Guest Post: Getting Smart with SmartForms

Creating products and features to help our publishers thrive is our mission here at FeedBlitz HQ. After being contacted by today’s guest blogger and told of her great success using our SmartForms, we were more than happy to feature her on the FeedBlitz Blog. Read on for how this publisher used our SmartForm Subscription Forms to increase her signups and her sales!

I’ve been a FeedBlitz client for about 8 years, and while my business as a full-time author and writing coach has changed drastically since I first read Phil Hollows’ Listbuilding for Bloggers and signed on, it’s been awesome to discover that each time I need a new feature, FeedBlitz already has it in place.

Coincidentally, FeedBlitz’s recent “Growing Your List” blog post series launched around the time I hired a consulting firm to restructure my business and redesign my website. While the firm’s professionals worked behind the scenes on tech details far outside the bounds of my skill set, I was able to keep pace on a parallel track using FeedBlitz’s blog to grow my list and increase accessibility to my blog, seasonal newsletters, and income-generating autoresponders.
When restructuring my business first began, it was hard not to feel overwhelmed – I confess to getting lost down the rabbit hole of business webinars, lunch hour online chats about IT features beyond my understanding, and even enrolling in a few e-courses that just weren’t right for my business needs at the time. But one take-away from all that self-guided learning was that everyone seemed in agreement about at least one thing: getting a person’s email address via a pop-up form on your website would be essential for continued, successful online marketing and engagement.
Cue, Feedblitz’s blog post on SmartForms, which I’d been aware of for quite some time but hadn’t yet made time to understand. Within minutes of creating the form, I had a customized template set to my liking, and within hours, new subscribers were signing on. Thanks to additional blog posts in FeedBlitz’s series, I also understood I ought to offer an incentive to folks for sharing their email address, and thanks to pro tips from folks like Janelle at Zen Courses, I was finally starting to understand that my archive of over 2,000 blog posts in 10 years was a gold mine waiting to be upgraded, shared, re-linked, and properly tagged.
So I customized my SmartForm to match my new branding, then tied it to a brief autoresponder that starts with a free downloadable PDF titled “Top 5 Tools that Changed My Life as a Self-Employed Writer.” My list doubled in two months and continues to passively grow every week, slow and steady. Some of these subscribers were readers who had followed my blog for years, and had simply never seen or opted to enter their email address into the sidebar widget I used for subscriptions. Now—they’ll never miss a post, AND I can assure they get “first dibs” on discounts or limited time offers I only make available to this select group.

“My list doubled in two months and continues to passively grow every week, slow and steady.”

More importantly, new visitors to my site get to meet me first and foremost through the positive experience of a free PDF. They opt-in, so there’s nothing SPAM-like about it, and after a few messages from me about what I do, plus links to several free trials, the autoresponder finishes. They don’t hear from me again until my seasonal newsletter goes out, and click-through rates on those have also doubled.

How does it all add up, you might wonder? SmartForms helped me expand my audience, first and foremost, and that’s priceless. They also help me gather key information about my clients and audience, via custom fields. But more than all of that, this self-running feature helps me generate income.

Because of the positive experience folks are having getting a free PDF and a tasteful, SPAM-free set of emails linking them to free trials they’re interested in, eventually a handful of those subscribers become paying clients. And it all started with the SmartForm…

Katey Schultz is an author, writing coach, and founder of Maximum Impact: Precision Courses for Writers, Artists, & Trailblazers. Learn more at www.kateyschultz.com.

Thank you, Katey, for taking the time to talk about your experience with FeedBlitz SmartForm Subscription Forms. If you are a FeedBlitz Publisher and would like to share your experience and possibly be featured on the blog as a Case Study or Guest Post, please send us an email and let’s get the conversation started.

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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!

The Dating Game of Online Content

The Dating Game of Online ContentBy Karen Wilson

Do you remember what it’s like to be mutually “in like” for the first time? You click with the person so well that you want to see and talk to each other all the time. The connection is so strong that you feel like you’ve found THE ONE!

Fast forward a few months and things are still somewhat rosy, but you’re starting to see the not-so-perfect side of this human being, but it’s okay because they have so many positives you can overlook it. Besides, humans are imperfect.

Time moves on and things change. The tarnish really starts to show. Maybe they change. Maybe you change. Maybe you just get to know them better. Either way, you hit that stage where staying together becomes a conscious decision you have to make. [Read more...]

Branding: Your Name is Not Enough

Branding- Your Name is Not EnoughToday’s guest post is by FeedBlitz user, Erin Feldman.

If you make yourself more than just a man, if you devote yourself to an ideal, you become something else entirely. - Henri Ducard

Today I’d like to share a poor example of branding and reputation, and pose some questions to help us reflect on the success of our own brand. Below is an example we can learn from, and should keep in mind when building our personal and business brand. [Read more...]

