referring to an incentive. While offering an incentive is a phenomenal way to encourage readers to become subscribers (more on that later), this mistake is referring to the content you use on your form. Which site would you be more motivated to join?

    • “Sign up for the latest DIY crafts!“ or “Never run out of craft ideas again!”

    • “Get my weekly recipes straight to your inbox!” or “Meal Planning Made Easy!”

      Let your subscribers know what they’re getting from you and why they should submit their email address by tweaking your offer line. Anyone can send another DIY craft or a weekly recipe, but you’re offering something a little more special. Let your readers know they’ll be receiving more than another email to crowd their inbox; they’re signing up for something that is going to make their life more entertaining, easier, simpler, etc.

  1. The incentive has nothing to do with the content you’re offering. Now, this is quite common when publishers first begin offering incentives. Thinking “as long as I offer something, people will surely sign up” right? Not always. The incentive you offer should make sense for your readers. It’s a direct indication of the type of content they can expect to receive from you on a regular basis. If your incentive is off topic from their reason for visiting your site in the first place, there’s no real value in submitting their email to receive it.

  1. Requesting too much information. More common in small businesses or with professional content marketers, asking for too much information can hugely deter interested parties from signing up to your list. Begin with the basics of name and email address, then should you need more information, request it via a single-email Funnel once their subscription is confirmed. The less work your reader has to do in the beginning, the more likely they are to confirm their subscription. Not to mention, this could be the very beginning of your relationship with this new reader. Ease into things before you ask for all their personal details.

  1. Your reader cannot easily close the pop-up. Not only does your visitor see the pop-up as intrusive, especially if it appears right away, they can’t get it off their screen. It’s common for readers to ignore or close out a pop-up then continue on to submit their email address later, after reading through some of your content and know you a little better. However, if they are unable to close the pop-up on its initial appearance, they’re more likely to leave your site as opposed to sticking around to see the content. Take careful measure to check your subscription forms on different browsers and multiple devices if possible to avoid this mistake.

Turning Readers into Subscribers

It’s not impossible to turn readers into subscribers., yet, it can take some before and after testing to figure out what works best for your site. The key is taking your excitement for the content you’re producing and offering it in a way that shows value, respect and appreciation for your potential subscribers. Working in this manner will guide your readers and subscribers to cherish your corner of the internet almost as much as you do. When this happens, your mailing list will grow with your rising site analytics.

If you have any questions on the subscription form mistakes mentioned above or anything else email marketing-related, simply send our team an email at support@feedblitz.com. You can also chat, check out our Help Forum, or give us a call at 1.877.692.5489. Our Support and Sales Desk is available Monday – Friday from 9 am to 5 pm EST.

New Simplified Pricing Tiers

Email marketing is becoming increasingly more difficult and complex as our field expands. There’s so much to consider when selecting and working with an email service provider -

What all can I do? How hard is the setup? How much am I going to be paying? Do I have to pay for extra emails? What if I’m paying for things I don’t even need or use? Is it easy to use? Will I get lost in the mix of others? Can I use this for the long run as I grow and expand? And more…

We know how complicated and overwhelming the field can be, we’ve been here for over a decade. Our mission this year to strip away as much of the complexities and clutter as possible. To simplify email marketing, without forsaking advanced features, impeccable deliverability rates, and flexibility of customization and functionalities. It may sound like quite the feat to tackle, but we’ve been gearing up for this for quite some time behind the scenes here at FeedBlitz HQ.

There are going to be a good number of changes coming up with the FeedBlitz app over the next few quarters. It’s going to be a very exciting 2017!

The first step in this process is simplifying the pricing tiers for all FeedBlitz Publishers. Since 2009, we’ve used multi-level pricing tiers based on small increments of unique, active subscribers. With this update, we’re still using multi-level pricing tiers; there just won’t be as many to travel through as your list grows and your ventures expand.

The new adjustment consolidates our lowest tier levels into a single tier for up to 100 subscribers, simplifying the fee structure for smaller publishers. No more second-guessing and double-checking to see if you are nearing a new threshold or not, as you will have reached a greater milestone in your subscribership before entering into a new tier. You’ll also notice many of the remaining tiers are priced the same, or lower, as those they replace.

