All posts in ‘E-mail Marketing’

Friday, 11 March 2011

VIP Newsletter Sushi

Today has been crazy. Having zero time to eat, I decided to run down to the sushi place on the corner. Trying to be efficient, I had a look at their website to check out the menu while making a call. To my surprise, my little sushi shop believes in email!

The possibility of a free meal every week is yours…  if you just sign up for their newsletter. Pretty easy, right? (Google Translate if you’re not a believer)

They get it – you have to give your subscribers something worth something. It’s a privilege to get an email address, and they repay that privilege. The question now is: Why can’t the bigger companies get this?

Off to get my free Yakiniku now!

Not really… But it could have been!


Monday, 28 February 2011

How To Get More Newsletter Subscribers through Your Homepage — Part 3/3: Optimize the Registration Process

Part 1 — HERE.

Part 2 — HERE.

This is what we know about our readers so far:

Now let’s focus on our readers with an 11-15 inch widescreen display. We need to lift up our shiny new signup box to the top where they can see it — without having to scroll down the page. We don’t want to lose them.

Have a look below:

Above the fold: the space on a webpage that is initially visible without the need to scroll down the page. This is where our signup icon needed to be, and as you can see, we moved our newsletter signup box from below the fold to above the fold — now it’s instantly and effortlessly visible to 99% of our readers.

We also added the same registration box, in the same position, to almost every page on our website.

During our website remodeling bonanza, we decided that the Facebook and Twitter boxes needed to be closer to our newsletter box. Moving these icons to the top has rounded up a lot more friends and followers for both Facebook and Twitter — but still, neither one have as many subscribers as our newsletter. What does that say about email? It’s still more awesomer.

We hope this helps!

The End.

Thursday, 17 February 2011

How To Get More Newsletter Subscribers through Your Homepage — Part 2/3: Simplify the Registration Process

If there’s a part two, there must be a part one – PART ONE.

We’ve all heard the phrase “less is more”. It’s a great design principle, but not a good rule – because sometimes in some cases, less is just less. An icon that’s labeled “Newsletter”, what exactly does that tell you? Probably not a whole lot, unless you work with email marketing. Simplicity is great, but with our titles, we have to think about our readers – will they get it?

In this case, “Newsletter” is just not enough. We need it to be obvious – this is a newsletter that we send out, and you can subscribe to it – no extra thinking required of our readers. It needs to explain itself, and move our readers to action. We went with what’s called a call to action – “Subscribe to our newsletter”.

We have to avoid sending our readers on a clicking marathon from page to page to subscribe to our newsletter. We have to keep our readers on the same page as the blog. We can’t risk pulling our readers away from that precious blog content – and with todays HTML capabilities, it’s just not necessary. But utilizing that precious 11-15 inches of space at the top of your homepage can be a challenge. The buttons at the top need to be noticeable, not enormous. Sizing is important, you don’t want to push down other important icons into never-see land. Striking a balance between your important icons is what you want.

What happens though when you run out of space for your darling icons? We solved that problem by making an expandable registration box (below). That way the box stays out of the way when you want it to be out of the way, and is there for you when you need it the most.

From a website’s point of view, today’s internet is a very different place from yesterday’s. One word: mobile. Mobile devices have changed how we build our websites, and the change that they’ve begun is well worth the traffic that they generate. 4% of our visitors use a smartphone or tablet computer, that’s significant – significant enough to potentially annoy your readers with a stubborn signup box. Have you checked with Google Analytics lately to see how many people you may be annoying? If you want to use a fancy schmancy HTML expandable box or the like, make sure it works on iPhone, iPad, and Android devices. It pays off – and it thwarts website induced reader rage.

We’re almost there, now that we’ve made signing up a breeze and a joy, we can move on to the rest of the magic.Wait for part three in the coming days.