How I Created a Listbuilding Machine, by Jeff Nickles

For the first three years I operated my blog, I only had 800 email subscribers to show for it. That’s just a little over 250 per year. Now, my list grows by that amount every month.

Here’s the graph to prove my listbuilding machine is working:

FeedBlitz Helped Me Create a Listbuilding Machine

I’ll be the first to tell you that I’m no brilliant Internet marketer. In the four years I’ve operated my blog, I’ve made a ton of mistakes. One of the biggest was ignoring the importance of building an email list from the outset. I now know that I should have made this a top priority from the beginning.

Fortunately, I came to my senses — better late than never.

Here’s what I did to create a listbuilding machine:

1. Migrated to a Real Email Marketing System

For the longest time “ too long in fact “ I used FeedBurner to manage my email subscriptions. The biggest reason I stuck with it was because it was free. Of course, it also lacked critical features which cost me. I’ve come to understand the importance of these features now that I’ve made the switch to a true email marketing system.

There are two things that FeedBlitz offers that have proven critical to my listbuilding success. The first is autoresponders and the second is real, live support.

I’ll tell how I use autoresponders later in this article, but I want to explain now why the support FeedBlitz provides is so valuable.

First, when I have a problem, which is usually because I’m doing something wrong, someone is there to help me get it fixed fast. This means that my listbuilding machine is never down for long. A real human being is always reachable and ready to assist me in correcting the issue. This protects my credibility with my subscribers. You see, nothing makes people doubt you more in the online world than a flaky system. Therefore, available support is very valuable to my strategy.

Second, the support FeedBlitz offers goes beyond just break-and-fix. They also provide you with all kinds of great tips, tactics and ideas for maximizing the effectiveness of your campaigns. I’ve learned a ton about how to improve the marketing I do to my list through these resources. If you haven’t dug into what’s available, then you are missing out in a big way.

Moving to FeedBlitz was the first and most crucial step in creating my successful listbuilding machine because you must have a solid foundation to build upon. Once I had the system in place, I started fueling it up for performance.

2. Created a Valuable Incentive to Subscribe

In the early years, I adopted the “build it and they will come” mentality about my email list. Visitors certainly came to my site, but unfortunately, I didn’t have a real strategy in place to effectively influence them to subscribe to my content and message.

Oh sure, I had a little form in my sidebar so they could subscribe to my email list if they wanted, but there wasn’t any incentive for them to do so.

Therefore, my list growth was very puny. I only collected 800 addresses on my list after three full years of blogging. That’s pathetic!

Of course, even if I would have had an incentive back then, I had no way to deliver it when a person subscribed. That is, until I discovered the power of FeedBlitz autoresponders.

Here’s what I did to get my listbuilding machine up and running.

I took a series of twelve articles I wrote a couple of years ago, spruced them up a bit and created an eBook out of them. I called it “The Super-Charged Guide to Smart Living”. I then got on Fiverr.com , found someone to create a beautiful cover for my eBook and voil?ô “ I had an attractive, informative incentive to offer.

I then set up an autoresponder using FeedBlitz so that every time a person subscribes to my list, they receive an email from me with a link to download my free eBook. This got my listbuilding machine running, but I still didn’t see the big list growth I really wanted until I did one more thing.

3. Super-Charged My List Building Machine

The final thing I did to really super-charge my listbuilding machine was to implement a pop-up lightbox that looks like this:

I was hesitant to use a pop-up like this at first because I was afraid that visitors to my site would be turned off and annoyed by it. A year later, I’m not concerned any more. I suppose a few visitors might turn their noses up at it, but they probably aren’t the ones I’m after anyway.

All I know is that by turning this on, my listbuilding machine started performing and generating the results I wanted and that’s good enough for me.

I encourage you to look at my subscriber graph at the beginning of this article. Notice how steep and steady it is? That’s what I call a successful listbuilding machine!

I implemented this strategy in late February last year and by mid-July; my list had doubled in size. That’s a 100% increase in the number of people I regularly reach in just four and a half months. It took me three years to accumulate this many subscribers before.

These are people I’m helping to live a more fulfilling life. They are also folks that I can market various personal development products to.

The cool thing is that it is all automated. FeedBlitz does the heavy-lifting for me. I couldn’t be happier!

About the Author

Jeff Nickles is a regular guy on a quest to live life to its fullest. He began MySuperChargedLife.com in December of 2007 as a way to share his experiences and to learn more about life. You can start here to see his listbuilding machine in action or to reach out to him. Jeff also told this story in a recent guest post published on ProBlogger.