Those joining FeedBlitz on or after March 15, 2017, will join under our new pricing tiers. For our current FeedBlitz publishers, you’ll remain on the current tiered arrangement until June 15, 2017. Should your price increase with the new tier, the price adjustment will take place during the following 3 months. In other words, if the tier you’re on is removed, any resulting price increase will take effect gradually over a 3 month period, starting June 15th, reaching your new pricing tier by September 15, 2017.

Please take a moment to view the new, simplified pricing tiers and see if this will affect your account. Current publishers will be able to view former pricing tiers from this page as well, by the link provided at the top of the page.

Should you have any questions in regards to our new simplified pricing tiers, please do not hesitate to send our team an email at support@feedblitz.com. You can also chat, check out our Help Forum, or give us a call at 1.877.692.5489. Our Support and Sales Desk is available Monday – Friday from 9 am to 5 pm EST.

Hitting Send with Confidence, not Concern

Woman confidently sending her email with FeedBlitz

Hitting publish on one of the best pieces of content you’ve ever written—or hitting send on the greatest email ever—feels completely amazing. You step away from the computer feeling strong, accomplished, ready to tackle the next project head-on. Later, though, when you return to your computer to check how your mailing did, you discover that even with your phenomenal content, barely a fraction of your list has opened it, with some subscribers writing to complain that they never even received it.

We don’t need to dive into how disheartening this moment feels, or how utterly infuriated or disappointed this discovery leaves you.

The culprit here can be poor deliverability. If your emails are rejected by your subscriber’s mail servers, they will never be seen as they don’t make it to the mailbox. This is one of the many reasons why we continuously work to ensure the highest deliverability rates possible to all of our publishers. This is our top priority at FeedBlitz, because the last thing you should ever concern yourself with is whether or not your emails were delivered!

What is deliverability?

Deliverability is exactly what you’d imagine it to be: the ability to deliver. In email marketing, it is the ability of your bulk email service provider (ESP) to deliver your emails effectively to the mailboxes of your subscribers. All major ESPs operate on what is called a deliverability rate which shows the amount of emails able to successfully be delivered at any given time. Since our inception, FeedBlitz has consistently operated on a 99.75% or higher deliverability rate for our publishers. We do NOT play around when it comes to this number and guard our systems fiercely to ensure it stays at or above this percentage.

Why does a high deliverability rate matter with your bulk ESP?

The higher deliverability rate of your bulk ESP, the more likely your emails are going to reach your subscriber’s mailboxes. According to Cisco’s 2017 Annual Cybersecurity Report, 2016 showed the highest rate of SPAM since 2010. A whopping total of 65% of all emails sent in 2016 were spam. 65%! That’s an insane amount of spam being sent out to the world. It’s no wonder Internet Service Providers (ISPs) are cracking down when it comes to who they will accept email from and who they block.

Our mission as your ESP is for your mail to be accepted by ISPs. To do that we continuously show ISPs our sending servers are trusted, reputable senders of high-quality email. As a result, the emails we send on your behalf are delivered to your subscribers’ mailboxes.

Doing this involves many moving parts. These consistently applied policies include requiring dual opt-in for everyone, and how we manage imports. There’s also the technology and operational side of things. We check our ability to send to major ISPs from all servers we use every 180 seconds. We send emails using our own dedicated servers. We use third party monitoring services, track every list from every publisher 24 hours a day to make sure that subscriber interactions follow expected norms, and we establish and maintain our domain and IP reputations. And then you have DKIM and SPF authentication (also known as sending authentication settings, monitoring DMARC, integrating with Feedback Loops (FBLs), and much more. That may seem like a lot of tech talk, but the good news is it’s a lot of tech talk that you don’t have to think about.

FeedBlitz sends millions of emails each day. All this attention to detail and quality behind the scenes is the reason we hold a consistent 99.75% or better deliverability rate on your emails. In two words? Worth it.

Quality Counts

These practices for safeguarding our deliverability rate aren’t something new we’ve recently implemented. Dual opt-in and import validation aren’t simply formalities. We don’t view our excellent deliverability as an added bonus feature, reserved for certain special clients or big lists only. It’s the very heart of what we do for everyone: Continuously protecting and differentiating your emails from the influx of SPAM mailboxes receive, getting your emails to your subscribers.