Monday, 14 February 2011

How To Get More Newsletter Subscribers through Your Homepage — Part 1/3: Evaluate Present Registration Process

Ousting the ugly and ineffective and ushering in the new and effective is sometimes what you have to do to see a little newsletter growth. That’s exactly what we did in the last six months, and it’s what spurred some notable subscriber growth. I bet you want to know what we did…and you shall.

You know that moment when you do something just right and seconds later you realize how wrong it was before? I’ve coined a phrase for this – I like to call it “learning from your mistakes”.

Sometimes, make-shifting a sign up process is something you have to do. Thinking that our sign up process would do for now, Sarah and I realized that it didn’t really do anything. It was time for a little self criticism – we took a closer look at our registration process.

For the sake of attention span and simplicity this will be a three part lesson brought to you by I-Love-Email:

Part 1:   Evaluate present registration process

Part 2:   Simplify the registration process

Part 3:   Optimize the registration process

With our makeshift sign up process, we simply didn’t get enough people to sign up – specifically from our homepage. A fairly large icon in the column on the right hand side, a tad on the low side but still fairly high up, seemed like it should have worked…

But like I said, it didn’t work. Our registrations were minimal – except the week we introduced the newsletter.

So the question was: Was it not obvious that we have a newsletter? Our visitors increase,d but our newsletter subscribers didn’t!

The answer to our troubles lay in Google Analytics, namely, the visitor statistics. We noticed a few interesting trends. This is what we found: At least 35% of our visitors use smaller widescreen computers – probably laptops. Remember when I said that the newsletter icon was a tad on the low side? That was the problem! With a widescreen laptop of a certain size, the icon is invisible! You would have to scroll down to see the newsletter icon. Well, if only we had listened to Analytics sooner.

We also reviewed the design we used at the time. It was an icon for signing up that linked to a page with a registration form. This was neither obvious nor simple.

In part two of I-Love-Email school, we’ll be learning how to simplify our registration process.

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Create Rush Hour Traffic with an SEO Newsletter Archive

I started working with email marketing four years ago, and here I am, working with a web agency with none other than, email marketing. However, I also work with design, web development, and search marketing. It’s fun when you combine these and watch how one compliments the other.

Sarah and I are about to give you a head start. This is something Sarah came up with. Here’s to all of you working with email marketing!

Here you are going to use your current, future, and other newsletters.

Newsletter SEO

“Search engine optimization” (also dubbed SEO) for a website is optimizing the text content and the HTML code behind it to increase the traffic to your website, but it can be a dirty business with dirty tricks to go with it. For example: some people spam search engines by placing links to their home page from other home pages that are not relevant to their own website or business – this means that the search engine bumps the rating on their home page.

Don’t worry, there are ways around this. If you’re honest – and if you choose to look ahead – you’ll want to start with creating relevant links with relevant content.

Your newsletter enters the equation…now.

The honest way to accomplish this is to gather your newsletters, new and old, and create a newsletter archive on your homepage. In this newsletter archive, every letter must have an HTML page of its own; in other words, a duplicate of each individual email newsletter for viewing in your web browser. These must also be optimized for search engines. This will explode your traffic, especially in the long run. When the world is out there Googling, they’ll find your website through the newsletter archive you’ve set up, assuming your newsletters are relevant.

An SEO newsletter archive is good and honest search marketing. The content is yours, it’s posted on your website, and it’s relevant to what you do. Think about the work you’ve put into your newsletters, that content is helping you generate traffic and business long after it’s sent.

What’s effort worth? How do you send your letters?

Sarah recently wrote a funny post about a company sending their newsletters with Outlook. They sell water heaters and tires. When people would search for their products, they would land on our blog, only a few hours after she posted it. There we are,, the first to pop up on Google, even though we sell neither tires or water heaters, though I’m sure it’s a lucrative business. The point is, this happened because our website is optimized.

If this water heater selling, Outlook abusing company had built their newsletters in HTML, archived them on their website, and then optimized for search engines, they would have churned in some serious traffic.

Thanks again for the idea, Sarah!

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