What’s the point in sending an email if it isn’t even making it to your subscriber’s mailbox? There isn’t one.

Should you have any questions regarding deliverability of your emails, please do not hesitate to send our team an email at support@feedblitz.com. You can also chat, check out our Help Forum, or give us a call at 1.877.692.5489. Our Support and Sales Desk is available Monday – Friday from 9 am to 5 pm EST.

Where’s my audience?

A dog searching for his crowd among sheep, wondering where's my audience?

You’re posting great content regularly, you’re enthusiastically promoting your site on all the top social channels, while diligently reading and following all the How to Blog Like a Rock Star articles and checklists you can find and yet…. your emails have low open rates, even lower click-through rates. Your list ought to be growing – but you can’t be sure as you seem to be losing subscribers as quickly as you gain them, and there’s not a lot of social sharing happening for your posts or emails.

This cycle can leave you feeling exhausted, defeated, and wondering if any of this is even working! You begin to doubt yourself as a leading figure in your craft, an expert in your field, perhaps even your basic knowledge on the subject. Nobody seems to care. You’re casting such a wide net and doing everything under the sun possible, how could things not be going better than they are?

Breathe. Pause for a moment, because there is your answer – you’re casting such a wide net. You’re not trying to reach your audience; you’re trying to reach everyone’s audience.

Speaking to Someone, Not Just Anyone

This is a common misstep when it comes content marketing and blogging, believing that trying to reach as many people as earthly possibly and relating your content, service or product to anyone who could possibly be reading is the best way to grow.

Take a step back and look at what is truly happening when casting such a wide net:

  1. Your content is filled with generic terms and language to appeal to everyone.
  2. Your time is divided between a plethora of social channels trying to promote everywhere possible.
  3. You’re building a list of subscribers ranging from semi-interested to somewhat-interested to possibly super-interested (but you aren’t quite sure), instead of a list of people who are expressly interested in your scope of content.

Imagine creating content as if you were speaking directly to your ideal reader or client. You need not worry about everyone and everything else as you’re able to block them from your thoughts and focus on only that one person. You would be more genuine and authentic, your language would be better defined, your subscriber list would be full of people interested in what you have to say, and your email metrics would improve as a result.

This way of thinking can be an adjustment, but the transition is not impossible. Start by finding your audience, then adjust the net you’re casting. Everything else? Just noise. Junk it.

Finding Your Audience

Once you decide to speak to your people, you’ll begin to see open rates, subscription rates, and click-through rates increase. Your content will be more focused, and your language will match that which they speak. To get started in finding your audience, ask yourself these questions:

  • What do I know about my ideal reader? Write out everything you can about them. Their estimated age, occupation, relationship status, what their possible hobbies are, what are their annoyances, what do they get excited about, and so on. Make note of anything you can think about your reader. This is called developing your reader (or client) persona. Some sites will be extremely specific and have 1-2 personas, while others may have 3-4 personas (we at FeedBlitz have 4 core personas, in case you’re wondering).

  • Where else on the internet do my readers hang out? Once you have a clear picture of who your ideal reader or client is, you’ll be able to find out where else on the internet they spend their time. What websites do they follow? Could you offer a guest post to one of these websites? Are they active on forums? If so, which ones? Create an account and participate in the discussions, offering answers and insight.

  • What social channels are they using the most? This can be a HUGE time saver for you. If it turns out your audience is more focused on LinkedIn and Facebook, focus more time and energy here as opposed to Snapchat or Pinterest. Knowing this can also show you which channels you need to invest more knowledge into learning, instead of expending so much energy trying to cover your bases on every.single.social.channel.

These questions are a starting point for you to find your audience. Once you know where they are, you can then focus on ways to promote your content directly to these individuals in the manner which they prefer most.

Bonus Tip: Start by surveying your current readership and subscribers. Draft a simple online survey with some of the questions above and ask your readers to complete it. This will give you a good look at who is currently interested in your content, and offer a starting point for seeking out new subscribers in your audience.

*Offering an incentive for completing the survey such as a discount code or free pdf download is a great way to encourage subscribers and readers to answer your questions.

Focusing on What Matters

Don’t worry about casting the largest net, concern yourself with casting the right net and watch your metrics start to increase. No more wondering if your content marketing and blogging are working. Rest easy knowing your focus is on those who are already interested in your content to start, focus on creating high-quality, valuable content which provides a solution to their problems, sit back and watch your metrics rise to new heights.

If you have questions on finding your target audience or anything else related to email marketing, simply send our team an email to support@feedblitz.com. You can also chat, check out our Help Forum, or give us a call at 1.877.692.5489. Our Support and Sales Desk is available Monday – Friday from 9 am to 5 pm EST.

Stressing over what to write next? There’s a solution for that.

Calendar with various colored pins, noting different posts on different days.

It’s 9 o’clock the night before your readers are expecting your latest post to arrive in their inboxes, promptly at 9 AM tomorrow, and you find yourself staring at a blank screen. The blinking cursor is a reminder words are waiting, seemingly impatiently, to fill the screen in front of you, and you’re drawing a blank. You have no idea – or maybe too many ideas – about what you’re going to write for tomorrow’s blog post, but all you know is you have to deliver something. The pressure is on, and the clock is ticking away.

Pause for a moment, take a deep breath and know that nearly every single blogger on the internet (including the one writing this post) has been in your position at some point in their journey.

Stress over not knowing what to write, the feeling of dread as a deadline is inching closer and closer, and let’s not forget feeling disorganized and not having it all together. We survived and you will too! Whether you are a lifestyle, craft, small business or even an experienced full-time blogger, sometimes we all find ourselves at a loss of what content to create.

What would happen if you sat down at your computer and instead of staring at a blinking cursor, drawing a blank, you knew exactly what to write, when to write it, and didn’t waste any time second-guessing yourself over it? Dream scenario, right? Completely! However, it’s not as far-fetched as it may at first seem.

Multitudes of people turn that dream into a reality each week by using a Content Calendar. This isn’t a tool reserved for large corporations or professional bloggers who have a team of writing professionals behind them; a content calendar is used by bloggers, writers, small business owners, marketers and more across the globe.

Can a Content Calendar really make my life easier?

Simple answer: Yes. This is more than a list of ideas tossed around on sticky notes and random pieces of paper, or posts you’d like to write someday. Not to be confused with an editorial calendar which often only highlights monthly or quarterly themes for publication, a content calendar is a compiled list highlighting the topic of your next post, expected post date, working title, any running notes you may have for it, and whatever else information you deem necessary.

These are just a few of the benefits you’ll reap from having a content calendar:

  1. Organize your thoughts, ensure your posts are on-topic and relevant and have one space to track any notes, research links, ideas and even image thoughts you have.  A content calendar takes all the scrap pieces of papers, sticky notes scattered about, or random ideas floating in your mind and houses the information in one place.

  1. Eliminate hesitations or questions over what to write about. Late night idea searching and blank pages, be gone! Open your content calendar, scroll down, see what’s next, and get to writing. The cursor won’t know what happened.

  1. Easily group or ungroup your posts. Some bloggers prefer to have monthly themes while others prefer to intertwine different themes throughout the year. Use your content calendar, identify post themes then group or disperse as preferred, allowing your content to easily flow from one post to the next. It’s seeing the bigger picture of where you want to take your blog right there on your computer screen!

  1. Post quality content, consistently. No more procrastinating because you don’t know what to post. No more throwing in an off-topic post because you’re all out of ideas and pressed to hit publish on something. Your content calendar outlines what needs to be written and when which allows you to focus on producing quality content consistently. Not only does this boost your peace of mind, but your readers greatly appreciate the consistency, too!

  1. Connect your social media and email marketing to your content calendar and Boom! everything is working cohesively together. Blogging, social media, and email marketing should be collectively moving you forward towards achieving your goals. This allows you to see an even grander view of the direction you’re taking yourself and your business.

Tools to help you get clear and get organized.

The beauty of a content calendar is you can create one to fit your exact writing style and editing needs. It can contain as much (post title, theme, reference links, image notes, post date, status, etc.) or as little (a working post title and target post date) information as you’d like.

If you’re looking to keep it simple and flexible, check out Google Sheets or even Google Calendar. Use as many columns and tabs as needed in your Sheet, or simply create an event with notes and a reminder in your Calendar. Here at FeedBlitz, we use Google Sheets for our content calendar, with our posts carefully lined out with extensive details and an extra tab for additional post ideas.

Should your content go through a series of individuals before it’s published, look into an online service such as Trello or Asana. This task and project management software applications allow you to easily track the progress of your content and see what is coming down the pipeline next.

Regardless of how you choose to create and maintain your content calendar, the most important point is to make this year the year you get down to business and implement one! By doing a bulk of the brainstorming and planning up-front, you’re able to create a clear action plan of where your content will take you over the next 6-12 months. Are you looking to offer additional mailings to your subscribers, create a sales funnel or even begin selling your first digital product? Working with your content calendar will help to free time to focus on taking the next step of your blogging adventure. Channel that time once spent stressing, worrying and dreading over not knowing what to post into brainstorming new content or building your targeted list.

Still not sure if a content calendar is worth it? Picture it this way; it’s 9 pm the night before your post is set to be sent to your email subscribers tomorrow morning at 9 am. Instead of staring at a blank screen and taunting cursor, you’re laughing with friends, relaxing with family, or even knee-deep into a Netflix binge. You’re not stressed, though, you can totally do whatever you choose, because you followed your content calendar and finished your post over an hour ago.

Now we don’t know about you, but that’s a trade we’d take any day.

If you have questions on creating a content calendar or anything else related to email marketing, simply send our team an email to support@feedblitz.com. You can also chat, check out our Help Forum, or give us a call at 1.877.692.5489. Our Support and Sales Desk is available Monday – Friday from 9 am to 5 pm EST.

Safeguarding your SEO: Google and Pop-Ups

Closing out an ad on a mobile phone.

As a blogger or website owner, you know what happens when Google makes an announcement and how it can adversely impact your site’s rankings. In August of 2016, the big G announced it will begin penalizing websites for “intrusive interstitials” (aka pop-ups) on mobile sites in January of 2017.

Google has stated that sites with too many or aggressive pop-ups on mobile platforms will be penalized in search results. We agree with his sentiment, we’ve long suggested the use of respectful pop-ups that allow for your readers to engage with your content before asking for a subscription. This move by Google is to reduce the number of pop-ups your readers will need to go through when viewing the mobile version of your site. Removal of these pop-ups, whether they be ads or subscription forms, will improve the reader’s experience of your site on a mobile device.

To protect your site and its rankings, FeedBlitz HQ has implemented a code change to accommodate this update from Google. This code change will prevent your pop-ups from appearing at all when your site is in mobile view. (Don’t worry, it won’t affect your pop-ups on a desktop or laptop device!) An automatic update for new pop-ups moving forward, you can take action now to address and update the current pop-ups.

How to Update your Pop-up

To do this you’ll simply need to complete the following steps:

  • Navigate to your lists SmartForm Editor. You can find your SmartForms in the dashboard of your list by clicking the “I want to button” and selecting “Subscription Forms & links”. Select the form you would like to work with, then click the green Design button in the upper right. This will take you to your SmartForm Editor.
  • Look at the top of the left pane and click the Code tab, then select Popup.
  • Adjust the pop-up’s settings to your preference and copy the code. Remember, we recommend letting your reader engage with your content before firing the pop-up. Click Update Pop-Up Code and copy it to your clipboard.
  • Replace the current pop-up code on your site with the new code. Usually, your current pop-up code is in a text widget at the bottom of your sidebar or if you have a widgetized footer, it could be there.  Don’t forget to click save after replacing your old code with the new.

 

And that’s it! You’ll be in line to protect your site from possible interstitial penalizing by Google.

If not a pop-up though, what else can you do?

Consider adding a subscription form in a sidebar or the footer of your website. These forms will still be present and non-intrusive when viewed in mobile. Another option is to work with a top bar through one of our integrated apps such as SumoMe from AppSumo or OptinMonster. This will place a subscription form bar at the top of your website, and will be in prime view for new readers.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact our Support Team via email to support@feedblitz.com. You can also chat, check out our Help Forum, or give us a call at 1.877.692.5489. Our Support and Sales Desk is available Monday – Friday from 9 am to 5 pm EST.

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Easy enough for a blogger to set up in seconds, powerful enough for sophisticated corporate email campaigns, FeedBlitz is an RSS, Email and Social Automation Tool to take your email marketing to the next level. Visit us online to learn more or start your 30 Day Free Trial!